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Brought back to Jesus!

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  • Brought back to Jesus!

    Hello, all!
    It had been several years since I had last attended a church I could feel excited about when I walked through the doors of Hope Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, Florida, in that sweet autumn day of 2012. Before that, I had been darting from church to church, never truly feeling at home. You see, I was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1973 and raised as a Baptist. That gave me a wonderful grounding in Scripture. The Lord inspired my heart to respond to the Altar Call back in 1988 and I was baptized three months later, in the same church I was raised in, by my childhood pastor, Eugene Foreman. I was brought up in church, attended the revivals, learned about TULIP, enjoyed Summit Lake once a year at our church retreat.

    When I was growing up, I got greatly interested in genealogy. That interest stayed with me and branched off into an interest in church tradition. I knew that the Baptist denomination I grew up in separated from the Church of England, but other than that, the many different histories of the Baptist movement became confusing for me. I knew Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior although I fell away more times than I can count. I relied very heavily on God's forgiveness. I joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1995 because I was attracted to the liturgy, my grandmother was raised as a Catholic and they had a tradition. See, being raised in my Baptist Church, I didn't know much about theology beyond that Jesus is the Son of God, He died for my sins, He was resurrected and He's in Heaven. Church history didn't really come up very much, except that God's Word is in the Bible and that has everything we believe in it. I had questions regarding the Lord's Supper ( it was celebrated as a memorial), baptism and Once Saved Always Saved. I held to a very literal reading of Holy Scripture and trying to use the scientific method just seemed nonsensical to me when one would try to apply it to God's Word.

    So, I joined the Catholic Church, had the liturgy I craved and a firmer grounding in post- Apostolic church tradition as taught by the Catholics. I did a lot of things. I kept up my Bible reading, went to Mass once a week ( Sundays and other days I was told I was required to attend Mass and daily when it got closer to time for me to go to Florida), Confession once a month,, Eucharistic Adoration and Rosary recitation. All very fine, I'm sure. I got involved with a woman I later married, got married outside the Catholic Church but then had my marriage convalidated in the Catholic Church, and flirted with one different religion after the other. I fell out of faith before I got married, but then I tried to get back in ( hence the convalidation thing. Convalidation is simply having your marriage blessed by a priest) and I went through the routine with a very anti- Catholic family I was living with ( the in- laws). Well, we moved down to Florida. Jacksonville. After awhile, the Catholic Church lost its appeal. Most of my family is Protestant, see and I was having a harder and harder time reconciling what I read in the Bible with some of the things I was hearing at Mass. I still craved liturgy.

    To try to placate my discontented wife, we started attending the church of her childhood, the Presbyterian Church ( USA). The people were grand and the theology was something I completely disagreed with, so I suggested to my now ex wife that we take it to the Lord in prayer where we should go. I saw a small Lutheran Church not far from where we lived. It was called Hope Lutheran Church and it was affiliated with the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod. I thought I'd give the pastor a call. It turned out that it was God calling me. After a couple of months attending Hope and participating in some of its ministries, I thought I'd ask to take the New to Lutheranism instruction course and be received by Hope Lutheran Church as a formal member. My wife would enter the church with me. So, in late February of 2013, we and a couple of other people, were received as members of Hope Lutheran Church.

    I bought the Lutheran Book of Prayers, Concordia, the Book of Lutheran Confessions, the Lutheran Study Bible and CFW Walther's " Law and Gospel" and began a rigorous program of prayer and Bible Study. The Holy Spirit began to move me in directions I never would have considered. After my divorce ( irreconcilable differences) I came back up to Northern Virginia and attended Hope Lutheran Church here at home, as well. God has blessed me with an active prayer life, friends at church, a good job and positions of responsibility at church. In fact, at the moment, I'm considering the ministry as a very real choice for me at this time. Jesus brought me back to Him! It took a couple of twists and turns, but the Lord brought me back to Him and I can only hope and pray that He impacts everybody's life as He has mine!

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum ConfessionalLutheran
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    • #3
      Thank you so much, Origen!
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      • #4
        Welcome C.Lutheran!

        God bless,
        William
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        • #5
          Thank you so much, William!
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          • #6
            You're very welcome C.Lutheran. If I might dare add, I kinda chuckled (I know it is saddening) by your PCUSA endeavor. No doubt, you found out the hard way, the PCUSA has nothing in common with Presbyterians other than its form of church government. I have a brother in Christ that is from the Missouri Synod, and we go to a Bible Study that is every two weeks by my church, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. I must admit, that if the Orthodox Presbyterian Church wasn't available to me in my location, I'd consider the Lutheran Missouri Synod.

            God bless,
            William
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            • #7
              Amen, William. Part of that endeavor involved my sitting in a Sunday School class and hearing the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes being downgraded to Jesus persuading selfish hoarders in the crowd of 5,000 to cough up the hidden bread and fish they apparently secreted on their own persons. That kind of thinking made me wonder where else I could go where miracles were seen as miracles. Turned out that that local LCMS church was within walking distance of our condo in the Baymeadows part of Jacksonville. I will say that part of the reason I considered Presbyterianism was because my grandfather McDonald was brought up in that church!:)
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              • #8
                Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post
                Amen, William. Part of that endeavor involved my sitting in a Sunday School class and hearing the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes being downgraded to Jesus persuading selfish hoarders in the crowd of 5,000 to cough up the hidden bread and fish they apparently secreted on their own persons. That kind of thinking made me wonder where else I could go where miracles were seen as miracles. Turned out that that local LCMS church was within walking distance of our condo in the Baymeadows part of Jacksonville.
                Unbelievable. That was the exact same Catholic interpretation that made me stand up to my Catholic teacher in my Catholic High School. I denounced Catholicism in front of a whole class that day, and was dismissed from attending my required class thereafter. You do realize that some pastors in the PCUSA do not even believe in God? Presbyterian Minister Doesn’t Believe in God Yet Defends His Christianity

                God bless,
                William
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by William View Post

                  Unbelievable. That was the exact same Catholic interpretation that made me stand up to my Catholic teacher in my Catholic High School. I denounced Catholicism in front of a whole class that day, and was dismissed from attending my required class thereafter. You do realize that some pastors in the PCUSA do not even believe in God? Presbyterian Minister Doesn’t Believe in God Yet Defends His Christianity — Charisma News

                  God bless,
                  William
                  I am not surprised. I don't want to say anything any of the other posters here might take issue with, but I will say that it's that left- leaning tendency among liberal denominations that is costing them so many of their members. People aren't satisfied with form without substance, or an " anything-goes-just-be-nice" kind of worldview ( it certainly can't be called "theology"), when that isn't what Christianity is about. I appreciated when I was received into the LCMS that part of the affirmation of faith was to " continue steadfast in this confession and this Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it." I'm home, by the grace of God and in my own heart, I know this to be a vow I dare not break. Christian faith and profession has nothing to do with the Social Gospel, or feel-good lectures from a pulpit and everything to do with Jesus, Who commanded us not to conform with the ever changing standards of this world.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post
                    I know this to be a vow I dare not break.
                    Took a similar vow in my membership reception. I vowed to be held accountable to the OPC which abides by the Westminster Confession of Faith, I submitted to the teaching of the OPC, and to be held accountable to Church discipline in life and in doctrine should I be found delinquent.

                    God bless,
                    William
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by William View Post

                      Took a similar vow in my membership reception. I vowed to be held accountable to the OPC which abides by the Westminster Confession of Faith, I submitted to the teaching of the OPC, and to be held accountable to Church discipline in life and in doctrine should I be found delinquent.

                      God bless,
                      William
                      Excellent. We in the LCMS use Concordia, the Book of Lutheran Confessions ( aka the Book of Concord), written largely by Luther and Melanchthon, with later additions by Martin Chemnitz. We are held accountable by our congregation, too. Part of every service is dedicated to our writing our names in a sort of attendance book ( which was new to me when I first saw it, but it makes sense) and I guess that is how they check on us.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post

                        Excellent. We in the LCMS use Concordia, the Book of Lutheran Confessions ( aka the Book of Concord), written largely by Luther and Melanchthon, with later additions by Martin Chemnitz. We are held accountable by our congregation, too. Part of every service is dedicated to our writing our names in a sort of attendance book ( which was new to me when I first saw it, but it makes sense) and I guess that is how they check on us.
                        I have read it :) And my church also takes attendance, writing those that miss church on any given Lord's day.

                        May I also share something with, something we have in common: Amazing Grace - The History and Theology of Calvinism -Christforums

                        Soli Deo Gloria
                        William
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by William View Post

                          I have read it :) And my church also takes attendance, writing those that miss church on any given Lord's day.

                          May I also share something with, something we have in common: Amazing Grace - The History and Theology of Calvinism -Christforums

                          Soli Deo Gloria
                          William
                          Awesome, thank you so much for the link! :) I'll get started watching straightaway.
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                          • #14
                            What a wonderful watch! Thanks, William. :)
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                            • #15




                              Here are some things that provide a Lutheran perspective.
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