Losing The Faith

I’ve always wondered what the difference was between myself and the guys I went to Bible college with who now are self proclaimed atheists, deists or the like. I mean what caused them to drop the things they once believed vehemently? Were they really saved to begin with? Was it ever real to them? Did they really believe what they said they believed, or was it all a show? Were they simply hurt and got disgruntled with Christianity?  Are they simply the prodigal who will return? I guess the answer is I don’t know for sure. We may never know, but I’d like to write this from the perspective of, “Why I still hold to the faith,” rather than,”Why others have fallen.” That way, you can draw your own conclusions.

Why I believe I still hold strong the faith of my fathers. 

I saw Christianity in action. 

Titus 1:9 KJV
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

My parents were and are soul-winners. I saw my parents lead people to Christ almost every week. I went soulwinning with my dad every week. I remember one time when we were soulwinning, we pulled up to this really rich neighborhood. I’m talking $800k+ homes. As we got out of the car, my dad told me, “We may not get much fruit out of this neighborhood, but we are going to knock it anyways. ” As we were knocking, we were getting the response expected. No one was interested. People were rude. After about one hour, my dad announced to me that we were going to knock one more door then go to a better neighborhood. We knocked on the door, and this big body builder guy answers the door. My dad introduces us, does the typical small talk, then he asks the question, “If you were to die today, are you 100% sure you would go to heaven?” The guy says no. My dad then asks if he could show him what the Bible says about how he can know for sure. The guy very openly said yes.  The entire time my dad was talking to him, he was laser focused. Long story short, at end the guy says he’s never heard the story of Christ like that before, and he with tears in his eyes trusted Christ as Savior. That was on a Saturday. He came to church the next day. He got baptized the following week. He was out soulwinning with my dad within a few months. I never saw a convert with so much excitement and zeal for the Lord.

I was able to lead my first soul to Christ while door knocking at 12yrs old. I still remember the fire and excitement in my soul that night. My parents taught me how to win souls by example.

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

My dad knew his Bible inside and out.  While soulwinning, he would quote scripture a lot. I’ve seen him win Mormons, Jehovah witnesses, atheists and Muslims to Christ, all because of the power of scripture. My dad studied the Bible often. He is what I would consider a Bible scholar.

Micah 6:8 KJV
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

I saw my parents walk with God. Walking with God was a priority to my parents, and they taught us the importance of putting it first in our lives. My parents spent hours every morning praying.  When I say hours, I’m not exaggerating. Their prayer lists were practically a book. I saw this first hand growing up. They taught us to walk with God and the power of prayer. I remember one Saturday morning, our church folks were gathered at our house for a soulwinning meeting before we went out soulwinning. It was pouring rain. The skies were black as far as you could see. No clear sky at all. I remember my dad telling the folks that God wanted us to go soulwinning, but that maybe he wanted us to have faith that God could move the storm. All the men began to pray that God would clear the storm so we could go soulwinning. I lie not. Within 2 or 3 minutes, there was a tiny spot of blue sky, and within 5 min that little spot opened a to about a 30 mile huge circle of blue sky around our city. I grew up seeing God answer prayer in my parents’ lives and my life.

Mark 9:29 KJV
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

My dad taught us about fasting. I remember there was a lady who came to our church, but her husband was a devout Muslim who hated our church. My dad had witnessed to him several times to no avail. I remember my dad having a prayer meeting with our family one night.  Because He told us that the lady’s husband who was a Muslim wasn’t going to let her come to church anymore, we prayed. That week I noticed my dad wasn’t eating any meals with us.  When I asked him why, he told me that he was fasting for the salvation of that Muslim man. After a little more than a week of fasting, my dad got a phone call and rushed out of the house. Several hours later he came home with good news. The phone call he got was from the Muslim man. He was frantic when he called and told my dad to come over immediately. He had just had a dream that he died and stood before Christ and was cast into hell. My dad was able to lead him to Christ. They both cane to church that Sunday. He got baptized soon after. We saw first hand that Christianity was real. It wasn’t just a story. It was real.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 KJV
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men , that I might by all means save some. [23] And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you .

My parents always treated everyone the same and taught us to do likewise. My parents are real. They love people. My parents treated the rich people in our church the same as the poor people. My dad always taught us to reach out to the kids in the church who maybe weren’t the “cool” kids.  When I was a young teen, I remember my dad telling me that he wanted me to take another teenage boy under my wing. I remember telling my dad that that boy was annoying. No one liked him. My dad then told me that this would be a chance for me to be like Christ and love the unlovable, and I did. I remember the teen boy trying to make me angry; he hated me. It was hard, but I was nice to him in return. He came around, and we eventually became friends. My parents really taught me to love my enemies. My parents taught us to love the down and out, to love the unlovable.

1 Corinthians 2:5 KJV
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

My parents are the epitomy of faithfulness. My dad ingrained in us to be faithful. I was 12 years old when my dad started the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Tracy, CA. I’ve seen my parents stand faithful through thick and thin, through church splits, and low days. My parents are faithful in their soulwinning. They are faithful in their walk with God. They are faithful in their tithes and offerings. My parents taught us that faithfulness was key in the Christian life.

My parents are real. 

1 Corinthians 9:27 KJV
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

I hear of pastors kids whose dad preached one thing in the pulpit and lived another at home. Well, that was not the case in our home growing up. What my dad preached in the pulpit, we lived. There was no double standard.

1 Timothy 2:9 KJV
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

There was no, “She can’t wear it, but he can look at it.” What I mean by that is in fundamentalism, we preach that women should dress modestly, but we often let our boys look at women who dress immodestly in movies and on tv. It seems highly two-faced to tell our daughters or wives , “I don’t want you to wear those short shorts, but I can look at the other women who do.” It seems like a slap in the face to our wives and daughters. Call it ridiculous, but growing up we didn’t watch many movies for that very reason. When we did, my sister would sit close to the tv with a piece of paper in her hand in case an immodest woman came across the screen so she could cover it up. If you wouldn’t want your daughter wearing it, why would you let yourself or your boys look at it? Double standard. You say, “That’s ridiculous!” Well, it kept us pure minded, and it gave us validity in that what my dad taught about modesty, he believed. It strengthened our belief. My mom always used to say, “The world likes our product, but they don’t like our recipe.”

Exodus 32:17-18 KJV
And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. [18] And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

If we couldn’t listen to it, then we couldn’t listen to it. Christians will preach hell fire about how Christians shouldn’t listen to rock music, and they should. Then they’ll go home, pop in a movie that has rock music, and be ok with it because somehow rock music is only bad if it’s listened to on the radio or iPad. I’ve been in Christian homes where a movie is playing, rock music is blasting in the movie, and no one flinches. Double standard. Don’t tell your kids not to listen to rock or rap music if you don’t mute the music when it comes on in your favorite movie or tv show. We grew up muting bad music if it came up in a movie; hence, we never went to movie theaters. You can’t control what is coming across the screen. You don’t have a mute button.

2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you,

As much as my parents could, they protected us from creating carnal appetites. My parents wanted us to grow up pure minded and pure physically. We did not go places that were carnal in nature. If we went to the beach, we would find a spot where there were not half-naked women around. We didn’t go to water parks.  My mom would often turn the magazines in the grocery store backwards. They wanted to protect our eyes. They wanted to protect us from the lust of the flesh.

We didn’t go places that blasted rock music. I remember as a child leaving a carnival because the music was so loud. I often remember at restaurants my dad asking the manager if he could turn the music to be softer. If they said no, we left the restaurant. They wanted to protect our ears from developing an appetite for carnal music.

We never slept over at friends’ houses. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now. Bad things happen at sleep-overs. We weren’t allowed to even go inside our neighborhood friends’ houses. You never know what their parents watch on tv or listen to.  All the neighborhood kids would come to our house. They loved coming to a home where mom and dad never yelled at each other. All of these rules my parents had were to protect us from being exposed to carnality and worldliness.

There is so much more I could say. Maybe one day, I’ll write a book, but I’ll conclude with this. I don’t know why Christian kids go off the deep end, but I believe that my having wise and godly parents who guided me in my early years kept me on the straight and narrow. All of my siblings and I still attend church, love God, are in the ministry in some aspect, and we still love our parents.

Proverbs 22:6 KJV
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

 

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