Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Accidental Christian: God, the Scary Movie and Stop & Shop

When I think of accidents, I don't always become gripped with fear, more often, I think of the times when I am pleasantly surprised by joy. Many of my major life decisions have been a result of a collision of crazy circumstances beyond my control. I wish I could say I spent hours in prayer, life planning and agonizing over well researched options for my future, but I won't lie. Like the day I came to Christ.

There was a sudden change of plans. I was not going to Pennsylvania for the weekend. I ended up spending the weekend alone, my almost 2 year-old was at his bio-father's. I caved in and went to a church movie with this lady who kept inviting me. If I just went once, I could fulfill my agreement. "Sure, I'll go sometime." I was going to a movie with church people.

SOMETIME was here. I walked into the nondescript building near the mall. So this is what that lady was so excited about? A plain cream-colored room with brown carpet and metal folding chairs. We began singing. Lucky for me the words were being projected on the wall. The feature movie was "Years of the Beast". I, who hated scary movies and still do, sat and watched the whole thing without food, a potty stop, or a quick nap. I was in awe. The movie was hokey, the acting terrible, but I was fascinated by the audience. They were completely enjoying the movie. They laughed at the silliness, cheered at the baptism, gave amens to the scripture quotes and gasped at the terror. When the movie ended, someone delivered a sermonette about salvation and Bible prophesy. Both topics were news to me. My church lady friend spoke to me. An older woman invited me to pray with her. I, being the pseudo-intellectual at the moment, replied "I need to make an informed decision." I meant that. I had never heard the plan of salvation in my whole 20 years of life. You mean to tell me it is that simple? Impossible. The one thing I did know is, I was a sinner. I must become an informed sinner. I did the most logical thing to do after watching a movie and hearing the gospel.

I went to Stop and Shop to get some food. I was hungry. I also headed for their Barnes and Noble Book Section. I found a New King James Bible and bought it that very night. I was not going to get one written by those people in the church. What if they wrote their own Bible? After replacing the calories burned by fretting over the movie, I was ready to find out what to do about my sin. I played Bible roulette and opened it up to the middle of the Bible. Proverbs. This was the best Bible for a new Bible reader like me. I quickly found out what the Bible says about overcoming sin, how to recognize a good church, how to be free from gluttony, and the plan of salvation. There were title pages with questions that I had, and simple scriptures to show me what God's word says about each topic. This was too good to be true. I decided that night I would return to the church the next night for a rock concert. I was convinced it was not too late for me. What if I didn't cancel my plans last minute? What if I went to Shaws and didn't get a Bible? God in His sovereign plan would have gotten my attention. I am so thankful for the weekend that I accidentally stumbled into God, His word and a new life. That was June of 1986.....

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