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5k Every Day in the Month of May (Day 15)

15 days in and going strong… May is a month of 31 days, so today is not quite halfway and yet tomorrow will be more than halfway. If today was any indication, I’m going to make it to my goal of “5k Every Day in the Month of May”.

Last week I ran a total of 27.8 miles and had a weekly average pace of 8:09 per mile (Wednesday’s run really killed my average…) Altogether so far in May I have run 51.31 miles and have had an average pace of 7:55 per mile. That’s not so bad…

Today I took a quick stroll through town and my legs felt great. I ran a 5k in 23:10.3, which is a pace of 7:29 per mile.

As I was running, I was thinking about my faith story. Today in Sunday School I encouraged the youth to put together a quick testimony of how they came to faith using a simple “Before Then After” format. In other words, what was your life like before you met Christ? What happened that made you realize Jesus is Lord? And what has your life been like since putting your faith in Christ?

It’s a simple format. After putting it together, I challenged them to share it this week.

Not wanting to issue a challenge that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself, here is my personal faith story:

Before I knew Jesus I was incredibly selfish, self-centered, proud, and angry. All I wanted in life was to become a famous country music star (hard to believe that, now). I also had a very short fuze. It didn’t take much to set me off and send me into a fit of blind rage. (I got into a lot of fistfights when I was younger.) Experiencing only moderate success in country music, but ultimately feeling like a failure also led me to heavy drinking. I was an alcoholic by the time I turned 21.

Then Jesus changed everything. One night while I was feeling severely depressed I cried out to God and asked him to reveal himself to me if he was real. Nothing happened immediately, but in the middle of the night I awoke with a song playing in my head, needing to be written. I quickly wrote down all of the words flying around my head and then I fell back asleep. When I woke up the next morning and read the lyrics, it was as if God himself had written the words through my own handwriting. I felt like he was essentially saying, “Jeff, you have made a huge mess of your life, but give it to me I will make something good out of it.” I wholeheartedly gave my life to Christ at that moment.

After that, I began to pour myself into scripture. I had given my life to God -now I wanted to know who he was! I was blown away by the Bible and devoured it as bread of life. My priorities changed. My passions changed. My addictions and anger were taken away. I believe that God is making me more and more like Jesus every day.

The funny thing for me is that I did not grow up in the church, but I joined a church shortly after giving my life to Christ. It has been difficult for me to reconcile the differences that I see between the church of the New Testament and the Western churches of America. Still, I believe that God loves the church, and so my passion is to pour myself into the church and help narrow the gap between Biblical Christianity and Western Christianity. God help us.

What about you? What is your faith story? What is your “Before Then After”? Go ahead and leave it in the comments so we can all rejoice in what God has been up to in your life.

I love the way that Eugene Peterson paraphrased part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the MESSAGE Bible:

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, MESSAGE)

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