Second is relationships. By experiencing His love, we have meaningful relationships with others because we can share His love and fully accept others even with their faults, quirks and things that would normally allow us to correct, condemn and reject them.
I was an altar boy for several years and attended the required Christian Doctrine classes after I left parochial school in Grade 6. I remained faithful till I was around 18 years old and then became what many Catholics turn into, a 'Lasped Catholic'. The years from then till around my mid-30's were not very God like. They were filled with drugs, anger, alcohol, and a juvenile self-centeredness that was apparent to everyone but me.
I was married to a woman, who had 4 children, and we had one of our own, a daughter named Christine. I worked hard to provide for my family; at times working as many as 3 or 4 jobs to supply what we needed. The marriage lasted for 13 years and ended in divorce. I was really crushed about how things turned out but I was still too immature to realize the extent to which I contributed to the breakup. I moved from Massachusetts to South Carolina and eventually took a permanent job in Raleigh, NC.
This was a providential move because I met the friend who would include me in his family and take me to the Missionary Baptist Church where I got saved. I also met my wife, Cathy, through this friend. I eventually moved to Georgia where Cathy and I were married in February 1985. We were both newly saved and really seeking God.
I went from being saved in a Baptist church to being a United Methodist, after being released to do so by a Jesuit Priest at one of the many silent retreats I attended to sort through my spiritual confusion. I spent 12 years in Methodism and participated in various ministries including teaching 4th and 5th grade boys Sunday school for about 9 years. I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit during this time and met many Godly and influential brothers and sisters in Christ.
I spent a number of years in other churches. They were Charismatic, non-denominational, etc. in nature but the hunger was still there. I knew there was more. I became involved in the ‘house church’ movement, particularly, Open Church Ministries and started to feel this was closer to what things should be. I attend many seminars, still seeking and again, met many great and influential Christian leaders. I had a period of time when I was out of fellowship for a number of years but I was finding the Hebraic Roots of my Christian faith. I felt that I had found two pieces to the puzzle: the Centrality of Jesus and the importance of relationships.
I attended an Assemblies of God church for several years in an attempt to see if it was possible to apply the things I was finding out in a denominational setting. Five years later and after much frustration and soul searching, I am back in a Home Fellowship group. At this time, I have started a journey into Centering Prayer and making every effort to make Jesus the center of everything in my life. I have been a volunteer Chaplain at a local hospital for more than five years, taking 1600 hours of Clinical Pastoral Education. This has helped me focus on the importance of making Jesus the center and having His Heart toward those He wants in His Kingdom. I am still hungry because I know there is more and I will not stop looking for it. Bob 9/1/2007