Words of Life (or "Do I really believe what I say I believe?")

A wicked man listens to evil lips; a liar pays attention to a malicious tongue. – Proverbs 17:4

I started my freshman year of college at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago back in the fall of 1991. I was fresh off the rush of my second Youth for Christ convention in Washington D.C. earlier that summer, where several of the young men I’d invited - including my younger brother - had given their lives to Christ, and I landed in the Windy City I was sure the message of God’s love would be equally effective at winning over the many non-Christians I was sure to meet.

My first job was on campus, washing dishes for minimum wage (then $3.25 and hour if I remember correctly) in the student dining room. The hours were terrible and I hated the grueling pace, so I decided to see if I could find a better job off campus. One of my friends in the Moody Chorale told me about a place called O.R.C. - they did market research for several car companies via telephone, were just down the street, starting pay was $5/hour, and had schedules that were perfect for college students. I had no problems getting hired and found the work suited me well; what I hadn’t anticipated was that most of my co-workers were non-Christians (including a large number of openly gay individuals).

A popular way to pass the time was to write notes to your friends and have the supervisors pass them along amongst each other. I quickly struck up a number of friendships with the people around me, including a young woman named Heather who clearly came from a very different background than mine, with piercings and tattoos covering her body and a harsh demeanor to match. One day we started talking about Jesus (she knew I was a student at Moody Bible Institute) and I decided to go for the win, writing to her about the incredible love Jesus had shown for her by dying on the cross. Her response left me stunned and confused - “I grew up Catholic and had the Bible shoved up my *** so I’m not interested in your Jesus!!!” What? How can this be? How could anyone not immediately fall on their knees in gratitude after hearing about Jesus’ love for them?

I would get many more responses like that in my years as a student at Moody Bible Institute, and by the spring of 1995 I abandoned my faith as well and entering the same wilderness that once seemed to strange and foreign. It would be my home for almost 10 years until I stopped running from a God who never stopped pursuing me and came back to Christ in (of all places!) San Francisco, CA.

In my devotional for today Leroy Eims of the Navigators ministry shares about “Words of Life.” He recalls a lecture about faith on a college campus in Wyoming when a young man stood up and shouted that everyone was fools for believing the Bible was actually the Word of God. That incident stirred up a lively discussion about faith, and at the end of the talk several young men and women gave their lives to Christ!

Yes, we do believe the Bible is the Word of God, Jesus is alive, and God is real! Eims says it this way - "You and I can choose whose judgment we value and whose teachings we will follow. There are a number of modern philosophers, theologians even, who deny the inspiration and authority of Scripture. But Jesus said we should believe all that the prophets have written. Jesus is never wrong, and we can trust Him and His word as the final authority in our life of daily discipleship."

As we get ready to say goodbye to 2018 and enter 2019, we can move into the new year confident that what we believe is true!