Message from Olive Chapel
When I take a moment to ponder the wonderful things about God, I can think of many things that I am in awe of. Staring out across the ocean, knowing there is an unseen world that is too vast for humans to ever fully study or understand.
The way He created the human form and all of the intricacies of our biological make up. Scientists are just now beginning to understand some things about the brain, but even the best experts can’t explain how a little blob of tissue is what runs the whole body.
It’s incredible when you begin to look at historical and ancient information that backs up accounts in the Bible, and the proof that Jesus Christ lived, was crucified, and resurrected. God has left evidences of himself for all to see, if we want to. My favorite evidence of God is my own story, because that evidence is personal.
Though I grew up in a Christian home, I was not sure that I wanted to embrace my parent’s values. I spent years in and out of church trying to figure out what I really thought about God.
I didn’t want to mindlessly embrace what I was taught. In my mind, if there is a God, I wanted to be sure I chose the right one to follow, and if there is no God, I didn’t want to waste my life following His rules.
I began to research evolution versus creation. I began to look into the historical documentation on the life of Christ. But in the midst of it, someone very dear to my family died very unexpectedly. He was very young, he was training for a marathon, and to everyone’s knowledge he was very healthy. But one day, driving down the road, his heart simply stopped and he died instantly.
Do you know the story in the Bible about the shepherd who will leave the flock to go find the one who has wondered away? I was the sheep that wandered away, and God used this situation to find me and carry me back to the flock and back to His care.
I knew I was a mess at the time. I was chronically depressed and wrestled with suicidal ideation every day. I was angry and bitter at people who had hurt me. I didn’t like myself.
The death of my friend got me thinking about deeper things, and deeper meaning to life. I began to pray and tell God, “I think I believe in you. I know I’m a mess. I know I am not getting things right. I don’t know how to fix me. If you’re real, please fix me and please don’t let me go.”
It wasn’t instant, there was not flash of light, or warm feeling, but little by little I began to change. Little by little I would encounter God in the form of truth that would penetrate my heart and heal the lies I had believed.
And then one day, as I was sitting in my living room, I suddenly realized the depression and the suicidal ideation were gone. I don’t know when it left, it just did. I do know that it was the little whispers of truth that healed me one piece at a time, until it was no more. The voices of self-hatred that lived inside of my head were gone too. And I was left with a beautiful peace.
That was almost 20 years ago, and I have never been the same. God is still healing me little by little. I still “wander out of the flock” every now and then, and He still comes to find me.
The greatest thing about God is the evidence of His existence through the testimony of encounters with Him. This is just mine, but there are millions more, all are unique and all are personal in their own way.
Olive Chapel has invited two guests to share their testimonies of what God has done for them.
These two young men are very special to me because they are my sons. Like me, they walked away and had very hard hearts towards God, but God found them, and brought them back to the flock also.
Austin Kenney will be sharing on August 30th about his struggles, and his rebellion and how God got his attention and turned him around, and his brother Jordan Kenney will be sharing on September 6th how God showed up in his battle with addiction and changed his life.
We would love to have you join us. Service starts at 10 AM EST.