Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Skeptic’s Quest – My Testimony Part 2

I grew up with very poor grammar. My brother who is two years older than me, a phenomenal guy, went away to Michigan State University. He would come home and right in front of my friends (now I did not realize he was trying to help me) would correct my grammar. I’d say, “I don’t want none.” He’d say, “Don’t use a double negative.” I just thought that meant exceptionally bad attitude. And so every time my brother would come home, I would clam up. I would be quiet. Why? Who wants to be embarrassed around their friends? And so I would just shut up.

I went to college, I got out of the Air Force, went to college. And I will never forget it. I went to meet with a counselor before classes began. She looked over everything and she said you are a straight D student. Well that means you are hardly going to make it. That wasn’t really encouraging. I’ll never forget, she said, “You have something going for you that would take you further than most people’s minds and grammar will ever take them.” I said, “Give me a hint.” I was ready for anything at that moment. She said, “You have drive and determination.” And then I will never forget, her name was Mrs. Hamilton and she said, “Josh if you are willing to work at it, I am willing to work with you.” Wow! She couldn’t have made that commitment to very many students. I would record things onto a tape recorder and she would listen to it and correct my grammar.

But you know I wanted her to do that. I knew she was trying to help me. You know what was interesting, every time she corrected me, internally I would react emotionally. I mean it kind of hurt. She never indicated she knew it but she had to. Constantly she would give me books to help improve my grammar. I mean books for a 10, 11, 12 year old and here I was in the university. After I trusted Christ as Savior and Lord, I never thought that any of the invitations given in church, at Christian conferences, or Christian camps ever applied to me. Why?

Think back in your own life, after you came to Christ, you would go to church, you would go to a youth rally, you would go to a camp – here was the challenge. God wants to use your life. Bring your gifts, your abilities, your talents, place them on the altar. God wants to use you. Here was my problem. I didn’t think I had any gifts. I didn’t think I had any talents. My Dad was an alcoholic. I never even knew him sober until I was twenty years old. I never once saw my parents love each other – a very, very, very dysfunctional home life. I had poor grammar. And so I didn’t think God could use me. Every time an invitation was given, I was so hurt, I was so discouraged. I wanted to be a part of it but I didn’t think God could use me. I didn’t think I had any gifts, talents or anything - now I did, but as the Bible says, “As a man thinketh so he is.” And because of my background, I didn’t think I had any gifts, talents or abilities for God to use so I always felt left out. Let me tell you that’s a lonely place to be – to be a Christian and felt left out that God can’t use you.

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