Why I Believe


1 Peter 3:15


Why I Believe

1 Peter 3:15

Site: Jayden12.com Rock Why I Believe

Page: My OwnMy FriendsOthers

I believe in the God of the Bible because I have met Him. I know Him. Let me briefly explain, and afterwards I would love to hear your thoughts. Note this is not an explanation of why I originally chose to believe. That was real easy: God made Himself undeniable. This page explains how God was at work for the first few years of my genuine faith journey (even before I realized it) and why I continue to believe (as opposed to later concluding that my original decision was misguided and/or coerced.)





My Own




Ever since I can remember (since I was very little) I have known four things. If you have lived a sheltered life you might call them things I should take for granted, but I have had an unusual "assurance" of these four things.
  • I would live a "normal" (in my perspective) life and go to grade school, jr high, high school and a four year college.
  • I would meet my wife in college.
  • I have an unusually strong understanding of what I want, when I want it, even if I have never seen it.
  • I will live to be seventy. This one is obviously still unfulfilled prophecy, and it is more of a knowledge that the number seventy is important for the end of my life. God will reveal this one at the proper time.
Winter/Spring 1996
My senior year of high school I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had a passion for Nintendo, computers and science fiction, but that was about all I knew that I wanted. I assumed, as did most of the adults who knew me, that I should go to college and study a Computer Science major. I was a naive kid and knew little of how the world worked and dragged my feet on eight college visits my Dad so lovingly took me on, stretching around four states. All of them were mildly interesting, but that was about it. Nothing made any of them better than the rest which meant I was lethargic about actually picking any of them. So when my Dad suggested we go to University of Iowa (our fifth state visit) I was not excited, but when he said it could be our last one if I wanted, then I jumped on it. For some non-rational reason, as soon as we got there I just knew this is where I wanted to go. The tours and the interviews were just formalities. God had told me this is where He wanted me, though I did not realize it at the time.

August/September 1996
I arrived at college and had all I needed. My loving Mom and Dad had bought me a new computer, I had come with a couple old friends from high school, I was slowly but surely making new friends there, and on and on to explain why I had all I could ask. But after only a week I was becoming very aware of a very large hole in my soul. Something was missing, something very serious. Only a couple weeks after moving to Iowa City, only a few days after an old friend had invited me to go visit the student activity fair, God nudged in my heart the experiences I had in my high school youth group in the church my parents attended, which I had completely taken for granted at the time. So I began attending a Christian group that met on campus: Campus Christian Fellowship. (Thanks for your efforts Laurie McCabe and Mark Wagner, it was worth it!)

Winter/Spring 1997
By the second semester the campus pastor, Dan Toney, had been used by God to speak into my life so profoundly that I was a changed person. In high school I was what outsiders would call a "good kid", but I had no problem using profanity in public places, had a totally messed up selfish motivation for attraction to women, spent all my money on myself, had no interest in attending church (being with other believers), and wanted to "get away" with as much as I could without "crossing the line" of obvious evil behavior. Dan was literally a missionary who listened to God's call and managed to create an environment where I could see the egregiousness of my own self righteousness. By doing this and teaching about the character of God, and by the grace of God, Dan made God undeniable. He also demonstrated the love of God, showing it was not just an ethereal concept in a book, but could be real. That spring while on the retreat I realized it was important to intentionally, explicitly surrender my life to Jesus and had the opportunity to be baptized in "believers baptism". But since dozens of others were doing it I did not want my experience to be a "jump on the bandwagon", and Dan ended up baptizing me that summer at a leadership retreat.

Spring 1997
It did not take long for me to realize that a Computer Science major was not for me. It was too much math and too much computer (even for me) with no visible or tangible purpose. Making software in case someone can use it (which was basically what I interpreted the curriculum as) was not for me. So I switched to Management Information Systems (business and computers). In hopes that I could someday use my technical skills (while learning more) to help real people in real time. (Yes, this will be relevant later.)









September 1999
Very early in my senior year I met a pretty girl in the elevator while I was headed out to a leadership meeting at CCF one evening. She did not even look at me when I said hi so I did not think anything of it. I had attempted to date a great number of women during my first three years at college and gotten about 99% rejection so her reaction was nothing unusual. The next day we met again in an unusually long lunch line at the cafeteria. We did not actually recognize each other from our previous night's encounter and spent a while trying to figure out why we were both so familiar to each other, but ended in a stalemate. Oddly enough by the time we got through the line none of her friends were around and mine were, so I invited her to sit with us. Afterwards I invited her to my Christian group and did not think much of this second encounter. Occasionally I would see her through the semester in the back rows at my Christian group, but she had her own group that she served at and she just came to mine as an alternate, and I served heavily in mine so we did not have a lot of chances to talk.

December 1999
By now I knew it was just a few months until the life I knew was about to end. Sixteen years of schooling were about to conclude and the real world was looming. I also had no interest in delaying the inevitable and continuing my schooling. I figured there was a job fair in January so that could kick off my career search and simply devoted my second to last semester to my studies. Near the end of it I began a prayer that I repeated about every day until it was granted. I acknowledged to God that His way was better than my way and I am in many ways stupid, so if He gives me two choices I will surely pick the worse of the two. If he gives me ten choices I will surely pick the worst of the ten. So even though it will hurt my ego, please only give me one choice and make that one be perfect for me. I even had a specific salary range that I wanted. I asked God for a high and low number, ten thousand dollars apart, thinking that I went to college for a reason so should not be making less, and if they offer to pay me more then they are probably expecting too much from me as a rookie college grad. I also prayed specifically/​explicitly to the God of the Bible, the one who about six thousand years ago created the universe in exactly six days, the God described by Jesus and with whom Jesus claimed to be equal to and the same. So logically, if any of my theology was a hoax or otherwise incorrect, if there is any "higher power" then you would expect my prayers to be denied on the general principal of invalid worship.

December 1999
Just before finals week I talked to that girl again and mentioned how it was both good and bad that all my finals were all on Monday and Tuesday. That evening she emailed me a prayer saying she hoped it went well for me. I thought that was strange but nice of her and did not think more of it. (No she was not Christian flirting, sometimes a prayer is just a prayer.) So finals came and went (they did go well) and I was all done by Tuesday afternoon (this is fairly unusual for those of you who don't know). So I called all my friends and they were still busy preparing for finals. Then I remembered that girl who sent me the email prayer, so I called her up and invited her over to watch the movie Contact (science fiction of course) at my dorm room. She agreed and came on over. We left the door open, sat on opposite sides of the couch, chatted briefly and then she went home afterwards. She was not the first girl to ever visit my dorm room so I did not think too much of it. The next day I of course still had nothing to do because I had already arranged to stay in town until the weekend but had no finals and no classes. I called all my friends again and they were still busy. I called that girl again and had to just leave a message. By the end of the afternoon I popped in the Matrix and my Resident Assistant stopped by with her boyfriend to watch with me. But then that girl stopped by, dressed only in her pajamas! Her Bible study group, which met on the floor above mine, had had pajama night. I figured she had gotten my message and stopped by because of it. Again the door was left open, the four of us talked briefly afterwards and everyone went back to their dorm. It was not until the next day that I learned she had not even gotten my message about watching the Matrix and she had actually stopped by on her own. Then I finally realized this was not just another girl friend, she was a strong candidate for a girlfriend! We went on a walk and agreed for it to be official.

Winter 2000
Christian seniors in college are not just looking for fun when they date, and we both knew that. After only two weeks we were such a natural fit that one of our campus pastors said we were "old hat". After two months I had called her dad to get permission and then proposed to Dora Beth. We set a date for later that year. She obviously accepted and only then told me a story that she had withheld to avoid making our relationship awkward. Earlier on the day I had called her up to watch Contact (days after she had sent me that email prayer) as she was walking home from class she had broken down crying outside the school building I spent the majority of my classes in and she prayed to God that she was so lonely and wanted to meet her husband that day. At the time I was not in her mind and she trusted God implicitly but assumed that her highly specific prayer would be answered by her simply walking past or getting a glimpse of her future husband. She did not honestly expect to watch a movie and dialogue with him (me) only four hours later.

Spring 2000
So the job fair I was counting on in January turned out to be an internship fair and the only job fair was in September. I got a couple interviews at the business office and a few more at various companies but all turned me down. Spring finals came and went and still no job. The whole time I continued the prayer to God that would only give me one choice and the salary be in that $10,000 range. I did not give God a deadline so I simply trusted Him. I was working a college job and my employer and I agreed for me to work one extra week after finals and then I should spend all my time looking for a full time job. Wednesday or Thursday of that week (I forget exactly) I was contacted. I had interviewed with a corporate office earlier in the semester and been turned down, now one of their branches was calling me because they had gotten my resume. They wanted me to come to them ASAP and have an interview. I drove up the next day and the interview went very well. They said it might be a week before they review other applicants and make a decision and I drove home. Monday morning (which was Memorial Day by the way, a holiday for the company I interviewed at) I got a call with the offer. The description sounded great and the pay was $5 a month less than the upper limit of the $10,000 window I had prayed about!









2009 (part 1)
Over the first eight years of my career it was blatantly clear that God had answered my prayer in the way only He can. The job was perfect for me, providing merit based pay increases and responsibility increases that allowed me to use my computer skills to achieve very real business goals. I was basically a middle-man between the departments of Supply Management and Information Technology. To keep this story moving I will simply say that I loved it, and it fit like a glove for me and my family. The company I was working for had factories in at least eight countries around the globe. Over the years, especially after we had kids, we had an interest in moving to the town where the corporate office was so that we would be closer to both our parents. But since God had handpicked me for my first job I was not about to throw it away and seek out another one on my own. So we prayed that God would have His way and do with us as He pleases, but if He can use us in that other town then we would be appreciative. I got a call one day out of the blue from a manager asking if I wanted (in so many words) a promotion to do what I was already good at in another factory in the same town as the corporate office. Dora Beth and I still left it up to God. We prayed that if it be God's will then give me the job, otherwise let it go to someone else (I still had to interview, even though it seemed like an obvious fit). A couple weeks later the interview went very well and they offered the job. I worked at the first factory for almost nine years. I served at the second factory for only nine months before someone at corporate noticed me and pulled me in. I noticed a trend and for the first few months at corporate I was hoping I would last more than nine weeks! ;)

2009 (part 2)
It is hard to describe without writing a novel what it means to experience "job fit". But some of you know what that is not and some of you can relate. All my career could easily be described this way. Now do not kid yourself that because I say I had "job fit" that there was not stress, distress, and other problems. Part of the curse of the fall in Genesis 3 is that our work will be annoying, painful and difficult (to paraphrase) and I was no exception. Everyone experiences the problems of work but not everyone experiences the satisfaction that comes with doing God's will. Not to mention the element of being content with what you are given. So far I have focused on the "big ticket items" that clearly show God's involvement in my life. Countless other "smaller" events have pointed me to a supernatural all powerful Creator of the universe as described in the Bible (and in some ways the little things are more convincing than the big things) but three printed pages are enough for now. Thanks for reading my abridged story, the rest of this page is reserved for the big ticket stories of my friends.





My Friends
(These are not why I believe, but are supporting evidence there is something to believe in.)




(Jack & Jill, 2004) A very good friend of mine in college, who was also in Campus Christian Fellowship but went to Iowa State, was called to be a career missionary in the Middle East. He got married and they went through a couple years of training to prepare them for what to expect and how to behave, including the statistic that it would take about 7 years before they would baptize their first new believer, 9 years before they would have enough believers around to hold a Bible study. The next two accounts are true stories told to me by an eye witness who is a personal friend.

So they fly over there and in only a few days they get a knock on their apartment door. It was a group of nationals saying "we hear you are Christian and we need a safe place to meet to hold a bible study." So Jack & Jill of course let them in and get some pen and paper so they can take notes on how these people came to Christ and help perpetuate that. Jack sits by the first Arab and asks "How did you come to know & trust in Jesus?" The man says "I had a dream. Jesus came to me and said 'Stop sinning, follow me'. So I did." Jack of course was a little dumbstruck and disappointed that he could not reproduce this technique, so he asked the guy sitting next to him. He said "That guy is my best friend." Jack thinks to himself "wow, that is awesome, but I can't reproduce that either!" They went around the room and the story was the same for everyone. Two verses come to his mind: Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 13:41, and Jack realized that those verses were not necessarily talking about two things that we so often assume they are talking about: Christian Americans. Jack and Jill learned firsthand that they were not "bringing God" to these people, He has been at work in the Middle East a long time and He had simply invited them to join Him.

A few months later the group was meeting in bible study again at Jack & Jill's in the middle of the day and got another knock on their door. This time it was a desperate single mom who was at her wits end. Her son was at school so she had a few minutes to herself, but she was having very serious problems and had tried everything with no effect, so was coming over to the Christians to see if by chance their God could help. Her son was having night terrors every single night. Then during the day he insisted there was a furious man in their house that she could not perceive. When she was cooking meals in their kitchen alone with her son, the little boy would be terrified of a very angry man shouting and making threatening gestures at the both of them. So she asked the group for anything they could do, not having any idea what that might be or if her request was even worth the effort, but she was desperate after having tried everything else she could think of. So the group circled around her and prayed for her right then and there. Obviously the group prayed the demon would be removed from the family's presence. And one of the ladies in the group prayed that God would send his angel with his fiery flaming sword (Genesis 3:24 reference) to guard the entrances and exits from their house. They let the lady go and she felt minimally comforted but did not know if she believed those words could help her son or herself. A couple days later the woman returned. She said when her son came home that day she did not tell him about her visit with the Christians but asked if the furious man was still around. The boy said "of course not, the man at the front door with the light saber sent him away." The boy had never heard the name Jesus and had never been taught about the angels of the Bible but he had seen Star Wars and knew enough to describe what he saw to his Mom. From then on the boy had no more night terrors.









(Calli, 1997) My wife spent her first two years of college at Judson University, a Christian school in a suburb of Chicago. She had a friend named Calli, who also attended there. Every day this young college girl would go jogging through the park at 6am, usually for about an hour, by herself. Sometime during the year there were a string of rapes happening around campus, outdoors, and the perpetrator was getting away with it. Every now and then Calli would run by people on her morning runs. One morning when she was in an isolated area of the park, all alone, she noticed she was going to run only feet away from a strange looking man. As she approached the man was watching her but he suddenly did a 180 and started walking away. She changed course and jogged over to the campus security office, reported him as looking suspicious, and he was detained. The police asked her to come pick him out of a lineup and she was able to. Afterwards she had an unusual request for the police, she wanted to ask the detainee a question. The police allowed it and she asked the man why he had ignored her when he had the opportunity? The man answered "Are you kidding?! You had a huge man on either side of you!" Calli was absolutely sure that she had no human companions that morning, male nor female, and this was her own live example of Angels protecting her, just as described in the Bible in Numbers 22:21-35 and 2 Kings 6:8-17.





Others




If you have the stance "I don't believe in anything I have not seen" or "I don't believe in anything that I have not experienced" then you need to understand how hypocritical that is. There are so many truths out there that you will never see and you are forced to believe in. Radio, infrared and nuclear physics are examples of realities that have changed the world but can't be perceived nor manipulated by people without tools. If you didn't have access to the appropriate tool, how would you be convinced they exist or are of any significance? Word of mouth and the written word are the only answer. It is the same with us and the spirit world and there is no known "tool" for us to employ. Here are some links to additional resources of amazing accounts that do as good a job as you can ask of making God undeniable to an unbelieving world. Similarly, here is a brief list of books where people set out to disprove the Bible but ended up becoming believers.











Last Modified: Sunday, April 3, 2016

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