I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish - Luke 13:3
Peter Zindler, the leader of the Christian Writers Critique Group in my hometown, commented that I am a nut. This comment came at the end of our first meeting after all the other writers in the group had departed. We spent two more hours talking and praying together. The "nut" comment was meant as something positive as he has met very few people who put God first in their lives. The process of becoming a "nut" is part of a life-long journey. As I reflect on my life, I clearly see that it can be divided into distinct parts.
The Bubble Years
My childhood was like living in a bubble. Almost all of my peers thought like me and looked like me. We even wore the same uniforms to school through the eighth grade. My parents put me in a private elementary school so that I would learn all about God. I spent my youth mingling with fun cousins and growing up in a neighborhood full of playmates. We played outside every day until the sun went down. Every day was an adventure.
The Rebel Years
Once I entered public high school, I was exposed to people who were different from me. I met atheists, agnostics, and believers of all denominations. My parents struggled to keep "Mulligan's" alive, a tavern that they bought when I was fifteen. My father went to work every day at 6:00 am and came home late. This took a toll on their marriage and on my family. My parents declared bankruptcy and divorced while I was still in high school.
I remember praying every day for God to heal my family. Silence was the only response. My family was headed for a plane crash and I felt abandoned, especially when my father moved away. I lost faith in marriage and pretty much rebelled against anyone who did not think like me. Hatred entered my heart, along with pride and prejudice. I would stay up all night arguing with my mother. I felt my future was in my hands and I became driven in my desire to pursue a life different from my parents.
The Cave Man Years
Falling in love with my future wife was the beginning of a new era. I was ready to move out of state, partly to escape the troubles that were in my family. I withdrew from family and friends and worked hard to build a new life in a new bubble. I wanted my children to be raised in a place that was similar to the one I grew up in, free from crime and people who were different from me.
The Repentance Years
The starting point of this era happened during the "Laying of Hands" ceremony, it was the moment that the Holy Spirit entered my soul. Repentance comes from the Greek word, Metanoia, a compound of two words, "meta" (after, with) and "noeo" (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing). When you put these words together, you get "to think differently after". Metanoia is an after-thought different from a former thought; a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of conduct.
For me, the repentance years are as different as night and day from the bubble years, rebel years, and cave man years. It was the Holy Spirit that led me out of the cave. The Holy Spirit taught me to forgive others. He inspired me to love others, regardless of their attitude towards me or my country. I understand the Bible from a completely new perspective. I am a blind man who has received the gift of sight. When I look at you, I no longer see your faults, just the person God created you to be, even if you do not see this in yourself. This is Metanoia in its purest form. This is my reason for writing every day, to help you understand just how much God loves you and wants to be the center of your life.
All of the Creator's attention is on you, even when you do not recognize His presence in your life. These daily stories are for your benefit. God's Black Sheep Squadron is also for you. It goes deeper than these daily posts, which are God's appetizers. You are being invited to the banquet right now as you are reading this. I am just one part of God's puzzle which is connected to billions of others. God's energy is being directed to those who feel they do not belong. If you are one of those people who feel separated from God, there is hope. That hope is in Jesus Christ, the one who sent the Holy Spirit to help us find our way back to the Creator. All you have to do is invite Him into your heart. He is knocking on your door and waiting for you to open it...