Introduction: Jonathan

(jonathan bate) #1

Hi everyone my name is Jonathan, I’m 41, married with two young children and live in the UK.

Although I’ve spent my childhood up until the age of 18 being forced to go to church and Sunday school I feel like I’ve only just discovered the truth. I’m at the beginning and don’t know what’s going to happen next. I believe in Jesus and want to give my life to him but don’t know exactly what that means and have asked God to show me how to trust him with that. I am fearful though that I’m not going to make it. Again I’m praying daily for help with this fear. I’m tired now and just want to feel free.

I’m currently reading the bible daily and watching/listening to youtubes and rzim to learn as much as possible. My first objective is to hopefully be able to compellingly introduce the truth to my wife and children. I pray daily that Jesus will prepare a place for us and that is selfishly the thing I want the most from this life.

Anyway thanks for reading my introduction. I will be posting some of my fears on here in the near future and hopefully someone will have the time to share some useful advice with me.

Thanks for your time.


(Kathleen) #2

@jonathan_bate, First off, WELCOME! We are so so glad you have joined us here on Connect. I am deeply moved by your desire to follow Jesus and that your family to know Him as well. Will be praying along with you for wisdom as well as your perseverance in this path!

I am curious what it was that really struck you that made you change your mind about what was true. You mentioned you grew up in church; what is it that you’ve just discovered? Is there a piece of truth that speaks to you more deeply than others?

(jonathan bate) #3

Hi Kathleen, thanks for getting back to me.
In relation to your question, I was forced to go to church by my parents (I know this was a good thing now) and I was always embarrassed by this and just wanted a normal life like my friends so I really hated being there and never made any friends. I feel like information was being thrown at me every week and I was hearing the same thing so often I became numb to it. I just wanted to be normal and when I reached 18 my parents said I could make my own mind up and so I stopped going and tried to fit in with the world. I think my whole life I’ve been trying to fit in and be accepted and so buried God and the bible deep inside myself. I think I always believed but being ‘normal’ was more important to me. One of my fears now is that I’ll deny Jesus if someone asks me about my beliefs. This is because I’ve spent forty years doing just that and its almost an automatic response. The other day I was in work early and was watching Jo Vitale ‘Why the cross’ and the security guard in passing asked what I was watching. I quickly shut it down and said it was music on youtube. I felt terrible all day. This was a bad day for me. My plan now is to deliberately have something on my screen ready for the next time he does his rounds and I can tell him what I believe and ask him what he believes. I will feel much better then because this guy seams a lonely chap and he could benefit so much from Gods love. Sorry I’ve digressed a bit.

It was two years ago I was struggling with the stability of my mind, I didn’t feel I was in control and was getting anxiety. I decided to look at a Gideons bible I had in my draw next to my bed which I received at school. There are sections in it with verses to help with various life issues. This was helpful and so decided to try and read a daily reading to give me some kind of guidance and stability to my life. I chose the Daily Bread app on my iphone and this has spoke to me so many times and I am definitely a different person now but I know I’m still so far from where I’d like to be. My plan was to keep reading every day and see where that would take me. Anyway it was only really about 6 months ago there was an acceleration in my beliefs. I overheard some colleagues talking about a documentary about meteors that struck the earth 12000 years ago and how it changed the earth. This seamed interesting to me so asked about it and they sent me a youtube. Unbeknownst to me there was a load of evidence to a great flood that was caused by a meteor colliding with a glacier and covering the earth with water. These experts (none Christians) think that’s where the Noah story came from. That got me thinking if an unlikely story like that could have a very plausible explanation then what else was true. I went searching for actual physical evidence for proof of the bible. I started watching more and more youtubes and reading more and more from the internet. Anyway after several more months it brought me to conclude that the bible was as accurate today as it was when written shortly after Jesus’ death. That then posed the question that if the bible was true what evidence was there for Jesus’ story and so I started reading about the accounts of Jesus’ life and all the witnesses for his deeds. This became incredibly exciting as the evidence mounted up and the pinnacle for me was a few weeks back when I somehow stubbled across John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. This brought me to tears, in work, at my desk. That one sentence epitomised what God was doing in my life at that time. That was the moment I knew I had to find out what I needed to do to be saved.

So that’s where I am right now. I think I’m saved but I’m not convinced and continue to learn and educate myself. I haven’t told anyone about my experience yet as I don’t fully understand or have the confidence to be able to explain any questions they might have. Hence why I’m not sure I’m saved, I think I’m not quite there yet but I’m trying to trust God that I will be. My parents once said I just need to believe in Jesus to be saved and it that’s simple? But I think I’ll feel much better once I’ve confessed with my mouth as well.

Sorry for the length of this email there is so much more I could have put in but thank you for listening, it feels good to be able to share this.

(Matthew Mingus) #4

Hello Jonathan,

It is great to have you here and to hear your story. Your story reminds me of the endeavors of Lee Strobel when he was still an atheist. He began a search for the truth and found it. God has this way of speaking to us through His word that is truly amazing. Your stumbling across John 8:32 for example. It is great to hear that you are searching for the answers. I believe that this is exactly what we are supposed to do. Matthew 7:7 tells us to “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Glad to hear that you are eagerly seeking answers in your development and I truly hope that if there is anything that we here can do to help that you will let us know. We all have questions Jonathan and together we help each other to answer those questions and grow, Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

Belief is the first step, but there is nothing wrong at all with seeking answers and building your confidence in what you believe. In fact, the more you do that the stronger your belief becomes. Remember that if you need guidance and counsel, prayer is one of the greatest connections we have. God is listening and He will answer, especially if you are seeking the truth and knowledge of His word.

So glad to have you here Jonathan and always remember that you are among a group of people who are seeking to strengthen their faith and beliefs together. You are not alone in that desire and I hope that if you have questions that you will feel you can ask them here and continue to grow in your search for answers.

Welcome Jonathan it is great to have you here. Hope to hear from you again soon. God bless you and thank you for sharing.

Matthew Mingus

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #5

I just prayed for you. I’m happy to read about your desire to share God’s truth to your wife and children. I do encourage you to continue in your studies, and learn more about God’s attributes. This will help you in trusting God more in the uncertainties of life. I do hope that we’ll be able to help you regarding your fears. Welcome to Connect, I look forward to grow with you here. :slight_smile:

(Kathleen) #6

Wow. @jonathan_bate, I am so encouraged by your story! That verse in John always resonates with me. The good news of the freedom that’s ours in Jesus never gets old. :slight_smile:

As for salvation, it’s both a one-time thing (the result of a decision to receive God’s grace and enter back into relationship with Him) as well as an on-going process. That is, God is in the business of saving us each day by transforming us through the trusting action of our faith. So don’t worry too much if things don’t change overnight! They rarely do. Old habits die hard! As you try to wrap your mind around what’s going on, I can understand why you’re not quite telling people yet. To even try to find the words might be a strange experience. But I like your resolve to speak again to the cleaner. Maybe a question to ask him is simply, ‘Do you believe in God?’. The ensuing conversation doesn’t need to be long, and you don’t necessarily even need to have answers for him; just a willingness to listen to his thoughts and share your own. You may be surprised to where a simple gesture like that can lead!

I thought I would share this excerpt with you, which is an encouragement to me when I am beating myself up for not ‘being better’. It was written by John Newton, the guy who wrote the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’. He spent some of his early life (in the mid-1700s) as a slave trader before he converted to Christianity.

I am not what I ought to be.
I am not what I want to be.
I am not what I hope to be in another world.
But still, I am not what I once used to be,
and by the grace of God I am what I am.

I am where I am in life. You are where you are. God is in the business of growing us both in His own time. :slight_smile: