The Day I Died
I don’t remember the exact date or time when I died but I remember it as if it was yesterday.
When I was ten or so, I became the 1000th member of St. Mark’s United Methodist church. At least that’s how I remember it. But who is to say how accurate a 10-year-old’s memory is when they are decades removed from the event. Not long after my parents grew disillusioned with Malloy Owens and stopped attending St. Mark’s. For reasons I still can’t explain, sometimes I would ride my single-speed Spider bike up Six Forks road to sit in the balcony during Sunday services a Bayleaf Baptist.
During my years at Millbrook High, at the urging of my friend Greg Martin, I attended MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship). Later, during my first year at N.C. State, another friend, Greg Rogers, encouraged me to join Campus Life.
Then I died.
I’m not one hundred percent sure which came first: the incident at the pond or the encounter on the second floor of D. H. Hill library. I only know at some point I was alive and then I was not.
No one was with me that night in the theatre on the second floor of the library when I confessed to God that I could never kick my sin-habit: that given the choice, I would always steal, lie, cheat, cuss, and demand to be in charge of my life. My mind tended to wander towards lewd thoughts and violent fantasies. So that day at the pond on the property of New Life Camp I waded out, took a breath, and fell in.
After my baptism in New Life’s pond and receiving the Holy Spirit in D. H. Hill’s library, I died and came back to life a new man. To be honest, few things changed after my second birth. Most of my habits and inclinations remained. But one thing had changed: my desire to become more like Christ and less like the old Eddie. I’m convinced that when I became baptized with water and the Holy Spirit of Christ my spiritual DNA began to change. Slowly, so very slowly, but changed I am. I have an inner peace, a confidence, that when I die I will see Christ, His Father, and all my relatives and friends who also died and were born anew with the Spirit of Christ.
I come from a family of individuals who went to church on a regular basis but that couldn’t save me. My great grandfather was a primitive Baptist preacher but that couldn’t save me. I went to church most of my youth and became a member of a church at the age of ten but that couldn’t save me. I lived under a death sentence due to my sins. The only thing that could save me was exchanging my life for the life of Christ.
That’s my story. What’s your death-to-life story? If you do not have one ask yourself this:
* If Jesus Christ is a real historical figure … and
* If He claimed to be the Son of God … and
* If Christ was executed for claiming to be the King of the Jews and One who takes away our sins … and
* He was none of these things … then
Why would those closest to Him agree to be beaten with rods, stoned with rocks, whipped until their flesh peeled, and beheaded and crucified for a lie? What was their motive? What did they gain by spreading such a scam? Is it possible that a group of first century Jews despised the religious authority so much that they welcomed the destruction of the Temple — that they invited the mass slaughter of their friends and family?
Would you be willing to die for such a lie?
If not, if it makes more sense to agree that Jesus must have appeared to his disciples and at least 500 followers (as Biblical accounts claim), then at the very least consider that everything he said about himself is true. And if it is, then why not invite Christ to have a conversation with you. Ask. Start with a simple, audible request for the two of you to have a chat. Invite Him to join you.
If you have questions or wish to talk about any of this, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love to tell His story.