Jesus, upon seeing this man lying there and knowing that he had already been in that condition for a long time, said to him, “Do you want to get well?” – John 5:6
At the bottom of this blog post is a embed link on YouTube. The link is the recorded service from Thunder Mountain Church in Sierra Vista, Arizona on March 20, 2022. It also happens to be the service during which I was baptized, a believer in Jesus!
A few months before this, on Dec 12, 2021, I showed up to church for the first time in many months. I was devastated, in tears, and knew I had reached the lowest point of my life. Many of you have read my story in a few of posts here. The long and short of it is that I had been living a very long time (about 25 years, I’m 40) chained in sexual sin, unwilling to confess and repent, and making a choice to continue vicious cycles of lying, adultery, and more lying.
As bad as my life was by my doing, God wasn’t abandoning me. I’m certain there was disappointment, and there have been and will be consequences. Jesus though, died for sinners. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world…” It doesn’t specify the righteous, the Church goers, the Catholics, the Non-Denominationalists, etc. God loves the entirety of the world so much that He sent His son Jesus to take the sins of all of us!
Jesus, at the pool at Bethesda asked the lame man if he wanted to be healed (some interpretations say “made whole”). He wasn’t just healing the man of his physical ailments. Jesus didn’t just heal me of my sexual sins. He made me whole, because He transformed my heart. Trust me, there’s many times in my shame I tried to fix it myself. The difference though, is that I couldn’t fix my heart on my own without giving my heart and my desires to God.
When God heals us, its a complete transformation. Our messy life gets turned completely upside down, in a fantastic way! When our heart desires after Him, every ounce of our being wants to be in His presence. Since my baptism, I’ve noticed how the Holy Spirit has used me in ways I was never comfortable with before. I was never comfortable sharing my faith out of fear someone might recognize me and/or hear what I was really like. I didn’t have patience to sit down and read my Bible, but now I’m enthralled with the various books and the knowledge of God that I can fortify my ability to profess my Savior to others with. Finally, I was always, always terrified of prayer! How could I dare pray or speak to God knowing that He knew me! He knew what I was like, and He knew what I was doing. Instead, now I’m able to pray in solitude, pray with groups of other men, and I’m entirely comfortable with my redemption story, and the details of it. My mind and soul are renewed in Christ who saved me!
God has called me out of sin and darkness.
God loves me.
In the same way, God loves you, so very much! There’s no sin too great for God to forgive, and no distance He won’t go to bring you back to Him!
Christ died for each of us, without selection based on works, we are able to call on His name, believe in Him as Savior, confess our sins, and be baptized in His holy name, just as Peter told the Jews who started the church after Christ’s execution and resurrection in Acts 2:38.
The video below is my favorite YouTube video of all time. My friends all take part in it. My amazing friend and pastor Graham is the man who baptized me, and my good friend Justin is the pastor who provides the message on Jesus’ interaction with the lame man at Bethesda. These two men over the course of the last several months have been such an integral part of my journey back to God, my heart seeking the Lord, and a family restored! I love both of them more than they may ever know!
Utmost thanks to Thunder Mountain Church for loving me, listening to me, welcoming me despite my flaws, and providing recorded services! You can see more about the church here:
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