Mom tagged me in the Picture Tag game sweeping the nation right now (lol) so I guess I better do it :-)

The rules of the Picture Tag game:

  1. Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures.
  2. Pick the 4th picture in that folder.
  3. Explain the picture.
  4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

So, I use a macbook, which means i run osx, which means all my photos are stored in a iPhoto archive file, BUT, thankfully I use my Pictures folder for other stuff too, so I had a 4th folder, and a 4th picture, etc. This particular picture isn’t that great, but the stuff I can tell you about the material in the picture could fill a book.

I promise not to write a book here (I’d get exhausted by the end of the second page) but the story I will tell will give you some insights into where I grew to become a man.

This picture was taken in the foyer at my old church home, Countryside Bible Church, and those three gentlemen are my brothers (in Christ). From left to right there is, Jay, John, and Craig.

I’ll talk about the church for a bit and then tell you about those three I mentioned above. I don’t remember what year my parents started taking us to Countryside, but I do remember it was the third or fourth church we’d attended since we’d moved to MI in 1989. It didn’t take me long to figure out this was a place I wanted to be, there were quite a few kids my age, the sermons didn’t put me to sleep (I used to like to sleep a lot during service) and I just felt like there was something special there. I not only attended Sunday services (and Sunday school) but also went to Awana on Wednesday nights during the school year. Mrs. Buehrer helped me start memorizing verses while I was in Awana and I found I had quite a knack for it, which later led me to get into Bible quizzing. I also remember winning many a sword drill at Countryside, which meant I had a lot of extra Bible’s around to give away.

When I was a small child I had asked the Lord to come into my life, but I’m not sure I actually gave myself to him. I know thru my teenage years and into college and afterwards, I had a long courtship with Satan that nearly killed me. Just a couple years ago I asked the Lord to enter my life again, and started learning what walking with Christ is like.

My family at Countryside grew me up the best they could, nourishing me, encouraging, pushing, and disciplining. But ultimately it was an act of God that brought me to Him. I know he used everyone of those people in that family to do it, but He made sure I knew that only by and thru Him was I to be saved.

So, on to Jay, John, and Craig! I don’t know Jay’s whole story, except that he was saved later in life after many trials, loves the Lord, and that God is still working in him to this day. I’ve known John and his wife Loretta since we started going to Countryside. John loves seeking Truth. You could find him at every Bible study, asking tough questions, playing devil’s advocate, and sometimes being ornery, but always loving the Lord. Craig is a miracle. Craig’s son Josh started attending Countryside with his girlfriend at the time many years ago, when I was still 15 or 16. Josh and I become friends fairly quickly due to our common ground, we were both geeks. When Josh got saved a couple years after he came to Countryside, he started praying earnestly for his parents. Soon after his mother started coming to church (my memory of these events is not perfect, so please correct me on details if necessary) and got saved, and a year or two or three after that Craig started coming to church and after awhile gave his life to the Lord.

Now I said Craig is a miracle. I say that because God took a man with a hard heart, someone who denied God, distrusted those who knew God, the last person on earth you would see humble himself, and turned him around. When Craig came to know the Lord there was a change. Yes we all still have our rough edges, its not like we are pristine beings overnight, and we all continue to make mistakes, but if you had met Craig 10 years ago, and then met him again now, you wouldn’t know it is the same person.

I thank God everyday for the men, and women he’s put in my life over the years. There are many people that played key roles in my development that I didn’t mention above, I’m sure there are many who prayed for me that I don’t even know about, but the important thing is they are out there.