Monday, February 16, 2009


This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

Well the media tour and annual Valentine’s party are over so it’s time to get back to the normal daily grind. Thanks for bearing with me as I posted book excerpts last week; I appreciate your thoughtful comments. If you’re interested, click on these links to hear a few of the radio interviews from the Valentine’s Day promotion:

Dr. Alvin Augustus Jones (scroll down until you find a link to my name and book cover)


Dr. Pat

To bring you up to date with my walk, I’ve continued with the Stephen Ministry training (in fact, I have a class tonight) which includes a good deal of reading about combining counseling skills and spiritual guidance. One afternoon as I sat reading my attention turned to my old psychology books from my graduate school days. Wedged in between books about depression, psychopathology, family therapy and more, was one titled Pastoral Care and Counseling. I had forgotten I owned it and couldn’t remember when or why I bought it in the first place.

It was a moment of irony: I was training back then in a completely secular environment; not one word was said about God being the ultimate healer. Yet for some reason I found myself led to purchase a book about Christian counseling, although I never read it. Now I’m preparing to become a Christian counselor and of all the professional books on my shelf that I could use as resources, today I see that there is only one that I will choose to read. I guess sometimes seeds are planted that take a while to grow.

Last night Jill and I attended the third and last membership class we had to take before we could apply to join our church. That sounds weird doesn’t it – apply to join the church. About five years ago after visiting this same church I walked out determined not to go back after hearing that one had to attend three classes and then be interviewed by an Elder in order to become a member. What kind of church was that, I thought, a cult? I’d never heard of such a thing. Where I’d come from you could fall off a turnip truck drunk and dirty but if you wanted to walk down the aisle and join the church you could and everyone would celebrate your decision. Yet, as irony would have it again, in two weeks Jill and I have an appointment for our interview with an Elder.

You see, first I realized you didn’t need to be a member to attend the church. Anyone can come whenever they wish, drunk, dirty or otherwise. And second, I realized what it means in this church to become a member – there are expectations to be met, and I don’t just mean tithing. Members are expected to serve the church and the community, expected to reach the unchurched. Members are expected to be tools for doing God’s work, and members are expected to admonish their brothers who are not fulfilling their duties as a member of the church.

Wow, becoming a member is serious business. And why shouldn’t it be? We’re only talking about your eternal life, or your eternal death.

When the interview sign-up sheet came around to Jill and I, I happened to be scanning over the workbook we were using to help us understand what we were agreeing to as we took our last step toward becoming members of this church. My eyes went to one sentence: The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked (1 John 2:6). I underlined it, and then signed Jill and me up for a meeting with an Elder.

This morning as I began working on this post I looked over the notes I wrote down last night. I saw that the last thing I wrote was this: I used to listen but I did not hear. Now I hear, and I see.

Yes, sometimes a seed is planted that takes a while to grow, but grow it will if for the glory of God.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!


Ginny said...

I've been listening to your interviews while ironing my husband's Dockers! I confess that I don't enjoy ironing, and thought that listening would help pass the time. Instead, it encouraged me to see ironing his slacks as an act of love! :)

Nana said...

Great interviews. I especially liked hearing you on Dr. Pats show. I am looking forward to reading this book next. My husband and I will celebrate 45 years in June.