Hello from England

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ClarionUK

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello all,

I've been on the outside looking in for quite some time now. I was raised in an Atheist home and came to faith later in life in my mid-20s. Without that biological anchor I've definitely struggled with doubts but I'm going back to basics, trying to build a stronger foundation and looking to learn and grow with you fine folks.

Many members it seems are American so I am sure I'll finally find some kindred spirits as it's awfully lonely living in England as a college football fan! I've watched NFL, MLB and NHL for quite a long time now but college sports soon captured my heart when I first watched it. A friend urged me to give it a go, saying it was 'real' football, so I did and I've stuck with Alabama since. It certainly offset the misery of being a Browns fan, that's for sure.

Looking forward to meeting you all.

Yours in the Lord,

Mike
 

Gwallard

Puritan Board Freshman
My condolences for your loss to the superior Texas A&M last game ;).

Good to meet you, brother. What brought you to faith in Christ, and what doubts have been brewing from your background? Doubts aren't the absence of faith, but I am convinced most doubts are faith-struggles, wrestlings with God. My prayers are for you and your struggles tonight in Texas, brother!
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Hello all,

I've been on the outside looking in for quite some time now. I was raised in an Atheist home and came to faith later in life in my mid-20s. Without that biological anchor I've definitely struggled with doubts but I'm going back to basics, trying to build a stronger foundation and looking to learn and grow with you fine folks.

Many members it seems are American so I am sure I'll finally find some kindred spirits as it's awfully lonely living in England as a college football fan! I've watched NFL, MLB and NHL for quite a long time now but college sports soon captured my heart when I first watched it. A friend urged me to give it a go, saying it was 'real' football, so I did and I've stuck with Alabama since. It certainly offset the misery of being a Browns fan, that's for sure.

Looking forward to meeting you all.

Yours in the Lord,

Mike
Mike - Hello!

If you enjoy American college football, then I want to invite you to participate in our annual college football pick’em contest that is currently in full swing.

Here’s a link to the thread with this week’s slate of games:

 

Santos

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello all,

I've been on the outside looking in for quite some time now. I was raised in an Atheist home and came to faith later in life in my mid-20s. Without that biological anchor I've definitely struggled with doubts but I'm going back to basics, trying to build a stronger foundation and looking to learn and grow with you fine folks.

Many members it seems are American so I am sure I'll finally find some kindred spirits as it's awfully lonely living in England as a college football fan! I've watched NFL, MLB and NHL for quite a long time now but college sports soon captured my heart when I first watched it. A friend urged me to give it a go, saying it was 'real' football, so I did and I've stuck with Alabama since. It certainly offset the misery of being a Browns fan, that's for sure.

Looking forward to meeting you all.

Yours in the Lord,

Mike
Welcome, Howdy & Gig'em....My son is a senior at Texas A&M.
 

ClarionUK

Puritan Board Freshman
My condolences for your loss to the superior Texas A&M last game ;).

Good to meet you, brother. What brought you to faith in Christ, and what doubts have been brewing from your background? Doubts aren't the absence of faith, but I am convinced most doubts are faith-struggles, wrestlings with God. My prayers are for you and your struggles tonight in Texas, brother!

Oh, I don't mind losing to the better team and it makes a change predictably going 16-0. For Bama the season really usually begins with post-season, so it's a welcome change.

My journey to faith has been a difficult one. As I said, I wasn't raised in or around faith and I mostly think that's been a blessing in my situation, but it's obviously not without its struggles. I don't have that reassurance of faith many people have that were raised in it, but I see it as a positive that I came to it of my own volition.

Most of my late teens to early twenties was spent not just atheist, but anti-theist. I hated anything and everything faith-related to the point I wouldn't even celebrate Christmas with family despite it being a non-religious event for them. I was so angry, angry at what I considered stupidity (faith) being so prevalent, angry at what I considered intellectual and moral dishonesty insofar as faith being so prevalent, and angry at the thought of so many seemingly intelligent men and women believing what they're saying (with regards to faith).

Depression set in and I didn't really have much energy for that anger anymore. I was out of work for several years and not actively pursuing employment. I wasted days and nights, many of which melded into one, sitting around playing games and just keeping my head above water. I wasn't suicidal but I did want to die and that's an intrusive thought that's sometimes louder and harder to ignore than normal, something I still struggle with. In the midst of that I started looking for answers. I wanted to die, I knew that wasn't normal and figured maybe I could read something, some of the religions and philosophies past and present, and that something would click, that something would finally put some wind in my sails.

I'd studied Buddhism initially, Daoism briefly, Stoicism (something I still read), Islam briefly and eventually Christianity. I figured maybe after all that time of considering them fools that maybe they were right and I was the fool. In the middle of the night when I was usually awake I'd often stand at the door and drink coffee and have a cigarette just looking up at the sky, looking at the stars and realising the insanity that this is all just chance, that even if scientific theories (at least as they currently stand) were true, it still makes no sense because nothing natural comes from nothing, it had to come from somewhere.

Time went on and I began reading more Scripture. I realise one of my faults was that I read more about Scripture than Scripture itself. I listened to many Pastors and finally found John MacArthur. Some things I didn't necessarily agree with and still don't (dispensationalism, but I still need to study more), but I found him a breath of fresh air. There were so many sermons and sermon series readily available that I slowly started working through them. It was great, I finally felt like I was making progress, beginning to understand the nature and will of God, of Christ, and it was finally starting to make sense. However I hadn't built a sturdy foundation. I hadn't found a suitable church, I hadn't found a suitable Pastor, I didn't have reliable and devoted Christians around me that I knew of and when doubts arose, I didn't have the armour of a church family around me to help shield me and insulate me with reassurance, advice and love. I didn't have that strong grounding in a Pastor that could put the brakes on things; I'd basically become reliant on a Pastor thousands of miles away.

I slowly drifted away and closed myself off for a couple of years until I felt drawn back to God. I realise now I need to build a solid foundation, I need to read Scripture and less about it; to focus on God's Word and less on the words of men talking about God's Word. Commentaries are great and I still plan to use them, but I was definitely substituting reading and discerning for myself with listening to sermons or talks at Pastor conferences between godly men.

It's humbling. I'm back to square one. I want to do things right, I want to learn and to love the Lord and be of service to Him and others. So here I am, and I'm sure I'll have a lot of dumb questions but to quote someone I forget, it's better to ask and be a fool once than to never ask and be a fool your entire life.
 

Anti-Babylon

Puritan Board Freshman
Time went on and I began reading more Scripture. I realise one of my faults was that I read more about Scripture than Scripture itself.

Quoted for extra thanks to this insight that is prevalent not just among ex-atheists like us but also ex-charismatics (which I am part of as well).

Welcome, brother. Also, what is so miserable with being a Browns fan? They look good. They lost last year in the playoffs to the eventual conference champ and might still get back there at that high level in the conference.

I love all smashmouth football teams like the Bears, Browns, Titans and Steelers.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
The heavens indeed declare God's glory. Thank you for sharing your story, and welcome to the Puritan Board.

I should mention that I'm the Bulldawg in the room.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Welcome to PB, Mike!

One edit re your testimony of coming to have faith – you said "I came to it of my own volition". Might it not be more accurate to say it was by God's volition you were given a new heart, and a volition to love and follow Him?

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil 2:13).​
"Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts" (Psalm 65:4).​
"...as many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48)​
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28).​

From eternity past the LORD spoke of – and to – you, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jer 31:3), so that now nothing shall be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:39)

I will be praying, Mike, that you be led to a good church and pastor, a good spiritual family.
 

ClarionUK

Puritan Board Freshman
Welcome to PB, Mike!

One edit re your testimony of coming to have faith – you said "I came to it of my own volition". Might it not be more accurate to say it was by God's volition you were given a new heart, and a volition to love and follow Him?

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil 2:13).​
"Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts" (Psalm 65:4).​
"...as many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48)​
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28).​

From eternity past the LORD spoke of – and to – you, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jer 31:3), so that now nothing shall be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:39)

I will be praying, Mike, that you be led to a good church and pastor, a good spiritual family.

This is very true. Thank you!
 
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