7th Grade: A New Life

As I sped down the hill on my new black Schwinn bicycle, a new assurance gave me an overwhelming joy. I was saved and I had a place reserved for me in heaven. This new assurance had come to me a few months prior, at a church camp, when my camp counselor explained to me from the bible how I could be saved. And then I knelt down beside him in his cabin, and prayed that Jesus would come into my life and take control of my life. Instantly, after my prayer, I received a new peace, that after I die, I would go straight to heaven. From that point on my life was changed, not because of anything external or because of changed circumstances, but because I had a changed heart due to a new life inside of me. I had Jesus in me and He had given me a new peace, a new assurance, and a new attitude about life. I felt new and clean inside. In reality, at age twelve, I really did have a new life!

We had recently moved from our Montevideo farm to a house in the city of Montevideo. I don’t remember anything about the move, or about the house we moved into, but I do have a few memories—besides my salvation experience at camp.

One of my clear memories was when I was on the wresting team in 7th grade. I always thought I was a good wrestler, since I always beat my brother. But I found out different. Either I was really bad, or the guys I wrestled were really good—probably a little of both. Anyway, I had a rude awakening.

Another clear memory was of the city swimming pool, which was only a few blocks from our house. It only cost 10 cents, and for that one dime you could swim there all day if you wanted. And some days I did just that. It was so much fun. There were two slides and also two diving boards—a lower one and a high one. The high dive was scary, but I did try it a couple times.  It was in that pool that I learned how to swim. Mom insisted that we take swimming lessons, and we all did.

One other good memory of that place in Montevideo, was playing baseball with all the neighbor kids in a nearby park. I remember how easy it was to get a game together. We just walked, or ran, down the streets and yelled out something like, “Who wants to play baseball?” We seemed to always get enough kids to play. We played for hours at a time. And now that I think of it, we also played football. That was a little rougher, but I loved it. Those were the days!

Next post: 8th and 9th Grade: New Challenges

How to Engage in Spiritual Conversations

The sermon today at my church had to do with witnessing to our neighbors—or anyone we would have a chance to talk to. It was good for me, because, over the years I have become sort of lax in this area. I don’t know why. I was thinking that maybe it is because I just haven’t taken the time with people to get in a lot of deep, personal conversations. Or maybe I have become too Christianized, or too proud—if you know what I mean. Anyway, I what to give you a few questions (taken directly from the sermon notes) that every Christian can ask his friends in order to stimulate a spiritual conversation.

  • Do you believe people can change?
  • What brings you a sense of meaning of purpose?
  • Do you think our world is getting better or worse?
  • Is there a movie or book series that has meant a lot to you?
  • If you won the lottery, what would you do with your free time?
  • What is the biggest challenge facing humans?
  • Have you ever had a mentor who meant a lot to you?
  • What is the best advice you have ever received?

Two Questions for Anyone Who May Have Some Doubts About His or her Salvation

  • Have you come to a place in your spiritual life where you can say you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven?
  • Suppose that you were to die today and stand before God and he were to say to you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” what would you say?

These are good questions, aren’t they? To help you answer them I want to encourage you to look at a couple bible verses. For the first question look at 1 John 5:11-12. As for the second question, that may be a little harder. To help you answer that question you can look at Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, and Ephesians 2:8-9.