Last week I spent a couple of hours with an acquaintance I have not seen for 20 years. After catching up on our families, careers and life he finally pointed out that I wasn’t the same person he knew two decades ago.
Alpha – A Step Towards Jesus
This conversation made me realize how our memories fade over time. There was a time, only 10 years ago that I didn’t know Jesus. The person my friend remembers didn’t have a relationship with God. It’s been 5 days since this meeting and glimpses of the past flash in my mind daily. God’s timing is always perfect because during this same time I was struggling with how to share with people about the upcoming Alpha class. Having been a Christian now for almost 10 years the impact of my salvation on me as a person has dimmed. I don’t think it will be a miraculous enough story to inspire others. I know the Alpha Course made all the difference in the world, but how can I explain that now. I know it was life changing as I have attended 9 times. Why did I do that?
I know the one major inspiration would be because I would not be a Christ follower today if I hadn’t attended…but we have shown videos with the same message of others…I am thinking I need a new twist.
As If Salvation Isn’t Enough
If salvation isn’t a big enough selling point (????) here are the many facets of Alpha that I remembered changing me:
- Attending Alpha with my husband invited Christ to be first for us both, individually, but also to become the focal point in our marriage. We probably have more conversations about God than any other topic.
- Even though I was seeking before Alpha, I didn’t understand the Holy Spirit. Alpha brought me closer to God and I found the Holy Spirit. I don’t think I could move past seeking until I experienced the presence of God’s spirit.
- My relationship with God was forming through the learning in Alpha. It was this relationship that caused me to lead groups in future Alpha courses. I was so scared to do this for many reasons, but being a new believer, I felt unworthy. My love for God and desire for other’s to experience the gift of Alpha pushed me out of my comfort zone.
- Of course, leading Alpha was so scary that I was on my knees praying before and after each one. Through this I finally learned to let go and let God work through me. An amazing life changing insight. (He can do it through us, even if we are inept!)
- Once I could get over myself and just be a part of Alpha again, I saw new insights with each video. Things I didn’t notice the first time, second, or third time watching them. The teachings and insights are multi-dimensional…it touches our intellect, our hidden emotions, our motivations, and ultimately our souls.
- Involvement with the small groups brought so many other insights as I began to see the lessons through the eyes of others. As people challenged themselves, I continued to challenge myself. The result – changing careers, changing my role in our family, changing my life as I knew it.
- To this day I still have the support and the relationships from so many I have been through Alpha with. Again, when we learn and live together, with Christ at the center, the depth and intimacy of these relationships look radically different than my prior relationships.
Experience the Relationship with Jesus
As I was thinking about the diverse topics covered in Alpha, I realized that not only do we learn about these topics, but Alpha gives us a chance to live out each topic in some format or another. I learned about the bible; I learned who Jesus is; I experienced the Holy Spirit; I felt the resistance of Satan as I came closer to God; I experienced community; I shared my faith with others; I became more involved in church through my volunteering in Alpha; and I learned to pray and to pray for others. So, bottom-line is that Alpha is an introductory to Christianity where you can, NOT ONLY learn about a relationship with Jesus Christ, but experience this relationship and live out the learning throughout the participation in the course.
I was thinking about who I was when Alpha ended. Having no faith until I was 36 years old, my life looked very different. But for me it was just the beginning as my seeking turned to a deep-seeded faith and an eternal life with Jesus.
See the Miracle of a Life Changed by Christ
After almost 10 years of faith the memories of who I used to be have faded some. But the contrast is still black and white for those who only knew me then. For this acquaintance I saw last week, probably not a fond memory. Jesus provided the opportunity for this person to see what God can truly do with His grace and mercy. He opened up an opportunity for forgiveness that I believe is only possible because Jesus is in my life. As my memory was sharpened, the contrast was too, reminding me that Alpha was an integral step to my salvation. For those who know me today they may see a glimmer of God’s work, but for those who knew me two decades ago, they see a miracle.
Thanks to Alpha, and the saving grace of Jesus, I can say that person doesn’t live her anymore! That is why I implore you to give Alpha a try by coming to the Introductory lunch on February 28 at River Community Church. See www.rivercommunity.org for details. You don’t have to attend River to come.
If you have already experienced Alpha yourself, love someone today by bringing them to the Alpha Introductory lunch! You know the difference it will make.