Hi! My name is Ben Klimek and I had the opportunity to share a story with the FORMees and Grace Gathering staff. One component of FORM is sharing reflections to practice skills such as public speaking. (As a heads up, there are 4 posts and each are about 400 words):

"Today we are going to use a story from someone who encountered Jesus in Mark 9 to frame my thoughts. We'll be in Mark 9:20-27. It reads as follows:

 “So they brought him to Him. When the spirit saw Him, it immediately convulsed the boy. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 

21 “How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked his father.

“From childhood,” he said. 22 “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

23 Then Jesus said to him, “‘If You can’?[c][d] Everything is possible to the one who believes.”

24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly coming together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit,[e] I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!”

26 Then it came out, shrieking and convulsing him[f] violently. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, “He’s dead.” ”

     This story stood out to me recently as I was considering my experience as someone raised in a Christian home. It struck me because I felt quite like the boy in the story. My parents brought me to Jesus when I was young. He wasn’t someone I would choose until I was in college. Recently, I stepped out in faith and wound up in a place where I was going biweekly depending on friends and family providing for me. I went from making $40k+ a year to less thousands than months. A year ago in the same month I had to get glasses and then completely tore my labrum.

     My understanding of following Jesus was that I would be joyous and/or happy. How was it possible, like this boy, that I had been brought to Jesus and felt completely dead? I was unhappy and couldn’t understand how encountering Jesus had left me worse off.

     This is where I was when I heard an interesting question. A missionary friend was preparing to leave for Japan and asked believing friends: what they would say to someone considering walking away from the faith?" 

My thoughts and story about apostasy (the word for saying: giving up and walking away from faith in Jesus Christ) are next…