Jesus the Good Shepherd
Here is a list of books on my desk in my study that I am trying to read before I die.
1. "The Ways Of Our God: An Approach to Biblical Theology" by Charles H. H. Scobie
2. "Jonathan Edwards: A Life" by George M. Marsden
3. "The Social God and the Relational Self: A Trinitarian Theology of the Image Dei" by Stanley J. Grenz
4. "Renewing The Center: Evangelical Theology In A Post-Theological Era" by Stanley J. Grenz
5. "To Know And Love God: Method For Theology" by David K. Clark
6. "The Making Of The New Spirituality: The Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition" by James A. Herrick
7. "Paul Among The Postliberals: Pauline Theology Beyond Christendom And Modernity" by Douglas Harink
8. "Sermons Of Rev. B. M. Palmer" Volumes 1 and 2
9. "Disputations On Holy Scriptures" by William Whitaker (1547-1595)
10. "The Unsearchable Riches Of Christ" by James Durham (1622-1658)
11. "Instructions about Heartwork" by Richard Alleine (1611-1691)
12. "The Life & Letters of Joseph Alleine" by Richard Baxter, Theodosia Alleine and other friends
13. "The Portable Sixties Reader" Edited with an Introduction by Ann Charters
14. "Romancing Mary Jane-A Year In The Life Of A Failed Marijuana Grower" by Michael Poole
Time keeps going by on a warm sunny Saturday afternoon. I washed the caravan and read my new book. Carol went to bed to sleep, she works tonight. Bethany went off to visit a girlfriend before going to work. Do not know what Josiah and Caleb Jon are doing right now?
I was born in Oakland Calif in 1952. I never knew my father. I could have been a one night stand? Growing up I had two step-fathers. My mother was a party girl. When she was alive she worked as a bar maid. As a boy I lived in these states Maryland, Washington D.C. Virginia, Oregon, and California. My mother died in a car wreck when I was 16 years old. At that time we were living in Los Angeles Calif. I am the oldest of five children.
I grew up among drunks and whores.
After my mother died I lived with my Aunt for a short time. My Aunt was a drunk and my cousins were violent. To make a long story short I lived with a foster mother and her son Kim when I was in the 11th grade. My foster mother was a German Jew hippie type with one son. She and I did not get a long even though we remained friends. I lived with another foster family of hippie types when I was in the 12th grade the year was 1969 living in the Bay Area Richmond Calif. I got into LSD and sex when I was 17 years old. I have always loved books Words. When I was in the 12th grade I was searching for the meaning of life. Why did I exist? Who am I? Is there a god? If there is a god how do I know him? I was involved in Young Life in the 12th grade also Bahai World Faith. I have always been a loner, but always had a girlfriend before I was married.
I always took drugs alone not with people or my girlfriend's (the only woman I got stoned with two women Tykie and Sandy when I was in my early 20's). In the summer of 1970 after I graduated from High School I was hiking in the Richmond Hills and looked up into the blue sky and prayed for God to show me who He was? Two weeks later I was in Berkeley on the campus of UC Berkeley girl watching when I came across a group of Jesus People also Jews For Jesus people. They invited me to a Bible Study and even since that day I have been seeking the Lord Jesus Christ The Messiah The Son of God The Savior of the elect. The journey has been rocky, but the Lord has continued to keep me seeking Him. "But you do not believe, because you are not My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one" John 10:26-30.
So the Lord began the work of salvation in me the summer of 1970. I went to a small state college for a year. While going to school I lived a fellow from church and at a Christian commune. Around 1972 I attended a small Liberal Arts College here in Michigan. At this stage of my spiritual life I was very immature. I was still living for sex and drugs. But I did read and study the Bible. I should add here I was very sick with a bad stomach for many years. I had stomach ulcers that caused me to never sleep at night and I could eat only bland food. I was always sick in a state of pain. Living in sin made me even more sicker. The misery of sin. Feeling the pressure of guilt. The fear of going to hell pressed down on my stomach. Around 1973 I lived on a Christian commune in Northern Calif. and then got a job working in a Rescue Mission in Richmond Calif. I worked and lived at this mission for a couple of years. I had a girlfriend lover Tykie divorced early 50's four grown children. Tykie was a very good Christian woman. We were lovers and that made the relationship stressful. I left the mission around 1976 and Tykie moved to Oregon.
I soon met another great woman named Sandy divorced with two small boys. We became lovers and had an intense relationship. I was becoming more and more miserable knew I had to get free from the slavery of sin drugs sex and going nowhere. During this time I was working in a 7-11 store from 11 o'clock at night till 8 o'clock in the morning. I read the Puritans while working at this store also got stoned. I had several women lovers besides Sandy. I was out of control. But one day while reading "A New Birth" by J.C. Ryle (I have the same book next to me right now). As I was reading Ryle's book A New Birth I got convicted and prayed for God to give me the Holy Spirit. I felt the chains of sin breaking and I soon afterwards left California to attend Reformed Bible College in Grand Rapids Mich. I got a job working at Rescue Mission and started Bible College. I met Carol while a student at RBC. I started RBC and soon afterwards the Lord brought Carol into my life. We met and nine months later we got married. Now 24 years later here I sit writing to the music of the Swans seeking the face of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Over the 33 years I have been Christian I have been a student of the Bible. I have changed theologically over the years. I consider myself right now a conservative evangelical Calvinist. I have been reading the writings of the Puritans for many years. I collect books on the Beats. I am a student of Jack Kerouac. I like to listen to music. I collect books and music. I have been keeping a diary since I was 17 years old. When I left California around 1978 I burned all my diaries. I burned down my old life to start a new life in Grand Rapids Mich. I do have the Year 1978 diaries because I could not burn half a year. So I have diaries from 1978 to right now June 7, 2003. My diaries weigh a ton because I keep everything. I am a pack rat.
Well this is my testimony. Much has been left out because when I was young I lived a wicked life. I broke all the Ten Commandments. I am a miracle of free grace.
5:30 p.m. - 2003-06-07
- Location:Richmond, Calif.
- Music:Grateful Dead Fillmore West 1969