/Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Youthful Questions and Sins
I began to wonder about the purpose of life before I became aware of my need for God.
My parents went through the horror of the Nazi occupation of Holland and some of my earliest memories as a preschooler are hearing the stories of that unspeakable evil as they were shared with other survivors.
As I grew older, despite a loving protective home, I became aware of a more personal evil when introduced by a friend's older brother to pornography, and was approached sexually while still in elementary school. The encounter led to inner turmoil, as I realized there was not only sin "out there" but it was also present within me, and was a battle I could not win on my own.
In my teens I begin to seek answers to the purpose of my life and to the hope of overcoming powerful personal evil.
At 13, I was introduced to Jesus as Savior, which I understood in part. I wanted to "be saved" but did not recognize that Jesus was also my rightful Lord and Master, resulting in no discernable change of attitude or life direction during my teens.
I studied automotives at a vocational high-school and worked in a garage where I learned to fix cars, in particular my own fast cars. I drove dangerously which included nearly daily street-racing. God protected pedestrians, other drivers, and me repeatedly, although I pridefully chalked it up to my superior driving skills.
Photo: No matter how hot the day in tomato fields, there was always energy to work with cousin Jack on '58 Ford engine for '59 Chevy half-ton after supper.
Recognizing Jesus as Lord
At 19, I had a remarkable experience while eating lunch with a 65-year-old mechanic who was about to retire. He and I were playing crib and whistling at young women passing by the garage. Suddenly, I saw myself in his greasy coveralls at 65, still eating out of a lunch bucket, playing crib, ogling girls and coming to the end of my life wondering, "What was that all about?"
That same year I lost a girlfriend for reasons I didn't understand at the time. In an effort to find out, I drove 2,000 miles and had much time to think. During the journey I came across a magazine published by Billy Graham titled "Decision."
I discovered what that decision was. It was the decision I needed to make to receive Jesus not only as the God who came to earth to die as a ransom for me on the cross so that I could be freed from the power of evil and hell, but also to receive Jesus as the God who owned me and to whom I was responsible as Lord and King forever.
I surrendered the battle to be my own lord with a simple prayer like this:
Thank you for giving your perfect life freely on the cross in exchange for my sinful life. Thank you for saving and forgiving me though I deserve nothing.
I return my life to you. You already own it. I'm only now recognizing that You do. I will follow You as Lord even though I don't know what it means or where it will lead.
Show me the way and I will follow. Thank you. I am yours.
I was flooded with relief and peace. I knew my life had changed and would continue to change.
The first test of Christ's Lordship was my sense that I should go to college though I disliked school and had made choices in high school which closed the door to that possibility. I determined, nevertheless, I would follow Christ and see what He would do.
Photo: About to board a Greyhound bus to Northwestern College, September 1968
The Difference Christ Makes
Amazingly, despite a failing 33% in the standardized ACT achievement test, a Christian college in Iowa accepted me for one semester under academic probation. I worked hard, graduated, and went on to graduate school. I sold the "hot" cars which had been my god to raise tuition.
I wasn't sure what my vocation would be but I knew it would have to contribute to bringing Christ's good to a beautiful world which contains great evils.
I realized I didn't have the strength I needed, and began to seek more and more of a fullness of God's Holy Spirit. God showed me the authority of Jesus Christ over evil and evil spirits.
In subsequent years, Christ gave me a wonderful wife Carol, together with five married children and nine grandchildren (and one more on the way) in whom we delight.
Christ has taken away all fear of death, given meaningful work and through it more friends than I can easily number.
Life has brought numerous challenges, as it does to us all, but God repeatedly strengthens, gives wisdom and is greater than all the challenges. God is my strength, my joy and the song of my heart.
Since age 19, when I first responded to Jesus' call to follow, I've leaned on Christ alone and found Him faithful, powerful against the evil one, and entirely the Way, the Truth and the Life as He revealed in the Scriptures (John 14:6).
My deepest desire is that you would know and follow Christ also, who to know is strength, healing, and peace in this life, and eternal life to come (John 17:3).
Murray Moerman began his work with OC as the Director of Church Planting Canada. From there he moved to the UK where he served for 7 years as OC Europe Area Director and helped found the Global Church Planting Network (GCPN) which he led from 2009 to 2016. Murray now serves within GCPN, leading the Saturation Church Planting Taskforce partnership and other national church planting process initiatives.