Some of you might be watching the “American Bible Challenge,” which is now in its second season on the Game Show Network on TV. I have been one of the many who has found myself answering the questions along with the contestants as I watch and then mumbling comments as the show progresses. I have found it brings out the competitive Bible trivia quizzer in me.
One of the show’s categories has to do with what someone might have posted on a person’s Faithbook page if something like social networks existed in Biblical times. Of course, Faithbook is in reference to the popular social network Facebook. I thought the name for the category was cute and fitting, especially after I attended a recent concert by artists Brandon Heath and Mandisa.
Mandisa took a few moments that evening at the concert to talk about the timeline of her life— when she auditioned for “American Idol,” the date she reached her weight loss goal, and finally, when she came to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. I thought it was ironic that she spent so much time talking about her timeline and her time on this earth. You see, Facebook uses the word “timeline” to identify a user’s page and everything that gets posted to it. In that moment, I thought about this idea of “timeline” and what it would look like if I outlined what my Faithbook page would look like if such a page existed on the Internet.
So thanks to Mandisa and “The American Bible Challenge,” here is my Faithbook Timeline:
September in the 1980s: I was born to two loving parents. (I have omitted my exact birth date for privacy reasons).
Fall of 2002: I made my faith my own while sitting on the large, braided rug in the center of my college dorm room. Friday nights were set aside for time with my Best Friend.
March 27, 2008: I gave my CD release concert at the Hazelnut Tree, and for the first time, I heard God’s voice as He spoke to me about His plan for the music and ministry I would share that night.
October 10, 2008: I made the decision to go back to school to pursue a Masters in Ministry Leadership. I had increasingly felt God’s call on my life and I wanted to go out to the world and “do something.”
July 30, 2010: God spoke to me for the second time in my life as I competed at Immerse in Nashville, Tennessee. I felt a calling on my life to use my voice and musical gifts to serve beyond my earlier dreams of obtaining a record deal and traveling far and wide to share my songs. I was content to serve where planted and go home to a church and community who loved me.
April 3, 2011: I gave a concert at my local church which doubled as a graduation celebration and a showcase for a local record company. I thought this was going to be the next step in my journey toward music ministry, but God had other plans.
November 15, 2011: My first day in the office at FRC! I was hired as music and worship director at the church, and I felt like I had finally found my place in life and ministry.
Out of all of these dates, there is one date that is missing, but it is the most important day of all. You see, when Mandisa shared about her Timeline, she gave a specific date and time when her conversion experience took place and she gave her heart to Christ. I also have had a conversion experience, but I was too young to remember the date and time. I think it was some time in the summer of 1993 or 1994 when I was nine or ten years old. But although I can’t recall my age or what date I came to Christ, I can remember where I was and how I felt.
I had gone to chapel while at summer camp one evening, and after the service, my cabin-mates and I came back to our cabin to have Bible Study with our counselor. It was then that my camp counselor shared the plan of salvation, and I opened my heart to the love of Jesus.
Sometimes I look at my story— my timeline— and wonder why such a significant date and time in my life could go so long without being recognized. So many people can remember the day they became a Christian while I cannot. I know the date and time really doesn’t matter; what really matters is the commitment I made and how I lived my life in the days to follow. But I am disappointed that I don’t have record of such a pivotal experience.
Either way, that day and time exists, and God knows exactly when He wrote my name in the Book of Life. He forgave me of my sins and came into my life with a lavish love and provision that has been the center of my life since my childhood. As we enter into Holy Week and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, I look at my timeline and think of my faith journey. I have a long way to go, but I know where I am going when my timeline comes to an end and I can spend eternity with Him. At that time, I will be in the presence of the Risen Christ all because of His sacrifice and the fact that He came to earth to save me so I could come to Him that night as I sat on the cold, cement floor in that cabin. I praise Him for His love and mercy in each step along the way.