Monday, March 28, 2011

You don't stand a snowballs chance in ...

Gotcha! We're not going there yet. But let's talk about snowballs.
OOPS! I Know! I wasn’t going to say anymore on the Names of God. But I had an idea how to explain “Shalom” or “peace”, thus Jehovah (God) (of) Shalom “Peace”
Snowballs: Start by rolling a snowball, but all you have is a hillside of snow to pick from. Bottom of the hill is the house, and the yard has been “snow blown” to remove the snow for easier maneuvering on the property. You start at the beginning of the hill, rolling around, until the snow at the bottom of the hill is gone. You want more snow, so you start rolling it uphill. But the harder you try, the harder it gets (gravity). You continue to do it yourself, until you are at a stalemate. Suddenly, your grip slips, and the snowball runs backward over you, pounding you to the ground. The snowball continues down the hill, gaining speed with the forces of gravity. It reaches the bottom, just where you wanted it, and it continues until it smashes into the side of the house. Gone. All that work. Poof. Gone in an instant. The snow spray from the explosion lands all around you as you lie on the ground watching the sky, asking God how this could happen to you. As you feel the snowflakes land softly around you, you close your eyes and cry that your snowball is gone. But the flakes keep falling. And falling. And falling. It’s snowing again. God is sending your “rain” that you wanted in the first place, and it is right where you need it. Soon, your yard is smothered in white and you half roll and bound down the hill to start your snowball in earnest again. Life is like that. Jehovah-Shalom is like that. He is our peace. Our Shalom. Instead of trying to do everything by ourselves, and put ourselves in stress and turmoil fighting battles that we didn’t have to fight, when if we had waited on Him, we would have our rain, our snow, whatever it is that you’re needing. So quit stressing! Let your "Shalom" bring HIS peace to you when life doesn't work like you wanted it to!
(okay, now back to Upside Down Christianity in the next blog, I promise!)


Jehovah Shammah
I’ve had times where I thought that no one cared about me, no one loved me, and that God had forgotten about me. Have you ever experienced that? Please tell me someone has, so that I won’t think I’m the only one!
Divorced, no money to speak of … (used what I had to pay off everything so at least I had no loans hanging over my head), and no job. Disability pay was minimal, just enough to keep a roof over my head. Friends are few (people just don’t seem to have time for you anymore when you don’t have something to offer them) and so my time is spent twiddling my thumbs, watching TV, and building plastic models (yes, I know, most grownups outgrow them.)
GOD!! WHERE ARE YOU?? I wanted to be in the ministry, but for a multitude of reasons, I found myself out of it. The church turned its back on me. So surely God had done the same.
But it caused me to turn my back on God. I quit going to church. I quit even thinking about or praying to God.
Notice the “I” in the above sentences. God had never quit anything.
Jehovah-Shammah, the God who is always There!
He still was here. Guiding my steps to bring me back to where He wanted me to be. Even when I thought I was making my own choices, it was still Him who ordered my steps.
I eventually met someone who would bring me back to church, back to God and eventually back to ministry. Yep, I can see already where I am being used by God to minister to others.
God kept me safe. When I put the gun to my head and pulled the trigger, He kept it from going off. When I tried in so many ways to escape life, He still kept his arms around me and held on tightly.
Thank God for God. My faith is now stronger, my walk will continue to improve and be what it should be. I will be a SUCCESS (see previous blog) again in His eyes. And that is all that matters to me anymore.
I’ve talked about a few names for God for the last few blogs. I want to take a short break and talk more about the Upside Down Christianity in the next blogs, now that you have an understanding of where I’m coming from, and hopefully I have turned your Christianity and/or perceptions of God on its head. I want you to get the church out of Christianity and back to God. The world sees Christianity by the church. And most of us think that is all there is to it. Let’s explore more about what Christianity is, so that when we go to our churches, they become Christian again, and not the social clubs that we have now.
ps.... The church still plays a vital role in Christianity, but it is only a part, not the whole thing!


Congratulations! You’ve won!
Isn’t this what we would all love to hear? Publishers Clearing House standing at our door. That guy with the balloons and the oversized check, and our faces frozen in exclamation at the idea of winning a sum of 7 figures or more.
Wanna know a secret how to be guaranteed to win?
Nissi. It means “Standard of Victory.”
When the camera crew and everyone else are on your front lawn and your neighbors are calling to let you know that you’ve got company, then you can be pretty sure that if it isn’t the SWAT team, you’re in luck today. That would be your Nissi. Your standard of victory.
Why do I say that? Because that is what we use to measure success. Wealth. And millions of dollars certainly seems like success to us. (unless you robbed someone to gain that, then shame on you (no politicians, that doesn’t exclude you if your conscience is suddenly screaming.)
How should Christians measure success? Ultimate success is making it to Heaven, and receiving your rewards (should you get any…. Another blog, another day).
But success can be measured here on earth too. Were you able to get thru that test in school today? Were you able to complete your assignment at work that needed to be done for the boss? Were you able to get all of the laundry done and the house cleaned, even though it didn’t seem as though there was time enough to complete the tasks?
That is success! Success is also measured in:
Staying sober for one more day, whether it be from alcohol, drugs or whatever.
Being able to gain your mobility back through therapies.
Stopping yourself before you commit suicide or kill someone/something else.
Keeping yourself from committing any sin, whether it be eating too much, lusting after what someone else has (including their possessions, wife, husband), or a host of other things that we shouldn’t do.
Success! Even though you may sometimes feel like a failure. Success! God knows you are a sinner. He has told us all so! In His word. But how many of us have read His word? The Bible! Start taking time to actually read His words. Quit taking your pastors sermon as a substitute. Start your “fact checking” today! You’ll discover so many people who seemed like failures, so many who seemed as though they would be doomed. Yet they became a success in God’s eyes.
Read ‘em and weep! The tears will bring a cleansing and renewing inside of you and you can begin your road to success.
(next blog…. Hello!?! Is Anybody Here?!?)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You can never go "home" again

Jehovah Jireh, MY Provider
In 1987, my first wife lost her job because the company shut down their operations and moved them to Orlando Fla. She tried to get one of the positions there, but too many with too much seniority was fighting for too few spots, so she lost out to someone else.
Frustrated, I continued at my job while she sought job after job. Nothing. Finally a 6 month temp job, which ended. In the meantime, we lost our new mobile home, our new convertible, and had to move to “The Projects.”
Drugs, gang activity and who knows what else surrounded us everywhere. But it was all we could afford.
One year later, she was able to get on with a new company, in another new town, so we all had to pack up and move. I was able to transfer inside of the company, so things did work out.
BUT as FRUSTRATING as it all was, God never let us go hungry, thirsty, or needy for anything.
The day we moved to the “projects”, I was on a run to Atlanta and when I came back in the building to turn in my paperwork, the dispatcher said, “Don’t go home, you can’t go home.”
‘Aw chit’ was my first reaction. I’m headed back out. I’m tired, just pulled a 12 hour run (no DOT around is there? LoL) and I certainly did not want to go back out.
I told him so, and he said that was fine, but that I couldn’t go home. Now, the mobile home finance company had already said we would be evicted the next day. I just wanted to go home and sleep one more day in my bed before I wound up on the streets. Man, I was getting ticked.
Then he told me. “Housing” had called, and we had the apartment. While I was on the run, my wife had gathered up everything with some help of friends, and moved me that day. I now lived in the new apartment.
How is that for timing?
Jireh means Provider. He certainly provided what we needed, when we needed. Not exactly in my time, but it’s never about me. It’s all about Him. The older I get, the more I am learning it.
So many churches fret today about things that God has already started taking care of before they knew it was a problem. CHRISTIANS WAKE UP!!!
The same God that provided for me numerous times, is the same God that will provide for you. Just start believing him. Quit worshipping church, and start worshipping God. Make Him your center of focus, and He will show you the way.
He’s doing that right now. I’m know I’m headed back into the ministry very soon. I don’t know how. But I know. And I’ll keep the blog updated as time progresses.
Until then, Jehovah-Nissi will keep me in His arms. More about this side of God in the next blog.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Can someone please find me a doctor?

Jehovah Rophe. When I was growing up, I had never heard this complete term. I think somewhere I had heard or seen the word “Jehovah”, but I still can’t place where. One thing I can say about the “wailers and the gnashers.” I finally learned about having a relationship with the one person who would never turn his back on me. It took me long enough to hear about it though. Somehow the Pentecostals can get caught up in the “wailing and gnashing of teeth” so much that even they forget who they are “crying out to.”
But thanks to a radio station, Christian music artists, and a Christian book writer that I have come to love (I’ll tell you more about him later), I began to understand what was intended for me when God put me on this earth.
As I mentioned, in 1994 I was diagnosed with MS, a degenerative and crippling disease. Today I am disease free. The brain is one thing that cannot heal its self. It can train another undamaged part to function as the old one, but it cannot restore its self. Today I have no damage left from the MS. (if you are unfamiliar with MS, google it)
Rophe means “healer,” and that is what my God was. A Healer. Jehovah (Hebrew name for God) Rophe (“healer”), put them together and you have God Healer. No other explanation for it. I was in the wheelchair for 4 years. The doctors said I would never walk unassisted in my life again. If I was lucky, I may learn to use a walker very sparingly.
Today I use nothing. As a matter of fact, 6 years after my diagnosis, I was once again riding my motorcycle, and I bought a Harley as a celebration present. (it was one month before my 40th birthday, so technically not a midlife crisis … LOL)
We are promised healing, either in this life, or in the next one with God in heaven. For there is no sickness, no pain, just joy and triumph when we cross over Jordan.
It is my wish that more people would come to know and understand what an awesome God we have. But there is more to God than just Rophe, there is Jireh, of which I will speak of in the next blog.

The One You're Most Likely Not to Meet In Most Churches

People can be cruel, weird, supportive and just down right strange. I’ve had people call me or stop me before I left church and tell me that they really got something from my message, and how appreciative they were that I had given them something that they could apply in their daily lives.
I’ve had people call me to the side and bless me out. “How dare you talk about me like that? I didn’t think my wife would go through with her threat to tell you what I did!” (I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what they are talking about. Evidently, they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar.) I just preached what I felt was laid on my heart, and I said what needed to be said. Truth was, most of the women told me nothing, and supplied me with lot’s of treats and goodies to eat when I came to visit.
Have you ever noticed that people come to church to socialize? I’ve had people tell me that I needed to bust up someones “clic”, while theirs was truthfully causing more harm than the aforementioned one. But since it was their clic, that was okay. Everyone wants to meet all of the other “important” people who attend, desperately hoping to gain their favor and “get ahead” in life. Somehow no one ever shows up, expecting to meet the one person who matters the most! ME! No…. just kidding….
Do you know who I’m talking about? Who do you go to church to meet? The lawyer who you heard is hiring, and your son is about to graduate and hopefully pass the bar? The contractor who has broad shoulders, tanned lines, and a chest you could sink your face into? The girl from the grocery store. You know, the one who always wears low cut tops, and when she bends over to bag your groceries, her “ample wares” are displayed for your viewing pleasure?
GOD…. 3 Letters… Count them G  O  D. He is always there, waiting on us to come and worship Him. Not just sing “I Love You Lord” in a praise song and go back home and exclaim GD the first five minutes that we’re in the house.
Worship God, the one who can deliver you from the load that has you tilted at a 45 degree angle. Jehovah Rophe, your healer. Jehovah Jireh, your provider (since the cupboards are getting kinda bare and the unemployment checks have quit coming.) Did you know that there are many distinct names of God. There are 12 that define the very essence of who He can be to us, if only we will let him.
(next segment … Mommy, will you kiss my boo-boo and make it well)

I Have Only Begun to Fight!

Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you quit trying. Sometimes you quit trying to lose. Maybe that is what I was doing. Trying to lose. I certainly wasn’t trying to win. My wife was not supportive of my actions with going to church. She didn’t do church, and she couldn’t understand why I wanted to. Especially at another AOG church, of all things.
We only had one car for quite some time, and she would have it to drive to work. I drove the work truck home (I worked for Allied at the time) when I could, but I couldn’t go parking a moving van in the church parking lot. That would have probably put too many people over the edge.
Several times people would give me a ride home while I was walking, and even offer to come pick me up. But my schedule was hectic, especially on Wednesday’s, and I never knew from one week to the next if I would be home or not.
Eventually the weather turned bad, and I found too many excuses to go. I still listened to the radio show every Saturday night. I counted myself as a good person. I wasn’t out raping, killing or stealing from anyone. Sure, I indulged in the ‘spirits’ occasionally, especially Crown Royal or Bacardi. But I wasn’t a drunk anymore. I could remember what happened before and after I started drinking now. So I couldn’t be a bad person. RIGHT! NOT!
I still wasn’t really saved. I had bought the fire insurance when I was 8 years old. But that was still all it was to me. Fire Insurance.
Then we moved back to the home county where I grew up. Walked in a Baptist church, and this is no lie, a lady recognized me, grabbed her kid, and said, “Don’t go anywhere near that man. He’s trouble.”
I never went back. If that lady ever reads this, be glad that I came to my senses, otherwise you would have a rough day at the throne down the road.
My girls had started listening to the music too, and they wanted to get active in church. We found a church, and they had an awesome drummer. We quickly became friends and started up a Christian Rock Band. (heads up, I still wasn’t living that life that I sang about). For 2 years we had a blast. I eventually became the choir director for the church. Then tragedy struck.
(1)       Stroke
(2)       Multiple Sclerosis
Wheelchair bound. The pastor came to see me a couple of times. But no one else ever did. It wasn’t long before I never heard from him again. See there. Just what I thought. Christians only care about you when you’re in a position to help them. “To serve God.”
Still in a wheelchair, I started playing for another group, and before long, I was choir director at another local church. Methodist Denomination. If you think some chuches are dry, sit in a Methodist service. They have a method alright. To bore you to death. The denomination is quickly dying, and it’s no wonder. The way they worship sounds like they are too. They have no passion for Christ, no true sense of worship.
(okay, before you freak on me, not every Methodist church falls in this category I’m sure. But as a whole, I am right on target. I've seen the numbers, and they are scary.)
But after surviving much gnashing and wailing, this was a change. And I fell in love with the pastor. She helped me to see that Christianity was so much more. I even started to understand some of the words that they had been playing and talking on the radio, and how the bible could apply to my life.
Several different churches later, I wound up serving in another Methodist church. This time I found out about a program called, “Lay Speaking.”
Nope, it doesn’t mean to recline while you’re preaching. It means that ordinary people could be trained to help in different areas of the church and its worship services. I went to the “Basic” class out of curiosity, and I was hooked. I bought every “line” and weighed every “sinker.”
One thing led to another, and I wound up in Seminary, and eventually to my own church. Methodist, in case you were wondering. A small country church. I had learned a lot while serving in the ministry, but being a pastor was quite an eye opener.
(next segment: Is there an optometrist in the house?)

Welcome to the Sound of Light (otherwise known as "Turn on Your Radio")

“Welcome to the Sound of Light, with Brett Dillard,” came a voice on my radio as I scanned through the channels. Taking college courses at a rate of 18 cu each semester left little time for a regular job, so I started delivering pizzas for a national chain. My Pontiac T-1000 (another version of Chevy’s Chevette) was a basic car, and contained only an AM/FM radio. Rock 101, WCKN, Your Classic Rock Station was playing some music from the 60’s that I didn’t want to listen to. So I hit the “seek” button on the Radio, and this is what came out of the speakers in just a few pushes. Rock music started blaring, so I settled in to listen to their tunes. He said the first band was called “Petra”. Some pretty kick-butt music, so I continued to listen. Ten minutes later, Brett cuts in and mentions Jesus. Oh man, you had to go and ruin some good music. (I discovered later that if I had been listening to the words, and not just head banging to the music, I probably would have realized what “light” that this “sound” was directed at.)
Quick, try 101 again. Crap, same stupid music. Okay, music was rocking on the new channel, I’ll just ignore the words and turn it back to the other station. I left it there the whole evening, listening to it as I rode around town trying to make bucks from stoned guys who had the munchies, and drunks who knew they shouldn’t be anywhere near a stove.
The next Saturday, 7 o’clock in the evening, I turned the radio back over to that station. I had tried it out earlier that week, but the music put me to sleep. Bam-a-lamma Ding-Dong. There was that jamming music again. These guys could really rock the house. Of course, there were a few chick songs that tried to make people teary-eyed. Thank goodness they seemed to occur that night when I was either knocking on someone’s door, or in the shop setting up my next run.
I repeated this several weekends, and then they announced that one of the groups that they played on the radio was going to be at a local church. And not just any church. An Assembly of God church. Hmmmm… okay, I know how they operate. If they are cool enough to have this group come perform, I want to check this church out. The concert was not for a few months, but I went ahead and started attending anyway. Wow, this church seemed different. The pastor seemed different. The music seemed different. Granted, there was still a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a few people flopping on the floors like almost dead fish, but I decided I could overlook that. Little did I know that the enemy is often on the homefront.
(next segment … It’s hard to win the war when you keep losing so many battles)

Check In/Check Out

Have you ever seen the video by Ray Stevens “The Mississippi Squirrel Revival” that was popular a long time ago? Women are shouting, hands are raised in the air (along with other items) and a general commotion has struck the congregation of this poor little church.
Well, this church wasn’t little. Women were shouting, hands were raised in the air (along with some other items that I won’t mention here) and I was sure that there was a squirrel somewhere nearby. And to top it off, I don’t think he spoke any English, because they were all hollering in some language that I had never heard of before.
So I sat back down among all of the hulla-balub and watched for the squirrel when he passed by. My grandfather had taught me to love to eat wild squirrels, and if no one else was gonna help themselves to him, I figured I would.
Hmph, it seems that there was no squirrel. Things sure were squirrelly all right. Mom-in-law was turning red and bouncing up and down, Wifey looked like she was a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car, and the girls were cringing and eyes darting, looking for a route of escape. Of the 3 options, I had just about decided that the last one was my recourse too. But it settled down, and the preacher got up and started preaching. He kept thanking and welcoming the “Holy Ghost”. I kept looking around, trying to figure out how Halloween had got here so fast. I thought that Easter was still a few weeks away.
Holy Ghost. Wait a minute. We used to sing something about the Holy Ghost. Oh yeah, I remember now. Okay, I guess this is just a different version of our Holy Ghost song. Alright, back to listening to the message. Yada, Yada, Yada. Same poop, different church. Finally, we get to leave.
“Run Forrest Run” is what would have been in my head if the Gump movie had been out then. But instead, something intrigued me. At least these people didn’t sit stone faced for an hour. All of that jumping and hollering surely meant that someone was going to get hurt (and I hoped it wasn’t me), but at least it made it interesting to watch.
So from time to time, especially on holidays (don’t you know, it is mandatory in the south to show up at church on Easter and Christmas, whether you really wanted to or not… at least the wife can show off all of the new clothes that she picked out for her family.)
So, our Check In/Check Out was pretty easy, except for the time that DST started and we arrived at the service for Easter as it was ending. Embarrassing.
My life had changed somewhat. I didn’t party as much anymore. I still drank on the weekends, although not until I had gone to church and come back home on Sundays. Now that I was sober most of the time, I started wanting more. Our mom’s never quit harping on us to attend church, and finally, a radio show convinced me that maybe I should.
(next segment … Turn On Your Radio)

Welcome to the "Hotel Didn't I Warn Ya"

Came home, travelled around the states for awhile, then settled down on one spot. But my life was not settled. A beer put me to sleep, and a beer woke me up so that I could go to work. Or school. Yep, I had signed up for college, using my service benefits. I figured that it might not hurt to find another line of work that paid better (security pays minimum), plus at a college there was always a chance of meeting some hot chick and hopefully getting laid at least on the weekends.
I think God has a sense of humor. I met a girl. Not a specifically hot chick. But a girl. We had a lot in common, except that she had been married twice, and I hadn’t made it to the altar once. She had two wonderful daughters, who would later become my step children.
Anyway, I should have had a warning on our first date. Well, 2nd date. First one was to take everyone to McD’s. We won’t count that one. Second one went like this. Picked her up, we dropped the 2 girls off at her mom’s house to babysit, announcing that we’re going out to eat and then go bowling. (Bowling has always been in my blood, and it always will!)
A great time was had by both of us, and we arrived back at her mom’s house at 9:30 that evening. As we were walking up to the door, her mom met us, bible in hand. I thought to myself, “Oh crap, this can not be good.”
After having railed on us for 10 minutes, I finally found a way to exit, and exit stage “I’m Outta Here” is exactly what I did. If I was smart, I would have kept running. But, I didn’t.
We wound up getting married a year later, and our mom’s kept harping on us that we needed to get in church. “The children need to be brought up in church.”
Been there. Done that. We both had.
Finally we gave in. I didn’t want to go back to my old church. (didn’t want those little bitties to run their mouth about me walking in to their sanctimonious place. Another blog, another day.)
So, I agreed to go to her old church. I had only been to a Baptist church. The order of worship was the way that I thought it was supposed to be. WRONG.
‘Assembly of God’ is what it said on the sign out front. I silently wondered to myself if God ever assembled in this or any church. But I was determined to find out.
Hmmmmm… just what I expected. Stuff shirts. Haughty Taughty women with enough makeup to paint the Sistine Chapel painting by Michelangelo again. Nothing new here.
“Okay, just sit and be quiet for an hour. Make everyone happy. I can do this.”
When I climbed back onto the pew from the floor beneath it, I wondered if I would ever escape from the “Hotel Didn’t I Warn Ya” that I had found myself in.
(next episode… Check In/Check Out)

The Sleeping Giant Gets a Wake Up Call

What started out as being a way of life for me became how I didn’t want to live my life. I started working in the cotton mill when I was 16, cleaning the air units for the different floors, and turning pic clocks on Sundays. Mom insisted that I take the job, and after I found out that I would be working on Sunday mornings, I didn’t argue. Finally, a break from having to listen to the same things I had been taught all my life. Or had I? If I had been taught, then wouldn’t I have a better understanding of what Christianity meant? Some would say yes. I probably would agree, especially now that I have thought more closely about it.
For 2 years I enjoyed having at least one service that I didn’t have to attend. Besides, Sunday nights were usually more casual, and I didn’t have to dress up to go then. But I was still expected to attend every service when I wasn’t working. I lived with my mom and grandparents, and as long as I lived under their roof, so be it.
I couldn’t wait to escape to the next level; Not having to attend at all.
When I was a senior in high school, the pastor talked me into taking a day off from work near graduation, and participating in “Youth Day” at the church. The youth of the church would take over all of the responsibilities for a Sunday, and usually a Senior would be the one to deliver the sermon. Guess who was picked? 3 Guesses and the first 4 don’t count!
After the service, the preacher walked up to me and said, “You’ve found your calling. You’ll make a fine preacher one day.”
“Oh my gosh, get me outta here,” was all I could think. Church people … Jesus Freaks … Stuff Shirt Preachers … HELP!
I graduated from High School, and turned down a scholarship and went in the Army. I wanted to be as far away from home as I could be. I succeeded. West Germany would be my home for the next 2 years. I was happy, with very little complaints.
I moved up in rank as I became eligible, but I was injured while on maneuvers, and so I was discharged on an Honorable, Service Connected Disability discharge.
The back injury brought a lot of pain, but it posed no problem, as I knew how to deal with the pain. Alcohol was cheap, Drugs were easily obtained while I was in service. When I got out, I found out that the same was true in civilian life. People who sat beside me in church were the same ones sitting beside me now that I was back home getting drunk, stoned or a raucous combination. And we wonder why the “outside” people view us as hypocrite’s?
(Next segment: Not only is my view of Christianity getting turned upside down, but I’m now dizzy from it spinning!)

What is Upside Down Christianity?

Upside Down Christianity ... What exactly is meant by that?
It means to turn Christianity on its head and shake out all of the bad things that have latched on to the faith. We wonder why most churches don't grow, and if they do, it is usually from "stealing" other members from other churches to theirs. Start a youth group. Hire a band. Serve some pizza. The kids fill up the place. Have no substance. Band gets old. Pizza gets old. Soon the only people at the church are old. The young ones are gone in search of the newest trend in the newest church.
It's time to turn everything upside down and shake out the misconceptions of what makes a church grow.
How do you measure church growth? By the number of people on Sunday mornings in the pews? It certainly isn't the number of rear ends in the chairs on Wednesday night. Have we forgotten that we need to turn back to what really matters. Having a relationship with Jesus. Quit selling Fire Insurance and start showing people how to have a Higher Assurance!
I was raised in church all of my life. My family attended church so many times in a week that if the Janitor left the door open while he/she was cleaning, we sat in the pews and watched. (well, not really, but you get the idea! LOL)
I believed that you went to church because that was what you were supposed to do. The other days we read the bible and had devotionals each morning with breakfast.
I learned about all of the people in the bible, and all of the things that happened. I would sit there, saying to myself, "Well, that's nice." I looked at it the same way as I looked at learning history in school. I was sure I would need to know it at some point, and if not, it was possible useful trivia for down the road.
NO ONE explained that the events could still happen today. NO ONE explained that I could put to use in my daily life the lessons learned. Salvation was just that. Being saved from burning in Hell for eternity. Once saved, I just needed to attend church and act my part, and everything would be fine.
WRONG! (Stay tuned for my wakeup call)