"Scratch" – can't escape the itch exerpt
As I was growing up I found myself always in church. I remember spending all day in church and yes, even all night at prayer meetings. I found myself growing up in church and believing the message of Christ, but I was turned off by most of the churches that our family attended. Let me tell you we attended a ton of churches and tried every denomination possible. It was almost like Baskin Robbins for Christians – and we tried almost all 31 flavors. My mother loved almost every church we attended. 99% of the churches we attended I was bored and turned off.
I had no problem with Christ. I had no problem with understanding the message of Christ’s love. However, after several years of being dragged to church I no longer connected with the services or events. I bailed on my relationship with God at age 13. A year or two later I found myself attending an Assembly of God Youth Ministry in Buffalo, NY. Something happened! I began to feel this itch. My youth pastor, John Sotero, was different. Something about him attracted me to the Christ he served. He was believable. He cared about me. His itch to serve Christ affected me. To this day I still remember receiving a letter from Pastor John that he wrote one day after we worked out together (Thanks, PJ for being a spiritual father to me when I needed it most).
The problem with most of the believers I knew is that they were simply unbelievable. Their lifestyle did not reflect the Lord they claimed to love. I found it harder and harder to love God in the face of my growing personal skepticism. Over the years I discovered that most non-believers do not have an issue with God they have an issue with those who claim to know God but their actions deny him. This was my problem! So I disconnected myself from church. I resisted the spiritual itch of my family and my youth pastor. My mother is probably freaking out right now – yes I showed up at church, but I was not serving the Christ of all churches. Others things in life became more important – I started to scratch other itches or urges. I ran from God until one day he captured my heart again.
Today, I find myself loving my relationship with God. After several years of living a double life I offered my heart to a caring, not condemning God. My life has never, nor will it ever, be the same again. Christ removed not only the sins of my life, but the stains on my heart! He is the itch that I scratch. I scratch and I scratch still He is there. I can’t escape his infectious nature.