Searching for God
Bart Morris—Melbourne, Australia
Searching for God. Now that’s an
interesting idea! To a committed Christian, that’s a rather extraordinary
statement. All you need to do is kneel down (if you are able) and start praying
and HE is there to listen to you. So to have to search for Him seems to be unusual. But is it?
TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN FOR SIXTY YEARS
I was born in 1925 in Sydney, the
capital of the State of New South Wales, Australia. I am in my late eighties
now. Christened and raised up in a traditional Christian denomination, I spent more
than sixty years going to church every Sunday. I started singing in the choir
at nine years of age and did so for nearly sixty years. When I was old enough,
I became active in church affairs; joined the vestry (administrative board),
ultimately became a warden (senior position) and even represented my church at
regional conferences (synod).
I also learned to assist in the
regular Sunday services as a “server”, which required me to do readings from
the Bible, assist in the dispensation of bread and wine at communion and other
activities connected with the services. After that, my participation in the
church activities was complete.
However, never once was it
suggested to me that I should read the Bible and study and think about what it
said. In fact when I once suggested that maybe I should read the Bible from
beginning to end, I was actively discouraged from doing so, “as it wasn’t
really necessary since I got all that was needed from the usual Sunday readings.”
These consisted of short readings of ten to twenty verses each Sunday.
Virtually the same set of verses was repeated each year, so my biblical knowledge
was very limited.
SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS
However, one day in the 1990s,
someone quoted something from the Bible, which prompted me to open my Bible and
check the quotation. I read on from the quotation and what I read, started me
thinking and reading further on. I cannot at this moment remember what the
quotation was, but whatever it was, it had far-reaching consequences: the verse
prompted me to ask my then vicar (clergyman) about its meaning. His reply
startled me. He told me to stop wasting my time and his time with silly
questions and to just believe what I was told. Since he hadn’t told me anything,
his reply annoyed me, so I decided to study the Bible more in detail, and find
out for myself what it meant.
Being a researcher by nature and
training, I decided that the best way to study the Bible was to start at the
beginning, and read through the entire Bible, so that I could get each idea in
context and in correct relationship with other parts of the Bible. I became
methodical in my reading. I divided the number of pages by 365 and found that
if I read three pages each day, every day, I would read the Bible from start to
finish by mid-December.
The effect on me was startling, to
say the least. I discovered that the Bible is not just a collection of
unrelated and disjointed quotations, but a fount of great knowledge—a history
book of the world and everything in it; a book of morality which contains
everything that we need to live a better and more moral life; and finally and
most importantly, a guide book that could lead me to God.
I must add here that reading three
pages a day takes about fifteen minutes. Since there are 1440 minutes in a day,
fifteen minutes is approximately one percent of a day. I decided that if I
could not give God at least one percent of my time, I must be a very busy
person! I am not that busy! I now find I am spending much more than one percent
of my time reading God’s word!
All this led me to realize what my
problem was—I had been searching for God without really knowing it.
In my sixty years of going to
church on Sundays, I never realized that I had fallen in love with the rituals
of the church. There was no belief in God or Jesus Christ in the ceremonies in
which I was participating; I had become a ceremonialist and not a
Christian—similar to most churchgoers today. The ceremonies in most churches
today are or appear to be purely military in origin and style. Minor clergy and
other participants in the ceremonies act more like military guard of honor or
Ceremonialists look at the pomp
and elaborate movements by the clergy and those assisting them in church
services performed for the benefit of the viewers (congregation). To an
analytical mind, the church ceremonies are very similar to military parade
ground movements, where soldiers put on a performance for a head of state and
his public. Religion is absent in these ceremonies.
By the time I had read through the
Bible the third time (the third year), I began to seriously search for God. I
tried a number of churches and sects, and while they supplied some answers to
my questions, they didn’t supply all the answers. So I kept on searching for my
Sometimes, God works in mysterious
ways. One day I was driving along a street when I came to a traffic blockage; I
turned left into a side street, intending to then by-pass the blockage by
driving down a parallel street and back onto the original street at the next
side street. As I was waiting to turn right into the parallel street I noticed
a curved sign outside a building on the corner, which read, “TRUE JESUS CHURCH.”
Now I hadn’t heard of this church
before so I pulled over and went to look further at the sign. I then noticed
the smaller sign listing the beliefs of this church. This list interested me so
I decided to investigate further.
The following Saturday (one of my
questions), I turned up and started enquiring about the beliefs of this “new”
church. Sabbath keeping was the particular item which first attracted me, since
God included it as the forth commandment after the first three which require us
to worship Him. It is the first commandment, which instructs us to actively do something. Eight of the other commandments commence
with the words “You shall not” (cf. Ex 20:1-17). Also throughout the Bible we
are constantly and continually told to “keep My Sabbaths.” So God obviously
considers it to be important.
I started with the simple
questions first; and they were answered. For example: does the True Jesus
Church observe the Saturday Sabbath? Does the True Jesus Church believe that
the Bible is the immutable word of God? Do they believe in full immersion at
baptism? Every time the answer was “Yes.” Then I tried the difficult questions,
which usually sent priests into hysterics, e.g. Do you believe that God created
the universe in six ordinary days? Do you believe the description of the second
coming of Jesus Christ as depicted in the Bible? Again, back came not only
positive but also sensible answers! Hallelujah! I had found what I was looking
I became a regular at training
lessons and soon was participating in full services. As I continued to study
and learn the biblical truth and attend services in the True Jesus Church, I
gradually felt increasingly convinced that I had found what I had been
searching for and that I had to be baptized in this church. Ultimately, I was
blessed with receiving baptism by full immersion as well as the Holy Spirit.
GOD’S WORD IS KEY
Since then I have participated in
as many services as I can and have been blessed with coming to know many
brothers and sisters who firmly believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and His word.
Studying God’s word has
strengthened my belief in the presence of God in my life. I now constantly feel
His presence, and am frequently turning to Him for help and advice. Whenever I
struggle with a problem, be it great or small, He is always there at my side:
His Spirit comforts and reassures me.
In addition, I have been
encouraged to preach the gospel to other people and bring them to church, which
is very different from my previous church, where I was even made fun of when I
tried to bring new people.
I have also been encouraged by the
growth of the church, which has made it necessary to purchase new premises at
Croydon South, a suburb of Melbourne, the capital city of the State of
Victoria, Australia. These new premises allow us to double our numbers who
attend the main services on Saturday, and also provide more rooms for separate
classes that allow our members, particularly our youths, to be trained in the
word of God.
Just like the previous church
building, the new building has no distracting crosses, statues, or other
images. Its simplicity reminds me of the fact that finding God is not very
difficult as long as we truly believe in and follow His word as given to us in
the Bible. Just get down on your knees and pray, and you will find that He is
there with you.
May God bless each and every one
of you as you study His word, and pray ceaselessly to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hallelujah, praise the Lord!