A: No, thank you. This is a pot leaf. The leaf on my homepage does not have such thin leaves. What's more, pot is a weed, and is for people who have not found the fulfilling love of Jesus. My leaf is off of a tree, and is a symbol of the beauty of God's gifts to us.
Q: Do you know what kind of tree that leaf on your homepage is from?
A: No, but it sure is perrrrty.
Q: Justin, what is the reason for life?
A: Really, what you are asking is why do we have free will? Well, let me explain it this way. God is good. He is so good, in fact, that he gave us an opportunity to live with a free will so that we can either choose him out of love, or reject him. He was willing to go through that pain in order to give us the gift of life. Obviously, many people abuse this gift, and choose to rebell against God, but regardless, the reason for life is so that we are given an opportunity to truly know the love of God. God will not force his will upon anyone, and will NEVER force us to love Him. He desperately desires this, but still puts all of the cards in our hands.
A: Yeah, I know!
Q: Justin, how did you get so smart?
A: Born that way.
Q: Why would a good God send people to hell, Mr. Smarty Pants?
A: First of all, my name is Justin, not Mr. Smarty Pants. Second, God isn't sending anyone to hell. The Bible clearly states in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God, "desires that all be saved, and come to knowledge of the truth." The most common misconception about the human condition and character of God in America today is that God is systematically sending people to hell who don't agree with Him. NOTHING could be further from the truth! The truth is, WE WERE ALL GOING TO HELL! Get this point in your head right now, and never forget it. Who do you know that is perfect? Nobody! But God. And by the definition of perfection, He can not live in the presence of imperfection. It would defile his perfection. Do you see the problem? We are, by our nature, automatically separated from God. FOREVER!!
The point of Jesus is this, God cared, no, God LOVED us so much that he came down and died for us, (John 3:16) so that if we ask for His Spirit to enter our life and accept His death as payment for our PERSONAL sins, we can be reunited with God once again. THIS is the entire crux of Christianity, and I resent the ignorance of the media and the masses in twisting the amazing love of God into a heartless, domineering villian.
Please, don't listen to the lies of this world. You know where you stand. You either have Jesus' blood as a covering for your sins, or you don't. There is no middle ground. Make a decision to ask Him into your life today. Right now. There will NEVER be a better time.
Q: When did you know Jesus for yourself?
A: I don't know the date, like some people do. But I remember the night. And there were many events that God used to get me to that night. Here is the long story:
In junior high (7th or 8th grade) my parents allowed me to start my dream of taking guitar lessons. I studied with a relentless passion under Rick Stack of Rochester, MN.
Rick told me sometime between 8th and 9th grade that he was moving to California for a year. I was bummed, but automatically began seeking out another guitar instructor. I knew of a guy in high school named Matt Erwin who played guitar. I had seen him play once in the gymnasium, and contacted him to see if he would be interested in giving me guitar lessons.
It turned out that Matt and I were at about the same level, so we stopped with the lessons, and rapidly became friends. Sometime in this introductory period of our friendship Matt met the Marquette family when asked to bring his D.J. equiptment by our now mutual friend, Chris Groby. And so, sometime in early '92 or '91 he asked me if I wanted to go to their house and hang out with them. "Their pretty cool," I remember him saying.
That night I met Joel Marquette, who is slightly older than me, and who laughed at EVERY single joke I had that night! This was great for me, considering I was now socially rejected at school, and I began to become intrigued. We came back another time that week, and I met Stacie and Stephanie Marquette. To hear Stacie talk of Jesus openly in a good way made my jaw drop almost to my knees. In my school, I had seen people get beat up for shaving a cross in their hair. And you would NEVER mention the name of Jesus in public. Let alone in a good way.
About a week or two later, Matt asked me if I wanted to come to their church. It turns out Joel, Stacie, and Stephanie's dad was/is the pastor of Mt. Zion Assemblies of God. Matt told me on the way there that it would probably be a little different that what I was used to. People would probably be raising their hands and clapping and such. I told him, "I think I've seen that on television before, so I'm cool with that." In my mind I pictured a sort of black gospel church with people rolling on the floor and such. I wasn't too far from the truth. But still, approaching the church, I did not really know what to expect except that it would be different from the United Redeemer Lutheran Church that I grew up in. I didn't care at all about this, because I hated church there, and would do anything to get out of it. I was also already a social outcast, and people worshiping God with reckless abandon would be a perfect way for me to not only get the truth, but also rebell against the staleness of my old church.
Nothing could have prepared me for that night. I still remember walking up to the church. It seemed to be built in two sections. There was a multi-level small-house type section on the left which was connected to a larger, single-level gymnasium on the right by a hallway. As we headed for the hallway, I did not hear the snow crunching under my feet or notice the way the cars in the parking lot were parked. My gaze was fixed on one of three or four windows on the gymnasium with a glimpse of the inside. There was a woman in there with her hands raised in the air. She was singing. "This is going to be weird," I said in my head.
The most profound moment in my life happened when I walked through the door connecting the hallway with the gymnasium, or "sanctuary" as I now know it. When the doors were opened, I felt, for the first time in my life, that there was something greater than myself. Every molecule in my body seemed to suddenly weigh twice it's normal weight. It was almost like being drunk, but yet made me feel far more curious than drunkeness ever did. Somehow, my feet kept moving, and before you knew it, we were standing amongst many other people who were gladly singing their praises to God. I don't remember much else of that evening, other than to say that I was hooked. People here really loved each other, and loved life. It was either this night or the next Saturday night that I remember seeing Stacie sing the words to "I Stand in Awe of You." Something about that song hit me. Here is the first verse.
You are beautiful beyond description
To marvelous for words
To wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen nor heard
Who can grasp your infinate wisdom?
Who can fathom the depths of your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Oh, Majesty! Enthroned above!
And I Stand, I Stand in Awe of you!
I Stand, I Stand in Awe of you!
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you!
It wasn't just the feeling of God's presence or the love these people obviously had for God that made me come back. Some of the girls my age actually hugged me. I belonged, and I was loved. This church was alive.
I came back the following week, and continued to come, and I don't know exactly when it was, but I remember that on one evening, after the message (sermon), I was sitting in the back just crying. Les Homan came up to me and started talking to me. He asked me if I was saved and I said, "I thought I was!?" He told me, after talking with me, that it sounded like I was, but if I wasn't sure, that I should just go like he did and get alone with God however I was most comfortable, and tell God that I was giving my life to Him, and that He should run it for me now. I desperately wanted to do this. And so I went home, and not knowing really how to do it, I lit some candles, got a cross, and sat on the carpet of our house and told Jesus that I wanted Him to come into my life.
Nothing in my life has ever made me happier than knowing Jesus. Nothing. My friend, make His life your desire. If I could die to show you it's the truth, I would, because it is. Please get to know Him, today.
Q: How do I know what you are saying is true?
A: I gain nothing if you give your life to Jesus. I am not a TV evangelist, although not all of them are bad. I don't get paid to spend hours writing about His love. I simply care about your soul. Call me at 507-202-0715 if you really want to talk about this. Thank you.