# 28. "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." (James 4:8)

Written February 26, 2012. This is actually part of a longer piece, “29 Before 30” a kind of bucket list I started earlier this year and will post once completed (if I ever get around to doing everything in it!), hence the title.

I attended a service at an office mate’s church, frankly, at first, out of curiosity. I was piqued at this person’s positivity and utmost trust and faith in the Lord. I mean, I know God; I’m not an atheist, but I never thought I would see and know Him in a different way that day. It was the first time I would visit a church other than a Catholic one. We’ve never been an overly religious family, so I guess I grew up thinking that while I am aware that God exists and Jesus Christ is His Son, I have always regarded them as just Someone I see or hear about on Sundays. I went to church because it was expected, or only because I had something to pray for or needed or because an occasion calls for it. I guess I’ve never had what you call a personal relationship with the Lord.

When I came in the worship tent, I noticed just a simple cross below SBCC’s emblem and an open Bible. There was a bandstand on the right and an OVH projector screen on the left. When the service started, I was taken aback by the loud and fast music and everyone was heartily clapping and raising their hands; some were almost dancing. The song leader was belting out the song like those gospel singers I see in movies, eyes closed and hand raised in worship. Concert ba to? I was used to the solemn songs and apathetic singing of parishioners.

Then the Pastor came on stage to speak. He was dressed casually, spoke candidly and kept the audience enraptured with the Word, emphasizing his points with “Amen?” and the crowd would enthusiastically answer back. One of the verse that day was from Hebrews 10:19-22:

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” 

I don’t need any “middle man” or good deeds or false idols to get me to heaven; it is only through complete faith in Jesus and what He had done on the cross, that I can have “direct access” to God our Father.

Today, I came expecting to be a mere spectator. The first few questions I answered were guarded: I felt as if I was being quizzed on being a good or bad believer. But then their sincerity and genuine concern to connect with me and help me understand pricked something in me. I didn’t realize that by keeping an open mind to the faith of others, it would open doors I thought I had already closed or would never dare enter again. Or that if I went even with a hardened heart, Jesus would find a way to touch and open it. And He did. He just spoke to me that day. It all starts with the first and best step.