I have been in Church all my life. In the denomination in which I was raised, everyone was called to make a public profession of their faith when they had decided to accept Christ as their Savior. My public profession followed with baptism and membership into the church. I had my ticket punched for heaven and my eternity was secure because I had done everything God asked of me to get to Heaven. But the acceptance of Christ as my Lord has been a lifelong walk. After I was baptized, I continued to be nurtured through Church, Sunday School, Youth meetings, and Choir.
After high school, I didn’t attend church often because it was just easier not to do so. But like so many others, when I married Carolyn in March 1981, I had to reset my priorities. We agreed to attend her Church, JFUMC. It was a right and good thing to be back in church. While we attended worship on Sundays, it was not until much later in 1997 that we became part of the Seekers Sunday School Class. That was when I started to study and grow in my knowledge of Jesus and the Bible. It was good to finally understand more of what I thought I already knew. What a great growing experience that started.
In 1999, a couple of Sunday School teachers volunteered to sponsor me if I wanted to go to a religious retreat called Walk to Emmaus. I accepted their invitation and attended that walk in August of 1999. In Sunday School I had learned the difference between Sadducees and Pharisees and other interesting facts. However, it was through the Walk to Emmaus that I was able to understand that God not only wanted my ticket punched for heaven but wanted a personal relationship with me while I lived on earth. I came home a new person full of the Holy Spirit and ready to share it with others. I often refer to those three days as the best three days in my life because God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit became real to me in my today, not just my tomorrow.
There are so many opportunities to have a real relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but the Walk to Emmaus was one for me. This Spring the Walk to Emmaus will offer a Men’s Walk and a Women’s Walk. If you are interested in knowing more about going on this three-day (Thursday evening through Sunday evening) experience, don’t hesitate to give me a call.
What a privilege it is to continue my walk and serve as a Lay Leader for JFUMC !
Bart Gray 501-680-4068
Men’s Walk to Emmaus – 7pm Thursday March 28 – Sunday March 31
Women’s Walk to Emmaus – 7pm Thursday April 25 – Sunday April 28