The Purpose of Our Christian Life
I grew up in Seattle, WA, and was raised in the Presbyterian denomination. I experienced salvation through a gospel tract given to me by another high school student. Several of us belonged to an active youth group studying the writings of authors like Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, and Watchman Nee. We had a pledge to consecrate our whole being (body, soul, and spirit) to the Lord, and to commit every part of our being to His service.
In 1976 we all graduated. I entered the U.S. Navy as a means to obtain a college education. Once discharged from basic training, I continued in San Diego with my first technical schools. As a seeking Christian, I was longing for a ministry and fellowship that would make the Word a living thing to me. Somehow, all my “workbooks” in Campus Crusade failed to do that for me.
As a stranger to San Diego, I became desperate to learn the Lord’s leading for fellowship. I opened the city paper to the section about “attending the church of your choice.” I saw all the choices and became fearful. This was Southern California and who knows what sort of mess I could get into! I asked the Lord to lead me to the church of His choice. The next morning (a Sunday) I went to the base chapel to pray —thinking that God would be closer there. I was prevented from entering, as the choir was about to rehearse their program. I sat on a curb in the parking lot reading my Bible. Soon I was approached by four men who invited me to a gospel breakfast. I was hesitant to accept at first —since this was S. California! Then I remembered my prayer and said “Amen, Lord.”
On the way to the breakfast meeting, these brothers in the Lord told me a great many things about Christ and His desire to have a Bride. I was hungry to hear what they were saying and they were excited to tell me about it.
Soon we were at the meeting place. The gospel meeting was different from any I had previously seen. What was remarkable to me was that these people talked about Jesus like He was a man they lived with. They prayed directly and strongly to Him. When they read the Bible, it was strong and loud and well coordinated (unlike the timid “response reading” I was accustomed to).
The meeting went on with great authority in the speaking. The gospel message was backed up by numerous testimonials of people of all races and social classes. By the end of the meeting I was convinced this was the Lord’s answer to my prayer, and with excitement I felt at home with these people who allowed the Word of God to dwell in them richly and flow out of their mouths.
Eventually I learned that these people (the local church in San Diego) were meeting according to the model of oneness revealed in the New Testament and practiced by Watchman Nee in the 1920’s. I was delighted to learn that there remained a continuation of his labors and that I had found a place to present my whole being (body, soul, and spirit) as a living sacrifice! I now had a practical way to labor to build up the Body of Christ in a pure way.
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