Dr. Barones Real Passion

Who needs Church? Not Me!

I grew up in church.

I know about the Bible, God and Jesus!

I don't need church, been there done that!

Have you ever felt this way ?

Do any of these comments sound familiar? If so, read on because these are the very statements that I once made.

My story

I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. We went to church every Sunday. I didn't necessarily enjoy going to church though, in fact I remember thinking that the best services were the shortest ones. I knew about God and Jesus, in fact, I considered myself a Christian. I made my first communion, was confirmed, attended ccd classes through HS, even prayed the same prayer every single night. I was safe... I was going to Heaven... or was I?

The Truth

It has been said that going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than going to the McDonalds makes you a hamburger . The time I spent in church didn't have relevance in my life.

When the time came for me to leave home as an adult, church was a low priority. You see church to me was something I thought I knew enough about. I didn't need to learn any more about God... I knew it all (yeah, right). When I moved away to school, I didnt make it a high priority to find a church , so I waited.

While in school, I was taught that it was more important to put faith in a non-living, impersonal "Universal Intelligence" than in a living, caring, loving God. In fact, I started believing that all I needed to do (to get into Heaven) was to be a good person. I also started to believe that there was no such place as Hell and no such thing as the Devil. Once again, I felt that I knew it all, and I didnt need God. In fact I could live the party life as long as I didn't hurt anyone else.

(sound familiar yet?)

Years passed and life was hard. I married a wonderful woman and graduated with a degree in Chiropractic. I moved back to NJ and started a practice and we had a child. I was busy building a practice and family.

Life was busy and hard and I didn't have time for church. Besides, I was "educated" and knew the ways of the world. There were too many aspects about God that didn't make sense, so instead of trying to understand them, I just discounted them. However, the bad news was that no matter how hard I worked, and how much I achieved, life seemed to have a hole in it, something was missing. Things that I acquired lost their luster, and the good times I had, lost their excitement. Bills piled up, friends moved on, and I grew hungry (spiritually). I tried budism, actualizations, meditation, yoga, astrology, self-realization, est, etc.etc., even went to church a few times. Still nothing filled the void and I wondered what would happen when I died. Is this all there is? I should be happy, beautiful wife and daughter, growing and thriving practice, but in the wee small hours of the morning I feared my own mortality. Then I had a patient that invited me to speak at her home bible group. Not one to pass up a chance to speak on chiropractic, I went. On a saturday, downtown in lets say not the best neighborhood. About 20 people were there and they welcomed me and listened to what I had to say. But there was something different about this group, they had peace, joy and love that you could feel. I wanted more. The leader of the group told me to read the 'Gospel of John' in the Bible. I rushed home, found a personalized bible in a box in the closet.(a patient had given as a Christmas gift) I could'nt believe I had never read this before-WOW!! Jesus said: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through Me. You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free. Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest". I read this gospel over and over and knew this was what I needed. I didnt know what else to do... so I prayed. It went something like this:

"God, I dont know how this works. I don't even know how you can hear my prayer. All I know is that I can't do this on my own. I need help. So, instead of trying to figure out the answers to all of life's unknown questions, I'm just going to trust in you, have faith that you'll hear me, and we'll go from there. I know Ive done alot of things against you and your word, I have sinned , but you say you love me and you want me, I'm yours warts and all."

Here's the good news... It worked! God answered my prayer and my life started to turn around. For the first time in my life, I knew what it was like to have no fear of death (eternal life) and to have a personal relationship with God. I started going to a church. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I made friends there. Friends who shared with me and helped me learn about what the Bible says concerning life. They showed me, in the Bible, what God says about eternal life in heaven. You see, from my upbringing I knew I was a sinner but I thought that I was never as bad as some other people were. So,being good would be my ticket into heaven. In other words, I felt I needed to DO things to get into heaven when I died. Like:

  • attend church regularly,
  • give money to church,
  • be nice,
  • don't break the law,
  • etc.

However, the Bible showed me that heaven is a place of perfection. Unfortunatly, no matter how good I tried to be, I could never be perfect enough to get into heaven. In other words, I can not DO enough in my life to earn my way into heaven. There is hope though because God has already DONE everything for me! Eternal life with God is a gift to be received and not something to be worked on or earned.

It made so much sense. God wouldn't call it a gift if I had to earn it. Like any gift it is free to the receiver... but it costs the giver. What was the cost God paid?

It cost God the life of His Son Jesus, the only perfect person in the world, and He did this over 2000 years ago.

DON'T MISS THIS PART! Like all gifts, you get to make a choice to accept the gift or reject the gift. I realized for the first time that I really wasn't a Christian because I had never received the gift. I knew about the gift but I had never received it. I knew about Christ, but I didn't know Christ personally. The truth is, until you receive it, you are rejecting the gift. How about you? Have you received and accepted God's gift?

God's Promise
Eternal life is a gift you cannot earn.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23 NIV

Receive Him
Simply knowing about the gift of Jesus isn't enough. Knowing about Jesus doesn't make you a Christian... receive Him.
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" John 1:12 NIV

You can accept this spiritual gift by simply asking God. It's called prayer and it could be as simple as the following sample;

"God, I know I am a sinner and I ask your forgiveness. I ask for the gift of eternal life through your Son Jesus who died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life with you. Help me to live my life for you from now on. Thank you God. In Jesus' name, Amen".

If this prayer sincerely reflects your heart then God says that you are his child. John 1:12 Congratulations!

If I can help you with this decision and suggest what you can do next about being a Christian let me know.

If you have any questions or would like personal prayer, please contact me at the link below:

mail to:[email protected]

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