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Bob Slosser
Spiritual LIfe

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Okay, Smartie, What Do You Think About Purpose?

By Bob Slosser Columnist Many of you know that my wife, Gloria, and I were converted to Christ at the same time under the ministry of our beloved friend Harald Bredesen in our own living room kneeling before our couch. Why kneeling? I dont know. Harald suggested it, I guess, although he's not a big kneeler these days. As with us, theres always the chance he might not be able to get up. But that was a long time ago. We were mere children well, younger anyway.

Yesterday, riding up Shore Drive in Virginia Beach on the way to one of a zillion doctors I seem to lean on, I gazed at what was once a stirring view of the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. It now features row after row of condos and other styles of apartment living and fast food. I dreamed lazily of that time outside New York 37 years ago.

"What change did that make, you know, right away?" I said. Gloria had grown up with the church somewhere around but not at the center. She had been baptized as an infant, but little happened, as far as she was aware. She went to church sometimes; also to Sunday school and to Sunday evening youth group sporadically usually in the Methodist Church, although she had been baptized at an Episcopal Church. But there was little "living" or "lively" about it, as far as she recalls.

You know me. The change was monumental preceded by nothing basically. I dabbled as a child one summer in a Baptist church with its summer vacation school in Guthrie, Oklahoma, plus I had a few talks with a friendly pastor as a young adult in Maine, who thought he detected a spark in the heart (he may have been right).

Gloria, always thoughtful in contrast to her hip-shooting husband, said yesterday, in answer to my question, "Purpose, I guess, you know, a sense of purpose."

Does that sound familiar? Its a marvelous answer, I think. A bit jealous, I sulked. She soon added, "Futility . . . it left you know . . . there was purpose."

I pulled on my lip. Purpose, I thought hmm. This is four hours later. I hate thoughtful answers. I never have them.

Paul referred to the "eternal purpose" that God "accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:11, NIV). The NIV Study Bible writes this about the eternal purpose: "The effective headship of Christ over a united church is in preparation for his ultimate assumption of headship over the universe." The study Bible refers back to chapter 1:10, where Paul spoke of the mystery of Gods will "according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."

My beloved thinks in heady ways always has. To be aware of purpose upon conversion far exceeds my little thoughts of peace and happiness. As usual, I thought of myself and my things first. Oh well, at least I know enough to ask questions. Tell me, how would you reply about your conversion? If youre unconverted, this is good fodder for thinking.

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