It was a July 4th weekend. The actual day was July 7, 1968. I was two months shy of being 17 years old and a senior in high school, at the time.
It was on that date that all the head knowledge I had acquired growing up in Sunday School moved to my heart and I experienced the personal relationship with Christ — one that he had given his life for.
It has now been 49 years.
My earliest memory of church is that of being 5 years old, on a Sunday evening singing songs like the “B-I-B-L-E” and “Jesus Loves Me.” I remember myself and a few others gathered into a Sunday school classroom singing along with the pastor’s wife as she played her accordion.
Throughout my years of being in Sunday school, I learned so much that, if I were to try to write it all down, this one edition of The Republic would not be able to contain it.
Here are just a few things I learned:
“In the beginning God …”
The names of the 66 books of the Bible, in order.
The names of the 12 disciples, which included Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus.
The details of many of the parables Jesus taught, their meaning and an everyday practical application of each.
About the friendships of Ruth and Naomi, Mary and Elisabeth, David and Jonathan and others.
About tithing, why it is that God places such an emphasis and importance on giving and being generous to others, as well as to the church, with what God has given us.
About the birth of Jesus, God’s son, the Holy Spirit, and along with God, make up the Trinity.
The example Jesus taught his followers to pray, the Lord’s Prayer.
What, today, we know as Easter and what it’s really all about.
Jesus’ life, his death, resurrection and ascension
The 23rd Psalm and many other passages
That God promises to be with us to strengthen and encourage us when life is not fair to us.
If we are Christ followers, the Holy Spirit lives within us to help us become more like Jesus.
One of the most important things I learned in Sunday School is that, every day of my life, I am now, and forever will be, a sinner saved by God’s grace and that if you are a Christ follower you are, too.
Lastly, and above most everything else, I learned that God has always desired an everyday, living, personal relationship with each and every human being, past, present and future. He tells us this in his love letter to us, the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation.
Yes, the words to the songs I learned as a child are true. “The B-I -B-L-E, yes, that’s the book for me. I stand alone on the word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.” And, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 reads, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Nita Evans of Columbus is owner of Confidential Christian Counseling, focusing her work especially with ministry leaders and their families. She also is a Columbus Police Department chaplain and a national retreat and conference speaker. She can be reached at 812-614-7838 or by visiting specialspeaker.com.