Brandon White, youth pastor, Heartland Community Church, 619 Vt.:
I cannot say with a great deal of certainty what “life’s greatest discovery” is, but I can talk about the greatest discovery of my life.
In the past year I have been battling cancer. During this time, many deeply rooted fears have surfaced in me. I began to realize how much fear was a driving force in my life.
As the battle with cancer began to take things away from me, my fears emerged. As I spent time in the hospital away from friends and family, the fear of loneliness surfaced. As I was forced to work less often the fear of not accomplishing surfaced. As I contemplated my fate, the fear of death surfaced.
Fear had a powerful grip on my life, and I was deeply disturbed by this fact. But through words of wisdom from trusted friends, time in prayer and reading the Bible, I came to the greatest discovery of my life: The love of Jesus Christ overcomes all fear.
The Bible says in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear ...” It is in Jesus that a person finds “perfect love.” It is the love of Jesus that overcomes my fear of not accomplishing because he has accomplished it all for me. It is the love of Jesus that overcomes my fear of loneliness because he is always with me. It is the love of Jesus that overcomes my fear of death because it is his love that has given me the opportunity to live forever in heaven with him.
The power of the love of Jesus is the greatest discovery of my life.
— Send e-mail to Brandon White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. John Allen, pastor, Christ Community Church, 1100 Kasold Drive:
Singer/songriter Billy Joel proclaimed, “Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard. And mostly what I need from you.”
We live in a world of masks. Every one of us wears them, mainly because we know that if anyone really knew us they wouldn’t like us.
Conformity is among the most popular. Even self-proclaimed “nonconformists” tend to conform to the image of everyone else in their particular group. We even mask the truth about the world around us, calling it “spin.” We lie to ourselves, we lie to others and eventually we believe our own lies to be truth. We become afraid to question ourselves and our carefully crafted fantasy worlds. So that we can both be “OK,” we proclaim that there really is no absolute truth.
Anyone who proposes that there is truth and that it can be known must, therefore, be put down. Such a person threatens our house of cards.
Since the Bible claims to be absolute truth, it has been attacked, banned and burned more than any other book in history. It is a mirror held up in front of us that exposes what’s behind our masks. Religionists like what they see no better than we sinners. Jesus radically claimed, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Life’s greatest discovery is “truth.” When I discover truth about myself, about the world around me or about God’s purpose for me, that truth frees me from the tyranny of mask maintenance. It frees me to soar above fear and a purposeless existence. I can understand God’s perfect love that casts out fear.
— Send e-mail to John Allen at email@example.com.