Saturday, September 9, 2006

B.Rayshawn Graves


I’m one of those people who have grown up in the church for most of all of my life. I’ve sang the songs, raised my hands, put dollar after dollar in the plate, and I’ve served millions of hours in ministry. Just like most others with my story, I received Christ in children’s ministry. One Sunday when I was six, I answered the altar call to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Because I was young, I had no idea of the value that was in this salvation, no idea of how precious the blood of Christ was for those who were sinners.Young..
Time passed, I could quote verse after verse, quote the prayer of salvation, memorize all of the songs and identify all of the tracts that were associated with Christianity. I went to a Christian school, went to church every Wednesday, Sunday, and even at one point in my life, my brother and I realized that we were at the church building seven days a week. I served in Children’s Ministry, watched the Christian movies and bought all the Christian rap, rock, alternative music anyone could think of.
More time passed, and in my early teenage years, peer pressure began to creep in: I wasnt involved in anything "too sinful" like smoking or drinking, but lust crept into my mind; things like secular music and television caught my attention and everything Christian up to this point was loosing its appeal. I desired the clothes the world was wearing, the music the world was listening to, the attitude that came with it and I began to change slowly from seeking God first to seeking the things of the world. Now, I was too scared to go too far out from my Christian upbringings; I didn’t curse, didn’t fornicate, didn’t drink or smoke, but I envied those who did and I coveted the fruit ( or what appeared to be the fruit) of that lifestyle. I guess you can say I lived a double life. To those who saw me every Sunday, I was a good kid, had potential, and was great to be around; but to those who saw me every day I was talking about my favorite secular artist, my favorite music video, the lust that was in my heart and trying to win the approval of my friends. I stopped serving as much and sat in the back of church services joking and paying no attention to what was going on. I disobeyed my parents, idolized my music and rejected all along the conviction of the Holy Spirit to get right. I was right in my own eyes, because I wasn’t as bad as some of the people I hung around, but like i said, on the inside, I envied the lifestyle of sin, I coveted the "freedom" my friends had and i was rebellious in my heart. I never picked up my Bible, started dressing differently to church, and my thoughts were all over the place. I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a missions trip in 1999 that really changed my life. My church went to Israel and Kenya on a children’s crusade and that opened up my eyes to see that God was so much bigger than my conception of Him was. I realized that my Christianity was a spoiled American-teenager version that was watered down and adulterated to fit the things that I wanted and still be ok with God at the same time.


Finally I had some time to think, in my later High school years, i was in a class of two people and conviction began to really set in because of all the quiet time i had. I was a loner, and I didn’t communicate much with anyone around me, but i had scribes and books worth of thoughts in my head. I still held on to my secular music, lust and pride still controlled my thoughts and I attempted to cage the beast of sin that was in me, rather than eliminate it completely. I sat hardened in church services, occasionally felt convicted strong enough to raise my hands every now and then, and I still desired the lifestyle of the world. I was cool with who I was. I wanted to be the Christian who could live in sin and not be affected by it. "Just because I listen to murderous, sexual, materialized music doesn’t mean that ill murder someone or fornicate with a woman, or covet the things of the world, right?" I attended youth conference after youth conference all throughout my high-school years and none of them ever produced any lasting change. I thought I could play God, hold on to my sin and have him accept me. At the very end of High-school in the twelfth grade, in 2003, I was given an opportunity to preach in my youth group. Nervous, scared and excited at the same time, I taught on the book of Revelation and after teaching it, I felt like I could teach for the rest of my life .
I attended college in the fall of 2003. I went there for one semester, backslid, and fell deeper into sin than ever before. While it was never anything major as before, my mind was far more corrupt, my attitude was far more rebellious and the things that I put before my eyes and in my ears was horrible. Unfocused, into girls, listening to whatever pleased me at the time, I rejected conviction and knew I needed to re-focus on God. I transferred after one semester there to another college closer to home and there I was alone in my own world, thinking all over again, with even more of an attitude. I had regrets, headaches and, heavy convictions. Shortly, after my return home, the Lord started placing in my life ,people that would encourage me to return to the Lord and seek Him with my whole heart. I was reading my Bible again, praying more, involved in church, and seeking God’s face: and there was still a lot I didn’t know and needed work on. I began to pull away from secular music, focus on the will of God and progress in my walk with God. I started ministering in my youth group , teaching in prison ministry and after running from the Lord for what seemed like forever, I accepted His calling for ministry. During that period of time I met my wife, in 2005, and God has had me on an awesome journey since then. God began to open doors, provide in ways I could never imagine, and teach me eye opening truths about His word. My wife and I were married in July of 2008, and I am proud to say we were both married pure.
More recently, I have been writing and reading a lot, and in 2006 I began to have an experience with the Lord like I had never had before. God, once again, provided time for me to think, pray and spend in His word. I began to realize my identity in Christ, the Authority He gave me, and my faith was greatly strengthened during that time. I began to understand more the realization of God’s grace and mercy and humility in Christ was something I greatly sought after.



Recently, I have undergone a serious reformation through the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I knew about faith, authority, the power of God, and prosperity like the back of my hand. But I have come to realize that my conception of God wasn’t proper; my beliefs about man weren’t correct and my view on salvation lacked the preciousness that salvation truly possesses. I have had an experience with God that has caused me to see how depraved I am as a man, and how Holy He is as God. I have come to realize that He is a consuming fire, a hammer to the rock, and that a true conversion is far more than just a repeated prayer; it’s a change, a nature change, a lifestyle change that is from glory to glory to glory. I’m hurting for the youth that I see that have no fear of God, the people I see that constantly change their conception of God into a softer, more sugar coated image, and I’m hurting at the fact that millions are going to hell because they refuse to accept the truth. I only want to know God for who He is and preach the truth that leads men to the power of God in salvation. I’ve found salvation and the reality of it and it has changed my life and my whole perspective of God and the things concerning Him.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Muchlove brother! Brother Fuegodedios on SI told me bout your blog here, this is outstanding. i will read it more in depthly in due time.

I blog at www.rickyearle.org and am repentcanada on SI. I have a family picture there in the links section you can check.

Keep the Faith, be weak, but strong in Christ.

Ricky

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ricky! Im glad that fuegodios referred you to the site, he has been a great encouragement to me as a big brother in the faith. May God recieve all the glory for this site, and more importantly I thank Him for Christian brothers like yourself and many more with whom i can fellowship and talk about Him. Im on Sermonindex as well, I am SonofMan, im looking forward to seeing your site, I know God is working through you and the works of your hands bro.
Much love to you , I look forward to hearing from you brother.
In Christ
Ray

Anonymous said...

BRay,

I see you've read Bradley's book- what were your thoughts?

-sister in Christ

Anonymous said...

I thought it was great! Very thorough, and ill probably need to go through it again to grasp all of the truth from it, but it was really enlightening on Black Liberation theology and its roots. Gives a great perspective on how to correct it as well...I may post something soon on what Ive gained from it. I'd like to read it side by side with James Cone's book to really wrap my mind around the whole concept.

MA said...

Hi Rayshawn,

I love your blog so far - stumbled across it today after searching about "the blessing of Abraham" online. Could you please write / teach on how prosperity teachers focus on Old Testament promises to Israelites (and passages in Psalms and Proverbs) to justify this doctrine (and how these passages should be CORRECTLY interpreted in light of the Gospel)?

I'm trying to understand this myself.

Thanks.

Unknown said...

MA, thanks for stopping by! I've actually been thinking about writing a book on something similar to what you asked. Most likely, in order to clearly explain how prosperity teachers use the OT and why, Ill probably do a video on it...writing it may take some time. Look for it soon! Thanks again for your thoughts!