May 22, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: Living the Abnormal Christian Life

Brother-Aaron-236x300Dictionary.com defines the word “abnormal” as, “Not normal, average, typical, or usual; deviating from a standard.”

I was born into a normal family; the family of Bill & Betty McCullough. I lived a normal life, attended normal schools, and attended a normal Southern Baptist Church. In fact, you could truthfully say that everything in my life was boringly normal.

When I was sixteen, just to fulfill my end of a bargain, I attended a Sunday night church service with a friend. For me, this would turn out to be the first of many very abnormal, life-changing events.

Aside from my uncle’s church in Winston Georgia, I don’t recall having ever attended another church. I naively thought that all church services were like my normal home church. Boy was I wrong!

The service at my friends’ church started with a Southern Gospel Trio singing. We didn’t do that much at my normal church. The service progressed to people getting up shouting during the service! And this certainly didn’t happen at my normal church! Then people began to stand and testify. This didn’t happen much at my normal church either.

It culminated with the pastor, whom I had never met, standing before the congregation during the altar call portion of the service saying, “On the authority of God there are three people here that, if you died tonight, hell would be your eternal home. God has made you so plain to me, if He would allow, I could put my hand on your shoulder.”

I didn’t know who the other two were, but I knew who one of them was! And something abnormal happened to me that night. I got saved!

This started a cascade of abnormal events that both have and continue to shape my Christian journey. A few weeks later I met my future wife in that very church.

When I went to pick her up on our first date, her mother, who was a Fire-baptized Pentecostal Holiness Woman, took one look at me, started shouting, and told me that I was going to marry her daughter because, “God has already shown you to me.” Six months later we were married. Marianne had been sixteen for two weeks and I had been nineteen for two months.

God called me to preach. I ran. My running landed me in the army at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. During basic training I wound-up with both feet in gel casts, in the hospital three days with an upper respiratory infection, and having to have a tooth surgically removed that I had broken while eating a “plain” M&M. I was running. I told God that if He would just get me out of the army I would preach. He did.

The night I got home, (I don’t recommend this!) sitting alone in my living room, I said, “God, if this is from You, You’re gonna prove it to me beyond the shadow of a doubt. I’m gonna let my Bible fall open and I’m gonna point to a scripture and this will be my answer from You.

He allowed my finger to rest upon Acts 4:29, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.” Wow! He got my attention! And on & on I could go.

The point of the column today is simply this: While we are busy trying to make Christianity and our church experience as “normal” and “like “the world” as possible, all too often, we miss the fact that a life-changing encounter with Jesus, the power of His Spirit, and the excitement and adventures of a lifetime lived for Him, are only found in: Living the Abnormal Christian Life! Maybe it’s time we started seeking “abnormal” instead of “normal,” cause “normal” doesn’t seem to be producing what we need anymore! Hey, it’s just a thought!

Brother Aaron

Comments

  1. thru my lifetime, I have set and listened to you preach and each time I have always found you to be the most humble and God fearing man. You are a loved by many man, pastor, and by the grace of God tonight after not knowing where you have been for almost 30 years, I found you again and one more time I am amazed at how large and small this world really is.. Reading this about you is something that touched my heart and I thank you for sharing this so much..

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