Alpha course, lack of faith and Lazarus

Back again.
So, what have I been up to since I last blogged? Rather a lot as it happens. I had just been baptised and confirmed last I posted and I still find myself thinking "Oooh, wow" about it every now and then.
Work and everyday life are much the same as usual, so nothing to write about there really, but to my own amazement, I have started the Alpha course at the town church.
I had always viewed the Alpha course through internet rumour tinted glasses (speaking from hindsight here), and after reading countless reviews of how it was nothing to do with Christianity, or if it was, all it encouraged you to do was roll about on the floor barking like a dog, and making out it was the Holy Spirit responsible, I am glad to say that so far, it is nothing like that at all, and I am really rather enjoying it.
There are seven of us doing the course which is great, not too many to be impersonal, and not too few to not get a few different viewpoints. One on the course did the confirmation course and was confirmed at the same time as me, so someone I knew already, with the vicar leading the group.
Before I went, I was very dubious about the whole thing indeed, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that if it really was that bad, I could leave at any time, but would never really know until I went.
I was very pleasantly surprised. The best thing about it, apart from the lovely meal before hand, is the ability to talk about everything, without worrying about whether who we talk to thinks that we are either thick, or a bit nutty, and also being able to listen to other people talk about their faith, life and relationship with God. Many times I have thought to myself "that's it" because I had never thought of something in the way the other person had. I have found being able to talk about my faith with MLO much easier too, practice makes perfect in that respect I guess.
Have been to seven of the sessions now, and have four left, I think.

Something else has been going on, whether it is linked with my going to Alpha or not, I am not sure, it may do and then again, may not. I have started to ask myself whether my faith is really what I think it is - if that make sense. What I think I mean is, whether it is all that strong, and whether I really trust in God with my whole heart or not. I have been thinking more and more about it the past few weeks, and have come to the conclusion that I had kidded myself about how strong it was/is, so basically I really wasn't trusting in God with my whole heart. I was at work one afternoon, and had some quiet time to myself, so was having a good think. At the time I was pretty much beating myself up, convincing myself that no matter how hard I tried, or what I did, it would never be good enough, that I was rather useless in fact. I couldn't get my head round the simple fact of just believing, and trusting in God. I had kidded myself that I did, but it was painfully obvious that I didn't. While all these things were going round in my head, Lazarus walked into the shop, obviously not the Lazarus from the bible, complete with grave clothes and a napkin on his face, but a Mr Lazarus, but at that moment, it was Lazarus stood there paying for petrol. All I thought at that moment was, "I need to die to myself so I can be reborn, and to believe - have faith in Jesus, that in him everything is possible. Just trust, believe and receive". To say I was a bit "what just happened there" would be an understatement, although I know what did happen, was Mr Lazarus came into the shop to pay for fuel, it could have been anyone else, but for him to come in at that moment.......well. Ever since then, I have read, seen and heard all over the place time and time and time again,in bible verses, prayers, hymns, articles even on television and radio, the words over and over again, "Trust in the Lord with your whole heart, and lean not on your own understanding", Worded differently, told in a tale and a hundred other ways. Maybe I am just looking out for it, but it keeps popping up all the time.
Trouble is, I don't know how to. I genuinely thought I did, obviously I didn't. Although having said that, thinking about it, I wonder whether it might be something. There is something I really want to do , but haven't put my name down to volunteer, as I am convinced that everyone will say I'm either not good enough, or wonder how I dared to put my name down in the first place. Perhaps that's it. I remember when I first saw the opportunity, it lice for a prayer to be said for them if they needed literally jumped out at me, four weeks ago now, and I haven't been able to get the idea out of my heart and head since. Perhaps that is all it is, to trust that it is what God wants for me? I guess I'll never know unless I try will I?
Oh well.
Last Sunday, church was very different to usual, at the town church anyway. It sort of turned into a healing service somewhere along the way, complete with cheesy american muzak. Two of the regulars told of their experience of healing, including one of cancer being removed from the one persons husbands hand, gone, without a trace, after prayer. They went on to talk about the power of laying on hands and how it had affected them. Next thing they invited people up to be healed, at least that's what I thought they asked, cue cheesy muzak, and cue silence from the congregation. Everyone became glued to their seats at that point. After a few minutes of standing there with no takers, the one simply said thankyou ,and sat down. Poor man. Afterwards at some point, I cant remember when exactly the vicar stood up and said he felt that God was letting him know that someone had a bad right eye, and that people could go up after the service, and the vicar and others would pray for them if they needed it.
At the end, I suggested that MLO go to have a prayer said for him, as he has had a very painful shoulder for the last few weeks, fully expecting him to look at me as if I had gone a bit in the head, but to my utter amazement he said "why not", so we went up and waited, and he had a prayer said for him by the vicar and another man whose name I don't know. MLO was really touched by it, and started to well up a bit, but that's not difficult when the vicar says a prayer, you know that he means it with his whole heart.
Anyhoo that's me all up to date again, for the time being anyway. Have another Alpha meeting tomorrow night, all about resisting evil. That should be interesting. We have skipped the ninth session - how can I be filled with the Holy Spirit, having done the other two on the Holy Spirit Saturday just gone. Not sure when we are doing the ninth. Anyway TTFN.

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Herefordshire, United Kingdom
Born in 1975 in Brixham, in glorious Devon. Spent most of my youth in grimy birmingham. As soon as i was able at 18 I moved to beautiful Herefordshire. Where i remain to this day. Work at Locks Garage, famous for our ice creams. Generally wonderful place.
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