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Should Christians Have Ecstatic Experiences?: Christopher’s Journey

Christopher Laubscher
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As an atheist put off by the hypocrisy of Christians, Christopher’s life mantra was work hard, play hard (with alcohol and drugs onboard). Follow the story of his turnaround, with some charismatic detours along the way.

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How do we find meaning in our lives a solid foundation on which to stake our existence. All we merely cosmic orphan not knowing where we come from or where we are going and if life is meaningless how do we deal with that do we resort to opening a bottle lighting and joint or dancing I was off to exhaustion. I was fortunate to find on sure my journey to face and this is my story. My name is Christopher Loker and I was born in South Africa in the town of Nelspruit it's close to the Kruger National Park where many people gone so far e. My biological parents never married unfortunately. But my mother did marry another man and he adopted me and so became a step that. Both my biological parents however come from missionary families originally from Sweden. But as I was growing up God wasn't really a part of our daily lives the most that he was there was when we prayed for our evening meal together so Church was something that my friends and extended family did but not something that we did. So after high school I started working as a waiter at a restaurant very well known Steak House and in White River and I soon made made friends with my colleagues there. Who as well weren't really brought up in a very Christian home. They invited me to come with their parties and so it was living a very hedonistic lifestyle you know we were parting on the weekends drinking smoking marijuana taking drugs and that was my life for almost 3 years not much thought for the future at all then something began to change in my life. I was watching the news and felt that I was seeing things there that the bible was talking about and so I picked up my mom's Bible and turned to the Book of Revelation hoping to understand but it was all just a big mystery to me I also continue searching and read books on numerology and new age but there I didn't really find the foundation I was looking for didn't find any solid answers I felt like I was just a number and that I was living a pre-determined existence. At the time I was living with my grandmother on my mom's side she was a born again Christian part of a Pentecostal church in White River and she could see that I was searching and she had been praying for me during this whole period and she actually invited me to come with her to church one day. I had unfortunately had some negative experience with Christians while working at the restaurant they would come in after church service on Sunday and they would be rather condescending and not very generous with their tips. I felt that there's a lot of pretense in Christianity a lot of waste of money. But I myself had not given much thought to God I believe that there that there is a all that there was a force out there that there was something pervading the universe but not that it was a personal god. The 1st Sunday that my gran invited me to go with her I actually said no because I had been partying late the previous night so I wasn't interested but she was persistent and asked me again the following Sunday and I thought to myself Well I mean it's not that Christianity is completely foreign to me why not give it a try and so I went with her Sunday after and so there I was one bright Sunday morning at the Calvary Assemblies of God and they started with their praise music and it just felt so alive that that these people had a connection with something real and tangible and I and I really wanted that for myself. The preacher started preaching his sermon about God's love for the world and how Jesus came to this world to die for for us and there was forgiveness for me. And so some things started to stir within me I didn't necessarily feel sorrow for sin but I felt sorrowful for not having God in my life and I felt sad for the emptiness I'd experienced so far and here was God offering me a personal and close relationship with him through the gospel. Then the preacher gave an altar call and asked if anybody would like to give their lives to Jesus. And to the shock of my grandmother I stood up and walked to the front of the church I was convinced that God wanted to save me and wanted to give meaning to my life and there and then I gave my life to Jesus I accepted him into my heart and I I haven't looked back since. Nobody at the church told me about baptism but as I read the New Testament and read about those who were converted being baptized really felt. The conviction that I need to be baptized and and have my past life washed away. Nobody told me that I needed to live a different life but I began praying and reading the Bible ferociously and things started to change I felt a renewal on the inside out I didn't have the desire to go partying anymore or drinking anymore taking drugs anymore. I also used to swear a lot almost every 2nd word was that was a swear word but even that changed. Yet my my friends didn't change I still had all the same friends and they claim to be to be Christian but their lifestyle was anything but Christian and so I kept being invited to parties and drinking to take drugs before my conversion I also used to smoke a lot of marijuana so they would say like I thought such a big deal just to smoke with us so I was really in danger of lapsing into old habits again providentially I escaped that life situation I was given the opportunity to move to Sweden and get to know the other side of my family my biological father his wife and my half siblings and they were wonderful God fearing family with my grandad as the patriarch the theological patriarchial of the family he was the missionary had gone to South Africa. And so I really developed in my my Christian experience grew a lot and left that old life behind and I started studying at a school near where we lived and started sharing the gospel with those I came into contact with their. Families church here in Sweden also had charismatic leanings I remember how back in South Africa in the Pentecostal church during services people would fall down backwards they would roll on the ground lossing and crying and speaking in strange tongues and these extatic experiences were seen as a sign of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Of course I was yawning for the Holy Spirit in my life too I also wanted to be touched by the Spirit. Others were having these experiences around me but for some reason that never seemed to happen to me. The so-called prophet I remember came to our church one time and invited us up to the front and there's a lot of music and singing and he laid his hands on people and they were falling down and it came to my turn and I was praying honestly that that God would touch me and he eventually told me you know just accept it just stop praying just accepted and something clicked in my mind and I just thought Wait what do you mean stop praying the Bible says to pray without ceasing. Now in Sweden I started to question these extatic experiences and as I studied the Bible I discovered that the true gift of tongues were languages that people could understand and that people translated in order to be understood and so I couldn't see from the Bible that babbling and gobbledygook was from God. Through my research I also discovered that ecstatic experiences were happening in all sorts of non-Christian cultures in heathen religions it would often be connected with drunkenness and having come from a life of drinking I didn't feel that one in the British and should replace another however. Spiritual or sincere people are. But I felt uneasy sharing my convictions with my family and kept it to myself as I continued reading the Bible I realized that as Christians we should be obedient to all the commandments of God including the 7th day Sabbath now my family believes that the law had been done away with and their reason for going to church on Sunday was because Jesus rose from the dead and so I I kept my my thoughts to myself but I was praying that God would send somebody to me to explain things and make things more clear. And it was hard because I thought that I was completely alone in my beliefs and it was I felt that I was on the fringe. When I went to visit my family in South Africa later on my stepdad gave me a d.v.d. series of Bible lectures that he'd been given by a friend on there and they were about Bible prophecy and so I started watching them and the presenter was just using the Bible to explain what he was teaching and I was astounded by by this because I had never heard anything this clear before. So I was glued to the t.v. all that week I had been just watched the 281 hour seminar series and he talked about all the things that I had discovered in the Bible and so much more by this time in my life I was tired of error so truth was was very important to me and I was willing to follow the truth wherever it went it didn't matter he also. I found out that he was a 7th Day Adventist preacher and I thought you know what the 7th Day Adventist I'd never heard that before but apparently it's a worldwide church that holds all these these beliefs that are based on the Bible and so I wasn't alone anymore in my views on the Sabbath and the gifts of the Spirit and so I googled 7th Day Adventist church to see if there was a church nearby where I lived in Sweden and amazingly there was a church in your own shopping and so when I arrived back I immediately went to visit the church and joined the church officially 2 years later and have made friends for life. Eventually seeking the truth became such a big part of my life that I just wanted to dig deeper. I said I could have the skills and knowledge to to share it with those around me I was also encouraged by fellow church members and friends to study theology and so I did a 4 year degree in England and today I'm a minister. While in England I met a wonderful girl called Amar you who became my my wife and she has been a tremendous source of encouragement order and peace in my life and we both work here in Mamma and I work as the minister in the structure. Having God in my life has brought me out of chaos to order from dysfunction to harmony I discovered in God a father who loves me and who wants what's best for me living in harmony with God's will has protected me from a 1000 pitfalls I'm not just a meteor aimlessly wandering through a confusing universe and I'm not alone in my belief. God has led me to a faith that is based on not on ecstatic experiences bid in his word and to community of believers with whom I can share this journey my life has meaning and purpose and direction. I have finally found what I have been yearning for.

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