Lately, I’ve been thinking that I need to give my readers a better understanding of Avery Goodday’s mission. In order to do that, I must first provide a bit of insight into Avery Goodday’s past. If you have read Avery’s first post, “Choices”, you already have an overview of where I’ve been in my walk with Jesus. Now, I will “flesh-out” at least a portion of that skeletal history.
The Back-story: I was young, but I knew what I was doing. The problem was, I didn’t know what to expect going forward from that moment.
It was February,1955. I was 11 when I walked down the aisle of Park United Methodist Church and accepted Christ as my Savior. I immediately went through Catechism and was baptized. Essentially… that was it. I had been moved from the “unsaved” side of their ledger to the “saved” side… and, that was it. No discipleship, no follow-up of any kind. I was there; and, they could keep an eye on me. But, talk to me or ask me how it was going? I don’t think it occurred to anyone. Predictably, within a few short months I was having serious problems. You see, I had no idea what it meant practically, to be a Christian. I had all kinds of questions; and, no one I could ask for help. Very quickly, I was lost in religion.
I thought that after accepting Christ, everything would be perfect. No temptations, no problems, …perfect. Well, of course that’s not what happened. Within a few months I began to question my salvation. Maybe it “hadn’t taken”. To whom in that church, could I make such an admission? NO ONE.
For years, knowing what was expected – and believe me, the people in that church had expectations, I struggled on. I tried to live the best life I could by my own resources. Inside, I knew it was a sham. But, everyone in my church just knew I was headed into the ministry. (I guess I was pretty good at faking it). Actually, I had no interest in the ministry. And still no one I could confide in — not even a brother or sister. Parents? Out of the question. So, I struggled on for the next six-years, trying to do what I knew to be right, and more often actually doing what I knew to be wrong. I felt like a total fake. I was filled with guilt and self-doubt. As time went on I added fear, resentment and anger to my emotional mish-mash.
And, more importantly (although I didn’t realize it was happening), during that period, I lost my integrity and my self-respect.
At 17, I graduated high-school and started college. Wow, did I ever get “educated” in a hurry. It was the early to mid-’60’s… an interesting time in America. College was a blast. Fraternity parties, sorority parties, beer… like I said, “…a blast”. My biggest concerns were my social life and doing just enough to stay out of academic probation, in that order.
In my second semester I discovered the university actually offered courses on religion. Great. I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about God and religion. I learned a lot more about religion. (Exactly what I didn’t need).
Comparative Religion 101 taught me a lot about religion; and, lots of religions. Religions I had no idea even existed. Philosophy 101 introduced me to Relativism – made to order for a party animal like myself. So, to net-out two years of elective studies, I concluded it probably, didn’t matter what religion you were as long as you were a good… “whatever”. And, it was all pretty much immaterial to me by then anyway, because I was having such a good time. (Which is a lot easier when you have no integrity or self-respect). Parties and girls were way more fun than worrying (or even thinking about) God.
All my fun, and major changes, resulted in my being able to compress a four-year college education into only five-years and two summer-sessions. Even then, I have my first wife to thank for finally giving me the motivation I needed to get serious about completing my degree. The day I graduated (06-06-66), I was also commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF and assigned to Pilot Training. My wife was pregnant with our son.
To make a long and ugly story short, I’m just going to say that during the next ten-years, I made every mistake a man can make as a husband and father. I came dangerously close to following my own father into alcoholism, in the form of binge drinking. Marriage vows, meant nothing to me. And nothing outside my AF career carried any value. In 1976 I found myself truly at the bottom. I was in a very ugly divorce process from wife #2. I had (maybe) $5 in my pocket, a mountain of debt and no true friends. I was in trouble and I knew it.
For about a year I had been trying to improve my life… on my own. One night, maybe a two-weeks into the second divorce, I was lying in bed on an emotional roller-coaster. Feeling sorry for myself, I started mentally listing the flaws of wife #1 and wife #2. Right then I literally heard a voice say, “How about you? What kind of a bargain are you?”
That caused me to take a serious look at how I’d been living my life. It wasn’t a pretty picture. I remember thinking “…well, I guess I got what I asked for”. And this time I heard, “Yes, you picked them; and what’s to keep you from doing the same thing again?”
Right then, I just knew it was God actually speaking to me. Folks, I am “drop dead serious” about this. It was the first time I’d ever heard God speak directly to me, and it got my attention – BIG TIME.
This lead me to the a long hard review of my life; and, what I’d learned about “religion”. I, also, re-examined what I had learned and then “buried” about the one true God and His son Jesus – who I had long ago accepted, but never come to know.
And everything changed overnight, right? NO! An ongoing process began. There were many consequences to the life I had lived to that point. Most were difficult, many downright painful. It took years to work through them. But, it was also the start of my true walk with God. Looking back it seems I was taking baby steps – wobbly ones at that. And oh yes, I got off-track and had to recover… many times. (I was an infant in my life as a Christ follower). And, like a loving parent, God was always there for me –and still is. Our relationship is more mature (for the most part); and, I learn more just about every day. I can’t imagine any other life.
Now, part of my process is Avery Goodday’s Blog. Which brings us to…
Avery Goodday’s Mission.
- To show people that life is a series of choices. Choices that have both short-term and long-term, (including eternal) consequences.
- To lead people into a saving relationship with Jesus.
- Stress that it is about relationship, NOT religion. Christ did not die on the cross for any religion – or denomination. He died for all mankind… individually. But remember, individuals who are united in Christ, can accomplish great things for God’s Kingdom – right here on planet Earth.
- Equip new believers – and longer term believers who need it – for their journey with Christ and their battle with Satan.
Note: I’m definitely not a preacher; so, I try not to preach. Primarily, I try to teach by relating personal “issues” and “trials” I’ve had to work through. I hope that by relating my experiences I can help people either (and preferably) avoid my mistakes, or (next best) gain some insight into what is happening in their own lives; and how they might, through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, improve their situation.