"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind..."
 
Romans 12:1-2
 
 
" Praise the Lord, O my soul!  While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being."
 
Psalms 146:1

Life Through the Lens of Faith
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In early August 2002 I had a powerful and personal feeling of the presence of God in my life and in the world. Although my transformation began in small ways on the morning of September 11, 2001, on the night of Friday August 2, 2002 I was completely overwhelmed. Alone in my house, I vowed to give up drugs and a lifestyle focused on lust and my own immediate fleshly gratification, and began holding on to the Eternal.

Two days later, I attended a church 18 miles from my home that a girlfriend had taken me to over six years earlier. Nervous and afraid after a sleepless night, I arrived before 8:00 AM, and stayed for both services. I formally accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and haven't looked back since. I left behind a life of depression and emptiness. A life without meaning.

The next week I began a trip to see friends and relatives around the country to tell them of my joyous revelation. My stops included Columbia, SC, Baton Rouge, LA, New York, NY and Dayton, OH. The next Sunday, I quit smoking and committed myself to celibacy before marriage. I had already decided to try to surrender and sacrifice all to the Lord.

By mid-Fall of that year I was living in South Carolina in order to be close to my father who had been in a life threatening accident. Over the last 15 months of his life I was able to reconcile with my dad, something I prayed for over many years, even before I really believed.

My faith was tested severely. I briefly thought, "How could God do this to me so soon after being born again?" Over the course of that time my father went from intensive care with a grave head injury and little comprehension to back reading the New York Times and driving his car; and then once again back to surgery and intensive care.

Through faith, prayer, fasting and total immersion in the bible I was able to perservere, grow and change for the better. I visited many churches led by the Spirit; unconcerned with de-nomination, race or class. Sometimes attending three times on Sunday, along with bible study and other services during the week.
This lifestyle, loving God, has succeeded where other programs and good-intentioned efforts had failed.

During my stay in South Carolina, I met a women organizing a small, short-term mission trip to a refugee camp in Kenya that was home to the "Lost Boys of Sudan." Almost immediately, I felt the Spirit of the Lord compelling me to follow. Heedless of her lack of credentials or the backing of a large institution; as well as the terrorism warnings from the State Department, I put my faith in God and went.

carlrollins.jpg
Carl Rollins on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE in the Nation's Capital

In early August 2002 I had a powerful and personal feeling of the presence of God in my life and in the world. Although my transformation began in small ways on the morning of September 11, 2001, on the night of Friday August 2, 2002 I was completely overwhelmed. Alone in my house, I vowed to give up drugs and a lifestyle focused on lust and my own immediate fleshly gratification, and began holding on to the Eternal.

Two days later, I attended a church 18 miles from my home that a girlfriend had taken me to over six years earlier. Nervous and afraid after a sleepless night, I arrived before 8:00 AM, and stayed for both services. I formally accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and haven't looked back since. I left behind a life of depression and emptiness. A life without meaning.

The next week I began a trip to see friends and relatives around the country to tell them of my joyous revelation. My stops included Columbia, SC, Baton Rouge, LA, New York, NY and Dayton, OH. The next Sunday, I quit smoking and committed myself to celibacy before marriage. I had already decided to try to surrender and sacrifice all to the Lord.

By mid-Fall of that year I was living in South Carolina in order to be close to my father who had been in a life threatening accident. Over the last 15 months of his life I was able to reconcile with my dad, something I prayed for over many years, even before I really believed.

My faith was tested severely. I briefly thought, "How could God do this to me so soon after being born again?" Over the course of that time my father went from intensive care with a grave head injury and little comprehension to back reading the New York Times and driving his car; and then once again back to surgery and intensive care.

Through faith, prayer, fasting and total immersion in the bible I was able to perservere, grow and change for the better. I visited many churches led by the Spirit; unconcerned with de-nomination, race or class. Sometimes attending three times on Sunday, along with bible study and other services during the week.
This lifestyle, loving God, has succeeded where other programs and good-intentioned efforts had failed.

During my stay in South Carolina, I met a women organizing a small, short-term mission trip to a refugee camp in Kenya that was home to the "Lost Boys of Sudan." Almost immediately, I felt the Spirit of the Lord compelling me to follow. Heedless of her lack of credentials or the backing of a large institution; as well as the terrorism warnings from the State Department, I put my faith in God and went.

In Kenya, I learned that people who are suffering and without material things can be happy, full of love and full of praise for God.  Few people in the United States have anything to complain about given the security and economic blessings so readily available here.  I knew internally before how blessed we are, perhaps I just needed to see the big picture through God's vision in order for the feeling to be driven home.  Our faith is weak compared to theirs.  To whom much is given, much is expected.

 
I recommend that all people go on a mission trip.  If not overseas, then across town.  Whether its the peace corps or volunteering at a soup kitchen it is much better to give than to receive.  Many of us say we want to help others, but our pledges are often subsumed in the course of our living life.  Drastic steps are required to fulfill these dreams.  I plan to go on similar trips again and keep going. Since returning to Washington almost 4 years ago I have been nearly totally subsumed in personal study of scripture and facing the challenges of learning to live without so many material things.  I also have engaged in ministering to homeless people within the shadow of the Capitol. My life before; college and law degrees and hopes to climb the ladder of money and politics in this town mean nothing now.  They are meaningless, because I did not start to live until August 2, 2002. I finally accepted that committing random acts of kindness was the only way to live.  Although giving a few dollars can help those in need, only the love of a friend who gives his or her time can truly console.  You cannot legislate morality--a new law cannot change a heart, only the Holy Spirit of God can do that.
I am a longtime resident of the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC.  Please contact me at faithfulservant3@earthlink.net.

LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOU LOVE  YOURSELF REQUIRES TOTAL LOVE, TOTAL FORGIVENESS, TOTAL BROTHERHOOD AND SUBVERTING THE DOMINANT PARADIGM