I KNOW I may seem a bit radical or sensitive to sin in many areas (sobriety, abstinence, refusal to participate in certain healing practices - ether biblically-based or not), but I stand by my convictions in my own personal life. I realize the Lord speaks to His sheep as He will and for me, and my walk with God, I am not called to experience certain practices outside of praying in silence and running to His throne room where I lay my NEVER-ENDING-SINS at His holy feet. I do not feel I "need" anything outside of such. It is hard to explain because oftentimes, people extending guidance or advice can take it personally - but therein lies the issue. If our egos are not wrapped up in something claimed to be Holy-Spirit driven then where does the "self" impose being upset at someone else's respectful decline to take part. Perhaps this statement comes across as judgmental - perhaps that is because I am JUDGING - but I am not judging the person(s) - I am HOWEVER judging what is Christ's conviction on my heart and what is not. All I know is that I am tending my own garden. And the more I listen to the simplicity of running to Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him, the more He changes my sinful nature. AND I AM NOT BRAGGING ABOUT ME... because believe you me, THIS IS NOT ME! I am, at heart, a mean-spirited, cranky, angry, bitter, self-righteous, selfish, crass and vindictive human being. I am WRETCHED EVERY DAY. Parts of my heart are still incredibly cold and callused. For no reason other than to suit my own selfish desires. And as much as I can appreciate the kind yet somewhat excusing justification that "Stevie, you were hurt growing up and this has become your natural defense mechanism", the TRUTH is that I was born wretched and selfish and have only used those instances to FURTHER promote my selfish agenda. I AM OKAY KNOWING that I am wretched. IN fact, it is in that awareness of such that I FINALLY actually have ONE BILLION REASONS to meet the LORD AT THE FOOT OF HIS CROSS. Whereas before, I brought nothing but prayer requests and good works that I hoped I could exchange for His precious blood. I may seem mad. But I a, writing this with a HUGE CHILDLIKE SMILE and am PASSIONATELY ON FIRE for this TRUTH that continues to set me free! JESUS CHRIST LIVES and He has given me a gift I could NEVER POSSIBLY claim as "earned". I understand that my approach to self-deprecation is at times, seen as self-loathing. But the Truth is that, for me, I can LIVE LIKE I AM LOVED, only when I am AWARE of JUST HOW MUCH THAT MEANS!!!! Every single day, I am aware that I owe the 500, as opposed to the man that owed 50 in the parable by Pastor Nathan recently at Life Point. I know at times my radical expression can seem a bit ... off-putting and prompts people to tell me I "need" to let certain things go and to embrace the fact that I am saved. I understand it. I do. Believe me, I do. I know it so well that I cannot avoid CRYING every time I acknowledge such. I need not anything outside of this awareness. Many loved ones request for me to embrace a certain religion. Others, a certain group or ministry. Each of those definitely do offer WAYS to WORSHIP and be in FELLOWSHIP, but I truly believe that what comes FIRST and FOREMOST to me, as the ONLY NECESSITY, is the awareness of my debt, and the incredible sacrifice made on my behalf to be redeemed and JUSTIFIED by HIS BLOOD. No doctrine or theology or even discussion/debate is bringing me the change I am witnessing in my heart. Sure, it gives me things I can bring to the Lord at the foot of the Cross, and that alone is likely its intention. But oftentimes, because of how I operate intellectually, much of this debating and theology just gives my ego more to mull over and question or contemplate or try to comprehend. I can appreciate the many ministries that exist and the many sub-set of religions that help various people in their journeys. Perhaps that is what God intends for others as His sheep to help guide them back to Him daily. For me, it's just different. This is what resonates with my soul as a Truth.