Putting Jesus first and center…..

For many just the title itself will have them cringe. Perhaps you interpret the title as another blog from a Bible basher? Perhaps it conjures up an image of a self-righteous person you have come across in your life who turned out to be as righteous as your average 21st century politician. There will be many reactions to the title but as a Christian it is a question I ask myself every day. How do I put Jesus first and center of my life?

As someone who came to Christ in his early twenties I didn’t grow up in Sunday school or being dragged by my parents on Sunday mornings. I stumbled into a Church one day purely because my girlfriend asked me to and my motives to please her and go were less than glorifying to God! Now this wasn’t a beautiful traditional Church nor was it one the newer mega Churches with great sound systems and comfortable chairs that accommodate our constant need for movement. No, this was an old community center building that had seen its best day come and go. I feared that the chair wouldn’t hold my weight -and I’m not that big! A piano that was a little out of tune constituted the worship and my apart from my girlfriend and the preacher’s daughter we lowered the average age of the congregation by at least 30 years……but I thought if I could grin and bear the service then the reward from my girlfriend afterward would be worth the suffering. I was pretty sure I could stomach one hour.

This was the first-time that I experienced God has an amazing sense of humor and that He works anywhere and everywhere. At the end of the service the preacher man asked if anyone wanted to ask Jesus into their lives. I was 21 years old. I didn’t need Jesus in my life. However, I knew that if I could tell my girlfriend that I had asked Jesus into my life and nothing happened then life would be even better for me.

So I said the prayer. This was going to be easy and I was already looking forward to walking out of the Church and the rest of the night. Then all of a sudden I started to cry. Crying is not big in my family. Crying in public is a capital offense. But here I was crying in front of strangers – and my girlfriend. Then a fire-like heat enveloped me and I felt like I was burning up. I wasn’t thinking any of this at the time I was just trying to cope with the heat, the tears and now the crumpling like a mess into my chair. This was not in my plan of impressing my girlfriend.

But in that moment I had met Jesus. I had come face to face with the man who had died for me. I didn’t really understand what they really meant. There is a difference between words you hear and changes in your heart but there He was. I hadn’t gone looking for him but he had always been waiting for me to come home.

Now the journey hasn’t always been as dramatic as that evening. In fact for much of the past 25 years I walked the opposite way and left Jesus behind. I didn’t need him. I was too busy for him and to be honest, he wouldn’t have approved of many of the things I wanted to do or decisions I took. But the last five years I realized that my way wasn’t probably the best way of living. Sure, by the world’s standards I was a success and the divorces are just seen as part of life nowadays but there was a hole inside me. I knew this wasn’t who I was meant to be. I knew there was a better life for me. So I started on a journey to come home to Jesus. But I didn’t want to come in body yet in my spirit still be living or longing for somewhere else. This time if I was to come home then I wanted to come home.

This blog will share some of the tests, challenges and joys of coming home and intentionally putting Jesus as the center of my life and first in my decision making at home, with my wife, my hobbies, my career – very simply my whole life. I am simple follower of Jesus. I am not Bible school educated. I will not use Greek phrases or seven translations of the same word to get to its original meaning. I will simple share my walk with Jesus. The depths of the valleys and the joys of the heights are all there to give all of the glory to God.

A simple follower.



  1. Melodee Brooks · November 22, 2015

    Mark- thank you for writing and for sharing your testimony! Your walk with God is inspiring ! I feel blessed to know you and Beth! You both are a blessing in my families life ! We now can add writing to one of your many talents! Thank you for sharing !


  2. Lois Chapman · November 23, 2015

    I enjoyed this! And I look forward to the next post! Keep going because you’re blessing me


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