For Open Minds

If you are truly open-minded, this whole website is really for you. I was trained to be one of you. I spent years with professors, gurus, teachers, authorities of all types. I read. I listened. I searched. I walked aimlessly along the shores, real and imagined. I meditated. I prayed. I attended workshops and devoured self-help books by the pile. Hours, then years were spent in  libraries large and small. Vast sums of money went into travel and appointments with the all-knowing who probed my mind to try find what could possibly lie within. I earned advanced degrees. I became a member of the "priesthood" of the humanistic behavioral scientists, a card-carrying Ph.D. I taught classes in universities as if I knew. Sometimes I did. Sometimes I made an utter fool of myself. Now I do know the beginning of the truth of the saying, "The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline on the vast Sea of the Unknown." I know that what I do not know will always exceed what I do know, no matter how much I learn. I can accept that now. I know that there are those who know and will always know far more than I, even if some consider me wise. I am just wise enough to know I must be humble. I must always be willing to learn. I must futher develop my discernment so I can better judge from which sources I should learn more and which just provide more of what I thought that I knew that really was just trash.

The search never ends. Are you willing to join the search? Will you join me as we cast off to sail the vast Sea of the Unknown? We will stop from time to time at the Islands of the Known. I have sailed these waters before. I love the adventure. Nothing is off limits, but one must be very cautious. There is danger to be avoided. Once I dared to venture into the truly terrifying waters, the very horrfying edge, the border between sanity and insanity. I have long since returned. I will go there no more. I know how to avoid that region and where to get help long before I go near those terrors. I know many of the dangers on this sea, but not all. I know how to navigate in the darkest and stormiest seas. I know that even if I think I am alone there, I am not. I know that my calls for help are always answered, even if I cannot at first hear or see the answer. Does it all sound like some weirdly concocted fantasy? It is not. Is it the exploration and enjoyment of the Great Mystery. It most assuredly is. I am leaving now. Come aboard and you will find things you may never have dreamed of, or perhaps you have.

The Adventure Begins

Yes, there is more to come here. What will it be? Keep looking, is our cry. Keep looking! 

 

Especially for Seekers after TRUTHI hope that you have figured out that this site is mainly for you if you do not consider yourself to be a Christian. It is not a site primarily prepared for Christians. They believe they have already found TRUTH. This site exists for you. Yes, Christians may enjoy it and I hope that they do, but it is not here for them. It is here for you. How can that be when you read in the "About Us" section that it is mostly Christians who are involved in preparing the content that you see here? Well, think of it like a hospital. Is a hospital for the doctors and nurses and nursing assistants and others employed by the hospital? No, it is for the folks who go there to get treatment that they need whether they want the treatment or not. Some of the hospital staff are Christians, some are Jews, and some are any number of other things. Sometimes, as they did with me, they have to cut you open and rearrange things inside so that you can go on living. If you find a hospital that exists for the hospital employees, get away from there as fast as you can. Go someplace that exists for those who need treatment. Good hospitals are like that.

Enough with the hospital analogy. Let’s get down to cases. We’ll start with my case since I’m writing this. You have a right to know something about me. I am the guy that would be identified by most people as the CEO of MysteriesPlus. I don’t always think of myself that way. I sometimes think of myself as the CFU, "chief fouler upper." I have lots of letters after my name. I taught at colleges and universities for many years. I have lots of awards for this and that. Still, I foul things up royally from time to time. At times I showed myself to be especially adept at fouling up my life and the lives of those I love. I am learning not to do that.

I fouled up the first part of my life so badly that by the time I was thirty-two,  I was near suicide. I had left my wife and my kids. I was trying to live alone. I couldn’t do that. One of the weird people I had begun meeting told me that a guy who had been a sociology professor at the university where I was teaching would let me put a mattress in his basement and stay with him and his family for a while. That’s where I went. While I was there, I was in the worst shape of my life. Somebody had given me a paperback Bible. I hadn’t bothered with a Bible for years but I began to go to a Bible study. I put my name inside the cover of that Bible. I did not do that so that it could be returned to me if I lost it. I did it one night because I recognized that I was in bad shape. I knew that I was especially bad in the mornings. I didn’t know if I would even know my own name when I woke up the next morning. I hoped that if I did not know my name that I would open the cover of that Bible and see the name and know that it was mine.

I was in such bad shape that I was afraid I would kill myself. I was near hallucinations. I saw my arm and it looked orange. I had probably just had a bit too much sun. I thought that color might just be a mid point on the way to red, the color of demons. I asked the wife of the former sociology professor if she thought I was a demon. She said, "No, I don’t think you are a demon." I was a bit reassured but you know you are pretty far gone when you seriously have to ask to get reassurance that you are human. The next morning I talked with her husband and my life changed forever. He had seen the agony I was in for a number of days. He had helped me as I tried to get help from a psychiatrist. He knew something of my background. I had come as close to being "the guy who tried everything else so he might as well try Jesus" as anyone I can imagine.

I had done my Ph.D. dissertation on the belief systems of twenty-eight different religions, sects, cults, and philosophies, Christian and non-Christian. I was a humanistic behavioral scientist. This was a very scientific study. It got the approval of the best scientists on the Ohio State University campus. I presented a paper based on it at an international convention in New Orleans. I was a great young scientist, I thought. I was also near suicide and insanity. I had been to counselors, psychologists and then a psychiatrist. They were as clueless as I was.

The former sociology professor was not. He knew the answer and he shared it with me in his living room. That room didn’t have much furniture. He had been selling off things to support his family since he had left academia to become a lay preacher. His wife was in full agreement with this as far as I could tell. So were his teen-age boys. I was with them for only about two weeks. That was long enough to see that they lived as I wanted to live. I didn’t want to have to sell my furniture to get food, but I wanted what they had, a united loving family. I needed what united them.

The former prof. said, "You’ve tried just about everything else; have you ever tried Jesus?" I knew at that moment that I had only two choices, suicide or Jesus. I’m here to write to you thirty-two years later, so you know that Jesus won, thank God! So now I am one of the weird. I am also happier, more fulfilled and more vital than at any time in my life. Jesus came into my life that day and started to clean up what I had spent thirty-two years fouling up. It was a gradual process. I was in a deep dark pit. It was as if He came with a small lantern that I could barely see in the distance and whispered, "This way." It was the only "light" in that blackness, so I followed it. No, I did not actually see a lantern or actually hear a voice. Still, I had a direction in which to go. It hurt. Now I had to go up instead of down. Up is tougher until you get used to it. It is sometimes tougher even after you get used to it. Still, it is up.

There were no bells or trumpets sounding when I prayed with that lay pastor to open my life to Jesus. There were no visions of angels or unexpected lights in the room. I wish there had been at least one of those. It would have helped, I thought. I have since learned that whatever Jesus has arranged is the best for me, even if I don’t think so at the time. He put my family back together. That hurt too. You don’t throw away your wife and kids and then just go back to live with them and have everything automatically solved. It took years to get to something approaching normalcy. However, Jesus was working in my wife too. He had to be to get her to say yes to my request that we get back together. We might still have some things to work out stemming from those bad old days. One thing is for sure, I know now what I wish I had known then; she is the wife Jesus had planned for me all along, even if she isn’t perfect. No perfect woman would ever want to put up with me. She accepted Jesus into her life after we had been back together some years. Now she sometimes comes very close to being what Christians call a "Proverbs 31 Woman." That is about as good as a woman can get on earth. I certainly don’t deserve a wife like that.

I now get to spend time not only with my wife, but also with my son and daughter and two beautiful grandchildren and one of the world’s better daughters-in-law. I have had the privilege of traveling to many places to teach and tell about what Jesus has done my life.

I am still a scientist. I know this kind of stuff is not what scientists normally do, especially not those in the social and behavioral sciences. You find more followers of Jesus among the physical scientists than among those in what I regard as the more difficult sciences dealing with human behavior. I guess that makes me at least doubly weird. If so, so be it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thirty-two years ago I was so depressed that I was near suicide. I finally did get to a psychologist who could diagnose depression, something that was staring every other person in his profession in the face. I had to take anti-depressant medication for a long time. I did get help from other psychologists, especially from one who was a Christian; Dr. Willard Harley, Jr. He hired me to work for him until I got another offer. We can learn a lot from that. Sometimes what a person in psychotherapy needs as much as anything is a job. A psychiatrist had told me that I would probably need to be on anti-depressants for the rest of my life. I gave those up years ago and feel better than ever. I wake up when others are still asleep to write this stuff and have a great time doing it.

In the last year that I taught at a college full time, a student told me that she was so happy to see that I was teaching the course she had signed up for because she wanted to meet the guy who was always smiling when she saw him in the halls. I’ll take that any time—from suicide to the guy who smiles and jokes more than anybody on campus. It took years to make that transition. I didn’t do it. Jesus did that. I know because He did it in me. If there is anything good on this website, it is because of Him. That is why my name and the other names of those who are helping with this site do not appear here. If there is any credit for anything here, it belongs to Jesus, not to humans. It especially does not belong to me. I just write what I think He wants me to write. Then my wife looks at what I think is the great, inspiring, awesome product of my fingers on the keyboard and says,"You forgot a comma here." That’s why I love her, among many other things. She gives me what I need, even if I don’t always want it. If the commas are close to where they should be and if things I write make sense, at least some of the time, it is because she said that I needed to change what I had fouled up when I tried to write it without her. That’s why I am the "chief fouler upper." It’s what I do and I’m good at it.

This site is here because of my hope and Jesus" inspiration that you won’t get to the point of suicide like I was. Check out the real Jesus in some of the links on this site. Don’t be like I was. I attended a church for a lot of years. As soon as high school was over, church was pretty much over for me too. I had other things to attend to. I wanted a career in radio. I wanted to go to college. I did. I took all of the broadcasting and speech classes I could. I worked at the campus radio station as well as at a couple off campus stations. At the campus station I met the guy who was to be my best friend for my four years as an undergraduate. We worked together at the campus station day and night. We were together for four years. When I wasn’t in class or with my girlfriend (now my wife) I was with him. We worked together and we went to parties together for four years, almost every day and night of the week. I hardly knew him, I later found out.

He was the best man at our wedding. He arranged to get his father to loan us his lake cabin for our honey moon. He was the guy I always went to see when I came back to town after we married and I went off to grad school. I hardly knew him. Eventually he moved to Chicago. I met him there ten years after I graduated from college and had gone to Chicago for an academic convention. I looked him up in the phone book. Do you remember big, paper phone books? It was 1977. He invited me to leave my hotel and stay with him for the night. I jumped at the chance to see my old friend. I took the elevated train from downtown out to his place. He opened the door to my knock and did not say, "Hello, it’s good to see you." Instead he opened the door and said, "I suppose you figured out by now that I am as queer as a three dollar bill."

Naïve, young, Ph.D. me had not a clue about this. I had ignored the clues he had been giving in the 1960’s. People weren’t "coming out" anywhere I knew about then. I went in to his apartment and we did have a long evening of talk about the past ten years and what we had done with them. He told me the long, sad story of how his father, a protestant preacher, had disowned him because of his sexual preference. He told me of the slow painful death of his mother who had died of cancer. My friend and I were in our early thirties in 1977. He told me of the seventeen-year-old boy with whom he had been living. The boy had left him. He told me of the restaurant he and a group of his gay friends had started on the Lake Michigan waterfront. He told me how it had burned down and how he was now nearly broke. I told him what a mess I had made of my life in spite of the doctorate and the professorship. He told me that he was going to San Francisco so he could "live the life."

I haven’t heard from my friend since then. He is still my friend. If you read this, friend, email me. The email address is on this site at the "Contact Us." Wouldn’t it be great to get together again and talk about the last thirty plus years? I’ve been changed a lot. I imagine you have too. How is your health? Lord, I hope my friend is still alive. I don’t think the prospects for a long healthy life for a gay man in San Francisco are very good. Lord, please let him beat those odds! This website is for him as much as anyone. He’s one of those who were damaged by somebody who knew a church but apparently didn’t know Jesus. The difference between those is way beyond the difference between night and day.

My prayer is that something on this site will help you see that difference and that you will have fun doing it.

 

{Editor's note: Now the going will get a bit rougher. This will be a real test to see if you truly are open minded. We are happy to have interaction with people of most any perspective. Whether you agree or disagree with what Dr. Watson will say, we invite your comments via our "Contact Us" email.  Are you open minded enough to read what he has to say?}

 

SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT TO

THE CAMPUS MYSTERY SERIES

BOOK 1

HOLMES IS DEAD, ISN’T HE?

Supplementary Report 1

"Watson’s Meetings with Doug Phillips about ‘Jesus Stuff’"

Dr. Watson drove to the Phillips’ mansion a few days after Doug Phillips had been released from the hospital. He was hoping that the Phillips children would still be there so he could talk with them too. However, they each had their lives to resume elsewhere. Mrs. Phillips was off at one of her charity meetings. Watson was heartened to hear Phillips relate that the children all had promised to return in the next few weeks and even seemed happy to do so, although they were a bit skeptical about the changes that seemed to be overtaking their father.

"I hope that the good will with the kids lasts beyond a few days after their old man has returned from the hospital," said Phillips. "Please sit, these chairs by the pool are the most comfortable thing we have around this place. My wife picked everything else based on the period look she was trying to achieve for a particular room. Some of the other chairs are definitely for appearance’s sake only. I’d offer you a drink of more substance, but I’m trying to stay off of anything stronger than lemonade. Both the doctor and my wife will like that. Do you suppose I have to definitely quit all alcohol if I’m going to go to church with my wife?"

"That’s really an issue we don’t have to worry about right now. If and when you get to know Jesus, He’ll let you know about that. If people had to drop all bad habits before entering a church, most of the pews would be totally deserted in any church I know about. Church is where sinners go to get healed, not a place where only the perfectly healthy in mind, body, and spirit can get in. Jesus made that clear by the kind of people he dealt with during his earthly life. He was roundly criticized because he conversed with prostitutes, tax cheats, and criminals of all stripes. Even his disciples deserted him when he most needed them. So, no, you certainly don’t need to stop anything or try to be perfect just to go to church. However, most long-time church goers that I know do drop a lot of bad habits over time. That, however, is not the main issue."

"I can understand that," said Phillips. "So what is the main issue with Jesus?"

"That’s certainly the right kind of question," said Watson. "Let’s start there. One of the main issues is whether or not Jesus is who he said he was—the one and only son of God. The Bible shows us that He claimed that many times in many ways. That is why He was condemned to death on a cross. To the Jewish leaders of His time, to claim to be equal with God was the worst possible crime, blasphemy. The appropriate penalty was torture and death on a cross."

Watson continued, "If we can accept that He claimed to be the son of God, for now at least, we can move on to why such a being would come down from heaven, leaving all of perfection to deal with a very corrupt world of humans. The book of John tells us about that quite clearly in what is probably the most quoted Bible verse." "Even I know that one," said Phillips. "For God so loved that world that he sent his only son . . . well maybe I don’t know all of it, do you?" "Yes, it finishes this way, ‘He sent his only son that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.’" "Now that seems like a problem right there, the everlasting life and not perishing. Everybody dies; how can the Bible claim that believers in Jesus don’t perish?" asked Phillips.

"That’s a reasonable question. The Bible is here talking in spiritual and eternal terms. After physical death we face one of two alternatives. Either we live forever with Jesus in heaven or we spend eternity in the lake of fire popularly called Hell. That is what the Bible calls the second death. A verse that the book of John has just after the one that gets quoted so much tells why most people, tragically are headed for eternal death and suffering rather than eternal life in heaven with Jesus. It says that God didn’t send His son into the world to condemn the world." "That’s good to know, I didn’t think Jesus was the judgmental kind," said Phillips. "I’m sorry to burst that bubble," replied Watson. "Actually all of the major judgments concerning humans will come from Jesus, but let’s not get ahead of the story. Let me check my Bible here," said Watson opening the volume he had brought with him. "Verse 18 in chapter 3 of John says that Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world because we all stand condemned already."

 

"That’s pretty rough," said Phillips. "Why are we all condemned?" "Well, we are all sinners by nature. That certainly includes me," replied Watson. "You mean even a little kid, maybe only five years old, is already a sinner?" "Yes, we are sinners from birth. Take the five-year-old. He has already probably had more than one spat with a sibling and hit or scratched someone. That’s a sin. Has he perhaps taken a paper clip from the teacher’s desk? That’s a sin, theft. Has he tried to peek under a girl’s skirt? That’s the sin of lust showing itself. We could go on and on about each of us at any age. We are all sinners. We sin every day. We accept it in this world; we don’t even notice most of it. However, God is perfect. Nobody can spend eternity with a perfect God with any sin at all hanging around his neck."

"So God’s requirement for eternal life is that I be perfect? Who could ever meet that standard? I know I couldn’t. I might as well give up unless there is some kind of out you haven’t mentioned." Watson responded, "That’s where Jesus comes in. He is perfect. What’s more, he came to pay the price for our sins, all of them. Only the perfect Son of God could do that. We can’t even pay for one of them for ourselves."

"What about those people who talk about how they have to be good so they can go to heaven? Are you saying that all of their efforts are useless?" "That’s what the Bible makes quite clear. Watson then showed Phillips a passage he had highlighted in his copy of The Four Spiritual Laws:

We Receive Christ Through Faith

"By grace you have been saved through faith;

and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

not as a result of works that no one should

boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9.) You can check that out in any Bible. That was the thing that got Martin Luther in so much trouble. He was a priest who studied the Bible at great depth. If you want great intellects who followed Jesus, he’s a good one to have on the list. He certainly had his human faults and I don’t agree with him on every point, but he had it right when he emphasized the Biblical doctrine that we are saved by the grace of God in Jesus plus nothing from ourselves. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone. All the things Luther used to do like crawling up the cathedral steps to show his sorrow for his sins couldn’t earn him any points towards a ticket to heaven. Only Jesus can give that, and it’s free. We just have to want to turn away from our sins and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior."

"I can see the wanting to turn away from sin. I’ve got to do that. Why do you say ‘Lord and Savior;’ aren’t they the same thing?" "That’s one of the many questions to which I can’t give a simple, quick answer. In one sense, the answer is clearly that they are not the same. A savior saves us. A lord rules over us. Conceptually those are different. However, since there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ and only one Savior, then they are the same because they refer to the same person. It is like you. You are a father and a writer. The roles are different, but if anyone asks, ‘Who is the man in the Phillips household who is a father?’ the answer obviously refers to the man who is a writer also."

"Many people want a savior, somebody to take away their sins. However, not everybody wants a lord who is more important than we are and rules in our lives. It seems to go against the American spirit, especially. We have that important history of the American Revolution, rebelling against a king, you know. If we don’t understand Jesus is both Savior and Lord, we don’t really get Jesus at all. That’s where so many main line or old line churches have gone wrong in recent times, but that’s more than we need to deal with now." "You mean I don’t have to accept Jesus as my Lord to be saved?" "That is one of the debates theologians love to have," said Watson. "I’m leaning right now toward the side that says accepting Jesus as Lord can come later. It seems to work that way for a lot of people. They just start by asking Jesus to show himself as real. Later they accept that He is the one and only Savior that they need. That is the point of salvation. Still later, they begin to understand that Jesus is the rightful Lord of the Universe and of their lives in particular."

Watson continued teaching, "The important thing is that we accept the fact that Jesus is part of the Godhead, the trinity. As such he is all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect, and sovereign. He is the one through whom the universe was created. He is the rightful ruler of that entire universe including each of us.

Watson added more, "The great news is that it is simply a matter of accepting Jesus (asking him to come into our lives) by faith that brings salvation. We don’t have to do any great works of penance. Jesus already did everything necessary by dying for our sins on the cross. The other great thing is that when we do accept him as Lord and Savior, he begins to direct our lives and clean up the mess most of us have made of those lives. That certainly is the way it has worked for me. Although I’d be the first to admit that He has a lot of clean up left to do in me. That’s what goes on throughout our lives once we become Christians."

"Wow, that’s a load. I’m going to need some time to think about all of that. Can you give me a couple of days to mull this over and come back again?" "Certainly, take this. It’s a good translation of the Bible to look over while you think. Start with the book of John; I’ve placed a marker there. I think you’ll find it fascinating."

Watson did return a few days later. Phillips greeted him warmly and they returned to lemonade by the pool. "You know I actually could understand most of this book of John. I like that translation. I didn’t know there was anything but the King James Version. Is this as good as that?" "Actually the version I gave you is generally recognized by the scholars as being a more accurate translation of the original Hebrew and Greek than the King James Version. Personally, however, I love the King James. Nothing seems to touch it for poetic expression of Biblical truth. Most of the verses I have memorized are in the King James Version; I just find it better for memorization. I check other versions when I have a question of translation or interpretation. I like the study notes some of the other versions as well. Do you have any other questions?"

"Maybe it’s not so much a question as a problem. I remember you said we are all condemned. I have a bit of trouble getting to that understanding of God. I mean the popular view of Jesus is that he is this kind and loving character who wants to be our friend. Between what you’ve said and what I read in the Bibl e though, it seems He really is going to hold us accountable at judgment time for every little sin unless we turn them all over to Him. It’s kind of like I have to sign away my life in order to get free of sin and avoid the lake of fire. Do I end up like some kind of zombie directed by Jesus, unable to think for myself?"

"Well both Holmes and I have given our lives to Jesus. Do we seem like people who can’t think for themselves?" "Just the opposite. You both seem like the two best thinkers I’ve dealt with in, well, probably ever." "Thanks for the compliment. If we can think well, it’s because Jesus enables us to do that and everything else that we do well. He doesn’t want a lot of zombies or puppets. He wants clear- thinking people who have thought so well that they see that He is the most loving being that ever could exist and that He is an all-knowing leader we would follow anywhere. We understand that his kind of love is better than any love we can give ourselves. It isn’t anything like the lustful, self-seeking, grasping that the world passes off as love. His love is called agape, the kind of love only God can provide."

"Well, I like the love part. Who wouldn’t? But the accountability thing is still a problem. I mean, I have a lifetime of sin to account for. If he can’t let that pass, I’m in serious trouble." "We all are," said Watson. "He doesn’t let it pass. He knows all about each and every sin. He carried each one to the cross. He died for that enormous load of sin so that we could have the gift of eternal life if we will accept it. He offers it freely. "

"I see that. We have to accept him on his terms, not ours." "Right, you have to decide what kind of god you want. The world wants only the god called self. I want to be my own god because I will let myself get away with anything I want. That is what the Bible talks about as idolatry, worshiping a false god. I am no god at all, so if I worship myself because I will let myself get away with anything, I’m just fooling myself. If I want a god who is really God, I have to accept the real God as he really is. That includes accountability for every sin. Any god who would just let even one of my sins slip by without being taken care of wouldn’t be worth having would he?" asked Watson. "No, I guess not. We just have to stop thinking of God as some kind of better human. He’s way beyond that." "Exactly, He is the sovereign Lord God, the awesome creator, and all those wonderful things that Handle quoted in his ‘Messiah.’ Are you familiar with that musical composition? It describes God in Biblical terms, ‘wonderful counselor, almighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.’ That’s just part of the story, of course."

"It really is quite a story, the ultimate story isn’t it?" asked Phillips. "Indeed, the Bible is the ultimate story or collection of stories. The great thing about them is that they are true. In that way it is much like a library of Earth’s most important history along with predictions of its future. All through the Bible we get the story of Jesus. He is the central figure in all of it, even where he isn’t mentioned or understood very well in the Old Testament. It all points to Jesus because He is the one the Father sent as the main actor in the history-long effort to win his people back to him." OK I see that, but what about the Holy Spirit?" "Where does he come in?" "He is there all along too. Just as Jesus was with the Father from before the creation of the world, so was and is the Holy Spirit. The trinity is one of those concepts which I think is beyond me and any other human to really grasp. We think in terms of separate people. But God is three in one. None of the analogies seems to adequately explain that. You’ve probably heard some of them. God is like water—liquid, gas and ice. God is like light broken into the colors of the rainbow by a prism. I just accept that the trinity is one of the things I’ll get to understand in heaven when I get there."

"Well that’s where I want to get to also. How do I do that?" "Normally I respond to a question like that by going through the Four Spiritual Laws booklet from Campus Crusade for Christ that I showed you the other day. Since we’d covered that and more in our discussions, I’ll just summarize. You know that God loves you and has a plan for your life. You know that you, like all humans, are a sinner who needs salvation from sin that you can’t give yourself." "That’s right. I can agree to those quite definitely," said Phillips.

Watson continued, "The next ‘law,’ one of four key points from the Bible, is that Christ died for your sins and mine and for the sins of everyone who will accept Him as both Savior and Lord. Are you ready to do that?" "I have to. I realize that I have made a mess of my life and that I can’t straighten it out. I can write and teach and make money, but I can’t save myself and I can’t really run the important things of my life at all, nobody can do that for himself. I can’t find peace, happiness, good relationships with my wife and kids, none of the really important things. They are all beyond me. I have to have help and Jesus is the only one who can give what I need." "You have a very good grasp of Biblical truth, far better than many so-called theologians. That is a sign of the Holy Spirit working in you."

"You’re ready for the final point in this process. You have to admit Jesus into your heart and life." "That’s what I want; how do I do that?" "It’s so simple that many people can’t believe is so simple. You just ask Him to come in. That is done through prayer, talking with God. Let’s look at the prayer that does that in this Four Spiritual Laws booklet. You don’t have to use this specific prayer, but as long as we have it, we might as well use it. Let me read it out loud while you look at it:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of me life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

Is that what you want?" "Definitely." "Then just tell the Lord that in prayer, that’s just talking with him. You can do it silently or out loud, whatever you are most comfortable with."

Phillips did pray out loud. Therefore, Watson knew that he had very clearly accepted Jesus into his life as both Savior and Lord. "I didn’t hear any music or see angels or anything. Is that supposed to happen?" "That’s pretty rare. For most of us, it is just making a commitment and being willing to let Jesus start making the needed changes within us. It can be pretty gradual. Since you’ve had more than, sixty years of things to clean up, it could take a while. Jesus seldom rushes things. Sometimes it will seem like you’ve taken a step backward before you can take one or two forward. Just keep reading your Bible and trusting Jesus."

Watson had a few more points to add. "There’s a list of other things that will help at the end of that little booklet. You definitely will need Bible study and fellowship with mature believers. A good church can give you that. You certainly need to hear good, clear Biblical preaching every week. I learn and grow a lot from listening to Bible teachers and preachers on radio. We’re blessed with several Christian radio stations you can get here. My favorites are AM 980 and 1030. KTIS is available at 900 AM and on FM too if you like your preaching mixed with contemporary Christian music. It’s odd for someone only in his thirties, but I prefer the more traditional hymns on the other stations. Hymns have more depth and meaning for me. However, I am beginning to appreciate the style of the contemporary things more. Music is one of the areas in which God gives us lots of freedom. Just keep checking both the preaching and the music lyrics against your Bible. If they agree with scripture, then go with whatever you like. I go for some Christian gospel, Christian country, and Christian jazz music too. Music is a great aid in worship."

"Well, doctor, you have given me so much. Are you just going to cut me loose or can we continue talks like this?" "I’d be happy to continue any time we can get our schedules to match up," said Watson. "I seldom get a student at your level. It’s quite refreshing. Now that you have accepted Christ, you aren’t just my student, you are my brother. Let me give one final word of caution," said Watson. "Sadly there are a lot of churches which just take pieces of the Bible. They won’t accept the entire word of God. If you find one like that, move on. Usually they will cover what they are doing as ‘accepting diversity’ or ‘higher criticism’ or ‘emergent thinking,’ or something else. Whatever they call it, it is just placing humans and human thinking above the Word of God. That’s idolatry, worshiping humans instead of God. Check out the last chapter of Revelation. It tells what happens to people who add to or subtract from God’s Word. Stay with the Word of God, the Bible."