Why I Believe in Jesus

By Colin LaVergne:

I was raised in a home where there was no religious faith. Both my brothers are atheists, and my dad was until he died. My mom would never really talk about her beliefs. In college, I was led to the Lord and baptized in the Spirit. I had already made a commitment to Christ early on because my dad, even though he was an atheist, was convinced of the importance of Christianity in the development of Western culture and wanted us exposed to it, so sent us to the Presbyterian Church. We were able to go until we decided not to go. My brothers and sister stopped attending at some point. A summer counselor talked me into giving my life to the Lord. It didn’t mean a whole lot at the time, but after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I immediately plunged into tons of Christian activities, including witnessing on the streets, and evangelizing in Mexico.

At one point I thought, ‘Is this real?’ I needed a break to think about it so I could be confident in what I was doing. I went through methodically all the stuff that was being taught about God and the spiritual life. I came to the conclusion that this was real, so I re-engaged in terms of trying to serve the Lord as much as I could. Things have to make sense intellectually for me to buy into them 100 percent.

There are three components to my Faith: I’ve seen God’s power; there is a strong intellectual component that’s appealing to me, and I’ve got a personal relationship with the Lord where I hear His voice and we talk to each other.

Where I’ve seen God’s power

I’ve seen God’s power to work miracles. There was a woman at our church who had an ear infection and the doctor had to remove her eardrum, so she was deaf in that ear. Some of us gathered around her and prayed that God would restore the hearing in her ear. Just like that, she could hear. God had created in her a new eardrum. She went back to the doctor and he was surprised to see an eardrum in her ear that he had removed. So he gave her documents to support the miracle.

In 1974 I was in charge of personnel for a Notre Dame Conference of 35,000. I had to round up 30 men to be in a procession of banners marching into the football stadium. One of the guys said, “You are going to feed us because it’s right during the lunch hour?” I was again running around the dining halls trying to round up sandwiches to feed these guys. Everything was quite picked over, and I came back with 18 sandwiches. So we went into the back room and asked God to do something. The guys came through the line and grabbed a sandwich, and finally I said, “If anyone wants seconds they can go back and get them. “I didn’t do a count, but I was pretty sure God had multiplied the food to spare my reputation.

A good friend, Michael, had a serious heart condition and was trying to get into the University of Minnesota heart transplant program. He came to our prayer meeting and received prayer, he fell over, and the Lord gave him a new heart. The doctor told him he had the heart of a young man; he was about 50 at the time. God gave him a new heart that to this day is carrying on fine.

I’ve seen many more miracles, including power over demonic forces. These examples of God’s power convinced me that He is real, He is powerful, He delights to work in our lives and to make our lives better. He’s not a butler in the sky, but He is kind and loving and available to us, and we can tap into His power. It’s a power beyond anything we can come up with on our own; it’s a power we can get when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit.

Intellectual appeal of Christianity

I happen to be one of those who enjoys the intellectual appeal that Christianity offers. When I first got baptized in the Holy Spirit, I started reading the early Church Fathers, St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, and others. The Christian view was that God had created the world and it was orderly, so you could study it and understand it. The Christian view was the basis for modern science. One of the key principles in my life is that there’s no conflict between good science and good theology. Christians sometimes are afraid of science, because some scientists delight in making Christianity sound like something for imbeciles, but as science continues to advance, there’s nothing that Christians have to be afraid of. Observations through the Hubble telescope, the study of the universe, quantum physics and quantum mechanics, there’s so much there that confirms Christianity. For example there’s a lot going on in quantum physics that relates to transubstantiation, where the bread and wine turn into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It’s really cool. We have nothing to fear when it comes to Truth. Truth comes from God; it might come from science, from revelation, or your own meditations, but there’s a unity in truth.

The intellectual appeal of Christianity was my journey into the Catholic Church. I was raised a Protestant, but as I studied Scripture and the Church teachings, and reflected on what works best for the charismatic renewal, it led me to the Catholic Church. I had to wrestle with Mary, with the Popes, with the saints, but I came to conclude that the biblical viewpoint clearly supported the Catholic Church. The Bible is reliable. Who, but God, would write a book that’s trying to convince us of Divine Truths, and use things like David’s adultery, Paul and Barnabas having a big argument, Noah committing incest? You’d think He’d want to soften up some of that stuff to make these heroes look like heroes. But God uses fallen human beings to accomplish his purposes and that’s one of the things that authenticates Scripture for me; it’s a very real account of real people falling and picking themselves up.

The Catholic view of the human person is an amazing thing. It understands the horrible evil that a human person can do, and at the same time, that same person can do wonderfully good things. There are a lot of medical ethics issues that the Catholic Church teaches because of its view of the human person.

Knowing the Lord personally

One of the great things about Christian doctrine is that God is a Trinity of Persons, and what do you do with a person? You talk to him, you get to know him. One of the wonderful things I’ve discovered is that this God Who I love and follow actually likes to talk to me. It takes time sometimes to listen, but it’s a wonderful thing that the God of the universe who is out there doing all this cosmological stuff talks to me.

There are dozens of times when God has done something for us and we won’t know it until we get to heaven and see how many times His grace was operating in our lives.

One time while driving in Minneapolis at about 1 a.m., I saw this guy on the side of the road by a church that was being rehabbed. The Lord told me to stop and help him. I was nervous because it was late at night and not the best neighborhood. I spent two hours helping him put up sheet rock and was able to pray and minister with him. He had just come off of drug addiction.

Once at church, I felt like the Lord said, ‘go give some money to Tom and his wife.’ I went over and gave them some money, and said I felt like the Lord told me to do it. Just that morning, they had been praying and asked the Lord for a financial miracle so they would know that He was going to take care of them.

One very significant story. In 1991, my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor and it devastated me. I had a dream where I was walking on a beach talking to a young woman who was getting married the next day, and I asked if her father was coming. She said she hadn’t told him. I encouraged her to call her father and let him know. The next scene, she called her father, and he was able to fly in just in time to be at the wedding the next day. I was walking along the beach and singing the song, Wind Beneath My Wings. When I told my wife about the dream she said, God is telling you He’s going to come to your sister just in time. I told God if that’s true, then I want to turn on the radio and hear Wind Beneath My Wings. Well, I turned on the radio and that song was playing. I pulled off the road and cried. Several months later, the day before she died, I had the privilege of leading her to the Lord, just in time. God speaks, and in this case, I heard his voice through my wife who interpreted the dream in a way I hadn’t considered.

God is real and He loves to be involved in our lives. The Resurrection of Jesus is the turning point in the history of the world because the Resurrection changes everything. Nobody else has been raised from the dead to a new order of being, and a Resurrection validates what Jesus says of Himself. If we believe it, it should change our lives because Jesus is the Lord of the Cosmos and He loves us intimately.