April 7th. 2019 Cochrane Street
When Rev. Miriam asked if I would share my Faith story I first thought about why me and after a brief thought process I said why not me. I told her almost immediately yes I would like to do it. She then sent me the following questions that were used by other individuals who were invited to share their stories previously. They were a little daunting when I read them first:
1. What is your best earliest memory or image of God . Jesus or the Holy Spirit?
2. When have you had an experience of God’s presence in your life?
3. What do you remember about going to Church?
4. What does your faith mean to you?
5. What is the Bible story or passage of scripture that resonates or inspires you?
6. When do you feel closest to God, Jesus the Holy Spirit?
7. When you think of your faith what senses are evoked ( smell, touch ,hearing, taste)?
8. Why is church/community of faith/congregation the place you express your faith?
Wow I started to think how in the heck am I going to able to do this and all in 6 to 8 minutes. The next thing I did was to look up Webster’s Dictionery definition for Faith.
Faith is defined as meaning:
1. Belief without proof.
3. Belief in God.
Anyway I started and here is my story and it will take less than 8 minutes.
As a young boy and teenager I attended several different churches but I found them to be a very cold
Church both physically and spiritually.
I was forced to go to Church each Sunday with my mother and sister and I was baptised and confirmed
there and attended Sunday school.
After my wife Roberta and I were married in 1972 we started going to her church which is St.Thomas and our two daughters were baptised and confirmed there and attended sunday school as well. Our 2 grandchildren were also baptized there.We have both been attending since then, but I did it because I felt I should attend and I would check it off my to do list each week. I was just going through the motions and not going for the right reasons, but only because I felt obligated that this is what I should do.
We did this regularly until 1996 when my life completely changed and I invited God into my life. Wow it took 50 years for it to happen. It happened at a 3 day Cursillo weekend a short course in Christian living at Lavroc Centre on the Salmonier Line. Roberta had done the weekend about 6 months previously and when she came back after that weekend I saw something in her demeanour that attracted and intriqued me. I thank her for encouragement and support to attend the next scheduled weekend. The decision that I could make that weekend had the potential to change my life completely either very positive or very negative. I took a major leap of Faith.
During that weekend we had an opportunity to pray and invite God into our lives. I took a huge leap of faith and prayed on my knees by myself and asked God to come into my life and fill me with the Holy Spirit and asked Him to become a major part in my life. As I prayed my whole body felt like it was on fire and when I opened my eyes the overwhelming feeling was one of peace and happiness. It was an absolutely incredible life changing experience. I felt like a new person with a new life.
That has happened several times since then.
1. At our wed. morning Men’s Ministry at St. Thomas’ where men share and pray for one another.
2. At Living Waters prayer, praise and inner healing service at Wesley on Tuesday evenings.
I drove home after that Cursillo weekend on top of the world. That was the weekend that made me realize that there really is a God and it was a life changing wake up call for me. It was at that time that I realized God had a purpose and a plan for me. Lowly Me.
SHARE Young Man’s tragic story - A RECENT MAJOR TEST OF MY FAITH IN TORONTO
Roberta and I still go to St. Thomas’ because we want to go and commune with other believers and give thanks to God. It is not about the bricks and mortar and glass windows that attracts us, but being in the presence of God with other believers and to step out in Faith. The financial resources should then be used for true Outreach Projects and to help others that are in dire need. I have served at St. Thomas’ as Treasurer on 3 occasions and been a member of Vestry as well as the Stewardship and Strategic planning Committee. We also both serve on the prayer teams for people needing prayer each Sunday.
My faith means everything to me. I don’t how to people can go through all the constant stresses in life and the tragedies that they incur in life , without knowing God and not asking Him for help and inviting Him into their lives.
It is very easy when you we are on top of the mountain to feel we are in control, but when you are at the bottom of that mountain and not knowing what to do, or where you are going, that is when you need to admit that you need help and take that big Leap in Faith and ask God for his help. Take the pride completely out of it and it will be one of the most important decisions you will ever make..
We all have to make very important decisions during our lives and depending on which road we take , either the right way or the wrong way , could change our lives forever. If I had made the wrong choice in 1996 and taken the wrong road, I would not be standing here this morning for sure. I shudder to think how my life would have changed and I have no idea how I would have turned out. Thank God I made the right choice.
After I retired from NL Hydro took several months to consider where I would like to volunteer and I prayed about it. I took time to discern what God wanted me to do for Him and how to approach it and seek guidance. I felt hearing and being drawn to the poor, the needy, homeless and working poor and those in need of housing as well as those incarcerated.
I quickly learned that I don’t have the answers, but God only wants us to introduce him to others and if necessary use words and listen to him. This has led me to getting involved with the Homeless Network, Social housing Faith and Action.( that is where I first met Rev. Miriam).
In subsequent years I have been involved as a Board Member of Home Again Furniture Bank, for 3 years and which is now very soundly established and helping in meeting the needs of others who have little or nothing, not even a pillow for their head.
Four years ago I was invited to join the CCOPC Board, who at that time were looking at how can the parish stay in the Church where it was and pay their fair share of the fuel and operating costs as well as build 10 supportive housing units. To date the parish is still able to stay in this location, plus we have now completed an additional 5 seniors housing units, an enhanced performance centre and a community centre all managed by First Light.
Anything is possible if we are willing to listen to where God is leading us and have faith in Him.
Right now I am also a Board member of Anglican Homes Inc and St. Luke’s Homes and the associated cottages and apartments.
A total of 177 units and 117 patient beds.That is also a very special and rewarding Ministry.
We just finished at St, Thomas’ a 7 week course called Christianity Explored. All based on the Gospel of Mark. It is a course designed for people seeking Christ and who have a lot of questions, doubts about God, but are willing to listen, ask questions and participate.
I am closest to God when I am on any Salmon River in the early morning. No one but Him and me
and the sound of the river and peace and quiet.
Also when I go for a jog or a run. A great time to say my prayers and not worry about time
or Personal bests.
At our Men’s Wed. morning Ministry for one hour where we share and pray together in complete confidence.
In summary I thank god for giving me a wakeup call in 1996 and coming into my life and leading me to opportunities to reach out to others, unconditionally. I found this very difficult do prior to 1996. I now have complete Faith in Him.
Also listen to God when you sense he is urging you to do something. How often have we seen a person on the street, or at Tim’s asking for some change for a coffee, or for food and quite often we tend to judge them and think what are they really going to use the money for, that we give them. Take a minute to speak with them. Also think about if we give someone a Gift it is given unconditionally with no strings attached as to how it is to be used.
READ MY FAVOURITE BIBLE STORY MARK 10:15
Thank you for listening to my Faith story this morning and thank you Rev. Miriam for asking
me to share my story. God bless you all. Derek Osmond