How It Got Started
Northeast Christian Apologetics (NECA) is a ministry born out of a deep desire to provide tools that will help citizens of the Kingdom of God to persevere through the trials and tribulations that occur in this life through external forces and internal struggles.
I was raised Christian, my family often went to church and I participated in Wednesday kids services. So, I had that Christian grounding growing up but never seriously thought about it nor was I exposed to the alternative ways of looking at reality that would challenge it. But when I joined the navy, that's exactly what I was exposed to. I maintained my faith, though marginally, for years but eventually began to call myself an atheist.
Transitioning to calling yourself an atheist is not an easy one. I remember pacing around my watchstation on the submarine saying to myself, "I am an atheist. I am an atheist."
All the while I felt as if I was losing a part of myself. My chanting seemed to make me feel closer to God in a way, but the feeling dissipated as I cemented myself into my new identity. I describe it to people as a final, sad embrace from someone who loves you as you walk out of their life. I could feel the love of God departing and I felt a sense of relief. (Not knowing at the time that I felt relief because I knew I was doing something wrong. The end of the event brought the relief that I could now go about doing as I pleased without the ugly reminder.)
Eventually, I met a woman who would become my wife. She was a Christian and would mention God occasionally. I still had my childhood knowledge of Christianity. So, I talked to her about it without revealing that I was an atheist. She eventually caught on that I was an atheist and started taking me to a young adults ministry. The people in the community made it feel like home and I started to soften back up to Christianity. But that wasn't good enough for this girl. As we began to get more serious, she gave me an argument that really drove home the importance of investigating Christianity. Her argument was:
"You need to love God more than you love me or this isn't gonna work."
I like to call this argument, "Saschia's Ultimatum". I have yet to find something that provides better motivation to get young men searching.
So, I began investigating the claims of Christianity. I first found Ravi Zacharias, then John Lennox, then William Lane Craig (WLC). At first I found WLC to be off putting, but his arguments were difficult for me to dispute. I couldn't find anyone who could knock him down. Even though I thought his opponents would make strong counter arguments, he always had an answer that made their points seem foolish in the end.
By the time I found WLC I had already realized that I was a Christian again. I could feel God's love once more and embraced it. I kept studying apologetics and everything related to God, Christ, the Church (everything Christian). I couldn't get enough (and still can't). I felt like the prodigal son and was the prodigal son. I married the woman who reconnected me with God and I started a small apologetics class at my church to teach the things that I learned.
Everything was going well for me. But, the demands of my job began to catch up with me. I became so focused on my responsibilities as a leader in nuclear chemistry that I neglected my responsibilities as a leader in my home. I failed to love my wife, step daughter and baby as I should and started seeking love outside of my family. My spiritual life was dipping strongly and I stopped carrying the Bible that I had had in my pocket for six years. Stopped studying the Bible and Christianity, stopped listening to Christian music and stopped praying.
Instead... I began having an affair.
My life began to spiral out of control. My wife kicked me out of the house, good and evil, right and wrong became muddled. I once again felt the spiritual loneliness that I felt when I abandoned God the first time.
I carried on like that for months until I finally worked up the courage to quit my job to focus on healing myself and my family. I spent months following my resignation, dedicating myself to prayer and healing. Spending time with family for their support and living out of my car, trusting and relying on God. It was extremely difficult. But, the healing that God provided me is irreplaceable.
This ministry is born out of that healing. Throughout my time, lost in that spiritual wasteland, I never once questioned whether or not God existed. Though I failed and couldn't save myself, I knew that God had a good reason for allowing me to experience the things that I experienced. I know that He has the power to make someone as sinful and depraved as me a useful and productive servant in His glorious Kingdom.
I pray that you give me the chance to help the community of God. I pray that I might be able to pass on the tools that I've found helpful in strengthening my faith even while I was wandering, destitute with the sense of God far from me. Knowing that God hadn't abandoned me even when it felt like He had and had every right to.
Please grant me the opportunity to serve.