“This is now!” 

James ball grew up in the independent fundamental baptist church. His dad was a pastor. He knew becca Lynn most of his life. They went from acquaintance to friends then from friends to close friends.  They started a formal courtship right before they went to bible college.

He had gotten permisson from her farther to formerly purpose marriage.  They planed the wedding, there life and ministry. Then it all changed. 

James grew up very tradional. Some would call him old fashioned.  He was hardly armish. He liked to snowmobiling.  He played video games. He liked cqr racing games but not ones like grand theft auto.  He was opposed to contemporary Christian music. He only listened to the old hyms. He did not own a tv. 

Things changed for him. He became disillusioned with the independent fundamental baptist movement.  He believed in seperation but felt it could sometimes go too far.  There was an incident that broke the canmels back. He was very close with a cousin that attended a non fundimental church. His cousign asked him to be his best man. The church alowed ccm. Whem his colege learned that he did that,they sactioned him. He had to resign his post in student government and as a dorm supervisor.  

He did graduate.  His reputation was somewhat tarnished. He did keep being involved in his farthet’s house. His views were not as strong as they use to be. Despite these strugles,his relationship with becca remained strong. 

Becca’s grandparents were missionaries to the philipines. Her farther was a deacon and Sunday school teacher.  He also owned an old fashioned Christian bookstore that only caried sacred music,king james bibles ans refused to cary any books asociated with reformed theology. 

Becca was a few younger then jim. She had always admired jim. Even qt a young she could tell that he was serious about his faith.  His faith continued to grow. Her admiration for him also grew. No one was suprised when they did date. 

When they made there relationship official, they did it with the expectation that they would be maried. The church also had the expectations as well. She got excited for wedding preparations.  

She had gone with him to the wedding of his cousign. Both knew coming in that it would not be an i.v.b ceremony or reception. She knew he was very brothered by the school sactioned him. That incident made him questoned everything.  He tried to shield her from that. 

She was commited to separation and to the i.v.b. he was afraid to engage her on all this. She tried to talk to him about it. Everytime she tried to engage him,he froze up. He eventually decided to leave his father’s church and severed all ties with the i.f.b. he did not feel that he could drag her into this. 

He decided to break off the engagement with becca. She was devastated.  The local church and area i.f.b were in an uprour. There had been presure on her to break it off. Her family put pressure on her as well. She tried to talk him out of it. He would not budge.  After the breakup they went there seperate ways.

Jim started attending the same church as hie cousign.  They starrted a setilite church to there home church. Eventualy the church asked him to become there pastor. 

Becca took over day to day operations of the book store. She was active in her church. She became a chior director.  She was kept buisy. There was potential suters but she refused there entities.  Her parents tried to get her to move on.she went on one date. She regreted it. 

Her parents were concerned.  They realy wanted her to move on from jim. She could not. She secretly hoped that she would one day get back with him. 

One day becca was driving back from a confrence. She wanted to find a church to atend on her way back. She found faith church.she parked the car. 

She went inside and sat down. A young women came over to her. “Hello welcome to faith church. ” she said. She gave her a welcone pakege. Becca thanked her.

Becca noticed that while everyone dressed casualy,they were dresed modesty and neat. The service began.she saw the last person she expexted to see. It was jim. He wore a butoned down shirt . he wore jeens. She had lost touch with him.

“I would like to welcome you to faith church. To our visitors,i would like to give you a special welcome. Im pastor jim. We are a unique church.  I hope you will enjoy your time hear. I hope the lord will speak to you though what goes on hear . ” he said. 

He made announcements and gave an opening prayer.  The worship team came up to the podium. Jim played the guitar.  She chuckled. The music was ccm. 

Jim preached.  She did not realize how much she missed his preaching.his preaching style didnot change.she missed his preaching. She missed his booming voice.  His doctrine did not seam to change.  She missed him. He stil put buterfiles in her stomich.

After the service she tried to see him. There were a lot of people there. It was hard to get to him. She realy wanted to see him. She really did not want to leave hear without seing him.he was talking to people whenhe saw her. 

He was shocked. “Will you excuse me?” he asked. He went off to see her.”becca?” he asked. “Hi jim.excuse me pastor jim. “She said. He hugged her. “What are you doing hear?” he asked.

“I was on my way home back from faithful women’s confrence and was looking for a church to attend. “She said. “It is good to see you. “He said. “Your the pastor?”she asked. “Yes. Marcus and i founded this church as an off schoot of grace church. Marcus moved on to start new churches. I was voted pastor. ” he said. “I enjoyed your surmon. It brought back memories. ” she told him.

“My preaching style realy has not changed sence my time at gospel baptist church. I stil preach from the king james. ” he said. “I see that. “She said. ” we are not a kjv pnly church. I only use the king James. ” he said. “I am very glad to hear that.” she told him. 

“Reports of my becoming a liberal have been greatly exaggerated. ” he said. “I never thought that you became a liberal. “She said. “You didn’t? ” he asked. ” i know you better then that. Jim. Pastor jim.i know your heart. I know where your conviction were.  ” she said. “I am glad of that. I feared you would think ill Of me. ” he told her. “Not at all. You are serving the lord. I am glad of that. ” she said. 

“Look i know i have some driving to do.care to go out for cofee? We can chat a bit. I would love to catch up. ” he said.  “I would love that. “She said.

“I can’t believe your hear?” he remarked. “I cant believe im talking to you. I missed you. ” she told him. “I can only imagine what your perents would say if they knew you had gone to faith church or that you had seen me” he said. “How are things between you ans your perents? ” she asked. “We are stil close. I talk to them almost every week. We dont about church. They dont see my pastorate as legitimate.  I think in there eyes i back slid. This is worse then joning a biker gang.” he said. 

“You have not realy changed doctrinaly.”she said. “No i realy have not. I believe in a form of seperation. I have not abandoned my core principles. ” he told her. “I see you are the same you i have always known.”she said.  “Thank you.  That meens alot. I would hate if if you thought i was a liberal. ” he said. “I see evidence to the contrary.  You have my suport. ” she said. “I am pleased to hear that bec. I take my walk with the lird seriously.  ” he told her. “I know that. I have never thought otherwise. ” she said.

“I am glad to hear that. I imagine that many at gospel baptist church feel differently.  “He said.”you have ylur detractors. I have never been one of them. ” she said.”i am glad to hear that. ” he said.

“Why did you break off the engagement?  “She asked.  “Bec you are the epitome of the i.f.b. you would not have followed me to evangelicalism.  If you did you would not have been happy.  I figured we would end up breaking up Eventualy.  Why dalay the inevetible! ” he said.

“Our breakup was not inevetible.  I commited yourself to you when you perposed. I knew you were having doubts. You never gave me a chance. You should have trusted me. ” she told him. 

“I figured you would not have wanted to go with me. You are prety traditional.  I did not want to back yoy into a corner. Your parents would have never alowed it. I cant believe you would have agreed to go with me. You would not have been happy in my world. ” he told her.

“I believed i was called to marry you. I had reason to believe that you were called to be my husband.  I emotionally invested in our mariege. I wanted to be maried to you.  I was prepared to go with you. ” she said. 

“I could not have put you in a situation where you had to chose between me and your parents.  That would be unfair. “He said.

“In trying to protect me,you put me in a worse situation.  You abandoned me. I wanted to marry you. ” she said “she thought to herself, i stil do but decided not to say it out loud. “I understand your position.  It was not going to work out. I was not going back to gbc or tje i.vb. you belonged in that world.”he told her.  

“I knew once you left you would never be coning back. I was ok with that.  You should have given me a  chance.  ” she said. 

As they talked, a group of younger people came over to them.”pastor i dont usually see you hear on a sunday night?” he said. “No ben i usualy dont come hear on Sunday night. “He said. “Who is this? “Kevin asked.  “This is becca. ” he said.

“I take it your old friends? ” ben asked.  “You could say that. ” jim answered. “I had no idea you knew ladies existed. ” kevin saidm”i take it your not curently romantically involved with anyone right now? “She asked. ” no he has notm ” ben said.

Becca was glad to hear that.  She never fully gave up on the relationship.  She was glad he had not dated someone else. After a while the church people left.

“So are you dating anyone? ” he  asked. “No i am not. ” she said. “You should.  Your an amazing godly women.  You will make a great wife.  You should be open to finding someone” she said.

She had no idea how to respond to that. Why did he say that? Did he have no interest in her? Why was he pushing her away? Why he want her to be happy with someone else. She found it discouraging and frustrating.  She tried to remain calm. 

To be continued. 

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