My Conversion

My name is Michael. I am a recent college graduate. I am unemployed, but like to think that I’m an independent web designer. I do random web and graphic design work for a variety of people and organizations. My talents and experience lay in various media, including photography, video production, newspaper & magazine production, and other forms of print and electronic media. It is my hope to use my penchant for the media to further the kingdom of God here on earth. I would like to someday be seen as a Christian multi-media mogul, conquering the current secular media and using it for Christ’s work.

As a child, I was surrounded by Christian doctrine in my home, school, and extended family life. My brother, sister, and cousins were all of similar age, and we were brought into Christ’s flock at relatively the same time. Having others to keep me in line and warn me when I wasn’t being “like a Christian” was wonderful for my early conduct and developing lifestyle. Natural sibling rivalry caused us kids to compete in all aspects of life, including physical achievements, academics, and Christianity. Each of us wanted to memorize more verses than the rest. Through this childish competition, God shaped my thinking and my knowledge of good and acceptable behavior. In my childhood, the foundation of a healthy and godly life was laid.

There were many years (5th grade to 11th grade), during which my faith was stagnant. I don’t know if I was saved. I certainly had head knowledge of God and the Gospel, but whether I was regenerate and, at heart, a Christian, I do not know.

In the 11th grade, I discovered the teaching ministry of R.C. Sproul. I found one of his audiotape series in my dad’s bedroom. It was entitled Building Christian Character, and it changed my view of Christianity completely. I realized that being Christian was not simply being in a certain social class, a member of some divine fan club, or simply a title bestowed upon us by the elders of the church—for vanity only and devoid of meaning. Christianity was a way of living. I learned that you can tell a tree by its fruit. It was a complete shock to know there were people in this world, who call themselves Christians, but were really not. That such a deceit could be taking place in this world was terrifying to me. It was at that moment; I took on a seemingly God-authorized crusade to expose such deceivers in the Christian church. I studied reformed apologetics vehemently, and unfortunately used doctrines, like predestination, aggressively and maliciously in my church, youth group, and amongst Christian friends. I wielded biblical truth clumsily, like an oversized broad sword, smashing all that came into my way. I lacked the wisdom, tact, and skill to use the truth in a loving, Godly manner, and I certainly paid the price. All of my Christian friends resented me for my theological aggressiveness, and I was left friendless for the remainder of high school.

Though my vigor faded over time, I continued to learn from R.C. Sproul and to build up my knowledge of reformed theology. On December 31, 1994, during my freshman year in college, I sat in my room, contemplating the meaning of my life. I concluded that my life had no meaning, in-and-of-itself. There was no accomplishment that I could achieve that would make my life successful. My life was unsalvageable. There was nothing I could do to give it any meaning. That’s when I gave my life to Christ, to do with as He pleased. Only through Him, could I find significance and value. On December 31, 1994, I knew I was saved.

It’s been four years since then. In all honesty, I’ve been floundering ever since. My spiritual life has been mediocre, at best; I haven’t had consistent devotions or Bible study; and my social life has been nil. I have been keeping busy with church life and personal ministries. I was a member of New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fairfax for a while, but later joined Chantilly Presbyterian Church during my senior year of college.

I involved myself in a variety of ministries and personal media projects that were meant to minister to college students. I eventually knew for certain that I was called to reach out to young adults in college and those most influenced by today’s secular media. As I’ve already stated, I would like to help bring the national media under the lordship of Christ, and to present the Gospel message in the new communication formats introduced to us by today’s ever-changing technology. I hope that, if I just keep busy and continue to serve God, that He will eventually draw me closer to Him and provide me with someone to share my life, my love, and my Lord with.

Born Again

New Year’s Eve – December 31st, 1994. Sitting alone in my room, posted at my desk, I comes correct to my Maker. Chris Isaac’s “Two Hearts” plays for the ninth time. The True Romance soundtrack is my fellow New Year’s celebrator. Spending the evening alone is probably the best way to spend it. I say. ‘Tis true. Why am I here? And what is missing? Not company. What’s missing inside me?

My name is Michael Tolosa. ‘Since I was born, I’ve called myself a Christian. I was raised in a Christian family. I was enrolled in a Christian elementary school. I’ve always gone to church. Don’t question my knowledge of the Bible, ’cause I’ll put you in your place with my exploding knows. Sure, I gots all my Bible stuff together. It was all I knew. I was just a Christian. That’s all there was to it.

It was the summer before my Junior year in high school. I met a crew that was way down with Christianity. I didn’t know any Christians on my way up the elementary, junior and high school levels. But I met some peers that held up the sword. Took the label like there was nothing cooler to do. So, I took it up, too.

Met a girl at school. She’s a Christian. I start looking for the Christians in the school. Find some. Start up a Bible study. Got a crew o’ high school students, all taking up the sword of righteousness and forming a small army. I’m a soldier for two years.

My Senior year showed a major backslide. Shunned my fellow soldiers and ran with the masked crew. Fun abounded, but my spirit dissolved to nothing. My eyes were closed and it took an accident and a concussion to sharpen up my senses. A bit of reform, but not quite da supa’.

I was just chillin’ for a year and a half, then found myself face-to-face with Chris Isaac, questioning my salvation. It was time to check myself, ’cause it was all definitely questionable.

I don’t know if I was really a Christian before last New Year’s. I sure had the knowledge and I sure had some fruit. But was it just the result of being raised in a certain ideology? Sure, those people who say religion is just based on how one is raised, they’re partly right.

I’ll tell you, without the Holy Spirit’s regeneration, religion is a matter of preference. It’s a culture, only true to you if you want it to. They’re right. That’s why they’re so sure. So, is Christianity just a preference to you? Is Christianity just the way you were raised? Do you only have the fruit ’cause you were raised to behave and think that way? That’s the most deceptive.

Christianity is just a preference without the Holy Spirit’s regeneration. But once you’re regenerated, it’s life. It’s all there is. It’s life. I don’t know if I was really a Christian before last New Year’s, but after that night, I know I am now. After that night, I had life. All I can say is “check yo’self.”