Nicole’s Note: Here at “Voices Against the Grain,” we are committed to uplifting the voices of those who are boldly advancing God’s Kingdom in a world whose actions contradict this pursuit. This past February, I was privileged to meet Herbert Bowen, Jr., whose blog post follows below (thank you Shannon Howey for coordinating the conference at which we met). He is an exemplary young man who has held firmly to Jesus Christ since age 5. At his present age of 23, his relationship with Jesus Christ has helped him overcome many temptations and kept him on the path of “waiting for sex until marriage.” I am proud of him and pleased to share his post for your reading. He is a great example for our young people of what’s possible with God. Stay tuned, as he’ll have more blog posts to share and will be a featured guest on the “Voices Against the Grain” radio show this fall. Please read and continue to encourage this young man in his walk with Christ. GO Herbert, and Keep God First!
Since age 5, I have always been in the church, as my name means “illustrious, intelligent warrior, a soldier in God’s army.” I stood as a member of Upper Merion Baptist Church in my hometown of King of Prussia, Pa., until the age of 18 whereupon I went to college. Even then I rarely missed a Sunday service. My grandmother Abigail taught me from a young age to remember that “only what you do for Christ shall last.” This concept stuck with me as I progressed and matured in my life, as it wasn’t until high school that I saw the constant bombardment of sexual temptation, drugs, and an absolute disregard for morality.
Many of my “so-called” friends deserted me en route to follow their own inhibitions. I understand that the world seeks fulfillment over restraint, I understand the pressure to appease rather than to flee temptation, I understand. For in my younger days I felt the bitter cold of loneliness and the torment of ridicule, due to the fact that I refused to follow the standards of this world. The taunts and abandonment of being called “gay,” due to my then and present virginity at the age of 23, or the lack of warmth when trying to kindle a relationship with someone, was to say the least, discomforting. Therefore, I know the Christian life is paved with trials and tribulations. As even now I undergo persecution. Because in the world we live in, the candlelight is enveloped in the darkness.
However, the more I grew I saw the woebegone periods of my life brighten, as God transformed the ridicule to respect and the slander to being held in high regard. In 1 Peter 1:6, it says, “so be truly glad for there is a wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.” Furthermore, the realization said best by my Pastor Loran Livingston, is this “Earth is nothing, but a cheap motel room because you don’t furnish the motel room with pictures, a Tempurpedic bed, and so on. All in all, it doesn’t make sense, so let’s look forward to everlasting joy and building our homes in heaven.” Hence, it’s my opinion that this life is meant to spread the Gospel, not seeking our own personal happiness and gain. Because real investments have eternal returns, so we must lay out a long-term investment plan in order to build a strong spiritual future. Because those who are ill-prepared will look back and wonder where they took the wrong step, as they now toil and struggle to recoup the spiritual currency needed to make ends meet.
Moreover, I am enamored with 1 Timothy 4:14-16, especially v. 16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” Persevere.
Persevere in meditation in God’s word every day and every night. The answer to not only hear God, but to be confident in what you’re doing is right. Next, pray without ceasing. We are not strong enough by ourselves. Prayer is our direct link to God. Contrary to popular belief we are not talking to air. He is the reason for the clothes on our backs and shoes on our feet. The reason why you and I are fortunate enough to live in America, where we can go to school every day, congregate in a church, and have friends of different backgrounds without the persecution and fear suffered in other countries.
I have woken up to see what God has done in my life. Because time is of the essence, so I encourage others to seek out a friend, classmate, or enemy, whoever may listen, so they might have opportunity to hear the Good News and duplicate the process, to which has made them secure. And before you know it there shall be many (not seeking their own profit, but the profit of many) (1 Corinthians 10:33) who will offer up their bodies holy and pleasing as a living sacrifice to God.
So may God bless you, you called to be one of the few,
Looking to fulfill his purpose resembling not the hare, but the tortoise,
For to seek Christ is to gain, never turning our back because he bore our pain.
Praise be to God, our Lord, our strength, and our redeemer. Amen.
About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.
Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C. At his current age of 23, Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the PureHope advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.
Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.