Member Interviews: Ray Noble

Because I believe in what our church is doing, and because the stories that we are hearing about growth and conversion from among our fellowship are worth sharing I am going to try and post interviews with our members regularly. Here is the first interview with my dear friend and brother Ray Noble.

Share with us your name and what you’re currently doing with your life.

William Ray Noble Jr.

I am currently a senior at Shawnee State University.  I will be graduating this May, attending the Summer Language Institute for Latin at the University of Virginia, and then proceed to a post-baccalaureate degree in classical languages/philology (philology is the study of languages and how they apply to understanding the past, in this case Ancient Greek and Latin).  I hope to attain a university teaching position upon acquiring my doctorate in classical philology.  I want to be the next C.S. Lewis.

How did you become a Christian?    

I was raised in the United Methodist Church, however, despite being baptized and confirmed my freshmen year of high school; I do not believe I became a Christian until the summer between my freshmen and sophomore years of college in 2009.  November of my freshmen year I become involved with a church in town which had just started, called Revolution.  This church was different from the church I was use to attending each Sunday.  On a typical Sunday morning at my church back home, the pastor would stand up, read scripture, and talk for 15-20 minutes about how this verse meant we should be nice to our spouses and sacrificing our time for our children.  I do not mean to say that these things are bad or unbiblical, however, one thing that I never once heard preached at my church, and I mean really focused on for even a full sermon, was the gospel.  That was not the case at this new church. I found myself “strangely” looking forward to each week.  Having grown up in the church I thought I understood the gospel, however, with time I discovered that my heart had never really understood the gospel.  That man sinned and fell out of a perfect relationship with God, God sent his son as man to live among us and to go to the cross for our crimes, and now we as individuals need to respond to the good news of the reconciliation that Christ’s death on the cross can bring.

This all came to a front in the summer of 2009.  Late one night while sitting in my dorm room, I struck up a conversation with my best friend from high school on Facebook.  The conversation quickly turns to religion and Christianity; my friend had become very hostile to religions, he is homosexual and thus at times feels attacked and belittled by Christians.  I engaged my friend by explaining to him the gospel as it had been explained at Revolution.  My friend acknowledged the gospel as something interesting and while he did not accept it (he is still an atheist to this day), he did say that he respected it. A conversation which started with him having a negative view on Christianity ended with him having more of an open mind towards it.  What does this have to do with my conversion? Well, after the Facebook conversation concluded I began to reflect on some of the things I had said.  I read over my portions of the conversation again and again.  At 11 PM I logged off Facebook and lay on my bed, lost in the things that I had just said.  Around 2 AM, I turned my bedroom light off and went to bed knowing that, while God may not have used the conversation to break through the heart of my friend that night, he used that conversation to break through my heart.

How has your faith been challenged over the years?

When I first became a Christian, I was very careful about what parts of the Bible I read.  Looking back, I can say that I did this because I knew it would rebuke beliefs I had prescribed to before I came to Christ.  So, I decided to read books about the Bible, I quickly fell into reading books by Mark Driscroll and Tim Keller.  As time passed I learned that I would have to face parts of the bible which the old me would object to.  Thankfully, the Spirit worked on my heart and has allowed me to grow in his truths; although that is not to say that it is an easy process or one that I have completed because I am still far from that.  My family has also been a source of tension since I’ve been a Christian.  Before I came to Christ I had a very similar worldview as my parents and sister; however, since I’ve come to Christ that view has been changing and it has created some tension between my family and me.

How has Revolution church helped you to grow?

Initially, the preaching at Revolution forced me to examine the gospel and what it meant to me.  The continued emphasis on the gospel has been very good for it keeps me focused on the one thing that matters above all others.  The Free Seminary style classes offered by Revolution have also helped me grow in my understanding of God and his word; classes such as Systematic Theology are beneficial because they help me see how the various aspects of scripture are defined and then fit together and interact with each other, making the larger story of grace and salvation.  Revolution has also placed a strong emphasis on discipleship, the practice of older, mature Christians coming along and helping younger Christians as they learn how to implement their faith to a 21st century American context.

As you move forward with your life what are some areas of your faith that you’d like to develop, study, or change?

Trust in God. Let me elaborate because that sounds very vague.  In the next ten years (if everything goes according to plan) I will be moving around the country, acquiring a post-bac, M.A., and then a PhD in Classics.  Classical philology is a competitive field academically and positions in graduate programs are very limited with financial aid being even more selective.  I will then be thrown into a competitive, unforgiving, and saturated job market for the position that I feel called to.  While gathering large amounts of college loan debt, meanwhile, there are only six schools in the nation which currently have the post-bac program that I need, they are Loyola UC, Georgetown U, Columbia U, UNC at Chapel Hill, UPenn, and UCLA.

I still have days when the number of “ifs” feel overwhelming.

If you are a member of Revolution Church I’d encourage you to pray for our brother Ray this week as he preps for the final weeks at SSU and then for the future.

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