Well, my way with words is sketchy to begin with. You're not going to see me orating anything here. God didn't bless me with eloquence of speech, and that's A-OK. He has blessed me with a poetic voice but it isn't eloquent but more abstract.
I'll quote a section of Scripture from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, in the NKJV.
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom but in demonstration of Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of man but in the power of God."
The gospel of Christ is far more important. Swaying people with eloquent words is dandy and all, but eloquence could be used to promote false doctrine and that's where Satan gets his hands on the weak Church and breaks a little more off.
Christ crucified. That's all, folks. Not like doctrine isn't important. (My username can tell you a little bit about what I believe.)
B: Life as an Arminian.
I want to talk about how I was raised Arminian. Arminianism is really friendly. You can choose Christ as your Savior in this vein of theology. It makes the Christian life sound so easy. Of course, we didn't believe in the completely erroneous doctrine that you could lose your salvation. But everything else about Arminianism was a go.
I was a little 7 year old boy, as I can remember, when Mom led me into the bathroom and went through the Sinner's Prayer with me. I remember her holding a color book and there was a black page. I 'asked Jesus into my heart' and she turned the page and it was white. I was convinced I was a Christian.
I accepted it pretty unquestionably, not understanding the Scriptures like I do now. (I do not claim to understand even 1/5 of Scripture now. I am no Noah Webster.)
I was part of a Baptist church until I was about 10, then we moved out of the state, and settled up a lot further north. The Baptist church had great preaching from what she told me. (Our pastor was Carl Gallups, who authored at least a few books subsequently after we left.)
Our new church was completely nondenominational. Not Presbyterian, not Baptist, not Reformed Baptist, Strict Baptist, etc. It's just a 'fellowship church' as the sign said.
The teaching was nowhere near hyper-charismatic like some churches I know about, but it was definitely Arminian. I loved the pastor and I still think he's pretty good, despite some doctrinal disagreements. I am not saying that Arminians aren't Christians or even godly men.
C: Transitional Stage.
I felt alone as an Arminian. I didn't feel saved. I didn't feel like I was in Christ's saving grace. I felt like I hadn't achieved the full understanding of Biblical truth. (I still don't now, but at least I have a rock-solid theology base.)
I kept asking Jesus into my heart, even crying at one point that He'd come into my heart. I still felt the same. I felt like I wasn't satisfied with anything having to do with Christianity.
I sought the voice of God. I admit I was practically an ineffective Charismatic. I wanted a 'Holy Spirit experience' or the 'second blessing' and asked for it a few times.
Up until the day I started to seriously peer into Calvinism, I have peripherally heard of it as a 'completely ultra-strict and erroneous' theology, a 'non-user-friendly' theology, etc. I was afraid of going against my own family's doctrine.
Well, God granted me fearlessness towards Calvinism. I seriously started to peer into Calvinism, the five-points, etc. I compared it with Scripture, and I was like... 'The heck... this is doctrinally sound.'
On that day, I accepted the doctrines of grace. I felt a lot more satisfied, but felt of myself as a mere vessel of God. I couldn't say that this was my theology. I really felt that I was learning God's truth.
I fell off the narrow path once, in a fit of despair, trying to understand the gravity of such doctrines. The fact that I couldn't choose to be saved made me go crazy, but God granted me peace about it pretty soon after. I recognzied the ultimate sovereignty of God in all things.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28, KJV)
D: Life as a Calvinist.
Note: I do not have a 100% agreement with every part of Calvinism, but I agree with it enough that I would find myself at home being pastored by Jonathan Edwards, B. B. Warfield, John Gerstner, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul (disagree with paedobaptism, but that's a tertiary issue), and Phil Johnson. (has a great sermon about Calvinism and the history of it, and Phil's journey from Arminianism to Calvinism)
I lived in moderate fear of being ridiculed for my extreme, at least to them, beliefs. I eventually talked about it with my Mom and she respects my beliefs completely.
Calvinism, to me, was a paradigm shift. I went from being a 'sign-seeker and experience craver' to being completely skeptical of experiences. I recognized that emotion can be a very dangerous drawback from true, holy worship.
I looked back in thanks to God for protecting me against these experiences. I was in a charismatic youth group and never experienced what others experienced. Now I know that God's unmerited grace was upon me this whole time, even before my transformation in doctrine and lifestyle.
Now, I had a major setback subsequently, not doctrinally, but spiritually. I let myself, in my depression, fall into a myriad of sexual sin. I still feel bad about that to this day.
Recently, I found myself growing warmer to God and Christ and Calvinism, and am now aiming to keep myself standing up through God's grace in my life.
This is a prayer to God and if you wish, you can pray it also.
Dear Sovereign Lord Jesus, gird my loins with the truth of Your Word. Bring me a mindset of repentance, a mindset of peace, a mindset of love, and a mindset of discernment. Bring me to an ever-increasing love for Your truth. Bring me to an ever-increasing awe of Your unlimited power and glory. As Joseph was transported into Egypt by the Ishmaelites, his dream was inadvertently fulfilled, but according to You, nothing is inadvertent. I see Your sovereign predetermination, Your authorship of history, and Your precise and exact care for each and every one of the elect that You have unconditionally chosen. You didn't choose the strong, the rich, the self-satisfied, any more than You chose the poor, the weak, the mentally ill, or the infirm. I declare my love for You and Your truth, a reciprocal love that is only possible because You loved me first. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.
E. A Long-Standing Opinion of Mine, or Two. (Even When Arminian.)
Worship music in the churches I attend is too loud. Worship music today is too theologically sparse and mushy. Too much love, in the sense of mushy-gushy love, not divine love.
I have an issue with youth groups that have a 'five-minute' Bible sermon then are all games for the next 115 minutes. I was about to sit down with the youth pastor about it, but situations arose and I couldn't. Now I am too old for it.
I hope that the words on this page will enlighten you and bring you to a closer communion with the Sovereign Lord.