Breaking Out Of The Box . . .New Book Chronicles Search Through Christianity To Find Christ
By Kim Kern
Who would have thought that a bathroom in a random church would be the place for finding out why a person was so on fire for the Lord? Well, this happened to John Bullock, the author of Seeing With Fresh Eyes: Sin, Salvation, and the Steadfast Love of God, as he ventured into various churches while in the Air Force. Mr. Bullock said that there was at least one person in each congregation who would be on fire for the Lord and they “were always the weird one!” While in the men’s room with this man, he asked, "What is it that's different about you, that all this has caused such a transformation in you?" The man looked at him, like, why do you need to ask this? So, his new acquaintance replied, “But it’s Jesus!” And the journey began.
John W. Bullock is a man who thought he knew all there is to know about God, the Bible, and how to be a good Christian. Through his life experiences and his eventual realization that he did not have all the answers or the close relationship with God that he longed for, he set out on a journey that would change his life forever.
The meaning of this book starts with Hebrews 11:6: "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Lightning struck with this verse and Mr. Bullock started looking at the Bible in a different way.
John Bullock was born and raised in Brighton, a town outside of Rochester, New York. Though he earned a degree in English and minors in Speech and the Bible, Mr. Bullock did not feel it was his strong suit. He felt a strong pull to get into medicine. He went into the Air Force in 1974, during the recession and explains that he, “enlisted as a medic and after about five years, was accepted into Physician Assistant School in the Air Force.” The University of Oklahoma made it possible for Mr. Bullock to enter the program. He has been “happily married” to his wife, Cheryl since 1977. They have three children, who are grown.
After having extensive medical experience through the Air Force, Mr. Bullock eventually became Director of the Air Force's second largest clinical research and development lab down in Biloxi, Mississippi. His next transition was to go to Air Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C. in the Surgeon General’s office, doing extensive research, including paying for reconstructive surgery for two people who had their faces ripped, blasted, or burned off. There was an intricate technique using skin cells to create, new tissue and subsequently, giving people a new lease on life. He later retired from the Air Force in 2011.
Mr. Bullock says, “It’s been a really interesting journey,” seeking that lightbulb moment, when you fall head over heels in love with the Lord. He received the Lord when he was about six years old, and gained a better understanding in his teen years, re-committing his life to God. Mr. Bullock’s experience was that of growing and learning over the years, but something was missing.
Being raised in an independent fundamental church in Rochester, NY, Mr. Bullock grew up in the church and went to Sunday School which gave him a good foundation in his spiritual life. He currently attends a small church called, Heartbeat Ministries International. The church specializes in “growing and learning how to minister, learning how to operate in their different giftings and strengths,” and then minister in different countries as missionaries or churches or just in their community.
Mr. Bullock says, “When I first got there, the pastor kind of took me under his wing and
encouraged me in certain areas. I tend to be an introvert and he helped bring me out and just shared stuff.” The pastor felt Mr. Bullock could contribute a great deal because of his traditional church upbringing.
“People who are lost and come to the realization that they ARE lost, are actually better off than people that think they know it all and have it all figured out and don't have to repent of things,” he said. This is where the idea of the book began. He felt like a “religious Pharisee,” being self-righteous, thinking he knew more about the Bible, with his information and understanding of it. It was quite an awakening for him, that he was more lost than people who were bad! He really wanted a testimony he could call his own. He felt his church inadvertently taught him to “have a close relationship with God and you stand in church and you sing hymns and you say, ‘Wow, the people that wrote these songs, really seem to have a real relationship with Jesus.’” Mr. Bullock was not feeling the love for Jesus that he wanted to feel. He goes on to say, “I know He (Jesus) did this horrible, wonderful thing for me and died for me and I'm indebted to him and I know that nobody's going to love me more than that.” He felt you shouldn’t be loving out of duty, you should love out of relationship. His church did not teach this. Mr. Bullock knew he had to change what he had been taught all those years. When he was growing up, often, he would feel close to God during times of revivals, but then the feeling would fade. It made him feel insecure. He didn’t know how to get that feeling of closeness back.
The big turning point for Mr. Bullock happened in 2008. He was living in Washington, D.C. near a freeway that was very noisy. He would be walking his dog and notes that he could, “pray as loud as I wanted to.” He read about Moses, talking to God face-to-face in the Tent of Meeting and ached to be able to do that too! Mr. Bullock asked, "God, do you want another Moses?" The Lord responded, "Do you want all the trouble?" Bullock came back with, "No, no! I just want the relationship.” Mr. Bullock began to realize that Jesus was his friend, but more than a friend, a brother; and he was part of a family. He belonged.
He meditated on how he was saved because, “I'd always been taught that I was obviously guilty, that I had sinned and I understood that from Romans 3:23: ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ and Romans 6:23: ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ our Lord.’” He also felt he was reading the Bible for the first time.
Mr. Bullock could acknowledge what God has done for him, but he wasn’t sure how to “walk in it.” He started realizing that it’s not just understanding the philosophy and knowing how to act. He had an “Aha!” moment when he recognized, “it's more of just a natural living.” To live freely, being a new creature in Christ, like He wanted him to live and doing away with the old standard of living with just trying to act like a Christian and knowing only the basics of the Bible. “God is absolute liberty, liberty from bondage, liberty from oppression, liberty from everything that sin tried to put on us.”
The most important thing to know about this book and God’s steadfast love is that He absolutely does love you. He will never leave you or forsake you. He knows you intimately, so, He knows how to love you and you are not going to be alone. God wants to bring life and bring it more abundantly to us. God wants people to see that, and John Bullock wants people to see that. “It’s been a prayer of mine for a long time. It changed my life. I want to share it.”