I was a freshman in high school. My sister, Lori, was a junior. I was slowly beginning to meet some other Christians in my grade. My interactions with these people caused me to question my own beliefs about what being a Christian meant. In eighth grade, I had tried to convert a girl in my class. Later, I found out that she was already a Christian. Another girl, who I had been praying for since about first grade, accepted Jesus during our freshman year. As I looked at the sad state of our PB gathering in our living room, I knew I would never invite her to any of our meetings. In contrast, through attending our newly founded after-school Christian club, "Cornerstone," I was beginning to see how the rest of the Christian world worshiped. My parents allowed my sister and I to attend Cornerstone, as they knew that the advisor was part of an Open Brethren fellowship.
Perhaps the first real service I attended outside of PB was a service held by a local Asian church. Many Asians happened to attend Cornerstone, and they invited everyone to come to a special youth worship "revival." My sister and I managed to convince our parents to let us go, as our advisor was also attending and would know to leave were anything "wrong" or evil to happen. The service was different from anything I had ever experienced before. Although I had perhaps gotten used to a guitar player leading worship in Cornerstone (and PB would play the piano during hymn-sings, provided it was not during an official "meeting" - go figure...), now I encountered a whole worship band. I remember listening to "The Power of Your Love" and being struck with the realization that there was a whole lot more to Christianity than I ever knew.
It was around this time that my sister and I stopped attending PB meetings with my parents and grandma in the living room. My spiritual life came to consist of Cornerstone meetings; my Biblical learning became focused on popular views of end-time prophecy. I began to question more deeply my parents' views on communion and the validity of having pastors, but I still adhered to their dispensational views of scripture and PB founder, John Nelson Darby's notion of a Pretribulation "rapture." Gradually I began to discuss these issues with the non-PB Christians I had met. I still wanted to be right about everything, but now I was faced with the daunting realization that I did not have all the answers. If I sound like I was particularly proud or cocky about my knowledge in my younger years, perhaps I was. I know others viewed me that way, but honestly I never saw myself that way. Rather, I was driven by the desire to help others, and assumed that I could do that by sharing my knowledge with them. My focus was on helping, but now I realize that I had failed to understand Jesus when He said, "how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?" (Matt 7:4) While others had no difficulty seeing the plank in my eye, I was blinded to it. However, God saw it as well, and chose not to give up on me!