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Is Faith a Personal Decision ?

Being a follower of Christ and from a Muslim background, I likely have a different perspective of how people are called to faith in Christ. I believe it was not “I” who made that decision; rather, it was Christ who dragged me by the scruff of my neck into salvation—in spite of myself. I also believe that when the seed of faith was planted in me, a flower of faith began to blossom, followed by the fruit of it. I have seen this to be true in every one I have encountered as a church pastor.
We remain sinners, though, whether we trust Jesus or not. And as sinners, the Holy Spirit soon convicts us of our need to repent, to “lose” our addiction to sin. We will also feel an emptiness in our hearts that can be filled only by Jesus.
I believe faith is a mystery and that every one hears the call of Christ with a different dynamic, yet all hear it when they hear the Word of God, the Gospel. This Word drags us like fish from a sea of sin and unbelief into a net of salvation.
As an evangelist, I keep casting my net while trusting God to bring in those fish. Through the years , I have observed that there are different blessings from God which bring individuals to their knees for the first time before the throne of Christ . My blessing was to have heard the command: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES.

Edited by Robert Schwarz

Hesham Shehab

Hicham [pronounced HESHAAM] grew up in a world of bitter animosity between Muslims and Christians, which he experienced personally in a physical attack when only about 7. By age 13 he was recruited by an extremist Muslim group and later fought against Christians in the 1975 war in Lebanon. He was preparing to become a Muslim Preacher (Imam) when a car accident laid him up for a year. In 1980, in his first semester in college, his brother was killed by Christian militia. Hicham's response was to study by day, and by night take out his revenge in attacks on Christians. However, hearing the Sermon on the Mount, in a course of cultural studies (in college), brought him to faith. Later, Hicham earned an M.A. in the history of the Arabs and did Ph.D studies in the history of Islam. Hicham finished his pastoral education at Concordia, Fort Wayne, IN, and is currently in the Ph. D program there. Presently, Hicham, and ordained LCMS minister, pastors Salam Christian Fellowship and works as a missionary to the Muslims with the Lutheran Church in Illinois.