I remember meeting you in a parking garage in Orlando during the 2012 YPS conference. I was on staff at Global Youth Ministry at the time and you walked up to the group I was in—I had seen you before and you looked familiar to me but I didn’t know why. You began questioning me and the others about our faith, and you asked one simple question: what made our faith different from the rest of the world’s religions? What proof in the bible did we have that made what we believe different from others?
My friend Josh and I looked at you and said ” In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” and in the Gospel of John it said The Word, (Jesus) was with him. You pointed at me and him in approval and said that’s it.
I remember sitting with Jay Strack in the sound booth and talking with him about various things in ministry and my hopes of a lifelong future in ministry.
Flash forward through 4 years of hell after that. Losing over half of my immediate family, having to drop out of bible college and go to therapy for clinical depression.
I left ministry, and began partying again, aggressively abusing alcohol and various other things to feel numb to the pain I felt—that my life was a mistake. I had wasted my youth for a Faith that did nothing but use and abuse me and felt that Jesus himself lied to me. Had abandoned me in my depression, anxiety, suicidal condition and substance abuse to die.
A 21 year old bible college student who just wanted to serve the lord and know his purpose. I sit here two years from the day I walked away from ministry, and I am a stronger man because of it.
I picked up a copy of “More Than a Carpenter,” it’s been in my back seat for two months, and I was drawn to it. I opened it up and I felt a connection take place in my soul when I read these words. “…Christianity is not a myth, not the fantasy of wishful dreamers or a hoax played on the simpleminded. It is a rock solid truth. And I guarantee that when you come to terms with that truth, you will be on the threshold of finding the answer to those three questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What is my Destiny?”
I felt like I hit this spot a month ago, the day before my 23 birthday.
Through all the darkness I went through that was the one thing I held onto, and your word reaffirmed that.
Thank you sir.