Posts Tagged ‘hope’

You have to give up to go up. Especially on March 3rd.

under Secret Stories, Written on February 24, 2012

It’s called the Law of Sacrifice – You need to give up to go up (Thanks John Maxwell).

  • Next Saturday at our Your Secret Name Conference, you could learn how to be more free.
  • You could learn more about who you are and whose you are.
  • You could learn more about your purpose and destiny.

But to do that, you’d have to give up something.

  • Time
  • Money
  • Routine
  • Staying Home

But most would rather not. So most people get exactly what they want – nothing. They don’t want freedom, hope, or purpose enough to invest in it. They don’t believe in themselves, enough to make a change. And so they stay the same.

If you’re willing to invest $30 and 8 hours in your future, then join us next Saturday March 3rd in Powell. And if you’re not completely satisfied I will refund your ticket, no questions asked.

Need proof that it’s worth your sacrifice? Read these 10 testimonies or watch this video.

bring a YSN event to your town

under Secret Stories, Written on May 17, 2011

Want to bring a YSN event to your context?

Smart move. Download our powerpoint HERE.

See what thousands of others have experienced at their YSN event. 

(takes 1 min. to download – grab a quick coffee while you wait)

Molested and Suicidal

under Secret Stories, Written on October 7, 2010

There were many times I found myself standing on the side of the road, closing my eyes as the downdraft of passing trucks rippled through my hair, thinking that just a few steps into that busy street would make everything better.

It wasn’t some singular event that brought me to the darkest point of my life, but an accumulation of sadness that left me feeling buried alive. I was already in a coffin, why not make it official; this wasn’t living. My mother and stepfather couldn’t see the sadness that haunted me, but my grandmother, a strong Christian woman whom I saw maybe once a month somehow knew.

I never spoke about it while it was happening, but in hindsight I know the signs were there if anyone had bothered to look: the lack of friends, the fear of men, the fact that I cried myself to sleep every night. It wasn’t until 8th grade that I called my mom from my father’s house in North Carolina and begged her to come get me. I don’t remember why she didn’t, but I do remember having to suffer through the rest of the week before my father drove my brother and I home.

For every other holiday and 5 weeks every summer my father came to collect my brother and I from our humble Ohio home and take us away to his three story mansion in another state. He was wealthy. He only wanted my brother, but I came with the package. I was lucky he remembered my name; he couldn’t remember my birthday or how old I was, and he had no qualms about reminding how I was a burden. He had demanded that my mother abort me, but I thank God to this day that she said no to him, if only just that once.

When I was two, he left my mom for another woman. My father had a lot of women, and a lot of girls. For years I stayed silent while he molested my cousin and I, while he groped other women who were not his wife, and while he tried to brainwash us all into believing some theology taught by him. We weren’t allowed to leave the house without him, we weren’t allowed to watch tv or listen to music, we weren’t allowed to go to church or celebrate Holidays, we weren’t allowed to wear certain clothes to bed.

He held gatherings in his house and would invite certain people over to listen to him teach. His theology was based on the bible, but only the parts about sex, rape, and punishment. His choice of punishment was a beating from a wire hanger twisted into a rod…and some reference to sparing the rod and spoiling the child.

He made me feel dead inside for so long, so that all I could do was cry and never feel relieved. When I was seventeen, I couldn’t take it anymore. Knowing that he still had my little sister and I couldn’t save her, that he hadn’t been punished for what he’d done to me or my cousin, and that I would always be afraid and never be able to love a man made me feel hopeless. I was tired of crying and feeling empty.

I was raised a “Christian”, but after my father’s insane cult-like teachings, I was afraid to trust in God. There’s an amount of subservience, fear and humility required in Christianity, and I didn’t want to love someone else who was going to make me feel small and worthless without him. I didn’t want to feel insignificant or afraid. I just wanted to feel whole, and I didn’t want to hurt anymore.

I decided not to step in front of that truck. It was in my living room, far from the road or coffins that I found peace. I gave up and I broke down, and I cried like I had never cried before. I asked God to save me and fill me with his love, and I was shocked at how immediately I felt fulfilled and at peace. Whenever I find myself questioning or doubting God, I remember that day when I decided I would rather live than die and He was there to help me do it.

Every day I pray for my father. I pray that God will save him, because in doing so, so many other innocent lives will be saved. I know there is nothing God can’t do, and even though my father seems like a monster, he’s not beyond help. I don’t know if I can ever truly forgive him, but God can, and I try to every day.

With God I know, I am not Abandoned, I am Remembered. I am not Broken, I am Whole. I am not Suicidal and Depressed, there is Hope. And I am not Fearful, because God is always with me.


under Written on August 9, 2010

My new life in Christ only started a year ago.  I had plenty of time to taste what this world has to offer and I must say until 12 months ago it was exactly what I was looking for.  In my younger years I grew up in a “Christian” home.  Church every Sunday, bible study every weekday. Church was just another place for my parents to be parents and me to be a kid.  My father used to go door to door preaching the urgency of salvation to those he felt Christ was leading him to, and my mother was right there with him sharing the Lords work.  My parents were very Godly people.

When I was a teenager my father became very “ill”.  He injured his back severely and was heavily medicated for years.  These medications were not your typical medications. He was given oxycotin, methadone, and every other pain medication.  When you get on these types of medications there are very serious side effects. My father began to psychoanalyze everything he came in contact with. He was in and out of hospitals all the time.  He began to question his faith and the existence of God himself. 

My entire teenage years I was obligated to explore what life really had to offer.  I did as I pleased. Because of my father’s illness God was certainly not an option. I was angry that He let one of his servants suffer.

I chose a path of release. Drugs.


Just the word makes my back tighten up and a shivers down my spine.  Drugs were my sweet escape.  I started to smoke pot when I was about 15 until I got out of high school.  I drank from time to time but Mary Jane was all I needed. I went off to college at the university of Ohio State Mansfield after high school with one thing on my mind….freedom. 

And it was then I discovered alcohol.  Weed just wasn’t cutting it anymore, and alcohol was cheaper and I found I had what I thought was a gift at the time of “chugging” or slamming beer. Later I find out it wasn’t much of a talent at all more or less a prerequisite to vomiting.  After one year in college I flunked out to due to not attending classes or tests.

I worked at a pizza place for a bit just to make some cash for my booze and pot.  I then enrolled at a community college in Toledo and moved in with 3 of my stoner buddies right on Toledo’s campus.  I was on cloud 9. 

It was in Toledo that I learned of my true love. 


My life was now in surrender to it.  At first it was one line or two a week just for fun.  I was a social snorter I guess you could call it.  But with cocaine it doesn’t stop there, because when you run out you must find more.  It’s your oxygen; it’s the air you breathe.  And once you get on cocaine there is no turning back. Next it was vicodins methadone, oxys, percocets, flexerils, darvecets… anything I could get my hands on that could send that rush to my brain.

My body and mind stop taking such a likeness to what I was doing to myself.  My fixes turned into hallucinations, my drags turned into anxiety attacks, and my breaths turned into gasps for life.  I then had realized I was now under total control of the product I built my life around.  I would lie in bed for hours wondering how I was breathing, why was I here what was life.  I began to analyze things like my father did and the shear thought of death made me puke.  Where was I going what could I do?  I then decided to quit cold turkey.  When they tell you it takes 3 days, they lied. 

For 6 months straight I suffered from manic depression and suicidal thoughts….a few failed attempts made me realize I wasn’t even worth trying to kill myself because the simple thought of “what’s next” scared me more than the thought of a gun to my head.  I was in my own personal hell.  I couldn’t talk, sleep, or eat.  I weighed 200lbs at the beginning of that year and by this time I weighed merely 150.  And of course the so called friends I had with me didn’t seem to notice, the only thing they saw was “hey less people to share with”. 

I was ready to die.

I have a brother, his name is Ben and he went through a few similar things but he got “saved” by God. At this time that was just kind of funny to me.  Saved? From what his sins? Good luck with that.  But through everything Ben went through he was always smiling always so content and that really made me mad.  Here I was suffering and he was totally fine because some invisible son of God saved his soul. 

Ben always used to tell me about Christ and the things he did. He ensured me that if I came to church and just listened it wouldn’t hurt, it may even save my life.  So I did.

I went to church with him and his wife Emily, and while I was there I felt free again, the restrictions were off and I could breathe. I could look up into the sky and think I’m ok.  That’s all I wanted, I didn’t want to be scared anymore, and I wanted my life of fear and anxiety gone. 

My only problem was that I wondered, “Where is the proof?” 

I continued to go to church; I quit everything I was doing.  No more sex, drugs, beer, and even cigarettes. I went every Sunday twice and Wednesday night… Every service they had to offer.  And I even prayed a few times for God to heal me.  But nothing…….I  wasn’t being healed.

About 3 month into going to church one night we had a camp fire at the pastor’s house and we were sitting around the fire singing and having a good time when I saw my brother Ben venting about work.  I asked him what was wrong and he said “I need a cigarette”. 

Ben was a smoker but he promised me he would quit if I came to church. I told Ben “you promised me Ben, I gave up a life of sin for you so you can give up this”.  I love Ben so much and was so thankful for him that I couldn’t stand to see him kill himself that way. 

Disregarding my efforts to talk him out of his sweet surrender he decided to light one up.  At that very moment I walked away in anger, furious at my brother’s selfishness.  But within seconds I found myself crying like I did in the days of my withdrawal, lashing out at the evil around me. 

I looked up to the sky and said “this is for whoever my brother praises day in and day out, to the one he calls his father, keep my brother safe”. 

And after that 3 second prayer I walked back to Ben, his cigarette was gone.  Now those of you who do smoke  know that a cigarette takes more than 30 secs to smoke, but his was gone, nowhere to be found. I asked him “did you need one so made that you smoked it that fast”.  He said with a tear in his eye. .. “no Dane, I took one breathe of it and felt so convicted it made me sick, I threw it in the fire”. 

I walked away in disbelief…”did God just do that?” 

It finally hit me, I prayed my first True prayer, I KNEW God would care for him because he trusted in him and I did as well.  I prayed not for me but for someone I loved.  I called out to Ben away from the fire and I said, its time….. We gathered together in a circle I could feel the arms lifting me up.  I asked for forgiveness …… I was free. 

My depression is gone, I have a new life.  Someone to live for and serve.  My journey has just begun and only gets better.  This past year has been greater than any moments in my life combined.  I am now in a praise and worship group. I helped teach the teens and just got married to the love of my life. God sure does bless those who trust in his name.

Thank you for letting me share my story, a lot of tears of joy and sadness were laid out writing this but I have to give glory to God for those tears and giving me my TRUE name.  FULFILLED

But those who trust in the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

The Occult

under Written on July 22, 2010

I was saved as a Senior in High School in December of 1986.  I had been involved in the occult and had seen (and heard) many strange things.  Over Christmas break, I picked up a rather thick commentary on the Book of Revelation, and read the entire thing.  I accepted Christ as my Savior when I read Revelation 21:21.  Thereafter, my entire life changed, and even though I didn’t know anything about going to church, I read the Bible voraciously.

That summer, I was sitting in the driveway, leaning against the garage door, when the Lord spoke to me very powerfully the words of Haggai 2:23:

In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.

I read the words but they were aimed DIRECTLY AT ME.  I was in shock.  I closed up the Bible, and refused to even look into it any further for over a year; it took me about 5 years before I could mention it to anyone else.

I eventually studied it out, and found that the name ‘Zerubbabel’ means (as far as they can tell), ‘scattered in Babylon.’  Big whoop, huh?

I continued to look for answers.  Eventually, the Lord spoke to me through Zechariah 4:7:

Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

This verse has greatly shaped my life as I have studied God’s Grace and found freedom from religion, etc. But I still didn’t understand.  Why this name?  Why “scattered in Babylon”?

Last month, 25 years after the first revelation of this name, I went on a missions trip to Azerbaijan.  The week before we left, our team leader told us that the ‘book for the trip’ was to be Haggai; the missionary in Azerbaijan had chosen this as the source for our devotions while we were there.  My ears perked up; I knew something else was going to be revealed.  While in Azerbaijan, the Lord showed me that Zerubbabel’s mother had named him based on her current conditions, not based on what God could do in his life. Zerubbabel was NOT scattered, nor was he in Babylon!  He was in Jerusalem building the Temple!  (Sometimes the labels other people give us are completely wrong!)

Today, I realize that this is a church planter’s name.  ‘My birth name, Christopher’, means ‘one who bears Christ,’ like an evangelist, but ‘Zerubbabel’ is the name of a man who lays the foundation of a new work for God.  And he finishes it by God’s GRACE.

I look forward to seeing how God continues to unfold this name in my life.  It is extremely humbling to tell this story, and I feel very vulnerable sharing it, but I think it may help others.