This week, I get to sit down and talk with a guy who was a student of mine when I was doing full-time student ministry, Eric Schwarz. He’s an amazing guy with an amazing story. Here are a few of the bulletpoints form our discussion… though you REALLY need to push play and hear Eric’s story for yourself!
Why didn’t you follow Jesus if you knew it was real?
Eric’s life dramatically changed… and it all started with an accident
What are the long-term impacts of the injury?
What are words of advice for people going through brain injury?
What advice do you have for people who are in relationship with others who are dealing with depression or TBI?
Eric’s favorite Bible verse?
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Growing up, Scott Ferrell was an authentic Golden Child, at least in the eyes of his Sunday School teachers. Scott accepted Jesus at five-years-old, grew up in a solid Christian home, and would eagerly share Jesus with other little kids.
But, when he moved to California at 16, everything changed.
Here are just a few of the highlights of Scott’s story:
This is just part of Scott’s story. You’ve got to hear what God has done throughout his life to mold him into the man he is today – an authentic, genuine, real deal who serves Jesus!
You can learn more about Scott and Iron Sharpens Iron Garage via Facebook (though, for obvious reasons, it’s a closed page, so simply make a request to join), or simply call Scot on his cell: (858) 688-3584.
George Khoury was born and raised in South Orange county. He had a great family that loved him, they were always involved in their church, and he was blessed with great mentors, leaders and pastors.
When he was a junior in high school, George decided to own his faith. So that it wasn’t any longer “his parents faith”, but his own true decision to commit to following Jesus. He read “More Than A Carpenter” by Josh McDowell and it impacted him greatly. It made him consider who Jesus said He is… and who He is! This was huge, especially since he’s a guy who hates reading.
But, since his life wasn’t one in the gutter, what changed?
His faith now had purpose… it wasn’t just a checklist of things to do. He wanted to represent Jesus well and affect others according to God’s will. The next year, George graduated High School and started taking his faith to the next level. He was meeting with older guys and was challenged to do things NOW. Waiting for opportunities was over. George decided not to wait anymore to follow Jesus.
Everything was great… “What could ever go wrong?”
That’s where George’s story gets even more interesting:
This is just a portion of George’s story. You’ve really got to hear how God has increased George’s faith, and used even such a terrible thing as testicular cancer in a young man to reach people and expand God’s kingdom!
I want to tell you a little story of some salt and some sugar that totally changed my life.
I know, “salt and sugar”… it sounds like a really crappy 80’s pop group.
What it was was a decision-making example that a friend laid out for me back in 2001, and it totally rocked my world. I was sitting in a Denny’s, and at the time, I was thinking of transitioning between two different jobs. I was thinking, “Do I take some time off between these two jobs and go on tour for one last time in one of my bands?”
My friend told me, “Hey there’s a whole bunch of different things going on in life and for every kind of ‘what if’ in life, you have a very safe and secure ‘yeah but’”.
None of these were anything that were irresponsible or ridiculous, but he said “Hey, what if we went out on tour between your jobs?”
My “yeah but” was, “Yeah… but I have an apartment.”
So, I was paying rent. Sure, I could always get a new apartment. But for me, it was just kind of a comfort thing.
And so, he lays out this little illustration that totally changed my thinking.
He grabs one of those pink sugars and one of those blue sugars – those things that some people use in their coffee or iced tea or whatever, they’re always down at the end of the table next to the half used ketchup and the crusty mustard. So, he pulls them out and puts them on opposite ends of the table. And then he grabs the saltshaker and puts it right in the middle table. And he pauses one of those dramatic pauses, like I’m supposed to go, “WHOA! It’s so clear now!” But, really, what I wanted to say was, “What are you doing?”
So, he says, “Right now this is you – you’re the saltshaker, OK? Where you’re at right now is next to the pink sugar. The pink sugar is safe. It’s what you know. It’s what you have. It’s a lack of risk. It’s a lack of stepping out. It is safe.
But over here is the blue sugar. The blue sugar is the unknown. But, it’s what you want. It is your risk. It is the reward. It is a challenge. It is something new. But you’ll never get to the blue if you don’t let go of the pink.
You will never get to what you want if you’re not willing to risk and step away from what is.
It’s not about salt and sugar, its about you knowing and seeing what is comfortable, and yet not willing to step out of what is comfortable because you want something so much more.
And, I think there’s a lot of us who have dreams. We have opportunities. We have ideas that we really want to implement. There are ministries we want to start. There are conversations we want to have. There are risks that we want to take. There are jobs that we want to change. There are all these different things in life that we cannot see, but we have a desire to reach for.
And yet, we look at what we know, and we look at the comfort, and we are not willing to let go of the comfort to get to that dream.
I heard this quote once (and I’m probably misquoting it, but that’s what I do):
Between what you have and what you want is always work. And once you put in the work, you can get what you want.
But, I’m going to change it a bit to this:
Between what you have and what you want, there is fear, there are choices, there is wonder.
Now, as Christians, we still live in the same thing. But a lot of times, we think that we’re supposed to have a comfortable life. God did not come and die on a cross so that we could have a comfortable life. He came that we should have life and have it more abundantly. He says we should have purpose in our lives. He talks about how we are designed for a reason and yet sometimes we never find that reason or never choose to live that reason because between where we’re at and where He wants us is fear… or even worse than fear, there is comfort.
You ever find yourself looking at something that you really, really want? Or, maybe it’s even worse because you know God wants you to pray for this person, or God wants you to say “hi” to someone, or you just have that feeling like, “I’m really supposed to do something right now. I’m supposed to pull the car over and take this dude through the drive-through and take care of him.”
And yet you don’t.
Yeah, we could justify that, but I’m guessing the real reason behind your lack of action is comfort. You’re not in that big of a hurry. You’re not that afraid of using words. You’re not that afraid of talking to new people or meeting new people. You have the answers. But, you’re nervous. We’re uncomfortable.
Every time we say no to that, it makes it harder to do it the next time. I think that’s why a lot of us live comfortable lives – because we quit taking risks years ago, and now we will never have anything. We will never be able to look back and say, “DANG! That’s what I did!”
We worry about our comfort.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says this:
For we live by faith, not by sight.
What Paul is saying in the middle of all this is: as Christians, we live in such a way that we follow God. Maybe it’s not everything that we are seeing, but it’s how we are led, it’s how we are called. But a lot of us have started to focus on what is right in front of us – what we can see. We we can feel right now. We live in the “now” and not in the “what should we be doing”.
A lot of us are holding onto what we know and we’re never willing to get a hold of what God wants for us, because were not willing to take that risk. As Christians, we are supposed to live by faith – not just “by comfort”. Not just by “what we know”. But, we live by faith.
One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5-6. Is says:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will keep your paths straight.
When we trust in the Lord with all of our heart… when we really say,
“God, You are more important than my comfort, or my hobby, or anything that I can feel, taste, touch, smell… experience right now. Whatever I have right now, You are more important than that! And so, I’m going to trust in You all I’ve got. I’m not going to lean on what I know. I’m not going to lean on my comfort, or the stuff that has gotten me here. I just want to trust in You. I want to acknowledge You in everything that I do.”
Now, this doesn’t mean going out and getting a Christian tattoo or wearing a What Would Jesus Do t-shirt, or wearing a giant cross. But it is living in such a way that you acknowledge Him. And when we acknowledge God, that means with our words, actions, deeds, the way I treat my kids, the way I interact with people in traffic, the way that I treat someone who has 18 items in the 15-item-or-less lane at the grocery store…
I’m supposed to acknowledge God in every aspect of my life!
And so, with that, as I am acknowledging God, and I lean NOT on my own understanding, He starts to make my path straight. He starts to lead me in such a way that I start to see His will and follow it more and more.
Again, it goes from “seeing what I see” to “living by faith”. And, what I have seen throughout my life is that the more any of us follow God, the more God leads us. Conversely, the more we ignore God, the less we hear God’s leading voice.
So, as we acknowledge God in our lives, He is going to continue to lead us.
We have strong desires in our hearts! And, I believe that as long as those desires are in alignment with God’s Word, He has put those desires in you. He is calling you out of the worldly comforts that you’re used to and into doing something that is amazingly great for His kingdom!
Because, all of our talents, abilities, and possessions are given to us so that they might glorify God and build up His people.
So, you have these desires and abilities to create, to serve, to grow, to be something more… and God says, “That’s awesome! Let’s do that!!… but do you trust Me with it? Are you going to live by faith or by sight? Are you going to trust Me with all your decisions, or are you going to lean on your own wisdom, knowledge, and understanding?”
It’s so easy to go back to “what we know”.
But, I go back to sitting in a Denny’s, up in the Bay Area on a cold, dark night… looking at a salt shaker and thinking, “If that’s me, do I want to hold onto everything that I already have, or do I want to see and experience the life that God has in store for me?
If we hold onto what we have, we will always have it. But, if we are willing to let go of that, and really hold onto God and walk in such a way that He has called us, we’ll be amazed at what we have in store on the other side!
We may not see the payoff today… shoot, we may not even see the payoff in this lifetime. But, if we are willing to follow God and walk through discomfort, fear, and the unknown, then we will experience a much more powerful life than we can imagine!
I want you to simply sit and think: What is it that I want? What is it that I’m holding onto? Do I trust God enough to go where He leads me?
All this from a crazy little conversation around two little sugar packets and salt. But, for me, it’s totally impacted the way that I make decisions.
Now, go out and live an unorthodox life! Leave your mark on your friends, family, and community in the name of Christ!
How does a teenage, gang-banging pimp transform into someone who seeks God, takes to the streets, preaches God’s Word, and reaching the lost? A better question might be: How did Mark Miles Jr. become Meezilini Tha Messenger? We discover the answers to both of these questions and much more in this week’s episode, where I get to chat with the man himself: Meezilini!
Here are a few of the things Meezilini tha Messenger and I discuss:
This is just part of Meezilini’s story. You’ve got to listen to what God has done throughout his life to transform him into a soldier for God’s kingdom.
Check out even more from Meezilini by following him all over social media:
What up, guys! On our Friday shows, we normally just have me flying solo, but today, we’re going to do something a little bit different. I have one of the most manly men that I have ever come across in my life, and he is going to talk to us a little about being a man. So, please introduce yourself… what’s your name?
MIKE: Is it true that you are my nine-year-old son?
MIKE: Awesome. So, Darrien, let me ask you a few amazing questions. First, what’s the greatest Pokemon in the world?
MIKE: What does Dialga do?
DARRIEN: He’s a legendary Pokemon.
MIKE: But, of course. Okay, what’s better: Pokemon or Mindcraft?
DARRIEN: I won’t answer that question.
MIKE: (Laughter) Okay, so Darrien, you’re going to grow up to become a man. Why do you want to be a man?
DARRIEN: Because I want to grow up to be exactly like you.
MIKE: Hopefully you do that better than I do! So, what makes a man A MAN? What do men do?
DARRIEN: They’re helpful, kind, generous. That’s pretty much all I know because I’m not a man yet.
MIKE: Okay. Let me ask you this, buddy: Who are some of the men in your life that you look up to? Who are men that you think are really cool and you want to be like them?
DARRIEN: My principal, Mr. Seacrest, you, my two older brothers… that’s pretty much all… basically my family.
MIKE: I know of a few others, so I’m just going to suggest a few. What about Grandpa? Ben? Ryan? And then, there’s Micah, Andy… the list goes on and on. So, of those guys we named, what did they do that you look at and say, “Hey! I want to do some of that!”
DARRIEN: They are polite, funny, careful, and care much about their families.
MIKE: Cool. So, since we love Jesus and we talk about Jesus a lot in our house, tell me, why do you follow Jesus?
DARRIEN: I follow Jesus because… well, first, I didn’t really know about Him until I joined this family. And then, you took me to church and I sorta liked it. And, Jesus sounds like a cool man and so I sorta wanted to grow up to be like Him. I want to be polite and do the good stuff that He does.
MIKE: So, what are some of those good things that Jesus does?
DARRIEN: Well, He is very generous. He saved a lot of lives. He is very, very outgoing. And He’s not afraid of anything.
MIKE: So, do you think you could be a man and not follow Jesus?
MIKE: What would that look like?
DARRIEN: Well, I don’t have to follow Jesus to be good. I could be good without following Jesus by being polite, helpful, generous, outgoing, and brave.
MIKE: Okay. Now, when you add Jesus into that mix, does it make it better?
MIKE: So, what about following Jesus makes life different?
DARRIEN: Now that I believe in Him, I can trust Him and do more things than I could before.
MIKE: If there was somebody that asked you, “Darrien, how do I become a man? How can I become a man who follows Jesus and does good things?” What advice would you give them?
DARRIEN: Well, I would tell them, “You should be polite, be helpful, be outgoing, brave, strong… and basically anything that is good.”
MIKE: Who did you learn that from? Who taught you “how to be a man”? Who are your “man teachers”?
MIKE: Ahh… shucks.
DARRIEN: Tylie, Micah, Ryan, George, Andy, Grandpa… a lot of people who are men… and some women.
MIKE: Women taught you how to be a man?
DARRIEN: Well, they taught me how to be polite.
MIKE: What are some dumb things that men think are important but we either don’t really need to do or shouldn’t do?
MIKE: Women are dumb??!
MIKE: Then, what do you mean by that?
DARRIEN: We shouldn’t think about women in inappropriate ways. Because, that basically means that we only think about how they look and how rich they are. We need to look at them of how strong, beautiful, and brave they are… things that are encouraging, not just like… “Hey, you’re pretty!” and that’s it.
MIKE: I totally agree. Because they are sisters, they are moms… they are our family in Jesus. And that’s why men protect women, right?
MIKE: And are we real men if we treat women bad?
MIKE: So, we are protectors and providers, and we support and help out. So, what would you tell a guy if he doesn’t treat a girl right?
DARRIEN: You’re a bad guy!
MIKE: Very powerful. Are there any questions you’d like to ask me?
DARRIEN: What’s it like being a man?
MIKE: What’s it like being a man? Umm… It’s a lot of responsibility because other people depend on me and because I want to be a good example for you, your brothers and your little sister. I want to show you what it’s like to be a man, but I also want to show your sister what it’s like to be loved by a good guy and a husband. So, I need to love mom right, so she sees what’s going on. I need to make good choices that are not just about me, but about you guys. It’s also cool because I’m hairy and I can make funny shounds with my butt and my mouth and..
DARRIEN: Okay… you just crossed a line a little!
MIKE: It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s awesome. I wouldn’t change it for anything else. I love being a man!
DARRIEN: How do you become a man? Especially a man like you?
MIKE: A man like me? First, you make a whole lotta mistakes, then you pray to Jesus and ask for help!
DARRIEN: Okay… maybe I should ask someone else!
MIKE: Yeah, probably! How do you become a man? You make “the tough decision”. Meaning, if something is easy – like lying, cheating or stealing – but something might be tough – like telling the truth or being generous and caring and taking care of others – you choose to do the right thing, even though it may be tough. When you see something that needs to be done, you take care of it. Because, that’s just what you do. For me, it also means that I follow Jesus because Jesus gave me the ultimate example of what being a man looks like. So, it’s tough. Being a little boy is easy, but being a man takes some work sometimes. You know what I mean?
DARRIEN: Uh huh.
MIKE: Alright… last question. Who is a better singer/rapper/producer/MC: Bizzle or me?
DARRIEN: You suck. Bizzle!
MIKE: (Laughter) Don’t ask a question if you can’t handle the answer! Well, son, I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m very excited to be a part of your “Manhood Journey”. And I pray everyday that I am a good man to lead you and our family. Thanks for helping me, and all the other guys out there, learn to be a man!
DARRIEN: Can we do this again?
MIKE: Maybe some other time! Any last words of advice? Any final words for all your fans out there?
DARRIEN: You guys should know that I am pretty majestic with my words and actions.
MIKE: True story!
Joining me this week is my buddy, Chris Brown. Chris is one of the Senior Pastors at North Coast Church in Vista, CA. He’s a gifted story teller and Bible Teacher, as well as a sought-after conference and chapel speaker. His humor and motivational style have helped North Coast Church grow, not only larger, but also younger during the last 13-plus years.
But, his path to Jesus and into ministry hasn’t been a smooth one…
This is just part of Chris’ story. As he puts it, “God likes you and wants to use you and give you purpose!” But, coming to the point where you let Him mold you and use you for His purpose… well, that’s up to you!
Zack Quilici had it all: He played collegiate football at UNLV, had a cheerleader by his side, and even opened his own cross fit gym. But, when your world is all about yourself, sooner or later, things crumble.
As Zack puts it: “It was all Zack. It was the Zack show! I might as well written my own bible.”
Here are just a few of the topics Zack and I discuss this week:
This is just part of Zack’s story. You’ve got to hear what God has done throughout his life to mold him into the man he is today. As Zack says, “You are not alone!”
Have I told you that you are beautiful?
Yes I know it’s an odd way to start a podcast to a man. But it’s the question I ask my daughter everyday.
Now to be honest its not always the same question… I change it up a little each time something like, “Have I told you how smart you are?” or “how strong” or “how caring you are”. And no matter if I have told her how smart, strong, beautiful, brave she is her answer is always the same. “No Dad, you haven’t told me.” And then I start my showering of praises.
Baby girl you are so beautiful that God stops looking at everything in nature to watch you dance and sing. Babe you aren’t just beautiful on the outside but your heart is so beautiful that you make everyone you know feel better about themselves. Do you know that God made you perfectly the way you are? He worked hard to make you perfectly unique and special.
The reason I do this is because at the age of 8 years old my beautiful little girl came home and told me, “Daddy I have fat thighs.” I thought, “WHAT? You are 8! Why are you even thinking about thighs?”
Some little punk 8 year old called my little girl fat.
At that very moment my mind flashed back to where I was when I got made fun of about my weight.
I’ll give you a second to go back in time and remember where you were when people had bad things to say about you. Was it your weight, height, color, gender, certain abilities? We all have them, these comments that stick in our minds that no matter how long it’s been we still hear them.
So I intentionally ask my daughter these questions because I want my voice to be the loudest voice in her head, not these idiots.
Another thing I started doing is waking my kids up speaking truth into their lives. These are little comments that I want them to start the day focusing on. Things like, “beautiful girl its time to wake up”, “Champ its time to win the day” or “Little warrior it’s time to fight the good fight”. I want their mindset to be that dad thinks I am beautiful, dad thinks I’m a winner, dad thinks I am powerful. I want them to start the day knowing someone believes in them and hopefully if they hear this enough then they will believe these things about themselves.
I know grown men who don’t believe these things about themselves. I know guys that every morning they wake up they hear a voice from their childhood telling them they are weak, useless, losers. How different would their lives be if they woke up with voices of encouragement, with a personal soundtrack of victory & success?
This isn’t self-help feel good guru stuff – this is Gods truth.
Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
The tongue has the power of life and death. I am not saying if you say the wrong words you are going to kill someone, but what you can do is kill some of their self-confidence.
When my kids first moved into our home we were talking about nicknames and what sort of fun things we were called. I told them growing up I was called Big Mike, Big Hod, Hoddy Doddy, and a few other silly names. One of my boys said, “I don’t have a nickname unless Fat is a nickname.” My heart broke for him. Since he was a chubby baby his family called him Fat-Fat. I guess calling a baby that might be ok, but a child who knows what that means is brutal. Years later this kid who is as strong as an ox and super athletic only see himself as fat.
Think very long and hard about the words you will speak over your others. Your words will give life or death.
Heavy metal, flames, skulls, wings, free weed and beer… sounds like church to me!
Seriously! To tell us all the details of this amazing ministry is Brian Smith, Senior Pastor of the First Heavy Metal Church of Christ.
To put it in a nutshell, FHMCC is a non-denomination, Bible-based Church in a comfortable atmosphere with great music! They are a group of people from all walks of life and age groups. It doesn’t matter what you wear, they just want you there!
The Church has no racial, ethnic or social status barriers and they could care less about your past or present life. Brian and his church only care about your FUTURE life in Christ!
Most people want God in their lives, but think they must clean up first before coming to Christ… You don’t clean up before you jump in the shower, do you? God wants you EXACTLY the way you are at this very moment. As long as you actively seek God, He will actively seek you, and the Holy Spirit will gently clean you up along the way.
The First Heavy Metal Church of Christ is unlike any Church that you have ever attended, and THAT I can guarantee. Just walk on in, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Here are just a few of the topics Brian and I discuss this week:
This is just part of Brian’s story. You’ve got to hear what God has done throughout his life to mold him into the man he is today. As Brian says, “No matter how you worship… ROCK ON!”
For more information about Brian’s amazing ministry, check out HeavyMetalChurch.com!