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Unorthodox Train Wreck

Welcome back to the Unorthodox Man Podcast! This week, I get to sit down with a new friend, John Ruhlam. John grew up in a small town in North West Washington and is a fifth generation pastor. I’m talking very small – only about 800 people lived in his hometown. John grew up thinking that religion was all about rules – do this / don’t do that. He basically grew up thinking religion was all about rules. He missed the concept of a merciful, graceful God. So, like too many PK’s (pastor’s kids), John rebelled and ran away from God.

But, then, when he was 20-years-old, John gave his life to Jesus and moved from “religious rules” to a “relationship with God”.

However, that’s just the very, very beginning of John’s story.

Here is a sample list of bulletpoints that John shares about his life (although, you really should hear the story from John, himself by pushing the play button above!)…

  • Moved to Southern California for college and learns about a loving, grace filled, compassionate God
  • Gets involved with student government, serving his community
  • Starts a job as a football coach and history teacher
  • His pastor tells him he wants him to be a youth pastor
  • Turns him down then gets offered triple his pay and accepts
  • Served as a youth pastor for 11 years and then left to plant a church in Temecula
  • Church explodes and life is great – awesome time to be in ministry
  • Motorcycle crash and breaks neck, whole right side was paralyzed but left side still works
  • 4 months of rehab he gets full use of his body
  • This starts 10 years of pain medication addiction
  • Wife of 22 years leaves him because of his addiction combined with his over commitment to ministry
  • 2 years later he is completely out of ministry
  • No wife & no ministry leads to deep depression
  • In depression a friend introduces him to Meth
  • That starts 6 months strait of meth use
  • Meth changes you emotionally, spiritually, physically
  • Friend dies of drug overdose and decides to get clean
  • Starts an outpatient rehab and recommits to Jesus
  • Sobriety starts but consequences keep coming
  • Gets arrested at church for violating a restraining order
  • Car is broken into while in jail
  • Goes to the police – no help
  • Goes to arresting officers house – gets arrested for 3 felony charges
  • Gets remanded in court and is sent to jail
  • Sits in prison for 6 months when released from jail the judge mandates rehab and John happily accepts
  • While sitting in jail he realizes where life went sideways
  • Decided to work on himself before ever working on others
  • Advice for guys who aren’t taking care of themselves:
    • Knew all the right answers, but didn’t really live the truth
    • Don’t look to blame others, accept your faults
    • Realized that God was stripping everything away to get his attention.
    • Told God he has nothing left and was now was willing to follow
    • Now in recovery with nothing to his name he says, “I am a happy man – with nothing”.
    • When you start with nothing all you can get is a blessing

What’s Next?

Don’t want to get a head of God. Quit making plans and just go one day at a time.

No matter where I go I know God will use him for His glory.

John’s favorite verse:

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

Jesus set John free from pain, addiction, jail, and depression.

John’s final words of advice:

Guys, we are surrounded by evidence of God, the next step is a step of faith.


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If you’re a parent, what I’m about to share on BreakPoint today just might scare the heck out of you. But you need to hear it.

By Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.

Elizabeth Blunt was a talented musician and athlete who attended a Christian high school and college. Gifted in foreign languages, Beth was preparing to work in international relations, perhaps in China. But she never made it. Beth died in May of an overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl—a cheap, synthetic opiate. She was not quite 23. “She never came home drunk, didn’t show signs of drug abuse,” Beth’s mother, Lisa, said. “She used to be the sweetest girl. I don’t know what happened.”

The statistics are frightening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day in the United States, an average of 78 people like Beth die of an opiate overdose, including 29 from heroin. Every year, the CDC reports, opiate overdoses kill more than 28,000 people, and heroin kills more than 10,500. That’s more than all those killed on U.S. highways.

And the problem is escalating. About 435,000 Americans in 2014 used heroin, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. That’s nearly three times the number just in 2007.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says drug and alcohol addiction is “a moral test for America,” with more than 20 million people embroiled in substance abuse problems. Only 10 percent of them are receiving treatment.

“We can never forget that the faces of substance use disorders are real people,” Murthy said while releasing a report on the problem. “Are we able to live up to that most fundamental obligation we have as human beings: to care for one another?”

What’s behind this hellish epidemic? One factor—heroin is a very affordable high. “Heroin is … cheap and available just about everywhere,” reporter Dan Ponce of WGN-TV in Chicago says. “A $10 bag can keep someone high for a day or two. …. Drug dealers will deliver heroin right to your front door.”Saving Your Kids from Heroin Addiction

Another is the neurological effect such drugs have on the brain. The surgeon general’s report notes that repeated use changes the brain, so that it demands more to function. It’s a vicious cycle that can trap our children in addiction. And it comes straight from hell. As Screwtape said to his junior-devil colleague, Wormwood, “An ever-increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.”

That describes drug abuse to a T.

So now that we’re properly scared, what can we do to protect our kids from the hellish world of illegal drugs? First, pray for and with them. Second, talk with them—frankly—not only about the risks of substances like heroin, but about the joy and purpose available in Christ, which no drug can ever match. Third, really listen to them. And fourth, if necessary, get them into treatment. Come to our website for some great resources and encouragement in the fight against this scourge.

Please know that there is hope for those who have become snared by drugs. Even in addiction, where sin increases, grace can abound even more.

Help is available for those who choose it. For example, the Indiana Dream Center provides recovering addicts with effective, God-centered treatment. Its facility for women, Marilyn’s House, helps residents gain life and job skills, spiritual development, and mentoring. “To be held accountable, they don’t go anywhere alone,” says Jessica Brooks, a former heroin addict who now directs the ministry. “We’re pretty radical. We really live how the Bible says. Jesus sent them out in twos, so we go out in twos.”

Heroin may be a taste of hell, but as this ministry and others show, there is hope—real hope—in Jesus Christ.

Visit to get further information about the many great books and other resources available there and you can link up to our social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.


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