I was named after a prophet, raised for my first couple of years of life in a born-again Christian church and commune, and then abandoned by my father when I was three. I was then raised in a home by my mom and step-dad that, while loving, was anti-religious.
I became a young man who was angry at my father for leaving, who felt that I could treat others poorly because I had been left by my dad – since others had hurt me, I could hurt others. I got involved in high school wrestling and eventually college wrestling at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and after that, mixed martial arts combat. I was a skeptic who loved to pick apart people’s religious beliefs. I was especially hard on Christians because of the impotence of the church to keep my family together as a child.
I had no room for faith in my worldview. After all, if my biological father, who was supposed to love and protect me, abandoned me, how could I believe in an invisible Father in the sky who was supposed to love me? As boys raised in America, our model for God is our father. If our father isn’t there for us, or if he abuses us, what does that tell us about God? Either that He isn’t real or that He doesn’t care.
As I grew into my 30’s it became clear to me that I was missing something in my life. For the first time in my adult life, I wanted to believe in God. But after years of reciting all the arguments against God, I just didn’t know how to get there. Faith still eluded me.
It wasn’t until I reconciled with my biological father in 2008 that I could begin to allow myself to risk having faith. It was like the open wound I had been suffering from since I was three years old had finally healed.
I began sporadically attending church with my wife, Andrea. I began to seek answers to my questions about God – not to disprove them, but to learn about Him so that I could have a relationship with Him.
My church experience was a step in the right direction, but ultimately felt a bit hollow. I didn’t enjoy the singing, and although I walked out of the worship hall inspired and with a sense of well-being, there wasn’t much of a change in my life. It was like I knew where Jesus lived now, and I might even catch a glimpse of Him through the window, but He never came out to play.
That changed when I became a disciple. In 2015 I started volunteering at Shoulder to Shoulder, a Christian nonprofit organization that provides one-on-one male mentors to fatherless inner-city boys in Sacramento. After one meeting, the founder, Bill Coibion, asked me a bunch of questions about my walk with Christ and offered to disciple me.
In 2018 I can truly say that Jesus comes out to play from time to time, and I am on the road to a deep relationship with Him. Discipleship has made a huge difference in my walk with Christ and in my life. As a relatively new Christian, I am the white-belt among the black-belts that make up the rest of Forging Disciples.
I’m not on the Forging Disciples team because I am a mature Christian or a biblical scholar. I am on the team because I am a regular guy who is newly on his walk with Christ, and I want to help other men find that path as well.
I know that God is going to do something surprising and wonderful with Forging Disciples and with me. I am excited, and a bit scared, to see what it is.
I am husband to my beautiful bride of 18 years, Andrea, father to our 2 year old son, Gable, and President of a leadership development company, Forging Leaders.