We All Have a Story, Here’s Mine
For as long as I can remember I was unhappy. No matter what I would do or what I would experience nothing ever seemed to take that empty hopeless feeling away. Which is probably the reason why I turned to drugs and alcohol at such a young age. I had found my place in this world, and that was tucked away, disconnected and simply trying to escape from how much it hurt to simply be alive. I won’t go into all of the details of how my life fell apart, but my addiction and self destruction cost me everything. Once my wife and kids left me I made a decision to handle the situation the only way I knew how. I was going to go on one last insane run and just hope that it killed me so I could just be done with all of the sadness.
I remember when I made that depressing decision. I said a prayer to a God I didn’t know and I told Him I didn’t expect Him to help me. I knew He felt the same way about me that I did. That it was my fault and I didn’t deserve saving. I remember thinking, “Who am I to ask for help, I deserve all of this.”
The days rolled on, chaos overlapping chaos until the pain and despair was all that I could see. I had receded into the shadows with no thought of making a change for the better… I had truly given up on myself and there was nothing stopping me from completing my lifelong run of self destruction.
Then one night like every other night I was driving. I looked in my rear view mirror to the twinkling of flashing red and blue lights. I received a 4th DUI which landed me with a felony on top of everything else that was going on in my life. I had no clue, but when that squad car door slammed shut, I had begun down a road that was going to change everything. That felony left me with two choices; I could do a year in state prison or I could go into some program called Teen Challenge.
Repeating similar patterns I decided to take the easy way out and go into the program. My plan was to do my time, play the part and get my felony taken care of so I could go back to my so called life. A month or so into this year long discipleship I was sitting in a worship service scanning my bible. I was just killing time more than anything else and my eyes focused on a single verse. I stared at it and unintentionally I muttered it outloud, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
It was such a comforting statement….I just couldn’t understand why.
So I began to pay attention. I began to learn of a God so different from what I had thought I knew. A God not of condemnation but of neverending love and patience for me, for us. Not disgusted or angry with me like I once thought. Being a father myself, the love of a Father on the divine level really intrigued me and drew me in. Not being able to fathom how much God loves us opened my mind to the infinite.
Through that year with everything that I learned I was convinced. This sounds like a strange way of describing it, but I am a skeptical person by nature. The presence of the Holy Spirit was undeniable. But all of the study, teaching and experience that I was exposed to there showed me that our faith is not a fairy tale, that it’s real.
I graduated in 2013 and immediately got plugged into a local church which is my home church today. I joined a small group to get me plugged in, which evolved into me being the facilitator of an ongoing weekly small group so diverse and loving that my faith and love can’t help but continue to grow. In the last several years God had placed me and used me in ways I never would have dared dream.
I love to tell my story because looking back is when my faith is strengthened. When I am reminded that if all of those horrible,….just terrible, painful things didn’t happen to me, I never would have gotten to where I am at today. Each piece of the puzzle fitting perfectly into place. And when I recognize that God’s plans are so far beyond anything I can anticipate, understand or predict, I will be able to to remember…. to have the wisdom, “To simply be still, and know that He is God.”
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” Ps.46:10
Written By: Justin Ludwig
I want to Share Your Experiences with God
Recently I have created a Facebook page which has the same mission as my blog, which is to glorify Christ. I wanted to reach more people and I felt this was a way to do it.
It has been a blessing so far knowing I am reaching so many more people to share about the awesomeness of God. If you have a powerful testimony or have a writing that glorifies Christ, inspires hope or even a vulnerable encounter you have had with Him that you feel needs to be heard, I am offering you a chance to be heard by more people. No tricks, you get all credit… I just want to glorify God.
I can’t assure that I will use every one I receive but I want to share other peoples stories and experiences, not just my own. If you want to look up my page before you send me a piece just search “RawDisciple Ministries”
I feel this is an opportunity for you to get your voice heard by more people and help me share about Christ. If you are led, send the link, to email@example.com
Watch “Teen Challenge Creation Skit” on YouTube
I came across a video from when I was in the Teen Challenge on the Drama Team. We would go to churches and schools, perform and then share of the power of God in our hopeless situations to inspire hope.
Sharing our hope is what we are called to do…. no matter what it may look like.
Teen Challenge 2013 Drama Team- “Creation Skit” (Me)
How Can I Serve You?
Below are three links depending on why you would like to reach me. If you would like to contact me regarding something other than these please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer is power. I want to pray for you!!!
Fundraising or Donation Letters
Why do you love Jesus?Please Share Your Hope!
Who is Jesus to you? Jesus asked Peter this question with great passion
This is a question that every single christian needs to know the answer to…. if they don’t, then why are they following Christ in the first place?
Beyond the clichés and the Sunday school lessons…. Dig deep and truly ask yourself, who is Jesus Christ, personally in your life. This is a very personal answer because as you know, the walk with Christ is an intimate, personal one.
I hope and pray that anyone who reads this will comment with their intimate, personal answer to this question. There is no “right” answer and I pray Holy Spirit will inspire you to share your love affair with us…. when we share our story, we share our hope and we grow stronger, together.
For myself, Jesus taught me not only to not hate myself but that I am worthy of love. Jesus is my hero because he changed things in my life that would have been impossible without Him.He completely softened my heart and freed me from a lifetime of self destruction. He showed me that I am loved and showed me how to let go of my past. Jesus is my strength… He gave hope to a man who has been without hope his entire life.
Be blessed and love furiously.
Written by: Justin Ludwig
The Power of Your Testimony
Some people are intimidated when it comes to sharing their journey with God. Some have a fear of speaking perhaps, but it seems many avoid it because they feel their testimony is not exciting enough. They feel that they cannot be effective because they didn’t have some dramatic transformation, so they stay silent. Perhaps they feel embarrassed because they feel their story is no good or boring, I don’t know.
They let their fears blind them from the truth. And the truth is, that everyone’s testimony is effective. It’s just a question of who it will speak to. And the crazy thing is we never know who our words will speak to until we do it. It may not even be anything we say, but somehow by merely approaching someone, God has already spoken to the them through that action and our words are irrelevant. I kid you not, I have experienced this time and time again. It’s awesome 🙂
What needs to be realized is that the most important part of a testimony isn’t how broken we were before Christ saved us. Yes, a dramatic transformation makes for a great story, but the purpose of a testimony is not to tell a great story. The focus of a testimony is telling people how God is working in our life and by doing that we are saying that He can work in their life too, even if you don’t say it.
Your story is unique, your personality is unique and you can reach people that others can’t. We each have our part to play in the great commission and we must not be silent.
It is our personal experience that draws people into being willing to find out for themselves, then God will take it from there.
Be bold, be loving, be sincere. Above all, be blessed .
Written by: Justin Ludwig