Holy Spirit

Adventures in Faith

Why I Got Baptized Again As An Adult

On this day in 2011 I was baptized again.

I say again, because like many people, I was baptized by my parents when I was little. I'm really thankful that my parents took that step to make the public statement that they were going to raise me as a Christian.

I also felt it absolutely essential that, as a thinking adult, I chose Jesus for myself. 

I literally got to a point in my journey to know Jesus where I felt like I needed to get baptized as soon as I possibly could. I literally had come to see my life as a filthy rag, stained with the effects of my rebellion against God. And I needed to be washed clean, which I knew I could not do on my own but only through Jesus the Christ.

Then, one day while attending church, the pastor got up to make an announcement, he said, "some of you have reached a point where you need to get baptized, and we're going to do that on July 3rd." And he looked right at me.

That was it, I was getting baptized. And in so doing, here's what I wanted to say:

  1. My faith is in Jesus as my personal Savior.
  2. However crazy it is, I believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the dead.
  3. I am sincerely and totally repentant of my old sinful life—this is my "burial" of that sinful life.
  4. And baptism pictures my rising up to a new life of spiritual obedience to God.

It is an outward acknowledgment of the realization that the old self must die in order that the new self might rise again to live—this time really live—by God’s laws and commandments as made possible through His Holy Spirit.

And, as I hope this blog gives some credence to, it is indeed a new life surrendered to the will and authority of God, albeit imperfectly most of the time. I could never have imagined then what a different life it is when you walk with Jesus. 

I'm so glad I did this, it's been so important in my "walk with Jesus" and if you have not done so, I would strongly encourage you to consider making such a statement yourself.

Adventures in Faith

When Scripture Repeats Itself Over and Over

Last night I had dinner with two guys, one visiting from out of town, my first time meeting him in person. As we got comfortable with each other, and sharing more intimate details of our faith, the stories started to come out. Wild stories about how God is doing real, practical things in our lives. I love these stories. 

Stories like being ready to quit a project, only to be confronted by a homeless drunk stranger who speaks directly to that project. 

Stories about vivid dreams that one can't shake for years, and which provides direction in one's work.

Stories about praying and hearing answers, and then sharing those answers only to get eery feedback that the answers are precisely accurate.

A number of these stories involve actual Scripture. And one story that I shared was about the early days of my time at Geneva Global, when a pastor friend called me to say he was praying for me, and kept getting the verse Proverbs 13:22 in his mind for me. That verse went on to launch me down a new way of thinking about my work.

Anyway, just this morning, I got an email from one of the guys at dinner, the subject line was simply "Wow!"

Turns out he woke up this morning, and the devotional that he gets delivered into his inbox each morning, well, this morning, it was about Proverbs 13:20.

Needless to say, his eyes were open, he read that devotion with perhaps extra care. As did I, because when this kind of repetition happens with a specific verse, it is often God using that to speak to us.

Someone can go calculate the chances of this happening, we can all agree that it's incredibly slim. And yet, I'm here to tell you this: when you believe in God, when you're in His Word, listening in prayer for His direction, this happens a whole lot more than you could imagine. Monthly if not weekly.

Adventures in Faith

The Holy Spirit Connects the Dots Over Decades

One of the most shocking aspects of hearing from God is the consistency of the message across many people, across Scripture, and even over many years.

I often imagine that God is so good, He doesn't want to confuse us, so for me, he knows I need to see or hear something a few times before it sinks in that it's God's plan for me.

Anyway, I was reminded of this in a very striking way this past week...

A friend of mine is in some deep water. For months now his family has faced one medical emergency after another.

  • His college age daughter threw her back out last week and can't walk days before going abroad.
  • His wife has a debilitating illness that doctors can't understand.
  • Then on Thursday, another of his daughters was hospitalized suddenly.

It's a constant wave of trials and suffering, and right at the time when his ministry is having a breakthrough.

When someone is in such intense circumstances, it's hard to know what to say. I've even given this brother advice, at his asking, that we both quickly realized was not right, it wasn't God's plan.

So, I'm very careful right now about what I say to him, I want to hear from the Lord first, so as not to distract him with something not from God. As I prayed for him this past week, I got this vision of him, and so I sent him a text about it.

Now, you have to realize, I was nervous about sending this, I mean, he's really in a tender place, his daughter is in the hospital. But it was such a distinct vision, I though, man, if this is from God, maybe it will be helpful to him.

So I sent it. 

And then, shortly after, he writes me back to say that, in fact, he's gotten this same vision for over 30 years.

What the heck?!

I mean, seriously, people, this does not happen. Except by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Adventures in Faith

Bringing Jesus to...a Scammer

So I got a friend request, which I quickly realized was a fake, the latest victim in the Facebook imposter scam. It happened to be right as I was finishing up a time in prayer, and my inclination was to see if bringing Jesus into the equation via prayer might have any affect.

Here's what happened...

Also, hacking is a serious issue, if it happens to you, here's a guide at Facebook to recover your account. 

And if it happens to a friend, here are details on how to report and block the imposter account.

Adventures in Faith

Wow, I Just Changed 3 Marriages?

On a recent business trip, I reached out to a friend on a whim. I don't always visit him when I'm in his town, but I had a sense that on this particular trip, I needed to do so, but didn't know why. 

Anyway, he was available and so we met up and had a really rich conversation. I ended up feeling like I had some really specific things to share with him. Neither of us expected to have the kind of conversation that we had, but we both left feeling really uplifted by it. I was glad I followed "my gut" to reach out to him.

A few months went by and I didn't think about our time together, and then I got this email from him...


Bro -

Unbeknownst to you, one of the things I took from our last conversation while together was that I need to be praying with my wife like you are doing with Whit.

Since the morning after our meeting I’ve been waking up early and praying with her every morning and it has made a huge difference in our relationship….I mean huge.  

Throughout this time, two guys in my men’s breakfast group expressed issues and I told them about what you did for me through this suggestion.  They both have begun to do this and report significant improvements in their marriages.

You’ve had an impact on three families and thought you should know.  

Hope you’re well.


Now, to be clear, this is nothing special about me at all, it's God, and here's what I mean:

1. That sense I had to visit my friend, God puts those ideas in people's minds, it happens to me numerous times each week, both on the giving and receiving end. It's a normal part of walking with Jesus and having his Holy Spirit active in your life. 

2. The things I said to my friend were very simply from my experience praying and applying Scripture to my own life. So in a sense, I just shared Scripture with him that had come to life in the world in a way that resonated with him and drove him to action.

3. If you knew the backstory on how I met this friend, and the details of our relationship, it is so clearly wild that we even know each other. There is simply no other reason that God has connected us for exactly these kinds of exchanges. 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
— Proverbs 27:17

People Getting It Done

Jack McCall: Fool for Christ

Jack and I first met when I attended a 6:30 am Christians in Commerce Meeting at the San Jose Chapter. I can't recall entirely how it worked out that we ended up grabbing lunch together soon after, but we did. Jack is the refreshing type of believer who lays it all on the table, his shortcomings, his struggles, and mostly, his praise. 

I've come to Jack with some of my own struggles as a result, and he is a rare person in that he shies away from giving advice. He wrote to me once:

"I'm not one to give men advice, because God has assured me that His voice to each heart is far more impacting than any knowledge I may impart. He does use me to speak to folks, but not usually in the way of advice." 

He may share a relevant story, but usually doesn't say "do this or do that." I've found that when I go to Jack, the Holy Spirit moves through him to me in a profound way.

Jack and I have had several such "Holy Spirit exchanges" between us over the past year or so. One such case was a breakout of prayer in the middle of a Denny's restaurant I wrote about here. Most recently, though, the Holy Spirit moved through Jack as he spoke at his wife's funeral. She passed away unexpectedly, after 40+ years, I grieved in my heart for him, and I knew that God would use this difficult trial for his glory. Jack's words were profound, about his failings and love for his wife, it became clear their marriage was a great testimony even to, no, especially in, the last days. 

Jack has a website where he blogs and provides resources online here. I really like his "Appointment with God" outline he has posted online here. As Jack shifts from career as a successful salesman to spend more time in ministry, I expect God is going to do amazing things through him, I know he is going to finish the race running hard. 

Tools That Work, Most Read

An Old Pal Meets Jesus On Facebook

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People talk about how Facebook is evil, and I'm like "yeah right, i'm making disciples up in there!" 

Seriously, I've connected with a bunch of people that has led to us going deeper in the things of God. And what's crazy is I never go looking for it, in many cases people will write me with questions, for advice, or in response to something I've posted. 

I have one pal from high school who reached out to me just to check in and I dropped a quick note that God was good and it has evolved into a journey of exchanges (chats, texts, phone calls) for over a year.

He sends me questions and answering them teaches me. He sends me updates on what God is showing him and it encourages me greatly. 

Here's how it started and progressed thus far:

I think there are a few tips buried here that might help you make disciples on Facebook (or any social media platform).

1. Don't be shy about how God is present in your life.

2. Don't be a religious drone, simply spouting or reposting what other people say. Have your own material. Talk about the personal ways God is speaking to YOU. If you are on social media then invest the prayer and time to do it for the glory of God.

3. Avoid the crazy issues that get everyone inflamed UNLESS you commit to A. learn about the issue from various viewpoints and B. pray a ton about it and get direction from God about what to say.

4. If someone writes you a note to say whats up, drop a little spiritual bait maybe, a note about how God has blessed you or offer to pray if it applies (then actually pray for them).

5. Once people reach out to you, you gotta respond. Don't get nervous about it, their eternity doesn't rest in your hands alone. The Bible says God is drawing them, and that the Holy Spirit teaches them. So proceed in a lighthearted yet intentional way.

6. Don't bombard people with all your favorite books, songs, a free copy of the Bible, and more. I used to do that, it didn't work. Someone else's faith is going to be different from yours, which God will reveal to them in their own time. Not saying don't send ideas now and again, just don't deluge.

7. Let people respond, and a bunch never will after that first interaction. But some definitely will, and its glorious not only for them but for you. 

Consider that your Facebook page (along with everything else in your life) is useful to God for drawing people to himself. Are you tuned in to allow him to do it? Go for it.

Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.
— Jesus in Matthew 4:19

People Getting It Done

Touched by the Suffering of Jack McCall

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
— Psalm 23:4

Jack and I first met when I attended a 6:30 am Christians in Commerce Meeting at the San Jose Chapter. I can't recall entirely how it worked out that we ended up grabbing lunch together soon after, but we did. Jack is the refreshing type of believer who lays it all on the table, his shortcomings, his struggles, and mostly, his praise. 

I've come to Jack with some of my own struggles as a result, and he is a rare person in that he shies away from giving advice. He wrote to me once:

"I'm not one to give men advice, because God has assured me that His voice to each heart is far more impacting than any knowledge I may impart. He does use me to speak to folks, but not usually in the way of advice." 

He may share a relevant story, but usually doesn't say "do this or do that." I've found that when I go to Jack, the Holy Spirit moves through him to me in a profound way.

Jack and I have had several such "Holy Spirit exchanges" between us over the past year or so. One such case was a breakout of prayer in the middle of a Denny's restaurant I wrote about here.

The Holy Spirit moved through Jack as he spoke at his wife's funeral in the Fall of 2014. She passed away after 40+ years of marriage, and I grieved in my heart for him; I also saw God use this difficult trial for His glory. Jack's words were profound--about his failings and love for his wife--it became clear their marriage was a great testimony. 

In the days after Jack lost his wife, he was understandably shaken. He grieved tremendously, and publicly to those who know him and follow his blog. In the midst of this great trial in his life, I saw that God was doing deep and wonderful work in his life. The words he was writing cut right to my heart, I'd often tear up while reading them.

I reached out to Jack to see how he was doing over breakfast a month or two after his wife's passing, I just had a sense I needed to pray with him. When I did, the most miraculous thing happened, I wrote about it here. This was God using Jack's suffering to bless others.

Not long after Jack's wife died, his mother died too. I learned that his brother had died within a year or so prior to his wife's death. He had also dealt with a challenging sale of a business he had built over many years. To look at his life from an outsider's perspective, one might have great pity on Jack. But I know Jack and I know better, and I saw how there was treasure in the midst of the brokenness. In fact, I texted and emailed Jack that on several occasions. I couldn't hold back from telling him how clear it was to me that even while he was numb and grasping most days for a way to get by, his continued faith and obedience to God's word was serving as a great sermon to most everyone around him. 

Now, months later, I've been able to witness Jack start to become outrageously blessed in the wake of all the loss and mourning. He is literally a man dancing with joy at how good God is, and to say that is a real miracle. I know many who have faced this kind of loss and are derailed if not wrecked by it. Jack has been sustained by his faith, and out of his sufferings he has emerged in a deeper walk with God and having impacted many through his walk. 

In closing, Jack has a website where he blogs and provides resources online here, register to receive his blog posts, which I always read when I receive it in my inbox. I really like his "Appointment with God" outline he has posted online here. As Jack shifts from career as a successful salesman to spend more time in ministry, I expect God is going to do continue to do amazing things through him. 

People Getting It Done, Miracles

Jack Deere: Spirit Led Man

I first met Jack at the New Canaan Society, and in the hallway he spoke to me like a friend. His calm approachable spirit struck me; with people eager to speak to him, we had a leisurely five minute conversation. Me a young man who knew nothing of his journey, his books, anything.

After that conference, I learned that Jack had a son who went through Cityteam's addiction recovery program, was clean for awhile, then relapsed. When he did, he was discovered in a park by a wealthy Christian family in Silicon Valley that took him in to live with them. Somewhere shortly after that, he committed suicide. 

Jack's story intrigued me, and I've attended his workshops and have picked up his book, "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit," but admittedly, have not read it yet. When he preached at the NCS conference in Washington, D.C. the Spring of 2014, he laid his heart out before 700 men in an intimate and graphic way regarding the near death of his wife, his struggles before God all the while, and now his care-taking of her. 

Currently, I see Jack is posting about caring for Leesa on a Caring Bridge site here. Jack is a soldier who's wrestled with his faith publicly, he's stared death in the face, he's pastored churches, he's cared for many, and I see a man who is bearing himself naked before God, and before others to the glory of God. 

Adventures in Faith, Miracles, Most Read

Revival at Denny's

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Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:38-42

I was invited to a gathering of pastors at a local Denny's. There were about 20 in attendance, someone spoke for 10 minutes, then we broke into groups of 4 or 5 to see how we can pray for each other. When they got to me, I went on a rant about how God is flooring me and how I don't know what we are doing as a church and why haven't we reached out to pray for our server already.

Minutes later, the server, a skinny 20 –something year old Mexican kid who is all disheveled comes to our table—and a guy at our table asks him, "can we pray for you?" To which he responded: "I wanted to ask you guys for prayer, but I thought you were too busy."

Jaws dropped.

The server followed up by dropping to a knee and saying tearfully, I want to give my life to Jesus, but I can't. We asked him why, and he said because he smokes too much pot. We prayed over him something fierce, one pastor was literally hooting and hollering, another spoke in tongues (I think it was a first for me to hear).

I got his cell number so I could follow-up.  A few days later, one pastor forwarded me his weekly newsletter, detailing the story of Oswaldo at Dennys. How much do we busy ourselves with ministering to those of faith while missing the lost literally right at our table?

As a follow-up, I followed-up with Oswaldo shortly after our encounter and learned the number he gave me was no longer working. So I went to Denny's to see him in person, but he wasn't there. I left a note that another server said she would pass on to him, but I never heard from him. A year went by, and Oswaldo popped into my mind once in awhile.

Then, one of the guys at the table, the one who'd spoken up, he sent me a text message to report that Oswaldo had called him, but he was in the hospital with his wife and couldn't call back. Excited, I called Oswaldo and he answered, there he was. I quickly learned that his English was much easier to understand in person. It didn't matter, I asked how he was and went on to tell him what I thought about him, relaying the truth of God to him. His only response was something about how I had no idea how powerful this call was to him, how important. 

I wish I could say that Oswaldo and I have connected more, we have not. He has never called me back, and I have only prayed for him occasionally. And yet, I trust that seeds have been planted and I pray they will be watered, and I know who to trust for the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6). Even more, given the way this story came to life, I trust that it was a genuine move of the Holy Spirit. 

Adventures in Faith

God Is Not Always Efficient

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"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:38

As I was driving into Washington D.C. for the New Canaan Society & Wilberforce Conferences, I called Michael, who I was set to room with for the night. Michael had planned for a nap, he said, and my arrival was set to be right in the middle of it, so would I mind delaying a bit. "No problem," I responded; and I thought to catch up on work in the business center. Minutes after the call with just a few miles to the hotel, I found myself driving along beautiful Rock Creek. I felt like I should pray at that moment, so I pulled off the road, hopped down the bank, and found my way to a large rock in the middle of the creek. There, I threw up my hands to God and admitted to Him that my heart was not "in" these conferences...I saw them as a work obligation, not as a chance to praise and glorify Him. As I sat there feeling spent, I told God that I talk enough and would He  please put something on my heart...teach me! Minutes passed by...so did joggers...I soaked up the sun and the sound of the rushing water. Then, right before me, a great message was delivered in the form of two currents that ran counter to the creek. Literally, two sections of water ran back against the flow--literally uphill--to create a small pool right at my feet.

As I saw this I received with it the lesson that God's design is so high, so Holy, so Perfect, that it must be trusted fully. God is in control and, most important, it can be terribly inefficient in a worldly sense. In the end, the creek runs exactly where God wants it to run. Holding up efficiency as a grand measure, as I often do, was not an across-the-board virtue, at least in God's design, that much was clear. This came all at once in a remarkable way, so much so that I took out my phone and videotaped the scene.

This was to be a private lesson just for me but then on the last night of the conference Michael introduced me to a friend of his who spoke about his difficulty in always wanting to be efficient. I found myself blurting out that I think God gave me a lesson for him, and at the risk of looking foolish, I showed him my little creek-side video. It resonated with him for sure, but there watching next to him, Michael remarked that it had a strong application for him too. The next day, as we talked more, Michael added that perhaps this story should be shared with our team at work at an upcoming retreat.

I have taken the core message from this day to heart, that I must focus my vision on God's design and not worldly design, and certainly not on what appears most efficient. I have since balanced research and strategy development with seeking God's will in prayer, fasting, reading the Bible, and seeking council from other believers. As a result, I have become more patient, understanding, and gentle in handling times when I face inefficiency.

Adventures in Faith, Miracles, Most Read

Miracle Boy: Ben Pessah

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Through the Legends group in Menlo Park, I learned about a tragedy where a young man named Ben was shot in the head in San Francisco at a Halloween party. It turns out that Ben was friends with a colleague of one of the guys in the prayer group. Actually he was friends with a colleague of the host of the group, and that colleague, knowing that there was a group of men who came to pray in the office Tuesday mornings, asked the group to pray for Ben, who was in deep trouble.

I got a text while at the New Canaan Society weekend retreat in San Francisco, just a day or two after the shooting, that invited a group of guys to go to the hospital to pray for Ben. A car picked us up and off we went to pray for a young man none of us knew personally. On the way to the hospital we received a text from the colleague that Ben's condition had worsened, there was some kind of infection so that he was put into a unit we could not enter. The best we could do was pray in the hotel lobby.

And so we entered the hospital, got as close to Ben as we could in the Intensive Care Unit, and we began to pray. Pastor Shodankeh Johnson was with us--a powerful man of prayer I wrote about here--and he led us in prayer. We had prayed for five or ten minutes when a few young adults walked by us. I can't recall how the exchange happened, but we learned that among the group were the siblings and a close friend of Ben. We shared that we were praying for him, and they said they might be able to come back later to have us go in to see him. 

We prayed maybe ten minutes more, and then we left and went back to the retreat. Then the amazing reports began to trickle in...

First, an email from the colleague that said,

"Great report.  The initially diagnosed "highly contagious bacterial infection" somehow"came up negative" today."  

Then, a few days later, a note:

"a good report re Ben this afternoon. Fluid in the lungs receding. Doctors are optimistic on his prognosis!!!"

A week or so passed, and another note:

"Thank you so much for your prayers and support!"

I am so happy right now I am literally crying. Ben is now awake and is able to move around. His voice is faint (given all the tubes he has had for the last several weeks) but he is able to comprehend and keep conversation! The power of prayers.

I cannot express how thankful, happy, and relieved I am. I have so much to be thankful for this thanksgiving.

Please pass on my thanks to your prayer group and the priest that went to the hospital.

Then, we received an update that the press was beginning to cover this miracle: 

Check out the links below. It's not only us who are declaring this a miracle! Local news is also reporting on Ben's recovery.

Man's miraculous recovery from coma

Holiday Miracle as Man Awakes From Monthlong Coma