Adventures in Faith

How & Why I Blessed My Competitor

Shortly after buying the N2 Publishing franchise for Chadds Ford, PA, I set a meeting with a very cool brand. I pitched a plan for them to be embedded in the "resident generated content" in this affluent "chateau country" and they loved it! I left the meeting elated as this partner would quickly establish credibility for my new magazine.

I called my wife and uttered the words, " went great, if this comes through, it's going to crush the competition."

My wife quickly retorted that she did not like the sound of that. I immediately recognized the great pride and selfish intent that had welled up in me; and I didn't like it one bit.

So began a journey to examine my heart, motives, and how my Christian faith should guide my business. I asked God for forgiveness, asked for a change of heart, and dove into the truths of Scripture, which softened my heart for others, even my competitors.

Then I actually started to pray for them and their businesses by name. As I did, I began to think about their good qualities and the reasons why a customer would want to work with them instead of me. It occurred to me that I could both grow my business and bless theirs.

I soon found myself in a negotiation with a potential customer who, when we got into the details of what they wanted, I realized my competitor was a better fit. When I mentioned this, they were surprised at the suggestion, and very thankful as well.

So I made the introduction--it felt good to do it.

A month passed and I decided to stop by to meet my competitor in person. I was warmly received. My referral had turned into a nice piece of business. Our conversation flowed as we educated each other on our strengths. I also learned that the business owner, this competitor, shared my Christian beliefs, what an eye opener!

Soon after I received an email from my competitor (who now feels more like a friend) sending me a lead. I didn't anticipate that happening!

As I thought about what had occurred, I realized that what we were doing, by being selfless and recognizing the value of the other, this was actually resulting in the best deal for the customer!

What if we all worked like that, what if we genuinely cared about people so much that we took time to know the ecosystem within which we operate our business and could guide customers to the best solution, to the best of our ability, with a desire to be a blessing.

Maybe that's radical, counter-intuitive, or even anti-Capitalist, but I believe it's Biblical. And it has worked well for my business, and given me a great peace about my dealings.

Thank God for teaching me this important lesson!

Originally posted & responding to comments on LinkedIn.

Adventures in Faith

Unbelievable Confrontation on A Plane


I had only a few hours of sleep ahead of my 07:05a flight to Atlanta, and wasn't in the mood to talk. When the woman sat down next to me and joked that she was "a whole lotta woman" and that we'd "become close on this flight", I smiled politely then closed my eyes and fell asleep. 

When I awoke 45 minutes later, I was surprised when this same woman turned to me and said this..

"What kind of work do you do?"

I said with some hesitation, knowing this makes sense to almost nobody, " the Church."

She replied, "You're about to have an increase. I see a lot of progress coming on deals that you have been working on." 

"Wow, interesting that you should say that, especially now," was my retort. Then I asked, "Why did you just say that?" 

"Because I've been praying, and I feel strongly God wants me to tell you that. I'm a seer, when I pray I see things."


Then I thanked her, and I told her that it meant a lot to me. As we deplaned, I gave her a big hug as I marveled to her that we, strangers who'd never met, could have this kind of exchange and even call each other brother and sister. 

She agreed, hugged me, and we went our separate ways.

I share this because:

  1. These kind of occurrences, this deeply moving “Intel” and encouragement just didn’t happen to me prior to following Jesus
  2. It happens now, increasingly so, as I grow in my faith
  3. Following Jesus is full of surprises, often from complete strangers who can quickly become your "brother or sister," your family, in Christ.  

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

I Wrote My Eulogy for My Birthday

After a battle with illness that lasted over ten years, during which, according to his wife Whitney, “he thanked God for the illness and how it helped him to be more present with people and to really listen,” Ryan JonPaul Derfler, left his flesh last Tuesday, July 3rd, exactly 60 years after he was baptized.  

Ryan was born in 1981, the son of Monique Anne Balcavage (nee) and John Dennis Derfler, and has a brother, Daren Lee, and his sister, Danielle Jacqueline, preceded him in death. He grew up in central Pennsylvania, and often talked of his childhood in the rural small town of Montgomery. He relished his simple, country roots, love for nature, and was a self-described “late bloomer.”

Ryan is perhaps best known for his dramatic stories about how Jesus is alive and actively involved in the intimate details of life. He published over 2,500 short stories including a series of controversial books for adults and children.

He once said, “Looking back, God always had a hand on me, that much is clear. But it was when I met my wife in 2010 that it clicked that I needed to take my faith seriously, and I then began a personal relationship with the living God.”

In 2012, Ryan married the love of his life, Whitney Elizabeth Miller, who he often wrote about for her faith, wisdom as a mom and friend, and her beauty. She survives him in death.

Immediately after being married, Ryan and Whitney moved to Silicon Valley, California, where Ryan took a position working for a ministry, Cityteam International, serving the homeless and addicts. The juxtaposition of living and working among both the wealthiest and poorest in society, as well as the disciple-making training that Cityteam provided, had a deep impact on Ryan. 

For over 30 years Ryan worked for Geneva Global X, a consulting firm that drove massive collaboration among social service partners, especially within faith-based groups across many denominations. The work resulted in the transformation of millions of lives in a dozen regions around the world.

Whitney and Ryan have two sons, Boden Wiley and Lukas Elliot, a daughter, Scarlet Elizabeth, three adopted children, Joseph Jordan aka JJ, Maria, and Angel; and they fostered or provided care for dozens of orphans. Their farm in the suburbs of Philadelphia, nicknamed “Still Waters,” became a respite for many people and animals.

Ryan was a lifelong artist producing mechanical sketches as a child, human figure drawings in college, and gripping scenes of what he described as “Heaven On Earth” later in life.

A passage from his last short story, published the day before his passing, reads, “my work, feeble as it may be, was designed to be, in total, a big red arrow to a supremely loving God, and a vitally helpful way to both learn to love oneself, one’s family, and one’s neighbor.”  

Ryan will be buried on his farm with a celebration to follow on Saturday, July 7th. Gifts in memoriam are requested to be sent to the Ministry Defense Fund for Persecuted People, ℅ Boden & Lukas Derfler.

Adventures in Faith

A Word for Those in College Facing Temptation

Galatians Chapter 5

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Adventures in Faith

So You're Hunting for Your Next Opportunity...Here's My Advice

Lots of times people reach out to me wanting advice or help getting to their next opportunity, usually for work. I then ask them to respond to the following:

1. If you are a Christian, what is God telling you? How is that being confirmed in prayer and in your Scripture reading?

2. What are your advisers / wise counsel / your spouse / the people you trust / saying to you?

3. Have you enlisted a few people close to you to pray for this transition? When I've gone through these transitions, I have cried out as the Psalmist:

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
— Moses in Psalm 90:17 (ESV)

4. What are the top 3 companies you'd like to work for?  

I'm a big fan of aiming for what you want vs what's available. In my experience, what's listed publicly and what's available are often different, and smart companies do what they can to get the right people on the bus.

5. Do you have any restrictions around where you're willing to move, or what seniority level you're after?

6. Is there anyone in my network in particular where an introduction would help? If so, I'll consider how well I know them and if an intro is appropriate.

These details will help me help you! So if you want my help, please let me know your response to these as the best step forward. 

And many blessings in your search, may God grow your faith through it.


Adventures in Faith

Could You Really Love A Refugee As Your Neighbor?

A good friend of mine was a refugee. 

Whitney and I intentionally made friends with our neighbors in San Jose that were Iranian refugees.  

My church is right now discussing how to adopt a refugee family. 

All of that being said, I'm not so sure most people talking about refugees right now know much about receiving a refugee in this country, here's why... 

People Getting It Done

Jack McCall is One Transparent #handsonchristian

I've known Jack for four years, God has endeared him to me for so many reasons.

Chief among them is the fact that Jack is action-oriented in his faith. He tunes in to what the Holy Spirit is doing so he can hear God prompting him (John 10:27).

As a result, he does wild things like empty his wallet on people (including my wife once, read about it here), and he regularly prayers for people on the spot even complete strangers (read one story I was a part of here).

I’ve seen first-hand how God has incredibly blessed people to tears through Jack’s quick prayers.

Jack is also wildly transparent which is rare and has a way of disarming others and empowering them to open up about themselves.

Finally, Jack is one of the most joyful guys I know!

So check out our video chat from today, and know that this is a #handsonchristian, it was a treat to see him and listen to him, and I encourage you to sign up to receive his weekly email, it's one of the few I always read. 

For more about Jack and my history together linked up as brothers in Christ, click here

Adventures in Faith

My Godly Wife

So the other day my wife shows me a post she put on Instagram, and as I looked through her posts, I realize that she's putting all these wonderful little nuggets of her faith online too. 

I mean, I know that these things happen in her life all the time, but to see how she documents it, life through her eyes, well, let's just say I'm one proud husband.

And the best part, look who get's the glory!

Adventures in Faith

Whitney's 1st Post: Simple Prayer in the Grocery Store

Adventures in Faith

I'm Not A Good Dude, Christian, etc.

After coming to a place in my faith where I realize there is "stuff" in my heart that is wicked, that I don't want there, that I can't remove, and which I need to Lord to literally do heart surgery, I feel compelled to share this with you all. 

Also, I reference this Scripture...

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
— The Apostle Paul Speaking in 1 Timothy 1:15
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
— Paul in Romans 7:15
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
— 2 Corinthians 12:9


And this sermon by Tim Keller, which is seriously too good not to hear.

Here's a post by a brother in Christ I really respect, a real warrior and disciple-maker, David Watson, that touches on the gravity of this issue we have as Christians projecting this image that we have it figured out, that we're not battling demons, that we're not trapped in sin as much as anyone.