Adventures in Faith

This is How to Confront Evil

In Scripture Jesus demonstrates his power over the darkest evils, he confronts the demons! And yet, the modern world, and especially in the USA, we ignore the spiritual realm--this is a HUGE mistake. Scripture is clear: we are not in a battle of flesh and blood but of the principalities of evil! And Scripture provides the toolkit to deal with these things, it's called the full armor of God. While we're arguing over gun and immigration control and more, we're ignoring the flood of evil our country; in our ignorance it has cloaked us. 


Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Be connected to the vine, know Scripture, fight temptation, be a person of prayer, be baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit, walk out GOD'S plan for your life, not what you want but what God wants for you. 

Adventures in Faith

God is the Real Deal

I've found that in God's Kingdom things get whacky really fast. His "economy" looks nothing like ours, He doesn't play by our laws, there are no man made presumptions to contend with.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
— Jesus in Matthew 19:26

I've come to realize that God actually turns things upside down like this so that, when one looks back at the circumstances, they are so clearly out of one's control that it had to be God. I find myself thinking, and increasingly saying, just that. God get's the credit--there's no way I could have done this. 

If you watched my recent Stanford talk, you heard about how when I was in need of money to "make ends meet" I got a call about a consulting job that more than made up for the 1/3 pay cut I had suddenly experienced. Clearly it would seem that I was the one who was blessed by that.

Think again.

Yes, I certainly was, but it turns out that the guy who gave me the job was probably equally blessed. First, as it all played out, he realized so clearly that God spoke to him in prayer--this alone is a wonderful sensation. Once you tune your ear to discern what is your own thoughts, and what are the thoughts God put there, its powerful.

Then, he stepped out in faith to hire me and then pay me out of his own pocket. A financial loss, but he quickly saw God used it for a bigger purpose. I remember sitting with him and his wife over dinner while on the job and I detailed how I had met with a CEO who had offered me a job on the spot. They looked at each other, then at me, and said, "that's why we were to bring you here."

When these kinds of things play out, no matter how seasoned a believer in God you may be, I think you are always elated and even a bit mystified at the realities of a practical living God who's working things out on Earth. It still blows me away when this stuff happens, but the more I see it and believe it the more it happens and I feel like I'm essentially living in a world with another dimension. 

When I spoke at Stanford, Mike, the guy that hired me, brought his wife and son along to hear the talk. We've rehashed it numerous times to really praise God about it. And, I just discovered, it all struck him so much that he decided to write about it on his popular blog, Biblical Viewpoint. Here's an except from his post titled, "Are You the Real Deal?"

Over this past year I had a young man’s name pop into my mind while I was praying. Not a vision, not audible words, but the simple, distinct thought of this person’s name. I did not even know him that well. The strong notion I received in prayer was that I should hire this young man as an assistant on one of my business consulting projects. By the way, this would cost me money out of my own pocket and I was confident that this junior person would add little value to the project. The available project had not even come up yet. I asked God to make it clear how, where, and when to involve this person.
— Mike Griego on BiblicalViewpoint.com

In the article, he talks about living a stereotypical Christian faith vs. one that he calls "all in." This is humbling to me that he considers me to be this kind of Christian, I know I fail often, and yet God keeps saying to me, "Ryan, I need laborers, people to be my hands and feet, brush yourself off and follow me." And for that, yes, I am all in. 

Adventures in Faith

Rich Kids See God Too

A couple months back I attended a pretty swanky affair at the United Nations. Most of the attendees were either very wealthy, accomplished, popular, or all three! Seriously, George Soros' son was walking around, so to Meryl Davis, and many others. It's not clear why they let me in...

Nonetheless, in a room with smart, rich, young people, I had a notion that I'd be hard pressed to find anyone wanting to talk about faith in God. After all, if you read the reports, those are precisely the factors with a high propensity for disinterest in religion. Boy was I wrong.

I wasn't there a full day when I started to hear conversations about God. In fact, that first night on my walk back from dinner, I ended up having an hour long conversation with a mildly practicing Jewish woman about Jesus. It was remarkable and had me literally choked up to tears. 

Night two, I spoke with the leader of a major movement in Mexico--this guy literally has a million people following him on social media and in other places. I asked him what drives him and was floored when he replied that it's when he's ministering to people, that's where he meet's Jesus. Again. Ryan. Choked. Up.

A Saturday evening soiree I stopped by was called "Shabbat Unplugged." I had no idea what it meant, but as soon as I entered I was greeted with a blessing by a woman who seemed to be the host. In the hour or so event, the hosts of the event, a husband and wife duo, stood on a couch and the husband prayed over the wife. We all raised our hands to pray with them. They broke bread and then passed it around the room to the 100 in attendance. A guy jumped up and recited an amazing poem. If I didn't know any better, I'd have thought I was in a lively church fellowship and worship session right there in Trump Plaza!

There was a special breakout session specifically to explore religion and how the world religions could get along. I thought I'd be one of a few to show up, again, wrong, it was standing room only. At lunch I sat with a table with a Hindu, Atheist, Universalist, and some other kind of -ist. To start the discussion, we prayed in four different traditions. 

What really blew me away though, was a series of questions they asked the crowd. First, raise your hand if you identify with only one religion. Only about 25% of the hands went up. Then, they asked, raise your hand if you have had some experience with "the other" that you cannot explain, but which is central to your faith. Almost every hand went up!

People are being touched by God, that much is clear. They just don't know what to make of it, that sense that there is something bigger doesn't easily line up with what they see as the available options of religion around them.

Now I was soaring high, really sensing God move in and through this crowd. Why wouldn't He, for Scripture says in Proverbs 21 that God controls the kings of this world. 

It kept growing, the reality that God and faith and Jesus were all around New York City and among this group. One night, on a yacht sailing around the Harbor, I got to talking with a wealth adviser from California. I don't remember how faith came up, but when it did she revealed to me that she was beginning to get inquiries from her clients about how faith should be factored into their finances. She was uncertain about how to respond, especially since some of them feared an "end of the world" scenario, and so I offered to be of counsel to her anytime.

Another guy I met raved about his start-up, and how it enables people to find each other to do service projects much easier. Curious, I asked him what drove his vision for the whole thing. He leaned in and he told me that, secretly, it was a vision from God, and that he'd love to tell me more if we could set up a call for a week later. 

This was all a great encouragement to me, and also, with it there was a real weightiness. The realization that in this world there is not a battle against flesh and blood but against principalities of evil. Realizing that where there is good, there is an enemy that seeks to destroy and to devour around every corner. How will people come to know these truths?

In the days after the event, I got a flurry of emails from folks I had met who intended to keep in touch. One such email included a hint about the faith that sustained the sender, a young man. I checked his LinkedIn profile for clues, and then when I replied that I was a believer, and was praying for God to use me for the good of this group, I was quickly introduced to a handful of others who had found each other and were already praying and planning seeking to serve the community with grace and truth. 

In closing, I'll tell you about a documentary film maker I met at the event. A super personable guy, we hit it off and he beamed about how he had shot 19 videos, that we set to air on a major network about this movement. His job was to capture it and tell the story. I replied to him that there was an unseen current beneath this movement that he has to capture, and that is the faith of these people, and the very hand of God. Just then someone got up in front of the room to pray.

Tools That Work, Most Read

I Love to Pray this Prayer by Jack Rase

I've prayed this prayer and have spoken aloud the declaration many times and have found it to be powerful. The guy who wrote it and introduced it to me said that speaking it aloud is important. For the backstory on my meeting Jack Race, click here to read more.