First, I feel like I should provide a back ground of who I am and how I ended up here....writing a Blog, Podcasting, and having a website.
MY STORY: This is nothing more then my story of Jesus stepping into my life.
I was raised in a Christian church and home. Truth be told I do not remember "inviting Jesus into my heart", from what I have been told I was 5. At 18 years old, I found my self alone and in a pit of despair. I decided to take my own path and see what else was out there.
Okay, so this is were things get a little weird. I will try to explain it the best I can, but this was a very REAL experience for me that changed my life.
A few years later at my buddy's Saint Patrick's day party, I got sick. When I went to throw up it got stuck in my throat! I began to suffocate. I have always heard the phrase 'My life flashed before my eyes' but hadn't experienced it for my self till that moment. It wasn't everything but only the things I did in obedience to Jesus, so it was a pretty short. Then I heard, "I can call you to judgement now for your life OR you can live the rest of your life for Me, 100% ". Feeling like I've not given Jesus 100% and not wanting to die, I submitted and said yes to Jesus. In an instant I was able to breathe again.
For a week I deliberated, counting the cost of what I would have to do and what I would need let go of in order to turn my life around. While I was in my room trying to fall asleep, I began to feel a very dark oppression. It was bad, I mean really, really bad! I tried everything that I could remember about "Spiritual Warfare" from my charismatic Christian youth group days. Needless to say they were all useless without Jesus. I then heard the Holy Spirit, that still small voice, like a divine epiphany saying "Sing Jesus Loves me". I sang it once through and a peace began to flood over me. My mind was immediately calmed. This felt SO AMAZING. I sang it again and again! It felt like I shed 100 pounds!!! I was free from it all! My heart was filled with His Love, Joy, and Peace! From that day on, I've pointed my life towards Jesus. I've been through a lot, just like everyone else. Jesus stepped into my life that day and its been a relentless pursuit from then on. Please hear me when I say this, I do NOT claim to have "made it". This was the begging of my journey with Jesus. In fact, some of the worst, hardest, most frustrating, and shame filled days have come after that night. One thing I know for sure, Jesus is alive. He loves me and I make Him smile. Jesus is very real!
TWELVE YEARS OF MARRIAGE AND THREE CHILDREN LATER:
A lot has happened between the day I first surrendered and now. I won't get into the details, because, honestly this is a Blog and I don't want to air all my dirty laundry for the whole world to read.
I will share this though, in January 2012 my father in-love was diagnosed with esophageal cancer caused by acid reflux. A year later, my wife told me that she wanted to move back to Portland to be near family. So we packed up our house and moved from Medford into her parents home in March of 2013. I had the opportunity to spend most every morning with Ed. One morning he shared with me this verse:
Mathew 7: 21- 23 - "21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Ed was a son of pastor He grew up in the church, served in the church, and was a deacon in the church. His whole life had been devoted to serving God and the church. Not knowing how much time he had left, he needed to make sure he knew Jesus and more importantly that he let Jesus know him on a deeper level. I watched him fall madly in love with Christ all over again. This forced me to look at my own relationship with Jesus. Ed passed away December 10th 2013, but the last few months I spent with him ignited a passion in my heart to relentlessly pursue an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. It took some time for me to sort through my priorities and figure out what was my religious agenda/duty and what was growing my relationship with Jesus. A pivotal moment for me was about 6 months ago, the Lord spoke to me through these verses:
Mathew 6:33 - "but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Luke 11:9 "So I say to you, ask and keep on asking and it shall be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you"
The revelation from the Holy Spirit I received was simply this:
The door is wide open to anything that advances and grows the kingdom of God. In my marriage, family, and everyone I encounter.
This shifted my perspective of everyday life. The old way was "Should I or shouldn't I God?" This has often paralyzed me because of my uncertainty. However, when I shift my perspective to "Does this advance or grow the kingdom of God?" I am freed to say YES and proceed. This helps me sort through my priorities as I begin to move forward in my life through everyday obedience. I quickly learned that Jesus was calling me into an adventure, a journey with Him. My doubt and unbelief caused me to be frozen with fear. I learned that fear robs me from the opportunities of God and experiencing the generosity of Heaven. After a couple of months, it became easy to see when God was asking me to be obedient. When I had the idea of creating a podcast about what Jesus is doing in Oregon, I immediately knew this was the Holy Spirit and the answer was YES!
I am excited to discover ALL of the ways that Jesus is expressing His Love through the church body to Oregon.
Please join me on this Journey.
Steven Bedsole II