No Silent Christians

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My pastor recently said something that grabbed my attention:

There is no such thing as a silent Christian.

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

I’ve often hid behind a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Perhaps you know it?

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.

My thoughts have been, that in my life and online presence, I would let my actions speak first. People should know that I follow Christ due to:

  • What I like
  • What I post
  • And what I say about the content I consume

But something about that quote, that is falsely attributed to St. Francis, has always rang hollow to me. A sort of free pass Christians give to one another for never sharing what Christ has done/is doing in their lives; for never sharing the Gospel.

Even on this blog, I have internally struggled and fought over how much is too much to post, when it comes to the topic of faith. For those that follow me for my video game angle, are my faith posts somehow pushing them away? I have struggled with these thoughts for years. “I’ll just let my actions do the talking”, I’ve reasoned. As a follower of Christ though, I think that not speaking is disingenuous. So, I wanted to share my faith journey below.

Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

No Longer Silent

I grew up in a small town, in Southern California. My dad was a truck driver, while my mom stayed home and homeschooled us kids. My dad’s truck driving meant that he was home two days and gone three days. He worked hard to provide for our family. Looking back now, I can appreciate the sacrifice both of my parents made in raising my siblings and I. But in my dad’s absence, God filled that father-space, in my life, with many men. One such man was my Grandpa Ayers. Looking back, he taught me a lot about what it means to be a man.

I made a decision to follow Christ at the age of 5. My family was hosting a Vacation Bible School at our home. Even then, I understood that sin separated me from God.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

– Romans 3:23 (NIV)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.

– Romans 6:23 (NIV)

And that because God loves us so much, He sent His son to die for us.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

– Romans 5:8 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

– John 3:16-17 (NIV)

All one has to do is accept this hope, this gift, and believe in Jesus Christ.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

– Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[a]

– Romans 10:13

All of that at the age of 5, huh Bryan? Yup. I knew enough to make that decision. God has walked with me and helped me grow in the knowledge of Him ever since.

In junior high, I made the decision to be baptized. Baptism is an outward sign, to fellow believers, that you have made a decision to follow Christ. I was at a youth beach day, and I was baptized in the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, no sharks tried to aid in that baptism.

At the age of sixty, my Grandpa Ayers unexpectedly died overnight. I was looking at going away to college at this point, after attending junior college for a few years. I felt lost losing him. But God used his death to spur me on.

I was reading a book when a single sentence mentioned LeTourneau University. So, I traveled from Southern California to East Texas for a preview event… and felt peace. I went home, packed up my stuff, and I made the drive across Texas. Where I ended up meeting my now wife, Tabitha, within a month of being at school. (I was 25 and had never dated beforehand. Ignoring the Beach Boys, I didn’t want a California girl apparently.)

Tabitha and I married in 2007. Two years later, we had our son Wyatt. Last year at a Life Action Conference, we felt God calling us to adoption, after years of infertility. We finished jumping through the adoption hoops last May (2019), and we are waiting to grow our family. In the meantime, God continues to grow us.

There is no such thing as a silent Christian.

I’m hoping that by sharing where God has brought me, I can push against the silence and use words to share my faith. I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ first and foremost. I am then a husband to Tabitha, and a father to Wyatt.

This blog is my attempt to engage the world for Christ. To share the life He is working through me. Thanks for reading and coming along for the journey.

When Halls Converge

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Spent the weekend hanging out with my brother and his family from Arkansas.

Roughneck

Saturday, we planned on heading to the Caldwell Zoo. But the weather ended up being cold and drizzly, so we stayed inside and hit up the East Texas Oil Museum.

Oil men

The East Texas Oil Museum is one of those special places that is far cooler than it has any right to be. Something about the museum having:

  • A replica of an oil boom town. Complete with a muddy street that has cars and donkeys stuck in it. We learned that the donkeys have been with the museum for 40 years. Each of the donkeys has a name (there are 4 of them) and are real (taxidermy).
  • A mine elevator ride (puppets included).
  • And even an audio-animatronic lineman.

Learning about where oil comes from.

Not just a Disney thing anymore.

My sister-in-law said that the museum reminded her of Knott’s Berry Farm, in California.

The kids loved the scavenger hunt and resulting prizes for finding all of the listed items.

Post Office Boxes

My artsy shot.

Overall, we spent a good two hours at the museum.

After lunch, we let the boys hang out and play. They fought with their Beyblades on the trampoline. I’m not sure who “won”, but I know that Wyatt loved hanging out with his cousins.

Spidermans

Wyatt ran into some other Spider-Mans.

We ended the day with some trick-or-treating at LeTourneau University. Afterwards, we did some big eating at Papacitas, a two story Mexican food restaurant here in Longview.

Sunday, we hung out and talked. Even got my sister-in-law and niece to play a few games of The Mind.

I hadn’t seen my brother nor his family in over a year. The weekend was a great time to catch up with them, hang out, and eat.

Thanks, Mike, for driving down.

Mom and dad, ya’ll really need to come out and visit.

LeTourneau University Alumni Association Directory project

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In the Fall of 2004 I left my native state of California, Tetris-style packed my car, and made the 2 day trek to Longview, Texas. There I spent the next two and half years pursuing higher education and ultimately meeting my now wife. My time at LeTourneau University was amazing due to the awesome group of guys I became friends with (kick butt CLUB!) and the personal growth I experienced through student leadership.

Almost six years later, I find myself gainfully employed and slowly paying back my student debt. Over the past few months, I have been receiving emails/mailers from a company LeTourneau has contracted to update their alumni directory. I do not wish to participate in this update. Instead of offering me a chance to opt out, I have been bombarded with emails and mailers warning me of being “past due” and the dreaded “4th notice”. This collections agency language and behavior is not befitting of the memories I have of the university. I really think that LeTourneau is capable of holding itself to a higher standard.

What is funny about this is that no one else I know, who has attended LETU, has been contacted over this. Seems like a scam.

Travel Journal: Indiana or Bust!

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“Beep, beep, beep!”

The alarm read 3am. I felt like I had awoken from a nightmare. I had just fallen asleep 4 hours earlier. Even in my groggy state, I knew that a few hours of darkness laid between me and sleep once more. 96.4 miles to be exact between South Bend, Indiana and the Chicago O’Hare Airport in Illinois. I had a 7am flight to catch and it was time to get up.

Rewind: Friday, March 9, 2012

My friend Jon and I had flown into Chicago, Friday morning, for our friend Jeremy’s wedding. Jon was the best man and I was “also” the best man. Seriously, that was how the wedding program read. The last of the three amigos from LeTourneau University was about to get married.

Jon and I spent a chunk of Friday traveling, picking up/ trying on tuxes (my pants were M.C. Hammer-ish, thankfully I got this fixed) and attending the wedding rehearsal/ rehearsal dinner. The wedding rehearsal was uneventful. Well, besides the two nephews that were having fun running around. Family and friends looked on as we practiced walking, standing and trying to be quiet. The wedding coordinator, Lynn, even placed tape on the carpet so that we would know exactly where to stand–she did an amazing job!–. The rehearsal dinner afterwards was held at Tippecanoe Place in historic South Bend. I have to say that it was quite impressive! Being from Southern California, I was most impressed that the restuarant featured a place where one could check-in their coats. I’ve seen stuff like that in the movies! Guess movies don’t lie.

After dinner, we took the groom out for a night of wild debauchery. By which I mean go-karts, miniature golf, bowling and a nightcap at Steak and Shake. Good times were had and wisdom was bestowed.

Just don't ask...

Saturday, March 10, 2012: D-Day

Jon and I got up Saturday morning and went out hunting for car “decorating” supplies. We weren’t too successful. Luckily, the bride’s parents were awesome enough to have bought a few choice “supplies” (Alissa, it was your parents fault!). After that, we went and picked up some re-fitted tuxes and headed to the church.

Stained glass, wooden pews and candlelit lanterns. Beautiful.

From 12pm till about 4pm, we took wedding pictures. If I learned anything from my own wedding it is that it is of utmost importance to do this beforehand. The bride and groom were very wise to do this. Kudos!

The wedding started at 4:30pm and was absolutely beautiful. I loved the hymns that were sung, the father of the groom officiating the ceremony, and the bride and groom wiping away each-other’s tears. It was a sweet time of praising God for His faithfulness and for bringing Jeremy and Alissa together.

After watching my traveling companion, Jon, get married a little over a year earlier, I felt that this was somehow the end of an era. All three of us, Jon, Jeremy, and I were now married. Each of us have found a companion to walk through life with.

Evening Blur

The wedding reception was elegant and filled with filet mignon. I was a happy man. Speeches were given, dances were danced and I almost caught my shirt on fire. Never stand too close to a candle!

The sanctioned rain of birdseed greeted the newlyweds as they dashed for their car. Humorously, someone had forgotten to unlock the car… which gave the groom’s nephew enough time to pelt his new bride square in the back with a small bag of birdseed.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

“Beep, beep, beep!”

And like that, the weekend was over. It was time for Jon and I to travel in reverse.

The memories I have of my weekend in Indiana are ones that I won’t soon forget. God used this weekend to remind me that I am not alone. That I do indeed have life friends who are just scattered across the country. I am resolved not to let these friends slip away but to actively pursue them. Even if that means only meeting up once a year.

Indiana, thank you for a good time. As a somewhat wise man once said, “Good morning, good evening, and good night.”

Reputation

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In college, I lived on a dorm floor that had quite a rich reputation on campus. People respected me and some wouldn’t even talk to me due to where I slept at night. To say that we were the black sheep of the school would be an understatement. We were the dorm floor that was always first to be blamed but never convicted of any offense. One of our motto’s was even:

“Don’t get caught.”

Reputation, whether on a college campus or out of the bubble, influences the way people view and think about us. In the case of my former dorm floor, the reputation it had earned was earned by those who had come before us. We were simply coasting on their past actions.

 I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

– Revelation 3:1B (NIV)

As Christians, we can also lapse into living in our past glories and deeds. God knows the truth though; God sees us for who we are. He knows that we are really dead. He calls us to:

2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. – Revelation 3:2-3 (NIV)

Throughout the Old Testament, God constantly was reminding His people to remember where they had come from. Even in the last book of the Bible, God is still calling us to:

Remember 

&

Repent

Notice the warning at the end of verse 3:

But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

We are given the choice to repent but if we don’t there are consequences for our actions. We can chose to blaze a new reputation (which is what my dorm floor ended up doing) or stagnate and die.