Salt Strong UNCHURCHED Episode 1: “Is God Real?”
By: Joseph Simonds on October 13, 2019
“One of the next great moves of God is going to be through believers in the workplace.” ~ Billy Graham
I’ve got a confession to make…
For the majority of my life, I’ve struggled with church.
Even though I was raised by amazing Christian parents who ensured that I went to church pretty much every single Sunday while growing up, I still found church quite boring.
The rituals (that I didn’t quite understand)…
Hearing a message that didn’t seem to apply to my life…
Having to wear long pants and uncomfortable penny loafer shoes…
Church just wasn’t something I looked forward to on Sunday.
So when I graduated high school in Florida and moved away to Atlanta for college as a fresh-faced 18-year old, church took a back seat to fun pretty quickly.
This trend of not attending church continued on throughout a big chunk of my 20’s.
I still continued to pray at night…
And I still continued to call myself a “Christian…”
However, I wasn’t living for Christ… and I certainly wasn’t living a Christian-like lifestyle…
Then life threw me a curveball.
I was 28 years old.
I was single.
I was living by myself.
I had no church community.
And my family was hundreds of miles away in Florida (I was still in Atlanta).
I felt alone and afraid, to put it mildly.
At that moment, none of the money, my big house, or anything that I was working so hard for mattered anymore…
It hit me just how precious my life is.
It also hit me how everything can be taken away from me at any given moment… in reality, I didn’t “own” anything…
I instantly wished I was back home in Florida.
Florida was where I had a network of family, friends, and people I could trust to pray over me… my old Christian friends and family.
It’s sad that many times it takes a tragedy to bring you closer to God…
In my case it took cancer to finally crave the love and guidance of the “Bible-beaters” who I had dismissed when I was younger…
But I couldn’t.
I had to face this cancer on my own in Atlanta.
Thankfully my dad came up for the surgery (as I was a mess mentally).
Hours before my cancer procedure, something happened that changed my life forever.
It happened in a private pre-op room where a physician was doing some tests prior to the surgery.
Everything tested out fine, and I remember the physician walking towards the door to leave.
But as he grabbed the door handle, he stopped dead in his tracks.
His back was still towards us. I assumed he forgot something.
He took his hand off the door handle and slowly turned around to face me.
He looked me in the eyes and said, “God just told me to pray over you. Is that ok?”
I looked over at my dad.
A million thoughts were racing through my head.
This doctor, who we had just met (and who had no idea what our religious beliefs were), was risking his job to pray over a complete stranger in the hospital.
I don’t even recall if I said anything, but I know I nodded my head in agreement.
Seconds later, I felt the doctor’s right on my arm (where the cancer was).
Something unexplainable happened.
I felt a surge of energy rushing through my body.
It was like the most extreme case of goosebumps on steroids.
The doctor started praying.
I started crying.
My dad started crying.
I don’t even remember what the doctor said… I just remember sobbing uncontrollably as he prayed over me.
The next thing I remember was an overwhelming sense of peace.
I could feel God with me… in me…
I knew right then and there that I was healed.
My cancer was going to end right then and there.
I just knew it.
I believed it with all my heart.
The anxiety went away.
The fear was gone.
I finally trusted God.
There in that Atlanta hospital, my life changed forever.
Ever since that day, I felt like I’ve been called to share this story… to share more about my faith… to share God’s message with the world… to reveal how my life has been changed ever since I accepted God and Jesus into my life…
But at the same point, I’ve been scared.
Fear of what others might think of me.
Fear that I might look dumb because I don’t have all of the answers.
Fear that we might lose customers or fans if we talked about faith in our company.
Recently, all the fear went away.
I can’t really explain why.
I just know that I’m not scared anymore.
Which leads me to Salt Strong Unchurched.
It’s been on my heart since January to create a podcast or video series answering all of the questions that most of us (including me) struggle with when it comes to faith, church, and God.
Especially those who don’t go to church…
Maybe you grew up going to church (like I did) but stopped going because it was boring or it didn’t seem to relate to you…
Maybe you were hurt or lost a loved one and you can’t understand why…
Maybe you went to church at one point and were let down by the pastor or others in the church congregation…
Maybe the whole thing just sounds like hocus pocus but you’re still curious how miracles happen and why you were put here on this earth…
Or maybe you just want a better understanding of God, faith, and love (but don’t want someone to read you Bible verses that don’t make much sense in terms of applying them to your life…)
That’s why we created UNCHURCHED.
It’s bringing the church to you (through stories and real-life examples that you can relate to your life).
At first, we thought about using a different name (like Fish Strong).
But at the end of the day, our entire team agrees that Salt Strong is not ours… it belongs to God. We are just his servants… his messengers…
So we called it Salt Strong UNCHURCHED.
The ultimate plan is to answer ALL of the tough questions about FAITH that most struggle with.
And we kicked it off with a big one with fellow Salt Strong Insider member Pastor Johnny Kelly of Discover Family Church in Lakeland, Florida.
Is God Real?
Is God Real? [VIDEO]
I’d greatly appreciate any and all feedback by leaving a comment at the bottom of the post.
You have my word I will read every single message (although it might be tough for me to get all of them considering the tens of thousands of people will read and see this).
And if you live in the Lakeland, Florida area definitely go check out pastor Johnny at Discover Family Church.
Finally, I’d really appreciate if you’d take a second to SHARE this with your friends and family.
P.S. – My surgery that day went flawless just like I knew it would after the doctor laid his hands on me and prayed. They were able to cut out all of my cancer. Plus, every lymph node they cut out and biopsied tested negative. I was healed (in more ways than one).
P.P.S. – I hope that this doesn’t offend anyone on our list. Faith was never meant to scare off people. But if we lose a few, that’s ok. Luke and I were never in this game for the likes or the subscribers.
We’re in it to make an IMPACT. To bring more LOVE into this world.
Thank you for being part of the movement.