Salt Strong UNCHURCHED Episode 1: “Is God Real?”

By: Joseph Simonds on October 13, 2019
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salt strong unchurched episode 1 is god real

“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)…

Reciting verses…

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.

CANCER.

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.

YES.

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?

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Is God Real? [VIDEO]

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Thoughts?

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.

is god real

Here’s a pic of Johnny’s RV named “Gerty”

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.

 

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Brian Smith
Guest
Brian Smith

Atta boy Joe. Once a fisherman, always a fisherman! Different kind of fishing! #SaltStrong

Joe Garcia
Member

Joe count me in on your podcasts. Your podcast today was awesome. I too can be grouped into the unchurched group. However, I am a believer and I have always been. I have had experiences where I know that God was at my side and saved my life from tragedy. I am in the process of returning to the church and attempt to make all of my wrongs right.

Mark Menhinick
Guest
Mark Menhinick

Thank you for your inspiring post!
I graduated from seminary when I was 26 and spent the next 15 years serving in various churches as a youth minister. I saw both the beautiful side and the ugly side of church people.
The pettiness and meanness of some of the church ministers and parishioners, eventually caused me to leave the ministry in the church. Doors closed, doors opened, and I became a prison chaplain, where, believe it or not, I experienced more grace than I had in the church. Like you, I stepped away from the traditional church. My church became the prison, and the outdoors.
Fast forwarding to today, after many years of searching, God led me to join a small church whose mission is much like yours – to make an impact by bringing more love into the world. I continue to be blessed to work as a prison chaplain, bringing the love of God to those whom others would prefer to lock up and forget about. And I continue to experience the peace of God while fishing a slam shady from my kayak! I guess you could say that I went from having no church, to being a member of 3 churches!
Peace,
Mark Menhinick

Jon Haygood
Guest
Jon Haygood

Your story is one I’ve heard many times over and experienced myself (albeit through the illness of a child). There are many examples of God’s presence lifting us when we’re at our most vulnerable state. Thanks for sharing, Joe! Keep it coming.

Elvin Gonzalez
Member

Thank you Joe and Pastor Johnny. There’s no greater hope for this broken world than getting to know and receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior. God bless you my friend for bringing forward this amazing podcast. And there’s no better way to share the Gospel than sharing ones testimony and story. I so look forward to your next one. Remember this, it’s awesome to share fishing, but we’ve been called to be fishers of men. Peace, in Jesus’ name!
Elvin Gonzalez

Raymond Schwartz
Guest
Raymond Schwartz

This is awesome. I congratulate you for taking this step. Our rights are slowly being taken away and we need to push back. Thank you for having the courage to do so. I am with you.

Sam
Guest
Sam

Inspiring. God is at work. Thank you

Tom Baumeister
Member

I am not a church goer, i am a christian and will continue to watch your sunday podcast. Thanks Joe

Ernesto Perez
Member

This was great, made my day!

Delbert Young
Member

Thrilled to see over 80 posts so far! I’m wondering if you ever thought this would speak to people like it is? Reading some of the posts, I see it’s ministering to people on it’s maiden voyage. Johnny said, “$0.00 due!” Isn’t that what Jesus did for us all? He paid the price and says to whosoever will, “$0.00 due.” I love it. As Johnny said, we can’t point to a science book and say this is why God is real, but I can point to my life and say I know God is real. Great job.

Thomas Riggs
Member

Love it! I’m “virtually Churched” right now in N.C. due to a move a few years ago and still watching online my former Church in Iowa. Attending a new Men’s Bible meeting tomorrow here in New Bern. Bonne Chance on a possible new beginning.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Joe you are one incredible young man. I haven’t seen you in years but have known your mother and father forever. I can relate to your description of going through church during your teen years, not understanding all of it then one day you hear & meet the right person who makes it all real for you. Gods blessings on you always

Eric Fritsche
Member

God bless you, this ministry, your courage to step ahead in faith and especially for all those that will hear this. May our Lords light shine bright through this ministry.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Great podcast. We are Christ follower above all. I can’t tell you the many blessings that He has done for us and continue doing. This is a broken world with many broken people. It comes down to us recognizing that we are broken and seeking God to make us whole. I look forward to the next one. Thanks for what you do here and with fishing.

Ferdinand

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Keep the faith. Your story was inspiring

Jay Jerisek
Guest
Jay Jerisek

I’m glad to see this video and looking forward to the next episode. It’s heartwarming to see you share your honest Christian values here.

Suzanne
Guest
Suzanne

Beautiful story about God

Daryl Doutrich
Member

Thanks so much for doing this. I am a pastor from ga. And I didn’t feel at all like you were trying to replace church. Thanks for it and I already shared it with a friend that is struggling in purpose in life. Gid bless y’all.

James Bradford
Member

Joe
Thank you for sharing your story and your faith. We are all here for a purpose and that purpose is to love people as Jesus did! Matt. 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.

James D Adkins Jr
Member

Joe and salt strong unchurched, great start. Looking forward to more opportunities to hear testimonies of those who not only enjoy fishing but love God. Thing is I never join groups because it’s usually just some way for someone to try and sell you something you don’t want, can’t afford or shouldn’t have. But there was something more drawing to salt strong than just a chance to know how to catch more reds (which I’ve caught a bunch using techniques learned here) and now I know what it was/is. God is Good! Blessings to ya’ll.

David Baldwin
Member

Joe, Awesome start to Salt Strong Unchurched! The podcast shows the God is involved in ever part of our life. Looking forward to your future shows.

Joseph Rudzinskas
Member

With what is going on with church in our country and politics it’s so nice to have someone who believes in God and is willing to share with whoever he can the ability to love one another. Thanks Joe!

Bill Shedd
Guest
Bill Shedd

Joe
Loved this story. Great example of how our Lord intends for us to live life more fully than simply working or even doing fun things we can’t wait to do like make that next cast. Jesus offers us such a rich life on this earth if we only slow down and listen to His direction.

MARK MORRIS
Member

Way to go Joe! Using your platform for God’s work is amazing and gutsy. I like it! I always say to myself that “Life to the full can only be achieved through God”. I meet with a group of Men weekly and we view teachings from various biblical teachers. After the teachings we discuss how the message applies to our life. We always end our meetings with a prayer. This really helps me to keep God at the forefront of my life. Congratulations on doing God’s work.
P.S. I don’t know Johnny but I live in the Rockford area. Awesome story!!

Marvin Puckett
Member

I really enjoyed listening to this podcast. Thank You for having the courage to step out and bring it to the Salt Strong family!
P.S. the name of my boat is: Mark 1:17!
Blessings to you!

Jack Noor
Member

Joe
Congratulations for having the courage to listen to what God is “pushing you outside your comfort zone” to do. Pastor Kelly had me balling like a baby with his bike story and I have sent this on to one of my sons who is struggling with being alone and without God and church. Blessings on you both and the Simons family you are doing really good things for our fishing and our souls. Keep it coming

David Johnson
Member

Joe,
Wow! What a step of faith! I am so proud of you and the team taking a stand for what you believe. I know it took a lot of courage to do that and to be so open with problems you have faced. You may never know what seeds of change you are planting in others lives.
God has blessed you to have this platform and to be able to reach many people and share His goodness. Thank you for using it to further his kingdom. He delivered you from your illness for a reason and perhaps this is it.
I was so happy to see no negative comments. In time, there will probably be haters. Don’t let that get you down or sidetrack your mission. Jesus had haters too and we have been told it would happen if we follow him.
I pray that what you are doing is a spark that will start a wildfire for our wonderful Jesus!
My prayers for all of you as you go forward. I can tell you are so excited about it. I could see a different look on your face in this video.
There is nothing better than serving our Lord and Master.

Stay Strong and Press on !

Chuck Klassen
Guest
Chuck Klassen

Thank you for your story. I pray that GOD will continue to use you and lead me.

Gary Hartge
Member

Truth… inconvenient, uncomfortable, challenging, liberating, or whatever adjective you wish to use, there is only one truth. That truth is God sent His only son to reconcile us to Him and through His blood gave us the most precious gift, salvation.

It is this truth, this faith, that we define ourselves by and acting on it through love, can change the world. It isn’t always easy, but the Truth needs to be brought back into the public sphere so thank you for posting this. This is what defines us as Christians. Never let the world dictate when you can or cannot proclaim who and what you are, a child of the living God. (Revelation 3:15-16) Blessings

Jackie
Guest
Jackie

Wonderful testimony and renewed hope. God works in amazing ways. Thank you for putting yourself out there.

Dave Morales
Member

If you have the light…let it shine.
Sadly many Christians (including me) repress the light that’s in us. Just as you said, many are fearful of what others might think, or the repercussions of your actions. The Light illuminates your path and brings hope, forgiveness, peace, healing, and direction. This is the message of Christ to the world.
Thank you for your step of faith and your encouragement to me and others. I pray that many who read your post are strengthen and inspired to share the Light.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Scott Smith
Guest
Scott Smith

Awesome man…God is good!
Sharing with Life Group etc.

Dave Jolley
Member

Praise God for this ministry opportunity among the Salt Stong community.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

This is great!!! Keep it up and God Bless you and this ministry!!!

Michael Jenkins
Member

I’m positive that God has ordained Saltstrong to be a great influence on all lives that cross its path. Thanks for your testimony!

Josh Brown
Guest
Josh Brown

I am so glad you decided to boldly share your faith, thank you!

Jim Brown
Guest
Jim Brown

Your testimony was powerful and strong with faith. You might already know this but the root word for testimony in Hebrew is ‘ood’ and means ‘ do again, replicate ‘ that is why we share Our Lord’s amazing faithfulness in our lives with othere. Someone needs to hear about God’s utter faithfulness and say ” oh God do it again in me!”. I have lived for years with the lifestyle that says, my job is my ministry and my ministry is my job. Keep casting the net and you will see great catches for the Kingdom. Blessings to y’all.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Love it

Michael McDowell
Member

Thank You for your Faith. Stepping out again into the unknown. That’s when it gets real. Grace, Mercy and Peace to you all.

William Hoover
Member

Your testimony is powerful! It’s not easy being a true disciple of Christ. Jesus had many followers but when it came down to the cost many fell away. It’s awesome that you are using this platform to get his word out we need more guys like you that are willing to be called by God. Amen brother ! Tight lines!

Muskietime
Guest
Muskietime

Joe, brave of you and the crew at Salt Strong to step up and out to choose to make these videos. I have found that “Letting Jesus Take The Wheel” (trusting in God) relieves much of the pressure and stress that I have faced. Even when I have felt that a “Boot is on my neck”, I have found that my trusting in Him eliminates most of my worry. Somehow, amazingly, everything works out.
I appreciate you two communicating how important it is to surround yourself with Good People as so often Evil will try to capture a weak soul. Avoiding Bad People and Bad Behavior (in work and in play) is a critical first step.

Hoping your message continues to Reach Around The World.
Again, really thankful that you chose to go ahead with these videos. That shows real strength.
Thank you and God Bless.

STEPHEN RIGGS Jr.
Member

Y’all are awesome and what makes fishing and family even better is having God as number 1! Enjoy listening to salt strong podcast and the stories and will definitely enjoy salt strong unchurched! Excited to be a part of a Christian and faith filled community and club. Keep up the good work and spreading the love that God has blessed us with so much and to share it. God bless all of you and your family and the work you all do!

Joseph Milton
Member

Great discussion…we are all on different journeys but God is pursuing us for His Glory. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:6-8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/114/psa.139.6-8.nkjv

William Allison
Member

Love that you guys are willing to stand for your faith even if it costs

Dennis Penton
Member

Fantastic! Being the “salt” of the earth and standing “strong.” Salt Strong. Now I get it. Very well done.

Frank Church
Member

I’d say this is the best thing that you both have ever done God bless the salt strong

Jerry Mason
Member

Thank you Joe and Kelly. I really enjoyed the podcast and look forward to the next one. Well done!

Craig Dowdy
Member

I watched the whole thing. Didn’t really want to give up an hour of Sunday football, but I thought it was great. This is just the thing that will make “ guys” stop and listen for an hour and get them started.
We need to stop and look around us and see what we are doing, and think about what we can let God do to make things around us better.
Keep it up. I think God will make it work. Thank you for having the courage to step out and get it done.
By the way, I didn’t miss anything. The Cowboys really suck.

Tammy Everts
Member

Joe,
Can I just say I am bawling right now. Thank you for being bold about being a Believer. I have been a Salt Strong follower since day one and myself being a Christian always loved the family friendly atmosphere of the Facebook page and the get togethers. I have also experienced a miracle and healing in my body and owe everything in my life to the Lord and what He has done for me. I started a ministry called Treasure Seekers Shell Tours two years ago and although my guests don’t know it, I pray for them every morning before we get in the boat. We have seen people accept Christ in the tours and been able to pray for many others.
I get criticism for posting scripture and Instagram feeds with Jesus on them to the point where I want to give up but I won’t because this is my heart and I want people to know they have purpose and a God who bends down to hear them. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. What better way than to lay hands on someone and ask them if they want prayer.
I am so excited to be a part of this with y’all! Praise God! Keep on being classy and real!
Capt Tammy Everts

Daniel Broadwell
Member

God wants us to live in a way that pleases him. This is a great way to do it. I know I have been lost. I was brought to Christ by a mission similar to this. It’s a good outreach to carry the message!
Thank you for your service!

Brent
Guest
Brent

Amen..
Be fishers of men.
Matthew 4:19
“Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Stanley Taylor
Member

For every talent we have never gift that we have only two but through the grace of God and by no other means on our own

Stanley Taylor
Member

Joe bless you buddy it’s a pleasure to belong to an organization and puts God and Jesus Christ above all things

Dave the wave
Guest
Dave the wave

Thank you for sharing. Amazing things happen when you trust God and take a leap of faith.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Amen. God does his best work when we need it the most….God Bless..

Jon Blahnik
Member

I didn’t expect to see this in my inbox today….at least not from Salt Strong. But the timing of same in and of itself is a message to me from God. Blessings to you Joe for taking the risk in putting this out there. Very much enjoyed it.

Marvin Postema
Member

Joe, really enjoyed and was moved by your story and the podcast. Am passing on to my family and friends. I also sent it to the pastors at my church which I consider a strong faith community. I think a good name for this group would also be “Fisher of Men” continues on with Salt Strong community. Blessings on your work and hope you continue on

Jennifer Burke
Guest
Jennifer Burke

Love this Joe!!!!! Proud to be your cousin.

Greg and Cindy Batchelor
Member

You call it the tug, I call it the nudge…….that’s how God speaks to your heart, and he loves our obedience. A year ago, you did a video on Fillets of Soul, our personal ministry. BUT, after the shoot we went through what call a fishing drought….I had a broke boat! 6 months……no fish for Ruskin. So I prayed for direction…”Fish is your bonus, your heart is my focus. Share my love to those around you.” Cindy handled personal care items…..I began asking if I could pray with folks…..it was not all about the fish. We became Fishers of Men. We still cook fish, but changing the hearts of others is what it’s about. LOVE. Thanks Joe and Luke for this new witness into the lives of others to know Jesus.

Greg and Cindy

Terry McClain
Member

This, my friend, will prove to be your real purpose in your life. Spreading the Gospel gives meaning to a meaningless life, it gives hope to the hopeless. This message is THE answer to any and all problems. Satan whispers lies that we don’t need God and that we can do it all and handle everything on our own. How is that working for our country?…
If we would just try this, we could begin a spiritual revolution that would revolutionize our world. Just try it.
It’s not about our ability, it’s about our availability.

Guy Leveille
Member

Wow! How awesome is this!!!! Nothing wrong with sharing your faith. Yes, sadly, some will jump ship, but you have been faithful in the eyes of the Lord. He will absolutely honor your faith in Him.
That’s a powerful story that you shared! Obviously God has a greater purpose for your life! How cool is that!!!!!
God bless you Joe, your family and the staff working with you!

Greg and Cindy Batchelor
Member

First of all, kudos for doing this! Johnny’s story is dramatic. “Making a difference, where you are.” God exists, John 3:15. God Loved, God gave, I believe, I receive.

Jeffrey Chain
Member

An unexpected turn from a fishing site, but has gotten me thinking. I admire you for having the fortitude to extend your beliefs into the rest of your life. Makes me glad to be in Salt Strong. Thanks Joe.

Sam Petteway
Member

Just gotta love and appreciate you fishers of men.

Steve Crowder
Member

Glad to see Christian Life being put into ALL parts our daily lives. Thank you.

Joe Stonecipher
Guest
Joe Stonecipher

Surprised to see this here – but, you’re right, God IS real! This whole story was ME! As a young teenager, I was let down by some jerks in the church, but my wife converted me back to the Lord. We’ll be married 50 years next year and it’s been a good 50 years. I got a real good deal with her.

David Montgomery
Member

Who knew that Salt Strong would also encourage us in ALL areas of fishing “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. Matthew 4:19. Joe this is powerful. Thanks for following “the tug” that we all have from time to time and we reject as I have so many times down through the years. The “tug” has been strong in my life this past year and all of my excuses seem to fade as I enjoyed this message. I feel certain my life will change for the better having seen your testimony and this presentation. My sincere thanks! God bless.

William Dozier
Member

God bless you and keep you. Thank you for this. -Will

Td Sears
Guest
Td Sears

I like it and the pastor is motivational

Randal Jones
Member

Totally unexpected from Salt Strong. Not at all what I thought I would see/hear on a fishing site.
If you only knew the impact Salt Strong has had on me and my enjoyment of life you would be amazed! That said, this podcast just elevated you guys to a new level. The reality of “God works in mysterious ways” is still and again even more evident. I sat here listening with tears running down both cheeks recalling what has transpired in my life through prayer to get me to where I am today. These reminders are great things. I am no longer “Hangin in there” I am Living the dream. Thank you so very very much Joe and Pastor Kelly. Ya done good, very good! Catch em up.

Wally Woods
Member

Thank you for this. This has been our life with my youngest son for over a year. God healed him as well. No denying the facts. Very close to your age as well and the staff at Emory and other hospitals said the same thing. “ young healthy men don’t get cancer like this;” but he did. We are a Christian family, always have been. We struggled to understand it all and to find the meaning. In the end, only God could save my son and He did that for all of us. People can say what they wish but we know the facts and we know the end result. God wins and we learn.
I’m so happy that He healed you. Now it’s up to you to share with and inspire others. It’s the very least we can do. After all , remember Gods sacrifice for us …
Blessings to you. Wally

Dana
Guest
Dana

Your story is beautiful thank you for sharing. While some do leave church because it’s boring or want fun instead, I believe a bigger reason exists which is not mentioned in this article.

Many people that I know left church because there are teachings about God that are incomprehensible for a God that is loving. Hell is one of them. Many young people want to believe in a loving God but it just doesn’t match up with what some Christian churches are teaching. How can God send millions of people to hell and yet still he all loving?

I think it’s unfair to boil down the unchurched into a group that wants to have fun when many have larger, moral discrepancies that they are dealing with in relation to what the church teaches.

Stephen Kennedy
Member

👍

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Thank you for this. This has been our life with my youngest son for over a year. God healed him as well. No denying the facts. Very close to your age as well and the staff at Emory and other hospitals said the same thing. “ young healthy men don’t get cancer like this;” but he did. We are a Christian family, always have been. We struggled to understand it all and to find the meaning. In the end, only God could save my son and He did that for all of us. People can say what they wish but we know the facts and we know the end result. God wins and we learn.
I’m so happy that He healed you. Now it’s up to you to share with and inspire others. It’s the very least we can do. After all , remember Gods sacrifice for us …
Blessings to you. Wally

Phillip Sinclair
Member

Thank you Joe for having the courage to do this. Too many times we are afraid of offending others while those who oppose our opinions and our rights stand up loudly and get our rights taken away. I applaud you for standing up and sharing this with us. I too grew up in a family who went to church every Sunday. I was even a torch bearer and an acolyte. When I moved to San Antonio to go to college I had “other priorities”. Now I go to church “when it’s convenient” and on special occasions. But fortunately my wife has become a regular church goer and encourages me to go more regularly than I otherwise probably would. I am a faithful, God fearing man and have witnessed the power of prayer and of His mercies. I had a grandmother whom I witnessed being able to have daily conversations with God. When I would spend the summers with she and my grandfather, I would feel very close to God and my faith was at it’s strongest. Now with life, family and work pulling me in so many directions, I don’t go fishing as often as I would like to and I don’t take the time out to reflect on my faith and devotion. Your doing these podcasts will help me to slow down and focus on what’s really important in life. Thank you for doing this. Tight Lines if the water and in the faith!!!!

Kern Dillard
Member

May the unchurched find the church family welcoming them back without condemnation or judgement. Thanks for the message. Keep growing Salt Strong, I loved the first Unchurched podcast.
Fish on!

Richard Drspault
Member

I really liked the presentation you gave this morning and look forward to some more. I was raised by very devout Catholic parents and attended church every Sunday, even on fishing trips, dad always found a Catholic church for Sunday morning. I ended up going into a Seminary for freshman year in High school and witnessed sever cases of abuse by priest. I dropped out and went to a Catholic high school. I again witnessed abuse by so called ministers of God. I’m in my 70’s now and have dropped out of organized religion since high school. I still believe in God and pray to him and see him in every sunrise and sunset. I need to find a church where I can be comfortable. I will, thanks for starting Unchurch.

Lee Ashe
Member

OUR PURPOSE IN LIFE AS CHRISTAINS IS TO SPREAD AND SHARE THE WORD OF GOD.!!! BROTHER JOE I FEEL YA, I HAVE GONE THRU SIMILAR LIFE CHANGING EVENTS. I GREW UP IN A SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCH, MY DAD LEAD THE CHOIR AND WAS LEAD SINGER, MY MOTHER TAUGHT SUNDAY SCHOOL., WE WERE IN CHURCH AT LEAST TWICE A WEEK. LATER IN LIFE I WAS ABOUT 12 , MY FATHER BACK SLID INTO ALCOHOL AND BEING UNFAITHFUL TO MY MOTHER….TRULY A TOTALLY DIFFERENT HUMAN…FROM A GOD FEARING GREAT FATHER TO A UNBELIEVABLE MONSTER.!!! LONG STORY SHORT MY BROTHER AND I WERE TOTALLY LOST IN THE FEAR AND UNCERTAINITY.!!! WE STOPPED GOING TO TO CHURCH IN A FEW YEARS DUE MAINLY OF BEING ASHAMED AND EMBARRESSED. I SLOWLY LOST MY FAITH AND WHEN I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL I JOINED THE U.S. MARINES, BECAME A RECON MARINE, 4 TOURS IN VIETNAM, 16 YRS. CIA COVERT OPERATIVE,
8 PURPLE HEARTS, 2 BRONZE STARS, 2 SILVER STARS….24 YRS TOTAL SERVICE.!!! I REGAINED MY FAITH IN VIETNAM WHEN BECOMING SO CLOSE TO DEATH MANY MANY TIMES.!!! IM NOW 70 YRS OLD… MY HEALTH HAS BEEN DETERIORATING MY WHOLE LIFE, 10 HEART ATTACKS, 36 HEART CATHS, 15 BALLOONS, 5 STINTS AND 5 WAY BY-PASS SURGERY.!!! I HAVE DIABETES, ARTHRITUS, FYBROMYALGIA, SLEEP APNEA, COPD, EMPHYSEMA, MANY MORE HEALTH ISSUES.!!!I HAVE DIED TWICE ON THE OPERATING TABLE, CLINICALLY DEAD, GOD SPOKE TO ME BOTH TIMES., MAKING MY FAITH ONLY STRONGER AND STRONGER.!!! IM IN MY FORTH MARRAIGE TO A WONDERFUL WOMAN!!!
MY POINT IS THAT THERE ARE NO DOORS CLOSED OR LOCKED IN OUR WAY TO BECOME STRONGER IN OUR BELIEF OR IN BECOMING WHAT WE WANT TO BECOME.!!! GOD WILL JUST COME THRU THEM…GOD IS ALL POWERFUL, ALL KNOWING, HE HAS A PLAN FOR US ALL.!!!
GOD BLESS YOU JOE AND YOURS….GOD BLESS AMERICA….GOD BLESS SALT STRONG UNCHURCHED…!!!

Reynold Palmer
Member

Thank you Joe, I appreciate your comments on your Christian beliefs, remember there’ll always be haters because you do not support their point of view. Look at Chick-A-Fil. But they have only grown stronger because most people believe in our Christian values. America was founded as a Christian nation and we allowed all points of view and religions. I believe if we are to survive as a nation we must bring God, Country and the Constitution back into our Schools and Churches. Salt Strong may lose a few intolerant people, but most people believe we all have a right to our own opinions without fear of prosecution or persecution. Keep up the good work with Salt Strong. Keep GROWING Salt Strong. PA POW!

Derrick Sarosi
Guest
Derrick Sarosi

Brother I think this is a wonderful thing! I also think it was a bold move to bring the Lord Jesus Christ into your company by publicly proclaiming your faith.
I can tell you that there are plenty of people that want to know Jesus but have questions. I remember this and how it was so hard to speak up because the fear of being judged by your buddies was greater.

Looking back at that now I can’t really put into words how silly of a reason that was. Good luck to you and your team sir. Earnestly contend for the faith my friend. No matter what!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Joe, I love this! Thank you for sharing your story and your heart! I’m a fellow follower of Jesus and honestly it is one of the reasons I chose to join Salt Strong. Thank you for taking a step of faith that we’re called to make. I’ll be listening and sharing!
Dallas Bechtel

Roy Noblin
Member

god is real as i have learned through my years but some churches are not. it is not the church or it’s affiliation. it is some of the people who run or attend it that make it different. if you feel that then go to a different church of the same religion or another but bottom line is god is whiten you.

Vernon
Guest
Vernon

Y’all my. Friends have got it going on the right roads keep your heads up and stay strong I know that God has has a reason for all throngs MayGod bless

Nancy MARTIN
Member

Your story brought me to tears. It made me realize just how important it is to have a faith community around us. But we need it in both good times and bad. Thanks for sharing and God bless you and your ministry.

Pat Elias
Member

Great story. Thank you for sharing. I enjoy all your fishing advise and I’ll be sure to listen to your podcasts.

Maria
Guest
Maria

Amen! I will share on Fb. God bless you stepping out in faith!

Alfonso Diaz
Member

Hi Joe, I am not offended in the least and actually gratified by your story. I also am slowly “inching my way back” after having a very long “faith drought” and unintended detour. Personal tragedies as it did with you will make one stop dead in their tracks and ponder “What is my place in this world” and how do I make it better for everyone? The specific religion does not really matter, only that whatever your faith is, you labor in His name and cater to those in need. I read a while back that upon our tombstone what really counts and matters is the “dash between the numbers” and not much anything else. Thank you for sharing, inspiring, and motivating those of us on the journey back. God bless you and your family. Kind regards, Al

Mark Orange
Guest
Mark Orange

It’s strange that I got this email this morning. My family and I just moved back to Florida. Since getting here we have had nothing but struggles the entire time. We are having trouble finding work and money is about gone and now we do nothing but argue and bicker. I also grew up in the church and considered myself a Christian. I am beginning to doubt how faithful I really am. I am about to loose all hope and at this point I am about as far away from god as I can be. Not by choice but I think I may have a anger problem that I am unable to deal with. I am loosing my family and everything I truly care about. I don’t have anyone here other than my wife and sons and it feels like I have pushed them so far away it’s getting difficult to love me or even be around me. I have lost my way and do not know how to get back. Joe I do not know what to do or where to turn. I have no family here and the family I have in Kentucky won’t even speak to me now because I came to Florida with my wife and kids. Sometimes it seems that it would just be easier on them if I did not exist. I do not know how to fix me and I am getting farther from good and closer to bad on a daily basis. Joe I need help and don’t know where to turn. My name is Mark Orange and in need of God and Jesus’s way in my life. I’m full of the devil and don’t know how to get him out. Thank you sir and hope to hear from you. Thanks for anything and everything.

Guy Leveille
Member

Praying for you Mark! It took a lot of courage to share what you just wrote. God loves you as much as He loves the rest of us! He will take you just as you are! I’m certain there are others on here that can help link you up with a pastor and a solid, Christ-centered church in your area. Hang in there, brother! God bless you!

Mark Orange
Guest
Mark Orange

It’s strange that I got this email this morning. My family and I just moved back to Florida. Since getting here we have had nothing but struggles the entire time. We are having trouble finding work and money is about gone and now we do nothing but argue and bicker. I also grew up in the church and considered myself a Christian. I am beginning to doubt how faithful I really am. I am about to loose all hope and at this point I am about as far away from god as I can be. Not by choice but I think I may have a anger problem that I am unable to deal with. I am loosing my family and everything I truly care about. I don’t have anyone here other than my wife and sons and it feels like I have pushed them so far away it’s getting difficult to love me or even be around me. I have lost my way and do not know how to get back. Joe I do not know what to do or where to turn. I have no family here and the family I have in Kentucky won’t even speak to me now because I came to Florida with my wife and kids. Sometimes it seems that it would just be easier on them if I did not exist. I do not know how to fix me and I am getting farther from good and closer to bad on a daily basis. Joe I need help and don’t know where to turn. My name is Mark Orange and in need of God and Jesus’s way in my life. I’m full of the devil and don’t know how to get him out. Call if you like or text. 12707721705. Thank you sir and hope to hear from you.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Praying for you Mark, find a great faith community they can and will help. Blessings

Greg and Cindy Batchelor
Member

Mark, thanks for reaching out here. What part of Florida are you living in? Always go to the word, when it comes to handling demonic attacks……James 4:7. The devil leaves at the mention of Jesus. Resist him, and he will flee. My wife and I attend The Crossing in Brandon. You can access the messages online as well. 4 words have helped me and others overcome the wiles of the devil……Help Me Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples when he was about to go to the cross, that he would leave them a helper. That would be the Holy Spirit. Call on him for whatever you are going through….tell the Devil he has no hold on you, in the name of Jesus, and he will flee. I am sure Joe will respond to you, but God “nudged” me to share these thoughts with you. Also, read Ephesians, on how to deal with the evil one….sorry this was lengthy! May God Bless you and your family.

Marvin Postema
Member

Mark; where are you located on Florida?

David Johnson
Member

Mark, I stopped and prayed for you as soon as I read your post. It was brave of you to bare your soul with the problems you are facing. Dont give up, there are people here to help you. Jesus is most real when we are at our lowest. Where are you located?

Mark Orange
Guest
Mark Orange

I sent an email hope you see it. I’m a lost soul and running out of time.

James A. Sterling, D.Min.
Guest
James A. Sterling, D.Min.

Props from the body of Christ in North Texas! “I am not ashamed!”

Blame Morgan
Guest
Blame Morgan

I replied back through the email and hope that you would take time to read it real quick.
Thank you and God Bless

Robbie Johnson
Member

The church is for everybody a lot of people are hurting physically and financially

Robbie Johnson
Member

Joe timing is everything I grew up in a independent baptist church 36 years accepted Jesus Christ as my savior I lived like a perfect Christian I thought I was a lot of rules,and legalism really turn me I was 7 years old when I went forward and accepted Jesus I had a baseball scholarship to Shreveport la 1000 miles away from home it’s was baptist college southern baptist more liberal I went wild went to the college World Series hit a grand slam in the first game hit a grand slam I was a freshman all American girls was my down fall satan new that I was looking for love in all the wrong places August/2018 for the first time I was hurting physically I need a hip replacement oh by the i was chasing a Bass professional career and working at Coca Cola many years of long weeks but still chasing Bass well God got my attention last year I had many Bass boats but the 2016 boat was all I wanted 2 years in it and I got health problems then in February more overtime was cut now Iam in trouble my wife sat down and looked at our debt WOW ridiculous credit card debt my wife was a lot I didn’t know so we went through a credit debt consolidation because we want to pay our debt still got the boat couldn’t take the beating in the boat work out a compromise with the bank so Iam back on track with GOD WHICH IS ALWAYS THE BEST THING but I can still kayak fishing when I was young I was a baby in Christ I was growing in the church I love to sing groups and choirs then it became about me,me well you always lose when you,you GOD IS THE ONLY WAY THANK YOU FOR SHARING you know more about me right now than a lot of people in my group a budget is killing me but it’s right thing to do oh Iam 60 it never too late may God Bless You and your family

Alan Bender
Member

I replied by email. I hope the Lord gives you something in response. I had colon cancer 2003 at 43 years old. Stage 4 but am a survivor. Had colonoscopy last week and all clear.
The timing of your sharing was unreal. Expect the Lord to make His ways clearer. Left a career in forestry in 1989 with a semester left and a good job waiting to move to Memphis for a small fellowship that meets in homes. No regrets. Best decision of my life except salvation.
Salt strong is beyond words to express how it has helped so many. And now that you brought in the Lord I fully expect to see eternal rewards so don’t fret a few that might snap their lines.
I had,have a burden to reach fishermen. When Gulf oil crises came I sent a tract I made to about 200 charter captains from Louisiana to panhandle. One charter captain shot himself on his boat and died at the news. I went to Houma to see the see then Gulf Shores to pass out the tract and try to work with churches. It was an eye opening experience as no church would work with me for reasons like my verses were not in King James Bible or I didn’t have letters from my elders. Interesting I had the best fishing under the lights at night ever and I go to Gulf all the time since we once owned a condo there. Caught my biggest speck 29 1/2”.
All I want to say is God bless your confession and I hope I can have fellowship in the future.

Robbie Johnson
Member

Thank you for your response I still deal with my past failure I always herd you reep what you sow now I know it’s all in your mind thoughts always coming back to me I say out loud in Jesus name Satan be gone I have gotten better I have a wonderful wife of 37 years I see Christ in her everyday grandchildren anything in life you can justify but God is the only one to justify to all of us