Going to a church that teaches that God loves us but never shows it can take away from the profound intimacy that God desires. Karl began to experience God's love in a life changing way through John's messages. Click to hear more…
September 13, 2011
August 26, 2011
Through reading Wild at Heart and attending Boot Camp, Johann found there was so much more to scripture than he knew, giving new dimension to Jesus and his heart for his people.
August 10, 2011
My name is Jim. I'm a 39 year old husband and father of 2. I'm a youth pastor by trade, but because of my response to the wounds from my past, I abandoned that calling almost 2 years ago. In the 2 years that I've been away from ministry, I've undergone a tireless search for why I just couldn't seem to get things together.
I was familiar with John Eldredge's stuff for some time, saw him at Catalyst, read parts of The Sacred Romance and Wild at Heart. But I wasn't able to grab a hold of it. It was a great idea...for other guys. But something was wrong with me that I couldn't live that life.
Well, when the Platinum Collection of the Boot Camp lectures came out, my wife saw it and suggested we get it. We did. I've been listening to the talks constantly when I'm working. This week, I accepted my new name. I understand that the new name isn't special in itself, that it's been my identity for about 13 years. God told me, almost in an audible voice 13 years ago, but at that point I didn't know what to do with it. I was at an "Acquire the Fire" event and I heard, "Set your face toward". Well, I never really have. And all I ever felt was guilt because I couldn't seem to live up to what God was calling me to do. Thus, I was a total failure. I didn't realize that's who I was!
My dad is a workaholic and I work for the family business. My life has been a constant search for his approval. But as I've been listening to the CD's, you've taught me that my ultimate identity is a son of God. About 2 weeks ago, I embraced that truth. After much prayer and listening to the New Name CD, God showed me how He sees me. I am his, "Set my face toward". This has been an absolutely beautiful process.
He also showed me that while my earthly father hasn't been able to adequately "put his mark on me", God certainly has. I've been part-time preaching at a small church in NE Ohio on the weekends and we've been going through Joshua. It struck me that God's mark of ownership over the Israelites was circumcision. It was something that was at the center of their manhood and their sonship to God. They absolutely knew who they belonged to after they were circumcised. Obviously, it would have been very painful to have this done after you were an adult. But, so is becoming a child of God after you have lived in lies and agreements your whole life, as I have. But the end result is so worth it. The cool thing now is, Romans tells us that our hearts are circumcised. Men and women have the same mark on them that reminds them who their Father is.
I've lived in fear my whole life. Fear of people. Of failure. Of confrontation. Whatever! For the first time, we shot off fireworks this summer. I enrolled my son and I in a karate class. I've begun working on my own jeep (2001 Wrangler Sport-BAH!), I'll be enrolling in courses at our Career Center to learn home repair, this Christmas I'll be purchasing a sidearm and taking a CCW course. All this guy stuff that I've been afraid to do in the past. It's all happening!
In the past, I would have wanted to rush off and start teaching other guys this stuff. And maybe that will happen in the future. But right now, I just want to experience this for myself and with my son. (He's experienced a love for bottle rockets!) I'm understanding the battles that happen on a daily basis now aren't because I'm a horrible person. The enemy is finally truly threatened by me. I am dangerous to the kingdom of darkness as I walk with Jesus and continue to be led by the Holy Spirit. My freshest revelation was that God has actually created me to walk on my own two feet and to let the Spirit guide and counsel me. For some dumb ass reason, I thought I was to just let God carry me and sit and wait for Him to do something. Not so! I went to John 14 yesterday or the day before and read that He is a counselor, not a crutch. I'm going to start making fun of the Footprints poem, because that's not right. He empowers me to walk! He counsels me and leads me and I respond to Him.
I almost don't know what to do with the joy that has overtaken my heart and mind. I even quit apologizing to God for not knowing this stuff. I was living in ignorance my whole life. It wasn't time to "get it", for whatever reason. Now, it is. I totally feared the parable of the talents because I knew I wasn't living that out. Now I am.
June 23, 2011
I've been to many conferences and seminars that have great content, but regurgitate the same information and stories from one place to another, year after year.
Boot Camp and your lives shared with us felt like a moving, living organism that wasn't static. That your experiences weren't just from ten or more years ago but were as current as the moment. Thank you so much for revealing keys that will lead to full restoration on that day, standing before Jesus when my full and complete heart will be given back to me.
June 07, 2011
I recently attended the Captivating Retreat in Colorado, and I finally am sitting down to tell a little bit of my experience, why I went, and how it impacted me. I'm Tami. I have been married to Ron for almost 28 years, and by the grace and mercy of God we've raised two fantastic young adults, and I just turned 49. Seems almost “wrong” that I should feel in ways like a child, but...here's a little of what happened on my way to 50:
Four years ago I packed up a little bag to give to my father. I was very excited as I anticipated having dinner with him, just he and I, for Father’s Day. The rest of our family members (we all live within 30 minutes) would be out of town at my niece’s graduation, but I needed to stay behind. And I was so glad to have this rare opportunity to spend with my dad. For the previous 10 years, he had not allowed my siblings and I to honor him on Father's Day. Our parents’ 40-year marriage ended suddenly on a Saturday morning in September of 1995. This marriage had produced three children, all happily married, seven grandchildren, and so much love. But my father had been living two very different lives—one that he shared with family, which appeared stable, disciplined, healthy, successful, and full of integrity, and one that he shared with strangers, full of emptiness, cocaine, and the darkness of pornography.
In the bag that I packed for my father, which would be his Father’s Day present, I carefully placed a book I'd just learned about—The Ransomed Heart: a collection of devotional readings, a “little black book” which was actually a smart-looking New Testament, a calendar to help my father remember his children and grandchildren’s birthdays, and three DVDs: Sea Biscuit, We Were Soldiers, and Cinderella Man. I chose these movies for the same reason you chose the clips we saw at the retreat: They tell about good and evil, heroism, life, honor, and truth. My father loved a good movie, and I knew these would speak to his heart.
But I’m speaking in the past tense because I didn’t have the opportunity to give this present to my father. He called me on Saturday to tell me where to meet him, and he sounded fine—in fact, really good. But he ended his life in the early morning hours Sunday, Father’s Day 2006.
The agony I felt in the last four years was for him—his heart, his pain, his brokenness. Me too, a little, remembering and missing him, nostalgia for the good times we all missed so much. But when I read Captivating last summer, and then Waking the Dead, I realized that there was a comfort from God that was offered, available, and that I needed. I started to think about what it would be like to give myself permission to seek the comfort and healing that my heavenly Father had for me.
I’ve never won anything in my life, but I won the lottery to attend your retreat! So I thought maybe God wanted me to be there. My husband’s development business is down about 90%, but he insisted. So I signed up and paid to go. At the Denver airport, when I gave my name to board the shuttle, a woman said, “You ARE Ali’s mother!” This smiling face “happened” to be our daughter’s school librarian, one of the few Christians on campus, AND she and I were placed in the same cabin! So I thought again maybe I am where God planned for me to be. Then I became acquainted with another young woman, 3 years a Christian, concerned for her father’s drinking. The three of us and another roommate became retreat buddies, and we plan to stay in touch, and I will pray for the young women's father indefinitely—another reason I think God had me there.
I didn’t want to go to the retreat and cry. I’ve spent a lot of energy over my parents’ issues and WAY too many tears since my father’s death. But I heard you, Stasi, at one point say these words that pierced my heart: “…and if you think, ‘If I start crying, I will never stop,’ THAT’S A LIE.” And then it was all over for me. There I sat, crying and crying on my sweet new friend's shoulder, convinced that my Father God cared to hear me, comfort me, hear me again, and again until I was done, and heal me. Then the communion…I made a point of feeling His presence there with me, close, like dinner on Father’s Day, enjoying my presence as I enjoyed His. I took the time to see the beautiful bread, to touch the piece in my hand, to enjoy the luster in the cup while I dipped the bread, and to savor it on my tongue, knowing that I am not only loved by my Father, but cherished. And all I can say is that now I feel stronger, healed, more mature, prepared to be more than a child, to be whatever God has planned for me.
I thank you, John, and your team, for the ministry that you are providing. It is so important. I pray for God’s continued blessing on your families, for the hearts of your children, and for His favor on this ministry. We need to encourage one another to offer strength to our husbands as we gain strength from God's Word, to forgive as we’ve been forgiven, and to remember who we are. How I wish my parents had had the benefit of your ministry…but God’s ways are not mine, “all things work together for good,” and I will not second-guess Him. I will, however, do my best to share the important books available at www.ransomedheart.com, to begin my own Captivating small group, and to pray to live and love others well…like the beautiful and “captivating” Arwen.
With so much love and gratitude,
May 25, 2011
Recently, many women at the Community of Believers Christian Church in Cuyahoga Falls participated in a women's study on the book Captivating. I'd like to share how it came to be ... and the amazing impact it has had on so many.
About two years ago, I was going through some very difficult times emotionally, physically, financially, relationally, mentally and spiritually! Through the grace of God (I had been a Christian more than 30 years) and the wise counsel of a woman in our church, God began to help me deal with some very deep issues in my life that needed His healing touch. At about the same time, a good friend of mine shared a book called Captivating with me. When I read the verse in Isaiah 62 about the Lord giving us a "new name," I just could not get my arms around that concept and I put the book away.
Over the course of many months and God's deep healing touch, I began to understand why His love and goodness were allowing the difficult things in my life to take place. He wanted to heal me in my deepest parts and was allowing the circumstances of my life to draw me to the only place where I could find true and lasting peace, comfort and love. Eventually, I thought I was ready to receive the "new name" God had for me, and so I came to Him humbly with my request. I immediately received an impression in my spirit of a pearl. I was so excited when I read these words ... pearls are very rare, very valuable, very admirable. And, of course, the beauty of the pearl comes about through great friction! I even found it significant that pearls are buried in hard shells deep beneath the sand, that need to be uncovered, even as God was beginning to dig deeply to reveal to myself the beauty He saw in me.
It was many months later that under completely different circumstances, our Pastor's wife, with no knowledge of my experience, shared that she felt the women should study the book Captivating. We immediately knew it was a word from God. The study lasted three months and about 20 women faithfully attended. In addition, a blog was established based on the study. Through the study, the Lord has given dozens of women in our church and our family and friends their new names. The most amazing experience has been to see women begin to embrace the truth of how God sees them - with tender love, affection and desire. Some of the Captivating videos can be seen by going to Facebook or YouTube for the Community of Believers Church. My deepest thanks for your open heart and spirit in receiving this incredible message of Captivating from the Lord, sharing it with others, and allowing others the wonderful gift of receiving their New Names from Him!
April 20, 2011
I am so beyond words of thanks for what Jesus did in my life this weekend. I have known the Lord my whole life. I knew He would move and speak to me, but I never expected Him to come for my heart like He did, to romance me and capture my heart. I received healing that I desperately ached for and needed. This weekend my God was not just my daddy and friend, but my lover. Thank you Ransomed Heart Ministries for listening to God and providing a wonderful place to meet with God. It was the most beautiful and intimate weekend with the Lord of my entire life. And I love him for it!
April 05, 2011
I had come to a place of deep resignation that my story was about to end darkly and with a whimper… I was 44 years old, weighed over 350 pounds, was struggling with complications from diabetes, high blood pressure, and my cholesterol was increasing. More importantly I was giving in to an ever growing despair about my declining health and I was suffering from a very weary heart. I felt like a wreck. So much so, that I had come to accept the fate of an early death from all of my health complications. I even went as far as calling up three of my friends and reminding them of their prior pledge to preach at my funeral. To take my story back to the beginning let me share that I have struggled with weight and self-worth issues for over 30 years. Since childhood I had silently nursed the deep wound of believing what some had said about me, that I was “fat and ugly.” I accepted their estimate of me and had imprisoned myself in that persona for so long that I eventually gave up on what I thought God could do with me. Thankfully God hadn’t given up on me, and amazingly my story was far from over!
In the summer of 2009, I was driving from Kentucky to Florida to visit the family of a friend and spiritual mentor who had passed away. I remember passing from state to state, listening to an audio book by John Eldredge wherein he talked about an experience of God sharing with him a new name and a new purpose for his life—this sounded too good to be true. I became increasingly frustrated with the mention of such an idea. I know I was still pretty raw from the loss of my friend. But to tell the truth, I had never even thought of such a possibility for myself. I stopped the mp3 player and shouted to no one in particular, “Well, that’s great for John, but what about me!” “God, where do I fit in your plans???” I spoke this out loud as a rhetorical question. But immediately God spoke deep from my heart, saying, “I want you to be my strongman.” …Silence… I was stunned! This was too crazy to believe! I was overweight and had only recently been contemplating my funeral. As I drove on I began to weep. The idea of a weak and broken man becoming strong sounded so far-fetched that I couldn’t even process it. Did I mention that I’m a minister? That I was struggling with such a prominent theme in scripture is embarrassing but true! This would take time. Although I shared this experience with one very close friend, I still struggled to accept what God might have planned for me. In a few months God would move me beyond my fears and doubts and begin re-writing my story fast and furiously!
In December of 2009 I signed up for the selection process of our county’s Biggest Loser contest. In January I received the news that I had made the cut and would be their first ever individual (non-team) contestant. This category of competition had not even been available the year before. A door had opened wide! I not only competed, but by the end of 12 weeks I had won the title of Most Weight Lost of all competitors—taking off 83 lbs! Could there be a “strongman” deep inside me after all?! This fired me up to continue. For the first time in a very long while I was coming to appreciate being fathered by God’s grace, and I was coming to see myself as I now know God sees me—a beloved son whom he loves deeply. This was liberating beyond words!
I continued to shed weight—in both body and soul—and now have lost 150 lbs.. I’m down to a much healthier weight of 199lbs! In many circles in our small community, I have become the “talk of the town.” And by my doctor’s release, I’m now off all 5 of my medications and in fantastic shape! I still hit the gym or jog daily, and I’ve come to enjoy bicycling competitively to help keep the weight coming off. But it doesn’t stop there… I have been asked to help lead the local Living Well nutrition class. And to come full circle, I was hired to work part-time as a fitness manager at our local gym! People are also asking me to come and share my testimony at their church. It’s all a God thing! When anyone asks me what has happened, I take my message back to the heart! No longer do I buy into the enemy’s lie that I’m “fat and ugly.” I’m both healed and healing—becoming God’s strongman in ways I had never imagined! My story appears to be far from over, and for that I am excited and eternally grateful! I now know that a ransomed heart really is possible! And to that I shout, “Amen!!!”
March 09, 2011
February 15, 2011
I have experienced the rescue from what my heart has been so bitter and angry at God about. In everything that God has done for me in the last five years, I have not seen. My people back home, I have hurt so very badly because I refused what God was asking them to do for me. He finally came to my rescue.
Was it the dramatic ride in on a horse with a sword? No! I am a broken man. True to scripture He met me in my blindness and foreshadowed everything before each session. I could see! I could hear! I am free!
There has been so much done here this weekend in my story, I don't believe it is done. I look forward to what a Father has for his son. Rise and rise again until lambs become lions!
Copyright © 2009 Ransomed Heart Ministries. All rights reserved. Website by State.