David Hogan was exposed to church on and off as he grew up. Various people spoke into his life about God. His grandmother read him stories about the David in the Bible, because his name is David. His sister invited him to youth group, enticing him by saying that there were cute girls there. He did believe in God, but he was not following God. He was never quite sure how to use or live his faith. David says that his sin and the way he felt about church kept him from experiencing a meaningful relationship with God. These things also kept him from the fulfillment that would have come from following God's plan for his life.
December of 2016 was a pivotal point for David. Living in chronic pain, he was medicating himself with alcohol and knew it wasn't working. Fear about how he would get through was heavy on his mind. He found himself asking God, "Is there anything better? Will You help me through the pain?" As a result of that prayer, he stopped drinking and started looking. His search led him to contact Pastor Chad, who "was gracious and accepted me right where I was at."
Last Spring, David was invited to our Rooted Discipleship Experience. He accepted the invitation and now says, "God knew exactly what I needed. It really helped me get 'rooted' in faith through watering and pruning." As a result, David now sees much fruit.
David participated in Rooted's Prayer Experience, and chose to include the optional fasting component. He spent extended time in prayer to be delivered from the habit of smoking. He had been smoking for 41 of his 49 years, so in human terms it was irrational to think this was possible. But faith steps "out of the boat" toward what seems unachievable, believing that God can do anything. David has not smoked since February.
Another bi-product of David's Rooted experience is the community aspect...doing life together. The support from the people in his group has been incredible. They have come along side each other in emotional, spiritual and practical ways. They continued to meet after Rooted, going through the discussion questions from our recent Unleashing Hope series. They are looking forward to participating in subsequent group opportunities together, and they continue to speak into each other's lives.
God often works in ways we don't expect, and as a result of what God was doing in David's life, his ex-wife, Dawn, came with him to Ventura Missionary on Easter Sunday. She has continued to attend church, participated in an Unleashing Hope group and now plans to attend Rooted this fall. David and Dawn both say they have a "new friend" in each other, and are waiting to see where God leads that friendship.
David is still in physical pain, but Rooted gave him a chance to get on the right road and find a clear purpose for his life. He says that being healthy spiritually and having a community to support and encourage him has made all the difference. At a point of desperation, he had asked God if there was "anything better," and now he is experiencing God's better way. David is being "transformed by the renewing of his mind." Consequently he is seeing God's "good, pleasing and perfect will." (see Romans 12:2) He says, "My fear has been replaced with walking by faith."
The Fall 2017 Rooted Discipleship Experience starts September 19. Online registration begins August 27. To learn more about Rooted, click here.