Unorthodox Train Wreck
Welcome back to the Unorthodox Man Podcast! This week, I get to sit down with a new friend, John Ruhlam. John grew up in a small town in North West Washington and is a fifth generation pastor. I’m talking very small – only about 800 people lived in his hometown. John grew up thinking that religion was all about rules – do this / don’t do that. He basically grew up thinking religion was all about rules. He missed the concept of a merciful, graceful God. So, like too many PK’s (pastor’s kids), John rebelled and ran away from God.
But, then, when he was 20-years-old, John gave his life to Jesus and moved from “religious rules” to a “relationship with God”.
However, that’s just the very, very beginning of John’s story.
Here is a sample list of bulletpoints that John shares about his life (although, you really should hear the story from John, himself by pushing the play button above!)…
- Moved to Southern California for college and learns about a loving, grace filled, compassionate God
- Gets involved with student government, serving his community
- Starts a job as a football coach and history teacher
- His pastor tells him he wants him to be a youth pastor
- Turns him down then gets offered triple his pay and accepts
- Served as a youth pastor for 11 years and then left to plant a church in Temecula
- Church explodes and life is great – awesome time to be in ministry
- Motorcycle crash and breaks neck, whole right side was paralyzed but left side still works
- 4 months of rehab he gets full use of his body
- This starts 10 years of pain medication addiction
- Wife of 22 years leaves him because of his addiction combined with his over commitment to ministry
- 2 years later he is completely out of ministry
- No wife & no ministry leads to deep depression
- In depression a friend introduces him to Meth
- That starts 6 months strait of meth use
- Meth changes you emotionally, spiritually, physically
- Friend dies of drug overdose and decides to get clean
- Starts an outpatient rehab and recommits to Jesus
- Sobriety starts but consequences keep coming
- Gets arrested at church for violating a restraining order
- Car is broken into while in jail
- Goes to the police – no help
- Goes to arresting officers house – gets arrested for 3 felony charges
- Gets remanded in court and is sent to jail
- Sits in prison for 6 months when released from jail the judge mandates rehab and John happily accepts
- While sitting in jail he realizes where life went sideways
- Decided to work on himself before ever working on others
- Advice for guys who aren’t taking care of themselves:
- Knew all the right answers, but didn’t really live the truth
- Don’t look to blame others, accept your faults
- Realized that God was stripping everything away to get his attention.
- Told God he has nothing left and was now was willing to follow
- Now in recovery with nothing to his name he says, “I am a happy man – with nothing”.
- When you start with nothing all you can get is a blessing
Don’t want to get a head of God. Quit making plans and just go one day at a time.
No matter where I go I know God will use him for His glory.
John’s favorite verse:
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)
Jesus set John free from pain, addiction, jail, and depression.
John’s final words of advice:
Guys, we are surrounded by evidence of God, the next step is a step of faith.