Saturday, June 1, 2024

From Brokenness to Impact: Richard's Story

 A Powerful Testimony of God's Transforming Love: Richard James Dixon Jr.'s Story


Recently on the "Coffee with Conrad" podcast, I had the privilege of interviewing Richard James Dixon Jr. from Real Talk Interactive about his powerful testimony of how Jesus Christ transformed his life. This inspiring story is a must-listen for any Christian who loves to hear about the supernatural power of God at work.  

Richard grew up in a godly family with six siblings. His parents raised them in holiness, but Richard admits he was a mischievous child who acted out and put his parents through a lot. Even at a young age though, he felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit whenever he misbehaved. 

One pivotal moment came when God allowed Richard to see how exhausted his mother was with his behavior. It broke his heart and he realized he needed to change. Around this time, Richard also experienced sexual abuse from someone outside the family. This left deep scars that affected him mentally for years to come.

As he matured, Richard threw himself into church activities like playing drums, teaching Sunday school and leading youth ministry. But inside he still struggled with the trauma of his abuse. After a girlfriend tragically died, Richard turned cold-hearted, feeling like he was toxic and nobody should be close to him. 

But God wasn't done with Richard's story. He brought Jennifer into Richard's life, a woman who persistently pursued a relationship with him. Though Richard resisted at first, God made it clear that Jennifer was the one for him. Their marriage became a powerful ministry and testimony of God's love.

During the pandemic, God laid it on Richard's heart to start Positiv Impact, a non-profit dedicated to providing positive atmospheres and support for at-risk youth in the community. Having experienced the breakdown of the family firsthand, Richard knows how vital it is for the church to minister outside its four walls. 

One of Richard's greatest joys is seeing the darkness lift from these young people's faces as they experience the love of God through his ministry. As he vulnerably shared about his own suicidal thoughts in the past, Richard testified that it was only by God's grace and the support of family and church that he made it through. 

No matter what poor decisions we make or what evil comes against us, Richard's story is proof that God can redeem anything for our good and His glory. If you feel lost, broken or too far gone, know that nothing is too hard for God. He is ready and willing to transform your life just like He did for Richard.


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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Eccentricity of Prophecy: Embracing the "Cooky Prophetic"

Being 'Cooky' Prophetic is Odd! 



Being "cooky prophetic" is a term that may seem odd to many, but it holds a profound meaning. It refers to the eccentric, unconventional, and often bewildering behavior exhibited by prophets. This behavior, while seemingly bizarre, often carries a divine message or prophecy. 

Biblical Examples of "Cooky Prophetic" Behavior

The Bible is replete with instances of prophets behaving in ways that would be considered "cooky" by modern standards. Yet, these actions were often divinely inspired and served a greater purpose.

Isaiah's Nakedness

Take Isaiah, for instance. In Isaiah 20:2-3 (KJV), it is written, "At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia." Isaiah's nakedness was a symbolic act, a prophecy of the humiliation that Egypt and Ethiopia would face.

Ezekiel's Play Fort

Ezekiel, another prophet, was known for his play fort. In Ezekiel 4:1-3 (KJV), it is written, "Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege to it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel." Ezekiel's play fort was a prophetic act, symbolizing the siege of Jerusalem.

The Challenge of Embracing Prophecy

When Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:39 (KJV), "Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy," he is encouraging the pursuit of prophecy. However, as the examples of Isaiah and Ezekiel show, prophecy often involves actions that are out of the ordinary, to say the least. 

Being cooky prophetic can indeed push people away. It's like someone handed them a grenade and pulled the pin - they know they have to do something, but they don't know what! Yet, it's important to remember that these strange actions often carry a deeper, divine message. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, being cooky prophetic is not for the faint of heart. It requires a willingness to act in ways that may seem strange to others, but are ultimately guided by a divine purpose. 


Saturday, May 11, 2024

Radical Discipleship: Jesus vs. Modern Christianity

Radical Discipleship: Rediscovering the Transformative Power of Following Jesus


What did Jesus Really mean when He said "Make Disciples"?

As I delved into researching the stark differences between first-century discipleship and our modern practices, I was struck by how far we've drifted from Jesus' original intent. In this podcast, I explore what it truly meant to be a disciple in Jesus' time and how we can recapture that radical, life-altering commitment today.

In first-century Israel, being a disciple of a rabbi was a high calling that required complete dedication. Disciples would leave everything behind—family, possessions, and their former way of life—to follow their rabbi closely, learning to imitate him in every way. The goal was not merely to acquire knowledge but to become a living embodiment of the rabbi's teachings and character.

Contrast this with today's discipleship, which often emphasizes comfort, personal fulfillment, and classroom-style learning over the sacrificial, relational transformation that Jesus modeled. We've traded the power of life-on-life mentorship for the convenience of curriculum-based programs. We've made disciple-making a compartmentalized activity rather than the all-encompassing lifestyle it was for the early church.

But Jesus' call to "make disciples" is as compelling and costly today as it was 2,000 years ago. It's a summons to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow him wholeheartedly. It's an invitation to be transformed from the inside out as we learn to imitate Jesus in every aspect of our lives.


The Stark Contrast of Discipleship

As I explored in the podcast, this kind of radical discipleship requires a paradigm shift:

1. From comfort to sacrifice: Following Jesus means being willing to suffer for his sake, seeing persecution as a privilege rather than a problem.

2. From information transfer to transformational lifestyle: Discipleship is about becoming like Jesus in our character, not just acquiring biblical knowledge.

3. From compartmentalized programs to integrated life-on-life mentorship: Disciple-making should be woven into the fabric of our daily lives, not relegated to a weekly class.

4. From clergy-driven ministry to empowering all believers: Every disciple is called to become a disciple-maker, sharing the gospel and mentoring others.

5. From institutional maintenance to missional focus: Our ultimate goal is not to build impressive churches but to equip and send out mature disciples to transform the world.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to nothing less than conformity to Christ—a lifelong journey of cross-carrying obedience and Spirit-empowered transformation. This is the heart of biblical discipleship, and it's what the church desperately needs to recover today.

I encourage you to explore the links provided in the show notes to dive deeper into this fascinating topic. May we have the courage to embrace the radical, costly call of Jesus to make disciples who make disciples, just as he originally intended. Let's recapture the transformative power of authentic discipleship together.