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Ignite the Journey: Faith

Updated: Mar 16

Join author Pete Bronson in the latest "Ignite the Journey" blog post series. Share in Pete's deeply personal and relatable journey towards spiritual discovery and faith.


One Saturday morning in 1997 I got a phone call. It sounded like my neighbor Randy Wilhelm. But it was actually Jesus. And He knew I was feeling a half-step slow. My three-way bulb was stuck on dim. To be honest, I was a bit crapulous (c. 1540, “to suffer the effects of intemperance”).


So Jesus, speaking through Randy, caught me unprepared, too groggy to make up an excuse when he invited me to the Promise Keepers event at Riverfront Stadium. I said yes and immediately regretted it.


“What have I done?” I wondered as I hung up the phone. “Will I have to hold hands with guys? Do I have to sing hymns and pray? Will I be the ninnyhammer of the newsroom if my cynical coworkers in the hard-working-hard-drinking Front Page crowd find out?”


Yes, yes and no, it turned out.


I joined about 40,000 close friends of Jesus and several thousand like me who hadn’t met him yet. I pretended to sing along and looked around for ways I could farcify the whole thing in a newspaper column. Somewhere around the lunch break, I escaped under the alibi of checking in at my office across the street. Then, just as I approached the Enquirer building, Jesus called again. He did not need Randy or a phone. “Just this once,” he said on a tiny speaker in my head, “admit you don’t know everything. Just once, stop pretending you’re in control and open your heart to me.”


Man praying

I turned around and went back to the stadium where thousands of men were raised their hands in worship, sang off-key at the top of their lungs, praised Jesus and listened to speakers who dared them to quit being soggy Walter Mitty milquetoasts and join the battle as the spiritual captains of their families that God intended them to be.


Suddenly, Promise Keepers was not a joke. Jesus was talking to me, shedding a new light on my life like the sun that broke through the springtime clouds. It revealed that there was more to life than cars, jobs, salaries, houses, sports, clothes and partying. It Gave me something to fill the hole in my heart that I was trying to cover up with all that deadwood kindling.


It showed me that the real buffoon was the man who got out of bed that morning and believed he was in control. He died that day, sometime around noon, on a sidewalk in downtown Cincinnati. The man who took his place turned out to be a better father, husband, friend and follower of Christ.


The new guy no longer cared what the newsroom cynics thought. He wrote columns about his faith and discovered that there was a hidden hunger for Jesus among the people who read the newspaper, as opposed to the ones who believed they controlled it.


I also discovered men’s groups, Bible study, a strong church and the Walk to Emmaus (Randy again). I found out that if Jesus wants to meet you, there is no place to hide. If he knocks, don’t make excuses, just answer the door.


I thank Jesus every day for setting me free; for love, joy, peace and all the other fruit of the spirit. I pray, “Jesus, help me get out of the way so you can turn up that three way bulb and shine your light through me.”


FOR FURTHER THOUGHT (by Barb Lownsbury):

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life I live in the flesh is lived by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." – Gal. 2:20


Pete's journey inspires me on two levels. First, I am reminded of how tenacious God's love is for me. There's nothing he won't do and nowhere he won't go to remind me I am chosen, loved and valued. That my Creator's ways are so much better and greater than my own. That my fear and anxiety can be placed with confidence in his capable hands - I no longer need to carry that weight.


Yet I also think about how simple making an impact on others can be. An invitation, a word of encouragement. A reflection of joy, even amidst the pain in my life, to those around me. It all makes an impact. I don't have to have my life all together for Jesus to work for and through me. I only need to open myself up to his guidance and leading.


This week, consider reflecting on what Jesus might be trying to say to you. Right now. In the season of life you find yourself in. Perhaps it's to do a deeper study on God's profound and lasting love for you. It might be that invitation to an event that your Creator has been nudging you to give to someone else. Maybe it's serving or giving to another human being without getting anything in return. No matter what you may choose, Jesus' call to you on your faith journey awaits. Will you make space to listen?


PRAYER:

Lord, you know when I sit and when I rise. You perceive my thoughts from afar. Your voice calls out for your children, and they recognize that voice. Help me to still my racing thoughts and quiet myself enough to hear. I know you call me to be still and know. In a frenetic world, full of busyness and endless tasks, I ask you to strengthen me to choose what is important over what is urgent: my faith. I love you, Lord. Thank you for fighting so tenaciously for my heart. In Jesus' name, Amen.


ABOUT PETE BRONSON


Peter Bronson

Peter Bronson was a columnist and editor at The Cincinnati Enquirer for nearly 20 years. He worked as a newsman in Arizona and Michigan; was a panelist and producer on the WCPO-TV show Hotseat. He owns Chilidog Press publishing and is the author of

several books including Forbidden Fruit (the mob in N. Ky.), Not in Our Town (Mafia in Cincinnati) and The Man Who Saved Cincinnati (The Queen City during the Civil War). To learn more about Pete's books and publishing company, visit www.chilidogpress.com.




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