Walking Our Faith: How does God show up in your life?
Walking Our Faith
I never tire of writing about my walk of faith. But I’m also interested in how others live their faith. So, I came up with what I call my Four Questions interview. Four questions are not too time consuming to ask of someone, yet you can learn a lot about a person during four thoughtful questions.
Our first interviewee was Amy Evans, a local fine artist who leads two centering prayer groups. Next was Maggie Ducayet, a Breckenridge community leader who walks her faith through a prayer shawl ministry and Summit in Honduras, which provides medical supplies and ambulances in addition to building schools in remote Honduran villages.
Now, I want to hear from people of all walks of faith, age, and occupation. It doesn’t matter if you are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or atheist, a grocery store cashier, retired CEO, a high school student or a member of a backcountry rescue team. Please send me an email and tell me how your life reflects your faith.
This week, we’re meeting Chuck Straughn, who founded Ten Peaks Church in Silverthorne and the Prayer Room, a community prayer space open to all.
1. What brought you to Summit County and to start Ten Peaks Church?
On June 22, 2009, I saw Jesus standing in my room in brilliant white light, brighter than the sun. I was living in Florida at the time, and I had a sinful, self-absorbed life. I was also separated from my wife. In that moment, every ounce of my soul was overwhelmed with his love for me and I felt forgiveness for my every sin. I felt no condemnation. I was so awestruck at his kindness that I fell in love with Jesus that day, and I still am.
That morning I returned to my wife, and Jesus told us both to go to Summit County. He subsequently told us to give away everything we owned. I was a multimillionaire that was obsessed with material wealth. We obeyed. The next day, my wife and kids flew with me to Colorado where Mike and Carolyn Atkinson of Agape Outpost in Breckenridge kindly took us into their home. That first week the Lord shared many things with us, including that one day we would start a church. God laid Silverthorne on our hearts. We waited seven years as we wanted to better understand this culture and its struggles. Then in June 2016, we started Ten Peaks Church. We’re a nondenominational church that welcomes everyone. We have never taken a salary from the church, and I am self-employed.
2. What is your personal relationship with God like? Can you share a time when you felt God’s absence and what you did to experience God’s closeness?
I walk with Jesus every day. I love to go on hikes with him. I sing and read the Bible with him. I pray with him. I say “with” because he also speaks to me. He speaks principally to me through the Bible, but he also speaks to me through his Holy Spirit. God speaks to me every day and he is the joy of my life.
When we first moved here, God told me to “walk every day” with him. Some years later I neglected that habit and I started to experience severe anxiety. But then I went back to my simple daily habit of walking with God for an hour or so. My closeness to God immediately returned and the anxiety left.
3. What spiritual practices help you to grow your relationship with God, day to day?
I find places where it’s just me and him and no one else is around. Then I express my gratitude to him, out loud, and I pour out my heart to him for everything I’m grateful for. I then rest in the reality of his presence, that he lives inside of me! Colossians 1:27 says that God has revealed to us the mystery of the ages, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory. So his presence is never truly distant for a believer.
I also profess my trust in him as my “Daddy” and I thank Him in advance for answering my prayers. I stop and listen and let him speak too. I also surround myself with like-minded believers in weekly church gatherings who passionately love Jesus.
4. I believe the Holy Spirit is the most challenging person of the Trinity for us to understand in our walk of faith. How do you experience the Holy Spirit?
He is the spirit of Jesus, and Jesus said in John 3:8 that those who are born of the spirit are hard to predict, like the wind is. I never quite know what any day holds but I know God is good every day. One day my little boy and I prayed for a lady who worked at McDonalds in Silverthorne. She had a bad knee that was getting replaced the following week. She could hardly walk. Later that night her knee was completely and supernaturally healed. The next time we saw her she ran to our table, thrilled at what Jesus had done. She explained that she had called her doctor who took new X-rays and verified she had been healed and the surgery was canceled.
There are no limits for how we can experience the Holy Spirit. It can be as simple as “peace that passes all understanding,” or as amazing as someone else’s life being forever changed by Christ in you. But this much I can attest, the Holy Spirit is to be “experienced” in real, tangible, ways. It helps to be around others who understand that.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking Our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at email@example.com.
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