Living as Christ’s Ambassador: A Conversation with Paul Granger

Show Notes

In today’s captivating interview, I had the honor of sitting down with Paul Granger. Join us as we delve deep into Paul’s inspiring mission and his extraordinary insights on embodying love and compassion in everyday life. From his years of experience in various ministries to his current role alongside YWAM and other impactful organizations, Paul’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of faith. 

 Paul isn’t just about words; he’s a dedicated content creator. Tune in to hear about his captivating podcast “Where did you see God,” thought-provoking writings, and engaging videos that bring spiritual truths to life. His commitment to fostering genuine connections is truly awe-inspiring.  

But that’s not all – get ready to explore the heartwarming side of Paul’s life as he shares the importance of family. His incredible wife and kids, together, are living examples of how love and community can flourish. Their home, a divine gift received through an incredible journey, embodies the essence of loving your neighbor. 

 Don’t miss out on this incredible interview that’s bound to leave you inspired, motivated, and ready to embrace your own unique calling. Hit that notification bell so you’re the first to know when we release this enriching conversation with Paul.   

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Johnny Sanders (00:10):

Welcome back to another episode of Faithfully Engaged. Today we have Paul Granger on as a guest. So Paul, it’s great to see you and why don’t you tell the audience just a little bit about yourself.

Paul Granger (00:22):

Yeah, well, it’s great to be here. I appreciate the opportunity and I’m looking forward to the conversation. And one of the ways that I like to introduce myself is my role as ambassador of Christ. So when we meet somebody new, we want to know what their job is, what is it that you do? And we put a lot of stock on that identity. I’ve had a number of things in my life that have brought me to the place of realizing that my job is ambassador of Christ. My identity is someone made in the image of God that’s being invited to represent him both in functional and unexpected ways. And so practically the way that plays out is I am full-time ministry, fully support based, and that takes many forms from content creation. I run a podcast, where did you see God? To writing things, to conversations on the porch, to facilitating a community bible study to serving alongside youth with a mission. But the funny thing is, over the last five years, there’s been a lot of inconsistency, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of unknowns, because God’s basically inviting me to wake up every day and say, am I willing to seek God first? Am I willing to step where he invites me to step? And then when I do it, I may not know what’s ahead, but I know God’s ahead.

Johnny Sanders (01:38):

Yeah, I think that’s a fantastic way to describe that, and that’s something we are, I think, all pretty guilty of. Well, like me, I’m a counselor and I start that introduction by, but let’s start with that of ambassador, ambassador of Christ. Kind of explain to the audience what exactly you mean by that. What’s it mean to be an ambassador of Christ?

Paul Granger (02:03):

Yeah. Well, when we think about ambassadorship in general, the idea is that somebody has been given the opportunity, the privilege, the responsibility to represent something bigger than them, something that that’s not themselves. So we think of it often in terms of somebody being an ambassador of their country. So if I were to be an ambassador of the United States, I would go to some other country and I would represent the United States. I would represent what that means to be a United States citizen, the interests, the desires, the hopes. Sometimes I will be given specific things to communicate to other leaders. And so when we bring that into what it means to be ambassadors of Christ, we are being given the opportunity, the privilege, the responsibility to represent something very much beyond ourselves, to represent God, to represent Christ. A lot of times what we end up doing is basically just wearing a name tag that says Christian, but that’s the extent to which it impacts our lives.

And we’re not intentionally doing this, but functionally the worries of life, the desires of life become the things that we are predominantly focused on. But an ambassador, a good ambassador, knows that at every moment they are representing their country, they’re representing their leader. So what they say, what they do matters. And so when we talk about being ambassadors of Christ, there’s this idea of recognizing that whatever life was about whatever we were pursuing, we are making the conscious choice to say, I’m foregoing all of that for the sake of representing Christ and sharing him with whoever God puts in my path.

That could be a tricky thing because like I mentioned, there’s a lot of uncertainty in that. Let’s look at the disciples. The disciples knew what their lives were about before Jesus showed up. Peter, I’m a fisherman. My dad was a fisherman, my grandpa was a fisherman. My kids are going to be fishermen. I know what it means to get in a boat and get the fish. I get paid for the fish I, I feed my family. I get in the boat the next day and repeat. Then this guy comes up who Peter can tell there’s something special about him, and Jesus basically says to him, Hey, would you like to be unemployed and follow me around? And Peter was stepping into something that he had no experience of that was beyond his comprehension. We see him wrestling with trying to grapple with this identity of Jesus, the purpose of Jesus throughout the three years of ministry and even into acts.

But Jesus continues to invite him to represent him. He invites Peter to be a representative and ambassador of who he is and what he’s doing both in really functional ways when Jesus sends out all the disciples all the way up to when Jesus commissions, Peter basically said, I would like you to be one of the spiritual leaders of what my body, the church is going to look like. And so we could look at Peter and see all the ways that we can misstep in that and all the ways that God can work despite our missteps. But the big thing that we see is where Peter lands at the end of his life is nothing like what Peter would’ve expected, which is Ephesians three 20, right to him who’s able to do far, exceedingly more than we could ask or imagine. I don’t know what Peter was asking for or imagining for his life, but being a fisher of men was probably not it.

Be an ambassador of Christ who he watched be beaten and crucified and then come back to life and then rise up in the sky was not on his docket. And yet at some point or more at multiple points, he made the conscious decision to accept that invitation, to accept that opportunity, to accept that, and then to learn what it means to live that out. So for us, it’s the same. It starts with us being willing to say, okay, I’m willing to count the cost and step into this unique role, and then I know tomorrow I’m probably going to have to learn a little more about what that means and the next day and the next day all the way up to the end of our lives. Because the apostle Paul says, not that I’ve achieved perfection, but I continue to run the race. We’re going to continue to learn what this looks like, but it really is a beautiful invitation because again, abundantly more is waiting for us when we step into it.

Johnny Sanders (06:32):

As you were talking, my thoughts were kind of going to something we’ve really been talking about at my church and my small group specifically of really of about stewardship and particularly financial stewardship, but really just in general that when we look at stewardship, it’s looking at taking care of something that is not your own and being that ambassador, you are intentionally laying down your own life and raising up a life that is way better than anything that you could imagine, like you’re saying with Peter there. And same thing kind of goes on the financial side of things. If you are a believer and you do your tithe, do your offering, you’re intentionally giving up money and the worldly view like, well, what are you doing? You could be using that money for something great, but we look at it as Christians that ultimately that’s not even our money. God gifted us that and we are needing to use it for what’s best for him and best for his kingdom. And kind of on that line of thinking on the financial side of things, being an ambassador, being a steward of money, how does one Faithfully use money and be able to really thrive in that condition while not trying to just maximize the amount of money in the bank account? How does one make sense of that?

Paul Granger (08:11):

Yeah, well, and it’s tricky. The scripture says that the a root of all evil is the love of money. It’s something to that effect. But there is some uniqueness about how it’s worded that I’ve taken that in the past as meaning greed. So as long as I’m not greedy, I’m fine. But there’s something about the implication of it being the love of money that isn’t just like, I love money, give me all the money, but sometimes it’s I need money in order to survive. So it’s hitting on both ends. And there’s this fear of the financial that we often carry because logically it’s a legitimate thing. We need certain things to exist. Food, water, and shelter, those things typically aren’t free. So if they’re not free, that means they cost money. And well, in order to get money, you either have to have a job or get really lucky and win the lottery or get an inheritance or some other random thing.

But for the majority of the world, it’s through employment. So you have to have a job to get the money and you need the money in order to survive. And again, we talked about this idea of Peter had this more or less steady income, and then Jesus says, come be unemployed with me. And there were numerous points at which they didn’t have enough money. There is a point where they’re walking into the city and Jesus and a disciple, it might’ve been Peter are coming in and they see a tax collector and the disciple’s like, whoa, whoa, whoa. What are we going to do? We don’t have money to pay the taxes. We need money and there’s no way for us to get money. Or you look at the feeding of the 5,000, all these people need to eat. We don’t have the money to feed them.

What Jesus responds to in that moment is the reality that you don’t actually need money, you need God. God is provider and God can provide in creative ways. So for the taxes, he’s like, why are you worried about this? Just go to that fish and reach in and there’s money in there. Or why are you worried about the food? Just feed them. And they’re like, we don’t know how. And he’s like, okay, fine. You got a couple loaves, a couple fish give it to me. Right? And he does this many times, in fact, even beyond Jesus, throughout scripture, we see God providing in miraculous, unexpected, impossible ways. And yet we as believers continue to fall back into financial fear. So I think that’s the starting point. We have to acknowledge that we do have a love of money, whether it’s greed or a fear of not having it.

We have that and it drives us to make decisions. I want to trust God, but I need to keep this job or I want to trust God, but I have to do this or I want to trust God, but if I do that, I could lose money. Ministries, churches, how often do they make decisions out of fear that that donor might not give if they do a certain thing right, we’re constantly making decisions out of the fear of the financial. Well, about five years ago, I unexpectedly lost my job and I say unexpectedly because it happened in a way that it didn’t happen for anyone else. No one expected it, but God actually gave me a heads up that it might happen. And so I was able to go in with a piece and an awareness of the spirit working. There’s a whole story around that.

I won’t tell at this moment, but what I will say is that it happened at really the worst possible time. We were already tight on our income. My wife and I both worked at the same ministry and we’re working at a ministry which doesn’t pay a lot, but my wife was pregnant with a third child, so losing a job, ah, that’s not good. I need money in order to pay for all the mortgage and the food for the kids and the kid that’s coming and you need a job. And God told me, don’t operate out of fear of the financial trust me as provider. He actually invited me to not job search for that first month and for that second month. And then in going into the third month, the invitation was just to do my due diligence, to not stress, to not like, oh, I got to get a job.

I ended up being unemployed for six months. And yet in that there is this deep awareness that God was provided that I didn’t need money that I needed God. God could provide through money, but he could provide in other ways. My wife and I, we worked the numbers. We knew when our money was going to run out. You know what didn’t happen, our money running out. You know what else happened Christmas, me ending up in the hospital, my wife having a child, my cat needing dental surgery, my car needing work. And not only were all those things covered, but we didn’t scale back. We didn’t say, sorry kids, no gifts this Christmas. We didn’t say Sorry kids, it’s going to be spaghetti every night. God invited us to continue to operate as we were operating not to operate out of fear. And at the end of that unemployment, I had job opportunities and this clear invitation from God to step into something really crazy, which was to work with youth with a mission, which for anyone who knows, they know that nobody gets paid at ywam.

Everybody’s a volunteer. You basically, I don’t want to say you live off support because that in a way goes against what I’m saying. I don’t live off of support. I trust God as provider. He chooses to provide through people, through the generosity of others, and he is also provided in unexpected ways, ways that I don’t even explain right now. And I just hit the four year mark of that. Two of those years, by the way, my wife felt like God was calling her to leave her job. So now we had no income and God continued to provide. And so what I’m trying to drive home here is that we have an unhealthy understanding of money, an unhealthy reliance on money, and it’s a logical understanding and reliance, but the wisdom of God is foolishness to man. Jesus says to count the cost we’re being invited to as Proverbs three, five and six says, trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding and all your ways submit to him and he will set your path straight.

God’s basically saying, look, I get it. I know you have your own understanding. I want to invite you to not lean on it. You could be aware of it, but don’t lean on it for your support. Trust in me, fully. Trust in me. I know what I’m talking about. If you submit to me, I’m going to set your path straight. And so that’s the big answer is God has a proven track record of being faithful as a provider and he continues to invite us. And so when we are finding ourselves fearful or struggling, it’s not because God dropped the ball, but sometimes it’s because we’re not actually reaching for the ball from ’em. We’re trusting ourselves, and this is another big thing. We set in our minds how things should work. And so when God doesn’t give us, if I’m a missionary and I know what number I feel like I need to meet and it’s not hit, then I can say, well, God’s not providing right?

Well, maybe God doesn’t want to fill your bank account. Maybe he wants to do like he did with the Israelites and give you manna. He didn’t give him a stockpile of manna that then he’s like, all right, here you go. I’ll check back in a month. The idea wasn’t that they were getting stuff from him, it was relationship. It was that by getting that manna every day, they were continuing to remember who God was. They were continuing to remember that God was providing for them that they had the opportunity to trust anybody who tried to stockpile so they didn’t have to deal with God the next day or they didn’t have to risk it just in case it’s not there, didn’t work out it rotted. Now, this was magical manna because there is this rule that it would only last a day except on the Sabbath, at which point they could gather double and it lasted two days. God knows what he’s doing, he’s doing the impossible, but he’s also doing it because he desires that connection with us. Do we actually want connection with him? That’s the question we don’t always want to ask.

Johnny Sanders (16:04):

I think that’s a fantastic way to put that, and I’m going to talk this out loud a little bit, but leads it to my next question of I hear often, not necessarily intentionally but practically of different spheres and some of this is legitimate. How I am at work isn’t exactly the same as how I am at home. How I am with my friends isn’t exactly how I am with my family. Some of that is just reality and truth, but what happens is we often have our spiritual sphere, here’s my church sphere, here’s my prayers sphere, and that stays over here. It doesn’t infect my work sphere or my family’s sphere. It’s just its own little bubble there. So to somebody that either explicitly believes that or just practically is kind of believing that one, what’s wrong with that? Why should they not believe that way? And two, if they are, what do they do about it? How can they stop doing that? Yeah.

Paul Granger (17:12):

Well, I want to encourage everyone that like you said, it’s logical. I mean we’re raised into this idea of how to function. It makes sense, it’s natural, but the reason that it’s not a great way to think is because it’s not actually how reality works. And I’ll put it like this. The way I used to describe it when I ran internships is like you were saying, we, it’s like we have this table and we have all these components of our life and we have our spirituality, our relationship with God. Oh yeah, that’s important. I’m going to put it front and center, but also my education or my job or my relationships and my home and my community, and now the table’s starting to get crowded and well, this passion of mine, this is important. So I’m not pushing God out the way, but let’s put both of these in the center, but oh man, oh no, I’m starting to stress out about this.

And so this has got to be the focus and we don’t notice it happening, but God’s getting pushed a little more, more to the edge of the table possibly falling off the table and then we’re like, oh man, how did this happen? Or what do I do? Or we just feel overwhelmed and that makes sense. We’ve got all these things in our life and it can feel hard to make space for God. The problem with that is that isn’t actually how reality works. God isn’t some part of the table. The spiritual isn’t some thing on the table. It is the table. Our reality is spiritual. And so a right understanding is to say that is spiritual and all these things. Therefore on top of it, this is why scripture talks about the ability in anything you do, you can serve God and some people will reference it.

So that means if I’m cleaning toilets, I can be serving God. And it could sometimes be a little bit of mental acrobatics trying to make that work in our heads like how does scrubbing a toilet actually glorify God? Especially if it’s my toilet and not somebody else that I’m serving. But the thing is, if the table is spiritual, if our reality is a spiritual reality, then that means anything that’s happening is naturally a part of that. And so that’s the first step for someone who wants to break that is to step back and actually consider that reality. What if God isn’t something that I’ve got to fit amongst all these things, but actually is present in the midst of all these things. And so when I am at work, it doesn’t have to be this independent separate thing that I function differently than I do at church.

I can recognize God’s with me in this space when I’m doing some menial task, I can recognize I can do this as a way of honoring God as a way of God. I’m going to put my best into this as a way to show glory to you. I mean, it can be small things like that, but the bigger thing is our mentality. Are we willing to actually recognize that all of it is within God’s domain or do we want to stay segmented and then God is the one to two hours on Sunday and maybe if we’re awake in time and have the energy some amount of time each day or every other day or God doesn’t have to be segmented. Now the good news is it also can be very organic. I think the other problem is we’re kind of raised into this segment and mindset because we think of engaging God in very stringent ways.

So it’s church, it’s praying, it’s reading your Bible and depending on your experience of that, those can look very specific too. It’s 30 minutes in your Bible and you have to have your journal. Prayer has to be quiet and it has to be for this amount of time, and you got to have a list. Well, what happens if you’ve got young kids and there is no such thing as quiet in your house? What if you’re working two jobs and there’s no such thing as spare time? What if you’re working a job that actually puts you on the schedule on Sundays and you can’t go to church regularly, you can’t build that community. There’s all kinds. There are people in the world that are working every day just to get one meal on the table for their family. So are they not able to have a relationship with God?

Well, no, actually they can because connecting with God can take many different forms depending on the season of our lives. It’s great if we’re in a season of our life where we have ample time to pray or ample time to read the word or ample quiet. But in the absence of that, God can connect with us even when we have very little offer. We see this with Elijah when he is at the end of himself and he is like, just take me now. God, I am out of strength. And God meets him in that space, Elijah’s offering very little at that point, God is doing the heavy lifting there, but there is still connection there. And as he builds his strength, maybe he’s able to contribute a little more. And so it could feel hard to seek God in certain spaces. It could feel unnatural, and especially if we feel like it has to look a certain ways seeking God in my secular work environment, I guess does that have to look like evangelizing and what if I get in trouble or what if it feels awkward or what if I lose relationships? Well, maybe it doesn’t look like that. Maybe it looks like extending love. Maybe it looks like interacting with that person that nobody else is interacting with. Maybe it looks, I don’t know, maybe it looks like sitting in silence during your break and just spending time with God. The bottom line is it can take different forms and our starting point is simply saying, God, I want to seek you. Help me to know what that looks like. Just start simply like that and see what God brings out.

Johnny Sanders (22:42):

I like that. I love the imagery there of that God isn’t a piece of the table. He is the table. He is all, and we are the ones that are just trying to manage the little speck of life that we have and really keeping that in context. And I’m big on this just in my counseling practice of break it down to the smallest piece. If I’m working with somebody and they want to start exercising, they they’ve realized the physical health, the spiritual health, the mental health, all the benefits of exercise, but they see their best friend that’s running a marathon and that guy wants to invite them to go with them, that’s pretty intimidating. But what’s not intimidating is going and walking into your mailbox. You could do that. It’s kind of same thing here. Would it be great to pray an hourlong a day and read an hourlong day? Fantastic. And if you can get there, great, but do something. We don’t have to overcomplicate it, just seek God and do something. And I think that makes that really practical, the way that you explained that. Yeah,

Paul Granger (23:58):

I had a pastor that the way he worded it is the low hanging fruit. When you’re in a season of war in your life where it’s really hard, just go for the low hanging fruit. What is a simple way that you can connect with God? Does music, does worship music help you connect with that? Okay, then start there. Play some worship music. Is it prayer is it or whatever it is, just the low hanging fruit. And the reason that doesn’t seem like enough is because we have built this idea that only the best is enough. We’ll, look at that ministry worker who’s started this phenomenal nonprofit is doing amazing things, or this pastor that’s speaking eloquently and learns all these scriptures or this person that prays for 20 hours a day or this are our metrics of success. That’s not God’s metric of success. God’s not saying, alright, I only want the best because you look at scripture, he didn’t choose the best most of the time, he intentionally chose the least, chose the people who are like, whoa, whoa.

Why are you choosing me? Moses is like, I can’t talk. Well, Gideon’s like I’m the least of the least Jonah’s. Like I don’t even like those people. He chose people that didn’t bring a whole lot to the table because at the end of the day, it was their willingness to step despite all their reasons, not to step. That made the big difference. And so yeah, that low hanging fruit, those small steps, those small things like in our minds, they look small, but in God’s eyes they’re huge. Right? Again, five loaves and two fish small. That’s small. Nobody thought anything could happen with that. The woman who gave the two mites is her contribution. Everybody looked down at her. That’s a small donation. Jesus looked at both those things and is like, y’all even know how big this is. So yeah, don’t feel shame about your minuscule offering to God if it’s an authentic offering to God, be like the woman who gave the two coins and recognize that Jesus is looking at that and it’s like that. Look at that. So-and-so had no strength left, no desire left, and they gave those two minutes or they gave those is two smiles to that person or that Jesus sees that and knows how much bigger fruit that can produce. Even if we can’t see it doesn’t mean God can’t.

Johnny Sanders (26:19):

Absolutely. And another thing that kind of comes to my mind when you’re saying that is, well, really two things. I’ve had this conversation with several people recently about something that my church does. Once a month we kind of have a potluck and one quarter every quarter we end up with a business meeting, but the other first Sundays of the month, we just do a potluck and then somebody from the church shares their testimony. And I really love it because we’re generally not great at sharing our own testimony. Or what happens is a lot of people that grew up in the church, and this is kind of how I was, I grew up in the church and about the age of six realized I was a sinner, realized Jesus died for my sins and I accepted that. And sure there’s other valleys and mountains throughout my life, but by and large, that’s the story.

God saved me out of young age and I’m super grateful for that. And as I grew older and I heard some of these incredible stories, I was this motorcycle gang member and doing hardcore drugs and God saved me from that. I’m like, well, what’s my testimony? My testimony is weak, and the older I’ve gotten, the more mature in my faith I’ve gotten, I’ve realized how silly that is, that it’s not about us. None of us can save ourselves. It’s about who saved us. That’s where the testimony gets its strength from. So that’s one thing that I was kind of thinking through of don’t doubt your testimony no matter how insignificant you might think it is. It is very significant. The other thing that came to my mind of just kind of the significance, I am pretty big on not demonizing technology, which is kind of a trend in some Christian circles sometimes of chat. G p t is going to take us all down and that type of mentality. Now, don’t get me wrong, technology can be used for evil. I won’t say otherwise, but technology is fairly agnostic. It can be used for good or for bad. And I see this on social media, that great things on social media of old sermons, or you can listen to some of the big guys out there. Maybe you listen to a John Piper sermon or John MacArthur, whatever, and there’s great resources out there and I love that.

But that kind of goes back into of like, oh, I’ll never be like them. Those guys, they got it all figured out. I’m just this insignificant little pawn scum. I’m not like them. And you’re missing the point. They’re not great either. It’s who they’re pointing to. And I guess that kind of leads into this next question there that somebody that feels like, oh, my testimony is nothing. I don’t have this big strong ministry. They do. What should they do to kind of look at their own heart and not downgrade their role?

Paul Granger (29:32):

Yeah, yeah. What’s hilarious about that is we keep forgetting what actually makes a good story. You’ve the superhero movies now that are all about big action. The cost is huge. What could go wrong if they don’t save the world? But if we’re honest, we know that that’s one type of movie and most of us also like movies that don’t, the stakes aren’t so high. Most of us like certain movies that it’s kind of a chill pace. So we are aware that stories can take different forms, but you’re right, when it comes to testimonies, we’re going for the Marvel testimonies. We don’t want the simple coming of age story testimony. We don’t want the simple buddy fun movies. We don’t want that because we want the big one, the one that just breaks the box office. But I think we got to remind ourselves who writes the story.

And if we’re honest, we don’t write the story. We know that we will say, oh yeah, God writes the story. And so when we’re dismissing the story, we have to remind ourselves. It’s kind of like we’re going to God and saying, God, that wasn’t a good story. You didn’t write a good one. There are people in our lives. If we know writers and if they’re good writers, we won’t go up to ’em and necessarily just dismiss all their work. If it doesn’t fit one thing, we will recognize they could write different forms. There’s a novel, here’s a haiku, here’s a short essay. A good writer can write in different ways, and in the same way God can write different types of stories because he knows the purpose of the stories he’s writing, and there are stories that he’s writing to be big and attention grabbing, and there’s other stories that he’s writing for other purposes. The other thing that we had to recognize is in that moment we can feel really isolated and alone because it seems like everyone else has a good testimony, but I don’t, well, are we really going to assume that we’re the only ones with a seemingly simple testimony? The truth is we’re not because I’ve been there too for a long time. I was like, Lynn, I’ve got a boring testimony.

But the thing is, is that there are things that are a part of my story that were also a part of somebody else’s story. And when I’m willing to share that, it may not be the attention grabbing thing, but that person’s attention is going to be grabbed, they’re going to be like, that’s me. I get that. I was in the church all my life too. I felt like things were really simple too. I felt like I always just kind of knew God and my journey was coming to know him deeper. Suddenly there’s a resonating, some of my favorite movies are just simple ones. The world’s not ending. There’s no big score or anything. It’s just very simple. It’s a beautiful simple story. Maybe that’s what God has for us. And the other piece of it too is we treat testimonies as a one and done thing.

It’s written and boom, there it is. All right, I got it on the shelf. I got a bunch of books behind me. Now there’s my testimonies right there. Now what I’ve come to realize is that my testimony is continuing to be written. There may be pivotal points where I made decisions to trust God or follow God or do this, that or the other, but I’m continuing to learn. Peter had a pivotal point where he said, I’m not going to live the same way I have been. I’m going to follow this Jesus guy. That was his decision moment. That’s not his testimony. That’s a chapter of his testimony. He had many other chapters leading up to being martyred. And so now when I think of sharing my testimony, man, it takes so many different forms depending on who I’m talking to, depending on what I feel like they’ve experienced.

And I’m able to actually share parts of my life almost as independent testimonies because again, like you described, I don’t have that one singular date. This is the day that I got off by Harley, threw the drugs in the toilet and stopped killing people and said, Jesus, I’m yours. I didn’t have that. But what that meant is I had, and everyone has this, but I’ve had so many moments of consciously making a decision where I could go this way, but I’m going to choose God. And now there are so many stories, so many chapters, and it’s exciting and also a little daunting that there are so many chapters ahead. And so God is writing a story for everyone. God is a good author, he is a really good author. And if the story doesn’t make sense to you now, maybe that’s because it’s not done being written.

Maybe the chapter’s not done being written. And I can guarantee you there will come a point where you will look back at a season and you will see it differently than you did in the midst what seemed like an incoherent stringing of words. Together you’ll see the beauty, the artistry, the intentionality around how God phrased certain things. But it all starts with, are we willing to trust God as the author and the humility to say often we don’t and that’s okay. Are we willing to choose to trust now and then choose to trust again tomorrow?

Johnny Sanders (34:52):

I really have been getting into the idea of storytelling. That’s a big part of why I have this podcast to hear other people’s stories. And my brain typically isn’t the more artistic type like my mom and sister, they’re better at that. They can draw better and write more eloquently. Their brain just works a little bit more in that way. And my dad and I, my dad’s more of an engineer type, so it’s kind of a little bit more structured, not as much on the story side. And I’m starting to realize that no stories are, they’re not just a nice little book that we read every once in a while. It’s life. All of our lives are stories like you put there. God is the author of these stories we can look at. I don’t just have to look at a piece of art being hanging on a wall, although that is art. I can go look at a mountain that’s incredible art. That’s something that my wife and I really enjoy about mountains is because everyone is completely different. And we live in rural Oklahoma. Every sunset is completely different, and that is beautiful. So art stories, even if you are not an artistic type individually, you need to learn the beauty of that because it’s more than just a left brain brain thing. Life is a story

Paul Granger (36:31):

And we’re forgetting the in acts. Jesus says, I got to go, but I’m going to send a helper. And there’s this idea of this helper that actually equips the disciples to do things that they couldn’t do that wasn’t in their mindset or skillset to do. And we forget the reality that our ability to serve God isn’t contingent on our skillset. And so there are ways, if somebody feels like they’re not creative, first we are made in the image of God and God is creator. So we’re made in the image of the creator, which means that there are elements of creating that are a part of our design. But the other piece is when we do not feel like the creative type, who’s to say God can’t choose to create through us this, I’ve gotten compliments on my ability, ive my abilities as a podcaster. And I always laugh when somebody gives me a compliment because the secret is it’s not actually me being good at it at all.

There are certain skill sets that I might bring to the table being quick on my feet or being able to have the podcast voice or something like that. But I am keenly aware that the podcast episodes that get the most positive feedback weren’t because I’d done a lot of work crafting the questions and this that and the other. Every single one begins with prayer and inviting the spirit to work. Because what I know is there is no matter how good I am at something, there is a limit to how good I can be. And that’s based on knowledge and skill, but also mood. Also how well I slept also on how well technology works. Also on all these factors, there’s a lot that I can’t control. God’s limitless. And so God can do things. God has often worked through podcast episodes in ways that I’m like, that was not me.

That was God. And yet I had the privilege of being a part of it. I’m an introvert, right? I hate small talk, but one of the ways that God’s invited me to serve and equip me to serve is I live in a neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic on my street and God’s invited me to be accessible and get to know neighbors. And that is typically small talk. If somebody’s walking, you’re not having a deep conversation. And I remember talking to a woman that I had met maybe a month before. God brought her name back to my mind and I was able to call her by name. And she was so excited because she was like, nobody ever remembers my name, remember my name, and we’re having this conversation. I remember having this moment where I’m like, what I’m doing is extrovert stuff. How in the world is it me that’s doing it?

Because this is not something I would’ve chosen, not something I would’ve been good at. Because there are times where I’m not good at small talk. You get me at a wedding reception, man, it’s awkward, but it was natural and it was because it wasn’t me. It was God working through me. And so if someone doesn’t feel creative, if someone feels limited, great. That actually means you’re better poised for God to work through you because you’re going to be less geared to be prideful about it or arrogant about it because you’re going to know it’s not you.

Johnny Sanders (39:47):

That that’s a really good point there. And again, it’s been convicting. I’ve recently had an artist on, her name is Haley from Sweet Sequels, and she incredible artist just skill way beyond my comprehension. And I actually really appreciate that in part because I don’t have that same skillset. It doesn’t make sense in my brain. I don’t understand how that comes from your hand. It doesn’t make sense to me. And it is convicting from a conversation with her. And from what you’re saying though, that we come from a creator. So we all have creation ability. And what’s great too is when it comes, when it’s not something from your own incredible abilities, those of you are listening that our parents, I know we both are. Look at your kids. That is the coolest creation ever. How incredible that is. And I mean, yeah, I think everybody listening knows the process of that being made, but we know we didn’t do anything credible to make this child. God made that child and it’s awesome. Sure, it can be frustrating, but it’s the best creation we will ever have. So understanding our limits is actually quite an asset because yeah, we are limited, but God isn’t. And being able to point to the true creator is really the end all here.

Paul Granger (41:23):

And I think we had to remind ourselves that we don’t have to be all the things. So we’ll look at someone and be like, oh, I’m not as good at such and such as them. You talked about the artist. Well, not everybody needs to be an artist. It’s great that certain people are gifted, are passionate about art, but it’s okay if somebody’s not. That doesn’t mean they’re lesser. When I was running internships, I used to feel guilt around the fact that I would bring certain speakers in and they would just clearly be better teachers than me. Something about the way that they could see information and bring it together and convey it out. They were just able to do things that I couldn’t or I’d have to work really hard to do it. And I felt shame because partly because of me and also externally, there was certain individuals putting pressure that I had to be all of those things.

One of the beautiful moments of release and peace was when I realized I don’t have to be a great teacher. You have the apex gifts, the fivefold gifts, the apostle prophet evangelist Shepherd teacher, I remember there’s one specific individual who just very much is a teacher, very gifted at it. He could see information a certain way and bring it together and convey it out. And I remember thinking it was actually such a beautiful, I was so grateful that he could be there to live into that gift. And it’s okay that I am not living in that because he’s living into that right now. But I fall very heavily in shepherd the pastoral care element, the walking alongside being able to see sheep in certain situations and know how to get them to the water or how to protect them from the bear. That’s where I felt like I was uniquely equipping me and positioning me.

Well, this individual, he would name that. That was one of his weaker spaces. And so I was able to fill a gap that he wasn’t able to fill. He was able to fill a gap that I wasn’t able to fill. And this is why, because we’re not designed to operate in silos. We’re called to function as a body in unity. Scripture is very clear that we’re called to function as a body. The arm needs the leg and the elbow needs the ear lobe. All of those parts are important. And those parts, the arm is not meant to be an ear, but we can read that scripture and say, yeah, that makes sense. And then go back into our life and lament that we’re not as good as this other person at that, or we’re not gifted at that, or My gift doesn’t matter. Well, no, God has actually put certain things within you that he’s inviting you to live out and he wants you to do.

So willing to do it even if you don’t see the fruit, even if you don’t get a claim, even if it doesn’t look like the most amazing thing, because some things are hidden. Some things the Apostle Paul says, I planted the seed Apollos watering and God made it grow. There are some things that God’s inviting you to do that you’re not going to be the one to water or make it grow. If you don’t plant a seed. There’s no plant. So it’s like you are a vital part of how God’s working. It’s just we have to be willing to not be the spotlight. Or there’s a flip way of saying, because some people desire spotlight. I’ve never been one to desire spotlight, but what gets me is if negative perceptions are put on me. So I don’t need you to lavish me with praise, but if you’re speaking negative things, that’s where it gets me. Well, we have to be willing to be in a place where we’re okay not getting the spotlight and we’re okay if people see us inaccurately. People saw Jesus inaccurately, right? Doesn’t make it easy, but that’s part of what we’re being invited to, is to worry more about what God sees than what others see.

Johnny Sanders (45:08):

Very, very well put. Well, Paul, I think this has been fantastic and I really enjoy a lot of the theoretics here, but also the practical things that the audience can do, and that’s really what the show is about, is to have people engaged to actually live life and not just sit back and like, oh, the world’s, that’s stupid. I don’t like it. And just be angry. That doesn’t do us much good. So for the audience to be able to continue to stay in contact with you and check out your own show, where can they find you?

Paul Granger (45:43):

Yeah, so what God’s invited me to is to create authentic, accessible spaces to process him, to process life, to process Christianity, to process all these things that we have questions about. And so I’ve tried to compile all that at, where did you see So you can find the podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts, but you can also find it there. You can also find things that I’ve written, but my goal is less to show people my content and more to create those spaces because God is difficult to understand. Sometimes life is difficult to understand sometimes, and too often we’re trying to do that on our own, but we can do this as community. What you are doing here, what you’ve created in this space is an example of how we can navigate this together as community, as that body that scripture invites us to. So where do you see That’s one place you can go, but really I would just invite people to cultivate these spaces themselves, to invite God, to cultivate these spaces because it could be as simple as scooting up next to that person during the lunch break or opening your front porch. What God can do in those spaces really can be abundantly more than we could ask or imagine.

Johnny Sanders (47:02):

Again, excellently put there, so I’ll include all that down in the show notes. It was great having you on today, having this great conversation, and I think that’s a good place to end it on is maybe a challenge for listeners. Go do your own conversations with somebody. It doesn’t have to be a podcast. Go find a neighbor, podcast, a friend, a church member, whoever. Just go and talk about some of these things. I think it’s really important. So again, great having you on For those listening, thank you so much for listening again to another episode and just continue to go out there and fight for truth. Alright, you guys take care.