|About Dan Bobinski:|
Faith, Family, & the Future
|By Dan Bobinski |
For it is through grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10
|That's my life's verse. There is NO WAY that I could do anything that could earn my way to heaven. It is only a gift of God. |
To me that means that while none of us are saved "by" our works (that is, the things that we do), we *are* saved to do good works that God has in mind for us to do.
Growing up in the Chicago area in the 1960's, I attended church regularly with my family. My family was by no means outgoing about its faith -- church was more of a community commitment than a relationship with God. And it was a church where if we did the right things, we could be approved of by God.
Therefore, not surprisingly, my family's relationships were very conditional. "Do this, and you are loved." "Do that, are you are not loved." Since family relationships were elusive, in my teens I turned to approval from my friends. This was the 1970's, and that meant smoking, drinking, and doing drugs.
It wasn't long before I was in the "wrong" crowd, dealing drugs to my friends and acquaintances just to support my own habit and win their approval.
Tempted by the Dark Side
In my late teens I hooked up with a few folks who offered me spiritual power. At the time it seemed amazing. I was going to be on the top of the world! But in the back of my mind were questions about Jesus and who He really was. My "friends" (who turned out to be from the wrong side of the spiritual tracks) gave me inert answers and continued to seduce my desire for acceptance. (remember all that conditional love stuff?)
In all my confusion about life and eternity, at the bright young age of nineteen I tried to take my own life. It was in the hospital that I learned who my "friends" really were. All the power they were dangling in front of me was not from any good source.
Introduced to "Real Church"
About a year later I joined the Navy (yes, I had to fudge a few answers on their paperwork to get in). While attending school at Great Lake Naval Training Center in the Chicago area, I met a young lady who worked at the train station (I used to take the train home during the weekends). After our second date she invited me to church. I thought, "I've been to church before, and it didn't hurt," so I said yes.
What struck me about her church was the fact that it was so alive. People clapped when they sang. People had joy on their face. It was nothing like anything I had ever been in before. I'd seen this on TV and always thought it was staged or phony. But these were people I knew and they were exhibiting true joy on their face. I wanted what they had.
After a few months of attending this church, during a time of worship, I invited Jesus into my life.
It must have made quite an impact on me. When I finished school and transferred to my ship in San Diego, my nickname was "Jesus." But after a few months of "hanging out with the guys," I was right back where I started, partying and dating lots of ladies.
After a few years of that, I was starting to feel empty. I remember standing duty one night on my ship. I walked out to the main deck, looked up to the stars and said, "Jesus, I need you. I have a good looking girlfriend, I have a great car and a great place to live. I enjoy fine entertainment and fine meals on a regular basis. I have everything the world says a person should have to be happy. But inside I feel empty. I need you back in my life."
There were no shooting stars or fireworks. There were no heavenly angels fluttering about me afterward. I simply spoke to God about the condition of my heart, and I meant every word. I stood there on the main deck of the ship, crying.
He Reveals Himself to Those who Truly Seek Him
Well, the next morning was no different. In fact, the next week seemed no different. But somehow, some way, a change was taking place within me. Within two months I was drawn morning, noon, and night to thinking about Jesus. I thought about his goodness, his sacrifice, and his love. I realized that His power in the universe was greater than any other.
My eyes were opened to the fact that God *IS* love, and that if love were anything at all, it was made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ. I also knew that it was not me that came up with that realization, but that God had shown me that fact.
I was blown away. Or more appropriately, Jesus had come into my life and filled me with His Spirit.
As my ship headed out for a six-month deployment, I contacted the protestant lay-leader on my ship. I told him that I thought I was "saved" because of the blood of Jesus Christ and nothing else. Was I right?
His reply was "welcome to the family of God."
My lay leader and I spent a lot of time together on that deployment. I soaked up the truth of the Word of God. I was able to understand the bible in ways I never had before. It makes sense now. After all, if the Spirit of God impressed upon the bible's authors what to write, it only makes sense that if you invite that same Spirit into your life, He helps you understand what the writing is all about.
Direction from God
Life after the Navy involved a struggle to find out what to do with the rest of my life. I got into sales, and I was good at it. The company I worked for saw something in me that apparently I hadn't seen: They made me the sales trainer.
For the next year and a half, I taught people how to sell. But I didn't care for the ethics my company had, so I whipped up a resume and plastered it all over town. Yet I didn't get one bite. Not one. No one would even interview me.
One day I was standing in the front office praying inside my head: "God, why won't anybody interview me?" Then a voice that was not my own answered my question: "Because I'm teaching your something."
I was shocked by the voice but I managed to ask "What? What are you trying to teach me?" The voice answered back, "I'm teaching you how to teach."
Talk about being blown away! God was putting me through the school of hard knocks. I was learning to teach.
From then on I paid close attention to my teaching style. I focused on what worked well and what didn't. I noticed what increased student participation and what drove it back.
Before long, I was receiving invitations to speak at other places. Some folks asked me to conduct sales seminars for their companies. Others wanted me to conduct management training workshops for their managers. Requests started coming in, and I was finally tired of working for that unethical company. I quit and broke out on my own.
In a nutshell, that is how Leadership Development got started. It wasn't until after I got myself a coach and a few more clients that I went back to college and finished my bachelor's degree.
My coach, a retired executive who was a Messianic Jew, helped me see leadership in a new light. I saw that purpose, motivation, and planning were essential for success. He taught me that Jesus had moved with purpose, motivation, and within an eternal plan. So that approach is what I studied.
During that time I got married. It didn't turn out just the way I had hoped. She's a wonderful person and she cares a lot, but we couldn't seem to make it connect. I did *NOT* believe in divorce. But I have to tell you, the emotional strain of that relationship was more than anything I had ever encountered. Plain and simple, we just shouldn't have gotten married. Many friends warned me, but love was blind. Finally, after five and a half years it got to the point where it was either suicide or divorce. Having tried the former previously in my life, I opted for the latter.
As a Christian, it was difficult to reach that decision. It was one of the most devastating times of my life; An emotional roller coaster I wish on nobody. I came out the other end humbled and a little wiser, although I recommend taking other avenues to get that way if you can.
A New Location and More Growth
I went on to meet another woman, and we "meshed" very well. It felt like we had known each other our whole lives.
Since she was living in Idaho and I had no strong connections keeping me in San Diego, I packed up, moved, and we got married. After all, as a consultant, I can work from anywhere!
That was ten years ago. Since that time, Leadership Development has grown. We continue to work with top-level international companies, as well as sole proprietorships and everything in between. Also, earning my master's degree connected me with some fantastic people who specialize in areas I don't. And I'm proud to say that some of these people are now Leadership Development associates.
Work keeps my busy, and so has school. I've continued working on my education and am nearly done with my doctorate in Adult and Organizational Learning. For four years I wrote and voiced a drive-time radio feature (Answers for the Workplace) and six years ago I began writing newspaper columns. Through that effort, the work I do is heard and read around the world. It feels great to be able to help people.
The stresses of running a multi-faceted business combined with plugging away on my education at the same time placed a tremendous load on my family life. Sadly, things became strained and fell apart in that arena. It's caused me to step back and truly evaluate what I'm doing. Being a work-a-holic brought unintended consequences, so I'm thankful for a good friend who asked me "Dan - how much is enough?"
Thankfully, through it all, Jesus has never left me. In tough times and in good times, He's always there. He shows me His compassion for me and for all people, which drives me to further want to be like Him. As most of us learn, it's a maturing process. No one ever arrives. We just continue on the process.
As for the future, I plan to start a home bible study. Why? If I've learned anything it's this: For all the work we do in the world, when it all boils down, the driving question will be "how was your relationship with Jesus?" In other words, did you receive God's love? Did you love God back? Did you love your neighbor?
God will not be interested in how much money we saved our companies, or how quickly we brought new products to market. He will be interested in whether or not we are covered with the blood of Christ, through faith, so that we might live with Him in eternity, and whether we did the things He asked us to do.
The Basics of Life
And so, if you've read this far, I'm going to share a little more. If you're not yet a Christian, please carefully consider the following:
1. Sin is basically separation from God. Although God created us, we sinned. Sin is hereditary, and God made it clear that sin cannot live in heaven.
2. God wanted to reconcile with us, but the only way to do that was by "buying us back."
3. Without going into a whole lot of biblical background, blood needs to be shed to pay for sin. In the old way of doing things (what we call the Old Testament), this was done through sacrificing animals. But God sent a part of himself in the form of a man -- the person we know as Jesus -- to die on a cross so that His own blood would pay the full price for all of mankind's sin.
4. To understand the reasoning for this, remember that sin is hereditary. But since Jesus' "father" was God, Jesus had no sin. His blood was therefore perfect (no sin), and Jesus could therefore be the perfect sacrifice for all time.
5. When Jesus let himself be killed, he descended to hell, took the keys, and then rose again. He makes that quite clear in the book of revelation: "I hold the keys to death and Hades."
6. When we believe that the above is true, and invite Jesus inside us to wash our sin clean with the power that's in his blood, we become clean.
7. When we die, God looks at us. If he sees the blood of Jesus, he does not see any sin! With that cleansing, we are given access to heaven. But if God does not see the blood of Jesus, he sees sin, and we are sent out to where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth."
I don't know about you, but I'll take heaven over weeping and gnashing of teeth any day of the week.
How does one get the blood? It's simple: ASK. It is a gift of God so that no one can boast. Receive the blood by faith (by simply asking for it and believing that He gave it to you), and you will be "saved" (from eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth).
Keep it Simple
Don't get hung up in the concept of prayer. Prayer is simply a fancy word for "talking with God." So if you want heaven, you simply talk to God and ask for the blood. It can be as easy as something like this:
"God, I have sin in my life. Because of that sin, I'm separated from you. But I don't want to be separated from you, so please wash me with the blood of Jesus and cleanse me of my sin. Let your Spirit come into my life so I can live with you in eternity." It doesn't have to be those words, it just has to have that meaning (although a good "thank you" would probably be polite as well as make you feel better, too).
I write this because I used to be involved with the wrong side of the spiritual tracks, and I will tell you that I would not want my worst enemy to be sent away to "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Pain and darkness are no way to spend eternity. But love and joy are wonderful, and I can guarantee that God will give you those things if you have the blood of Jesus.
There's no way for me to know whether or not you talked with God and asked him into your life to wash you clean. But if you did, I urge you to tell someone. Then find a good, bible-based church that teaches salvation through the blood of Jesus, not by good works or anything else.
If you like, you can call me toll free at 888-922-6224 and I'd be thrilled to welcome you to the family of God. But even if you don't call, may God bless you as you seek and follow Him.
(PS. You can also E-mail me)