My junior and senior years of college were a time of God’s grace in many ways. I began leading worship on a regular basis, I led small groups and I mostly stayed away from any kind of physical intimacy with women.
God was teaching me and growing me despite my repeated failures with addiction to pornography. That addiction hadn’t become the ‘web’ of lies it would grow into, primarily because no one asked me about purity--and I wasn’t volunteering any information.
I had Christian community and friends, but like many communities and churches, there was not a lot of depth. No one really talked about their struggles in life until they had already successfully dealt with them. I won’t get on my soapbox about the importance of an Acts 2 type community of believers, but I will say it’s one of the most important pillars of the Christian faith. If you read any of our past blogs, you will see it again and again. It is one of the primary reasons we are in a bus living the gospel of Jesus.
There was one relationship, during the latter half of college, where the devil really got a foothold in my life. This “root” would have an affect on me for years to come. We never really dated, but I was good friends with a Godly woman for nearly two years. When I finally got enough courage to tell her about my struggles with pornography, she graciously prayed for me. However, within a month, she called it quits on any friendship or relationship. I honestly don’t blame her one bit! She was right to get out and knew that the healing I needed would not come through her.
I felt like I had lost my best friend. God showed me many years later that this was where the real root of fear began in connection with pornography. It was this fear of rejection that would keep me from sharing things with my wife in the future.
Fear of failure and fear of rejection can be some of the strongest forces in our lives… if we let them. Although this event was a root for the devil to get into my life and my heart, Jesus is always greater! Always. I fed that root again and again through my actions and decisions, and it continued to grow. I believed lies and fears more than I believed God. I chose to stay bound up by living a lie. My pride and my fears ruled me and yet, God’s grace abounded in my life.
As I finished my last semester, I was hired by a local church to run their college ministry. I also was the assistant youth director and served on the worship team. I knew my calling was to serve the Lord and serve others, but I had a hidden secret and I would let no one into it. I was a captive in a web of my own making. I created my own prison
One year later I met my wife at a college ministry retreat. And there starts the REAL story!
When I gave away my virginity, it seemed like God and all of heaven were screaming, “NOOOO!!” I had found a girlfriend who was a christian, so in my mind, that’s all that was needed. If christianity ever becomes a status only in your life, please seek help.
God’s word says, “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15 NIV) Not only was I not loving God, but I was being a destructive force in a young woman’s life. All this sadly happened, while being very active in a church.
Looking back on my life during that time, it’s hard to even believe where I was at spiritually. I had started to lead worship and play bass guitar on Sunday mornings, but I shrugged off any truth from the Bible about sex.
Sexual sin is so destructive. The wages of sin is death, it’s a progressive road… or maybe regressive is the correct term. What starts as lust in our hearts, leads to so many unforeseen sins: Lies, cheating, concealing, anger, jealousy, not trusting, insecurity,... I could go on and on.
In Acts 15, there is a sharp dispute in the early church over the requirement for all the Gentiles to be circumcised. After James refers to the book of Amos, showing that the Gentiles were meant to be part of the family of God, they decide to only encourage the new believers to do four things. One of them is abstain from fornication or sexual immorality.
Why is this so important? First and foremost, it’s contrary to God’s will. He knows what’s best, always.
“Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NASB)
I remember reading this verse in college and thinking, “What do they mean against his own body?” Well, one possible explanation is that it actually physically damages your body. We don’t know even close to everything about the human body, but we do know the effects of pornography on the brain. The brain is actually damaged the more you are seduced by the screen!
When looking at pornography, the brain releases chemicals 4 times more potent than morphine. It’s no wonder people become addicted to it. Your conscience is also destroyed. It may not happen after 1 or 2 times, but like any sin, the more you do it, the less your conscience says, “This is wrong.”
I would say the only reason I continued to know that pornography was wrong all those years was because I consistently heard the word of God. I spent time reading my Bible. I worshiped. I heard many sermons. Truth consistently confronted the way I was living. You might say, well, truth must not be very convincing then. There is no diminishing the power of truth! God is eternal and He is truth. However, I think my experience shows how strong of a hold sin can have in someone’s life.
I am so thankful that young lady had a close personal friend that advised her that sex before marriage was wrong. Deep down, I knew it too, but I had chosen to ignore it. That relationship ended as quick as it started, because it’s foundation was lust.
The Lord kept me from going down a destructive path any further. I didn’t have a true girlfriend again until I met my wife, but there were still a lot of mistakes in my future.
I love how God speaks to us and how He gives us dreams and visions for the future. It is an amazing concept that the God who created the universe, and who created us, has chosen to partner with us. I believe His plan is to work with us to display His glory to the world. This concept consistently blows my mind.
What I've begun to notice is how we, as humans, can respond to what God speaks to us. He tells us secrets from Heaven of how we are meant to carry out our part of His plan. Then, we tend to operate out of a mindset that our part is the ONLY part, or the most significant part.
This mindset proves to be extremely damaging when other people enter the story. The temptation is to view people for what they can do for our part of the plan, instead of who they were created to be. One of the main areas this affects is the intrinsic need all people have to be accepted.
This is harmful is many ways, one of which is that we may not be allowing people to become all that God created them to be. If our focus is on how people can help us fulfill God's calling on our lives, we run the risk of diminishing the calling God has put on their lives.
I've been learning more about how the Kingdom of God functions, and there are vast differences from how the kingdoms of this world function. “Outside Christ, people perform to create an identity so they might be accepted. The longing of everyone's heart is to belong. It is vital. But, in Christ, things are different. We start out accepted by God. From that place of acceptance, our identity is formed. And it is out of our identity that we perform” (Raising Giant Killers, Bill and Beni Johnson).
I believe this has happened way too often within the body of Christ, the Church. People come into a group of believers and sense a role that is expected to be filled. Therefore, they pick up that role as their identity in order to belong.
That is a major bummer because we miss out on all of the wonderful and unique giftings of people. God, in His radical goodness, has declared that we all belong to the family of God. He has adopted us first and then invites into a journey of discovering who He created us to be.
First, we are accepted and loved. Second, we begin discovering our true identity as a child of God. Third, we choose to perform out of a place of love and boldness.
Well, that's not totally true... and we actually aren't sad about it :-)We are officially done roasting coffee as a part-time business! It has helped support us on the road, but God has given us peace about laying it down and trusting Him to provide in all things.
We're definitely a little sentimental about roasting coffee and keeping bees, but God's path for our lives is always better than our own. When Jesus said, "I have come that they (we) may have life and have it to the full," He meant it. The fullest life imaginable on this earth is in relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus.
P.S. We're keeping our roaster in our bus and will continue to give coffee away to everyone we meet! If you can't stand to not have our coffee, you'll have to come and visit us on the road!
Thank you all for supporting us through purchasing our coffee and honey! For other ways to support us in the future, check out the Support Page.
The culmination of my high school years would end in the ‘96-’97 school year. I was involved in everything I could be: basketball, track, band, choir, acting, etc. God was working through all of it, even in the area of women.
I had met a girl at Bible camp during the summer that really loved God. It was the first person in my life (my age) that really loved the Lord and I was attracted to that devotion. We only went on two dates, but from then on, I really knew I wanted to marry a woman that was sold out for Jesus.
High school ended, we broke up and I was off to UND, the biggest university in the state. I kind of always assumed I would find my future wife in college. I heard my parents’ story so many times of how God brought them together. So, I expected my freshman year to be one of finding my soulmate.
I didn’t, in fact, I didn’t even go on one date. It may have had something to do with always wearing a $6 leather jacket from a thrift store (that I still have) and being attached to a guitar. Or, maybe it was that I had long hair and an ever changing beard and sideburn trim. Whatever the case, God kept me from any type of relationship that year.
I got involved running and setting up sound with a church plant that started at a bar. I loved it and felt a part of the band. I also got involved in Campus Crusade for Christ, and for the first time in my life, was living near and getting to know a hundred or more christians my age.
It was an amazing time, but something else was taking off… the internet.
Although the internet has changed the world in many ways for the better, it’s also brought pornography to us with the touch of a button.
The university had huge computer labs (because computers were expensive) where any student could use a computer, but that kind of stuff was pretty well blocked. Unfortunately, one of the four guys I shared a bathroom with in the dorms had a computer.
It was like a gateway into temptation. We spent countless hours playing games like Quake and Warcraft. We chatted with people all over the world, and we had direct access to pornography.
It was way too easy. Before, it was a temptation, but for the most part you couldn’t act on that temptation. Now, it was a few keystrokes and you were there: Countless sites, countless women, and all being objectified and lusted after by countless men.
When I think about where I was at spiritually, it’s so sad. I was really pressing into God, but my addiction was separate from that. It’s like I was saying, “God you can have it all… except this part.” I knew it was wrong, but I was developing a cycle where I’d come back to it like a dog coming back to its vomit (Proverbs 26:11).
I was a fool. I justified my addiction. I made excuses. I didn’t get help, and really didn’t see the need for it. In many respects, I was lost. I would not bring my sin into the light, and so it grew bigger, worse, closer to death. My heart was stone and yet, God was walking with me all the way.
He was pursuing me. He loved me, and deep down in my soul I knew that. Then came Sophomore year...
I know I know... I have missed WAYYYY too many posts. We bought a bus that needs A LOT of work-- we still don't have running water:-)-- however, no more excuses, Holy Spirit told me to write and I'll be catching up on many missed posts over the next week. Without further ado, here we go!
Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts (Zechariah 4:6 NASB).
So many, many times I tried in my own strength, in my own power; only to fail again and again.
Do you ever notice in Christian circles how we quote half of a verse? We also take verses out of context. But, many times the other half of the verse is pretty important!
I think I have heard, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” over 100 times. Do you think repeating that ½ verse is helpful to your walk with the Lord? I don’t. I think it’s pretty depressing. To me, it means your spirit wants communion with God, but alas, your flesh can’t make it happen.
Jesus is always more encouraging than that. Matthew 26: 41 says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Watch and pray! Watch and pray! Jesus is inferring that if we watch and pray, He gives us the power to OVERCOME weak flesh. It’s only by us aligning ourselves with Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that we are able to withstand the temptations of our flesh.
I just met a 19 year old that is sold out for Jesus. He led us and some other families in worship and I couldn’t help but think, “Wow! I wish I was in this place at 19.” We have the saying, “The sky is the limit,” however, with our wondrous heavenly Father, the sky isn’t even the limit. This 19 year doesn’t have a limit! Oh, what God can do with a humble, willing heart!
When I was 19, I had gone down the road of satisfying my own sinful desires that had grown and grown. That’s what sin does. If you make those poor decisions, if you don’t watch and pray, it always leads to death… one step at a time. It’s like you’re slowly digging your own grave!
I’m getting ahead of the story, but next, I’ll be sharing about a glimmer of hope during the later part of high school. We’ll also be looking at a sovereign Father showing me what a Godly woman actually looked like. Stay tuned!
1 year ago marks the beginning of the end for us. 1 year ago at this point in time, there was a culmination of a week of prophetic words and declarations over our family. 1 year ago, 4/18/18, we knew that we were about to embark on an adventure that would be unlike anything we had ever experienced before…
Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the favor of the Lord.”
Over the course of this past year, we have learned so much about the heart of God. We have grown in love and trust as a family and God has spoken repeatedly to us about the importance and significance of FAMILY in the Church. God is impressing upon us to pursue family-living with those God puts in our lives.
The theme of FAMILY is ringing out across our land and we believe God is bringing us into the fulfillment of so many promises He has given to us: promises of family; promises of doing life full-on with people; promises that this truly is the heart of a good and perfect Father, to see his children operate and live and love as a thriving family on this side of Heaven.
Join us this year in proclaiming the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel of Jesus: FREEDOM and HEALING and ADOPTION into FAMILY!
Josh and I continue to knock on the doors of Heaven, looking forward to a breakthrough in this area for the Church. We long to see the bride of Christ step into their destiny to love and live as true family.
We believe that God has spoken so clearly that to bring in revival, He needs us to walk in this mandate of family. Please pray with us that there would be others who would catch this fire. Pray that God would continue to connect us with those He has destined us to link arms with through this life.
We love you and can't wait to see you all soon 💜💜
My apologies for missing Tuesday! We have been meeting with four other families and some locals in Staunton, VA to pray and seek God's face for the future. God is doing a new thing!! We will be telling more about this story soon, but please pray with us through Wednesday next week when we'll be traveling to Washington, D.C. Here is part 6!
Hitting high school in the mid-nineties kept me from easy access to pornography via the internet. However, the TV could be almost as bad. I prided myself as being one of the only kids in my class who didn’t party on the weekends. On Saturday nights, I would go to the school gym and play volleyball with all ages from the community.
But, the devil had gotten a foothold. You see, while others were out drinking and doing other dumb things, I was watching movies that were bringing sexual images into my mind. Sometimes I remember even hitting record on the VCR and going to bed. The late night shows were even worse, or at that time in my life, I thought better!
I would use these late-night recordings later to feed the lust in my eyes. I don't remember having much conviction over doing this. I do remember it being secretive and exciting. I knew I didn't want my parents to find out, but I never thought about how it affected a holy God's heart.
I also remember many of the shows from the 70s through the 90s -- even the ones that were considered "family" shows -- regularly had seductive women in bikinis, men who had all the women attracted to them (James Bond, Face from the A-Team, etc.), and countless other things that polluted a growing young man's mind.
Thankfully, I wasn’t exposed to continual hardcore pornography, but my steps toward spiritual death were continuing down an ugly path. When a person continues taking these steps in succession, it is a slow, and many times unknowing, process toward destruction. Someone doesn’t just decide one day to commit adultery. They arrive at that awful destination one bad decision at a time.
The bible says, "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)” Although Jesus said this in the context of money, I believe it applies to other lusts as well. In other words, if your eye is feasting on things that feed lust, how can you stay pure?
I think 1 John 2:16 backs this up, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” The lust of the eyes goes all the way back to Eve in the garden. It absolutely applies to both money and sex.
And of course, Paul’s answer to this problem is found in Romans 8:13, “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Lord, help us to walk by the Spirit! It says, “by the Spirit…” It doesn’t say by your hard work, by your diligence, or by your discipline that you will succeed. You are powerless to change some things in your life without the work of the Holy Spirit. Please go back and read that last sentence again. Seriously. OK, I’m going to type it again: You are powerless to change some things in your life without the work of the Holy Spirit. Think on that for awhile, and we’ll discuss that idea next.
The Lord has been taking us on a journey like nothing I’ve ever experienced. One of the most exciting things for me as of late is the history of Christians in America. God has taken us on an unplanned pilgrimage to different sites pivotal for our faith and our country.
St. Augustine, FL was one of the first places we visited after The Send. It’s noteworthy because it actually predates the pilgrims! It is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin in the United States. After several failed attempts at colonization by multiple countries, St. Augustine began in 1565.
Awhile ago, God brought me to this verse, Jeremiah 6:16, “This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ancient paths: Where is the good way? Then walk in it and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it!’”
This verse came alive to me. It was like God was taking us on ancient paths where others had gone before. This country, where it’s at today, and so many more things, started right there in St. Augustine when a colony finally took hold in land that would eventually be America.
All of our kids are homeschooled, but Judah is considered 4th or 5th grader this year. I say that because classes overlap when you’re “roadschooling.” An awesome benefit of being a 4th grader is that Judah and his family (all of us!) can get into national parks, monuments, recreation areas and more for free! Now, we haven’t used this benefit too much, but we happened to have time near Savannah to check out an old fort on an island.
We quickly found out God was going to surprise us at some of the places we went. As I looked at the map of the place, I saw “Wesley Memorial.” John Wesley, founder of Methodism, landed on Cockspur Island in 1736. He came to America to be a missionary to the Native Americans. We checked out Fort Pulaski first and then walked a little ways toward the bay to see the memorial.
When we found the memorial, inscribed directly from Wesley’s journal was this, “...Mr. Oglethorpe led us through the moorish land on the shore to a rising ground,...we chose an open place surrounded with myrtles, bays, and cedars, which sheltered us from the sun and wind, and called our little flock together to prayers."
Although John Wesley had much controversy in this new world, he established the first Sunday school and was the pastor of the ‘Mother Church of Georgia.’ God later used this man to travel over 250,000 miles preaching the gospel in open air settings all over the world. God sparked a revival in Wesley’s heart that eventually reached millions of people through the gospel... but I stood there looking at the ground… his first steps in America were right there.
I took the hands of Mary and Judah and prayed. God had brought us to the spot where Wesley and his group first prayed in America, and I felt like it was a special moment. Our prayer is still, “Lord, do something new in America! Spark a revival in the hearts of your people like there has never been before. God, we ask for more laborers that wouldn’t be afraid to preach in parks, on campuses and anywhere you lead them.”
There were many other places God took us, but one I’ll share about was the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. I’m not sure why, but just walking towards the property from the parking lot, I started crying. Now people that know me, know this isn’t unusual, because I cry quite a bit! However, our friend Jason from Rolling Revival, summed up the experience with, “I could live here.”
It was so peaceful! It was like the peace of God just rested in that place. I’ve never experienced anything like it at a library, and quickly realized it was more of a multimedia walk-through of evangelistic history. All of us knew we were there in God’s perfect timing.
We learned what really launched Billy’s organization was a 3 week planned tent meeting in 1949 Los Angeles. It turned into an 8 week meeting and people heard about it all around the world. September 25th will mark exactly 70 years since that day in LA. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was launched the following year in 1950, and for the next 60+ years, that organization was used worldwide to spread the gospel of Jesus through every medium possible.
I’m not going into the significance of 70 years, but us and many of the families we’ve met on the road, believe (and have seen) that God is doing a great new work in America! Many people are being called on the road to minister the gospel in traditionally unusual ways.
We are so excited for the next stage of the path God has called us to walk (and drive). As we meet on April 3rd with five other families hungry for more of God in us and in America, we believe He is going to move in supernatural ways. God has lead us on ancient paths, leading us to drop everything that is meaningless and spend our short time on earth sharing the gospel with everyone we can.
We wouldn’t change a thing!
I have been learning so much about how God wants to speak to me. Throughout my life, I have found myself begging God to speak clearly to me and to speak loudly to me. I have been waiting and waiting for that time when I will hear the audible voice of God telling me who to talk with or what to say to someone. I have yet to hear God speak to me in that way...
It's kinda interesting that this morning I was reading in 1 Kings about Elijah the prophet. Elijah was feeling overwhelmed by the call of God on his life. His very life was being threatened and he was beginning to succumb to fear. At that moment of despair, God brought him on a 40-day journey through the mountains and placed him in a cave in the rocks.
God brought Elijah on a journey to get away from all of the excitement and craziness of life into a place of solitude in the mountains. It was a 40-day journey and we don't see or hear anymore about God speaking to Elijah during that time. It was right after those long 40 days, when Elijah had hunkered himself down in a cave, that God comes to speak with him.
It is so fascinating to me how God chooses to speak to Elijah. First, God sent a terrifying storm that broke pieces of rock loose from the mountain. It says that the Lord was not in the storm. Then, came an earthquake. But, again the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake was a fire. Yet, still God hadn’t shown himself.
Now, just imagine this: Elijah has traveled 40 days and nights without food or water and ends up hiding himself in a cave. This journey was initiated by God. If I were Elijah, I would surely be expecting God to show up in a magnificent and glorious way. God sent a storm, an earthquake and a fire...all to the same place within a short amount of time. Imagine being there in that cave experiencing those things...Terrifying!
Yet, God didn’t choose to show Himself to Elijah in any of those ways. It was after all of that loud noise that God really has Elijah’s attention: “...after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.” A gentle and peaceful and small whisper was all God needed to catch the attention of Elijah’s heart.
I believe that the reason Elijah was able to hear God in such a way was because of how intimate a relationship Elijah had with God at that moment in time. He no longer needed to hear the audible, thunderous voice from Heaven to know the will of God. After all that Elijah had experienced and the long journey He had been on with God, Elijah’s heart was so connected with God that he was able to hear God speak through just a peaceful whisper.
That is exactly what God began showing me these past couple weeks. Even though it would be incredibly AWESOME to hear the audible voice of God or have Jesus come and stand before me and speak(!!), I don’t have to wait for that event to know God is speaking. In fact, if the only way God speaks to me is through a thunderous boom from Heaven, it might mean that I am more of a servant following orders than a daughter doing what she knows her Father is doing. If the only way God can get my attention is by shouting from Heaven, I might not be as close to Him as I think I am.
The closer we get to Jesus, the more we become like him. We actually are becoming ONE with Him, just as Jesus and the Father are ONE. That just BLOWS MY MIND!! But, that is what this journey of faith is all about. Awakening to the TRUTH that I am not a servant, but a child and that God wants to speak to my heart through whispers and impressions. In fact, I believe that the closer I get to Jesus, the more His thoughts become my thoughts and His heart becomes my heart.
All of this to say that I can grow in confidence that what I'm feeling and hearing is actually from the heart of my good and perfect Father in Heaven. This means that as I’m interacting with someone at a park, (or the parking lot of Walmart) :) I can trust that God is speaking to me. We are no longer slaves. We are children and we get to grow in intimacy with God. He will begin to show us how He is continually speaking through peaceful whispers.
Hi! We're the Hoeckles.
We're a family of six living full-time in a skoolie (aka a school bus converted into an RV). We are inviting you to join us as we live life to its fullest and empower others to do the same. Welcome to the family!