Jake Each: Hey Veritas, welcome. I'm here with a good friend, John BeGuhn. John and Andrea are in my connection group, so I've gotten to know them better over the past year. And John's going to tell us a little bit of his story. So, first off, just tell us a little bit about yourself.
John BeGuhn: All right. I moved to Cedar Rapids quite a few years ago, grew up in Davenport, was adopted at four years old. A lot of traumatic things, good and bad, I suppose. Traumatic is usually more negative stuff. But through those different experiences, when I was probably about twenty three to twenty four years old, I accepted Christ to my personal lord and savior, and it was a miraculous change in my life. Over time, though, because of some of the things I'd gone through earlier in life, I had a difficult time balancing and figuring out how to work the Christian part of my life that I needed to be doing and and drifted away over time. And then I used to drive by this building after you guys had opened it up and I'd almost be like who are those people going in that church on Sundays? I was so angry at God and angry at myself for some of the choices that I was making that I found myself not wanting to listen to Christian music, not wanting to be around anything that had to do with Christ like things. So I almost would mock or make fun of people.
Jake Each: You weren't the guy that would drive by and yell at us.
John BeGuhn: Actually I threw things. But I never hit anybody. I didn't have good aim. So they were safe. But with that about a little less than two years ago, I was sitting in a seminar and I got an opportunity to listen to a person speak and they talked about a book called The Power of Positive Thinking. And it kind of opened me up a little bit to thinking about self-improvement things. I knew I needed it. I wanted to do some things differently in my life. But it wasn't necessarily around a Christ centered thing through reading that book and not enjoying it because it was a lot of Christian things. I put it away and then my wife's like, hey, we got to take it back to the library. Would you like me to check it out again? And I was like, I'll try it one more time. So I did. And about Chapter three or Chapter four of the self-help improvement things, I found myself wanting to fact check some of this Christian stuff that was in this. So I found my Bible from many years ago and opened it up. And literally within a Chapter two, I found myself back on my knees in my living room, confessing and repenting and realizing that God had never left me, that I chose to walk away from him. And since that period of time, the transformation and the growth in so many different ways and challenges in so many different ways, has just been astronomical and such a blessing.
Jake Each: So you grabbing your Bible and getting back into the word of God was instrumental in kind of coming back to Jesus in your life. Now we are going through the Bible reading plan together, you and I and a couple other guys in our group. One of the things that's been really inspiring to me is your love for the word of God, like the pictures you send me of your Bible Reading Plan marked up, the crap you give me if we skip a chapter like why are we skipping that? This is good stuff. And you just kind of keep notes like what has just getting back in your Bible, what kind of impact is that had on your life?
John BeGuhn: I don't know if you could really put it into words. Having a daily activity for me is extremely important, it keeps me on a centered path that I need to have, and some people might say, well, you can't earn by works and I don't look at it like that. I look at it as a sponge trying to soak up as much as I possibly can. You know, I would never know how to find some of the things or have discussions with people about some of the things if I didn't get into the word and realizing that it's not my story, it's really God's story. And that really changed the way I looked at the Bible and the Bible Reading Plan. And I am not a reader, Jake. We've talked about this before. And I really struggle with reading. I struggle with understanding in reading. And with that being said, the fact that I could sit down and start with the New Testaments, what I started with, and then also and I found out that Veritas had a reading plan and I started investing into that. I never wanted to do the Old Testament. That's pretty understandable. A lot of people get bored of that. But what I found was understanding how Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worked, understand about Moses and understanding about chapters 1 through 11 of Genesis and the Sin and the Fall of Man, and then all the great stories that are in the Old Testament, let alone of the truth that are happening in the New Testament as well. It's just like I said, you can't really put it into words, but the transformation that does happen in your life, when you start to invest into those things and you start to have that be an active part of your life, not just another part of your life, it grows. And as it grows, it doesn't make everything your life perfect. But what it does do is it gives you hope that an understanding of God's grace and how really big God really is and how small your problems really are and that he does hear them. He is with you and he is hugging you and holding you and walking along the path with you. And if you didn't get into the scripture, you'd only be relying on somebody from the pulpit telling you that this is what happens and this is how you should live your life versus having it be an active component of your life.
Jake Each: Your love for God's word has really been just refreshing to me, even as a pastor deals with it weekly. But just last week, we had a great conversation over Esther, over some tacos and just seeing your different insights was inspiring. You're also taking VST right now, Veritas School of Theology. How's that going? What are you learning?
John BeGuhn: It's awesome. It's great. First of all, I mean, I literally am a guy that in 1983 dropped out of high school. I had to get a job, I had to do some different things. So life has brought me through many different paths. And I never thought going through a theology type of class in any kind of seminary aspect at all would ever be anything I'd ever do. And it has its struggles. I mean, it's difficult. I mean, there's a lot of great information. And just what's unfolding in unraveling is like an onion. You know, you're peeling away a little bit more all the time. So it's just been a true blessing. And to have the instructors that we're having, to have a fellowship with other people in the church that are there from both Iowa City and here, it's just been a remarkable journey. I've literally read more books in the last two years of coming back to faith than I ever had in my whole life. And they've all been an inspiration. And through VST, it's allowed me to get resources. I can't remember everything, but it gives me these resources now that I can go back and and remember God's promises from different perspectives from different people.
Jake Each: So you've had a wild ride in life. What does being a child of God and a follower of Jesus mean to you right now.
John BeGuhn: I think when you have the ride that I've had, you carry a lot of guilt and a lot of shame. And when we went through the Romans and it starts off right away, you know, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And that's easy to rattle off your tongue, but it's hard to penetrate into your heart. So when I think of that, I have to go back to other verses and I look at Proverbs and it says, you know, guard your heart for it's a wellspring of life. When I look at the prodigal son and I look at the way that the father came running after the son and hugged the son, I look at these things and I say, this is how Christ is treating me. He's loving me and he's coming. And he's really, truly embracing me and trying to work on those things. And like I said earlier, peeling that onion just a little bit at a time and taking some of these things away that were there before and when days aren't perfect, what I would say is, is that the days are much more joyous, much more encouraging. And I really just want to offer that encouragement to as many people as possible. I've unfortunately been through a lot of things, but through that, I've also been able to maybe hear people in a different ear than maybe what somebody else that hadn't gone through those things. And that's really where God's pulling my heart more and more on a regular basis. So I'm really encouraged by what God's blessed me with in some of the talents I didn't realize I might have had. And I always want to guard against making them believe they're from me, but they're really from Him.
Jake Each: Yeah. John, your love for the word is inspiring. And I love your honesty, brutal honesty and you're an open book and that makes community easy. I know you serve in students and really want to lead and be a blessing to other people. I hope what God is doing in your life is contagious to other people in our church. We encourage you to get to know John. If you see John on a Sunday morning, go up and give him a hug, even if you don't know him, just say I saw your video. Give him a hug and introduce yourself. So we're glad you are part of this church. Super excited what God has done in your life. And thanks for sharing your story. Absolutely.