Friday, March 26, 2010

Interview With a Former Athiest

I met Brad White about 14 years ago when we both joined the National Speakers Association. Then, we went at least a decade with no contact. One day about a year ago, he emailed me and shared an amazing story. He has graciously allowed me to interview him so that you can be encouraged and blessed by his experiences, too.

LA: Brad, how did you come to decide you were an atheist?

BW: Although my parents were Christians, I had never had a personal connection or relationship with God during my childhood. So by the time I got to college and started making decisions for myself, I was 100% of the world.

I took a philosophy class that really made me question what I believed and what I didn't believe for the first time. I spent a lot of time soul searching, but in the end it was a purely intellectual decision for me. I concluded that either the universe and everything in it had always existed, or God has always existed and He made the universe.

I couldn't tangibly prove God...but I could tangibly prove the world. So, I placed my faith in what I could see and touch with my own hands...the world. It was then that I decided to become an atheist.

LA: What led you to start thinking that there may be a real living God?

BW: Fate. All the circumstances and "coincidences" leading up to finding and marrying my wife Sharon was fate. I resisted that conclusion for many years because of the obvious implications; fate would mean that there was a higher power orchestrating events in my life. When I finally accepted fate as a reality, I started to seek that "higher power."

LA: If we know someone who is an atheist, how should we approach him or her about spiritual matters?

BW: Just like there is not one type of Christian, there is not one type of Atheist. What I can tell you is that no canned approach, strategy, or series of arguments will work. Any attempt to convince them of a spiritual realm will be met with resistance. However, if you truly love the person and aren't solely out to "save" them, I have two recommended approaches.

1) Ask them about their beliefs. Ask them why they believe what they believe. Ask them to share with you their life experiences and how their life has led them to their current way of thinking.

The critical part of this approach is to NOT get into a debate, try to change their mind, etc. Don't listen for the perfect angle or opportunity to jump in and share your beliefs. Just listen with love; without judgment or criticism. Be a real friend who cares for them and is available to them...regardless of their beliefs.

It's God's job to convict their hearts and minds. At some point in your relationship, they might ask you about your beliefs. When they do, share just as they have done. But since you listened, they will be more open to hearing from you.

2) Love them without trying to change their mind. Serve them just as Jesus would do. Forgive them quickly when they hurt you. Be the type of person they would admire and respect. Walk the walk. Be real and transparent. Be a worthy representative of "Jesus" to them.

In other words, live your life such that they would recognize a positive difference in you worthy of emulating. It must be real...not a mask of perfection. Then, be ready for them to ask what causes you to be different. Explain your faith and let God take it from there.

LA: That is such good advice. We can follow your recommendations for anyone of little or no faith. How has your life changed since you became a believer?

BW: The biggest change has been my worldview of people and their value. When I was trying to be my own god, other people really didn't matter that much. Life was all about me; my happiness, my success, my glory. I had no mercy or compassion.

Since becoming a believer, I try to see people through God's eyes. I see other people as worthy of my love and attention. I have mercy and compassion for other people... because we have all been hurt and emotionally scarred. I try to love and serve other people. I'm quick to forgive and I treat other people with grace.

In this life, people are ALL that matters. It's been a complete 180 degree change in my life.

LA: Brad, I always thought you were a nice guy. But that really touches my heart. And it gets even better... Tell us about the two ministries you created.

BW: I have started two important ministries that I'm passionate about. The first ministry is Deeper Bible Studies ( I write and sell bible studies that are all about life changing, life application.

I started this ministry because I recognized a problem with many of the studies currently in the market. Too many Bible studies overwhelm people in their busy lives with lots of reading. They have questions that make no attempt to personalize the reading and they lack accountability. So, people get behind in the reading, cram to catch up, and then do it all over again.
The result is no real change.

My studies offer an alternative. For example, my 1 John study has 5 units to match the 5 chapters in 1 John. The reading for each unit takes less than 5 minutes. I write questions geared to help you personalize and apply the reading to your life. Then, each unit concludes with a "mini" action plan that each participant creates. These action plans are shared with the group and are followed up the next week for accountability.

It's a fresh approach that people really like...and they make a difference in people's lives. That's what makes it worthwhile for me.

My second ministry is called "Changing the Face of Christianity"
( This is what I feel God has prepared me for and has led me to leave as a legacy of my life.

Non-believers have a highly negative perception of believers...I would know.
All too often, Christians come across as hypocritical, intolerant, anti-gay, intellectually "challenged," prideful, arrogant, judgmental and too political. This perception has been confirmed through research conducted by the Barna group (, and documented in the book titled unChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons.

This negative perception is a stumbling block for non-believers. With such a negative perception, Christian missionary work, evangelism and outreach efforts to non-believers are met with resistance and contempt.

Our ministry's goal is to change that negative perception and pave the way or "prepare the field" for more palatable and effective evangelism. The change we are seeking is not a cosmetic or marketing/spin type change. Instead we are seeking life transformation in believers.

For every significant negative perception, there are volitional changes we can make to reverse the perception: consistency, openness, acceptance, humility, compassion, grace and unconditional love. Truly living the Christian faith and treating others as Jesus would is the essence of what we're after.

This is the new face of Christianity we seek. By changing our thoughts, actions, and words in accordance to essential Biblical teaching, non-believers will start to see a new face; a face that compels them to want to know the source of the change: Jesus Christ.

Here is the exciting part: IT IS POSSIBLE! Non-believers typically form their opinion and interest in Christianity through only a handful of Christian friends or acquaintances. If we live what we preach and act in accordance to our beliefs...we WILL change the world.

LA: How can people get involved?

1) You can join our cause. Visit and sign-up to join the movement. We'll keep you informed of upcoming events and practical ways to make a difference in your own circle of influence.

2) We need Champions and Ambassadors to share the vision around the globe.

3) We need leaders and volunteers of all kinds to support the ministry and make it a reality. Email with your desire to get involved, and we'll equip you to share the vision and find meaningful ways for you to serve the cause.

4) Sales of Bible studies are used to partially fund this ministry, so please order your small group bible studies from our site.

LA: What would you like to add?

We have an abundantly loving, gracious and patient God. I'm humbled every day to think how far away from Him I ran, and how quickly and joyfully he accepted me when I returned to Him.
If we will surrender ourselves to His purposes and will for our lives, He will transform us into Christlikeness and use us to bring glory to His kingdom.

LA: Brad, thank you for sharing your life and your ministries. I am excited to see how God is using you and your talents!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Today Could Be the Day!

Here in the Peach State, the Georgia Lottery's commercials are surrounded by a catchy jingle, "Today Could Be the Day!" I'm guessing the Lottery team wants you to think today is the day you could win big money... if you play the game.

As a Christian, "Today Could Be the Day" has a different meaning to me. Today could be the day that:

  • God has a special surprise planned.
  • I lead someone to faith in Jesus!
  • I help someone who needs it.
  • I grow closer to God.
  • I grow more mature and wise in my faith.
  • Jesus returns!

And those are all better options. Today could be your day to _________! Fill in the blank... play the Believer game... and win no matter what your numbers are.

Be a Winner

"The winner is always part of the answer. The loser is always part of the problem.
The winner always has a program. The loser always has an excuse.
The winner says, "Let me do it for you." The loser says, "That is not my job."
The winner sees an answer for every problem. The loser sees a problem for every answer.
The winner sees a green near every sand trap. The loser sees a sand trap near every green.
The winner says it may be difficult but it is possible. The loser says it may be possible, but it is too difficult."

-- Barbara Johnson from Fresh Elastic for Stretched Out Moms

Monday, March 8, 2010


"Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know why I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved." -- Will Rogers