Real Adventure

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“I worked hard to succeed and serve my personal goals and motivations. In reality, I was laying bricks for the wrong kingdom; I wasn’t serving God, I was serving the Enemy.” – Colby Arps

“Looking back at my life a few years ago, I thought I was pursuing real adventure in fame, money, success, drugs, relationships, and alcohol.” said Colby Arps. “I worked hard to succeed and serve my personal goals and motivations. In reality, I was laying bricks for the wrong kingdom; I wasn’t serving God, I was serving the Enemy.

“At 16 years old, I had the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in the entertainment business. I lived for a couple of months in a house with some older kids and two adults who offered little supervision. I went to events with actors and others in the entertainment business and became addicted to drugs, alcohol, and sex. I met older guys who lived that same reckless lifestyle and thought that was how you became successful.

“I went on a trip to Europe with my parents, and for the first few days I was miserable as I experienced withdrawal from drugs and alcohol. It was the first time I had been sober in years. My oldest sister, who is a follower of Christ, was on the trip, and I talked to her about feeling lost and trapped in addiction. She read from Luke 15:11-32 about the Prodigal Son, a story I had not heard before. Learning about Jesus’ unconditional love brought me to my knees. I didn’t have to run all the way to Him; He was willing to meet me right in the mess I had made of my life.

“After the conversation with my sister, I opened the Bible and began learning about the God I had rebelled against for so long. When I fell back into some of my familiar sin struggles, I felt convicted of my sin and trapped in an environment where it was hard to follow Christ.

“Eventually I came back to Dallas, and an old friend of mine invited me to join him at The Porch at Watermark. Seeing the life-change that God brought about in my friend’s life blew me away. It was evident that he was a new creation. That guy faithfully invited me to hang out with the other believers he was friends with, including Daniel Crawford, who leads Watermark’s College Ministry. I got to know many more people who were running after Jesus, and their authenticity, confession, and pursuit of Christ was really encouraging. My eyes were slowly opened to who Jesus was and the adventure of following Him.

“God showed me that the wisdom and knowledge I’d been seeking in other worldviews could all be found in His Word. He healed me from addiction and helped me find freedom from struggles that I’d wrestled with for years. I decided to go to Bible college, so I could focus on God’s Word full-time. I learned that God has been pursuing His people faithfully for generations, and that it is only by Christ’s free gift of grace that I’ve been grafted into God’s family.

“One of the other great things God did was give me the deep friendships I’ve always wanted. Community with other believers is amazing compared with the inauthentic relationships I have had in the past. Today I have a group of guys and a larger circle of friends who aren’t impressed with my resume or past success. They know me for the sinner that I am, and they know what God has done in my life. They are faithful to honor God and encourage me to do the same. I’m so thankful for them.

“Eventually, God brought me to a point where devoting my time and energy to a career in film didn’t seem to fit with my new life in Christ, so I terminated the contracts. Following Jesus was so much better than pursuing my own selfish motivations. So, I started spending my time in community with other believers and serving in College Ministry at Watermark.

“When I trusted Christ, I recognized the hurt I caused my family and others. I lied to them about my choices, and they prayed for me during those years that I separated myself from them. The Lord helped me ask for their forgiveness and reconcile those relationships. The life-change my family noticed in me fascinated my parents and actually attracted them to join a Watermark community group as well. We now connect on a totally different level. I’m so thankful that the Lord allowed them to witness His work in my life, and for me to see how He is working in their lives as well.

“Today I lead a College Ministry small group and meet guys who are in the same place I was a few years ago. I’ve also been part of re:generation, Watermark’s recovery ministry, and get to see people who come alive again after years spent in sin and destruction. Watching the Lord transform lives solidifies in my mind just how much God loves and pursues each one of us.

“If I were talking to a guy just like me, I’d tell him that this world offers nothing good apart from God. Serving Him is so much more fulfilling than pursuing fame, money, and success. Psalm 84:11 says ‘No good things does He withhold from those who do what is right.’ It’s so true; I have found real joy, fulfillment, and adventure in following Christ.”