Gracefully Rescued with Jason Sautel
So, have you ever walked through fire? Sometimes probably feeling literally like you're burned? Jason Sautel has, and in fact, he has the scars to talk about it. But additionally, he has this bravery, this bravery that maybe was instilled in the fire, or maybe instilled in the training to go into the fire because he was a firefighter for 20 plus years.
But now he stands in a place where all he wants to tell you that Jesus is all we need. He talks through the stories that he experienced as a firefighter with The Rescuer, a book you must get your hands on. His stories are not only magnificent but about the magnificent perspective that God brought to them. Hard stories, difficult stories, fire, expansive stories. But Jason Sautel is more than just a story. He's a man telling the ultimate story of the love that Jesus, our father in heaven has for you.
I am passionate about helping those who feel hopeless see that they have choices. I love to walk alongside—either in person or online—those who are hurting to give them the encouragement and hope they deserve. My Facebook page has over 575,000 followers and continues to grow daily. I love my wife of sixteen years, Kristie, my four two-legged children, my two four-legged children, and appreciate God’s gifts of donuts, surfing, and Maui.
Where to Find Jason:
Buy his book - https://amzn.to/37FPkQA
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Show Notes: Gracefully Rescued
Hey, Hey, Hey, we are here in live on the fit and faith podcast, and I'm so excited to have Jason Sautel here to join you guys today. You're not going to believe his ministry. You're not going to believe what he's been doing these past however many decades, right? We're not going to label anybody yet.
We'll, we'll let you do that for yourself. Um, but I I'm grateful to have you here. You guys, if you didn't see the light. Experience, uh, it's all about Jesus. It's knowing that Jesus is all we need, and that is literally how he started into this specific space. But I know that that's been a part of his testimony for so long and I'm excited to dive in and learn how he came to that, that revelation.
Now having 600 thousand nearly on Facebook group and across all social medias sharing the same belief system. And that's ultimately what the Fit in Faith podcast is all about. People who have a belief in God and they're activating it in their life every single day. So we're excited to have you. I thank you for being.
Uh, thank you for having me. It's such a blessing in that intro. I could have embarrassed my kids with the dad.
Your dad is so cool. Look at this,
my kids and you have four, right? Yeah. We, uh, too, that the stork dropped off and then we had two that we adopted. So, yeah. And then two that were adopted. They were older.
They came to us when they were eight and 16, and now they're in their, uh, uh, early twenties and later twenties and younger is our, uh, 15.
Well, there's an entire conversation we could have for the whole podcast. Just about that. I know I have a, uh, someone I called my fairy godmomma who's just as really dear friend of mine who had seven children of her own four adopted I'm sorry.
Four of her own seven adopted all from the same family. Right? Adoption is such a beautiful gift. And I know it's also, um, very difficult and blending and the conversations of parenting and coming from past trauma. And there's so much, so, um, I honor you and your wife in that process that you guys have curated, I'm sure as blessed them beyond measure.
been awesome. I actually they're the youngest that, well, the oldest, but the eggs that we adopted, he actually followed in my footsteps and he's a firefighter now.
Amazing. That's really cool. So he was in, he was the youngest. So he was the,
yeah, he was the eight year old. He's 20. Sorry. I'm horrible.
he's 23 now. And he's been on the job for two years and he's just really excelling out it and stuff and doing so great. It's just, and for, for my, um, the, the older one that we adopted, she's just doing so awesome. So it's just such a blessing to see where they were. Where they are now in that we got to be part of that process has been so
That's really incredible. And I think lending itself to that, understanding that he didn't just leave your family. He got to be adopted into the family of a firefighting fleet. And I know you guys are like a huge family. I have a, my, my uncle who was a chief in Indiana. I've got a lot of friends here locally in Virginia Beach and Norfolk were on the firefighting team.
So I'd love to hear like your experience with it and, uh, how it kind of got you into the place that you're at.
Yeah. You know, the coolest thing about it with a, the kids growing in, especially the 23 year old was, it was great when he was younger, but then once we started prepping him for the job, I don't think he enjoyed it that much.
We started treating him like one of the guys, but like as one of the newer guys and stuff. So he was like, but you're my dad. So I had to pull back a little bit and remind I'm the one you come to. Those guys are the ones who are, yeah.
Wow. I didn't realize when you said that, that he was actually in the exact same.
Like family as you in that regard, the same exact buyer house. That's
crazy. We have firefighters.
Yeah. That's crazy. I'm surprised they would let
do that. Okay. Yeah. No, I worked for Oakland fire department and he works for what's called Cal fire out here, which is like, they handle all the county areas and stuff, so, yeah.
Cool. That's awesome. Yeah. Well, how's that all the fires. I mean, you haven't been invested in that. Wildfire experience you've been out. I know for a couple of years.
Yeah. They, they, they come and go out here in California, but the last couple of years they were pretty good fire seasons and it actually kind of broke my heart because it reminded me when I first entered the fire department back in 1993 as in Southern California.
Yeah. Firestorms down there in Malibu, burned down, all these other things in the big historic fires they had even back then. Well, his first season, yeah, he went to a fire up here called paradise where the whole town burnt down and, you know, multiple people perished in the fires and he is one of the first fire ranges on scene of that.
And just to see the look in his eyes and it just reminded me why I need people praying. We need people praying for our first responders. It's not about the people that go into which it is for them. But there's so much that they pick up from being there. So it's always a good thing to pray for our first responders.
Oddly, whenever I'm on a podcast, I swear it's the only time, or maybe it's the only time I'm actually paying attention to the noise around me. We have fire trucks that will come right by the office or ambulances. And that's something that we do religiously with our children is to not just pray for where they're going, but to pray for those who are going.
And, and it's been just a gift and a perspective change, I think, because you're so right. So often people are just like, oh my gosh, what happened to them rather than what's happening to the people who are doing the work? Just like no different than the doctors and the nurses and the teachers and all of the people.
Yeah. Service-based industries. But specifically you guys putting your life on the line in that regard.
Oh, sorry. Yeah.
It's just another level of commitment and um, yeah. Obligation.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, when it's your life, like if you're a teacher, that's what you're surrounded. So obviously that's where your focus go to.
It goes to, and obviously teachers they're praying for everyone and you know, we're praying for everyone too, but you're focused. Sometimes it just goes to where you've been called to. So a lot of times you just realize that people are praying there. So that's why you ask others to kind of come in to pray.
Just like if someone said, Hey, we need to pray. The postal workers. Okay. Let's go have that insight. So you can kind of think about things that you've never really thought about.
Really. Cool. So tell me days, and I know there's gotta be a whole backstory. I want the juicy details. Have you always been in your faith?
Um, and, and how has has everything that's now evolved? How has it been a part of your life? Um, in the making, I guess.
Oh, gosh, actually, um, I didn't come to Christ until I was about 28 years old. I was actually raised as a quote, antichrist, not the antichrist. Okay. So we're all right. You know, I was raised by a single dad who was a Vietnam veteran and he struggled with his demons of his past.
And when I was eight years old, my mom left us cause she wanted to get away from where the system abuse she is under. And she was going to come back and get me. But I didn't realize at the time what had happened, but he just had his grips on me and, you know, being a single mom in the eighties, she really didn't have that much money and stuff.
So she never came back and unfortunately I was left to grow up. And so it's not that I was anti-Christian, but I just took on a lot of my dad's anger and a lot of the own anger that kind of, you know, just entered me during childhood, you know, going through an abusive childhood and not having any friends.
And, you know, I dropped out of high school at 10th grade and it was a rough growing up. So when people. Wow. That's quite the story. Faith. What I do love about that time is it's a part of who I am. Does it hurt? And does it steam? Sure. But what I try to do is I hold it up as a mirror and I look in it, make sure that it's not doing anything to hurt.
But I also fall back into that time. So when I'm giving testimony or preaching to others, I think about, wow, this is where they are right now. So when they come at me with a hostile response or negative response, I don't let it bother me because I used to just tear down crushes or tear down anyone who just seems positive because it's outside.
Yeah. So 28. That's like in the midst of, of, of life, I was 29. So I'm super curious. What did that look like? Were you married at
that point? Yeah. No, actually it's what helped me get married. So yeah, I was working in the Oakland fire department and I was just the struggles of my past. I always thought that becoming a firefighter.
Yeah. Would help me. And I didn't think it would help me for like, oh, I want to see people worse off than me. It just felt so good to help other people to be able to just selflessly respond, put yourself aside, help them. But the problem was we got back to the firehouse, the pain. Come back because it wouldn't resolve.
And the evilest that we see, and I don't want to get into all that horrible stuff, but it just, every scene we go to, we pick a piece of it up and it attaches itself to us. And if you don't have a place to drop it off, eventually it's going to weigh it down. And that's what happened with me was when I was.
28 years old, I was on the bay bridge between Oakland and San Francisco and a jumper was there and I was trying to call him back over and talk to him and just, you know, Hey man, come back over. And when he looked at me, Ida, I, I saw the same emptiness in him that I saw in myself. And when he stepped off the bay bridge and committed suicide, right in front of me, it was like, I got a recognition for the emptiness that was inside of me.
And I know it's kind of a tough story and it's shocking and be like, oh, that's kind of tough. Well, what happened from there as a series of events started going on and working in a firehouse that we just went to hundreds of fires per year. The stuff we saw, God started talking to me through a bunch of incidents.
And when he started talking to him, I realized what it was. Well, he also placed a, a girl in my life and I remember one day I was talking to her and I'd never opened up about my job. And she goes, how was your day at work? Well, I can sometimes be a rough question to ask a firefighter. Yeah. Of, so we always lie about it.
Seriously. We do not, not because we just want to. Those that are listening. And I said it was rough. We had a little girl hit a block down from our firehouses that hit and run. We were playing basketball. So we heard apps like go down and, you know, she's six years old and she passed away. And so I was holding her, but as I sit in the middle of the street, holding her, I screamed for the guys to give me a blanket.
So you could just cover her up. Cause I could hear the screams of her mom coming down the street. And I was just like, oh, you know, to see someone's heartbreak in real time in their world just changed. It crushes you. But I wanted her last memories of her daughter to be, you know, not obviously these are going to be good.
I didn't want her to see what I saw. So I wanted to get her covered up real quick. And as I was telling that story, kind of like the way you're looking at me, Christie was looking at me and we'd just been dating for about a week. Well, at least that little girl's with Jesus. Right? And you believe that. And it was the first time I was ever honest with him.
I said, I don't know what I believe. And she looked at me. We were sitting at Sonoma state university cause she's a nursing student at the time and this was 20 years ago and she, uh, she goes, I want to see you tonight. And I don't think in my mind, great, I'm going to get dumped. So I'm like, I'm going to cover all the things run through my head.
I don't get dumped on. But there was something in her that was just so much more beautiful than our outward appearance, like shining out of her that I wanted. And so the funny part was after getting off a 24 hour shift, I was going to go home and meet up with her that night. Um, I go to the Barnes and Nobles.
Biggest king James Bible you've ever seen. And I get to think around Deuteronomy there's no Jesus in that Bible, I was like, oh, I got the wrong Bible. We're speaking from the point of someone who had never cracked a Bible in his life. They didn't have no church. Yeah. And so I'm like, forget it. I'm getting dumped tonight.
So I remember when we go to the coffee shop and just a shout out to my wife, she's working two jobs and going to nursing school and she never took low. So it just, that also impressed me with her. What a worker she was, will. When we met at the coffee shop at 10, that night, she comes in with tears in her eyes, like, all right, here we go.
And she goes, I'm not going to continue to date. No, she goes, I'm in love with you, but I'm not going to keep dating you unless you come to church. She didn't throw it down the ultimatum. We have to be a believer. You have to do that. But when I asked her later on, after the fact, I said, why did you invite me to church?
As opposed to, he never really gave me the gospel. And she said, think of it like a house fire. She's like, you were a warehouse or a high rise fire. And I was by myself. I needed the whole body of Christ around you. And that's she come to church with me. So, uh,
two years, two years later. Yeah. Um, we got married and that's, that's the way a lot of people look at my book, the rescue, and they're trying to wonder what it's all about. Well, it's the stories that led up to that. It's the story of that happening. And it's the story of my conversion. And we all have a conversion story.
Whether, you know, you're raised in a church home or not. There's a point where you're like, okay, Christ became real, right? You're just not living off your parents, bringing your church and your beliefs also becomes real well. My story is just happened to be a little more extreme and they touch people because God put me in a position where I got to become part of other people's stories of the firefighters.
So when I'm pulling someone out of a burning building, I'm not part of their story. When I'm holding an elderly ladies hand, who's saying goodbye to her husband for one last time is we're, we're getting ready to call for the coroner and stuff. And part of that story, I'm part of her story forever. And God lets me use those stories to bless other people.
And that's why I ended up writing. Right.
Wow. And what, at what point, or how far along in your relationship with Jesus, did you write your book and kind of start into the Facebook piece to share more often?
So that the Facebook thing started when I left the fire department, I did a 22 year career and I, you know, wishes and something as he wants to be real.
I wish I wish I was still there, but God gives us 22 years of train me for where he has me. And what I love about it is, well, I don't love the part that I got injured. I broke my back. I broke my hip. It's no heroic story. It's nothing that made the book. It's just, I made a dumb move on a fire and I got hurt.
Well, I had to retire way early and I don't believe in retirement, but you look at how young I am. I'm like, nah. So I started saying, what can I do will writing kind of help me and being a high school dropout though, who went back and got his GED, just so he could become a firefighter. The writing part was a little tough, but it started feeling good.
And so I just started writing about my experiences. Then I would open up my Bible and put on my scriptural goggles. Truly look that godly experience, hundreds of thousands of things in the fire department. And when he lets us experience them, that I'm a true believer that there's a message in there now, not me, but some huge messages just might be a masters of growth.
This is why we keep pushing this, that, or there's like the wall message in there. So I opened up my Bible. I read it. And then I just go back and look for those scriptural messages. I can teach people. And that's how the Facebook page started taking off. And, uh, in the intro, I know they're saying 600,000 people.
I just checked yesterday. I was like 730,000 people. It's like, and for me, it's not a platform, it's a ministry because I just, I write at the 10th grade. And if you really think about it, the majority of Americans, they read at a high school level, not that anyone's dumb, you know, our high school level reading is good.
So I just bond with a certain crowd. Now, if you're looking for. Theologian intellect. We don't have really, um, so, so that's how it got started. And then my book was released actually in September, right? The height, the COVID. And we can all remember what the, uh, elections was like, you know, last year. So it's now just grabbing foothold and it's starting to explode and take off.
And it's just beautiful to see how God's using it. It's touching lives of people. I just left it.
That is so incredible. And, you know, I think to lend to the conversation about level of, of reading, I was actually doing a marketing course and they were talking about everything that we should do should be to the understanding of a third or fourth grade reader.
And I have to pray, I need to like give it to my children and be like, Hey, what do you think about this? They were like, what are you talking about? Because so often even with the people who have paid me to learn from what I know in here, They can't receive it, whether it's in the speed that I'm doing it.
Cause to me it's second. It's second nature. I'm like, yeah, yeah, sure, sure, sure. This is what you do. This is what to do this. I do it. I don't even know what five of those words mean. So I can't even get to step B to step is too complicated. And if you look at it from their perspective of the Bible, like all of the Sadducees and Pharisees that knew the Bible front to back, and they knew the law and they lived by the law or you were rejected because of the law.
Nobody understood them. And so that's why when Jesus came and he spoken parable, which sometimes we can read and be like, that's super confusing. He didn't speak to the masses. He was speaking to the one person that it made exact sense for that they could pick it up and learn about harvesting or learn about the sowing of the seed or learn, you know, any of these examples.
And so I think it's just a testimony to anything that you do no matter what field that you're in to be understanding that. Through the character of God through the example of Jesus himself, we just dumb it down and invest in the best way. Not dumb. It's beautifully. Simple is what I should say. Not
Well, because people will go and read some of the, you know, maybe during the reformation period and, and the, in the 18 hundreds, when words really mattered and they were magnificent and wonderful and they still are, and then they go on to Twitter and they want to come up with them. Greatest six word sentence.
That's so theological. And you're like, wow, that's Martin Luther himself or something, you know? And then I look at it, I'm sitting over here. I'm like, Jesus loves me this I know. But then I come back and I will not. So people ask me like, oh, so you're like quote liberal or this or that. I leave all that alone.
What I tell people is I believe that God, in two Timothy, three 16 said he breathed the word out. So those are his words, inspired word. And then he puts a heavy emphasis on the gospel. So what I do then is I do, I want people to understand the amazing and magnificence of God and the perfection of God.
That's like, he knows what every molecule in the whole universe is doing right now. Jesus loves me, but he wants to, he wants to use me, you know, want to make God look like, uh, no, I want God to be this. The, the God that I actually, when I was getting ready to. Perish in a fire that I scared that I was going to eternally be separated from him exactly the way it says the Bible.
I want people to understand that God, but I don't hit him right away with that a lot. So I like people I'm going to convict you of your sin. Well, I'll tell you what people tried to convict me and my sin. And in chapter two of my, a book, actually, a curse, a pastor out of a fire out of the firehouse. Now.
Yes, it is a Christian book. So it's not full of rough, bad, horrible, the worst, the worst words, but it shows. Christians that there are people out there like me that were so broken and so hurting. If you come at me with hell, hell and hell, which is true, is that the first way we should approach? I see it as a fire department is man.
When Christie showed up and she selflessly served me and showed me the love of God, it shut the noise of the world down. So I could actually hear the unedited unsure. Gospel message and go all in on the truth. And so when you say that, yes, the simplifying deal it because we all want it, man. We, you know, we act like we've all been through seminary classes and everything's masters and you're like, whoa, you know, but God gave us all personality.
He gave us brain functions. He gave us all this stuff and then he says, I want you to use this to honor me. And that's what I tried.
Interesting. So as you're speaking, you know, we're always, I'm actively listening and I've been trying really hard not to like, listen to say what I'm going to say next, but truly just listen.
And as you're saying that the holy spirit just like came in and said, I told you so because I'm in the process of, of editing after a first, the second full letter of my book, I was read my book front to back on Saturday and I. You know, just let me just read this and not look at it from the lens of the editing and all of that stuff that I'd done so many times in the past.
And of course I was like making little marks here and there, but for the first time, just let me read it. And there was three chapters in particular that I was like, whoa, this is terrible. And I went back to the editor and I told her, yeah, These I can tell. I wrote these so long ago. I can tell they were of the first understandings when I first started writing this book.
And now the other stuff seems so much richer. It feels so much bigger. It feels so much more intellectual. And she said, and I'm so grateful to it, but as you're saying it, it kind of hit home even more. She said it touched me and I don't know all of the jargon of everything else. And so it's going to touch somebody else.
Yes. Ultimately that simplification of the message, why those fields, so. Simple is because I was so new in my faith and it was simple. And so that's like the activation. We need to give people more often. And why things have taken traction in your understanding 700. And I just looked 30,000 people and almost a million people in that regard.
And there will be millions more that come into your message. It's not about this complication. It's about that simplicity of her just saying, Hey, come to church.
It is it's it's showing love. I mean, we were talking about this with a group of firefighters that I hang out with, from firefighters, for Christ now in the firehouse, he first off, we're not doing anything on Christ, like, but you'd wonder if these burly tough guys are there because when we go to work, I was explained it that you truly become a stone cold lifesaver, right?
Okay. He said life that you're good. The stone-cold part kind of stimulus, meaning that when you go out the door, rescue people sometimes help hurts. It really does. Sometimes that IB, we have to put in, sometimes the restraint we have to, to put on the leg is it's broken really hurts, but it's an act of love because we want to get you better.
We want to get you to the hospital and have you rescued and saved as stuff. And when you mentioned that, Keeping it simple in the fire service, we got a little too crazy for a while, became the whole buzzword of customer service. Customer service in our world is kicking in a front door and yeah. Grabbing you out and yanking you out at 2:00 AM out of a fire if you really think about it.
But we started going, oh, well, if we see, you know, a car with a blown tire, and even though they're safe, let's get out and change the tire. Well, it sounds right. We're not there because if we're there, we're not at the firehouse and a house is on fire in our district. We didn't serve those people properly.
So as your editor was saying, I'm still on board that you wrote from a place where God had you in the place at that time. And there are people who need to hear that. I'm a true believer of that, you know, because I can go back to my book and find, oh, maybe I should have changed this, this and this. And we all do that, you know, but yeah.
to look at it, like you were saying that through that lens, that everything has a message in it. Um, and that's simplicity in and of itself that God speaks in the small, still simple moments of life every single day, sometimes in the mishaps of life and sometimes in the giants of life and sometimes just in the whispers.
And it's so important for us to just be present for that. And I think there's a book, uh, I didn't know it was a book until recently. And I always would say, God winks, like the God winks of life. And there's a book when God winks, I just was, someone was like, have you read that? And like, no, I didn't know. It was a book.
And they're like, what? This person writes all about the God winks of life and how there's been all these winks through your life. There's been all these winks through my life that had led to this current revelation, but the revelation over, and we're going to learn tomorrow that he still sees it. And so for us to be able to joyfully exist in that place, and then to be able to joyfully serve from that place to say, Hey, come on this ride with me, let me show you something else.
Let me show you this new perspective. And I'm curious from your perspective, just as a husband, as a father, as a colleague and all these different. How have you in your own vicinity continued to sharpen yourself to be able to serve such a massive community? Well,
you know, that's such a great question. And, and going back with your commentary actually feeds into that.
They, you know, he who started a great works in us. We were not completed until the day we're sitting there in front of Christ. Right. And with that being said, I'm going to fall back and not be all tragic and stuff, but, you know, I was going over that rough story about the little girl that hit, hit by a car.
Now think about it. If I sat there at that time, Ma'am who is hurting, God's gonna find glory. Rightfully so she should knock me out truth. It's totally the truth, but that's not the message of the time at that. The message of the times. Let me hold her. Let me cry with her. Let me try to give her some, let her feel somewhat God's grace.
Then when I go back to the firehouse, look at how he used that. I basically told the young lady that I didn't believe in Jesus, and then she went with it. So he used that. So I grew through that. Now I'm talking to you about that. So he is using it for his glory and, and, and I know in the middle of it, anyone who's lost anyone, I don't want you to feel like you don't.
Oh, so this is happening where some bad's happening. So therefore God's going to find his glory. Well, right now, what he wants for you to just fall back into his son's arms and feel his love, just rest easy in his. But yes, ultimately goodness is going to come out of this, which is already turning in heaven.
So when my circle of friends and group of people and people that I try to speak into, I look at each message and where I'm at. And like I mentioned a bit ago, certain guys like I'll talk to a lot of young fireman and I use the term firemen, but firefighters firewall, I believe every right.
Yeah. They ask me my pronouns. Once they put, grow a dude and stuff, and I lied. Just so we're clear. I love everyone to have friends in all walks of life.
I love it. Okay. Disclaimer,
PC, I'll be talking to young fireman and what have they been doing? They the last 16 weeks in the drill tower where he trained to be a firefighter, they've been trained to be a stone-cold lifesaver.
They repeat tough, be hard cry. And then that kind of grows in them. We get that macho attitude and then we don't show our weaknesses. Will I keep telling these guys. PTSD that you're gonna experience is going to eat you down because everyone has PTSD. It just affects different people different. And w if I was to come to them heavy with scripture, But if I go, Hey, bro, want to meet for coffee after a duty and hang out, you'll preach Jeezy.
No, but you're going to buy me a cup of coffee. Now I'll be like that because I understand their level of thinking that we fire shots back and forth. Now I connected now I'm not being sneaky, but I just presently got, how can I use these messages of where I went? Where I'm at now and where you're going to have me someday to bless other people.
And that's how I speak into the circle of friends and people that I know that's
amazing. And I think, you know, PTSD is such a conversation. My dad was Navy for 23 years and I live in an area there's seven military bases right around me. So I'm hearing not only from the actual men and witnessing again, women too.
Thank you for your service. Um, but witnessing the, the. Spouse in those experiences and what happens when they're coming home and they're being stone cold still and not opening up with those emotions like you did with your girlfriend at that earth, not even girlfriend friend at the time. Um, it's, it's creating spaces of vulnerability as for strong men and women.
There's that PTs. Piece where it feels like I have to hold this. And that's the exact thing that like, Jesus wants to carry for us. Um, but I think again, we can have that filtered perspective on how should biblically I help this person. And it doesn't mean that you don't, you help the person with the Bible.
You help the person because you love them. And the Bible is like the secondary, right. Even though it's the living word that we stand on. I think for me, it was this hard transition to be like, oh wow. She's 29. All of her friends are no longer, like in the same circles. Same with you. I'm sure you had all these firefighters are like, dude, what's up with you?
Why aren't you doing this, this, this, why aren't you acting this, this, and this way as you're convicted and changing and becoming. I'm not a Bible Thumper. Like it. I have my Bible in this room, but I don't like carry it under my arm and like walk everywhere around it. And so those they're immediately rejecting before they're able, because they're not even capable of understanding the soft component or character of God, because they're not comfortable with that softness in themselves.
Right. So it's interesting to hear. Say that it's just like those, again, back to that simplicity, it's just the open door, rather than something wild or in miraculous
it's, it's, it's relational too, because you know, in a simplistic way we worship God, we follow king Jesus. And then we let the holy spirit fill is full of his wisdom and we rely on his word to make sure, because I do tell people like I've had the devil whispered in my ear many times thinking it's holy.
And then I can't back it up with scripture. Guess what? It, wasn't God talking to me, you have back of the scripture. So I so hear what you're saying. And I'm still on board with that stuff, because even from the Christian side, people will sit there and say, oh, you're the Willy nilly and you don't do this and you don't do that.
You're not a true Christian. And I'm like, what are you talking about? And so you have that side where they want you to carry the ball. Yeah. I, it, where it's. I love with my add sitting in Starbucks with my Bible open and writing. Cause I can take breaks and just people watch and then I'm not using it as a prop.
It'll draw people, Hey, you're Christian. You know, so it's, it's when everything feels right, what you're doing at the moment, you know, and for me, my nickname prior to coming to Christ in the fire department was the demon. I know it's crazy. So we imagined, and then I lovingly say I came to Christ in the middle of Sodom and Gomorrah in west Oakland, right across from San Francisco below Berkeley.
It's not very popular and to be very, very cautious there. I understand that a lot of Christians have done things to communities to make them. But I also believe that there's a lot of people in communities that nothing's happened bad to them, but they think that everyone's like those bad Christians, you know?
And then I walk in or you watch it and you know, that's a Christian, you know? Well, yeah, because I have all my values that I don't change and my values and your values may be totally different. I'm still gonna love it. Yeah, I'm still getting this and I can't push my faith on you. God makes it very clear.
Just spread the word. He'll handle the rest. We know that's like in my book, I don't save anyone. You don't save anyone. We just do what we've been called to do. And Jesus does the rescuing. And that's why I tell people, um, spoiler alert. Jesus is the rescue and my book. It wasn't me, it wasn't Kristy. My wife, you know, it's the flu.
The other thing is the 30 with the PTSD. I was never an ex. Yeah, but all of a sudden I've been thrust that limelight where I'm actually going and speaking about nationwide, because I wrote my book showing how Christ fixed me, but then all these firefighters look like, oh my gosh. Cause I was literally 10 seconds out from taking my own life.
When someone else who's still an atheist of his day saved my life. They look at that and I have to remember, oh, but they're also not Christian. So I need to speak to them in a way that they're going to find the help while in my mind thinking, unless that help is grounded in faith. Eventually when it crumbles because psychology medicine, you mean we all crumble, but if we have crisis our foundation, we don't fall back into the pit of hell.
So I have to safely try to get them to help. And then also make sure that I'm staying true to the word and loving on them because I do want them to have relationships.
I'm curious as you're saying that and, and realizing that there's that rock bottom analogy, the conversation that you're going to crumble, um, where PTSD could lead you in that suicide ideation to actual suicide, like you witnessed, um, how do you like support people in that process?
And also, do you believe that everyone has to go through that rock bottom in order to meet Jesus the way.
I just have it. What I say is everyone has a different perspective that they bring to the table based on their experiences, basically do, but working in west Oakland, we're the most diverse cities in the world, if you will.
Oh, well maybe this city in India is more diverse. No, it's not. We have everyone in the world. In Oakland, we there's 180 languages spoken, so I was never fake, but you had to be a chameleon and go into environments and blend in. Like if I walked into a Muslim house and immediately started treating a Muslim woman, During the time I was there during the late nineties, early two thousands, when they were coming over from Afghanistan as true refugees, I could create a world of problems for her and me.
So we'll say, well, she's an American now. I said not when we close the door, we go back to the firehouse. She's not. So my perspective coset my perspective also comes from, I believe, hell is the Bible. And I don't believe there's too many bottoms in America because here in America you gotta be under a system of total abuse control, seriously, mental illness to starve to death.
Let's keep it real other countries. You starved to death. And I have friends that tell me how they grew up as orphans in Africa. I just, the hideous stuff that boys and girls had to do just to get a meal. Then I look at a hearing, yes, there's the same abuse over here, but in America sometimes. The bottom, I think is internally.
It's a way to emotionally and stuff, because when I'm looking at a Vietnam vet, who's 72 years old missing all of his teeth and taking his final breaths as his attorney to the locked in, in a park at 2:00 AM with him shivering, that's quite a bottom, but he saw them come out of it. So that's the Fireman's perspective.
And with that perspective, I have to always remind myself that the bottom is hell no, there's a hell on earth, totally. And stuff, but it's when a person psychologically can't handle it. And they just finally are tired of sitting in the stink. They want to get out of the pooper. You know, we always say, you know, they, they want to get out of the outhouse and stuff.
And that that's what I always prayed for, but I also have to realize after going on hundreds of thousands of responses of seeing other people and thousands of people that took their life, and even this year now I'm up to 11 personal friends from the fire and EMS service and police that have taken their own lives.
That each person's bottom is different. And I don't know what they're experiencing and that's why I really preach and teach to people to reach out and look. And then the last thing I always say there, when I give that little talk, if anyone out there has lost someone, don't take on the burden, don't act like you didn't do something or you did something, they were going to do it regardless.
Cause I hate putting that burden on people saying, well, we need to reach out to people. And all of a sudden it clicks in someone's head. They're like, oh, I should have reached out to so-and-so another hearts. No, you didn't do anything wrong. So I just like to throw that out there, but looking forward, just kind of peak people that you can, uh, smile and say hi and ask how they're feeling, you know?
Yeah, yeah. That's sincerity, I think is a big part of it. And, and that goes into that perspective of Christianity, as well as like a fake Christian at claimed Christian, a labeled Christian there's all of these different perspectives. And it ultimately goes back, like what you said at the beginning.
It just goes back to love and are loving people. Well, and are you loving people earnestly and honestly, and openly, um, regardless of their backgrounds. And I love that you gave that example of the Muslim woman and the different heritages and the different cultural backgrounds. I've only been to Oakland.
And, uh, we stayed there overnight and I forget,
I see it in her face already. I see
for what we wanted a hole in the wall restaurant, we couldn't find one. There were many of them. We couldn't find one that felt clean enough or deep enough to enter. And they were like, we just should order it. So that's what we did.
And we went into our hotel there, but it's this recognition that like this. Places and these different understandings of comfort we put ourselves in, I believe comfort zones. Like you seek out a place that you're going to feel the most comfortable. You seek out a position that you're going to feel the most comfortable financially, perhaps firefighters.
I don't think have that same mentality. They're putting themselves in an uncomfortable. Experience knowing that there's going to be like things that they're going to come up against when you entered into that mentality. And now being on the other side of that and saying, you know, your, even your son, like you said, going into the same field, how, how do you, is it a different genre of person?
Is it a different, like, what is that?
You know, if something, so we do, if you think of, I call this thing. Racism disgusts me and I throw it out there right away. You know, God hates injustice. He hates the racism, hates all that stuff. And I also have going into where you're going there with that, the unique perspective, because I grew up in no fault of my own in an all white Southern California town truly hung around all white friends.
You know, everyone looked like me like his me. Then my first job as a city fireman is the only white guy in an all black fire house. Three doors down where the black Panther party started in west Oakland and west Oakland in Oakland as a whole is not hideous. It just has a drug. And evilness falls into that.
And when people chase money, the vanity, all that stuff, that evilness manifest in really rough ways, that gives it a bad thing. But Oakland is 99% amazing people, but the, the, like anywhere the evil people there who it's bad, you know, so it's really bad. So I just want to give that shout there, but th the perspective that you have of justice.
Being around people like yourself. I, again, I fall that into like, is, will firefighters. It's the same when we're responding to help someone. We're not bonding with them, but we bonded with ourselves. And then when we're off duty, we kind of haler a little cliques. So we do the same thing, but we just go as a group and respond because we love helping other people.
But once we come back, it's like at a dinner party. I struggle sometimes to this day, my wife, Christie, who I keep talking about. She's a labor and delivery nurse and she's been doing it for, you know, 18 year now, 18 years. And we go to a dinner sometimes, and it's hard for me. To blend because people have this view, that's a wee bit different mine and mine's not better, but I haven't been in an office.
I haven't done this. And so, so I congregate back to my cops, my firefighters and all that, and the people that are, you know, kind of like me and stuff. So yeah, we do that too. I think every walk of life does.
Yeah, so interesting, but I, I know the value that comes when you are with those people of differences, right.
And it's just being willing to get outside of that comfort zone and where this conversation could evolve is so many different ways, so many different places. Um, but I think there, I, I just never really looked at firefighting from the space of, um, Having to enter into places like that. You only, you only associate when you've never experienced it.
I associate your job specifically to firefighting. But if I think about, I think about every time that I see a firefighter, a lot of times I see firefighter trucks and it was no fun. So, what are they doing? And it's like realizing from that first responder, realizing that there's so many other tragedies that take place that you guys are a part of.
And, and also not really paralleling PTSD to that at all, because I just have that lens of military. So I honor your, I honor what you do. I honor. Come through it and also how you're helping people through it. Um, it makes me want to like go hug my uncle extra hard and all my friends and be like, thank you for your service.
What's funny is after people read my book and it's done safely, even in our church, like Jesus, we didn't know, we just want to hug you. And I'm like, go ahead, honey. I'm like cool though, because they'll see it. Thinking I'm still in that suicidal stage or I'm still hurting or I'm still on that scene with that six year old or I've still, you know, Christie's getting ready to dump me.
Cause that's my biggest joke. I was like really cool with her man because shells were getting done real weekend to the game. Okay. So I'm, I'm scared of my wife, you know, cause I married so far up and everything if they think you're still there, but in the fire, but a role like the tragedy that happened in Florida or other tragedies are big shootings.
People will always come to me and say, why aren't you saying pray for Florida employee, pray for this. But as a firefighter, my perspective comes from there's so many families that single incidences they're dying of a mass shootings, hideous. But when Oakland, you know, six people were murdered last week in Oakland, who's praying for them.
So I'm not taking, making one bigger evening, but I always think in my mind, this is being well preyed upon, it's got national attention over there as firefighters, like you're talking about where they're the truck and you're wondering what they're doing. They might be going to a medical, they might be going.
Hazmat, they might be going to something that we got to go slow on. So you have no idea. It looks like we're doing nothing maybe, but actually something major is going on. We're thinking about, well, let's his hazmat. How's our can affect our health while we're on a medical word, bothered us, or we're always prepared to run into that next burning building when everyone is coming out.
And so the perspective that I have. I always just pray for each individual thing, because I like people say, oh, America is a mess. I'm like, well, the world's a mess. It fell. Okay. It fell. It's a lot of times for we're in our time right now. But I, you know, let's look at the early church in the Roman candles, which were Christians actually being Burt on the streets.
That was pretty tough. But when I look into that, I say, I can't. Yeah, what I can do is God put people in front of me. I'm going to love on them. God gave me a platform if you will. So I'm going to put his word out there and I'm going to let Jesus fix it. Cause like classically tell people what I have learned over my life is time fixes nothing but time alone with Jesus can heal anything.
It's just, I'm a true believer in that. So if we spread him in the masses, cause that's what he wants to do, let's do it. If he puts someone in front of us, let's do it and we can make a difference that way. Cause you're not going to change America and I can change the politics system and I'll let that go.
Yeah, place here. Activate. And that's the biggest thing is like you, in the knowing of all of these problems, all of these things that are happening around us, all the fires, if you will, that we need to put out that if we just sit. And do nothing. Nothing happens, nothing changes. And so even in that solitude, in that prayer space with Jesus, yes, he's the fixer, but he's, he's left us here and left us here.
He put us here with intention to activate, and he said that we're going to do far greater things than he did. And so we just have to confidently and boldly walk into the fire and trust that we've got. And a suit on a good enough jacket, a good enough armor, right. That he's also graced us with armor yourselves with the word, right.
We've got the shield and the weapons and everything. Oh,
let's do a fusion. Let's do it.
And the specific thing that I always think about is like, I'm, I'm not armed. Like I come in, I knew baby Christian, I've got these wobbly legs. How in the world, can I go into these different places and spaces and say these things that are now just fresh new revelation to me, they're just going to say, I'm not smart enough, right?
Or it's not theological, or it's not based on the right thing. Or you'd get to be quiet. You need to sit and learn long enough. Like you probably say to the new firefighters, like get up right here. You got to follow suit, but that's not how Jesus works when he calls you. You're. When you are worthy and you're blanketed in goodness, you are there.
And he is he's, you're a part of that army. And so it's that space. Between. I am like that wobbly baby Christian too. I am called and worthy and I need to activate, don't just sit and look at the fire, be a part of the
firefighters. Right. And, and I'm, I'm such a believer in what you're saying is God has you right.
Where he wants you. He he's given you things. And that's like, you know, in the word he's given us the body of Christ. So we have pastors, we have elders. We have people who have gone before us, we have people under us. So in the firehouse, yeah. You know, we want them to pull off of our experience because you know, we're bringing experience in that they might walk into a flashover in 1500 degrees and die like a moth in a fire and that's not good.
So shut up and listen to my know, go off my experience. But to tone that down and take it into the Christian way in the firehouse, we have to understand that this person has been called to be a firefighter in how are they going to learn to do it? If we don't give them the tools, give them the experience and give them the knowledge, but the firefighter will fail.
And we filled out more firefighters that we cut off of probation, which is horrible. After you've gone through all the training and everything. Then after 18 months, you get your dream job yanked away. It's because they didn't reach out for all the help we'd been offering them to grow. And so for what I call, I, I'm not a fan of the baby, the new, or I'm just following the Christian who's growing because I'm the biggest baby on the face here, you know?
And so we we've been given. Yeah. The things that you're talking about, the whole body of Christ and the last thing I'm going to put out there is in the fire depart, like you're talking about the armor of God and going through it is so good, but I tell people all the time, I've never put a fire out and like shut up.
No, I'm like, I've never put it out, but. I have had to fall back on the courage, my own courage, the courage of my brothers around me call crawl through, you know, thousand degree temperatures, pitch, black conditions. You know, my body has burns off all over it and stuff to get to the seed of the fire because I've been called to do that.
And then what I do and leash the cooling waters on the fire and the water puts the fire out. I always say that Jesus is the living water. Our job is to do what we've been called to. Bring that, but him and his word and everything to people unleash him to fight. We can't because if I crawled into a burning, building a warehouse without a hose on it, without water, I'm not stamping it out.
There's no possible way. I can't do that. That's my example of falling back on the Lord and letting him fight what you can. He's given you everything you've got to do and you have to do it. And it's hard. Sometimes. I don't want him, no one wants to do it sometimes. But we keep pushing through and then he fights what we can.
And I'm a big believer in that. That is
so good. I'm going to have that analogy in my head all the time now, because it is so true. You walk in on your own terms. And I think whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you're a firefighter, whether you're a parent, we often try to go into that realm of, I can control this situation.
I can fix this thing and we allow our ideation of the way it should be fixed procedure. His ability to fix it. And so if you don't come armored with the tools, if you don't come with the hose that provides the water, there's no ability for you to stand in authority over that fire or that giant, if you will, if you are David and Goliath in parallel.
And so I just think that there's a lot of power to that analogy. And again, like you said, you're always looking for the messages and all of the experiences that you had, and everybody has access to this. I want to encourage people who are listening. You might not be a firefighter. You might not have walked similar testimonies.
You likely haven't. I hope you haven't. I never wish my story on anybody. And I'm sure you feel the same is that, but there are specific messages that God gifted you and you alone, and it is not until you're able to stand up and whether you're writing it in a book, whether you're sharing it on a podcast like you have, whether you're creating platforms like Jason has, what, any of the things until you actually activate and you carry those tools with you.