Whether you grew up in a Christian household, or you’re like me and came to the faith later in life. There are times when our faith falters and we being to let doubt to creep into our hearts and minds. It’s human nature! In today’s episode, I’ll be talking with Kevin Kennedy who grew up in a Christian household and will share his experience moving from what he learned growing up to his own faith journey, and some of the doubts he struggled with along the way.

The Cross in Culture:

  • The Cross in Culture Podcast – The world has a lot of portrayals of what Christians are like and what we believe. From games, TV, movies, and even history we will explore these depictions both true and false. Join in as we learn what pop culture claims about our faith and the truth about it
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References to Bible Verses:

Matthew 14:22-33

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Transcript

Jason: Welcome to the My Ministry of Mission podcast. My name is Jason and I am your host. Whether you grew up in a Christian household or you're like me and you came to the faith later in life, there are times when our faith falters and we begin to doubt and let that creep into our hearts and our minds. I mean, it's human nature.

In today's episode, I'll be talking with Kevin Kennedy, who grew up in a Christian household. And we'll share his experience moving from what he learned growing up to his own faith journey, and maybe some of the doubts and struggles along the way. If you're questioning your faith, that's okay. God's bigger than our doubts.

As long as you continue to seek his truth, you'll find your way home. Let's see what Kevin has to say about this. So welcome, Kevin. Thanks for joining me at the My Ministry Mission Podcast.

Kevin: Glad to be here.

Jason: So I want to first say thank you for doing this. And the listeners are not going to believe the hoops that had to get jumped through to do this.

So I totally Fubbed his first intro call. And so, and then we did another one. We just did a phone call. And then this recording session got bumped because of a conflict in my schedule, and then it got bumped just a minute ago because family stuff anyways, against all odds he is here to do this. So thank you so much for your time.

Kevin: Oh, no problem.

Jason: Before we get started, you have your own podcast and I want to make sure we highlight that. It's called The Cross in Culture. And I wanted to kind of pick your brain and have you tell us about your podcast.

Kevin: Yeah, I'd be happy to. Well, I mean, it all kind of started actually because I was looking for a specific podcast that did something and I couldn't find it. So eventually God kind of laid it on my heart. It's like, well, I mean, you could do it, which I mean,

Jason: why not? Right.

Kevin: right. And, I mean, so I, I was actually kind of drug into it, almost kicking and screaming because I found one similar to it.

Well, so basically my podcast is I take usually secular shows like Indiana Jones or something like that and look at how it uses scripture and Bible verses and how it portrays Christians. So I found a lot of things that was like, themes about movies. So it would be like, Oh, Fast and Furious. It's about family.

That's good. Oh, this is about, you know, something else that's bad. Or it's like, okay, I found plenty of those but I couldn't find anything that was like, okay, but is the verse that they're using taken out of context? You know like Indiana Jones, would your face actually melt off if you opened the Ark of the Covenant?

Jason: That's a great question. And I bet you answer that in your in your episode.

Kevin: That's actually going to be in part two

Jason: Oh fair enough. Okay.

Kevin: of it. Yeah. Yeah, the first one the first part is more of, like, what happened to it. So, and that's actually interesting, because the is actually from the Bible, which is actually interesting, I thought, so.

Jason: Excellent. It sounds really interesting. Well, I know it's interesting because I've listened to it and it's, I mean, there's a wealth of knowledge in there. It goes into some really great details and I highly recommend it to the listeners. I did put links in the show notes to his podcast. You can basically find it on any major distributor or aggregators, Spotify, Apple, Amazon music, all of those, or just open up your favorite app and search for The Cross in Culture and you should be able to find it

Kevin: Yep, I'm on pretty much all the big ones.

Jason: right on.

So one more. Note related to the podcast. I listened to the bonus episode on Ezekiel bread and I, in our initial call, I kind of mentioned it and we talked about it a little bit, but I did go out and buy some and I'm, I'm a totally a fan. It's like, there's no preservatives. It has a low glycemic index.

So your podcast is not only interesting and helpful, but also delicious and healthy too,

Kevin: Oh, well, there we go. That's not even what I was going for, so a little bonus

Jason: right on. Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself? Like whatever you're comfortable sharing.

Kevin: Yeah, sure. Well, so I grew up in a Christian household all my life. I've known God, Pretty much my entire life, I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember, , it's almost like, when did you learn the color blue? It's like, I don't know. It's, I just always, you know, being a Christian, yeah, it's just there and I've had ups and downs throughout my life you know, a couple of periods of doubts and all that, but I've still always remained a Christian and I really became more serious.

In my faith around high school. So , that was really kind of when I kicked it up a gear and, and really started really focusing on God a whole lot more. And, throughout college and my various careers, which are crazy, I finally got a sane one.

Jason: right on. So Kevin, you picked Judges 3:31 as your favorite Bible verse and It reads forgive me if I get the names wrong, but it reads "after Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down 600 Philistines with an ox goad. He too saved Israel." I asked you about it because it seems so out of left field and it made more sense, but I want.

You to explain it because it cracked me up, to be honest,

Kevin: Yeah, it, it is completely out of left field. And that's kind of one of the reasons why it's my favorite because, at first I just liked it because it was so out of left field. It's like, what is this? You know, it's, it's in Judges. So it's like between two longer stories and it's almost like a throwaway line, you know, like a single verses.

Oh, yeah, this guy also saved all of God's people just, you know, as a side note

Jason: by the way.

Kevin: and he did it. Yeah, and he did it with an oxgoad. It was like, that sounds really fascinating. You don't want to elaborate more on that? So that's kind of why it stuck out to me in the first place. But I have actually grown more to like it over, over time.

Just because. You know, a lot of times you feel like you don't get the the attention or the praise that you deserve. So, that's kind of one of the reasons why I like that verse. It's because like, how many other people might have just completely saved Israel, totally, and didn't even get that one line,

Jason: Right.

Kevin: right?

You know, it's like, oh, he was, he got the one line at least. He, he does actually come up in I think it's like the song of was it Deborah or I don't know. He comes up and like, but it's just like in the days of Shamgar, this happened. But you know, it doesn't elaborate on the story anymore.

That's, that's kind of why I like it. Yeah.

Jason: So, all right. Well, I think I was thinking Christmas is coming and we're rolling into the season. And in fact, we're recording us on the eve of 1st, Sunday of Advent. so This, this episode will probably be published just before Christmas, but for the listeners who aren't aware, Advent is a four week season dedicated to anticipating the arrival or the advent of Jesus of Nazareth.

So, in the spirit of that would you mind sharing some of your Christmas, like, special things you like to do with your family?

Kevin: Yeah, sure. Well, I mean, obviously we, we get together, exchange presents, all that. One thing that's kind of unique with us that we don't do this every year, but a lot of times we'll make them a birthday cake. So happy birthday, Jesus. So that's fun. , it's just kind of the standard celebrations and I got family.

I got brother out of state and a sister in a different state. So we're in the middle, so we usually come over here to my parents.

Jason: Very nice. Moving into the meat of this, this is kind of like finally getting to the point, right? You grew up in a Christian household, and I think you said you live in an area that was more secular than Christian. Yeah. So first question is, did you enjoy growing up in a Christian household?

Kevin: Yeah, I mean, I definitely enjoyed it and I actually don't know about like the actual area and the demographics and all that because I didn't really talk to my friends a whole lot about God a lot of times, I mean, I definitely enjoyed it. I am extremely blessed to have such a great parents both my, my siblings are Christians.

And I mean, like I said before, I obviously have ups and downs, but I've always had God there to lean on and that's just meant the whole world.

Jason: That's great. Any household routines that you normally kind of did that you really enjoyed? Prayer, Bible studies or family dinners or things of that nature that really stood out.

Kevin: Yeah, I mean, we, we did all that. And there wasn't really anything that, I really looked forward to or anything. A lot of it was almost routine, but, you know, as you look back on something, you're, you're more and more glad that you did it and it means more to you than it did at the time. And that's not to say it didn't mean anything but a lot of times it, it felt routine and , as I grew more and more in my faith, it became less routine and more important to me.

Jason: Yeah, I think that's true with a lot of things when we're growing up. You know, those things that we hated, that were burdens growing up. You look back and we're like, man, I'm glad my parents made me do that.

Kevin: Yes, yep.

Jason: I was curious, I was thinking about it. How much of the Christian faith do you feel like you internalized growing up?

Because I know when we're kids, we, we absorb a certain amount of something and then we kind of synthesize it later.

Kevin: Yeah, well, I mean, I definitely learned like all the jargon you know and that actually kind of makes me think of, so like learning all the jargon is actually really important because, if you don't know or like you're completely new or something, a lot of this stuff is like, what does that mean?

You know, cause I always thought it was funny that the initial things that Christians were accused of doing was, was incest. Atheism and and cannibalism.

Jason: Wow.

Kevin: Yeah, so it like, like the cannibalism was like, oh yeah, this is Jesus's body, you know, with communion. So it's like, oh, they eat this guy, you know, we call each other brothers and sisters in Christ.

And it's like, oh, he married his sister. What's up with that? You know, so, so it was really good that I was able to get a lot of the jargon in. So there was definitely that for sure. One thing I know I did not get is knowing where verses are. I do not know where any verses are.

Jason: Fair

Kevin: I have to look up, like, everything.

It's like, it is finished, verse, Google.

Jason: Yeah, no, I feel the

Kevin: I don't know where stuff is.

Jason: There's stuff that sticks out and I'm like, I know this is a verse, I've said it before, I've read it before, but where? So yeah, no, I think, you're on a load there, I'm sure of it.

Kevin: Yeah. It's just kind of like, I know it's in there somewhere. And a lot of it, I think I, I remember mostly from the Gospels growing up, we didn't spend a whole lot of time, in like in judges necessarily, you know,

Jason: Yeah.

Kevin: so I think a lot of the Gospels, especially the the parables, I, I know a lot of those just kind of without even yeah.

A whole lot of study. I've just kind of known them.

Jason: So at some point in your life, you went through the season of doubt, or maybe multiple seasons. I think you've mentioned it kind of came and went. And I think you said it, it may have even been a gradual progression at one point, but you made an astounding analogy when we talked before that you said you started to question parts of the faith, similar to how a child's questions, Santa Claus, I thought that was a really great way of framing it.

And I'm wondering, like, do you remember what age you started to have those questions or doubts?

Kevin: Yeah, it was probably actually around high school that I really started, questioning a lot of, well, I shouldn't say a lot of things because a lot of times it was like I would have different seasons of doubt, but I would doubt different aspects of it so like the first one high school, it was a lot of it had to do with young earth creation at the time, actually, because that at the time, it was a big thing about teaching evolution in schools.

Should we do that? And that was a big hot button issue and, you know, I, I was saying is like, okay, well, I mean, pretty much the main reason why I, I believe is because my parents said that is true. Yeah. And my parents are great, and that's actually a really good reason to believe something

Jason: right

Kevin: is that they think it's true. Because they've read about a lot of stuff, and I actually even knew that in high school. I didn't always admit that, you know

Jason: Oh no. You, can't let their heads get too big. Gotta keep 'em humble.

Kevin: Right. Right. But yeah, and at the time I, I trusted a lot more of what they taught in school than I would necessarily now, but So, that, that was kind of one of the things, like, okay, well, why are they trying to, not let me know this information? Like, you're, you're censoring information from me, and that, that just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

That was kind of the first thing with that. And one of the things that really kind of got me over that was, and everybody that was arguing like for an old earth necessarily, they were, using all the science and everything, and it seemed like they were trying to fit this idea of old earth creationism into the science, right?

And it's like, okay, this is what the science says. So therefore this is what the Bible says. And that just rubbed me the wrong way. Right. So eventually I kind of stumbled upon one guy. I don't even know his name. I think he was a guest on a podcast or something. honestly, but he didn't use any science at all.

And I think you mentioned St. Augustine. He's like, he, he didn't believe in young earth, you know, and that had nothing to do with science. He just took it from the text about why, and he used all stuff from scripture. So there was that and that, that really helped me get over that a lot. And then also, I looked into like actually if evolution is true or not.

And basically my conclusion has been. Nobody knows what's going on. I'm not even really sold on, you know, the evolution thing or macro evolution either. So it's just, Oh, okay. And that kind of got me over one of the big hurdles is that just because there's one particular system, I'm, I'm sure I'm wrong about something. I usually don't like systems like end time systems,

Jason: Mm-Hmm.

Kevin: Apocalypse. I don't really fit into any of those, and just all the systems don't, a lot of them have problems and a lot of them are right about a lot of them, and I think a lot of them, there's like middle ground in between, so just not getting into, it's like, okay, this is what the Bible says, and believing that you're 100 percent correct, that was kind of one of the things with that, it's like, I'm going to be wrong about something, God is infinite, and I'm not going to understand it.

Sometimes , I'm not infinite. I'm not going to understand them. And if I think I can, then I'm kind of stupid.

Jason: That's one way put it. Yep. Yeah, no, there's, there's a lot of debates and I've been in and out of Facebook groups where there're theological discussions , and people get mean, like, they get mean about it. And it's like, what, what Oh difference does this make? In the core of salvation, and that's what I can't figure out, like, you know, whether you believe young earth, old earth, something in the middle.

How does that change the way Jesus died on the cross?

Kevin: Yeah. You know, it doesn't change that. Although one thing that I will say that it does change. Is how you interpret scripture and that, that is a big issue. It's not the biggest issue, like you said, you know, what we think about Jesus is the issue. But, you know, it's like, okay, well, you shouldn't interpret scripture that way.

It's like, I, I understand wanting to kind of get around that.

Jason: So, in Matthew 14 verses 22 through 33, there's a story about Jesus walking on water. Now, he, he made his disciples go ahead of him in a boat on the sea of Galilee. While, he kind of stayed behind and prayed on the mountain. And by the time he returned, the boat was out there in the middle of the sea being tossed about by a storm.

And Jesus walks on the water to the boat, but his disciples think he's a ghost. And of course, Jesus is like, be of good cheer or take courage, depending on the Bible version you like and not to be afraid. And Peter says to him, Lord, if it is you command me to come to you on the water and Jesus does and Peter shows this amazing moment of tremendous faith and he steps out onto the water, and walks towards Jesus and then for a moment, he takes his eyes off and begins to look around the storm and become fearful and he starts to sink. So here he is out there doing this miraculous thing thing, you know, he falters because of like the wind and the rain and he cries out to the Lord, you know, Lord save me and Jesus catches it. And the reason I bring this up is because I'm curious if this story. Speaks to any of like how you've processed doubt or, or, or you're navigating through doubt,

Kevin: Yeah, so that would probably be in, actually probably my more, I guess it is probably the most recent phase of doubt, but it's kind of always been there all throughout, kind of in the latter half, just because when I really started getting serious about God, I, I heard Him a lot, like responses to prayers and like, I've never heard anything like audible.

Necessarily, but I mean, you know, like you can tell when God's talking to you and just as I actually grew closer and closer to God, I had a lot fewer of those experiences, which I was not expecting. And you know, it just kind of made me doubt. It's like, okay, well, was I crazy back then? What, what is going on?

You know, I'm, I'm not hearing what he wants me to do . And things that I thought he wanted me to do. He doesn't want me to do anymore. He wants me to do something else, you know, what's, what's going on with that. And so it kind of like when Peter, like he didn't recognize him at first and then he does, and then he's got faith and then he falls, you know, it's kind of like back and forth.

Jason: It seems like a cycle, you know, maybe we go through these cycles and Jesus expects it right. You know, God expects it. And, and maybe, cause I see what you're saying. Maybe we don't hear the voice as much because he's like, you got this. I've given you the tools you need. Go use them. And, you know, sometimes we, you know, we want it, we want to be told what to do.

We want to be like, God, just tell me what to do and I'll do it. And God's like, sometimes you got to figure this out.

Kevin: Yeah, and that's actually exactly pretty much what I was trying to say, you know That's that's what you want for your kids you want to be able to tell them stuff and have them learn and Go off on their own and be independent and I mean you'll still always be there for them and you know, God's always been there for me like when I really needed it but you know just has as you mature you just at least in my experience you've You hear him less and less and it's because you've had that foundation and a lot of times you'll have where I do start to doubt and then sometimes God will say, it's like, have I not shown you enough, that you're, you're doubting me now?

It's like, I've done all these things before in the past for you and why, just because you haven't had anything in the last five minutes or whatever, you're, you're doubting,

Jason: Father's up there going, did I just say?

Kevin: Right. Yeah,

like, Peter there, you know, it, like it might not have even, even been five minutes, you know. It's like he, he's looking at God and he takes his focus off for, I mean, who knows how long, just the second you start taking your focus off Him, you begin to sink.

Jason: yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So if there is a listener out there who's struggling with the authenticity of their faith, with trusting that their faith is, is genuine, you know, if they take their eyes off Jesus and start to sink, what advice would you give them?

Kevin: Well, I mean, it kind of depends, honestly, about what is making you doubt. Because, like I said, I, different times in my life, I've doubted different aspects. You know, because at first, like I said, it was the, the young Earth thing. And then it was just, like, I'm not hearing him as much anymore. One big phase, it was like, the historical evidence , did I pick the right religion, basically.

Because I've never had a doubt, like a single doubt, actually, that there is a God, that's never been a problem for me. But, I think it was a centurion, you know, he said, I, I believe, but help my unbelief, you know, that's, that's, yeah, that's a big thing. Because, like, you, you do believe, but, there's this one thing that's, like, it's It's nitpicking at me.

So the main thing I would say is just because you have this one doubt, don't throw everything out, you know, just focus in on this, look into it a little bit, see , why that is. Because a lot of times, actually, when I have doubted, I've come out stronger, because well, like the historical evidence thing, it's like, okay, well, there's all these other religions, what do they say?

And, you know, I looked into the historical evidence of Jesus and his crucifixion and everything. I'm like, oh, this is like really rock solid, especially for historical evidence. And in the end, it kind of just strengthened my faith, honestly, because I had more assurance about what it was. And then also it made me more prepared to give an answer if somebody does have that question.

It's like, Hey, what's, what's this? It's like, Oh, I actually know that.

Jason: Yeah. Right. Learn by doing.

Kevin: Yeah. Yeah. So and there's been a couple of times I was like, Oh, okay. Well, this. This thing in the Bible, these two things, seem like a contradiction and looking into that contradiction has often actually helped me understand both verses better.

Jason: Yeah, I think that's good advice. Don't, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater as it would be and focus in on those doubts and challenge them because that's where you're going to find your truth. So you, you had also said something profound that I think is important to share with the listeners.

You told me as you were growing up, your parents shared their faith with you, but at some point you had to make it your own faith. So when you, when you knew this or you started to realize this , did that kind of mean, building your own relationship with Christ? Did it mean redefining that relationship?

How did that look to you?

Kevin: Yeah, well, I mean, like I said the initial reason why I believed is because my parents told me that it was true. And You can only go off of that for so long, right? And regardless of what it is even, you know, going back to that example, it's like, this is blue. Well, I mean, that's kind of reinforced by other people telling you that that's blue.

Right?

Jason: Right.

Kevin: You know? Yeah. But like, if somebody comes up and is like, that's not blue. It's like, what are you talking about? Right? It's like, why do you think that? Are you colorblind? Or like, what's What's the situation, you know, so you can only believe , based on what your parents tell you for so long and you have to basically understand why something is true beyond just that somebody told you so.

Jason: Yeah That makes sense. Do you think your faith journey differs from your parents in a lot of ways? Or are there just some minor ways?

Kevin: That's kind of a hard question because I mean, they've, they've been Christians for as long as I've known them, obviously I actually don't know too much about how my mom came to faith. I know my, my dad came to faith from from a sermon that he heard and, you know, so that's, that's different from how I did it. They've been Christians for a long time, so there's, I'm sure there's similarities and differences. I doubt that they had struggle with the, like evolution or something like that,

Jason: It makes sense. It makes sense. Yeah. And you know, sometimes it's not just, it changes. It's just now it's yours. You build it yourself and you own it. And that's I think that's important. I think Christ wants us to have. a personal relationship with him, not just piggyback off of somebody else.

Kevin: Right. And because, I mean, You know, there's people of other faiths and they could say the exact same reason. So like, if I was debating, you know, like say a Muslim or something, it's like, well, why do you believe your faith? It's like, well, my parents told me that was true. Well, my parents told me this was true.

Okay, well, we're kind of at an impasse,

Jason: Right.

Kevin: You know,

Jason: And I, and I think this is a lifelong journey for all of us. You know, we're all on a faith journey until the end, until we cross the finish line, so to speak and make it to the side. So so, you know, you want to continue growing, you want to continue questioning. And I think questioning is healthy.

I think it's fine. You know, it's like you said, don't throw everything out because you have doubts, but that's how you build faith. That's how you feed yourself. And that's how you grow stronger in faith.

Kevin: Right.

Jason: That's amazing. So, Kevin, I thank you again so much for being so tolerant of my schedule shifts. I'm going to wrap it up there, but thank you again for joining and telling us about your faith journey.

Is there anything else you want to share with the listeners? Anything that's top of mind that you just want to toss out there?

Kevin: Oh, geez, let's

Jason: Putting you on the spot.

Kevin: Yeah, a little bit. Yeah, just, you know, have faith. Yeah, just, just have faith.

Jason: There you I like it. No, that's simple and it's easy. You know, have faith, you know, Christ tells us that you know, it's all about the faith. So,

Kevin: Yeah, we, we have, we have good reason to have faith. It's, it's not a blind faith. You know God asks us to, to use our mind. It's good to love him with our mind.

Jason: oh, that's powerful. I like that. So again, thank you. Remember to visit the podcast, the cross and culture. It is really good. It's very detailed. You got me on the Dungeons and Dragons one too. That was, that was fun to listen to. Just, just remember the links are in the show notes. It's inspiring. It's in depth.

It's you know, quite honestly, it's fun too. It's fun listening to your stuff. So thank you for that.

Thank you.

Thank you for listening to the, My Ministry Mission podcast until next time. Remember to love each other and may the Lord bless you and keep you. God bless everyone.