God Led me to Google – Dylan
I would say I grew up Catholic. My mom used to take me to Wednesday night religion classes and I knew the story of Jesus and things like that. But we weren’t really like a “Christian” family. My grandpa passed when I was 12 and it really all stopped there. We didn’t go to church or anything like that anymore.
So fast forward to when I was older, like 18 or 19, and I started my business. I ran a pretty big podcast in the music production space. I got into a lot of New Age-ism and pantheism kind of stuff, though I didn’t really realize what it was at the time. It was a lot of “think and manifest” and “god is everything and we are god,” or “god is experiencing the world through us and that’s why he created us.” That was really my true belief and I was kind of creating my own religion. I was even evangelizing it through my podcast.
I took any and every opportunity I could get to spread my gospel, that’s really what I would call it.
My girlfriend (now wife) and I moved to Naples in 2020 during COVID. We had been living in Atlanta for four years and I was really, really growing the business and podcasting. Once we got to Naples, I had a rock bottom kind of moment where I did something that was pretty embarrassing on social media with my brand and I ended up getting canceled by the community a little bit.
It was really the perfect timing of that happening and I was really diving even deeper into these new ageism beliefs.
I had this book that I had been really into called “The Science of Getting Rich.” The author had written a couple others as well and he used the New Testament in his books. He was really mixing his beliefs with these pantheism ideas.
But reading that is really what opened me up to the Bible because I was seeing scripture as I read these books. For some reason I got pulled into reading the Bible. My friend Zach, who had moved down to Naples shortly after us, and I were both into these kinds of books together.
He came over one night and we were just hanging out back on the lanai and talking about these ideas and he just said, “Hey, man, we should go to church. I was going to church when we lived in Atlanta for a little while and it was good, but, you know, I’ve been wanting to go back.” So he asked if we would be interested in checking out a church with him and we just said, “Why not?”
We found a church up in Bonita, tried it a couple of times and really liked it. It was cool going to church, but I wasn’t sure if it was really the best fit for us. I googled baptist churches because a lot of the pastors I had gotten into watching were like Steven Furtick, Elevation, and even like, T.D. Jakes. I knew T.D. Jakes was a Baptist pastor.
We were on this journey and God led me to type Baptist Church into google that day and that’s what brought us to First Naples. That really sealed the deal.
First Naples popped up and we checked it out and it was while Pastor Akin was still serving. Man, we came to one service and he was talking about a lot of the things happening in the world and that really hit home with us, so we kept attending.
I wanted to get involved in a Bible Study so I asked Zach, “Come check out this men’s Bible study with me.” We went and we really connected with Dean and Nick and those guys started discipling us. They eventually set up a lunch with Pastor Alan, me, and Nick. We all went to lunch at Steamers and that was the day where we really professed our faith in Jesus and accepted him into our lives. Shortly after that my wife did the same. Obviously, there’s a lot of nuances and details that went into it but that’s the big picture.
We’ve developed a really, really good connection with the guys at our table… That’s what really sealed the deal. Having Dean and Nick really take the initiative to disciple us and help us with those next steps. Just that alone has been life changing, you know?
My girlfriend was there with me this whole time while I was going through this shift and reading those books and I was really sharing them with her and we had started listening to Furtick together.
She was there going to church with us from day one. One of the biggest things for us was the apologetics side, realizing this is well documented history and it’s not just “close your eyes and feel something.” This is a true story and there’s truth and data to back it up. Along with that, and hearing messages on Sundays, she had an older lady that had connected with her through another mutual friend at church who was discipling her. Seeing how into faith I had gotten, how much I was believing, and the apologetics and discipling is really what brought her to it as well.
There’s so much value in getting plugged in and being discipled.
When you’re just going through this alone, there’s so many different videos on YouTube that push and pull you in different directions. There’s a lot of false teaching and weird commentary that can really confuse people.
A couple of my friends from back home were telling me that they feel this call from God and they’ve been trying to read the Bible. I have really encouraged them, “Man, you got to find Bible study. Find a great group of guys. Find a good Bible-based church that you can connect with.” You don’t have discernment in the beginning and you have to have a Bible-based church with some Bible-based guys that you can talk with and send them videos that you’re watching and get a biblical perspective.
Literally a month after our lunch at Steamers, I proposed to my girlfriend and we ended up getting married after being together for 8 years. We just felt called to do that and make that right. And then in the end, we just had a baby seven months ago and God has just continued to bless us in so many ways.
I was really into chasing money and I really had a big ego too, the way I was living and running my business and doing this podcasting. There was a big shift there.
It’s having a relationship with God and just feeling the Holy Spirit. It’s hard to describe. It’s so different – even just day to day living – experiencing the ups and downs of life and always keeping focus on God.
It’s been life changing, for sure.