Today I am interviewing a man who spent much of his life living in Illinois and working in cybersecurity. But, after turning 50, he and his wife moved to Tennessee where he launched an internet platform to bring people ever nearer to Jesus.
Troy Stoneking and his wife, Sally, raised two boys in Illinois, where he worked training people to be more aware of cybersecurity threats and how to respond to them. When the boys grew up and started lives of their own, the couple opted to move to Clarksville, Tenn.
The move opened doors for Troy to greatly enhance his faith. Through that process, he felt called to help others to strengthen their faith as well. His blog, Ever Nearer, seeks to answer some of the more challenging questions people have regarding the Christian faith.
The topics he addresses generally focus on two areas. First, what does the Bible say about a certain topic? Second, how can people apply that biblical wisdom to their lives?
What I liked most about talking to Troy was his admission that he knew his faith could be much stronger and far more involved than it was. He still attended church and led marriage classes with his wife, but it seemed to Troy that he was just going through the motions of his faith. He was not engaged with God during his quiet time, nor communicating with him throughout the day.
So, Troy decided to go all-in and become fully engaged. He started a formal plan to read through the Bible in a year. His prayers went beyond the grocery list of things he wanted from God to actually become a tool to develop greater insight into what the Bible was teaching him.
The Holy Spirit often got his attention by asking Troy whether what he was reading or writing about really applied to his own life. When it didn’t line up, he repented and worked to bring it back into alignment.
Troy has the heart of a teacher. His blog comes out of time he spends with God every day in reading the Bible and asking for insight regarding a passage. From that, Troy simply shares what he just learned himself.
He said spiritual growth is limited by how much time you spend reading the Bible itself, and how engaged you are in truly studying those words as well as asking for deeper insight in order to apply that knowledge to your own life. Troy said the fastest route to a stronger faith is to follow a systematic plan for reading the Bible from cover to cover.
The Bible is living and active, but Troy said it’s only active if people are involved in a process to read what it says and apply what they are reading to their own lives.
Christians are meant to enjoy a two-way relationship with Jesus. However, the only way to have a relationship with anyone is by spending time together and in a mutual conversation that involves speaking to and listening to what the other person is saying.
Troy calls it being fully engaged. By doing that, daily quiet time gets much more involved and has far greater impact on his life, his attitude and his perspective than ever before.
Although Troy spends more than an hour many days in Bible study, prayer and writing down the insight he receives, he said people need to be spending at least 15 to 20 minutes a day engaged with that process. His time with God is something that developed over the years from his decision to spend more time fully engaged in the relationship.
So, here we are, a few days after celebrating the birth of Christ and about to embark on a new year that is sure to be filled with increased strife, discord and stress. Troy says now is an ideal time to get into that habit of reading, praying and being engaged with God.
That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit www.forwardfrom50.com.
I’ll have another inspirational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.