Ryan has never forgotten the moment when he met Mother Theresa and she said, “My secret is simple I pray.” He didn’t forget it when his life changed completely and worry, fear and anxiety took root in his mind. Listen to how prayer and faith in Jesus brought him out of that and back into life.
Special thanks to our sponsor Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, who have been serving the homeless population and helping the lost become found for over 90 years. Our vision is to see every homeless neighbor — beloved, redeemed, restored. Find out more about them at ugm.org.
Pastor Ryan Bunbury is the Lead Pastor at Calvary Christian Assembly
He has a New Book coming soon! No Worries – How Turning Worry Into Prayer Changed My Life
Purposely. Your life, God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com.
1997 comes around, and that was the year I had an opportunity to travel to Calcutta and it was in Calcutta, India, the city where rats outnumber people 10 to one. It’s said to be the poorest city in the world. It was that year that I was privileged to meet Mother Teresa. Three months before she passed away, I was able to stand in the presence of Mother Teresa.
We’ve all experienced it. You run into a friend from the past, but there’s something different. They are changed. Maybe there is a calm where there once was a storm. Maybe there is gentleness instead of harshness, there’s a new passion, a new life. What changed? Welcome to Brought Back to Life, a podcast where we explore stories of ordinary transformation.
Hey, producer Luke here, just to remind you, I encourage you to listen all the way to the end of the episode for an important message from Brought Back to Life sponsor, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.
Hey everybody, I’m Ryan Bunbury and I’m the lead pastor at Calvary Christian Assembly. We’re the Jesus Loves Seattle church. You’ve probably seen this sign and that’s what we’re all about. We’re all about helping people find and follow Jesus. And we like to say both locally here in Seattle and globally around the world, we believe Jesus loves Seattle. So, we love Seattle. And man, that’s my story. I’m sticking to it. We just, we’re all about Jesus and people. So I, speaking of, I wanted to just take a minute to share with you just a little bit of my story, and how Jesus’ love has totally transformed my life and I want to tell the world. So, we’ll start here together with you and me, and what an honor to be able to share a little bit of my story in this way. I’m going to share just a good story, a good book with different chapters.
I want to share just a few chapters, a few highlights from my story and my journey, and how it led to me writing the book, No worries. How turning worry into prayer changed my life. I believe prayer changes things, and that’s a huge part of my turnaround story. So, like 1990 is the year that I was baptized in water. I remember it for those who have experienced water baptism, I had the benefit of being baptized by my great-grandfather, Reverend Milton Newman in Collins Lake, California. And I remember from that year on, that moment on, when I went public with my faith, I could not stop talking about Jesus. I mean I wanted everyone to know, and I haven’t stopped. 1990 was a huge year for me. It’s because it’s the year that I went all in, literally, full immersion and decided to go public with my faith.
But a few years later, I remember that as a huge part of my story as well because I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and I remember that moment at the altar with my mom, Capitol Christian Center in Sacramento, California at the altar praying and praying and praying. In 1992 was the year Holy Spirit filled me. And once again, there was just this unction to be bold, to be courageous, and to tell people about Jesus. I remember 1995, I got to tell you about this highlight. 1995. Do you remember what you were doing in 1995? 1995 was the year that I sensed again at an altar, this time it was a moment of revival in my life as a young believer. And I remember three specific things in my spirit that were like nudges. I knew it was the Lord. I’ve never heard the Lord’s voice audibly, but I’ve always felted him like I did in 1995. Just kind of nudged me and he nudged me with three things.
The first thing he said was, I’ve anointed you, I’ve set you apart. I’ve anointed you. The second thing he nudged me with was he encouraged me to preach. He said, preach. Preach. Tell everybody about me. And then the third thing he nudged me with was go. Go get ’em. The lost the last and the least of these. I remember that moment so distinctly I can even if I close my eyes, picture myself at the altar. We were on choir tour. I can picture all my friends around me, Matt Rich, Rajiv Shane, there we are. I can see it. I can remember it when the Lord nudged me. 1995. Let me tell you about another year. Okay, so I leave the altar in ’95. I’m telling people about Jesus. I mean, I even wore a little lanyard that I had gotten at a youth convention one time that had the Romans road on it and I’m telling people how to find and follow Jesus. This is a huge deal, right?
1997 comes around, and that was the year I had an opportunity to travel to Calcutta. And it was in Calcutta, India, the city where rats outnumber people ten to one, it said to be the poorest city in the world. It was that year that I was privileged to meet Mother Teresa. Three months before she passed away, I was able to stand in the presence of Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa. She’s the one who would say things like, I can do things you cannot. You can do things I cannot. But together we can do great things. That’s Mother Teresa. I remember the few minutes we had with her, I remember it like yesterday, and she was the short stature, just humble woman. She’s the one who would say things like, humility is learning to accept humiliation cheerfully, right? So here’s this humble, short, humble way, and I remember her feet. Her feet were kind of contorted and they’d point in and I just remember everything about her was so unique. And I remember she gave us little prayer pins. She gave, handed out little prayer pins and with our team, the little minimal time we had with her, it was short because why? She had to go pray with the sisters in between working and serving at the home of the destitute and dying. Really, really what she was doing there in Calcutta, was she had set up the world’s poorest hospice center and she would love the people as they were dying. A short time with her, and I remember she said, I got to go pray. Minimal time with her because she had to go pray with the sisters before she got back to sharing the hope of Jesus, and sharing the love of Jesus with anyone in her spirit of influence. I remember it’s Mother Teresa, this so impacted me 1997 when she said, my secret is simple. I pray. Wow, you guys, unbelievable moment for me in 1997. It was a turnaround thought in me of even how I theologized and how I put together my faith and what was most important. And I wondered how was she so compassionate? How did she express love like she did? How was she there? What led her there? This woman who was born in a well-to-do family. Left everything and moved to Calcutta to love. How? My secret is simple, I pray.
Well, I’ve never forgotten those words. I’ve never forgotten that moment with Mother Teresa because fast forward a few years later, the year was night, it was 2004. So we move from the 20th century, now we’re in the 21st century. The year is 2004. This was the year that I was diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes. Chronic disease that does not want to be controlled. I remember the day I almost died. It was that year. Well, I should say I remember part of it, because my sugar was so high. By the way, as a healthy human, your sugar should be between 80 and 130’ish. The blood glucose, my sugar, just to put things in perspective, right before I slipped into a diabetic coma, I was told was between 700 and 800. And I remember checking myself into a hospital in that year, and I remember the last thing was being put in a wheelchair and wheeled somewhere. The next moment of memory I have was waking up, and I’m in the hospital room and my pastor’s there, and my mom had flown in, and Linaya, my wife, is there and we… I’m just confused what’s going on? And it was in that moment that I prayed and what I prayed? Jesus, please help. How did I get here? What’s going on? Why am I in a different hospital room than where I checked myself in? What’s going on? And as you can imagine in those that might have disease or chronic ailment and understand, it changes your life. And in the same way, there are moments that change us all. There I call ’em turnaround moments when we find ourself with consciousness of need and we turn to God. That was my moment again. And just as Mother Teresa, it said, my secret is simple, I pray. I found that to be more true in that moment than any others. When I called out to God, Jesus, please help.
Growing up in the church, I’ve prayed a lot, but it’s not until you experience trauma or change or hurt or pain or suffering of some sort, where you really dig in prayer. And for me, one of my greatest challenges has been dealing with anxiety, fear, and worry. Specifically, diabetes brought that on at another level I’ve never experienced. And through it I’ve found victory. And how have I found victory? None other but praying. Prayer. Turning my anxiety, turning my worry, turning my fear, turning my care into prayer has completely changed my life. So, what I’ve decided to do is I decided I need to share some more of these stories with people. And so, I take time every day, I call it my coffee time with Jesus. And so, in my coffee time with Jesus, I sit and I pray. I brew my French press, I make my coffee, I sit in my little chair in the mornings, and I talk to God. Well, one of these times I was talking to God, just in conversation, having my coffee time with Jesus, I got a thought. And the thought was write it down, tell somebody. And so what I did, I started writing it down and I started telling people. And what I found out was it was helpful to do that. By the way, if you have a story in you, I want to encourage you, write it down and tell somebody. I’m just, I just so believe as my book is about to be published, my very first book, I just so believe that everyone has a story and everyone needs to write it down, and everyone needs to tell it. Aren’t you glad that first century Christians did that? We have still, we’ve got Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We got the gospels, we have the epistles, we have the word of God now to reference because somebody wrote it down, and somebody told you and me about it.
It’s powerful what happens? So, I did that, and out of obedience, I wrote this book and the book’s called No Worries How Turning Worry Into Prayer Changed My Life. And the preface of the big idea, the overarching thought is we got to start thinking about what we’re thinking about. We’re built for contemplation. I mean, we think, right? But we got to start not only thinking about what we’re thinking about, we need to start praying about what we’re thinking about. The word meditation, right, closely resembles the root meaning of the word medication. And so here’s how we kind of connect all these thoughts, all these different highlights of my stories, because in the same way, I have to give myself three to four shots every single day of insulin. I’m insulin dependent. I’m a T one D, I’m a diabetic. I have to give my in the same way. I have to give myself three to four shots of medication every day. It reminds me that in the same way, I need to be praying every day, because thinking about what I’m thinking about, means praying about what I’m thinking about. And the meditation, if I do it right is like a good medication that keeps my body balanced, that keeps me full of joy, that keeps me filled with peace, that helps me live with wellbeing and happiness. So, the idea is think about what you’re thinking about, but don’t just meditate on those worries, anxieties, fears, and regrets. Turn all that into prayer. And so, that’s the kind of the premise of the book. The overarching idea is how you can turn your worry into prayer. Because what we think about really does affect our overall health and wellbeing. It’s actually scientifically proven, that what we think about impacts our wellbeing.
So, what I came up with was I want to want to see how many people I can help turn their worry into prayer. So, I wrote a book, no Worries How Turning Worry into Prayer Changed My Life. And I tell more of my story in the book, but it’s really, it’s a prayer challenge, a 30 day worry-free challenge that I myself went through and experienced a great amount of healing and help and hope through these times. I want to leave you with a scripture that has completely changed my life and I think will encourage some who are currently going through some worries… whether it’s medically induced or maybe you’re worrying about a relationship, maybe there’s a financial hardship. Maybe you’re jobless right now. Maybe someone betrayed you. Who knows? These are all parts, by the way of my story. I can say it because I’ve lived it and I get it. But here’s the scripture. The scripture comes from Paul the Apostle, and this is from Philippians chapter four verses six and seven. And here’s my encouragement to you. These are some of the things I’ve learned from my great-grandfather who baptized me in Collins Lake, to my mother who stood with me, kneeled with me, prayed with me at the altar when I was baptized, to my time in youth camp with youth, at youth convention, or with choir tour at the altar when the Lord called me. To my time in Calcutta with Mother Teresa and her encouragement to pray. All these experiences really come as an echoing from what the Paul, when Paul the Apostle encouraged us all to do. And it’s this, Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns Bbefore you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. No worries, y’all. If God can change my life by turning worry into prayer, he can do the same for you.
I can’t thank you enough for being on the show to talk about your spiritual death because without it, you couldn’t be brought back to life. Now here’s a powerful testimonial from our sponsor, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission,
Helping the lost become found with Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission doesn’t just provide food and shelter. They offer a path out of homelessness, giving men and women a safe place to recover from addiction and start on the path toward a new life.
I was homeless for 10 years. I tried to get sober, but I couldn’t avoid the relapse. I couldn’t do it on my own. I remember my kids telling me they missed me and they wanted me home, and I couldn’t be there for them because my addiction kept taking me away from them. I had to change for them. Through the grace of God, I found the Mission and the women I met, there will be my friends and sisters for the rest of my life. At one time, I didn’t think I could make it through the day without getting high. And here I am, six years sober. I have my kids back and our house is full of love.
Even when it seems impossible to see, hope can be found. Local men and women in our area desperately need a fresh start, and that’s what they find at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. From learning to trust again to that first hot meal tour recovery program, and then job training. The Mission’s recovery programs offer counseling, case management, chemical dependency classes, and so much more. To hear, more volunteer or donate, visit ugm.org.
Jesus said in the Bible, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?
We are telling these stories of transformation so you can know and understand the power of Jesus in your own life. If you’d like to learn more about Jesus and how he can bring you back to life, visit us at onpurposely.com/who is Jesus. And if you like brought back to life, please give us a five star rating and a review. You can follow brought Back to Life on Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, or wherever you’re listening right now. You can also just tell your smart speaker Play brought Back to Life Podcast.