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“The Unmasking” Chris Archuleta

Have you ever had the feeling that your life, what people see, and the reality of your heart are so far apart it is like you are wearing a mask. Chris Archuleta was faking his spirituality as a pastor, so much so, that his family didn’t even know. This went on for years, until through a series of painful events, God helped him take that mask off. He shares with us that painful, but healing process, and how His loving God captured his heart, and restored him back to ministry.

And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

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Topics Shared:

He thought his ethnicity was ‘christian’
Intense Biblical upbringing
Traumatic event caused deep hostility as a teen
Mean kid, who picked on others, fights
Great academics
Living a double life, rule following at home trouble at school
Pretending to be perfect
Changed at a teen retreat
Baseball player
Dad started a church, his brother was the youth pastor
Maybe I am next
Reading for his own, and starting speaking publicly
Out of his comfort zone, classic introvert
Nervous to speak, hiding his shyness (chewed gum)
Compromising his faith in a relationship
Let go as a pastor
Fired from a bunch of jobs
Became a phony and a fake as a pastor and worship leader
His wife didn’t even know
The spirit had left him and he didn’t even know it
Combining church ministry with his family was a train wreck
Family relationships were strained

Parenting changed him, his daughter is his world and his son is his heart.
Suicidal low and a call that changed him.
The death of a godly man and the birth of another.
Vulnerability with a pastor that reached out.
The mask comes off
Restored as a pastor

Chris Quotes:
“My marriage, all of the faking and the phoniness, I couldn’t do it and I snapped. We were now arguing all of the time. I couldn’t carry the weight I was carrying. I couldn’t do the things that I was doing. I couldn’t fake it any more, and I felt that I was letting everyone down.”

“My prayers in public, you couldn’t tell that I was not praying at all. When I was praying at churches or leadership meetings, you just couldn’t tell because I had gotten so good at faking it. And I had gotten really good at burying the feeling of being a phony. And I was getting away with it. And that is the part that scared me the most.”

“That was probably my biggest mistake in ministry, that I thought I was the guy shouldering everything went into His strengths.God. I never went into His grace and love to power me through it. II never said. ’God this is your ministry. It was mine. I personalized it so much, that I never gave it to God. So when it started crumbling, it was me. I fell apart. It was my mistake. And then I got angry at God. I became your classic prodigal son older brother. But what about me, and I became very angry at God.”

“You have to get the mask off, and the easiest way is accountability. God didn’t
design us to be alone. If you look at animals in nature, the one the lion gets is the animal that is by itself. The enemy comes after us when we are alone.”

“The biggest struggle in the church today is the lack of authenticity. If hypocrisy at its root is a lie, authenticity is the truth. If we were just more truthful at church. If we could just remove the facades of ‘God is good all the time which isn’t a lie, but yeah ‘life sucks, life hurts, I am struggling with this, to find someone to be honest with, and to be honest with God.”



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Chris Archuleta: And I had put on that mask for a good oh two years, two to three years of going up there and speaking, when I spoke leading worship, me and my wife would lead worship together for our church. I’d play the guitar, she would sing pretending to have these God-like experiences, but I was as dead inside as a Christian could be.

Narrator: And now for the next episode of, Letters From Home. Sending encouragement to your doorstep by capturing the heartbeat of God’s people, one story at a time.

Meg Glessner: Hi, are you ready to be encouraged? This is Meg Glessner, your host. Have you ever had the feeling that your life, what people see, and the reality of your heart are so far apart? It is like you are wearing a mask. Today’s guest was faking his spirituality as a pastor. So much so that his family didn’t even know. And this went on for years, until through a series of painful events, God helped him take that mask off. He shares with us that painful, but healing process and how his loving God captured his heart. Enter the faith story of the everyday extraordinary, Chris Archuleta.

Well, Chris, I am so happy to have you on the podcast today, on Letters From Home, and just getting to meet you during the pandemic on Clubhouse, that social media app. How crazy is that? And being involved with so many great conversations. Personal, real conversations with people all over the world.

And when I got to meet you, what struck me about you immediately is how relatable you are. And you just have this quality, like, hey, you wanna be everybody’s friend. Which is so funny because your podcast is called, Your Church Friends. And when I listen to your show, I really feel like I’m sitting with you and your co-host just hanging out and really getting into the scripture. So thank you for coming on the show today. And I know you have a, a great story, hard story, but I’m so happy that you’re willing to share it today.

Chris Archuleta: Yeah, thank you for having me. Yeah. Clubhouse was such a fun time. I, I think we even got into it during its beta time. Yeah. Yes. So, it was like before rolled out to all the like Androids and everything. So yeah, it was, it was, it was so much fun, and it was a great place just to connect with some wonderful people. It really, it was a, for me, a short time in my life, but it, such a memorable one. The connections made there seem to be solid and deep. And like, even with this one and yeah, me and Murdoch, that was kind of our goal with the podcast is just, we wanted to be conversations and we wanna feel like people could, are just there with us and nothing that seems too pushy. Nothing that seems abrasive, nothing that seems like we’re trying to force something down someone’s throat. Just, hey, this is how we look at the scripture and this is what God’s sharing on with us and working in our lives with.

Meg Glessner: Yeah, and it’s funny how, just as you’re asking the questions and, and you really get into the word, there’s so much teaching that happens in the middle of that too. So yeah, no, that’s really good.

Chris Archuleta: Yeah, I think we struggle with the most is sometimes we’re doing big chunks. Like right now we’re doing entire books and that, for an episode or two, that’s a lot, we still end up going like, ah, there was so much more meat in there that we could have pulled out. So, it’s more of a difficult and challenge to us to kind of make things concise and, and to the point.

Meg Glessner: Absolutely. Well, Chris, I’m so happy you’re, you know, willing to share your story about what God’s done in you and you know, let’s just, let’s start with your upbringing. So, could you bring us into your home? What did it feel like being “young Chris” in your home?

Chris Archuleta: So, for me, it was a lot different of a story than from my siblings. My parents grew up in more of a, I would say, a gang related culture. So, they were part of that lifestyle within the, the area we lived at. And you know, they ended up getting married at age 16 and 15 because my mom was pregnant with my older brother, and they still did wild, crazy things as kids.

By the time I was born, God had really come into, heavily more into my parents’ lives. So they both grew up Catholic, but one of my dad’s aunts became a Christian and she really was just praying for him and praying for him and praying for him. And, and my mom made the change first and then my dad did, and then I was born.

So, with my life it, I didn’t know any of the stuff that my siblings grew up with. I didn’t have that recollection. So, for me, you know, we grew up, it was always church. We went to church every Sunday, every Wednesday, we were always there. So, I, I grew up in a pretty Christian home even to the point where like, when I was in the third grade, a bunch of friends were like talking about their ethnicity. And so, like one was saying like, well, I’m Asian. Another one was like, I’m Mexican. Another one was like, well, I’m Cambodian or I’m Indian, you know, they’re like, Chris, what are you? Where are you from? And I was like, well, I’m a, I’m a Christian. And everyone started laughing and I didn’t understand why. And they were like, that’s a religion, not an ethnicity.

So, I didn’t even know like, really grew up like the whole, like you’re Hispanic and dived into culture. We, we really dove into the word and my dad really pushed that on us. You know, he made us memorize the 10 commandments, the 12 disciples, we were reading during the summertime. It would be, we’d had to read a chapter of the Bible and then write down what verse stood out to us the most. And I’m like five or six, I don’t even know how to read. And I’m gonna age myself here with this, and he said, “Well, listen to it on the cassette and then tell your brother and your sister to help you pick which verse you liked.” So, we were really raised that way. I think there was one time, my dad didn’t let us eat dinner until we memorized the Lord’s prayer, so I know a lot of people would hear that and be like, man, that’s a really harsh upbringing, but it really did ingrain God’s word into us at a young age that I’m so thankful for, now as an adult.

Meg Glessner: That’s cool. What did your pre-teen and teens look like? Did you, smooth sailing?

Chris Archuleta: Yeah, so it, it was. You know, and I grew up playing sports. So my dad was my coach and we, we did a lot of that. Like, it was just a lot of, go to school, practice baseball, go home, eat dinner, do my homework. And then Wednesdays go to church, Sundays go to church.

And somewhere around the beginning of the, my fifth-grade year there was a pretty big family issue that happened. I’m not gonna dive too much into it because it’s not completely totally my story to share. But what it created in me was a little bit of resentment and anger and hostility towards my parents. I, I guess some would say that’s your normal teenage rebellious stuff. But it, it went deeper than that. I was very angry. That, that lasted for a good chunk of all middle school and early high school years. I still did well academically, you know I, I, I wasn’t a bad kid as far as grades and stuff like that, cuz I was also afraid of getting in trouble, but I was angry.

And so, I was just a mean kid, you know, I would, I would, I would say things to hurt people, and not on accident. I would look at someone and judge them harshly and find all their flaws and just start picking on them and ridiculing them. Being a smaller guy, you would think that, okay, well that’s gonna catch up to you sooner or later. I positioned myself around guys who are slightly bigger. So that I wouldn’t get beat up too much. But I did get in a lot of fights in middle school and I got in a lot of trouble, but like I said, academically, I was still doing great, which was a problem, you know I was doing well getting A’s and B’s, so what it created was this thing of where I would get sent to the principal’s office, and they would say, “Chris, you have amazing grades. Why are you in here again? Just, just go.” And so things never really got told to my parents. And I kind of was able to live this hidden lifestyle where I would go to church with my parents on the weekends, but I was really just living how I wanted to at, at school and around my friends, you know. And, and it, it wasn’t good, you know, it wasn’t healthy, but it, there was a lot of anger and resentment.

And then about my junior year in high school, we went to a youth convention down in San Diego. And there was a speaker, his name was Reggie Dabs. And he talked about how, a friend of his was born from a young woman who was a prostitute, and then she gave him up to adoption. And he just talked about this friend’s anger and resentment towards it. And on the last night, I think it was like Saturday night or something, before we came home. You know, the big closing at most youth conventions to get kids to really change what they’re doing.

Meg Glessner: Right.

Chris Archuleta: He, he revealed that it was him. So it was, he was the kid, and that he had this box, this shoebox, that was all the letters from his mom.

Meg Glessner: Hmm.

Chris Archuleta: And he never opened them. He never wanted to read them; he was so angry at her. And eventually he did, he opened them up and he read them, and it just, it changed his life. It changed his heart, and it broke him. And he kind of said, you know, if you’re feeling this way, if you’re feeling any anger or resentment towards anybody, put all your feelings into the, into this, you know, just imaginary box and come bring it to the altar. And, and something just clicked. I think it was the honesty he had about it, and the way he shared it. But I, I, I decided I needed to do it. And you were talking about like thousands of kids, thousands of teenagers in this, in this convention center. And I was just so determined to make it to that stage and put this imaginary shoebox of anger, resentment, and everything that I was feeling up there. And, and I, I had to.

Because at church and in front of my parents, I was a great kid. And in front of other people, I played another part. So, I, it was almost, I started at, at a very early age learning what it was like to pretend, and how it was like to pretend to be perfect. So I could be a good kid who got good grades who never really got in trouble at home, but at school I could do a bunch of other things and act a certain way. And that was not healthy.

Meg Glessner: Totally, at that conference, would, would that be where you, you maybe gave your life to the Lord or, or did you maybe say some kind of prayer younger, and this was just like a really big turning point for you?

Chris Archuleta: I would call it like an altar, a moment, you know, like Abraham went out and he built his altars throughout moments. I, I feel like if anyone elderly asked, I would say I, I gave my life to God when I was six. And I remember that, I can’t tell you like the date or the time. Yeah. Whatever have had way too many concussions for that. But I do remember being on my on my parents’ couch, in our living room and praying for God to come into my life.

So that happened then, but I would say like, this was like an alter moment where, you know, God allowed this to alter my life and, and it did in a huge way. I, I, I came back very changed. I wasn’t the sarcastic jerk who was just making fun of people for the fun of it. I, I, I, I changed. I, I, there are certain people I stopped hanging out with at school. There were certain things I started stopped doing. My, my whole motivation of what I wanted to do really changed.

So I always thought I’d be a, a baseball player. Unfortunately, I played baseball in the early nineties and late two thousands. So, if you weren’t six foot four, 230 pounds and jacked up on steroids, you weren’t, you weren’t getting any attention. I was very good. I had a, I was better defensively than I was offensively, but at this point in my life, I’m five six, five seven, or five eight on with certain shoes on ,170 pounds. In high school, I was like five three, five two, maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet. So, I wasn’t getting, that wasn’t gonna happen.

And I think I came to the conclusion that wasn’t, but I was okay with it, because I really felt God was leading me towards other areas in my life, probably to have more relationship with him. At that point my dad left the church we were going to, to start his own. And my brother was now the youth pastor. So I definitely felt this moving of God, saying like, hey, maybe you’re next. Yeah. It really just seemed like my journey with God began there. Like, you know, I was saved, but I, I prayed that he would come into my life, but the journey of taking it as mine. It was no longer my parents. It wasn’t my brothers or sisters. It was mine. I began to get in the word more, like honestly read it, and not just kind of read it because I had to but read it because I wanted to. Because I, I wanted to know who this God was and who, who this Jesus was, who could take a heart that, that was just filled with anger and bitterness and start to really shape it and mold it.

And, and then I actually started my public speaking, I guess you would say. Around then my brother, let me speak to our youth ministry, and the first one was just totally scripted, and I read word for word. The, the second one became a little bit better. You know, it, it was something I actually enjoyed, which was really for me, recognizing God in that moment, because I’m not an extroverted person, no matter how much it sounds like I am when you hear me talk or when people talk to me in general. Internally, I am an introvert. I want to be alone. I don’t wanna be around people. I don’t like being the center of anything. I just want to be a guy in the corner.

Meg Glessner: Hmm.

Chris Archuleta: But when it comes to speaking and, and, and preaching, I find that’s where God works the most, because it is taking me out of me and, and being completely used by him. Like, this is, this is not something that I would just say, “That’s what I like doing.” For the most part, I am, yeah, I am your classic introvert. I will go vacuum my driveway with no cord plugged in, just so the neighbors don’t talk to me.

Meg Glessner: Isn’t that funny? Wasn’t Paul that way too, in the scriptures. And you know, it always gets me when people say, “Oh, do what you love and what you’re passionate about.” And I mean, yes, to some extent that’s true, but sometimes the best preachers, I don’t wanna say the best preachers, like as a comparison. But you know, where God really speaks to you, it’s the one who maybe doesn’t have it, isn’t a good speaker. But they love the Lord and it just kind of shines out. So, I kinda kind of love that you’re an introvert. And the Lord saying, “Here, okay, why don’t you speak?” And, and you’re reading off a piece of paper, like, “Let’s do it, Lord. I’ll do it. Okay.” at 18, right?

Chris Archuleta: Yeah. I’ve yeah, I think I was 18 or 17 or 19. But it was a yeah, somewhere around there. There was a lot of nervous ticks that I had. My second message I picked up the, the micro, the music stand, and I was spinning it in my hand. I used it for an illustration, and I totally forgot to put it down, because it made me comfortable. And then I tried for the longest to be able to chew gum while I spoke, because chewing gum was always a way for me to just hide my shyness, the, the introvert inside of me. It just, I popped that thing in, and I just feel more comfortable. It’s that nervousness that twitchiness kind of going away. But yeah, all those things were told, no, so it, it definitely did have to learn how to embrace, I guess, this gift God gave me.

Meg Glessner: Did you enjoy serving with your brother? What was that dynamic like?

Chris Archuleta: Working with my brother was great. And we, I learned so much from him during that time. It was a really cool experience. And it kind of shaped me for things, but he eventually ended up stepping down when he got married. And he got married when I was like about 18,19. And so at the church I was at, I kind of floundered a little bit with what to do.

I, I worked as a trustee for a few years. And then I worked with the kids’ ministry after I graduated high school, because it just felt like I didn’t wanna stick in the high school ministry. So, I stepped down to help the kids’ ministry, which was great. I really enjoyed that stuff, but there was really nothing for me. The group that I graduated with, a lot of them stopped going, stopped attending. And they tried to, to for a few years run a young adult’s program, but it just, it just, wasn’t what I was looking for. From there, I got invited to go to the church that I’m currently at, by my cousin. So, my cousin, during that time, my younger cousin ended up getting saved because his neighbor who’s like my best friend now, they invite his family, invited him to church and he went and got saved there. And they, they were like telling me like, Hey, we’re starting, our church is actually starting a college program. You should come and check it out. So, I was like, sure. So, I checked it out and I was like, this is it. This is where I need to be.

It was a really good time for me. It was a growing time for sure, but in the course of that, I also had put myself in an and in a relationship that probably wasn’t the best for me. It, it wasn’t healthy with a, with a girl and it, it led to a lot of mistakes. She wasn’t a Christian and I just wasn’t strong enough not to compromise in areas I shouldn’t have.

And it, it was unhealthy, but I, I did eventually end that relationship. And I moved again into this realm of where people saw me every day at church, or at church saying like, man, Chris is really good. He has commentaries on his desk. Let’s get him involved in ministry. Let’s get him plugged in. I started serving at the middle school ministry. But in the background, I was also kind of doing something I knew I shouldn’t. Eventually my friend who was in charge of the middle school ministry, he stepped down and the student pastor said, Hey, you wanna do this?

And I don’t remember ever saying yes or no. That that’s always the funny part to me. It was just like show up to my house and then we’ll talk about things. And it was like, I showed up and he was like, Okay. So, here’s what we’re gonna do. Here’s the plan here’s what’s coming in. So, I took over for him and my first year was just, it was just a bust. Like it was hard, it was difficult. I had leadership issues. Some of my leaders, they were also younger than me, so they were fresh out of high school. And so, you know, one of them was definitely in very opinionated, and she kind of led some rebellion against some of the ideas that I had, or how I was trying to do things. But I was just struggling in general because I didn’t know how to handle that situation.

I didn’t know how to lead yet. I didn’t know how to approach a situation with grace instead of just saying I’m right, you’re wrong, type situation and kind of being more controlling. So, I really was just young and inexperienced and then I was still holding the shame of what I had just done. This relationship that I knew wasn’t right, and kind of the sin that was there. And I never really fully went to God and said, I’m sorry. I never fully went back and said, I repent of these things and I’m trying to move forward now. just kept it a secret. I buried it. I put in a box and left it there and, and then eventually it did come out more in like a life group.

And this was the crazy part for me because, again, growing up with my family, it was it was family issues, our family issues and no one’s else’s issues. So, you kept those things private, you didn’t air out your dirty laundry. And then I got into a, a place where there was like life groups and people there, my age, where we’re talking about struggles and issues. And there was this one guy who just, he never shied away from sharing anything, and it just was refreshing to me. So, then I felt a, a, a place where I could, you know, kind of unhinge that locked box just slightly enough to where I felt comfortable. And it was really a changing thing for me. Again, one of those altar moments where God used that to just kind of catalyst what happened my next year within the ministry. It started, it went, it was great. The, the ministry was growing. The leadership issue got resolved in its own grace of God way. I ended up getting some other leaders who were just super cool and, and supportive, and this thing was rolling. And we had a year that was just phenomenal in, in my opinion of, of what God could do, using a young fool who thought he knew everything and it, it was just great. We went from like 15 kids to 70 middle schoolers. Not, not just high school, this is just purely middle school. So, I thought I was rolling in a, in some really good ways there.

Meg Glessner: That’s so encouraging just to see all the growth. And, you know, you’ve mentioned a couple times just. And I know you have kids now. You mentioned that you felt like you just couldn’t share and like you had to be perfect and have a mask. I know that seems to me like one of the big themes of your life, is that something. How do you help your kids now with that as a parent?

Chris Archuleta: Really, it’s just the, the straight up honesty, I don’t shy away from things. The things that I struggle with, the things that I deal with. I’m completely honest with them, especially when I start to see these little characteristic traits now play out in my kids. My daughter, more than anyone. My son is just a loving, caring little boy. I don’t know how he came from my DNA. It’s just, it’s shocking sometimes on how much he loves people, and oh, and how sweet he is. But my daughter is me. She’s a sarcastic little mean jerk sometimes. And, and it’s just hard to see these things that I know I struggle with, and that I struggled with deeply. And so, I’m just honest with her. I say, you know, baby, this is, that’s something that daddy dealt with, and we need to work on it. We need to let God really have control of those things. And, and so like with my anxiety issues, I can see it in her. And we now talk about it and I tell her, this is how I handle things. This is how I deal with things because I don’t let them conquer me. I, I don’t let them defeat me. They sure. I, I heard someone say this, it was more about fear, but I kind of tie it into anything now, really, that we, we deal with in some of these areas. But he said fear can be in the car, it just can’t drive it. And I really like that concept. and that’s how I kind of deal with some of like the anxiety and depression issues that I’ve I’ve discovered that I have. Yeah, they could be there. They’re just not driving the car.

Meg Glessner: Right, right. Oh, so good. Well, you know, and just to see that you had that really beautiful season where the ministry was growing and here you are just fall, you know, Lord I’m available and you, you step in ministry. You’re trying to deal with that, you know, forgiveness and secret secret sin. And how did the church re respond or what, what’s your, what does your next chapter look like?

Chris Archuleta: So, there was some changes within the church leadership. The student pastor, he got a job in Florida, so he was going down there. It was with a pretty big church. So, he was gonna go do that. And he put another person in charge. He took over and, and he was actually like my best friend at the time. So, I thought this is gonna be cool, but he was a lot younger than me.

And at this point, you know, my one year of success had turned me into a pride, also, a little bit of a pride monster, thinking I’m the guy with the answers and all the things. So, I had told him, you know, there’s not much you can help me with. Just let me do my thing and I’ll make you look good. That’s all you need to do.

He didn’t take too kindly to that. So, I was removed from my position and asked to not share why as I’m like growing and these kids are now attached to me and this ministry’s growing. I have to say like, Hey, I, I, I’m not doing this anymore. I’m still gonna be part of the church. They’re just, I’m gonna help the adult ministry now and this and that kind of church politics.

And it, what was hard about that, wasn’t so much that my friend asked me to do this that hurt. It was more the kids. Yeah. They became to not like me. And they were like, why would you do this to me? Why would you hurt us? Why would you not do this? I thought you said you would stay here at least until I graduated and went to high school. And I got a lot of that. And that really messed with me in a bad way. I, I became very bitter. Again, I always struggled with this still as much as I let go of that anger and resentment, it still was, I, in a sense, I cut off branches. But the root was there, and it was still there digging its way into my life. And you know, more branches started growing.

So, I, I stayed at the church and I helped the pastor with sermon prep and some other things, but I was just kind of attending, and I didn’t like that. But during that time, I did start dating at the time, my wife. So, that was kind of a new chapter in itself. That was, it was refreshing. We both came to a place. She had just broken up with her boyfriend. I was in this spot. So, we were both in this spot of just kind of hurt. And we were able to, you know, we came together and comfort each other and it was, it was nice. So, as much as I could look hindsight now and say like, if I was still in middle school ministry, would I’ve been able to give the same time and attention to this relationship? Probably not. So it was as much as I’m, again, I wanna be not happy with what happened. You can see God orchestrating and moving things through it.

Meg Glessner: Yeah. And that must have been hard. And that’s the church you’re still at today, right?

Chris Archuleta: Yes. That’s the church we’re at now.

Meg Glessner: Yeah. Boy, sometimes it’s so hard to stay put, and yet to stand with the pastor must have been quite a challenge, but it was during that season where you met your wonderful wife, how cool is that?

Chris Archuleta: Yeah. So, we had known each other for a long time. We were actually I wouldn’t use the term friends. I don’t think she liked me. Actually, I could, I could actually say, I know she did not like me as a person. actually, the first time we met; I made her cry because I said something rude to her. And so, it, it really was one of those God things of bringing us together that, that it just, it made sense. At that point we just started talking and, and it, it was a, it was a cool, fun way to meet. And then, yeah, the relationship got really serious, and we were, we were dating and we were both at the church, but I had told the senior pastor specifically that if I’m, if I’m just showing up on Sunday morning and I’m sitting, I can’t do that.

Like you guys removed me. You said I was gonna do this, but at this point I, you know, I, I didn’t choose to, like you said, it wasn’t my choice. And you know, I was playing, I was playing church politics. I was taking the brunt of this move because like, yeah, my friend was a young leader. I didn’t want him to have to go through it, but I was taking a brunt of the kind of resentment from the kids.

So, I told him if I, if I’m just a pew sitter, I’m gone. And I found myself within like maybe six months of that just sitting every Sunday and not really being used. And it just didn’t sit well with me. So, I decided that I would go help my brother. He had just at that time he went to go help my dad during the same time I left the church we were both at, and then through their conference, they gave him a, a church in the city of Hawaiian Gardens.

But we, we, he at that church there and I decided I would go help him. And so, I left my, my fiancé to help build this small church that was meeting at two o’clock on Sundays. And, and we did that for a few for actually for a lot of years, but, you know, we had bounced around, we were moving from location to location. We went to like a church in Downey and rented, and we were just moving a lot around a lot. But I became like his associate and lead pastor. And we really, weren’t getting a lot of support from our conference we were a part of, but we just kind of kept going and God was doing really cool things.

And then through that time we got married and we were living just our happy little life. You know, we had our daughter, and we bought our house. So, like, God was just kind of things were just happening in life. They were great. And, and it was just really cool. And, and then I went to working part-time and doing ministry part-time, and everything was just rolling.

You know, our church wasn’t booming, but it had growth. It had spiritual growth and there were real things happening there. And, and it was just an exciting time in our life, but that’s also where the real issues for me started to kick in. These, these hidden things of perfectionism and being able to put on a mask. That came back up and that came back up in probably the most devastating way for me than any other point in my life.

So, I was in my word less where it would be like, okay, maybe three times a week, two times a week, once a week, once a month, to where I wasn’t even reading my Bible at all. And, and the same thing would happen with my prayer life. I just wasn’t praying. And I knew a lot more than people my age. I relied on so heavily that I, I never pushed myself to grow anymore. I knew what I knew and because I was, I knew more than people who were at my stage in life. I didn’t, I didn’t push anymore. I didn’t desire to want to know God more, or hunger for that. You know, it just became like I’m full. And it led to me kind of really being a phony and a fake, I would go up there and preach, get into your word. You need to pray. You need to have this. You need to have that relationship with God, but I wasn’t doing any of it. And I was just doing it., And I, I, I would probably say for a good, oh, two years, two to three years of going up there and speaking, when I spoke. Leading worship, me and my wife would lead worship together for our church. I’d play the guitar. She would sing pretending to have these like God-like experiences. But I was as dead inside as a Christian could be, but no one knew it because I’d put the mask on. I would smile. I, I learned to hide it and, and it, it created a lot of issues inside because then the struggle became, I’m a phony, I’m a fake.

And then the issues became, okay, I think I’m okay with this. And as long as nobody knows, I can keep on pretending.

Meg Glessner: What was it like for your wife? Was she doing the same? Was she disappointed in you? What did like life look like behind closed doors for you?

Chris Archuleta: You know, it was crazy because she didn’t even know. Like, that’s how good I was as it at it. Like that’s how good I was at pretending, you know? I would move the pages in my Bible. We would talk about things. And again, because I’m just resting on knowledge. I, I was able to just pretend myself away. My prayers in public, you couldn’t tell that I was not praying at all. So, when we would pray at churches or leadership meetings, or just in, in general, you couldn’t tell. I was, I just had gotten that good at faking it.

And I had gotten really good at burying the feeling of being a phony. I was just like, Hey, this is what I’m doing, and I can do it, and I’m getting away with it. And that I think was the part that was scary. She never knew. And it wasn’t until she got pregnant with our son that the wheels fell off of this, this bus that I was driving.

We had a meeting with my dad about trying to combine our churches, and it just went, it, it went horrible. You know, I thought, you know, we had talked about it beforehand. There were some things said about like what, who would play, what roles. With my brother, I was given a lot of leeway to basically at times run the church. And at times to, you know, I was doing all the sermon work. So, sermon prep, what we were speaking, I was doing all of that leadership training. I was doing it, counseling. All that stuff. I was doing it. And he had given me a lot of leeway. So, going into it where now my dad’s a senior pastor, then it’s gonna be my brother, then it’s gonna be me. I, I was like, well, can I still at least do these things? And, and there was a lot of no’s. And there was a lot of questioning about some of our leadership and it just, it just did not go well.

And that was the first crack. That was the, the first real crack in it. All. That was kind of like the first time, even though I had felt I was faking it, I had felt, God, wasn’t still blessing me. We had a pastor on our show Chris Brown from north coast in Vista during our villain series. And we were talking about Sampson. And he was talking about Sampson as being this ideal idiot. That’s what he always calls them. And it’s, it’s great. He said, there’s no redeemable characteristics in Sampson. You know, the children’s stories that we teach kids are just totally, they’re not accurate to what Sampson was. But there’s this portion in it where it says, “and the spirit left Sampson and he didn’t even know it.” And I was there. The spirit had left, and I didn’t even know it. And then kind of that hand of God just said, like, this is where I’ve gotta stop you.

And that was the beginning that, that really, it started a lot for me. I started spiraling down of like, well, why my own family, my own dad wouldn’t wanna do, you know, work together so we could start this cool thing together as a church. And then my relationship with my brother was just getting strained. He was lead PA senior pastor, but you know, it kind of seemed like people viewed me more as that role. So, there was just a lot of tension.

Meg Glessner: It got pretty messy. Huh?

Chris Archuleta: Yeah, it got strained. And above all of that, I really, I never wanted to lose that relationship. My brother is, and always will be my best friend, and the guy I look up to the most. So, I didn’t wanna lose that. But then I had started having issues with friends, like just our friends within the church. You know, there was personal issues going on. And then leadership issues where we were having dissension between our leaders and, and this, these are brothers going at it.

And then my marriage, like all the, the faking and the phoniness, just, I couldn’t, I couldn’t do it. And I snapped, I couldn’t carry the weight that I was carrying. I couldn’t do the things that I was doing. I couldn’t fake it anymore. And I felt I was letting everyone down because there was a time where I was carrying everything. And that was probably my biggest mistake in ministry at that time, is that I thought I, I was the guy shouldering, everything. I never leaned into God. I never went into his strengths. I never went into his grace and love to, to power me through it. I never said, God, this is your ministry. It was mine. I personalized it so much that I never gave it to God.

So, when it started crumbling, it was me. I fell apart. It was my mistake. And, and then I got angry at God. I became your classic prodigal son, older brother, I’ve been slaving away for you for years, I’ve been doing all this stuff, but this guy who’s out doing this and this you’re just now you’re bringing him back in?

But what about me? And I became very angry at God. It was, it was a scary thing because I felt abandoned, and I felt that he had left me. And that was a problem. That the biggest problem I have is that I wasn’t serving him outta love. I was serving him out of what he could give me. And that was the issue I faced the most.

And so, our church is kind of diminishing, we, we did eventually combine with my dad, but it was under totally different things, just because we needed a place to be at. We couldn’t do the church. We were actually having church in my backyard for many years. But we couldn’t do it because, you know, my wife was like, we’re gonna have the baby. I don’t want church going on while we have a baby here. So, I was like, yeah, we’ll change that. But you know, we’re arguing a lot there’s issues of trust within our own relationship because she can’t trust me. And I feel like I can’t trust her. And he was born. And, and I remember that day, because the night before he was born, we, we had a planned C-section so he, we, he was gonna be born December 31st because we wanted that tax write off. So, that, that was the date. And we’re, we know we’re going to the hospital. And we had a nasty argument. It, it was bad. And I just remember during that time, just telling her, I don’t wanna do this right now. Just have the kid.

Go through the months of the hormones and all that stuff, and then let’s address our issues. But she was also in a place where she didn’t feel that was appropriate. She wanted to confront things now. So, it was one person wanting to confront the issue and the other person just wanting to ignore it.

And, but then the day he was born, you know, it wasn’t joyful. Like the day my daughter was born. I, I tell the story of my daughter being born, born with, with such love and, and just happiness. I remember seeing her blue little eyes and just like, my heart was overwhelmed. Like my world felt right.

And the day my son was born, I was angry and resentful at him. I felt if she wasn’t pregnant, I would’ve left the marriage. I would’ve taken our daughter and we would’ve been separated. And I felt that he was holding me back from, from doing what I wanted to do. But because of him, I, we, we stuck it out and we argued. It was weird, my wife with our daughter was able to nurse him and take care of him. But this time the, the drugs they had given her, they just affected her a little differently. So, she was way more loopy and he had to stay with me. So, I changed him and took care of him. And, and the moment I held him, all the year of anger and resentment, I felt something that I hadn’t felt before.

And it was just this soft change. But that didn’t stop me, you know? It was like, I knew I shouldn’t, but that didn’t stop me from going, keep going a little bit further down the road I was headed. But I knew, I, I felt that first time, and, and honestly, I’ll say probably one of the first times in my life, I felt that tug from God. And, and I felt him doing something.

And I, I tell my daughter like she’s my world, because when she was born, that’s what I said, you know, that my world is complete. And I tell my son he’s my heart because he gave me almost in a sense, a new one a new purpose. But like I said, I, I knew what I should do. And I just kind of still headed down this road. We were still having issues with our marriage. And then I started having health issues. Like I started having health issues where I was passing out, like just randomly. In the grocery store at home. And I, I, I say today, they never figured out. I was wearing a heart monitor. I had to go through the cat scan. I did a bunch of stuff. They said everything was perfectly fine. I honestly thought at that point I was sick because like, you just don’t randomly pass out without there being a real issue. But everything came back fine. And today I look at it and say, that was stress. I was so stressed that my body was just like, Short circuiting.

I was stressed and I was also not eating properly, but I was exercising like crazy. So, I was running like five miles a day, but eating one meal and drinking a Coke and saying that’s, that’s fine. I, my body was just physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally…. I was shutting down. Yeah. yeah. And it, it was bad. So, we started having those issues. I stepped down from ministry.

Meg Glessner: What made you wanna step down?

Chris Archuleta: I knew my brother wouldn’t do it. I knew biblically I should have. So, I did it. I did the thing that I, I knew he wouldn’t, and I stepped down for ministry and everything. We were going to separate churches. Me and my wife, I just needed to, to just be alone. It, it really is what I felt like I just needed to be alone. And I remember preaching the last message and saying, this is the last time I’ll ever preach. And it didn’t hurt like it does today. It was cold. It was callous. This gift that God had given me, this gift to, in a sense, being Oracle for him, I despised it. I hated it. And it was just where I was at this anger, because again, the mask. It, it got wore out. I put that mask on so much that I never experienced the love of other people. I was just sniffing the glue because that mask was on me. And during that time, it was just probably the darkest moments of my life.

I remember a day just sitting. My wife was at work, the kids weren’t there. And I was sitting in our living room, and I was done with life. When I had the knife, I had a knife to my wrist and I was moments away. I was crying at our living room floor and I was, I was done. And I said, God, you know, if, if, if you’re gonna do anything, now’s the time. Because if not, I’m done. And oddly enough, my brother calls me and says, Hey, I’m a few minutes away from the house. Get your shoes on, let’s go to lunch. And I said, okay. I put the knife away. I grabbed my shoes, washed up my face, and we went to lunch, and we just talked. We didn’t talk about church. We didn’t talk about marriage or nothing. You know, it was just two brothers talking. And I, I firmly believe if God didn’t intervene with him that day, I wouldn’t be here.

Meg Glessner: And right, as you had that, like genuine, sincere prayer to God, you know, did you feel like it wasn’t a mask then, it was just you without the mask crying out to God and like, then your brother calls.

Chris Archuleta: Like, it, it was really the first time, like, again, these really experiences with God really started happening and it was the first time I think I genuinely. Not the show, prayer, not the prayer that Jesus talks about, that the Pharisees can like to do. They, they get up and they do the show prayer, and they pray about this. It, it was buried in my closet, buried by myself alone with God and I didn’t hold back.

It was a, I would consider it a Psalms prayer. Through the course of that, I ended up my cousin, like my younger cousin who got saved and reason why I went to the church where I went to. He ended up getting cancer. And you know, he just started his little family and he ended up getting cancer. And so, I’m struggling through this. I’m struggling through that. My marriage is still a wreck. I mean, it’s still just, just totally utter chaos. So, I’m planning… I I did. I got a job working for the shutter’s company, a temp job that eventually led to me getting another job. And my wife ends up getting, she graduates, so now she has her degree. She’s gonna start her teaching career. So, we’re both working, and my job was just so stressful. Every day was like, the moment I got there, there was a fire. Everything was going on and I’m trying to learn this new thing that I’m just stressed out outta my mind, that when I come home, we’re not talking about stuff.

We’re just like, how was your day? Good, good. We’re raising our kids. We’re going to church. And things started diminishing. This, this attitude of, I want to leave. I need to move out. I think this marriage is done. It just stopped. And I, I really, other than the fact that I firmly believe that I was working so much and stressed out, like I was working 12-hour days sometimes. We, we just stopped arguing. And we just started talking and, and that was where me and my wife really fell in love to begin with. We just talked to each other all the time. One, because she just never stops. She could, she just talks, talk, talks, talks. You know, we just started doing those simple things again, and we were going to church and there was this healing starting to happen.

And within our marriage and within ourselves. Then somewhere around that time, I had a dream that I was pastoring again. And I saw my name on a, on a, you know, like a name plate. And it said, pastor Chris and the, the office was at the church we’re going to now. The church that we met. And I was like, no, I would, at that point because of the anger, when I left there, I was like, I’m never going back to that place.

I’m never doing that thing. They’ve had, during that time, some pastoral changes themselves. So, the senior pastor who was there at the time I was there, he stepped down. And they brought in the associate pastor who was pastoring at another church, who was the associate pastor when I was there, they brought him back. And he was, he’s a good dude.

He’s he was always good to me when I was there. So, you know, it was just weird to see. But I used it as a sign of hope. I, I used it as a sign of God saying, I’m not done with you yet, because that’s what I felt like. I was disqualified. I, I did not train my body. I did not beat my body. It wasn’t my slave.

So, I was disqualified from the prize and that’s that. God won’t use me in that capacity again. I’ll just be a guy who works. I’ll just be a guy who raises his kids and shows, goes to church every Sunday.

Meg Glessner: So, the dream was kind of a turning point for you.

Chris Archuleta: Yeah, it was a, it was a, it was a small one. It was a sliver of hope. Everything was still no matter what was going on there still just seemed to be this dark cloud. And it was just this sliver of hope that God may want to use me again. But then my cousin, unfortunately, after a very hard fight with cancer, did not win. It was shocking more than anything, because if you looked at him, you wouldn’t know he had cancer throughout most of his time. And there was so much hope. It seemed like he was gonna win this battle. I couldn’t, he was such a godly man, and he fought that battle with God so much. It was so encouraging. I just couldn’t waste away anymore. I felt like God took one godly, man home. I had to step up. I had to stop the mass stop. The, the pretending stop, the faking, stop, everything I was doing.

And that was my goal. You know, we, we had a service, we had everything. It, it was funny because during that time when he got cancer, I told him, I was like, Hey, remember how, like Jesus said, we’re getting to the other side. And then there was a storm, and the disciples were afraid, but he was like, we’re getting to the other side.

I said, Paul, we’re gonna get to the other side, man. We’re gonna make it. And God’s gonna get us there. That I really felt that in my heart, at that time, even being as far away from God as possible, I really felt that. I’ve learned over the years, that wasn’t a word for him, cuz God had his plan with him. That was a word for me that God was going to get me through the storm. And that’s really where this journey starts altering this, this angry prideful, bitter person, who’s still holding resentment towards God, towards people in his life. It started changing. I was working. I was very successful at what I did. Was making a lot of money while doing it.

Our life was just very comfortable because my wife’s teaching. And so, and our marriage is working. It’s, it’s getting better. And our kids, like our relationship with them is getting better, and I’m driving, and I see the pastor of the church we’re going to walking down the road, down the street, down Rosecrans Boulevard, and God says, pull over and talk to him.

And I said, Nope. And I kept going. And it’s eating at me now, I’m sitting at work and it’s eating at me. And I’m like, oh, I should have pulled over. And I was like, no, it’s better that I didn’t. And I said, all right, look, God, I’ll make you a deal. All right. I, I, I’m obviously something’s happening here. You’re, you’re more present than you have been. If I see him again, I’ll pull over and talk to him. And I, and I don’t know what you want me to say. I don’t know what we wanna talk about, but I’ll do it. So, two weeks go by nothing. I don’t see him and nothing. We’re just, I drive. And then two weeks later, I see him on the side of the road walking again. And God’s like, you better pull over now. Why is that? Yeah. And I never, I had been working at this company or at this point now for two years driving the same way. I had never seen this man walk down that way, driving to work, other than those two days. As I God’s hitting me, I said, nah, and I kept going again.

And then very audibly I heard you better pull that car around. And I did. Then I did, then I submitted, and I pulled around and I said, Hey, Ken, I, I, I don’t know. I’ve heard this is going on at the church. You know, I would, I would like to maybe get involved a little bit more, but honestly, I don’t know. I just felt like God said, pull over to talk to you. And, and through conversation later, it was divine. He had something in his heart that was going on, and it it’s funny. He told me this, he said, the day I pulled over that he was like, we talked. And he was like, yeah, whatever. He kind of like brushed me off.

And he was walking down the street was like, huh, not Chris Archuleta. And then God told him, yes, Chris Archuleta. You don’t know what I’m doing in him. And so, we met, we met up and we just talked and, and, and I, I talked to him and I, and this is where I just was like, blah, here’s everything. Here’s the story. Here’s where I’m at. Here’s where I, he…

Meg Glessner: …took the mask off and here it is.

Chris Archuleta: Here’s where I’m at. Yeah, it, it finally fell off. It, it came off completely with him. And he, he told me, and it was the, the, the four words that changed my life, really at that moment were, I’ve been there too. And when I heard that, it was so refreshing the struggles with ministry, the interpersonal struggles, the lack of phoning it in or the, the case of phoning it in. And just to hear someone who’s been doing it for so long and as long as he has to say that it, it just was refreshing. I felt relieved. I felt like I’m not alone. And so, we started fresh and, and my wife joined the worship team and she started singing. I got involved with life groups and began to lead one.

And through this, my pastor’s mentoring me through all the confusion and the issues that I’m dealing with everything. And then we started making new friendships there, through our life groups. So, it was great. And and then some of our old friendships got better. And that’s then, then my pastor connected me with my cohost, who, Murdoch, who was now the, he had just taken over the young adult’s position, pastor position.

And he said, Hey, I need you guys to just connect together. And our journeys were very similar. Where he went through a fall and a tragic a fall and some hurt and pain, and marriage issues that, and now what God was restoring, those things. That it was like, okay, I’m now connecting with someone who’s been where I’ve been and struggled where I struggled.

And it was great. You know, the journey was just getting better. My marriage was getting better. I was honest. And, and in my life group, I was more honest than I had ever been. I wasn’t hiding anymore. I wasn’t, I, I had found out during that time that I suffered from high functioning depression, which is basically I could go every day and be outside. I just don’t seem normal. I’m, shut down until I kind of almost snap out of it. It’s almost like a haze. Understanding that helps so much with our marriage because my wife was like, why are you always moody? We had a reason why I would suffer through some of the things I suffered with. Why I would shut down when I shut down.

Meg Glessner: High functioning depression. Yeah. That’s… how cool to realize that that’s what a blessing to be able to put a, put words with what you were feeling.

Chris Archuleta: Exactly. And it was so hard to live with that, not knowing what it was the Bible has, what does it say? Confess your sins and then you’ll find freedom. I’m, I’m paraphrasing that verse probably horribly. But there’s freedom in confessing our sins because the sin no longer has power over us when we do that. And that’s what I really learned. And that’s where I started to change. And then in May of 2019, I get taken to a conference. And there’s two pastors who speak at that conference. One of them is a Canadian pastor named Mark Clark and he just preaches the word like I always wanted to. There’s no holding back. There’s no pulling punches. He’s up there saying dumb idiot and stupid, and it’s great. But it works a little bit more for him because he has Tourette’s. I don’t have that, but I was like, yes, I want to say all these things. And it was just inspiring.

And then it was the pastor who was recently on our podcast, Chris Brown was speaking, and people were talking. They were telling me about him before I even heard him speak. He was like, this guy’s a storyteller. And he’s great. Like if I were to ever give anyone an example of how to be great at presenting God’s word, It would be listen to him.

He does it with compassion. He does it with love. You could feel the influx of his voice and his emotions. And he’s giving this message on Peter being a fisherman, and the call to be Fisher of men. And he was like, a lot of people get that confused about like, that’s us being evangelist and being fishers of man.

And he was like, no, that was a direct call to Peter. God was saying, can you just do the things I called you to do? And I was oddly enough sitting, like it was a small little room because it was a breakout session, I was sitting like directly eyesight of him from where the stage he was standing at in the middle of the room at the back of the room. And it’s like, he made eye contact with me and said, can you just be a good dad? Can you just be a good husband? And I was like, that’s, that’s it. I, I know what I need to do now. That’s where I wanna say a big chunk of Chris died, and god started moving. And, and really just the oblation of the perfectionism, the mask, the, the growing up in church, being raised in the church philosophy of you gotta make sure everything looks good.

And I went away with five things and I, and I had a journey ride with the pastor. And on the way back, I said, you know, Ken, I’ve, I’ve been to so many conferences where I felt inspired. This one, I felt like I got my teeth kicked in. I feel convicted and I feel challenged. And these are the things I need to do. I need to learn to love God, right? I need to learn to love my marriage right. And my wife. I need to learn to love my family again. I need to learn to love my calling, and I need to learn to love the church. That’s where I, it changed. I started reading my Bible again and again, and God’s words, they never spoke to me like this.

They were just full of life. They were full of things. I was seeing his word in a different way. They began to really hit at my heart. And it was the first time in my life that I was reading my Bible, not on reading it on what I could teach other people. On what God is just saying to me. And that was a huge change. Through that this whole thing, a few weeks later, I’m talking to my wife, and I said, I I’ve gotta quit my job, cuz I don’t like it. And I don’t feel this is where God wants me. Now, the company I worked for was amazing. And my, the owner of the company was a great guy. And the guy, the sales rep I worked for was a great guy and I was finding success there.

It wasn’t like, things are bad. I was just unhappy because I really realized that’s not where God wanted me. So, the job was tremendous. It, it, it, I told my, my boss, the owner of the company, when I, when I told him I’m gonna step away from the company, that it saved my life. It saved my marriage. That without a shadow of a doubt, that that company saved my marriage because it kept me so darn busy that you know, we just weren’t, we, we weren’t arguing anymore.

So, I did that. And then we started talking to me and, and Murdoch about the podcast and like, what would we do? And we spent a year of talking about it. We buy equipment we’re recording things, but my love for God just took on a whole other level. And then as I’m through the stages of, I quit, or I put in my resignation, I promised I would stay there till July to help train someone else. And I did, but on June 4th my birthday, Murdoch ends up getting sick and he says, I need someone to speak to the young adults on Wednesday night. And I just type back so quickly, I’ll do it. For the first time in six years, I preached again and it was cool. I preached the, the verse, the passage first Corinthians 9:24-27. It’s the first verse I ever taught on, and I taught it again. But this time different, it was changed because I understood what it meant to train up your body, to beat your body, to make it your slave, to, to not get disqualified, because I didn’t do that right. I learned what it meant to have focus, to, to allow God, to work in ways.

And it was just cool. And it was the beginning of where I’m at now. And marriage has been great. Everything’s been great. God’s worked in so many ways. It just was great. You know, then then 2020 hit and there’s a pandemic. Honestly, it was tough, but like, we were good. We were together in the house, and everything was going great. We traveled more. We went on more trips because we could take the kids’ iPads and school computers, and my wife’s working. She’s a teacher, so she’s working remotely. So, we’re taking these trips, we’re traveling and everything’s just rolling. God’s good. Church is doing great. I’m doing great.

Marriage is doing great. And 2021 comes along and it is the best year of my life. Hands down. My, our marriage is solid and it’s solid because she’s hungering and thirsting for God. I am. And because we’ve learned to love God right, we’ve learned to love each other. We don’t do those things that I think people say you should like, pray together every day, but we walk a lot together.

It became like our thing during the pandemic is to walk. We have a serious Fitbit challenge in our family where everybody wants to be the stepping champion. Of course. And we walk and we talk, and we don’t talk about things that are just like nonsensical. We talk about where she’s at and what she’s reading and what she’s learned and what God has been talking to her as she’s gone through Genesis to where I think she’s now in the Chronicles of just reading her Bible.

I’m talking to her about how I’m reading my Bible and what’s making sense now. And, and the Bible that I’m reading now, I’m, I’m writing in and I’m marking it up because I’m gonna give it to my son when he turns 18. And then as soon as I’m done reading this one page for page, I’m going to read my old one and give that to my daughter when she turns 18, with all the markings and the things I’ve learned. Oh, in 2020, we started the podcast. So, we, we finally did it. The podcast started. Yeah. And we did all that, and that was great. You know, we’re traveling, we did cross country and God has just been good. And, and through the podcast of starting it. That friendship, that was totally just in my head, just done with my friend who took me outta ministry.

It got reconciled. He, he, he left a comment on one of the promotional things on Facebook. Like, oh man, this is super good, really good stuff. And for some reason, I was like, would love to have you on the show. And he was like, let’s do it. And we start communicating, talking back and forth. And, and we hadn’t talked to each other in decade, probably. God brought us back together. And now like a few weeks ago, our families just had dinner together. The kids are playing in the pool. Our kids are about the same age, God reconciled that relationship.

Meg Glessner: Do you feel that there’s healing in your, with your brother and your dad as well?

Chris Archuleta: Oh yeah. Yeah. Our, our relationships, especially with my dad is so much better than it’s ever been. And, and with my brother, things are, are great, but it, it, it had to come from, I learned to love God right. And when you learn to love God right, you learn to love other people right. You can’t, that’s part of the equation. If you skip loving God, you’re not gonna love people and you’re not gonna learn to accept love properly.

And it’s just been a wonderful time. It’s been a wonderful season of just growth reconciliation, growing more in God’s word. And my wife asked me the other day, if the only reason you have this podcast was, and it never does anything other like, you know, those numbers that people like to, to have, if it’s just what it is, you and, and Doug got to reconcile your friendship, is it worth it?

I said 100%, if that’s all that comes out of this, yes. Because that was that, that was a big part of my life that I needed to close. That was a big part of my life that I, and he did too. We both needed healing on that. And it’s just been phenomenal. Obviously, it’s not all up. You know, we had some downs. I got covid pretty bad. That there was definitely a point where I didn’t know if I was gonna make it through it, but, you know, God’s grace came through. And then yet we were driving through a storm on our cross-country road trip in Texas, that I thought we were gonna be those dumb people from California who thought we could drive through a Texas storm in our Prius, and our tornado took us.

And that was it, you know, but we made it and it was a scary moment, but it was a cool one. My daughter who deals with anxiety was so afraid, and I said, baby, God’s gonna, God’s gonna help us. You know, God’s leading the way and she got to take head knowledge and put it into an experience. This journey of my life, being born in church, raised in this idea of at least this self-imposed idea of that you’ve gotta be perfect, you’ve gotta be the perfect Christian. It’s all vanished and vanquished. And I, I live free and the ability to say, here’s where I struggle. Here’s where I’m still weak. Amen. And here’s where I can be me. And, and that’s been the beauty of the last, probably four years of my life is I I’m me. I, I still mess up. I still have areas where man, I, I wish I could, could just get that root out and God deal with it. And, and he is. You know, we’re, we’re working on things that I still have issues in.

Meg Glessner: Yes. Would you say, is there a verse that kind of sums up, you know, your, your story or that just means a lot to you, you know, in light of the work the Lord’s done in your life?

Chris Archuleta: The first one and it’s, it’ll always be my favorite. First is the first Corinthians 9:24-27. I beat my body. I’m making my slave, because that, that had significant value in my life. But as of late, it is Luke 9:23. And it’s those three simple commands that Jesus says, if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself. Take up his cross and follow me.

And, and that’s been my model. I, I know nothing else in life other than I gotta deny myself. I’ve gotta deny what my, my flesh wants. The pleasures, the desires that it wants to go after even the dreams. Yeah. That I want. Good dreams of like people hearing our podcasts. Like, I, I would love for it to be Joe Rogan’s status, but, you know, giving that up, denying it, putting that on God’s hands and, and giving it to him and saying, it’s yours, just like Abraham did with Isaac being willing to sacrifice it is a big part of it. Picking up my cross, you know, this, this relationship God has to with God has to be mine and mine alone, and I’ve gotta carry it and, and take it with me wherever I go.

And then following him is just obey wherever he leads, he leads and where he goes and where he goes is where I go. Just like the children of Israel, where they, they followed the, the fire by night and the cloud by day. And when it stopped, they stopped. And, and that’s how I really want to live my life in following him.

I heard this interesting thing, it’s called they used to say it’s the, the dust of the rabbi. May the dust of your rabbi be on you. And basically, saying that you followed your rabbi so closely that his dust from walking kicked up on you. And that’s what I really aspire to in my life, that the dust of Christ is on me because I’m following him as closely as I can. But that, that verse has been my model. Those are the things that I really strive for now today.

Meg Glessner: Before we seal up the envelope on this letter of encouragement, we have prepared little treat for you that we like to call the PS. So you can see more of the heart and personality of our guest. Here is your PS.

Are you ready for some bonus questions?

Chris Archuleta: Yes.

Meg Glessner: Okay. We’ll start with a couple of lighthearted ones. Do you have any hidden talents or party tricks?

Chris Archuleta: I’m really good at word searches. Ooh. Word searches, like really, really good. We did one for Easter the other day and I just, I, I blew people outta the water as part of our game. And I I’m just, for some reason looking like that whole weird brain kind of just like, everything starts to align and makes sense. And I could just see the words when they’re not there. It’s weird. But yeah, I would say that for the weird ones are odd ones. That that would probably be my oddest one.

Meg Glessner: Any pet peeves?

Chris Archuleta: For me, I think something that really agitates me more than anything is when I’m at a restaurant and my cup goes empty. Like I stop eating, I refuse to eat. So, I want the waiter to know that like, you need to come refill my cup and I, it just, it’s something that bothers me so much. My cup cannot go down to nothing at a restaurant while I’m eating.

Meg Glessner: There’s a lot of pressure and expectation on pastors as well. How can we better reach our pastors?

Chris Archuleta: Let them be them. honestly, it it’s, we it’s hard because as pastors, you create the platform that you stand on, but you also then the people embrace the platform that you stand on. And you never are allowed a place to be real. If a pastor struggles with something, they need to step down from ministry. If a pastor’s dealing with this, remove ’em from that. There’s no reconciliation. There’s no recovery within that. There’s no, like how can we help him mend? So, it does feel like you’re isolated and alone. And I feel like we could help our pastors by just praying for them. Coming up in arms with them all the time, and, and allowing them to be human. Allowing them to be real. They’re the, the problem is, is that like, there’s this cute thing that people say about the church as a hospital. And they’re like, yeah, you come to the hospital, we’re all sick. We all need the cure. And we all need the bandages and stuff. But through the course of time as a pastor, and, and as a person attending a church, we start to, we start to believe that we’re no longer a patient, but a doctor. And that’s the furthest from the truth. That a pastor is not the doctor. There’s only one great physician. The pastor is another patient, and he’s just in there trying to be like, Hey, you need medical help, go to this room. You need medical help, go here.

But he he’s a patient within the facility as well. And I think if we could just view them that way, that’s gonna help them a lot. That’s gonna remove the weight and the pressures that they carry.

Meg Glessner: You had mentioned that you struggled. Depression. Is that something that’s still, you know, like how do you deal with it when you’re in the middle of the day? How’s how have you found the Lord help you with this? When it comes up in your day to day?

Chris Archuleta: I’ve really steered away from wanting to take medication. It’s just not something that I wanna do, especially being a little bit more high functioning. I felt like it, it, wasn’t probably a thing I needed, as much as someone else. Not to say the medication is bad. If that’s something you need, then by all means. But for myself, I started finding tools. One of the bigger ones is worship, and someone told me this and it just clicked. It said when my feelings of sadness are getting louder, my worship needs to get louder than that. And that just creates a different sense inside of me.

The other one is just being the, the honesty. I have people that I could say I’m struggling right now within my marriage. The beauty of where we’re at now is just, I could tell my wife, like, no, I’m pretty low today, or I had a bad day. So, I maybe I didn’t get as much done early on in the day, but I, I feel better now and I can, I’m gonna start getting stuff done. And her just being a little bit more gracious. Before it would be like, just a small example to be like, I asked you to do the dishes and you didn’t do them right away. But for me, I just couldn’t, you know? I couldn’t get the gust to get up and do ’em. And then she would be disappointed to me. I would be disappointed in myself, but now it’s like, she understands if she says, Hey, can you do the dishes today? It’s, I know they’re gonna get done. He’ll get them done. I can’t get on him too much. And, and that’s helped a lot is just being honest and having that relationship with my wife. But yeah, worship and honesty.

If worship, isn’t your thing, then sometimes I even go to like listening to messages from pastors or podcasts, Christian podcasts. Those always help me because you’re just really, it’s just trying to get God’s word in, and getting God in more. And those are the two big ones.

Meg Glessner: That’s great. Chris has talked about his podcast, Your Church Friends and wherever you’re listening to Letters From Home, you know, just go pop right in there, Your Church Friends and click the plus sign.

I think you’ll find yourself really encouraged. They have a series that just came out, forgotten books of the Bible, and Chris and his co-host I was actually listening to the pastor he talked about earlier, Chris brown, this morning and I thought, wow, this is so good. He just brings, they bring you right in just with the scriptures.

You feel, you feel challenged and you’re thinking encouraged and like you’re hanging out. So, if you want, you know, a really encouraging, they’ve got some great series just to go through when you’re driving to and for, or whatever. So, I highly recommend that. What would you say to somebody, Chris, who’s struggling now with feeling like they’re being a hypocrite? They’re just so afraid to share things that are really going on in inside, and it’s just their inside and outside. Isn’t balancing out.

Chris Archuleta: I, I would say that you have to get the mask off. And the, the easiest way is accountability. God, didn’t, he didn’t design us to be alone. If you look at like animals and nature, the, the one the lion gets is the animal that’s by itself. And, and the enemy comes after us when we’re alone, and someone, you can just be real with, you need that more than anything above all. And, and that’s why I love my, my co-host Murdoch. We, we are just as real as we can be with each other. Sometimes we, we don’t agree with things, but we’re just as honest as we can be.

And that, that’s really a necessity. If it’s not your spouse, because you’re not married, then find a friend who you can just be upfront with. I feel like the biggest struggle with church today is the lack of authenticity. Hypocrisy at its root is a lie. Authenticity is the truth. And if we were just more truthful at church. If we just kind of removed the facades of God is good and all the time, God is good, which isn’t a lie, but is something that like, you know, yeah, life sucks. Life hurts. I’m struggling with this. That would be the cure, is to find someone to be honest with. And to be honest with God. I, I feel like a lot of times people don’t feel like they could be as honest with him. That they could pray raw prayers. And to that I say, read all the Psalms, cuz you see a man who’s as raw as he can get and who, who went through and broken, who went through a journey of life.

And I, I really believe that if, if you just pray what’s on your heart, God, isn’t gonna get mad. He’s not gonna be surprised. He’s gonna embrace it and love it. And, and you’ll see a change in your own life.

Meg Glessner: I trust Chris’s story encourages you as much as it encourages me. Our faith journey can be full of so many bumps. One thing I love about Chris’s story is that our God is so faithful. He loves us so much. He’s not going to let us be okay with having our inside world be so completely different from what we’re putting out there. I love Chris’s encouragement of how important vulnerability and accountability is. And I’m praying for us today that we don’t suffer in silence, but to reach out for help to find a friend, to find somebody at church that we can just be vulnerable with and have a real time of prayer. Sincere, beautiful faith is so much better.

The Lord says in John 6:35. I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger. And whoever believes in me shall never thirst. I know today I need Jesus, and I’m so grateful that we have each other to grow in our love for the Lord along the way.

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Narrator: Links from our guests will be in the show notes. For more everyday extraordinary faith stories, go to our website Letters From Home and click subscriber follow, in whatever platform you’re listening to. Second Corinthians 3:3. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us. Written, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living. God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. Until next time, go in peace.

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