Mike Hoogerhyde has overcome an overwhelming number of obstacles, and through those obstacles, he has found a deep and abiding love for Jesus – a love that he has felt returned by his Savior. An invite to Discover Church helped him learn about fellowship with other believers. Here is his story:
“Growing up, I was subjected to relentless emotional and physical abuse by my parents. My father was addicted to drugs, and used me a punching bag – almost killing me on 3 different occasions. My mother, young and overwhelmed with raising 5 kids alone, adopted the parenting style of beating each of us into obedience on a daily basis. I was raised in a household absent of God’s word and, as I grew older, I was forbidden from attending church. Growing up poor, I remember vividly rummaging through trash cans to collect bottles and cans so that I could return them to get money for food. As a result, I hated my life. I felt worthless and incapable of anyone’s love.
In 2002, I was in 10th Grade and my grandmother (who I had rarely seen) had just passed away after a 15 year battle with leukemia. My grandma Joyce was as spiritual and religious as they come; she was a member of and tithed to a church in every town that she had family in. She was God-fearing and never passed up an opportunity to show someone how amazing God and Jesus are.
After my grandmother’s passing, I grew angry with God. I thought, ‘If God is so great and wonderful, then why would he put my grandmother, who loves Him with all of her heart, through this agony?’ To find an answer, I began sneaking off to church on Sunday mornings. I continued this for nearly a year before I was eventually caught, and was forbidden from going any longer.
Fast forward 3 years – it was at this time that I learned the true meaning of God coming after you relentlessly. I graduated high school and now enlisted in the U.S. Army. The trainee that bunked next to me, Private Beauchamp, was a youth pastor in Florida. Hearing of my story through casual conversation, Private Beauchamp wasted no time filling my life with endless talk of God and salvation. Every waking moment he could, he spoke with me about God.
The night I was saved will stick with me for the rest of my life. He and I were on midnight watch of the barracks – a time dedicated to cleaning the floors and bathrooms. In the midst of cleaning the floor, I asked Private Beauchamp if he would help me get saved. He and I knelt down next to his bunk and I began crying and pouring my heart out to God. It was that night that I was saved by accepting Christ as my Savior.
For the next 12 years, I bounced around the world, serving my country and looking for a church to call home. All the while, I was believing in God, but not putting His Word into practice.
In September 2018, I met Mark May while working, and we began talking about church and God. Mark invited me to Discover Church and I accepted, a decision that turned out to be one of the best of my life.
Since attending Discover, my personal, professional, and spiritual life has grown to be exponentially better. I have learned at Discover that faith is found in groups. That led me to join the men’s group and met one of my closest friends, Paul Wolfe. He and I say that we have a divine friendship, one that God is working in every day.
With the help of Discover, Mark, and Paul, I have learned to lean into God for love and support. Now that I am walking in fellowship with Jesus and God, I have an entirely different outlook on life. I wake up every morning with three goals: one, to love God more today than I did yesterday; two, to put God at the center of my marriage and be a better husband to my amazing and beautiful wife today than I was yesterday; and finally, to take every moment to love my children the way that God loves me, and to ensure that I am setting the model to my children on how to follow God.
Even more profound is my ability to love again. For years, I felt unworthy of God’s love stating, ‘There is no way that God could love someone like me.’ It is Paul’s words to the Corinthians in his second book that changed my outlook on life forever. Paul states, ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17)! Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am a creation in God’s eyes. Through the blood of Jesus, I am worthy of God’s love and affection. It’s this revelation that enables me to love stronger than I ever have before.
Discover changed my life, and I invite you to experience the same life change. Our Easter services are at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Sunday, April 21 at Northland Christian School.”
An invite from a work colleague gave him a new outlook. How would an invite to Easter impact you or someone in your life? To learn more about Easter at Discover, to go dckc.co/easter.