Daniel Bobinski's Testimony
Daniel’s story … starting from way back:
Growing up in the Chicago area in the 1960's, church for my family was more about playing the right part rather than having a relationship with God. If we did the right things, we could be approved of by God.
Similarly, my family's relationships were very conditional. "Do this, and you are loved." "Do that, and you are not." I’ll spare you all the tales of woe, but I was starving for acceptance. So, in my teens I looked for approval from my friends, which quickly led to smoking, drinking, and drugs.
It wasn't long before I was deeply involved in the wrong crowd, dealing drugs to support my own habit – all the while thinking I was getting approval.
Tempted by the Dark Side
In my late teens I met some guys who offered me spiritual power. It seemed amazing, but in the back of my mind I still had questions about Jesus and who He really was. My "friends" (who weren’t really my friends) gave me inert answers and continued to play on my desire for acceptance. Remember all that conditional love stuff?
In all my confusion, at the age of nineteen I tried to take my own life. It wasn't pretty. I woke up in intensive care, and spent some time there. While I was in the hospital I learned the power those guys were dangling in front of me was not from any good source.
Learning About Jesus
About a year later I joined the Navy. While taking the train home on weekends from my Great Lakes (Chicago) Navy schools, I met a young lady who worked at the train station, and I asked her out. On our second date she invited me to church, and I thought, "I've been to church before, and it didn't hurt," so I said, "Yes."
What struck me about her church was the fact that it was so alive. People clapped when they sang and they had joy on their faces. I'd seen similar things on TV and always thought it was staged or phony, but these were people I knew -- and they had true joy on their faces. I wanted what they had.
I soon learned that Jesus loved me, and that His love was unconditional. No matter what I had done, He loved me and he took the punishment for my sins. There was nothing I could do to earn salvation —it was a gift from God. A few months before I had to leave Chicago for my ship, I acted on this new learning and invited Jesus into my life.
Unfortunately, I never got discipled, and after being on the ship and "going out with the guys," it wasn’t long before I was resumed a worldly lifestyle (except no drugs this time!).
At first, life seemed to be great, but after a few years, I was feeling very empty. I started reading everything I could about having relationship with God. Then, one night while on my ship, I walked out to the main deck, looked up to the stars and said, "Jesus, I need you. I have everything the world says a person should have to be happy – but I’m not happy. I feel empty. I need you back in my life."
There were no shooting stars or fireworks. There were no heavenly angels seen fluttering about. I simply stood there alone, under the stars, crying.
He Reveals Himself to Those who Truly Seek Him
The next morning I was no different, but somehow, over the next few weeks, a change began taking place within me. And within two months I was drawn to thinking about Jesus morning, noon, and night. I realized that God's very character is love, and that God’s love was made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ. I also realized that God’s power is the greatest in the universe, and that the only way to get true peace and joy was through Jesus. Furthermore, I realized that it was God who had revealed these facts to me through His Spirit, and deeper understandings were coming upon me almost daily.
Then, during the first week of January, 1987, my ship headed out for my third overseas deployment. I was reading the Bible a lot and God was revealing things to me, but I still hadn’t sat down with anyone to confirm my new understandings. So, a few days after we left San Diego, I went to a fellow sailor whom I knew to be a strong Christian, and told him that I thought I was "saved" ONLY because of the blood of Jesus Christ and nothing else. Was I right?
His reply was, "Welcome to the family of God."
During that deployment I became bold for Christ, and shared the Gospel with many people during our port visits overseas.
Direction from God
After the Navy I got into sales and was good at it. The company I worked for made me the sales trainer, which felt comfortable, because I also conducted a lot of training in the Navy.
For a year and a half, I taught people how to sell. However, I grew tired of the questionable ethics of that company, so I put together a resume and sent it all over town. Weeks went by but I didn't get any bites. What was really weird was I didn’t even get calls for interviews.
I vividly remember being at work and praying inside my head: "God, why won't anybody interview me?" Then a voice that was not my own answered: "Because I'm teaching your something."
I was shocked by the voice, but I managed to ask, "What? What are you trying to teach me?" The voice answered back, "I'm teaching you how to teach."
Realizing that God was putting me through the school of hard knocks, from then on I paid close attention to my teaching style. I focused on what worked well and what didn't. I noticed what increased student participation and what drove it back. I eventually earned a Bachelor of Science in Workforce Education and Development and a Master of Education in Training and Development. I even have all my doctoral work done for a Ph.D. in Organizaitonal Learning & Leadership, but at that time, God had me enrolled in the school of hard knocks!
Amazingly, not long after my conversation wtih God, I started receiving invitations to speak at other places. Some requests were for sales training, others were for management workshops. In time, I moved on and started my own company. I was also in a Christian band, playing and speaking in churches throughout San Diego County, and I became a youth director at a church. My first official pulpit experiences came when the senior pastor had me delivering sermons when he was out of town.
A Time of Clarification
A move to a different part of San Diego County led me to a much larger church. With my love for music, I joined the worship team, plus I was still in that Christian band, performing at many, many churches throughout San Diego. It was great to be sharing the gospel through song, but one day in prayer God let me know that the band “was to be – for a time.” Sure enough, several months later the band members all “just knew” our time was up. I tried starting my own band, but became frustrated when nothing was coming together.
One day I shared my frustration with Duane, the worship leader at my church. After listening, Duane said, “Maybe God doesn’t want you in music ministry.” I didn’t want to hear that.
Coincidently, later that evening at our church pot luck, everyone in the church who was a songwriter was hitting the stage and performing several of their own songs—except for me. Despite having some of my songs making it onto Christian radio, I hadn’t been asked to play. At first I was slightly offended, but then I thought, “Maybe Duane was right. Maybe God doesn’t want me in music ministry. Okay, God, if you don't want me in music, I'm open to what you have for me. Just let me know.” I got up to get some coffee, and less than 30 seconds later my pastor walked up and said, “Hey Daniel – I’m going to be starting a new believer’s class next month, and I want you to teach it.”
I taught the new believer’s class and continued on the worship team, but eventually Duane moved on to a different church, and the new worship leader and I did not get along. I prayed a lot. One Sunday, while on my way to church, I officially decided to tell the senior pastor I would be resigning from the team. I was two steps into the church when he (the senior pastor) called me over. Before I could tell him of my decision, he said, “Daniel, I’m going to be out of town for a few weeks next month – I’d like you to deliver the Sunday evening sermons for me.”
In both of the above stories, I had been asked to teach within minutes of deciding to give up some aspect of playing music. I can be kind of thick-headed, but eventually I realized God did not want me in music ministry -- he wanted me in teaching ministry.
A few months after that, the pastor had me teaching on Sunday nights even when he was in town!
Still Teaching After All These Years
In the past 25 years since that time, as I’ve moved to different places and attended different churches, I’ve taught many adult Sunday school classes, I've been a youth director, and I've been a men’s minister. I’ve even written several books.
Even with all that teaching, God confirmed his calling on me one day when I was conducting team training for a major corporation While speaking in front of a group of managers, I suddenly sensed the presence of God in an overwhelming way, with an almost audible voice that said, "You're going to do this for me." I instantly 'knew' God meant some day I'd have a broader, more expanded ministry.
Then, in 2014, after much prayer and waiting on the Lord, my wife and I started Family Experience Ministries. Our purpose is to equip parents to be stronger spiritual leaders in their own home by giving them very practical tools for knowing, loving, and leading their families. This ministry includes speaking at conferences and churches to share these same tools.
I have to say, whenever I get an opportunity to teach or speak in front of groups about God and our relationship with him, I am firmly convinced that I'm doing what God has called me to do.