In this week’s episode, I finally get around to continuing our Pilgrims Progress study and then share a clip from a recent stream where I explain a new Christian Content […]
In this week’s episode, I finally get around to continuing our Pilgrims Progress study and then share a clip from a recent stream where I explain a new Christian Content Creator Mentorship Program that I’m going to be moving into the next phase of very soon.
Whaddup! Happy Weekend! I’m Al Descheneau, known online as Christian Ninja — a full-time Variety Twitch Streamer and Online Missionary using everything from silly pictures to serious talk, bible studies to video games, and everything else I can think of, to connect with, mentor, love and serve Christian Content Creators, and the gaming and streaming community – as well as the lost, lonely, and disenfranchised, who are online everyday looking for a positive, open, encouraging and meaningful online family.
Welcome to my podcast. I’m very glad you’re listening. If you want to find my other content: like my free books, YouTube videos, articles, messages, and 3D Printing Etsy store – check out ArtoftheChristianNinja.com.
In this week’s episode, I finally get around to continuing our Pilgrims Progress study, and then I going to share a clip from a recent stream where I explain a new Christian Content Creator Mentorship Program that I’m going to be moving into the next phase of very soon.
But first, let me update you with a little news on how XtianNinja Online Ministries is going.
I’m writing this a week after Thanksgiving, and wow do I ever have a lot to be thankful for. First, let me hit you with some statistics. I know that ministry isn’t all about the numbers, especially when I’m in the building stages and God is having me pivot a little bit in my focus – but I still think they give a good picture of how God is using us to serve people in this very new, very frontier ministry.
Let’s start with the Twitch channel. As of today, I’ve hit 450 followers, 75 subscribers, and almost 6000 views. In the last month, at any given time I average about 18 people watching with a peak of 43 at one time! As I said in the intro, I stream for about 4 or 5 hours, right in the middle of the day (Lunchtime where I am), on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday – and the community that is being built there is amazing. The chat is always lively, funny, interesting, and we have a whole lot of quite deep personal and theological discussions as well. We’ve laugh a lot together – but we’ve actually cry a lot together too. If anyone tells you that online relationships aren’t “real”, you send them to me, because they don’t know what they’re talking about. These people are now some of my closest friends!
The Art of the Christian Ninja website – at Art of the Christian Ninja.com – which is the one-stop-shop for everything I’m up to – averages about 1700 views per month and there are 303 e-mail subscribers. This podcast has about 35 people listening consistently, and the community Discord server – where we have all our offline conversations about everything under the sun – has reached 90 people and grows a little more every week.
These numbers have almost all met or exceeded my goals, and has actually challenged me to increase my goal expectations for October!
Another goal that I’ve had has been to collaborate with other content creators, and it’s been amazing to be able to do that. I’ve been a guest on a couple podcasts and other streams, and have had streamers come as guests of my own stream. But the collaborations aren’t just with video and audio – I’m also currently working with some very experienced leaders in the online community to put together a full-on, live-streamed Conference for Christian Content Creators that (I’m hoping) will become a reality in early 2022. And on top of that, I’m working with a digital artist on a… well… I can’t tell you that because it’s a secret project that I hope will be dropping before people start their Christmas shopping.
You all know I was a small church pastor for the past 16 years or so, and I can’t help but compare what I’m doing now to a church plant. And if this was a church plant – it would be absolutely hopping! I’m really blown away by what God has been doing, and cannot wait to see what happens when I launch the next phase of this mentoring project. I think it’s going to be really special. I’ve only had the videoup on YouTube (which you’re going to hear the audio version of) for a couple days, it’s already got way more views than almost every other video on there – and I’ve gotten some comments about how excited some of creators are about it.
I’m going to jump into the Pilgrim’s Progress study next, but before I do, I just want to say that if this excites you and you want to help me out there are a few ways.
First, please pray for me. Pray that I have good discernment and self control and that God would protect me and my household from the enemy’s schemes.
Second, consider lurking on my stream. If you want to help me – in a way that is totally free and extremely easy to do – ask some people to turn on my stream and use it like a radio. Technically, they don’t need to be listening or watching. They can even mute the tab if they want. But the way that I can hit partner is if individuals and groups just make a commitment to popping my stream onto their computer and letting it play. Twitch cares about how many viewers I have, and that’s the easiest way to help. Turn it on, turn down the resolution if you want, stick it in the corner of the screen, and just use me as background nose – or even mute the tab. I promise, it really helps grow this ministry.
The third way to help is financial. I believe with every fibre of my being that God has called me to pioneer this ministry, and I’m seeing so many amazing things, but I need you to help me keep it going by committing to a monthly donation. I have a PayPal link all set up and all you have to do is tell it you want to give whatever amount monthly and it’ll do the rest.
And, if you want to go over and above, tell your church or local ministry leader about me. Maybe you can’t donate, but if your church catches the vision, and wants to help me raise up the next generation of global missionaries – who are going to help some of the hardest to reach, lost people in the world – maybe they can take me on as one of their official missionaries.
My goal right now is to raise a consistent $5000 per month. That will help the ministry grow and puts my family a little bit over what is considered the poverty line where I live, but it’s enough.
I’m really excited about what is going to happen over the next couple months, and I hope you are too. Thank you for all your support and prayers. And thank you for listening!
Each week – or it was supposed to be each week – we’re going through a leisurely study of John Bunyan’s book, Pilgrim’s Progress. And when I say “leisurely”, I mean it. This is episode 45 and we’re only half-way through the book.
Anyway, Christian has already come along way. He’s left the City of Destruction after Evangelist told him where to go to save himself. He’s slogged through the Slough of Dispond, got yanked through the Wicket Gate, walked through the Interpreters House, had his burdens removed and was given new clothing at Mount Calvary, climbed the Hill of Difficulty, fell asleep in the Arbour, lost his scroll, and had to climb it again, got past the Lions in the road and stayed the night at the Beautiful Palace. And now, he’s descended into the Valley of Humiliation and has met the king of the land of destruction, a great demon named “Appolyon”.
In the last chapter, Appolyon tried to shame, guilt, and convince Christian to turn back and go home to the City of Destruction, but it didn’t work. And as Christian stood his ground, and kept talking about how great Jesus is, Appolyon got more and more angry, until he “broke out into a grievous rage”, blocked the road, and starts chucking flaming darts right at Christian’s heart.
Christian pulled up his shield, stopped the dart, and drew his sword. Let me read the next part, “Then did Christian draw; for he saw it was time to bestir him: and Apollyon as fast made at him, throwing darts as thick as hail; by the which, notwithstanding all that Christian could do to avoid it, Apollyon wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot. This made Christian give a little back; Apollyon, therefore, followed his work amain, and Christian again took courage, and resisted as manfully as he could. This sore combat lasted for above half a day, even till Christian was almost quite spent; for you must know, that Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and weaker
Then Apollyon, espying his opportunity, began to gather up close to Christian, and wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful fall; and with that, Christian’s sword flew out of his hand. Then said Apollyon, I am sure of thee now. And with that he had almost pressed him to death; so that Christian began to despair of life: but as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching of his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly stretched out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise”; and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back, as one that had received his mortal wound. Christian perceiving that, made at him again, saying, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us” And with that Apollyon spread forth his dragon’s wings, and sped him away, that Christian for a season saw him no more..”
If you’re familiar with the Bible at all then you’ll already know that this part of the story is all about spiritual warfare and references both the temptation of Christ and Ephesians 6:10-18, a passage usually called, “The Full Armour of God.” Let me read that section for us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”
I think the most important thing to take away from this section – and it’s something that I think we experience a lot through this book – is how common, how universal, so many things that Christians go through are. Everyone struggles. Everyone messes up. Everyone knows what it’s like to be shamed and guilted and pressured to give up the faith because we feel so unworthy of God’s amazing grace.
And here we see that every Christian has a spiritual enemy, and every Christian will fight them the same way. Yes, the battle will look differently. You’ll be tempted in ways I’m not. You’ll be hurt or accused in ways I’m not. You’ll have weaknesses and strengths I don’t have – but the battle is universal. Everyone who calls themselves a Christian has times in their life when they feel like Satan himself has straddled the path in front of us and is throwing darts at our heart as thick as hail.
And when we block those darts, we’ve all felt our enemy take it to the next level, grab us, and throw us to the ground—and we all know that hopeless feeling of almost giving up, almost shipwrecking our faith, just giving in and destroying what God has been doing in us, just so that some of the pain and misery will stop. I’m sure you’ve experienced that feeling. I know I have
I’ve had those times in my life when the pressure is on all sides, the darts are flying, I’m pinned to the ground, I have no weapon, no shield, and the enemy looks like their going to win. I just want to give up – and then – as the book says, “as God would have it”, I’ve reached out one last time for the Sword, or as Ephesians 6 calls it, “the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God”, and God has shown me something, stirred something in me, given me the exact words to bring me hope, help, encouragement, meaning, shining light into my darkness, and giving me enough strength for one last blow – and that was the moment when the enemy gave up and I felt peace. Yes, I was bloody and bruised from the battle. My thought life was a mess, I had anxiety, a waves of depression, — I wasn’t the same – but I knew that God had saved me, strengthened me, kept me through that intense battle, and had given me victory because I trusted in Him and His Word more than I did myself.
That’s universal. If you’re going through a tough time right now. If you feel tempted far more than you ever have. If all hell is breaking loose around you. If the stress of your life is so intense that you feel like you’re going to buckle and compromise just to relieve the pressure – know that you are not alone. Jesus experienced that. I’ve experienced that. Every Christian who has tried to walk the straight and narrow, to follow the path that God has set before them, to do things His way, has faced some intense times of suffering and what can only be described as demonic oppression. Sure, it looks like people are the ones that are hurting us most, but we know that at the root of the problem is the twisted sinful nature inside them, and our spiritual enemy using them to try to destroy our relationship with God.
And the tools we have for battle are always the same – and we find them in Ephesians 6. We have the Belt of Truth holding us together. When the enemy comes at us with lies and tricks, we don’t fall for them because we know and hold onto the truth.
We have the Breastplate of Righteousness. Our sinful nature and the whole world tells us that to feel better we can give into sin, medicate and distract the bad feelings away – but the truth is that the way to weather this battle isn’t to compromise our integrity, but hold stronger to it, because that life of integrity is going to protect us from all sorts of other problems.
We have the shoes of the gospel of peace. Just like a good pair of shoes can protect us from the dangers of all the debris on the road, so our confidence in the gospel, the good news, the core message of the story of Jesus, allows us to keep moving forward. The enemy wants us to stop, so he says things like, “God doesn’t like you. He’s against you. You’re not worthy. You shouldn’t even try to pray. Everyone is against you. If you sin just a little bit I’ll leave you alone.” But we keep telling ourselves the gospel – Jesus love me and saved me. God adopted me as a son. God is good. He makes me worthy. He always listens to prayer. He will turn this horrible time into something victorious. Just like the death of Jesus was the worst and best thing to ever happen, so these bad things happen to me will also turn into something God can use for good.
I’ll leave the rest of the armour for you to meditate on, but just remember that—when things are really rough, you’re not alone. Many have walked this path before you, even Jesus. And you’re not defenceless. There is a way to face this battle and use God’s resources to protect yourself. He’s given you everything you need to win this battle. You just have to trust Him.
Ok, so this last part of the podcast is actually a talk I gave on my channel when I was first, sort of, constructing and brainstorming what a Christian Content Creators mentoring program would look like. It’s actually come a long way since then – in a surprisingly short amount of time – but you’ll really hear the heart behind it and where it came from.
BTW – I released this as a YouTube video, but I thought it might be helpful here too.
Sometimes I talk a little fast, and sometimes when I’m reading the chat I mumble my way through a bit, but hopefully you’ll understand what I’m getting at and it will inspire you in some way.
And that’s it for today. Thank you so much for listening!
Remember, you can find links to all the other things I’m up to: like my free Books, years of sermons, YouTube videos, podcast episodes, and more – at ArtoftheChristianNinja.com.
I livestream on Twitch from Monday to Thursday at 12pm Easter Standard time at http://www.Twitch.tv/XtianNinja . We do some serious stuff, a lot of silly stuff, and a little bit of everything in between.
If you want to support this ministry, the first and best way is to share, share, share! The internet is full of noise, and the social media algorithms hate Christian stuff, so if you don’t share it – no one sees it. So please, hit that like, subscribe, and share button – and tell your friends – it helps a lot!
The second way to help is to check out my little 3D Printing business at Als3DPrinter.Etsy.com. I have a lot of cool things there, and I do custom printing too, so if you’re looking for something unique, head over there and see what I’ve got going on.
And, if you love gamers, streamers, and online content creators – or all the lonely, lost, and broken people who are untouchable by traditional ministries, but spend a lot of time online looking for hope, help, and connection – and want to help me dedicate my life to reaching them with the love of God, it would be amazing if you click the Donation Button on the website and give a one-time gift or regularly monthly donation. It would really help!
Thank you again, have a great week, and I hope you drop by my Twitch stream Monday at lunchtime.