In his search for happiness, Ryan Koesel turned to chasing after money, glamor and fame. These worldly tokens gave him a temporary yet fleeting happiness. Through biblical community, seeking the Lord and God’s grace, Ryan’s spiritual health was transformed.
“I am now transformed by the renewing of my mind and no longer controlled by the patterns of this world,” Ryan said.
Ryan’s father left when he was eight years old and he began turning to food to fill the void. His mother began taking Ryan and his brother to church in search of God. From then on her life was different. Pastor Harold Meaux took Ryan under his wing, making sure to include him in activities and connecting him with mentors. At 13 years old, Ryan became a Christian.
“I ultimately found healing in knowing my mom now had peace in the Lord and seeing that I wanted it as well,” Ryan said. “I eventually experienced that peace in coming to know Jesus.”
After becoming a Christian the fight began in Ryan’s life. He had one foot in the world and one reluctantly in the kingdom. In 2001 Ryan lived in Nashville, Tennessee and began working in the country music industry. Contracted to work on recording studio design and ambiance, Ryan had an all access pass to movie premiers, meet and greets and the best parties in the industry. Living on a bus for months at a time made partying all the more easy. The rich and famous lifestyle had a hold of Ryan. The more money he made, the more successful he felt.
“I kept chasing after money, partying, glamor and fame,” Ryan said. “The world promised all of these things would make me happy. In turn they did, but eventually they failed me in every way. In God’s grace, He was there all along the way placing Godly people as guideposts and reminders to turn back to Him.”
At the end of the day, Ryan would find himself falling on his face, crying out to God. This emptiness led Ryan back God and he began attending church with his family again. From there he was connected with a young adult home group. His life turned from one rooted in greed, debauchery and pleasure, to one rooted in God’s word, love and grace.
“This is what I like to refer to as the snowball effect in my life,” Ryan said. “Through experiencing true biblical community God grew my appetite in his word and he also showed me how he wanted me to change, how he gifted me in his spirit. This snowball of grace that I was experiencing kept picking up critical mass as God kept showing me what I was gifted in.”
God grew him in this community and Ryan began to see his love for God and His people. Ryan learned of his spiritual gift for teaching and began leading small groups. During a study on Nehemiah, his small group began praying for each other and the vision God had for each of them. It was then that Ryan began to see God’s plan for him to serve vocationally. After seeking counsel, praying and fasting Ryan applied to seminary and moved to Texas to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Now Ryan serves as the Single Adults and Single Parents Minister and leads Celebrate Recovery at Cottonwood Creek.
“While at times seemingly tough and dark, God in turn used my childhood as a product of a single parent home, my divorce and poor lifestyle choices to now relate and minister to where God has me serving,” Ryan said.
While Ryan was trying to turn away from sin, he was still missing something. It wasn’t working for him and he still struggles with it today. Working through Celebrate Recovery, Ryan routinely finds his character defects and replace them with what God has for him.
“Ironically the most painful, whether emotional or physical, moments have led to my spiritual healing,” Ryan said. “It forced me to lean on Him more and grew my faith, rather than trust my own feelings and understanding of what I was suffering through.”
James 1:5-8: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.