Podcast Episode 21: Matt Knabe – Musician, Counselor, and Prodigal Son


Disclaimer: The audio on the Core4Life side is pretty bad for this episode. Someone (Ryan) didn’t set up the audio input correctly, so our side of the conversation was recorded on the built-in microphone on our laptop instead of our mixer. Luckily, Matt’s side was crystal clear and he’s the one you want to hear anyway!

Bourbon: Western Reserve Small Batch

Today we welcome Matt Knabe to the show. Matt is a Licensed Professional Counselor with Emerge Counseling Ministries, a talented musician who has toured and played with some big names in the industry, a husband, and a father.

  • Started his music career at 15
    • Touring regionally
    • Opening for bands like Kid Rock, Matchbox 20, The Eels, Big Wreck
    • Always felt like he belonged on the stage with those bands
  • Eventually started a band called Ligion which was signed, toured nationally, and appeared on MTV
    • Played one show in Akron, then opened for Collective Soul
    • Had to quickly produce a record because radio stations were getting demands for their songs
    • The idea behind the name and band was unifying people. Bringing them together through music
    • The time with Ligion actually brought Matt further from God
    • A tour manager said that their antics were worse than Guns & Roses and Motley Crue back in their day
  • Was the touring guitarist for the band Zilch, which was made up of musicians from DCTalk’s backing band
    • Changed their name to Sonic Flood when their first record came out
    • Blew up after I Want to Know You was released
  • Became disillusioned with some of the stuff that was going on behind-the-scenes in the Christian music touring industry
  • Went through a dark time where he wouldn’t leave his apartment for 2 months
  • Out of that, he started going to counseling at Emerge and achieved some breakthroughs
  • His counselor asked if he ever considered doing what he does and that turned on a light bulb in Matt’s mind
  • Started pursuing counseling and eventually came to work at Emerge
  • For the first couple years he saw client after client, but this past year he also started a podcast called ExEm

Podcast Transcription:

Hey guys, glad you could join us for another episode of core for life where your hosts Ryan, Matt, Mike and Andrew, we bring you another episode every Thursday to discuss four key pillars in our lives, be fit be driven by Noble and be chilling and how our faith is the backbone. Behind each of those pillars will be talking to them. Awesome, guest acting different topics and staying accountable with each other to live our lives. The way God intended. Tune in each week to see if there may be something missing in your life. Lets jump into todays episode after a quick, add for a sponsor Have you ever thought about making podcast with thought, probably too hard to get started. Couldnt be further from the truth when you use anchor. First of all, its free. So check off box. Number one, thats easy to use creation tools on your browser or your phone, Acura distributor podcast for you and you can make money. No matter how many listeners you have, it really is a One-Stop shop for all of your podcast needs. So stop delaying and download the free anchor app or go to Anchor. FM to get started. still cherish here, and Sears boys and we are welcome mat. Hes joining us. Virtually a cheers with us but Im so professional counselor with a merge and hes also a music career. So really looking forward to getting to hear a lot of that in a lot of what God is doing in your life, through counseling, through your musical career and everything. Youve been through, I will say I need to play with you to church band and that is the only opportunity that I would ever have to play with the musician of your caliber. So I truly appreciate playing with you. And just getting to hear what you bring to the Worship team song. Were going to talk. Im podcast and it sounds like you have an awesome Redemption story. Which obviously well dive into quite a bit but starting off and you get a little background on what you doing now like with your music, with your counseling career, I just give us give us up in a long long story to get to this process in which will kind of dive into that. But Ive been in emerge counseling Ministries for the last three years. I do a lot of trauma. Work went back, I guess in 2012 to get my Masters Degree in clinical counseling and mental health and you know long story. Again, long story short in psych ward for about 15 years in the music industry and you know, how to get to counseling. Its its kind of just this crazy God story that I Really had no anticipation of any point in my life to be a clinical counselor. It was not on my radar whatsoever. I mean, from the time I was fifteen, I was on the road touring and playing music. So the ideas of counseling was never on the radar but life just kind of changed and I got married in 2015 to my high-school sweetheart that we dated for about four or five years, until its about 21. And she just felt like the, the life of a musician on the road was not what she wanted and you know roughly fifteen years later. God brought us back together by chance and, and we got married. So married with a, with a little girl who were just thrilled to have. Yeah. And so Ive been emerge for the last couple years and its been great. She mentioned that you started your musical grease art to ring at 15 like football, basketball baseball, and the right, it was in the transition into my sophomore year. And I broke my vertebrae and three places and play basketball. I delve into the bleachers and during a scrimmage at didnt even count after basketball and came down on the bleachers. And just snapped, they was my L3 and L4 in a couple different places. So my sports career was over, which was really hard for me cuz that was all I knew from, you know, first grade on playing sports or my dad was a musician, my dad was actually an Elvis cover band of all things and strangely enough, I was born the day Elvis died, which is kind of crazy. So like the story always Shows like nobody knows what my dad was more concerned. It up upset about was me being born that day or Elvis dying that day but I grew up in a musical family. So my dad always had guitars around the house and Im actually have a Gibson 335. Thats what I learned how to play on growing up and so when I broke my back I didnt I didnt know what to do with myself. So, you know, I was in a body cast for for a pretty long time. So I just started learning guitar. I would just put turn the radio on and just start playing along with what it was ever on the radio and I got pretty good at it and found some like-minded people and high school and all the sudden, you know it wasnt, it didnt take very long for us to get some contraction in a little bit of a fanbase. So by the time I was fifteen sixteen, we were touring pretty regionally and, you know, his and Columbus, Pittsburgh Toledo, Cincinnati, you know, stuff like that, cuz I had to be at school the next day. So, you know, we we kept it, pretty Regional through high school and then it started getting more intense. As I got into college, I went to Kent State for a year, but I was enrolled in Kent State, but I dont think I actually went to come stay, cuz I was I was literally playing shows like at least Wednesday and Thursday through Sunday. I think I was sleeping Monday and Tuesday and then Id start the whole process over. So my transcripts from Kent State, dont look so good. Ozark. I know. Now that does those. I do have them hanging out because they are so bad. I mean, you have to try to get a grade point average that low. So yeah. So I just kind of how I started, you know, not when I was 18, thats when it became pretty real. To me that, you know, this could be something and I started getting some more attention from National type of management and labels. And I had a manager that ended up. I dont mean to name-drop through this process, but its part of the process. He went to school with the guys in DC Talk. So I got to know, Michael take really well and painting. I became really close friends. And I was, you know, theres no reason for me to be in college. It was like I was wasting all kinds of money. And so when I was 19 x, I was 18. But I actually moved when I was Nineteen, when I was 19 and moved to Nashville and and thats kind of where everything started to take off. And so yeah, they were Christians in the band. I wouldnt call us a Christian band by any means. Three quarters of us were, were Believers. I mean, I grew up in a strong Christian home for the most part, but we were playing clubs were playing bars. We were doing secular covers all of our original music had. Always had a foundation in in faith, but it probably wasnt like completely obvious to the drunk in the corner. You know what I mean by spit? A lot of our audience we were, you know, we played a lot of college towns in and stuff and its like they werent going there to be like listen to the message of this song, it was just never so. But I think we did represent. I think we did represent something positive, you know that I was really young at that point but I dont think we were trying to necessarily change the world but we were trying to be probably a little bit more positive than the bands we were touring with her or opening up for it. That point in high school. We open for a while before Kid Rock. Matchbox Twenty, we open for, I think theres a band. I love call the eels that we open for that. The singer, the eels is made some brilliant records. I think those were the big want, a big wreck. I dont know if you guys are big wreck fans but theyre amazing. Their Canadian band we open for them at the old, Peabodys Downunder and I just became a huge fan of Ian Thornley whos the singer. So if you never listen to Big Wreck, you need to check it out. Its just a huge Rift rock with like Chris Cornell locals. That will rip your face off. Ian Thornley, he he he continued after big wreck in his mom. Just made some amazing records sonically, hes just one of the best vocalist and guitar arrangers that Ive heard. High School are these big-name, she probably idolize him for the last several years. You were growing up with that like meeting that Mari pretty Star Striker and as a musician are you just tell the thing that you just open for bands and do we need to do felt like I belong there, you know? So I never felt like, you know, there was a couple times I was Starstruck, you know, growing up in my, my parents house, it was like Elvis. All the really weird Christian music that came out during that era, you guys might not even remember some of that stuff, but it was weird like Carmen and, you know, all kinds of the bus where is huge. And I got to meet Stephen Stills and I was like a thirteen-year-old girl. Meaning Britney Spears is just left branch opening for the Eagles and maybe a lot of people dont know the eels, but theyre kind of an underground band, but I remember playing with them and I What home that night and I had to be up for school the next day, but I remember turning MTV on and theyre video came on and I was like, I just played with them like I just left the venue and there it was just crazy. I think there were moments where it was just kind of surreal going, you know, Im 17 years old playing with these National touring acts. But again, I always assume the thing you are are Monster was kind of like act, as if, and its like, we always wanted to, you know, walk into room, and not be the, the people that didnt belong. We belong here, like we worked our tails off to do that and so, yeah, I dont, I dont know, I mean, theres a couple people that you run into, its like, oh my gosh, thats like thats the craziest thing ever. But for the most part already, pretty much normal people, you know. But the work that it takes to get to get to that level. Like I said if theres some skill involved as far as being a musician and having you hang Rhythm and vocals to put in with your instruments at to get to a level that you can play in front of thousands of people become for what that was like. Well, I think theres a misconception that let you know when I was 16 and 17 and I was like regionally touring, we thought we were this close to making it and when I actually got to that point of making I realized how far we actually were all of these bands we would play with their like, to ruin the custom. Like, you have no idea what its going to take to get there. But, when I started the band Legion, which was that was the Bandit that we got signed in and we were touring nationally. And, you know, we were on MTV and in all those things before we even played a show, we spent an entire year in a basement. Working from 9 in the morning till 6 at night Monday, through Friday. It just hashing stuff out everyday for a year, and I think a lot of the bands that I would play with prior to that band. Its like, we would go all man in our schedules, crazy. Lets practice once a week, and then I have to turn into once a month. It was like, when I started Legion, it was like, this is your job, whatever youre doing in your life. Quit, quit everything. And youre dating somebody break up with her because its its over, you know? And and we were, we were insane about it. And the thing was, as we had one show, so we were Hurst free year. We did one show in Akron and then the next day we were on our way to Nashville and we open for Collective Soul and we played a show at in front of about 25000 people. And I just went to the crowd after I knew. We had them. Like I feel like I knew its like we had this crowd in the palm of our hands and I was like, we request our song on the radio. In the radio station, we werent signed. We didnt even have a record. Like they didnt have a record of radio station called us the next day and theyre like, we dont have your record and people calling like crazy. So we got on a plane flew, back to Ohio, because we were planning on doing a record with our buddy. John Johnson, who is an amazing engineer. Hes actually guy that put the sound system in our church and we did a Tucson demo that. We shipped out. We work start recording on a Friday. We should get out on a Monday and it went to number one on the radio station in the Southeast within a week. Like he was just like this. And so as soon as that happened, everything changed, like I said, we were everywhere and in, you know, our Our Song was blowing up. Then, you know, we started meeting with every record label and, you know, so that thats when everything kind of took off. There was a lot of the stuff to take to get to that point. You know different bands that I played in and stuff. And I, I know Ryan, you and I talked to the other day about, you know, prior to all that, a big jump for me was, you know, when I was 19, I met with Tate and got to know the DC Talk guys. And that was kind of my big entrance entrance into the Christian industry. And there was a band called zilch which theres three guys in DC, Talk, In the band, behind them started, a band called zilch and they needed a guitar player. So two of the guys offered to do my solo record, I would play in zilch in, in the process of that I was making a solo record zilch was also making a record and so I toured with them I think about six months is like a hired And then they came out with a new record and decided it wasnt to be called zilch anymore was going to be sonicflood. And so one night we were built in the next day or record came out and we were sonicflood and then it just blew up. And so thats when I was I was like, 20 years old and I was the touring guitar player. So I didnt, I didnt play on the record, I didnt write any songs but they they were the band. They werent they were there was a great experience cuz it was like you know it went from 0 to 60, it was similar to Legion. You know I was just like it went from 0 to 60 that were playing a friend like 500 people. And then next week we are in front of 25,000 headlining you know in a Rino because I want to know you just blew up, you know So, yeah, so that means that thats what kind of introduce me into like, oh, I wasnt really that close to this in high school. Like we werent even in the neighborhood of what this is, even though we always thought that, but I think you have to have that mentality of going. You know what, in every stage we made it like, were there. But then, when you actually get there, youre like we were full of crap, like we werent, we werent close to anything playing those dive bars in Columbus, Ohio. I was way off your, Mister Samsonite. Heres your bag. Call call you guys for what was the songs called reality, and it didnt get a lot of play. In the Northeast. We all of our big attention was in the Southeast. And so, every time I say the Legion in reality, but if you want to do you too, but you could I think the videos up four realities Alive, video of that song, thats what kind of started the legion process. So yeah. So where did you go from there? That after after that, after Legion, after sonicflood, I mean, where to go? And I did that for about a year and and there was just some internal things that I just didnt want to be a part of a think. I told Ryan, you know. I was kind of shocked. Again, Im not going to share names but I was shocked it. You know, people that I grew up listening to were living, these kind of dualistic lights and I think I really struggled being a Christian in an industry. That is really no different from the secular industry and it really kind of beat me up emotionally. And I really, I just struggled going. If were going to behave these ways on the bus and behind the curtain, then why are we going out on on stage in? And, you know, Im using the name of Jesus and in saying that were followers of Christ because its like, its very blurred to me, and I think, you know, it, it 21 years old. It just, it it it made me not want to believe and this is kind of, did you know the journey? I always share my testimony. In my story is very much the same of the prodigal son. Its like, I had a foundation, I knew the father and I think, at that point I got so screwed up in the head that I just took a left turn and really at that point, I didnt know what I was going to do, musically. I was living in Nashville and all the sudden you know the next stage was a producer friend of mine said hey dude I cant tell you who but how many really big is looking for a singer? And I think youd be perfect for it and this I wasnt in a good space in life but I was looking for a gig and ended up getting a phone call from the bass player from Creed. His name is Brian Marshall and he asked me if Id be interested in flying to Orlando to try out because he had just left Creed. They just finished the weather tour. Its just sold 10 million records and hes leaving the band and Im like, you know, I ended up flying down to Orlando, auditioned got the gig and I lived at Brians house for about a year and Brian. And Ive been able to kind of reconnect over the last couple years, but I think he was going through a really difficult time. I think I was going through a really difficult time, you know, and it just got really dark, you know, we did, we did a couple shows, we did it recorded a demo was Britney, Spearss producer, meant it turned out well, but it just like, I dont know that it was the right time for him cuz I think he was really struggling going from the biggest fan in the world to trying to launch a new van. And so, we did that for about a year and it was a good experience. And I learned a lot and then thats really what Help me get some idea of, you know, connections into like the VH1 world in the MTV World cuz I was doing interviews all the time with those places. So it kind of help me, you know, Im My Own career to get a little bit of a platform. So I end up moving from Orlando and drove 20 hours, had this whole Vision, it was really praying cuz I really want to turn some things around cuz it was just a dark. My life. And God just cant give me this worried about religion, which is funny this morning in my Bible study and was talking about that that religions only mentioned so many times in the Bible and its usually four out of five times. Its not good but I struggled with this idea of religion and so I did this just the meditation thing when I was driving and I just kept seeing the word, r, e, and Legend, torn apart. And the idea of Legion is bringing people together. Any idea of religion is controlling that unified group and so what we did or what I did and then brought the band in was saying, lets just go back to the legion part or the legion part of what this is and lets just unify people together. And so my heart was always for finding people who didnt feel like they belong and creating a space within this music. To allow them to be invited to be a part of something. That was the whole idea of Legion and he was bringing people together. So I drove back to Ohio and got some of, you know, the best players and friends that I had growing up and we started this thing and then you know, thats when we started rehearsing every day in the basement and then it started to take off about a year later. Thats awesome. Thats pretty cool. You mentioned your story is that the Prodigal Son story turned away during that time to sing some of the stuff that was going on Backstage, on this Christian tours, or whatever it is. That is the legion like is that what brought you back or we have one that took me away further? I think in the legion part its like you know Ive always had this foundation in in new that my my spirit and heart belong to God, but I went through a period in my life in my early and mid twenties of just kind of going, I know youre there but I dont need you right now and, you know, we were sucked into it a pretty intense world, you know, when the when the project Legion took off it was like, All the indulgences that you think of they were there. And I think I I knew that my conscience being a Believer was getting in the way and I just let you know, wanted to go through that process. Some David write a book about you. I told my parents when they pass away already booked and I dont want them to really know about all of the escapades that that took place, you know. It was a, it was a. Of time where we just threw caution to the wind. I mean, we lived, you know, I remember Motley Crue and Guns, N Roses tour manager, coming out to me, he goes, dude. You guys are way crazier than those two bands and, you know, I shouldnt be proud of that. But in the moment, I was coming from a guy that youve been on the road since the mid-eighties with with two of the biggest rock bands that could ever. But you know, I love my guys and were still close and fortunately, you know, everybody still Live. But men, we pushed it, we, we push the envelope. And, you know, I think sometimes, I often probably too much wanted to put ourselves in a different difficult situation to see. What adversity we could overcome is almost like a social science experiment. I would do, but long-term, you know long-term, I recognize that I love these guys and I couldnt live on my conscious with one of them dying, and I think in the 10-year, that, that we were in Legion, you know, I think the number was 13, but I think wed buried about 13, friends to overdose and suicide during that time. And I remember I was, like, 28, People around the band, you know guys that we would tour with some somewhere Roadies somewhere other artists and other bands, people who are close to the band. Its just like theres theres just a lot of addiction. Theres a lot of mental health issues, and we were just engrossed with it. And I remember, you know, being I think its about 28 at 8, another suicide funeral and Im like Im never doing this again. Like I just cant come to another funeral where a friend of mine is taking their own life and it was just kind of a wake-up call, you know, and I think that was probably the big transition uniformi. The biggest thing to hit us was 2008. The economy crashed in touring, became insanely expensive, have a record label folded, because of it. And I just remember waking up and thinking, you know, at that point I was like, I think I was just 30 years old. And we were touring with all these bands, that, you know, we looked up to the in their forties, in a lot of them had horrible, marriages and many divorces, and multiple kids around the country that they didnt have any relation. And I was just like, is this? This is what I want to look like. When Im 40 45 like to, I want to be in another city where I dont know what the city is. Do I let you know, I cant tell you how many times I said, how we doing Chicago and theyre like, oh, youre in Pittsburgh and Im like, one of them. I had a r, r, o d. He he would write the name. I had a box that I would stand on to get me higher on the off the stage and I already was but he would write the city named, you know, because people get so offended from when you was like, I wasnt there on the last night. Going back to the Prodigal, Son story is that youre eating with swine, kind of kind of moment like yeah I knew that my Foundation wasnt that way and I just knew that you know I was surrounded by so much that I loved that. I started to hate, you know, I just I love play music, I love entertaining people but it got to the point where its like, its not worth it anymore. You know. That, thats why I love playing on the worship team cuz I may be able to provide a gift that God has given me, but Im not entangled in all the ugliness in the messiness of that. And I have a lot of fun memories, lots of fun memories of that time, but I knew I knew in my heart, if we kept going, one of us was going to die and then I couldnt live with that. And Ive had a really difficult conversations with all the guys in the band that, you know, they were really upset with me when I Call it quits for a long time but weve been able to, you know, bridge that Gap and I think they forgiven me and they all recognize, why, why we we had to make that call? So when was that what sentence in 2008 video, September 2008, we we just we hit a wall like two things were just, you know, really difficult. They didnt, they didnt know that our record label was going under, but I knew that. And so it is just made it really, really difficult. During that time were the only one who knew at that point. It was going. Yeah, I was the only one that knew, you know, being the, a lot of hats in the band. I had most of the communication with management team and everybody. So I had some some information that, you know, things financially, were not in a good space for us anymore and you know, but it it beyond that. Its just I I knew some of the guys in the band were not healthy and not well, you know, and then theyre all thriving now. So jump into the counting cuz it sounds like Yeah. That might have played a part in that seeing those unhealthy, mental states of some of your friends doing, all that stuff done before we jump into that, you told me a story about like you were up against Lenny Kravitz in Chester from part. I just need for Velvet Revolver, something like that to like that. Thats what Im saying. I just want to hear this but it still. Is it still going? Insane story to me. We were out, I think were in the desert somewhere and I think were playing. Maybe in Arizona, I cant remember, but it was, I remember knowing we didnt have good cell service. This was like in 2006. And Scott the stage name of the word that Scott Weiland was not driving anymore with the Velvet Revolver guys. And we played shows, we do open for them. I dont think they ever saw us play, but we got to see them play several times, and we why we played a show in Nashville and then we went out west. And so, if we did the show Nashville, I remember this guy came up to me. He looked like he should be in Guns and Roses, like he just had to look, you know, hes there about their age range and he he was so kind and he came up to me after the show and he was just like, hit me with compliments and I was like, really appreciating and stuff. It was a little over-the-top and he was just like, comparing me to a lot of like really, really great people. And I was just like, where is this guy coming from? I didnt think anything of it at all. And we ended up, you know, moving on, I think we went to Little Rock after that and then we were out in the den. I remember getting a phone call from arm label president and hes like youre not going to believe what just happened and I was like, all right he goes youre going to get a phone call in about 5 minutes, so make sure youre in a good cell area to get it to get up. And it was it end up being Bell revolvers for managers or management company? And they had said that dust had gotten word from his AA sponsor who was in Nashville. A couple nights before that, he found the new singer for Velvet Revolver and so they were like your tour schedule and I remember I flew out of Denver so we could somehow he got to Denver. We had a couple days off. So, I flew to Denver to La spent like 2 or 3 days in LA. And what they do is they sent me to recorded tracks. And I had to write lyrics, I wrote lyrics on the plane from Denver. In the other thing was my record label was like, do not tell the band, which I was like, this is not good, but they were like, we dont want them getting paranoid. So, whatever. But when youve got it figured, youve got to try this out. So, I wrote to songs on the plane got there, I went into the studio with an engineer and producer reproduce the songs Through the Grapevine there like, hey, you know, Lenny Kravitz in Chester doing this too. And Im like, I dont think thats fair like yeah. I was like I probably wouldnt have got on this plane. Had I known that there are? No. They want to hear your side either. Want to hear your voice on this track and, and whatever cell. The takeaway from the whole experience was I have a song that I can hear my vocals on that has all the guys in Guns, N Roses to track which I think is pretty cool. They didnt end up taking anybody, The Velvet Revolver. Bandit in nothing ever happened. But there was just a little bit of a bummer, but it would have been cool. I would have loved at least do it for one show. Thats awesome. You did something else for her all the things you said you liked either than some studio work or something with them, right? Or just doing those those songs to audition. Well, I mean thats thats awesome. Its been really cool to hear that kind of the process like after after touring for so long and after being part of that industry in after seeing all that stuff, Stop walking through that house. So after 2008, I did one more project, just kind of throwing something at the wall. And, you know, I really feel like the music that I was doing that. Im passionate about, just kind of faded, you know, Im a heavy rock guy in 2008, you know, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus hit, and I was just like whatever. Like, were never going to make it but similar to the to Brian Marshall from Creed. You know, I had a great relationship with the Kid Rock eyes. And Kenny Olson. Who was Kid, Rocks guitar player for 13 years called and said, I heard Legions done. So we ended up doing a project that we spent about two years doing a whole thing. Had a lot of push, but it just in the record was good at the records. Probably. It was a 4 song EP that I probably vocally. I think sounded it was the best I ever sounded. But its just like it just wasnt happening. Kenny was in a dark place and I was just done. I think I was done and so was 2010. I remember all the sudden, I started to develop panic attacks and part of what help that is, you know, living in Nashville. At that point, was like a microcosm. I couldnt go anywhere. Like, every time I went somebody, there was always somebody in your face. And going, I do thats hang out or hanging sign that sore and its, it just became suffocating my brother. And I were living in apartments in downtown Nashville and there was a period there for about, I think it was about a month or two. I know I didnt leave and my brother was getting concerned. My brother was our tour manager for a long time and then moved into management. And I remember he called my parents were like you got to get him out of here. Like hes not doing well and I wasnt, I wasnt doing well. I developed it really You know, bad anxiety. Probably a lot of depression. So it took everything in my power to get on the airplane and flew back home to get to Ohio and I stayed with my parents for a while. Theyre like the only way that youre going to do this is if if we get you some counseling and I know we tried for, you know, probably weeks of getting me out the door, but I just was really struggling cuz its, like everything Ive known since 15 years old, is now done and gone and the idea of transitioning into anything else was so foreign to me, but I end up getting into a merge and my therapist. His name is Steve Dunleavy, he and I worked together for about a year, just, it was just a lot of really, really good stuff. That really kind of helped me through understanding human psyche. I always had these thoughts about human behavior. Always wanted to do you know include those types of things and lyrics. Really studying and understanding The Human Experience. And I will never forget and our last session. He goes mad. Have you ever thought about doing what I do as like? No, man, I have never in a million. You should and saw it a light bulb kind of went on because, you know, being a mental health therapist, I kind of do the same thing with clients that I did with my audience. I just dont sing at him. Im trying to build a bridge from from who the experience is to invite them into, feel included. To feel to let them know that theyre not alone. I do the same thing in in the mental health world. So it wasnt long after that, I went back to finish my undergrad and then I got a masters degree, and I just kept emailing the heck out of Steve and and some of the other leadership, it emerges saying there is no other option for me, like, thats where Im working. They probably got crazy annoyed with me because I, it was like, Okay, great. Youre in your second year of your masters program. Like, why are you emailing me now? But I didnt want them to forget about me. And when I graduated, I think there was just like, okay, finally, just come interview and and I did, and I got the offer in and that was my, I mean, probably one of my fault since I never have a contingency plan. Its like, I never have a net. Its like, thats what Im doing. Sit, and its worked out for me. I dont know if I would advise everybody to do that, but I knew thats where I wanted to be in. There was no other option, you know, its like in merge was everything, I wanted what they represent and in the environment that you get to counsel and sell Virgil little bitch. Whats whats that Ministry? Like with the counseling, like the air is very unique over the last 5 years that Ive been in the mental health world, you know, going to, I got my masters from Ashland University and, you know, being a believer in a world that does not necessarily eggnog face. As being part of the mental health recovery process. I could never work in a environment that you cannot bring the Holy Spirit into. And so, for me, there was no question because theyre there are other places but emerge has such a history, but like, working it at like a You know, a non-believing or non-faith practicing Place, most times, you are not allowed to pray with clients. Youre not allowed to bring their faith in and to me its like I can go through all the Therapies in the world but if I cant use what I know, really saves people really sanctifies people then Im just doing therapy and what Im trying to do is allow people to come in to a therapeutic experience and have a Christ encounter and then were going to see some real change in their life. Its not going to be because I know how to do CBT. Its not going to be because I knew how to do EMDR. Those are going to be vehicles that we enable them to get to that place. And then I get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit, do it, do their thing. And I can tell you guys Ive seen more ceiling in that type of environment and I wouldnt be able to do that in a place. Not like emerge in a lot of places. Youre not even really encouraged to do that. Ball. And so that, thats why I merge is so important to me. Is emerge. Is that this local to Northeast? Ohio are just one location is our home, there are some satellite places. I believe Toledo and Cincinnati. Weve been talkin about branching out into other states and were really moving the needle on that and then obviously covid hit and so that changes things, but the way now, Telehealth is taking over, its going to make it look a lot different. Were really working while were not working. Were hoping praying that, the American Psychological Association will start recognizing therapist like myself. Because right now, I can only practice in Ohio and so it really restricts me from being able to work with people who were missionaries in Uganda, you know, its like a lot of our population, theyre only here for a short time and then theyre being spread out pastors and families and missionaries, and as the law reads now, I cant work with them, the moment they move out of state lines. So with the, the way that the world is moving with the way the climate is, I think some of these these laws that are very old, now need to be radically changed because our environment changing me before were doing a podcast right now, virtually because of whats going on in the world, but we can continue doing business and we can continue doing these things. So, to answer your question right now, emerges centrally located out of Akron, but this was a big part of starting the podcast that I do for emerge was taking the walls of Akron and extending them out to at least start reaching people outside of that zip code trying to Bring conversations about Mental Health Care, Christian Perspective, change of pace for my roll. You know, the first two years, I was with a merge. I just saw a client after Klein, have to clean up the client and then about a year-and-a-half ago, we have a new president in his wife came on in just sat me down for a lunch and ask me some things about you know, where I see myself going and how I would like to, you know, progress with emerge and they just had this vision of a podcast and its really funny because Im the music guy at emerge. So theyre just like, so anything with a microphone, you can do right like a podcast as a microphone, doesnt mean I know what Im doing. Where can I see they think that I can do. So, I spent I spent about 6 months, just studying and understanding what podcasting was because I didnt really understand the world. And then I think was last February and March, we launched our first season and its been awesome and it is it its a podcast. It really focuses in on the Journey of Faith and mental health, cuz I think theyre so symbiotic. And I interview different people, whove gone through extraordinary, experience is a interview specialist in certain areas of like anxiety or depression. We talked a lot about family and marriage. Obviously this year we focused a lot on how out of the covid experience has affected people and their mental health and so its been really great. Were wrapping up a season 1 in the next couple weeks, and then well launch season 2. Early next year and, you know, trying to just grow something similar to what you guys are doing it core for life. Its like these are messages that people need to hear, you know? Its like we are living in a very strange time and theres a lot of uncertainty and specially over the last year anxiety levels have gone through the roof, we have noticed, the depression levels going through the roof and the suicide numbers are going up. And so, its imperative. Message that were getting out to to let other people know that theyre on the loan that this is difficult. And its okay. Yeah. A lot of times, I share a client like, you know, its okay to have anxiety right now. Like, you know, it when we have anxiety and theres not a stress or in front of us, I was using it, the examples. Like if theres a bear in front of you, its okay to have anxiety. What this year 2020. Its like thats been a bear. I mean, its okay. We are inside levels. Are allowed to go up and know youre not alone and so You know, a lot of what we try to do on the, its called experience emerge, but we call XM for sure. The XM podcast is just giving people tools and vehicles information so that, you know, they can utilize that in their own lives. And then with a lot of my cohorts, who I work with and colleagues, theyll use the podcast 4424 Tools in between sessions. So its like I can only see a client an hour a week, theres a lot of time between that our in the following week an hour. So heres a couple 2 tutorial, Zara podcast on mindfulness or you know, calm space or whatever, maybe so that they have stuff in between to keep them going. How much? How many people do you talk to that? Are Christians versus non-christians to come down harder on the show clients? I would guess its its a higher number of non-christians that you would think. In the reason I would say that I see a lot of young adults and teens a lot of them, if their parents bringing. And so there, they usually come from a Christian home. I mean, if youre coming to emerge for the most part youre coming knowing that there is a faith-based ministry. Thats happening. Now, Ive had some people that have, theyre just like look up. Ive gone the secular route on counseling and its just not gone well, but I want to let you know, Im not a Believer thats rare but Ive had that but usually there is some connection with faith. I always tell clients, its like, you know, I want to pray with every one of my clients but I will tell them if you dont want me to. Ill never be offended if you said, hey man, Im not interested in playing today, thatll be totally fine. Im never trying to press that upon them, and Ive had a couple clients. Do you know what? Im just not feeling praying doing, okay, no problem. I would say its enough for me and its probably 60/40 Im totally guessing on that but its so nice in the neighborhood there. And right, when youre talking with people, if, if they have that same space as background easier to open up to them with, where youre at, in your faith and how youve grown to get them to realize and understand maybe where theyre at. And what if they dont have that. What are you doing those circumstances? You know what? I, Ive never had a huge problem. Sharing my face. I dont know why this story came back to me, but I was thinking about and you guys are going to laugh at me. I was thinking about this today in this, this story popped in my head and I remember we are on tour with another band. And we end up going to this after-party in this after party was us, and a bunch of girls who dance for a living. I think thats a, thats a kind way of saying that. So somehow we were at this girls house and in my wifes going to kill him for the story but but it was funny because this girl put on praise and worship music, which I was like everybodys doing drugs, ever is drinking and and stuff and she put some praise and worship music random, you know, whatever. But I I just started giving her the gospel and we end up praying together and I never saw her again. Never thought anything of it about a year later, that guy was touring to that City. He called me. Hes like, dude, Im going to kill you and I was like what he does. That girl is cleaned up her life. Shes not dancing anymore. Shes going to church and shes gotten back with her her kid and he knows that was my hookup and whatever city that was and I was just praising Jesus. You know, its just like you know what? That was it a really terrible situation that I would I didnt. I was completely unaware but God was using that moment to get this. Out of a horrible situation. And so, to answer that question, If if somebody says in my office until Health now, but if if they were in my office I can still pray for them. In my mind, I can still be asking for the Holy Spirit to come into that moment. And I think a lot of times, you know, its its just the way Im a non-judgmental in an everything that they say in a lot of times. Thats the biggest thing that I get is people will try to throw something at me to get a reaction out of me like, oh, thats, thats horrible. Ill never do that, ever. And I had people throw some of the worst things and Ive been in my head and in thought for a moment, like that is the most disturbing thing Ive ever ever heard in my life. But my, my, my expression on the outside would never show you that. And Ive had people go, you know, youre the first person that didnt judge me because of that shame in my past and its like, you know, everything that that I want to convey, which I fall short, all the time is how would Christ respond to that. Person in that moment and I dont think he would come across judgemental. But I think, you know, my years and years of touring in recognizing that we just want to be accepted. We would be accepted into a group into a social, you know, situation by a girl, by a boy, you know, which one we want to be accepted and it once we accept that person, for all of their ugliness, we can actually start working on cleaning it up and you know, thats why I love our our church Redemption because it comes from that makeup. It comes from, I dont care how ugly you are. I dont care how broken you are. I dont care how fractured you are, but come here and be with other people who are and were on a journey to start cleaning this mess up, you know. And to me, thats all I want to do every day in session. Every time I record a podcast and I have no problems, you know, sharing my story because its, I mean, Ive had clients come up to me with their phone open with Google open and go. Is that you? And its like, yeah, yes, me with eyeliner on and my hair down to here and all different colors and, you know, nail nail polish and wearing womens jeans. Yeah, thats me, you know, Im your therapist. So the guy liner, so I mean yeah, I mean I probably lost a few clients because of the internet. But you know I just feel like you know, its its its a its a good thing to see the transition and transformation in peoples lives and Im not exempt from that, you know. And so Im always very open to share that story of yeah man. I was that guy. I was the guy that was living the dream but I was broken inside. I was completely separated from God and I love and The Prodigal Son. God didnt go out searching. The Prodigal, Son, the prodigal son, had to come back to the father, and that was my journey in that year of therapy. And then really getting involved in a church here in getting reground it into a world. It was based in reality in and not the insanity that I was living in and, you know, getting away from. You know, there is always these people, we would call and leeches. I dont even know where they come from. They were just there. They were, like the remind me like, just the enemy. They would just be like all those people that, you know, they werent part of the bike, the group that they just would leech on to you. So they could get into clubs or get into parties and whatever. Then eventually go, who are you? How did you get here? And why am I making horrible decisions? Because you keep, you know, and so that you always have those people, and I just got away from all of that insanity and and got cleared in and really started aggressively pursuing my relationship with God again, which Life-saving for me. Thats, thats really it though, right? I mean, you, Call Daddy. With your clients and I know were hitting it, probably surface-level hearing a lot of ways but you know, you when youre here in those things from them, its not crazy to you because you probably be going through a lot of that can relate to that, you know, husbands and fathers. Big Bang formatted seems to be its its hard to reach out for help. There seems to be a stigma a little bit around that for for men and just looking for counseling, you know, what, what would you say on that topic in? You know, have you had to deal with that in your line of work? I think thats a really great question and I think theres a lot of Truth in that. I think the problem is his pride gets in the way and for me and being on this side. Now a huge part of me getting the work that I needed to get me to a place where I can even see God again and even be okay with myself cuz I was caring so much. Shame and guilt is that I had to recognize the strength comes in knowing I need help. Its its not a strength to go. I know theres problems in here but Im just going to deny myself of that and avoid it. You know avoidance is one of the biggest issues we have is human being. Do you know its like, even going back to Adam and Eve, the moment, the fall happens, where do they do they have or they try to hide and we do the same thing. Whether its video games, pornography, alcohol drugs, its all avoidance behavior. If, you know, you have a problem in your not allowing yourself, to be honest, with yourself about it and going to get hell, youre actually more week then the person who sang Im willing to go get help, it takes a lot more strength to get out of your car. Walk through the parking lot at the merge and go into an office than it does to be hiding in your own little shell. And so, I think we have It reversed and I think, you know, we have been hitting people over the head especially men for way too long that you need to be strong and Silent in and not communicate. Its the relationships with men that I have that we go deep and we talked and we expose ourselves in. And in ways of going, this is my heart. And this is where Im broken and this is where Im struggling that we actually become I Sharpening iron. I know what Rick is said this. And I say it all the time. Its not pillows, sharpening pillows. Its iron sharpening iron in that stuff and it hurts and its difficult sometimes. But when we do it, we become something much greater than we were before. And if we dont allow that to happen, as men were missing out on the experience, on this side of having to have Godly relationships and have a connection with our savior in a way that we were meant to. So I think its when where I think the most Freedom Ive ever felt. Was when I got off my high horse of being a rockstar and just said, God Im a broken man. Im broken and I have so much crap wrong with me. I think when I got had a point of just being completely honest that it I wasnt this big deal and all this stuff really wasnt important that I started to actually be okay with myself and that was the first time I actually felt like probably because I was living such a faith-filled life in my early teens that I felt alive again. Like I felt like my spirit just did it left me for being referred to that. Of time as the Dark Ages? But the moment I was able to kind of rip that away and just go God, Im a broken shred of a man and Im nothing without you, please. Let me accept me back, you know, and in that moment is when I think I felt really alive, so Im okay Wok. I tell all my clients and they laugh at me. Im like, dont worry Im way more broken than you are and theyre like looking at me like and Im paying for this, but its like, Im okay with it. I know that, you know, anything you share with me if its not going to shock me, Im not going to turn away from you. So it was a long answer to get around. I hope that was okay. Its our pastors are not. Youre not hiding from the fact that they are very broken, people that come from very broken background and theyre not trying to be Holy is Dell. It us sure. They know that theyre theyre messed up and theyre theyre still searching just like the rest of us. But the difference is that they know that their theres a Seder there if they have portable fortune in the beginning and I dont mean to interrupt you, but in the beginning of James, you know, in Jamess Jesus younger brother. Cracked me up. Its like how hard you think you have it hard? Like its like oh Im never good enough. Mom and Dad, its like, oh its all about Jesus. But I love the fact that James is hes a little bit of a cynic in the fact that, you know, it was really when the transfer Mega transfer figuration happened that he started writing. And I love when the beginning of the book, he goes, if you dont say, I was a human being in it. If you dont have adversity, Im totally paraphrasing. What in the world is the need for a savior. The moment we realized that Jesus completed, he already did what we need, theres no. If if we dont go through the trials and tribulations that I kind of shared with you guys today, its like, whats the point of Jesus? Then if I could do it on my own, then why would God send him? So, I believe we were born to fail. This idea of perfectionism we have to throw out the window because were never going to achieve but its just going to cause more depression and we have to recognize through those failures in through. Those adversities, those are the times that we learn. Those are the times that we grow. We need that. Because every time we do, thats when Jesus comes in and saved us. Because if we didnt have that, then we wouldnt be seeking him out. If I didnt go through the things that I went through from 2008 to 2010 with all that other crap before. I would have been okay enough to go. Well, I dont really think I need Jesus cuz Im doing pretty well. Im out. I couldnt do any more like my body and my mind and the idea of touring one more day just shut down and it was like, youre done. Youre done with everything like to the point where its like, I, I cant physically do this on my own and I, for me, thats where God had to bring me to the wake me up to 2 to let me know. Its like, dude, youve been youve, youve gotten too far. So heres your wake up call. He brought up and I know Andrew has in the past. You cant really compare yourself to your older brother. Were talkin about James compare yourself to Jesus. He always got that fall back on. Like youre not his boss said that Harvard is on the board of modernity, and if you ever need to talk sometime today about the issues that you have trying to achieve you just let me know when we can so we can do that. I love that. I love that really over all that message, and I think thats where a lot of times, Christians, come off. Faucet is judgmental or belittling other people that that have a pastor or Ive done things, theyre shamed of and I think thats enough for all the reasons you just mentioned. That should never be the case. Like Saved by faith in Christ alone. And thats, thats what we we rest on it. So, we should be out there yet judge, and putting other people down, like we should be a life. Be what theyre welcoming? Thats what emerged was all about, helping people. And thats really what we envision for court, for, in the future. Has you helping to build this network of groups like ours lately. Like, weve experienced the ability to call each other out on our crap, like to talk to each other about our stuff and the fixed. Fixed to work on those problems together and we just envision Being able to facilitate some of that thing is awesome. What youre doing to emerge and in the work you doing there, why? I appreciate what you guys are saying and I just know in my walk and in you, no kind of over the last, you know, 10 years plus of finding that again, that I that I had in my, my teen years, Ive never been able to do it alone. And so theres always, theres always a call in my life and theres always a Timothy in my life and thats people that Im breathing into and people that are breathing into me. And if you dont have that set up, you are one of the sheet that is not part of the flock, and you are easy to pick off. And thats, thats kind of what happened to me is, I started to wander out into the world. I became much easier and easier to Target for the enemy, and it for everything else. And so, you know, I I just know the relational. Things like I have a wonderful marriage. I love my wife, but I need those guys in my life to that are breathing life into me because its a different type of intimacy that we have on that level and I believe God created it that way. Because we need that you would, you need the accountability otherwise, youre not going to make it very far. Develop those released. Our relationship working out together, something like that. But I do think theres a lot of Wonder Pets relationship. How did you start the? The first thing is, you pray for him and you ask God to start preparing yourself and those other people to be open to that in that moment. And Ive always even in the dark errors, Ive always had people in my life. Its amazing to me that I think that God was bringing people to me throughout my entire life. Cuz Ive always had guys that were over seeing a part of me and they, they were always Believers. I would say that you have to be, and I hate using this work cuz its such a cute churchward. But you have to be very intentional with those relationships. And, you know, I am very blessed to have Buddy mind you guys know his name Jason rice. I mean he and I were in bands together and high school. Weve been friends for you know – 27 plus years and you know when I came back he was one of the first people I connected with and you know weve developed a really really great relationship and were in the word everyday together and every morning were sharing and in another dear friend of mine Greg Rob, we brought him into it and thats been awesome. So its like we have an accountability together that, you know, is its a huge and EM were constantly praying for each other. But I think the the big part is we dont have a relationship with our creator unless we pursue a relationship with them. In the way we do, that is for me. I need to be spending time in the word. I need to be spending time in prayer. And when those things arent happening, I think its really, really Call and there are times where I want to be lazy. It just its so easy to want to be lazy. But when you have two other guys like that that are just constantly, you know, its like Ill see their name come up on the Bible app and its like a call Jason day to study for today. Im like now I got to go do you know, but it didnt push the issue and so its like, if I want to foster a healthy relationship with anybody on Earth, I got to spend time with them so Im not spending time with God than my relationship isnt growing. And so, you know, I think thats what helps motivate Us in that situation because I want to be in the nose and its not everyday, you know, its like you cannot take time off because its something that I think you have to continuously pursue that church word of intentional. But youve also said, pursue, I mean, its the pursuit of Finding those Pauls and and Timothy using parviz in your life. And that was that. Was it for me? I mean, for any guy, you always have that information to be like I can do this myself, I can be on my own cuz I can be to control my life. But I mean, I knew myself coming out to Ohio. I didnt know anybody like that. My wife, and I didnt have a group of friends out here. So I knew I had to really pursue God and pursue accountability. I needed to take that on and thats where CLC came into play. Like Im going to commit to this two-year, like I was doing everything I could to make sure I got into the next group because I knew I needed to put in the time the money consistency to you know, if really put myself out there to try to get, do you put the group of guys who now Im sitting next to two of them right here. And another one that joined us in the Bible study right after that, you know, you dont get that unless you really put in that time and intention Audi, like you said enough. Define that and I think thats what a lot of guys can get this. Cuz they think it might come to them just because its natural and they got control but its not its not going to come in so I can come easy. You really have to pursue its to follow up on that though. I think is where Im at now, but I think you can get you can almost get lazy because now you got that and youve got the accountability but theres almost a comp comfortability at that point, you know, have you had to deal with that much in your life? What would you say to somebody whos maybe half pursue? They have been intentional but they can almost get to the point of being being lazy or being content. I think the big thing with that is have a plan. You know, I think for us if we were, you know, just hanging out and stuff, it would be really easy to get off of that, but we do do that more. So when it be Not living in a pandemic but we do that. But really its the, you know, constantly working on a book of the Bible were constantly working on a theme of like being better. Husbands were constantly working on being better, dads learning, you know, different aspects of scripture. You know. We spend a lot of time this year and just learning how to properly pray, you know? And so we were dancing all over scripture, you know, not necessarily in one book, but having a game plan, I think keeps it away from getting so comfortable cuz it should be comfortable and you should have time to just enjoy and hang out. But I think, you know, for us, its its really about going. We have a lot of friends outside of this core and thats great and I get to do that. But with these two guys, in this particular time of our day, we are going to be aggressively pursuing Christ and thats On top of the fact, its like aggressively doing that. But then being accountable and prayerful for each other about whats going on in our lives. And the hardships, we may have or the issues that may be going on, our family that we can kind of be a support for each other, but thats what that time is designated for if it were, you know, going to dinner together hanging out, it may not be so intense about that. But that time, you know what, I always say. Its like theres two things that we can spend in this world money and time and I can tell you exactly where your heart is. If I can look at your pocketbook and you calendar and show for me when God talks about money, and any talks about tithing, I also taught tied that tempers 10% of my day. If Im going to tie a tie, then the other thing I can spend, which is the first 10% of my income that Im in the tide that first ten per-cent of my day. And so, thats what we do is that that time is intentional for us. Like we are, we are using that time for that because Im going to be spending time. The Lord and then imma be spending X time with my brothers via text through the Bible app that were going to be communicating about how were interpreting whatever reading that day. So for me to answer that question, I think its its really about having a plan and then knowing that time is that its specific to that. Thats what were doing cuz its too easy to get caught up in, in other things, you know, and we want to get caught up in every other things. I love golfing. I love, you know, doing those things with those guys in that, that time, we know of, but that first 10% of our day is going to be that take me to First 10% every day, I never really thought of it that way. Like you have always thought, especially for me doing it first thing in the morning makes sense just because Yep, just brush him, your first fruits, you know, my best might be the best version of me is going to be that first part of the day. Because after the day gets started and I get, you know, I was told people do not pick your phones up in the first hour that you wake up. Do not get on social media, do not check email because then you become a responder. Dont be a responded to the world, be somebody that pudding stuff out into the world thats healthy. Like, be that guy, you know. So if I spend the first 10% of my day, Im giving him the best version of myself. We already know the brain can only compute so many decisions a day. So given that part of you and its amazing to me how much better my day flows. Because now, Im not responding to the world, Im actually interjecting things into it. Did thats fantastic. I really love that concept then I feel like we have probably like three or four more podcasts worth of. Were just going to call you off again and Ill have you on the show again maybe we can see whats all this. Insanity, settles down, but dude, I just so grateful for you coming on here in talking to your story. Thats very awesome. Sit with us and talk about mental health. Then like I said we didnt get the half of the things we plan to talk about but it was such such good stuff like that. It Im sure our listeners going to respond well to so thank you so much for being on appreciate Ryan, Andrew Mike and Matt thanks for. Let me be a part of what you guys are doing cuz I really think men need what you guys are doing and anyway I can support it will be a hundred percent behind And I want to sure I want to share a shirt. Thanks for checking out the core for Life podcast. If you like what youre hearing, why dont you tell a friend about us? Share a link to our podcast on social media or get in touch with us a tour for life or core for life.com? Thats core four life.com catch next time. Google for life

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