My name is James Arendt. I'm also the webmaster of Deep Truths and a missionary for Jesus Christ in Japan. I love to travel throughout Japan by hitchhiking as that is the main way I get to meet people and make new friends to share my faith. I have yet another web site about hitchhiking in Japan.
I was born in 1950 in Hammond, Indiana, USA, and raised in Illinois, in a little neighborhood of the southeast corner of Chicago, known as Hegewisch. I used to hate growing up in Hegewisch, but now think it was probably one of the best and safest of all of Chicago's neighborhoods because it had a small town atmosphere. My mother, now deceased, was a very devoted church goer and took me to church regularly. Though I believed in God, I didn't especially enjoy or look forward to the church experience.
When I became a teenager I got into smoking from age 13, alcohol abuse when 15, and smoking cannabis weed from 16 years of age. Though I did fairly well in grammar school, my grades in high school were very low. My friends would warn me that if I continued in my ways, I was headed for "skid row" at the most or a very bleak future at the least. I began to realize I was wasting my life.
After graduating high school I got a night time job at a steel factory in the neighboring town, Hammond Indiana. Working nights kept me out of trouble for a while.
In 1969 during the Vietnam war, those selected to be drafted were chosen by the lottery system. Birthdays were picked out of a box at random. My birthday, June 21, was number 60 out of a possible 365. Only those with a number of more than 250 would be exempt from the draft, so I knew the Army would soon send me a draft notification. I opted to legally avoid the Army by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. I was accepted and went to Texas for basic training on Feb. 10, 1970.
After two months I was transferred to Kessler AFB in Biloxi Mississippi to be trained to be a "telecommunications control center specialist." I like any field related to physics and science, and especially electricity and electronics, so I studied hard and had top grades. Military life did me some good as I learned to discipline myself to do the things I needed to do. However, in my free moments, those 9 months in Mississippi were the loneliest of my life. The pain was extreme. All my friends knew it and tried to help me. I felt like the character "Neo" in the recent popular film "The Matrix", and that there was something wrong somewhere.
In December 1970 I was transferred by the Air Force to McClellan AFB in Sacramento California. It was there that I found the answer to my chronic loneliness!
I met a group of young men, my peers at the time, who called themselves Christians. One of them, a boy by the name of David Weeks, invited me to go mountain climbing with them. It wasn't too difficult for him to persuade me to come along. There are no mountains to climb anywhere near my home town.
Another boy, one of David's friends, talked to me about having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. No one I considered a peer ever talked to me of this before. I knew that though I believed in God, He seemed far from me. The thought of having a daily personal friendship with Him was a totally new concept!
That night they invited me to a meeting where a famous entertainer, Tony Fontane, gave his testimony of his near-death experience, deliverance from alcoholism and conversion to Christ. I felt God speaking to me. I knew that this could be my opportunity to start my life on the right course depending on the decision I made. I decided that night to receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
The next morning when I woke, I felt something inside me had changed. There was a new spiritual nature born inside me; something I didn't have before! I turned on the radio and surprisingly it was a Christian broadcast. I listened with unusual interest. For the first time I could understand what the preacher on the radio was saying!
Through the months that followed, I met my new Christian friends often. They taught me many things from the Bible. I developed a Bible reading habit myself. I felt I could hear the very Voice of God speaking to me through the pages of His Book!
I learned through the following months that God is not merely the angry judge I had perceived Him to be, but He is more the loving Father. The Bible in Jeremiah chapter 31 verse 3 says. "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
I learned that not only does God loves me and sent His own Son Jesus to save me, but that He wants me to love Him too by spending time talking to Him, and by listening to His Voice speak to me in my heart. When I do so, He gives me power to face and overcome any and all obstacles in life.
I learned what real faith is: Simply believing and accepting the Word of God. Romans chapter 10 verse 17 says. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." In other words, through an act of my own will in choosing to read and believe the Word of God in the Bible and His prophets and prophetesses, I can increase my faith in God and His power in my life.
I learned to accept myself as God made me -- a man with both weaknesses and strengths. I had the bad habit of comparing myself negatively with others, feeling inferior in physical abilities (especially sports), appearance, and lacking eloquence in public speaking. I learned the Lord has endowed me with specific gifts that can be of service to others, i.e. teaching and writing, computer skills, faith to live frugally with little income, faith to travel, meeting new people, and talking to strangers. Some of these I had previously considered areas I was weak in, but they turned into strengths! It may surprise you to know that I was extremely shy and introverted before receiving the Lord.
God even helped me overcome my fear of public speaking! It's still something I don't especially relish, but I'm not scared to death doing so anymore.
For the first time in my life, I felt I could now contribute something toward society. I could share with others the happiness and inner peace I had found in Christ!
In 1974 upon receiving an honorable discharge from the Air Force, I believed the next path in life that God would have me to take would be the path of a missionary. I joined "The Family International" missionary organization. The Family International provided me a framework where I could serve Jesus Christ full time as a missionary. One man who read this page responded by saying that my "short life ended" when I joined a missionary organization. Quite the contrary, I have experienced life to the full and have learned much more than I would have learned had I returned to my home in Chicago! I learned to converse, read and write in 2 foreign languages, Japanese and Russian, lived in several foreign countries (Japan, Russia, South Korea, China, Finland, Estonia, Poland, UK, and Canada) made friends with people of scores of nationalities, and learned new skills like computer and web construction. I wouldn't trade the last 30 years of my life for any other kind of life! God led me on a worldwide adventure to Japan, S. Korea, Russia, Finland, Estonia, Poland, and China! My brother who has a steady job at the University of Illinois wishes he could drop out and live like I do -- free of the bondage of the world and its pollution.
If you are a serious student of the Bible, you would know that the early Christians were also called a "sect." "For as concerning this sect (early Christians), we know that every where it is spoken against." - Acts 28:22 Ever since I became a Christian I have had to endure some negative comments and ridicule. Jesus said, "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." - John 15:20 The mocking has increased several fold since I forsook all worldly pursuits to become a follower of the teachings of Christ as His disciple in The Family International. "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." -John 15:19 I count it an honor to be counted worthy to suffer shame for the Name of Jesus Christ! (Acts 5:41)
David Brandt Berg (1919 - 1994) through his writings and life has taught me how to "live by faith" to serve God full time. He also exposed many of the false doctrines of some churches that I previously believed. I believe David Brandt Berg had a special place as the Lord's End Time prophet. If you would like to know more of what he had to say, please check out my other web site, www.deeptruths.com. The Devil certainly doesn't like what David Berg had to say and has attacked him and his message with a fury! "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." - 2 Timothy 3:12
In spite of negative comments and some persecution from time to time, I have no regrets and would not trade the past for the world or all it has to offer. I don't own much, just this computer I am using to write this message, and the clothes on my back, but neither do I have debts. I live within my income. God has provided all my needs as I put His Will and Kingdom first in my life. As Jesus said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal." - Matthew 6:19 I was robbed once. It wasn't that much a loss!
You can have an exciting and fulfilling life too! Just ask Him into your heart and talk to Him as your buddy and constant Companion! If he can save me He can save you too from all your problems, and especially chronic ones!
Here are Scriptures from John chapter 1 of the New Testament that show what a person needs to do to become a child of God. Some people say that all humans are God's creation and therefore God's children. The Bible indicates that we need to become His children through receiving the Son of God first.10 He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not.
Here's a good prayer to pray if you don't know Christ yet. You need to pray this particular prayer only once.
Dear Jesus, please come into my heart as my Savior. I confess you to be the Son of God. Please forgive my sins, cleanse my heart from bitterness, grudges, hatred, everything I know is bad, and give me a new spirit of love. Amen!
After you receive God's gift of salvation in Jesus, you should continue to get to know Him better by reading His Word in the Bible. If you are a native English speaker, the old King James version is the best. I would also advise you to subscribe to Activated Magazine - teachings that will help you understand the Bible better and how to apply it to your daily life. I guarantee you, if you base your life on the principles of God's Word, you will be building your life on a rock as Jesus said, and not on the shifting sands of the lies of man!
Jesus Christ is the ONLY hope for our terminally ill world!
Here are some excellent links of active people who are changing the world with love!