More Than Conquerors

Can you preach the Gospel by bending, smashing and breaking stuff? That’s the mission of the Conquerors Strength team from the US.

Each of their amazing feats has a message behind it. ‘Jesus died for U,’ they tell audiences, ‘like the shape of this horseshoe. But if you accept him into your life, He becomes your saviour.’ Then they bend the horseshoe into an S.

On their last visit to Australia, Mike and Mike from the team dropped into Vision180 to tell Alex about their work, and their testimonies. They may share a name, but they came to the team via very different paths.

Mike Benson was raised a Catholic, so he knew a lot about the Bible, but he’d never met its Author. During his first stint behind bars, he met with some authentic believers who spoke to him about Jesus. ‘And I’d say yeah yeah, I know all that.’

But when he was re-arrested, this time facing a potential life sentence, he remembered those words, and cried out to God. ‘I said: If You’re so good, if You’ve got this great plan for my life, then how come my life is so messed up?’

It was then that he heard God’s voice for the first time. ‘Call on Me, son,’ God said. So Mike got on his hands and knees. ‘I said: God, I’ve ruined this life. There’s nothing I can do with it. So I surrender. It belongs to you.’

His Catholic education had taught him to confess to every sin he remembered committing. He said he was there for quite a while. ‘When I got off the floor, nothing changed around me, but something was different inside of me. And I truly experienced life and joy in that moment. And I’ve never looked back.’

Mike Gruppen’s story couldn’t be more different. He was raised in Sunday school and youth group, and everyone he knew was in Church. But he says his environment made him what the Bible calls ‘a lukewarm Christian’.

‘My faith was really the faith of my parents,’ he said. ‘I was a good moral kid. I made good choices. I didn’t do drugs. I didn’t do alcohol. I’m one of those guys that actually remained pure till my wedding day. But yet behind the scenes, my value and identity was coming from who I was in the world.’

Mike measured himself by his athletic prowess, or how much money he could make in his real estate career. ‘My identity was coming from all those things in the world because I had not had a healthy picture painted for me, as a younger man. I think that the world just shows us that if you’re successful in business, and make a lot of money, you’re going to be valuable.’

the real strength in our lives is our relationship with God

‘I’d been building my life on the sand,’ he said, ‘and every time the storms of life came, they just ruined everything that I had built. And I didn’t realise that my foundation was not rooted in Christ.’

The Conquerors’ work is all about showing young people how to build those foundations. Their feats of strength are designed to highlight the real strength in our lives, which is our relationship with God. Ephesians 2:10 NIV says ‘for we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’

‘What I realised,’ Mike Gruppen said, ‘is that you can never truly understand your identity, until you get into the Word, and see who God says you are.

Mike Benson had a similar message. ‘It looked like my life was destined to be one of drugs, crime, prison and early death. But then I met Jesus, and He changed the direction of my life, because He changed my heart.’

Though their backgrounds were very different, both Mikes faced a lot of pressure from outside influences, which they thought would define their lives. The pressures you’re facing right now might be different. They might come from your friends, or family, or social media.

But all the problems in your life have one solution; the strength of God, which can help you do things you thought were impossible. ‘That’s the reason behind the name the Conquerors as well,’ Mike Gruppen said, ‘because you have to overcome and conquer the things in life that cause you rejection, and cause you failure, and depression and anxiety.’

So when you see the Conquerors smashing bricks with their arms and heads, or bending iron bars, remember that God ‘gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.’ (Isaiah 40:29 NIV) It may seem impossible to bend, break or smash all the stuff that gets in your way. But with God’s help, you can conquer anything.

Listen to more of the interview below

 

About the author

Jonathan Craig

MORE GREAT READS FROM

More Than Conquerors

Can you preach the Gospel by bending, smashing and breaking stuff? That’s the mission of the Conquerors Strength team from the US. Each of their amazing feats has a message behind it. ‘Jesus died for U,’ they tell audiences, ‘like the shape of this horseshoe. But if you accept him into your life, He becomes…

Pastor Chef’s Tips for a Balanced Lifestyle

Mark Kujawa, the Pastor Chef, says that when it comes to cooking, everyone wants ‘quick and easy’. He says that’s partly because we live in ‘a lazy culture’. But if you’re well-prepared, ‘quick and easy’ is actually possible. ‘I can do Spag Bol in about 10 minutes,’ he said. ‘So quicker than a Friday night…

The Truth About Millennials

Millennials are just THE WORST, right? At least, that’s what our elders say. There are seemingly endless pieces in the press talking about how terrible we are. Pastor Ben Windle has spent two years researching us, and he says we aren’t as bad as all that. Next time someone starts a story with ‘back in…

Shooting for Jesus

Jeremy Kendle has played basketball for some of Australia’s best teams since he moved here from the USA in 2015. He’s part of the Toowoomba Mountaineers’ team and was named the Queensland league’s most valuable player. A great season with the Bendigo Braves earned him a spot on the Brisbane Bullets’ roster. He also played…

More Than Her Bruises: Holly Starr

‘In a world where the truth is confusing, you are more than your scars and your bruises.’ These words reflect a lesson Holly Starr has learned the hard way, through some experiences that challenged her faith and her sense of identity. ‘Bruises’, one of our favourite tracks from last year, offers hope and perspective to…

Becca Bradley on Being Happily Unmarried

Listen to the audio interview below https://getmediapoint.com/document/episode/podcast/MDAwMTQ3MzcwNi5tcDM.mp3   In Church these days, young single women are facing massive pressure to find a partner. But in a recent Facebook post, 27-year-old singer Becca Bradley wrote: ‘I’m waiting until I find a man who loves me as much as my dog does. And she loves me a…

The Boys Who Sang a Christian Anthem at a Rugby Match

‘Oh come to the altar; the father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.’ Not the words you’d imagine being shouted by a bunch of teenage boys during the half-time break at a rugby match. But at last year’s grand final between long-time rivals St Joseph’s Nudgee College…

Be the Change

LICY BE Licy Be released her new single Be the Change on Suicide Prevention Day last year. Inspired by her own struggle, it’s a powerful message about the importance of reaching out to people who are in pain. She told Alex about the people who reached out to her, and the miraculous ways God changed…

How the Machine Gun Preacher got His Name

Most people would say God and guns don’t go well together. That’s certainly how Sam Childers felt. When a newspaper headline first called him the Machine Gun Preacher, he started to cry. Sam has never been what you’d expect from a missionary. A former biker, he struggled with addiction for many years. But soon after…

Why is There Suffering?

It’s one of the most common questions non-Christians ask us. People often say that suffering is the reason why they don’t believe in God. The argument goes ‘if God’s so great, why does he let bad things happen to good people’? Even Christians sometimes struggle to understand the answer to this. So Alex recently asked…

Recent Articles

Jots & Tittles: A Closer Look at a Little Bit of Hebrew

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, He spoke into the chaos in order to bring the universe into being. His first recorded words are: ‘Let there be light.’ (Genesis 1:3 KJV) At least, that’s how we report what He said in English. Just four words. There are even less in…

More Than Conquerors

Can you preach the Gospel by bending, smashing and breaking stuff? That’s the mission of the Conquerors Strength team from the US. Each of their amazing feats has a message behind it. ‘Jesus died for U,’ they tell audiences, ‘like the shape of this horseshoe. But if you accept him into your life, He becomes…

Pastor Chef’s Tips for a Balanced Lifestyle

Mark Kujawa, the Pastor Chef, says that when it comes to cooking, everyone wants ‘quick and easy’. He says that’s partly because we live in ‘a lazy culture’. But if you’re well-prepared, ‘quick and easy’ is actually possible. ‘I can do Spag Bol in about 10 minutes,’ he said. ‘So quicker than a Friday night…

The Truth About Millennials

Millennials are just THE WORST, right? At least, that’s what our elders say. There are seemingly endless pieces in the press talking about how terrible we are. Pastor Ben Windle has spent two years researching us, and he says we aren’t as bad as all that. Next time someone starts a story with ‘back in…

Donate to vision

Over 80% of our income is from the freewill gifts of wonderful people just like you.
So thank you for helping. Your generous support is 'Connecting Faith to Life'.