“I confessed a faith in God at a young age, but never put down roots. This was to bear painful fruit in the future,” explains Mickey Friedrich. “My biological father was not a good role model; he left us when I was six years old. My second father married my mother two years later and adopted me as his son. He loved me, but faith wasn’t important to him and he discouraged ‘too much’ religious activity in my life. He died in my arms of a heart attack when I was 15, and although my mother remarried, this man was the last real father figure I had in the home.
“Although we often went to church growing up, I didn’t have a good picture of what authentic Christian community looked like and didn’t understand the Bible. I thought it was a confusing book of rules meant to keep me from having fun. Instead of abiding in Christ, I loved the affirmation I got in athletics, academics, and the applause of the world.
“In high school and college, when my own desires started conflicting with what Scripture would say to do, I decided to follow my desires. Instead of trusting the God I knew was there, I rebelled and chose to go my own way. I hung out with some rough crowds in rodeo, rugby, and the bar scene, and filled my life with alcohol and frequent fighting. I was quick at getting into arguments and even quicker at throwing a punch.
“Proverbs 14:12 says that, ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.’ I pursued the way that seemed right to me, and it was definitely leading towards death. I had a gun pointed at my head during an argument, narrowly avoided a knife fight, ran from police, and drove drunk many times. I would pick friends up out of jail knowing that I would likely be next. As we lived through one crazy escapade after another, I knew that the next one might be fatal.
“God brought me to my knees one night in my bathroom at college. Drunk, tired, and at the end of myself, I wanted God but didn’t trust His Word enough to believe that I could pick it up and find Him there. But then I felt the Spirit urge me, ‘Just pick it up and read it. Just do it. Even if you don’t believe it. Trust Me.’
“I started reading the first few books of the Old Testament, and then jumped to the New Testament. Somewhere along the way, I started to believe. Even though I still had many questions, the Spirit gave me eyes of faith.
“I started listening to Christian preaching on AM radio during the long days driving tractors on the farm for the next few months. When I returned to college in the fall, I dove into a Bible-believing church and took discipleship classes. I studied apologetics and learned that there were good answers for my honest questions. I also realized that God wasn’t trying to spoil my fun; He was trying to save me from myself. The things I had been chasing were worthless, but I found true life in Christ. I was finally learning what it meant to abide in Him.
“By the time I graduated, all I wanted to do was serve God full-time. I wanted to spend my days doing things with eternal value. But I had student loans that I needed to pay off first, so I took a job in the oilfield. While working there, I also started attending seminary full-time, seeking to prepare for whatever God had in store for me next. By the time I graduated five years later, God had shown me that it was not a binary question of working in the world or working for God. He had united my call, allowing me to serve the church and serve Him through working in the secular world simultaneously.
“Today, I am passionate about helping other men learn what it means to follow Christ and be firmly rooted in Him. I try to remind men who work with me in the business world that this life is but a breath, and we’d better be living for something more than stacking temporary treasure. Through serving in the Summit men’s Bible study and re|engage marriage ministry, I encourage men to be godly fathers and provide their kids with the kind of role model that I didn’t have growing up. Most importantly, I seek to live that out myself and be a faithful husband to my wife, Jessica, and a good (though still imperfect) father to our four children.
“God saved me from my own way of living, which was only leading to death—not only the real likelihood of physical death, but also broken relationships and a fruitless life spent wasted on fleeting things. He’s proved Himself to be a faithful Father worth following, with a love that is based on His performance, not mine.”