You’re eating dinner with your family one evening when you hear a knock. You swing open the front door to find a group of five masked and armed Islamic States soldiers who demand to know if you are a follower of Jesus. You ponder your response as your family huddles in fear in the next room. This is the paralyzing initial scene in Chapter 1 of Spiritual Prepper, a book by Jake McCandless, a prophecy minister from Northwestern Arkansas. And it’s based on true accounts.
Of course, we hope and pray we will never have to face this type of spiritual oppression here in America, but Jake says it’s time to get ready. The day will come when our beliefs will be tested. This might not be due to these extreme circumstances, but people step away from their faith every day for a variety of reasons.
Jake conceived the idea for his book in 2011 while he served as a pastor.
“Almost every conversation I had was with someone who had walked away from the church,” he said. He listened to many excuses. ‘Pastor, I used to go to your church, but my grandpa died, I got divorced, I lost my job.'”
“I looked at my congregation and asked myself: ‘Have I prepared them enough for the future?’”
McCandless targets Spiritual Prepper to committed Christians who are faithful.
At the time, a nationwide survey showed 35 million Americans claimed to be a Christian and previously attended church, but they no longer went. By the time Jake’s book went to press earlier this year, the number had climbed to 42 million. Another recent survey of pastors across the country showed the number one issue in the church today is a lack of commitment.
Walking away from the faith is a big deal. Your faith matters. Your faithfulness matters. Your decisions don’t just affect you; they affect your immediate family, your future generations, your church, and your eternity. ~Jake McCandless
He targets Spiritual Prepper to committed Christians who are faithful. “Something may come up in your life that will turn you from your faith,” he said. “Any one of us could fall into that. My goal was to grow the church—how can I strengthen them to just keep that faith?”
He uses each chapter to tell a story about a situation with the potential to cause someone to give up. “Walking away from the faith is a big deal,” he said. “Your faith matters. Your faithfulness matters,” he said. Your decisions don’t just affect you, they affect your immediate family, your future generations, your church, and your eternity.
“We don’t really champion faithfulness in our culture,” he said.
If we did, Jake would certainly be counted as one of the champs. He was raised in church and accepted Christ at the age of 12. But the Holy Spirit began to convict his heart three years earlier after a friend gave his heart to Jesus. Then his pastor called to wish him a happy birthday and asked him if he had thought about being born again. “I hid from him for three years,” he said, but he finally gave in to the Holy Spirit and kneeled and prayed with his pastor in his office.
Jake started to preach at the age of 16 after a “storm of things God put in my life.” After a five-day revival at his church turned into 11 days, he heard God speak to him while he rode on a school bus listening to his Walkman. “I want to use you.” He wrestled with the call for a few months before he surrendered to ministry. Once he did, his pastor put him in the pulpit to preach the next Sunday night. That was 20 years ago.
For many years, Jake also felt God call him to write. But he didn’t get serious about it until he and his wife went through the Bible study, “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” by Henry Blackaby at their church, and God impressed on the couple to take a new direction. God wanted him to write and to speak full time on prophecy to people who didn’t normally hear about it.
Read more about Jake’s writing journey at: https://delduduit.com/2017/11/07/wait-on-gods-direction.
In April 2016, Jake gave his deacon chairman a six-month resignation notice to begin a new ministry called Prophecy Simplified. Within minutes, he realized he had missed a phone call from Cyle Young, his agent from the Hartline Literary Agency. World Net Daily had just sent him a book contract.
Jake, his wife Amanda, and their two daughters, Andrea and Addison, moved in with his in-laws, and he worked out of the corner of their living room. A year has now passed, and God has blessed. His book was published, Amanda now has a full-time teaching job at the second highest paying school district in the state, and the family just purchased a new home in Rogers, Arkansas near the Walmart headquarters of Bentonville.
Jake has also given at least 30 radio and television interviews, and God has opened the door for him to speak at some large prophecy conferences. He is also a commentator for World Net Daily, along with the likes of Ann Coulter, David Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan and Chuck Norris.
In December, he will go into the studio to record a podcast called “Hold On,” which will feature stories and interviews to encourage people to hold onto their faith. The initial season of 25 episodes will be released in March 2018. He also plans to launch a new prophecy outreach called Stand Arm Ministries, which will focus on the remaining faithful he highlights in Spiritual Prepper.
His book took second place in non-fiction at last weekend’s Ohio Christian Writers Conference near Cincinnati. He says the chapter he wrote about the weakened church has received the most attention.
“Our churches are not strong enough to help us,” he said. “Many who are currently faithful to church are frustrated and discouraged. Even some of the stronger churches are not preparing us for the fact we could die for coming to Christ. We’re not prepared for the difficulty,” he said.