[Transcript] – A Near-Death Ecstasy Experience, Passing Up The UFC, Plant Medicine In Christianity & Much More With Pastor Jeff Durbin.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/jeff-durbin-podcast/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:31] Who is Jeff Durbin?

[00:04:35] Why does Jeff wear NAD patches?

[0009:36] What does Jeff do for health and longevity?

[00:13:36] How did Jeff get involved with martial arts?

[00:21:21] How did Jeff become a pastor?

[00:31:02] Jeff's life of addiction

[00:19:00] Did Jeff ever consider the UFC?

[00:36:44] What is drug and alcohol addiction?

[00:45:51] The use of plant medicine to communicate with the Divine

[00:43:23] Using exercise and fitness to fill the eternal hole in the soul

[00:59:04] Jeff's stance on the use of cannabis

[01:009:02] End of Podcast

[01:09:34] Legal Disclaimer

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Jeff:  God's word is God's revelation to humanity. It represents His own voice. He is speaking. He tells us about himself. He tells us about ourselves. He tells us about the world. He tells us what's broken. From the perspective of what God says in His word, drug and alcohol addiction, it's an expression of idolatry. We are made in God's image. We're made to know God and to enjoy God forever. But, the problem is is that we're rebels against God, we want to go our own way, we want to fashion our own little idols and not have God. And so, we do that. It was a famous theologian in history that said that the human heart is a natural idol-making factory and it is never idle in making idols. And so, ultimately, drug and alcohol addiction is the pursuit of an idol. And, the answer is we're broken, we're rebels against God, we don't want God, so we chase the substandard god. And, the problem is is that false gods will never satisfy real spiritual needs.

Ben:  Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.

Hey, folks. My guest on today's show is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I am not kidding. He played Michelangelo and Donatello for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. He was also Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat, arguably during his time in martial arts one of the most dangerous guys alive, world champion martial artist with five black belts. You may have also seen him as a fighter in MTV's The Final Fu. He's also been married for over 20 years. He's got five kids and he has been featured on a series for the History Channel called The Stoned Ages, which reviews the Christian approach and philosophy concerning drug and alcohol addiction. He was also in the documentary film A Storm Comes Rolling Down the Plane.

And, you may have heard me say Christian there. Yes, he's also the pastor and the elder of Apologia Church in Tempe Arizona since it was founded in February of 2010. So, he's been a pastor at the time of this recording for over 13 years. He's worked for many years as a hospital chaplain. He's a popular speaker for camps and conferences and churches and schools around the world. This dude's up to a lot, kind of makes me feel like an underachiever.

Anyways though, you can find out more about Jeff and access all the shownotes for today's episode at BenGreenfieldLife.com/JeffDurbin. His last name is D-U-R-B-I-N. Admittedly, a wide-ranging and often controversial fella, but we had a great discussion about drugs alcohol and much more. So, enjoy this episode with Jeff Durbin. So, Jeff, you keep pretty busy, man.

Jeff:  Super busy. Are you actually exercising as we speak?

Ben:  I'm walking on a treadmill, on a very, very, very soft treadmill. I don't know if I call this exercising. I suppose some people might call it exercising.

Jeff:  Okay.

Ben:  I always engage in a little bit of light movement when I'm talking to people because you know what, I actually find it kind of keeps my brain turned on. A whole concept of the walking university back in the days of Plato and Socrates and the idea of more brain-derived neurotrophic factor getting generated when you're moving. I'm make everybody sick when I'm on video calls because I just wander around the room in circles and people almost vomit.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, it's kind of funny. I used to do that too. Obviously, it's not conducive to podcasting, but I used to wander all over my office. And, I still, I have carved paths out in my yard from phone consults and phone conversations where I just walk loops around the yard. I wish more people would kind of get out of their chair when they got to talk on the phone just because I mean, why not?

Jeff:  Yeah.

Ben:  You don't have to be tied to a chair.

Jeff:  That's right, that's right. I sat here so I would look nice for your interview, but apparently, I should just start wandering like you.

Ben:  Well, you're on the road too, right? You're traveling?

Jeff:  Yeah, yeah, we're in Florida right now, which I think it's looking pretty bad outside right now. I was told a hurricane may hit, so I'm not sure what the next 24 hours would bring.

Ben:  Alright. Well, hopefully, it stays tame at least for the purposes of this interview.

And, there's so much I want to talk to you about Jeff, but right before we started recording, you asked me, because I'm wearing a blood glucose monitor on my left arm right now and this ketone monitor in my right arm, he asked me if there were NAD patches and I said no, but I have one on my butt. And, you told me you're actually a fan of NAD yourself.

Jeff:  Yes, yes, big time. I get my NAD from Ion Layer. Great, great company, great guys. Honestly amazing what you're able to do with their treatment in terms of costs and everything else to get NAD. But yeah, I'm regularly on it. My wife is on it. I haven't yet put it on my butt though, Ben. Is there a reason you put it on your butt?

Ben:  Well, not up the butt, not like an enema, but basically, you're supposed to put it on a hairless area. And, I guess I've just revealed to my entire audience that I don't have a lot of hair on my behind. But, I put it on kind of the upper hip area of one of my butt cheeks because there's not a lot of hair there and so it sticks a lot better. And furthermore, it's one of those few places on the body where you don't get a little bit of the–you know you get a little bit of skin irritation sometimes from these patches?

Jeff:  Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yup, yup. That's one of the only drawbacks.

Ben:  Yeah. And, you also have a little bit more subcutaneous fat at least most people do around the upper butt. And so, I feel it more when I put it right there. I used to put on the inner thigh, which is another good spot because you have a lot more capillarization there. But, that area seems to create a lot of irritation, a lot of skin friction. So anyways, I'm just curious, why do you use the NAD patches?

Jeff:  Well, I learned about a couple of years ago when a good friend of mine, Dennis Sarfate, he's a professional baseball player and he's played for a bunch of teams nationally and then also in Japan. He had to ultimately retire and he got a hip replacement. My dad got a hip replacement years ago and it took him six months to a year to keep walking again, get on his feet again. Well, my buddy got the hip replacement and then started doing some NAD treatments and he was literally out exercising and back to his routine again in two weeks. It was honestly stunning to see him recover the way that he did.

And so, yeah, I had wanted to do it for a long time, but I'm a baby, Ben, I'm afraid of needles. And, he also told me about the torture of getting the NAD drip, IV, and just like an elephant on your chest. And, I wasn't looking forward to that, so I sort of delayed it for a long time. And then, I learned about Ion Layer where you get essentially a fresher dose with none of the torture. And so, I was like, “Well, sign me up for that.” And so, yeah, I started doing it and felt amazing, recovered super, super fast from my regular training. My wife had loved the long effects of COVID. She had just the smell stuff where certain things smelled like garbage. Her favorite thing coffee smelled like garbage for two years, but she still drank it because she's in love with coffee.

And so, she started doing it and three days into her loading cycle, two of her favorite smells came back. And now, she can taste coffee and smell coffee again. That's just what happened. I mean, I don't have an explanation for it except that's what happened. So yeah, I'm a big believer in it. I think it's God-given thing. It naturally occurs in your body. When you get older, you're losing much a lot of it, you don't have as much of it anymore. And so, I see it as a great example of human ingenuity and treating people like they're valuable and life is valuable and creating ways to sustain life and preserve life and make life better. So, I love it.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, you know what I like it for is it's obviously beneficial for a lot of stuff you talked about; DNA repair, injury, inflammation. And yeah, there was some evidence that it may help with long-haul COVID or COVID injuries. But, I like it for wakefulness during sleep deprivation like people who travel a lot and people who tend to have periods of sleep deprivation do really well. And, you could say the same thing for creatine like 5-10 grams of creatine on NAD. And, I suppose we should probably write in the Ion Layer and have them sponsor this podcast or something. But, the slow bleed via these, they're called electrophoresis patches is very similar as you indicated what you can get through an IV without having to drive and do the needles and the cost and you get a similar milligram dosage. So, yeah, I'm a big fan.

Jeff:  Yeah.

Ben:  I don't talk to a lot of people, maybe I'm stereotyping here, who are pastors and elders who are kind of into some of the biohacking stuff around the pointing edge of the health and fitness stuff. Maybe it's because sometimes it could be associated with transhumanism or fleshly carnal pursuits or something like that. But, I mean, you obviously have a history of martial arts so you know fitness, but do you do a lot of other things for your health or for your longevity or anything like that?

Jeff:  Yeah. Well, I think you'll probably be amused at this but I saw you giving a plug for Momentum. And, you said it, it's great, it's biohacking, all the stuff, and it tastes like ice cream. I was like, “Well, sign me up for that.” So, I do things like that. I've been doing Momentum for the last two, three months. I feel great. My thoughts are clearer. It's a good way to get everything I need. I do a lot of supplements that are just sort of nose-to-tail stuff. I'm trying to get all the stuff into my system that I just normally wouldn't get into it like liver and heart and organ stuff.

And so, what I take daily is I do a lot of supplements that are just organs, meats and things like that just good fats, beef tallow and obviously the NAD stuff. But, I try to be very cautious about what I put into my body. I'm not always the best with it. I'm addicted to Yerba Mate. And, I know it has too much sugar in it, but that's probably the only bad thing I put into my body is yerba mate. But, yerba mate has all the elements or necessary things to sustain life and is super great for you. It's good. The tea itself is amazing for you, but it's the sugar that I know that's not good for me.

Ben:  You mean like those canned yerba mate drinks where it's got yerba mate but then it's got the agave or the high fructose corn syrup or whatever in it?

Jeff:  No, this doesn't have the high fructose in it, it has just cane sugar.

Ben:  Okay.

Jeff:  Yeah. You mentioned Mortal Kombat, when I was playing Johnny Cage and night wolf actually on the world tour, one of the legs of the tour was in Argentina. And, I remember I'm 18 years old and I land in Argentina and everybody's walking around Argentina with this gourd in their hands with a steel straw. And, when I say everybody, I'm not kidding, Ben, it was a cult thing. Everybody is walking around with this gourd and the straw. And so, one of the days I was doing this show, I'm downstairs in makeup, shows going on, they're trying to get me all changed up, and these women are just jabbering away, just super high energy, sip, sip, sipping on this gourd. And, I was like, “What is that?” And, they were like, “Oh, yerba mate.” They tried to give it to me. They're like, “Taste it.” And, I realize now I really offended them. I was like, “Oh, no, no, thank you,” which is very offensive to do that when someone offers you yerba mate.

Anyway, so I never drank it while I was there, but when I got back to the States, I was seriously addicted to coffee. I mean, I was way too much coffee. And, I saw yerba mate in the store when I got home in a Whole Foods and I started drinking it, but I was doing it like that initially. I was doing it from the gourd with the tea leaves and did a study on it and saw that it's just packed full of minerals, nutrients, vitamins and the supers and high in antioxidants. It's really, really good for you. Obviously, the way that I'm doing it now with the cans is not the best, but yeah.

Ben:  Well, every culture has their stimulant. The Argentinians, the South Americans have the Yerba mate, and the Southeast Asians have kratom, and Europeans and Americans have coffee, and I guess the Australians probably have, I don't know, beer, but it is interesting how every culture has some kind of stimulant.

Yeah. This whole Mortal Kombat, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles thing, I think it's super interesting for two reasons. First of all, you'll laugh at this. I was one of those super conservatively raised homeschooled Christian kids growing up and my parents didn't even let me watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles much less play Mortal Kombat video games and here you are, pastor and elder of a church and you were Michelangelo and Donatello and Johnny Cage. So, I'd love to hear a little bit more about the story of how you got involved in martial arts and came to be in those games and movies.

Jeff:  Yeah. So, I grew up. I was born in '78, the '80s kid. And so, when I was young, very young, there wasn't much on TV at all. And, Saturday morning, one of the channels was kung fu theater, Chinese kung fu theater, the old Chinese movies with, what is it, subtitles, not subtitles, I can't even think of the word right now. They're narrating over it but it's just terrible. But, I would sit for hours and hours and hours and watch kung fu theater and I was in love with it. I don't quite know why because it was such an unusual thing to be honest with you to be four years old and just be addicted to what the martial arts and I thought it was so beautiful. And, I think it was also just a matter of being able to do something artistic and beautiful and be able to control your own environment and defend yourself.

And so, anyway, I grew up a military brat and my dad was stationed in Holland. Judo was huge in Holland. And so, I started judo when I was four years old. And then, we moved to Japan ultimately. And, when I was in Japan, the whole time I was there, I was in two different martial arts schools because I was so in love with the martial arts. I wanted to do both these systems. And, my time in Japan was Monday through Saturday. Every single day, I was training after school all day long and ended up moving from Japan to Washington DC. And, in DC, just by the grace of God, I ended up, I mean honestly providentially, at getting to learn from and becoming a private student of one of the best coaches in the world. Literally, he was training the world champions of the day. He took me on and I am under his care in his teaching. I started winning all the national tournaments, the international tournaments, the world championships.

So, basically, from 13 years old till 20 years old, I was a competing professionally as a part of numerous national karate teams, went to the Junior Olympics, medals in the Junior Olympics, won every major national and international world martial arts championship in my field. And, my whole teenage years, all it was, I mean I don't even know how I graduated high school to be honest with you because I was never there, it was just full-time training and full-time competition traveling across the country.

So, what happened was when I was 18 years old, I had literally just turned 18 and I went to Boston and it was some national tournament in Boston and they were at the time, David Fishof Productions who's produced and done shows for the Beatles and all the major bands and everything. They were doing Mortal Kombat the live tour and they needed a Johnny Cage. And, they had auditioned across the country and stuff, but they sent their representative out to this national. So, I went up and did my thing. And, as soon as I walked out of the ring, this guy walks up to me and says, “What size pants do you wear?” He was a stranger. I'm still gasping for air because I just did a performance and I was like, “Who are you? What do you mean?” He goes, “What's your inseam size?” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I'm with David Fishof Productions, we produce Mortal Kombat the world tour and we want you to play Johnny Cage.”

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Jeff:  So, that's how I got that, and some of the other stuff I did for Ninja Turtles, and I did some stuff for Mission Impossible, the video game, and Action Man, the cartoon, and a number of other things. Rainbow Studios is a studio in Phoenix and they were doing a lot of big production stuff. And, that's when motion capture was really hitting and getting off the grounds. And, I ended up getting connected to them, and yeah, the rest is history with that. They would call me up and say, “Hey, can't tell you what you're doing, just come on in, sign a contract.” I'd come in, sign a contract, get in gear and they'd say, “Hey, we're doing a video game for Mission Impossible. We need a fight scene. We need somebody to get blown up. We need you to get on the stage and do it.”

And then, for Ninja Turtles, the franchise they were starting to do their cartoon production stuff and it was all motion capture. And so, they contracted with Rainbow Studios and they asked me to be the choreographer for the fight scenes and the action sequences as I started doing all that. And, I played Michelangelo Donatello and I also did some of the fight scenes for Casey Jones.

Ben:  Wow.

It sounds to me like your rise in martial arts success may have preceded the surge in popularity of the UFC. Did you ever consider the UFC or was that something that was just a little bit too late for you?

Jeff:  No, no. Actually, a funny story about that is I think I had just turned 18 and UFC, I think they were in part number two or number three at the time. I can't remember but it was super popular and this thing is nuts. Well, I'm not sure how this happened, but they sent me a contract to fight. I think it was two or three. I can't remember which one it was. But, I was the 18 years old and they faxed over a contract. And, I actually considered it at first because it was billed as no holds barred martial arts. And, I was like, that's how I think this should be done in a way. If you really want to see who the best fighter is, you need to make it a real fight. Don't put a ton of restriction on it.

And then, the last page of the fax, I remember, was all the holes that were barred. You couldn't pull the air, you couldn't grab the coin, whatever it was. And so, I thought, “Well, I don't like that, it just seemed there were a lot of rules there. They were sort of favoring people that wanted to just fight on the ground and you couldn't do certain things to sort of stop that.” Well, I also don't know if I want to get broken into pieces. And, I'm pretty sure this happened around the same time as I got the contract for Mortal Kombat. So, I was like, I don't know if I want to get a broken bone or something or get my face all wrecked before I go to Mortal Kombat.

Ben:  Yeah, good point, good point. Are you a fan of the UFC?

Jeff:  Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I definitely am. I don't get to watch it a lot, but I will forever and ever be passionate about the martial arts. Obviously, I'm passionate about what I do now, but I will never lose my love. I have never lost my love for, it's only increased. The martial arts, I absolutely love it. It's a gift that God's given to me, but I just absolutely am in awe of what humans can do with their bodies and how we could learn to control our environment and defend ourselves and our loved ones. And, yeah.

Ben:  I think I tried to find you on Instagram and it didn't appear you're very active on there. Maybe, I found the wrong handle, but it was Ninja Pastor. And obviously, this kind of leads into this interesting marriage of martial arts and you being a pastor and an elder. How'd that come to be?

Jeff:  I wasn't raised in a Christian home. So, you were homeschooled, Ben?

Ben:  Yeah, I was homeschooled K-12. My dad was from Miami, my mom from Detroit. They both grew up in slightly troubled adolescent teenage and young adult environments and moved to Idaho to try and establish a little bit more of a family in a safe and protected and a little bit less urban environment and wound up raising me and my two brothers and two sisters in a very conservative Christian home in North Idaho, in Lewiston, Idaho.

Jeff:  Wow, wow. Well, yeah, I think that was a gift in your life to have that kind of upbringing. I wasn't raised in a Christian home. And so, I heard the gospel later on in life and ultimately, no, I came to Christ after a drug, an alcohol addiction, turned to Christ. And so, yeah, my life began to change. I'm still a work in progress, but I had a love for God, love for his word, love for people, wanted people to know God and to have peace with God like I had received. And so, that was all happening in my life while I was also a martial artist and I owned martial arts schools and all of that.

Ben:  So, you were you were addicted to drugs and alcohol at the same time that you were involved in martial arts?

Jeff:  That came later. So, yeah, I think around 21 years old made some really, really poor sinful decisions was with the wrong people and started to do stuff that I never would have done before. I mean, I always saw the world of drugs and drug addiction as gross and icky and how could you do something like that to yourself. And, it all ended one night when I went out to a club with some friends that were in town from Hollywood, some martial arts guys, famous martial arts guys and took ecstasy with them for the first time. And, that led to about a year. That led to about a year of depravity just abandoning my wife and my kids and going off in drug and alcohol addiction, almost died several times.

Ben:  Wow.

Jeff:  And, I really got to the place where I went to the scriptures after my life had just blown up and started reading the gospels and reading the call of Christ to come to him to be saved, to die to yourself, and to trust in Him for eternal life. And, I began to question whether I'd ever actually understood that message. And, that's where I turned to Christ. And so, yeah, that went behind me and I still had the martial arts stuff going on. And, when I opened a martial arts school, a super successful martial arts school, it was a joy, it was a very successful martial arts program. And, I was doing ministry at the same time, so I just wanted to serve Christ and while I own this business and did martial arts. And so, I would have my martial arts school. I would go out and do evangelism and I was in seminary just to learn.

Ben:  You mean street preaching?

Jeff:  I mean, occasionally but it was mostly when I say street ministry evangelism, is more like literally going out to the public square wherever there were events or there were people and just going to engage in conversation with them to give them the good news. And, really passionate about apologetics. That's the defense of the Christian faith. And so, I was always studying that.

So, I sort of had two things going on. I was in my martial arts, world of martial arts life, but I was also loving God, growing my relationship with Christ and serving God in different various ministries. So, I never actually had any intention after my addiction and coming to Christ of doing full-time Ministry, being a pastor. I even told my wife one day, I said, “I'm never going to do that, I'm not worthy of something like that. I'll be happy just to own our business, preach Christ and just I'll clean the toilets at the church.” And, I meant that. And, my wife told me when I said that to her, “I think you need to pray about that. I don't think that's what God has for you.” And, I was like, “That's what I want.” Yeah, I'll just clean the toilets or hand out bulletins. And, I did mean it.

But, after some time, the pastors at the church that I was at many years ago started telling me, we see these gifts in you, we see this, we want you to start doing more. And, I had a pastor who knew me very, very well and he told me, “Hey, Jeff, I want you to teach a Sunday service.” And, I told him no. I said, “I didn't feel comfortable with that. I didn't feel like I was supposed to do that or worthy of that.”

Ben:  Does teach a Sunday service mean preach a sermon?

Jeff:  Yes.

Ben:  Oh, wow, that's got to be a little nerve-wracking.

Jeff:  Well, it was. And, I also just didn't feel worthy of it. Then, I told him no. I was like, “No, I'm not going to do that.” And so, he gently and graciously tried to convince me and tell me why he thought I needed to do it. And, I kept saying, “I don't feel comfortable.” And finally, he said, “Jeff, I'm your pastor, I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. You need teach. This is your gift. You need to do it.” Because he said I'm telling you to do this as your pastor, I said, “Okay. Out of obedience to God, I'm going to listen to my pastor right now. He's not telling me to do something bad, so I'm going to do it.” That one Sunday led into just a bunch more over the next year where I was teaching at different churches, doing different camps and things like that. And, it got to the point where the Lord made it very, very clear that I needed to give up my school and let it go and step into vocational full-time ministry. He made it very clear. It's a long story with a lot of people speaking into my life and just a lot of circumstances. 

So, I literally did, Ben. When it became clear this was an act of obedience to God is clearly calling me to do it, I gave the keys to one of my karate students and gave him the karate school and walked away from it.

Ben:  You just gave it to him. You didn't sell it or anything or you had no financial exit?

Jeff:  I had no financial exit. I had offered them the school. They wanted to take it. They were supposed to pay me something but that wasn't for me why I was doing it, if they could, they needed to. And, they ended up not doing it and yeah, I walked away. And dude, when I reflect on it, I'm like, “That was really the spirit of God moving in that situation” because what I was doing from a human perspective was absolutely undeniably stupid. I was stepping into a full-time vocational role as a pastor with no money to speak of, to care for my family. I walked away from a martial arts school that was highly profitable, highly, highly profitable. And, I just took a step of faith in saying, “Alright, Lord, if this is what you're calling me to do, I'm going to do it.”

And so, that's how I started doing a vocational pastoral work at the church I was at. I was also at the time, I'm leaving parts out, but I became the head chaplain at a hospital in Phoenix that's a drug and alcohol rehab facility. It's full-time around the clock, doctors, nurses, therapists, medical detox. And, I was the head chaplain over there, Christian program they had there. And, from there, so many people started coming out of drug and alcohol addiction to Christ. It became very clear they needed to be cared for on a full-time basis. They're in a very unique sensitive situation.

And so, the elders of the church I was at agreed that the Lord was calling me to plant and to serve these people full-time. And so, I did another big step of faith and I stepped into planting Apologia Church after the elders laid hands on me and sent me. And, we planted the church at the drug rehab in the family building and the people in front of me were all on detox medication, in halfway houses, families and lives destroyed. And, the first night we had church there were about 10 people in the room, lives absolutely demolished, and had just turned to Christ all of them. And, that was 2010. And now, Apologia Church has about I'd say on a good Sunday where everyone's there close to a thousand people, 850 somewhere if everybody was there all at once with kids. And yeah, that's how we got where we are.

Ben:  Wow. That's a pretty good-sized church.

By the way, did you say you almost died when you were on ecstasy?

Jeff:  Yeah.

Ben:  Really?

Jeff:  In any drug anybody uses, everyone has ways to avoid ODing or you watch out for this sort of a thing, but at ecstasy, everyone knows that you'll overheat. 

Ben:  Yeah.

Jeff:  You burn up all the serotonin in your brain and so it becomes at a point when you're using so much of it, you got nothing left to really feel the drug anymore, it just feels like you're just taking meth or something and you just energize. So, you're constantly chasing that ecstasy and high, but I burned my brain up over that year just with a ton of ecstasy and other stuff, but especially ecstasy.

Well, the first time I tried ecstasy, I took one pill at about 1:00 am and I was high and feeling it until the next afternoon. And, by the end of the year, I couldn't take one pill, I was taking five, six pills a night. And, it's dangerous because you could take one pill and overheat. And, I was taking five or six.

Ben:  Do you mean you were taking that much to party or just to sleep or something?

Jeff:  No, no, it's a party. I was disappearing and partying and disappearing for days and partying for days.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Jeff:  Yeah. And so, five or six pills, one night, and you know you're in trouble when you're overheating and so you're always looking out for that. So, you're trying to drink a lot of water and keep cool. Well, I'm at this after party after doing a ton of ecstasy one night and nobody there cares about anybody, it's all fake, it's all a façade. But, everyone's in there jabbering away and talking high on ecstasy, lights are dark. And, all of a sudden, I realized my heart is coming out of my chest. I mean, it is hurting, it's beating so hard. And then, I realized that I am blood, blood, blood. I look down on my arms and it's dark and I can still see the brightness and I'm just like, “Oh, my goodness, this is not good.”

So, I run to the kitchen and I grab a big bag of ice out of the freezer and everything I could and I go to the bathroom. Everyone's like, “What's wrong?” I was like, “Nothing, nothing, just leave me alone.” I turned down the air conditioning as low as I could possibly get it. I went to the bathtub. I poured a cold bath, dumped all the ice into it and jumped in the bath. And, I tried to put all my pulse points under the water to cool myself down. I was getting hotter and hotter. My heart's beating faster and faster. And, I just melted everything in the bathtub. And, that water is getting warm now. And so, I realized I'm overheating, I'm probably going to die. And so, I jump out of the tub, I sit on the bed and I knew what I was doing. I knew that the real reason I was doing what I was doing, I was trying to find satisfaction elsewhere other than God. I was trying to find peace or joy somewhere outside of God. I knew that this was between me and God. And so, I remember I just started talking to God for the first time in a long time and I said to him, I said, “Lord, I know that what I'm doing is sinful. I know what I'm doing is wrong and I know that you have every right to kill me,” I said, “but please just don't kill me yet.”

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Jeff:  And, I just said, “Please don't kill me yet.” And, as soon as I prayed that prayer, it's the truth, as soon as I prayed that prayer, all of a sudden, my heart just went right back to normal, everything got back to normal and I was no longer in this stupor, this drug stupor. I was sober and it was just a snap of a finger everything came back.

Ben:  Now, based on what you know about drugs and drug metabolism, that doesn't really just happen, right? That would have to be something a little bit supernatural or miraculous.

Jeff:  No, it certainly was. And, I'd love it if the story were God saved me from this overdose. And then, I immediately turned to Christ and everything changed and my heart changed, but I was just horrible and pursuing this thing that even after he saved my life there, about two weeks later is when he finally crushed my life and I still continued to use after that. But, in two weeks, God crushed my life. And, one day, literally before noon, my phone was shut off. I had an eviction notice in my door. They dragged my car away and repossessed it. They turned my water off, electric off, and the person I was working for at the time told all of his employees I'm not paying you, sue me. So, I have no money, no lights, no water. I'm getting evicted. My car is pulled away and I couldn't be worse. I'm sitting in an apartment with my wife, my one-year-old and my newborn baby girl. And, I've destroyed my life. And so, God just ripped everything off from underneath me and I just basically had nothing but Him and just sit in silence. And, I just got into the word, started re-examining the gospels and the call of Christ to come to him. And, that's where God crushed my life and then saved my life.

Ben:  Wow, wow. It's interesting. By the way, you're an early adopter of cold thermogenesis probably before you even knew it with your whole ice bath trick.

Jeff:  Yeah, yeah.

Ben:  So, you're in the biohacking without even realizing it.

Jeff:  That's right.

Ben:  So, when you said that you called on God and then you later said you found Christ and that helped pull you away from this lifestyle of drugs and alcohol, for people listening in, I mean, why is that? How do you explain that to somebody what it feels to have that hole in your soul filled with something else? How does that actually work?

Jeff:  Yeah. So, you mentioned the documentary for the History Channel called The Stone Ages. This goes into your question, they specifically wanted to talk to somebody that approached drug and alcohol addiction from an explicitly Christian position and foundation. And so, they searched and searched and searched and they finally landed on the hospital that I was at and they asked me to do it because from my perspective, God's word is God's revelation to humanity. It represents his own voice. He is speaking. He tells us about himself. He tells us about our ourselves. He tells us about the world. He tells us what's broken. And, from the perspective of what God says in his word, drug and alcohol addiction, it's an expression of idolatry. We are made in God's image. We're made to know God and to enjoy God forever. But, the problem is is that we're rebels against God, we want to go our own way. We want to fashion our own little idols and not have God. And so, we do that. It was a famous theologian in history that said that the human heart is a natural idol-making factory and it is never idle in making idols.

Ben:  That's great.

Jeff:  Yeah, it is great. And, that's true with drug and alcohol addiction. One of the things that you see is that there's so much humanity visible in the addiction and in the pursuit of whatever it is. Now, it doesn't have to be drug and alcohol addiction, it could be sex addiction, whatever the case may be, but what it really is is that you and I will chase an idol to get what we can only truly have in God. So, people, I should sit in the hospital and just ask people, “Why did you chase the heroine? Why were you going after the meth? What were you trying to gain by pursuing the pills or the alcohol?” And, it's always something very human, something very image of God and it's always things like, well, I was super anxious and so I would drink. I was worried and so I would drink to not be worried, or I needed peace and so I would take the pills or shoot the heroin or I was pursuing pleasure and happiness and so I was taking the ecstasy. Whatever the case may be, it's just the pursuit of an idol. You are chasing. We are chasing that thing for what we can only ultimately have satisfied in God.

And so, you're pursuing the heroine for peace but it's a false piece, it's a fiction, it's a lie, it's fake. It's four hours of fake. It's not even real peace. You're still you and you're still you in God's world and what's broken is you. And, God is the God of Peace. If you want peace, he reconciles us to himself through Christ, brings us to peace. He's the God of Peace. There's no chaos and storm in him. And, His promises are true and our hope in Him is true and guaranteed. And so, ultimately, drug and alcohol addiction is the pursuit of an idol and the answer is we're broken, we're rebels against God. We don't want God so we chase the substandard God. And, the problem is is that false gods will never satisfy real spiritual needs. And so, you'll chase it forever and you're never going to get it.

And so, from a Christian perspective, you have to look at it holistically though because what you can't say is okay, really, what's wrong is that you're a rebel, you're a sinner, you need peace with God, you need Christ, turn to Christ and live. You can say that that's a foundational problem, but scripture is comprehensive and holistic about humanity. We're not just a spiritual being, we're a physical being. And so, from a Christian perspective, you have to settle–the spiritual issue is what's driving everything, but the physical issues, you may need detox. One of the first things I say to somebody that's just in sort of the throes of addiction is, “What are you doing? What are you taking?” And, if it's something a benzodiazepine or any kind of opiate or anything like that, the first thing I say is, “We need to go right to detox because you could die if you stopped taking a benzodiazepine, you could die if you stop drinking alcohol and the throes of an alcohol addiction.” And so, we try to look at it comprehensively and say, “Okay, we want to settle the main thing and that's that you need Christ and peace with God.” You need your heart changed and your mind changed. And, that's something the only God can do. And, you need peace with God that He brings through the gospel, but we also got to settle this issue of this really painful experience you're going to have now, no longer taking the heroin or no longer taking the benzodiazepines.

Ben:  Yeah. It's like you need God to fill that eternal hole in your soul, but you may need a few days of high dose NAD to make sure your body doesn't completely flip out as you learn how to put those pieces into place. Yeah.

Jeff:  That's right. It's funny, Ben, is that I learned something because I had no intention ever of being a chaplain in a hospital. I had no intention of a drug and alcohol ministry. I literally had never thought at one time and it's just something that the Lord providentially had fallen to my lap. But, one of the things that I learned was how Christians in history have dealt with drug and alcohol addiction. I learned that Baptists and Presbyterian pastors 200 years ago used to keep bottles of whiskey close at hand. So, if they did have somebody struggling with an alcohol addiction, they could taper them down over time to help them to get off of it because they understood you couldn't just stop it because you could die.

So, imagine that you got Baptist pastors that are feeding addicts whiskey and they're doing it because they didn't want them to die so they would taper them down.

Ben:  Right. It'd be like a modern day pastor having a pill cutter for opioid capsules, tablets in their top drawer of their desk to help people come off.

Jeff:  Yeah.

Ben:  It is kind of interesting though because for us in the fitness and the exercise world, you see a lot of former drug and alcohol abusers turn to things like ultra marathoning or Iron Man triathlon, kind of continuing that cycle of escapism, addiction to chronic repetitive motion, some new infatuation. And sometimes, despite that obviously being a much healthier addiction, if you want to call it, I still think there's a lot of people kind of obsessed with exercise and fitness that are using that to fill the eternal hole in their soul.

Jeff:  Yeah, yeah. So, there's my favorite catechism question for both the west minister confession of faith and the London Baptist confession of faith is the first one that we use and it's, what is man's primary purpose? The old way it said I love to is, what is man's chief end? And, it says to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. And, that's what we were made for according to scripture. You are meaningful and beautiful and you have been purposed by God. You are not a cosmic accident. You are in the image of God. You have value and dignity and you have worth and you were made in the image of God to know Him. That's your ultimate purpose. It's the foundation of every moment of your existence is you were made to bring glory to God and to enjoy Him forever. But, if our relationship with God is broken, then we're going to try to seek satisfaction and peace and wholeness elsewhere. And so, yeah, for some people, it's heroin. For some people, it's sex. For some people, it's idolatry. In some other form, it could even be the idolatry of some exercise or some other. You're trying to fill this thing that's broken in you with this substance or this person or this stuff or this pursuit to try to find joy, which you can only ultimately have in God because that's what we're made for.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. It's kind of the entire premise of my book, “Fit Soul,” this idea of being a soul with a body, not a body with the soul and the idea of spiritual fitness being ultimately the source of true fulfillment and happiness.

Jeff:  Yeah.

Ben:  But, you also tend to see kind of this parallel conversation especially occurring nowadays with books like “The Immortality Key” by Brian Muraresku how there's an argument that there is a history in Christianity of people actually using these same substances that you and I right now are vilifying as pathways to commune with the divine. There's ways to talk with God. I mean, Brian even talks to the immortality key about how different forms of spiced wine or spiked wine were elements of the Eucharist and that Christians were using forms of LSD like ergo and that magical mushrooms probably played a role. What's your take on all that?

Jeff:  Yeah. It's fiction. And, no historian or scholar with any integrity would actually make that kind of connection to the Christian faith. It's truly, truly fiction because you can see in the documents themselves because that forms the groundwork of what formed the people of God in the church. In Deuteronomy chapter 18, God explicitly, this is way back in the history of the Bible, God explicitly addresses communication with the dead, sorcery, taking substances to try to communicate with the dead in the other side, he condemns it because the problem is what you're communicating with is not what you think. And, he's trying to protect his people from the kind of contact they may make with the other side that they don't really want to be involved in. So, He warns his people against pharmakeia, against sorcery, against taking substances to communicate with the other side to get into an altered state of consciousness. And, if you look in Galatians in the New Testament, so that's the Old Testament, the New Testament, God explicitly speaks to the issue of pharmakeia and you can hear it in the word, pharmacy, pharmakeia and sorcery. It's the taking of substances to alter your state of consciousness to be able to communicate with the other side. And so, scripture condemns that kind of practice.

Ben:  And, by the way, you just made a good point to alter your state of conscience for the purposes of communing with the divine because a lot of people jump in and say, ah, you're drinking a cup of coffee and you're wearing an NAD patch and that's altering your state of consciousness. But, if you were putting on the NAD patch to say, hey, this is going to allow me to pray better and I'm going to go seek wisdom from the spirits and maybe from God because this NAD patch is going to really help me do that, it would actually kind of fall into the category of pharmakeia, right?

Jeff:  Yeah. When you talk about pharmakeia and sorcery, the idea was and it's interesting because today, this is so popular with DMT and ayahuasca and all these trips. I mean, you have actually some good dudes like ex-Navy Seals talking about how they did a DMT trip and it helped them in many ways and saw that there actually is more to the universe than just this physical structure. They saw there's something beyond the physical that I'm seeing. And, I'm glad that they know that now, but I don't like where they're going with it but it's very popular to take these substances to see the other side or to get into the other realm. And, that is what God is prohibiting and calling people to turn away from. And again, it's because of the danger, the spiritual danger that it poses to us because, yes, there's another realm, yes, there is a Heavenly realm, and yes, there's another side, and yes, there are real Heavenly beings and spiritual entities that are all around us. That's the biblical worldview. It's something that Christians don't talk enough about just the activeness of the other side. But, one of the things scripture is really clear about is that you cannot communicate with the dead. You're not talking to another person on the other side, you will be talking to a Heavenly being i.e., an angel or fallen angel.

Ben:  Right. Yeah, a machine now for a praying mantis or a purple fairy or whatever other entity is [00:49:53] _____ to you.

Jeff:  You see what I'm saying?

Ben:  Yeah, exactly.

Jeff:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, isn't that funny too when you listen to so many, the common experiences the people who take his DMT trips, they'll regularly talk about that like, “Yeah, I did my first trip and these entities I met on the other side were so helpful and they were so loving and so nice.” But, I went back three or four times and then it's like, “I need to avoid these things, these things are nefarious and they're scary.” And, God already told that story back to Moses.

Ben:  You're making a really good point because I have a lot of friends who have found God as you alluded to or you've been atheist and aren't atheist anymore. I mean, guys, medicine practitioner says, “Yeah, atheists come in but they don't come out.” And, it certainly can be a path to realize especially if you're an atheist, you don't believe in a spiritual dimension, it can be a path to all of a sudden very forthrightly believe in the existence of a spiritual world. The problem is, is you were just talking about your six, your seventh, your eighth time in, you start interacting with elements of the spiritual world that dictate that there's very few people I know at least who have returned over and over again for plant medicine experiences and have not started to kind of slide towards humans are inherently good, all we got to do is love each other. Sometimes there's that. So, we really don't need God, we just need ourselves. Then, you also see a lot of people sliding towards things like schizophrenia and bipolar and weird personality disorders. And, it's one of those things that seems innocent at first but really builds up. And, I mean you talked about the Navy Seals, we'll do iboga or DMT, your psilocybin or whatever in many cases for post-traumatic stress disorder. You see sometimes the same thing for things like head injuries and yeah, that stuff can be effective especially for trauma or finding a new path in life, but I really don't know anybody who has not gone on a drug-free facilitated or non-facilitated vision quests for anywhere from two to seven days in the wilderness with a journal typically water fasted and come back out of that not being the exact same state of awareness, trauma release, communication with God, et cetera. So, I think that just because there's multiple paths to the top of the mountain doesn't mean every path is good or risk-free.

Jeff:  It's a good one, yeah. This is really important too in terms of how I think we look at this holistically as Christians, this issue of drugs and taking drugs. So, the Bible, God's word condemns through and through drunkenness, the abuse of alcohol, but it also has glowingly high praise for alcohol in the right context, celebrating, feasting. God says amazing things about wine. And so, there's a balance, an amazing balance in scripture where it's not some pietistic Christians say like I just abstain and stay away from because the substance is evil. God doesn't call the substance evil, it's what we do with it that is ultimately evil.

So, for example, in terms of drug and alcohol addiction, what I say is praise God for morphine, which some people think, “What do you mean?” I go praise God for morphine but also a curse on morphine depending on how you're using it. So, praise God for morphine. When you get in a car accident and snap your arm, you are praising God for the morphine but also a curse on morphine when the person is just pursuing it for the pleasure and the good feelings and the peace that it brings them because they're just engaging in idolatry in something that will never bring satisfaction to their soul. I say praise God for cannabis.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jeff:  Which it makes a lot of Christians angry. And, I say a curse on cannabis, it depends on how you're using it. If you're using it historically it's been used with the Queen of England who had menstrual cramps that were so debilitating, she would pass out, they gave her cannabis and it helped get her through those awful periods of her cycle. And, I'll just give you an example of one of the things I learned. I didn't always know this, I learned this at the hospital. We had a patient there that was just wrecked. And, I mean, this guy, his body was barely held together because this terrible accident he was in 30 years prior. And, he was on so many opiates and he's just taking this stuff like candy and now he's just suffering in the consequences of detox that is happening to him every day. If he doesn't take it on time in these high doses, he'll start to detox and his world hurts. Well, the doctors were sitting down in the daily thing with the doctors and the nurses and they pull out his chart and they're like, “Well, this is really bad. He's in a lot of pain. He needs something but we got to bring him down because he's taking too much.”

And so, they're talking about how can we balance out the fact that he needs opiates for pain, but how do we do this?  And so, the head guy there goes, “Well, if he would just start taking cannabis, he wouldn't have this problem.” And so, I laughed and I said, “What?” He said, “No, if he'd use cannabis for pain, he wouldn't be dealing with all the toxicity issues.” And, I was like, “Really?” I was like, “What do you mean?” He goes, “Have you noticed that we don't have a cannabis detox protocol at the hospital? Nobody in here is detoxing from Cannabis. Did you notice that?” And, I was like, “Yeah, you're right.” And, they were like, “Because there is no detox protocol we have for cannabis. We would just tell them to do outpatient because they have a mental addiction to the Cannabis.” But, he said, “You got a choice.” He says, “If you're dying of cancer, you're either going to have an opiate addiction guaranteed if you're taking opiates for the pain or you can do cannabis for the pain and use it in a balanced way.” And, I really had to think about that. I was like, “Yeah, it is all about using it for the glory of God and using it rightly.”

Ben:  Yeah.

Jeff:  And so, for Christians, a way to look at it rightly is not to say the substance is evil. No, it could be used for good, it's just how you use it. Are you using it as an idol? Are you abusing it? Because all of these things can be very good things for the preservation of human life or for the flourishing of human life. My wife just recently got her first kidney stone. She literally thought she was dying. I was like, “I've never seen her in this much pain and I rush her to the hospital. And, let me tell you, we were praising God when they stuck her with a morphine.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jeff:  But also, we're driving home, dude, we're driving home, they just hit her with morphine so she's now feeling like she's okay. And, we're driving home and on every street corner in Phoenix right now is somebody that's almost dying from fentanyl or from heroin on the corner. But, it's the same essential thing to the body but it's how you're using it.

Ben:  Yeah. You're making a really good point. I mean, I've used small micro dose of psilocybin to work on creative writing. I've used a micro dose of LSD before a long run. I've used micro dose of iboga like South African bush extract before a hard weight training workout. I've also used hapé and psilocybin to enhance sensory perception during hunting all at responsible doses. I had Doug Wilson, the Wilson family, they're friends of ours, on my podcast. When he came out with his book on cannabis and there are others I'm sure you're aware of in Christian circles who will say, “Well, the differentiation between alcohol and pharmakeia or plant medicines is that it's a lot easier to get accidentally high and misuse and abuse the latter.” Meaning, it's really, really easy to actually take 100 micrograms of acid versus 10 micrograms. And therefore, you're playing with a lot of fire in that scenario. And then, furthermore, the other argument you hear is that alcohol is differentiated from pharmakeia in the Bible because pharmakeia allows you to commune with the Divine; whereas, nobody ever really has a deep spiritual experience when slobbering drunk.

And, my thoughts on it are, A, yeah, responsibility and temperance is required for everything. If you can't display responsibility and temperance, I mean, don't go around something and don't use it if you're around somebody who has that same issue. And then, B, I mean you could freaking take enough coffee to be an entheogen or psychedelic and overdose on that. I mean, in my opinion, it all comes down to responsibility, temperance, the intent of use. And again, I think just because something can be used to commune with the Divine, if you take a high enough dose of it doesn't mean avoid at all costs. I think it still has a purpose.

Jeff:  Yeah, yeah. It can be. And, I generally would agree with all of that. And, Doug is a very good friend of mine. He's actually mentored me and he's been someone I've leaned on over the years. I love the man. I've had dinner at his house on a number of occasions. I love Doug.

Definitely disagree with him on the issue of cannabis. I think there's some major inconsistencies he has that he hasn't examined. And yeah, I think that Christians largely have some inconsistencies in this area. And, I think it's important for us to overcome them because inconsistency is not glorifying to God and I know all of us have them. And, when we're inconsistent, we're not being like God who is fully consistent. He cannot lie. God is the truth. And so, I think we should overcome these inconsistencies because they could be quite devastating. And, I'll tell you what I mean by that. As Christians, you vilify cannabis.

Now, I'm not promoting people to go out and smoke pot right now. Okay, I want everyone to know that. I've called it idolatry when it's abused and all the rest, but when we condemn cannabis and just say that's an evil thing, Christian shouldn't do it, what I want to say is, do you understand that you could be potentially with that belief devastating somebody unnecessarily physically? And then, someone says, “What do you mean by that?” Okay. If they're dying of cancer and they're in pain, you've got some choices before you for pain relief and to help you through this, okay? And, one choice is you could get the opiates and you are absolutely guaranteed. Long-term opiate use means you are chemically dependent. And, the damage that it will do to your body, to your system, the pain of the detox is unreal. Sure. I mean, I've been in hospital and seen so many people detoxing from opiate addiction and it is not pretty, it is extraordinarily painful. When you tell somebody you're dying of cancer, don't take the cannabis, take the opiate instead, you are guaranteeing them a chemical dependency on something that is going to wreck them and it's going to be very painful.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jeff:  You have another choice and the other choice is you can take something that is natural that God gave to the world that literally you have elements of in cannabis like cannabinoids that your system knows what to do with. It's like, “Oh, I recognize that. Yeah, I know what that is.” Isn't that funny how it grows in the ground and it's in our system and you're like, oh, and it's for pain? And so, you have something that's not going to devastate you physically dying of cancer like the opiate. And so, I've said this publicly, if I'm dying of cancer, the pain relief that I'm going towards first and foremost is to cannabis because that's going to be a way where I can assure that I'm still going to be physically there longer for my family than I would be on the opiates. If you're on the opiate, you may get a prescription from a doctor, “Hey, you dying of cancer, here's this prescription for opiates, you need it, you're in pain.” Listen, have you ever seen somebody that's in the throes of an opiate addiction or on pills like percocets, oxycontin, whatever? They're not there. Not only are they chemically dependents, they disappear. They just start nodding off. They're gone. And so, I would choose the more natural route that's going to do less damage to my system.

Here's the deal. It's a fallen world. There's no way out of the fact that we have pain and we can find ways to relieve people of pain. I want to take the route that is going to be a little more beneficial than the opiate.

Ben:  Yeah, cannabis or arguably kratom in some circumstances. So, how big of an issue is this? For you as a pastor, I mean obviously, drug use is rampant in society and widespread. I mean, I'm just curious, is this a big problem in the church too?

Jeff:  In what way?

Ben:  I mean, for example, I live in Washington state where cannabis is legal, and when I go to church, sometimes I wonder, gosh, I wonder how many people in here just struggle? Because our church is literally in the same parking lot as a dispensary, and whether it's cannabis or other drugs, I'm just curious how many Christians struggle with these issues and maybe don't bring it up to their fellow Christians because it is kind of considered to be a little bit more of a serious problem than, I don't know, maybe drinking an extra beer at night or something.

Jeff:  Yeah. Do you mean the abuse of the substance or you mean just like Christian–

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, like substance abuse.

Jeff:  Yeah. No, I think it's huge. It's always an issue. Anytime you're dealing with humanity, you're dealing with people who need, either they know God and they need to grow in that relationship with God and be sanctified. You're dealing with somebody who doesn't know Him and needs to be reconciled to God and brought to peace with God. So, in that world, as long as you have image bearers of God that need God, there's going to be a struggle with some form of idolatry and addiction. And so, yeah, it's going to be at varying degrees. So, in our experience as a church, we'll deal with it regularly with a lot of new people that will come in. We'll find out they have some sort of an addiction, so we're ministering to them and helping them through that. Sometimes we have people to come in that are in the throes of a pretty bad addiction, so we're trying to help them get to–we try to do it comprehensively, deal with a spiritual issue but also deal with the physical issue. And so, get them to detox. I think it is a problem and there will always be a problem as long as the world has fallen.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, interesting. I was actually talking with one of my friends who's working on a website now, it's an anonymous website where people can go and join support groups and you specifically target towards Christians who are embarrassed or don't have some sort of drug and alcohol abuse outreach program in their church. And, I think it's actually a fantastic idea because I think one of the big problems is a lot of Christians are particularly embarrassed to talk about it to their fellow Christians if they struggle with. I don't know.

Jeff:  Yeah. Which is a problem–

Ben:  Cannabis or psilocybin or whatever else.

Jeff:  Yeah, Christians, I think the church is for sinners and not for the righteous. Jesus saves sinners and so that's who's supposed to be there. And, it should be a place where people are allowed to take off the God face like all is well, we're happy, everything's working perfectly and just be honest with their brokenness and their need because Jesus heals the sick. So, you have to come to him as the physician. And, I think the church should be a place where people have the ability to just to say, “Hey, I love God, but I'm really struggling right now.” And then, we minister to that person and care for that person and help them walk through it. As they're repenting of these things, we're helping them. There should be sort of an environment where there's an ease to say, “Hey, I've fallen flat, I'm struggling, I need help.”

The problem isn't the repentant person who says, “I hate this, I want free from this.” That's not the problem, that's the work of God in their life. The problem is the person who loves it doesn't want to let it go and just pursues it and just jives into it.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Or, in my opinion, increasingly the person who is using that as their tool to connect to God, which I think is going to be a huge battle that Christians face in the coming decade is people who are like, “Hey, you know what, so I'm using plant medicine to commune with the spirits in Peru, I'm going to use it to talk to God.” And, I actually know a lot of Christians who are now experimenting with substances for the purposes of prayer and meditation. I don't think it's such a good idea.

Jeff:  It's explicitly condemned. I'll say this one last thing. I'll say to that, I was joking with some friends a couple weeks ago is we actually did a show on this, cultist did a show on this recently, the DMT in ayahuasca and communicating and sorcery and all that stuff. And, one of the things I said was like, “Well, you know what, I would never ever, ever even want to try that.” Though it sounds interesting to say, “Hey, you can get a shot at the other side and all that,” that might sound appealing. I would never want to do it because we are involved in a lot of ministry and I think there's a lot of spiritual attacks on us. I wouldn't want to get to that other side and just give them the opportunity to get their hands on me.

Ben:  Nor do you want to send a message to billions of people that the best way to commune with God and to really become deeply engaged with prayer and step up to the next level spiritually is to go and have some sort of a psilocybin experience or ayahuasca retreat that frankly most the world's population is never going to be able to afford or do or have access to anyways. I think it just kind of sends people the message that, “Hey, if you really want to be holy, you got to try this because this is the next level, bro.” 

Jeff:  Right, right. Yeah. And, the way scripture puts it is the way to peace and they have a relationship with God, a deeply intimate relationship with God is through what Christ has accomplished in His perfect life, His death, His resurrection. It is a gift of eternal life. It is peace with God. It is a free gift. A way to peace with God and communion with God is through faith in Christ. And then, as you are in Christ, you grow more and more with in your relationship with God knowing him, walking with him, communing with him. And so, the way to peace is Christ not ayahuasca.

Ben:  I would encourage you to go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/JeffDurbin, Jeff, J-E-F-F, Durbin, D-U-R-B-I-N. And Jeff, thank you so much for coming on the show, man.

Jeff: Thank you, brother. Thanks for having me.

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Jeff Durbin has been a pastor and elder of Apologia Church in Tempe since it was founded in February of 2010. He worked for many years as a hospital chaplain and is a popular speaker for camps, conferences, churches and schools across the globe. He has participated in outreach to various religious organizations nationwide and has even engaged in several moderated public debates. Jeff was featured on a series for the History Channel, “The Stoned Ages” which reviewed the Christian approach and philosophy concerning drug and alcohol addiction, and also in the documentary film A Storm Comes Rolling Down The Plain. Jeff co-hosts Apologia Radio and Apologia TV, both of which garner followers throughout the US and internationally. Both shows are available via Apologia Studios.

Jeff is a World Champion martial artist with 5 Black-Belts. He starred in popular video games, movies and tours. He played Michelangelo and Donatello for the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise as well as Johnny Cage in “Mortal Combat” the world-tour. Our younger followers may have even seen him as a fighter in MTV’s “The Final Fu”. Jeff has been married to his bride, Candi, for over 20 years. They have 5-children: Sage, Immagin, Saylor, Stellar, and Augustine.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Why does Jeff wear NAD patches?…04:46

  • Jeff is a fan of NAD
  • NAD patches from Ion Layer (use code BEN to save $100 on your first order)
  • Ben’s experience with NAD patches
  • Jeff’s friend, Dennis Sarfate, a professional baseball player
    • Got the hip replacement and used NAD to recover 
  • Started using NAD patches and felt the benefits
    • Jeff’s wife took NAD as well 
  • NAD is good for:
    • DNA repair
    • Injury
    • Inflammation
    • Long haul COVID
    • Sleep deprivation
  • The same effects with Creatine

-What does Jeff do for health and longevity?…09:39

  • Momentum longevity shake
  • Uses a lot of supplements
  • Cautious about what he puts into his body
  • On a world tour in Argentina, he saw everybody walking around with a Yerba Mate
  • Started drinking it when he came back to U.S.
  • Every culture has some kind of stimulant

-How did Jeff get involved with martial arts?…13:36

  • Jeff was the 80's kid
  • Watched Chinese Kung Fu theater on TV and loved it
  • Started Judo at 4
  • Family moved to Japan and trained every day
  • Moved to Washington D.C. and became a private student of one of the best martial arts teacher in the world
  • Started winning all the national tournaments, the international tournaments and World Championships
  • Went to the Junior Olympics
  • Full-time training and full-time competition traveling across the country
  • At 18, went to a national tournament in Boston, got a part as Johnny Cage
  • Other roles followed like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

-Did Jeff ever consider the UFC?…19:00

  • Got a contract as an 18-year-old
  • UFC had lot of rules that were favoring people that wanted to just fight on the ground
    • You couldn't do certain things to stop that
  • At the time, he got the contract for Mortal Combat
    • Jeff didn’t want to get broken into pieces
  • He is a fan of the UFC
  • He will never lose his love for martial arts

-How did Jeff become a pastor?…21:21

  • Ben’s story about being raised in a conservative home in Idaho
  • Jeff wasn’t born into a Christian family
  • Came to Christ after a drug and alcohol addiction
  • Got love for God, His word, and people
  • Took ecstasy for the first time at 21
  • That led to a year of depravity and abandoning his wife and kids
  • Almost died several times
  • Started reading the Gospel and turned to Christ
  • Opened a martial arts school and did ministry at the same time
  • Turned to evangelism
    • Passionate for apologetics – the defense of the Christian faith
  • Never thought he would become a pastor
  • His pastor asked him to teach Sunday service
    • Did not feel comfortable with that, didn't feel like he was supposed to do that or was worthy of that
    • But in the end he did it out of obedience to God
  • One Sunday led into more over the next year
  • Felt he was called to become a pastor
  • He gave away his highly profitable martial arts school and became a pastor
  • Became the head chaplain at a hospital in Phoenix, a drug and alcohol rehab facility
  • Apologia Church has close to a thousand people on Sundays

-Jeff’s life of addiction…31:02

  • Ecstasy burns up all the serotonin in your brain
  • When you're using it too much, you don’t feel the drug anymore
  • You constantly chase that feeling of ecstasy and high
  • After the year, he was taking 5-6 pills a night
  • Only 1 pill can lead to overheating
  • One night, he felt he was overheating and thought he was going to die
  • He tried to cool himself and started praying
  • As soon as he prayed, everything got back to normal
  • It was a miracle, but he continued to use ecstasy
  • After 2 weeks, he lost everything and touched bottom
  • That’s when he finally turned to Christ

-What is drug and alcohol addiction?…36:44

  • The History Channel was making a documentary called The Stoned Ages
  • They wanted to talk to somebody that approached drug and alcohol addiction from an explicitly Christian position and found Jeff
  • Drug and alcohol addiction is an expression of idolatry
  • People chase an idol to get what they can only truly have in God
    • People take drugs to get peace, happiness, or pleasure
    • That we can ultimately have satisfied in God
  • We're broken and rebels against God
  • We don't want God, so we chase the substandard God
    • False gods will never satisfy real spiritual needs
    • You'll chase it forever and you're never going to get it
  • Addicts need a heart change and a mind change
  • Detox is essential in order to save your life

-Using exercise and fitness to fill the eternal hole in the soul…43:26

  • What is man's Primary purpose?
    • To glorify God and to end enjoy him forever
  • If our relationship with God is broken, we're going to seek satisfaction, peace, and wholeness elsewhere
  • People can be addicted to anything – drugs, sex, exercise, etc.
  • Fit Soul by Ben Greenfield

-The use of plant medicine to communicate with the Divine…45:35

  • The Immortality Key by Brian C. Muraresku
  • Idea that Christians used drugs throughout history to communicate with God is fiction
    • No scholar with any integrity would make that kind of connection to the Christian faith
  • Old testament – In Deuteronomy chapter 18
    • God warns his people against pharmakeia, sorcery, taking substances to communicate with the other side, getting into an altered state of consciousness
  • New Testament – Galatians
    • God explicitly speaks to the issue of pharmakeia
    • Scriptures condemns that kind of practice
  • DMT and ayahuasca shows us the other side exists
  • Scripture is really clear that you cannot communicate with the dead
  • Many people became believers after the experience with plant medicine
    • Atheists come in, but they don't come out
  • After a while, they would slide towards schizophrenia, bipolar, and weird personality disorders
    • Or they would forget about God
  • Not every path is good and risk free
  • The Bible condemns the use of alcohol, but also gives high praise for alcohol in the right context
    • The substance is not evil but the use can be evil
  • The right and wrong use of morphine and cannabis
  • Ben’s experience with plant medicine
  • Articles on plant medicine:
  • Responsibility and temperance is required for everything

-Jeff’s stance on the use cannabis…59:04

  • Christians should overcome inconsistencies because they could be quite devastating
  • Christians should not vilify cannabis
  • People dying from cancer can choose between opiates and cannabis
    • The damage is much greater from opiates
    • Cannabis is natural and your system knows what to do with it
    • It will not devastate you physically like opiates
    • People on opiates are not present, they disappear
  • The abuse of cannabis among Christians
  • It is a problem and it will always be a problem as long as the world has fallen
  • Christians are particularly embarrassed to talk about their addiction
  • The Church is for for sinners, not for the righteous
  • Just be honest with your brokenness and needs, because Jesus heals the sick
  • Experimenting with substances for prayer and meditation is not a good idea
  • The way to peace with God and communion with God is through faith in Christ

-And much more…

Upcoming Events:

  • Couples Collective: October 25th – 29th, 2023

Couples Collective is an exclusive and immersive way to explore health, wellness, and mindset with your significant other. Jessa and I will be leading a health optimization and relationships workshop, alongside many other awesome couples. This is a small event, and access requires you to interview with event-holder OWN IT to ensure a right fit. However, for those who are said fit, this event is designed to bring you into deeper union within your relationship and onward into greater connection with your life, love, health, and happiness. I'm looking for 6 to 7 powerful couples to come join me at the event – are you one of them? Learn more here.

Resources from this episode:

Jeff Durbin:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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