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Overboard Blog

Living the extraordinary life of faith!

Filtering by Tag: God's power

Excuse Me...Your Faith is Showing

Joseph Castaneda



The prophet Isaiah gives us two of the most amazing commands followed by two of the most amazing truths! 

1: Don't be afraid
2. Don't be discouraged

I love that those aren't just suggestions to make our lives better or ideas that will create a happier you (although they will!). Seriously, these are commands God is giving out to His children while they are in the midst of some serious turmoil and struggle. The odds seem impossible to overcome. The chance of victory seems unlikely at best...certain to end in crushing defeat at worst. There was no out.

But God.

God shows up, and He reminds His people who is in control of EVERYTHING in life. He reminds them of how He is the God of all power and authority, the God who raises up kings and kingdoms and who just as easily brings them down. In the face of one of Israel's greatest foes this God commands, "Don't be afraid," and, "Don't be discouraged."

Then, to remind the Israelites the why of His commands, He states:

1. I am with you
2. I am your God

Amazing! The Almighty Creator God of the universe is close to His children, and personally relates to them! He is their God, personally reaching out and personally known and He is with them. Unlike the gods of the people around Israel, God's who were neither personal nor near, this God delights in knowing, loving, and blessing His people.

I don't know what you're facing right now, or what you might be facing soon, but I know my God (and He knows me!) and He says to you: Don't be afraid, and don't be discouraged, because I am with you...I am your God! Will you, today, exchange your fear, discouragement, anxiety, worry and stress for the hope, courage and power that God provides? The only way to do that is through faith, trusting that God's promises are as true today as they were 2,700 years ago when he gave them to Israel.


Joseph Castaneda



Have you ever failed to meet a goal or found it difficult to keep a promise? Have you ever thought you were doing the right thing by found the path filled with hardship? Of course you have, and in those moments all of us face the same choices about whether or not we choose to be disappointed, choose to blame others, or choose to give up.

But disappointment and blame are short-sighted and are based on this terrible assumption: life's goals/dreams can only be achieved on our own effort.

The Overboard Life must be lived in faith which means, that while we do what we are called and created to do (Ephesians 2:10), we keep trusting the ultimate work of God to achieve eternal results. And when we live in that relationship of trust, we find the truth of Jeremiah 32:17 trumps disappointment and blame. After all, if God isn't limited in any capacity, then He can accomplish His work without us!

What issue(s) in your life do you need to hand over to God, today? He is able to handle it/them better than you or me or any of us (combined!), and nothing is too hard for Him. So keep pressing on. Keep living the life to which you've been called and for which you've been created. Just make sure you keep trusting the One who can accomplish anything according to His own power.



Thank you. 300 times, thank you! Thank you for your amazing support.

Thank you for friendships.

Thank you for your encouragement and willingness to walk this Overboard journey with me and my family.

Thank you for reading this blog.

In fact, 300 times you’ve come to this blog and dialed up the words and challenges put on my heart by God and His Word. Thank you for following, reading, commenting, correcting my lousy grammar and encouraging me along the way. Most of all, thank you for growing with me as Overboard Ministries is becoming a movement of people eager to live their God-designed lives of faith, out of the comfort of the boat and out on the water where Jesus is building His Kingdom.

Over 50,000 times this blog has been read by people from 75 different countries. (I know, small potatoes for some of you bloggers, but for this boy, I’m blown away by what God has done!) 12 books have been released, with several more scheduled before year’s end. We have dozens of financial partners supporting our work each month, and nearly 100 people who pray for us regularly. The list goes on and on, and all I can say is “Thank you!”

I am humbled and grateful and can’t wait to see what God does in the next 300 blog posts.

As a way of remember the path we've traveled, here is one of my favorite blog posts (definitely t0p-5 out of 300!), dating pack to April of 2013. This was blog #102 (198 posts ago!). Enjoy.

Joe Castaneda


Every time I watch a movie, read a story or see something about Dick and Rick Hoyt, I usually end up wiping tears from eyes. Over 950 times Dick has pushed his son Ricky in a wheel chair or pedaled him on a bike or pulled him in a canoe across race finish lines all over the U.S. Every time I think of this duo, I am reminded of what the power of a father’s love can do.

Rick Hoyt is severely disabled. And when doctors told the family to just “put him away” because he would never be more than a vegetable, the Hoyt family decided to take him home and prove doctors wrong. Take ten minutes to watch this special piece on Team Hoyt as they tell their amazing story:

My favorite part of the video is when Dick says, “He’s competing. I just give him my arms and legs, but he’s competing.” I am so moved by that father’s love and I am so reminded of the love of my own Heavenly Father in the same way.

I’ve often heard people use the phrase, “we are the hands and feet of Jesus” -- and in one sense it is very true. We represent Jesus in this world, and the way we walk and serve will be the best (or sometimes worst) representation of Jesus some people will ever see.

But in another very real sense, we are all like Ricky Hoyt. “Powerless” on our own, but with God as our hands and feet, we are able to compete in this life. We are able to put aside our own selfish ambition and vain conceit, we are able to serve others as we have been served, we are able to love as God loved and we are able to run our race because of God’s power in us. We aren’t gods; we are God’s.

At the end of his life, the Apostle Paul told Timothy, “I have the run the race” and he was ready to receive his reward. How did Paul run? He ran as man pushed by God. He didn’t run on his own strength, He ran with God’s! In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, Paul lists out the trials he worked through in his life while serving God. Then, in chapter 12, he discusses a “thorn in flesh” -- some sort of extreme suffering that kept him dependent on God. And at the end of this recounting of all of his hardships Paul says this, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Paul was just admitting that he was like Ricky Hoyt. No mistaking it -- Paul was competing. But he was competing with the power of God’s arms and God’s legs, so that using God’s strength, God would be glorified in Paul’s life.

You can’t live Overboard in your own strength for very long. Let God give you the power you need to press on so, like Paul, you too can finish your race!

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

Lessons from the road


Ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved a good ol’ fashioned road trip. I’m sure part of my love comes from doing lots of these trips while growing up, and another part is just because I love driving and being out on the road across this amazing country where we are privileged to live. Whatever the reasons, the fact is: I love road trips. Telling people we were driving from Michigan to Oregon got us some pretty funny responses. Only a few people thought it sounded fun, others expressed horror at the thought, others gave us pity and a few just shook their heads, confident our sanity had left us completely! When we told them we were doing it with the three kids, too, many shared their worst travel experiences, or said in a whiney voice, “Are we there yet?!?” Traci and I had a lot of laughter telling people about our trip. Wait until we tell them we’re doing it again in June!

But I seriously love the open road, and our family travels really well. The kids have learned how to engage each other, as well as how to entertain themselves when necessary. Traci and I enjoy the scenery and talking about life, work, family, sex (when the kids are sleeping =) dreams, Overboard Ministries, USANA, sports, news, politics, God’s amazing creative power as seen from the front window of our van, and lately, a lot about our future. Our road trips generally create great memories and the confined space gives us ample time to work on bonding and to grow in patience and grace.

Road trips are also full of the unexpected, and always provide ample learning opportunities.

Our’s started with a big lesson three and half hours before we left the Traverse City hotel we were enjoying. We were scheduled to leave by noon on Friday, but Thursday night, a loud noise from the car caused us both a great deal of concern. Since my knowledge of cars can be summed up in a sentence (“take it to a mechanic”), I knew I had to take it in before we hit the road.

17001618232_5995841516_kWe have a great mechanic in Traverse City, a fellow Christian who does excellent work with integrity (Kinney’s Automotive), and who happened to be just ten minutes from the hotel. I showed up when the doors opened Friday morning, and got on the schedule for an hour later. Shortly after I returned, one of the techs was taking a look at our van. Turns out the front driver’s side wheel bearings were bad (that accounted for the noise) and just for added fun, the brakes were nearly metal-to-metal and needed to be replaced. I had prayed for a quick, $12 fix with parts already in the shop. Instead I had a three and half hour repair, parts had to be ordered from a nearby shop and we were looking at a $500+ repair. And who doesn’t love road trips?!?

As I was driving back from the shop to the hotel (after I scheduled the appointment but before the tech had given an official diagnosis), I was lamenting the unexpected expense, whining to God about the lost time and was worrying about how the money and time would affect our whole trip. I was deep in worry when God taught me an important lesson.

Just as I was contemplating offering to leave AJ to work in the shop to pay off our bill, I hit a little clearing on the side of the road and guess what I saw? The sun was coming up on the horizon.

Honestly, I was instantly cut to the heart at the site of the sunrise. Maybe that sounds silly to you, but to me, I was reminded that the God who created the universe, the God who “makes the sun rise up in the east” was the same God who cares intimately about me and my life, you and your life, and the lives of every individual on the planet. He is the same God who has provided for our family during this season of transition in ways we could never have planned or imagined, and the same God who was going before us on this trip. As I thought about the sunrise, I felt silly about how caught up in worry I had been just moments before.

I confessed my worry to Him, and returned to the hotel ready to gather the family, load up the van and hit the road. What did God do thru all of this?

  1. He helped us discover a super loose wheel bearing pack that would have failed on the road. What happens when they fail? According to a bunch of online testimonies, your wheel can actually fall off! Imagine that happening at 70 mph!
  2. We also discovered that our brakes and rotors were in dire need of repair -- another item I’m glad we corrected before barreling down the rockies at 80mph (I love the speed limits in Utah and Idaho!).
  3. Before we left town a friend asked to meet us at a local McDs, and he gave us $210 for travel expenses.
  4. Despite all the delays, we ended up arriving at our destination at precisely the right time -- to the minute!

It’s crazy how often we get caught up in worry, fear or anxiety when we serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I don’t think I can even count all the times He has shown up big in our lives, or provided a friend, some rest, a meal or a few bucks “at just the right moment” and yet when faced with a minor auto repair, I panicked.

Yet God is so good to us, and Friday morning He cleared the sky so I could see the sun come up (that’s right, all you Northern Michiganders have me and my sinful worry to thank for Friday’s glorious sunrise!) and reminded me of His limitless power and ability to provide.

How are you doing in trusting Him today? Does a worry -- big or small -- have you distracted from what He is doing in and around you? Maybe you need to make Philippians 4:6-7 your prayer today: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s holiness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” (The Message).

It’s going to take us three, twelve-hour days, to get to our Oregon destination, and along the way, I’m going to try and keep worry in its rightful place. How about you? Maybe you need to take the family on a road trip and see what God has for you, too!

Go ahead and take the plunge, life -- even road trips! -- are better on the water.

Overboard Curtains?


My wife and I are in the process of setting up our house after moving out from Oregon. One of the many blessings of our new home is the number of windows that let in huge amounts of light. It is wonderful having so much sunshine enter the house from so many different windows. But one of the curses that comes from so much glass is having to cover them with curtains or blinds. Our room in particular, has a window that faces east. As the sun comes up over the horizon in the morning, it shines across a small valley, lights up the lake directly below us, and then showers our room with sweet golden rays. In 7 of our 12 mornings here, we have had a spectacular view of God’s morning canvass. Only, it’s like 6am and I’m usually not in the mood for a shower of sweet golden rays!

camp sunrise

So last week Traci and I hit up Target and found some promising window coverings in a curtain brand called, “Eclipse”. Since we had literally been waking up with the sunrise, I was anxious to try out these new curtains. I believed the advertising on these that stated, “blocks 99% of all light.” I couldn’t wait to sleep in 1% of sunlight.

The night we attached them to the curtain rod, I was excited by the prospects of 99% of sunlight being kicked out of my bedroom. With all the snow around here, even nights are pretty bright, and already I could see a considerable improvement in the darkness of the room. These Eclipse brand curtains were just what the doctor ordered.

When I awoke the next morning, you can imagine my disappointment when this is what I saw:


99% of sunlight my eye! Granted, the room was much less lit than it had been the morning before, but I was expecting 99% darkness! These new curtains did not meet my expectations.

I hopped in the shower a little ticked at my recent purchase and then a thought hit me: what if that was 99% blockage? After all, we’re talking about the sun! It’s not like someone was just holding a flashlight up to our window, we’re talking about a flaming star that is 92.96 million miles away from earth. It is 109 times larger than earth, and has a surface temperature of 10,000 degrees (F). This baby is blasting heat and light across our solar system and galaxy -- giving light to objects billions of miles away.

As I thought about the magnitude of the sun and how big and bright it is, I realized my eclipse curtains were representing truth in advertising. They were blocking 99% of the sunlight, but 1% of sunlight is still a lot of light!

This got me thinking about Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world…” I wonder how much “son power” I’m cranking out as I try to live Overboard for God. If 99% of my light was snuffed out, would I still make an impact on others? At 1% of it’s potential, the sun is still lighting up my bed room, but what would 1% of my potential look like? If I’m truly living the Overboard Life then I know I’m living by God’s power, not mine. I know God’s power is limitless and 1% of Him flowing through me will light up lives everywhere I go.

Are you living with God’s help? The Overboard Life cannot be lived on our own strength or power. If it is, then you’ll see that when even a small percent of your light is eclipsed, things go dark. But when we live how God wants us to, depending on Him for strength and power, we’ll find that even our frailest efforts can still light up a room -- or a life -- for His glory.

Three ways to depend on God’s help:

Read your Bible every day. Fill up with God’s Word as a habit, and you’ll see your light shining brighter and brighter.

Spend daily time in prayer. The disciplines of faith strengthen our candle power! Regular time, connecting with God through prayer, will result in powerful lives of eternal influence.

Serve, serve, serve. Time with God must evidence itself in service. Jesus boiled life down to simple fragments: Love God and love others. It’s not ok to serve others without being connected to God any more than it’s ok to be connected to God without serving. (In fact, I’d argue that you aren’t connected to God if you aren’t serving others.)

Light up the world for God’s glory, and experience the great fruit and reward of living a surrendered life.

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is better on the water.

I'm glad I caught this cold.


After I preached Sunday, I started feeling the early signs of a cold coming on. By Sunday night I was pretty wiped out (preaching always does that to me, anyway), and a full day driving/sitting/driving on Monday left me ready for an early bed time. 10 hours of sleep Monday night did me wonders, and I think I’ve turned the corner on this little cold. I do my best thinking in the shower. And this morning, as I pondered my cold, I thought about how small the cold virus is. In fact, check out this web site to get some perspective on size:

Those nasty little viruses aren’t very big, but they sure are powerful! Think about it, an organism that is just 20 nanometers in length (a pin head is about 1-1.5million nano meters, so you could fit 50-75,000 flu viruses on the head of a needle!) has the ability to knock out a 200lb, relatively healthy human being for a few days. It’s incredible. Those ugly little bugs got some “Wuh-pam!”* to them.

cold virus

This got me thinking about something Jesus said: “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

The reason that cold virus is so powerful is that it multiplies itself in the body. It’s not that one 20 nanometer virus does all the damage, it’s that one 20 nanometer virus multiplies to millions in the body. You see, that one virus (although rarely do you just inhale or kiss your way into one virus!), attacks your cells, sends in a new code that then produces more of the virus, that then attacks your cells that then produces more of the virus that then attacks your cells… It doesn’t take long for you to become a walking, talking virus dispenser.

You see, it’s not the size of the virus that does you in, it’s the power of multiplication that wipes you out.

I think that’s Jesus’ point about faith. It’s not the size of your faith that matters, it’s the size of your God that matters, and His ability to multiply your faith. It’s not that you and I inherently have enough faith to produce anything good in our lives, it’s that our God, no matter how “big” or “small” our faith is, multiplies it according to His power. Trusting God with your life is like putting your faith on steroids…but in a good way. (that analogy worked a lot better in my head.)

When Peter was in the boat and Jesus called him to walk on water, Peter didn’t have enough faith to do anything! As he hopped out of the boat and took a few steps, it wasn’t Peter’s faith that made the water suddenly firm. It was God’s power. Peter’s faith was the engine that got Peter out of the boat; God’s power firmed up the sea. Peter wasn’t believing in his own ability to walk on water, he was trusting God’s power to make it a reality. God multiplies our faith.

What is God asking you to do, today? How can you flex your faith and watch God multiply your efforts? I’m glad I picked up this cold over the weekend, it’s given me a great new perspective on God’s power to multiply change and Kingdom impact in my life.

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

*Wuh-Pam: Condensing verb, adjective or adverb. Combination of the words "Whoopin" and "Slam". As in, "I handed you a whoopin and you went slam on the floor" can now be condensed to, "I Wuh-Pammed you to the floor." Can be used in past tense. Frequently used, and in fact invented, by my daughter BJ, and quickly spread through the family. Eg: "I was running into the kitchen and forgot to open the door. I hit it, 'Wuh-Pam' and fell on my rear end in the family room." Also can be used to suggest aggression: "AJ, if you touch my DS again, I will Wuh-Pam you into next week."