AlongTheWay

Living Simply On Purpose - Matt Snyder’s Journey AlongTheWay 20

August 19, 2019 John Matarazzo / Matt Snyder Season 1 Episode 20
AlongTheWay
Living Simply On Purpose - Matt Snyder’s Journey AlongTheWay 20
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AlongTheWay
Living Simply On Purpose - Matt Snyder’s Journey AlongTheWay 20
Aug 19, 2019 Season 1 Episode 20
John Matarazzo / Matt Snyder

Matt Snyder shares the journey of his prodigal turn around and how simplicity helps drive his purpose.

His AlongTheWay moments include 

  • The gift of communication misused but now redeemed 
  • Christmas in prison
  • A Neighbor’s invitation changed everything
  • Finding purpose in helping others find their purpose

Books Mentioned

“Communicating for a Change” - Andy Stanley

AlongTheWay Links

Watch episodes of RealLife

Email Me

More episodes and Social links for AlongTheWay

Show Notes Transcript

Matt Snyder shares the journey of his prodigal turn around and how simplicity helps drive his purpose.

His AlongTheWay moments include 

  • The gift of communication misused but now redeemed 
  • Christmas in prison
  • A Neighbor’s invitation changed everything
  • Finding purpose in helping others find their purpose

Books Mentioned

“Communicating for a Change” - Andy Stanley

AlongTheWay Links

Watch episodes of RealLife

Email Me

More episodes and Social links for AlongTheWay

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AlongTheWay)

Matt Snyder :

Man, I woke up one day and I was like, this is a horrible, horrible way to live. I didn't like myself, I didn't like who I was. And I could feel that I began to feel again, it was like a softening of my heart, you know that you can harden your heart towards the spirit, you can hard your heart towards that conscious. But then there comes this softening in my life in this moment where I could feel God beginning to kind of work and massage me and try and like draw me back in. It took a while to get there, you know, it was a process, but I, I can remember distinctly the first day that I woke up and I was like, wow, I'm, I'm pretty far off the reservation, and I need to find my way back.

John Matarazzo :

Welcome to along the way. I'm John Matarazzo. Your host and fellow traveler. Thank you for joining me along my way is I try to become more like Jesus every day. I love what I have the opportunity to talk with fascinating people and learn how God has met them along their way. Everyone has a story, and I believe that we can all learn from each other's journeys. Through this episode, I want to encourage you to look for the story and others, God has placed hidden gems of wisdom in other people, and the Holy Spirit will reveal life changing truths, through our conversations with each other. In this episode of along the way, my journey connects me with my good friend, Matt Snyder. Matt hasn't written a book or started a famous ministry yet, but God has used him and is using him as he is seeking God's purpose and plan every day. Before we get to the interview, I want to let you know that I am grateful to all of you who joined me along my way, I hope that you are enjoying this journey as much as I am. I'm so happy to get reports of listeners all over the US and the world. And as a former missionary, that really excites me. Thank you for joining with me. I appreciate the great feedback about how my along the way journey is helping you. I'd love to hear from you. You can connect with me on Facebook and Instagram. You can always email me at John along the at gmail.com. My social links and web address are in the show notes. And now here's my along the way conversation with Matt Snyder. All right, Matt Snyder. It's great to have you on along the way. Thank you so much for being here. We've been friends for quite a while now.

Matt Snyder :

I think it's been almost 10 years now.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah, you've kind of had a very interesting journey in your life. But also recently, you kind of travel around when you're not in the Pittsburgh area. You travel around and you're helping other churches. Would you mind telling me a little bit about that? And then we'll talk about your journey.

Matt Snyder :

Okay, yeah, I can definitely do that. We're not on an official footing yet. But we as my wife, my wife and I and our kids, we travel around not quite full time, but we live on the road, a good part of the year. And and our favorite thing to do, we don't even call it a ministry, we just like to go into churches we've never been in before. We like to see what they're doing and how they're doing and how God's moving in that particular ministry. We like to ask questions and grow and learn and anything that we've picked up that we have to offer along the way we just like to we just like to offer that you know, just offer ourselves and in any little tidbits that we you know, as outsiders Can, can offer, and it's been a blast meeting. You know, I I always say that in traveling, it's the people more than the places most of the time we make it and just meeting new people and connecting and, and seeing what God's doing in their lives is

John Matarazzo :

fantastic. You have a favorite place that sticks out to you

Matt Snyder :

right now. Man, I can't even begin I love the ocean. I love San Diego. We spent some time in the desert recently, and there's just such a beauty in the starkness of the desert. I love them. I can't even I can't even just everywhere. I just I like to be on the road. There's something about every time it's the same. It's when you get up in the morning and you put the the tires out the road and you know, you're leaving the place you were to go to a new place. It's an amazing feeling you've traveled? Yeah, you know, yeah, you know, you know the feeling there's something about the freedom of the road. That's just just showing anything. Yeah.

John Matarazzo :

Now you're talking about a journey that you've gone on with your family recently. Yes. On enemy good trip, there seems to be flat tires and detours and unexpected twists and turns. And I know a bit about your life and you've preached many times at bridge city church over the years. And you're an excellent communicator. And I really do mean that I'm not just saying that to flatter you. You're an excellent communicator and storyteller and I would be honored if you would tell tell my listeners about some of your Okay, I you've gotten to where you are now.

Matt Snyder :

Yeah, I I've taken in unorthodox path in my life for sure. I grew up in the church I was born into a church family I grew up deeply tied into a church with with my family and went to a you know, private Christian school. From the outside, you would say that I had all the right, you know, stuff kind of given to me, I had a good life. For a long time, I I knew that there was a call on my life at a young age, and I was one of those kids that people would be like, Oh, you're going to do things for God, you're going to do things for the kingdom and never went to my head. But I also, I just felt like that was something I knew in my heart that that was the fact. And somewhere around my late teen years, I I just went off the rails, you know, I I became dissatisfied with my life as it was. And it wasn't because of anything that happened to me in my youth. It wasn't because I had a bad childhood, I had a great childhood, I just, I just decided to go do horrible things, you know, and I I joined the army, which wasn't a big deal. But from that point forward, I kind of began to make unchristian decisions in my life. I walked away from God, I you know, I always thought there was a line I wouldn't cross and that I was a good guy. But you know, the old sin takes you further than you ever want to go, you know, for for the better part of a decade, a decade and a half I was I was off doing my own thing. Yeah, you know, I had no ministry in my life other than other than just doing whatever I wanted, whatever made me feel good, whatever, excited me and just just living in the world, much like like the Prodigal Son, you know, just off spending my inheritance. And and I did that for a long time. And like I said, earlier, I thought I was a good man. Like, I still felt like a good man. Like I could identify as a good man. Okay. And there was a season, I can't tell you what the trigger was. But I began to feel God calling me back. It was a, it was a realization that I was wasn't a good man, you know, that I wasn't doing the right thing that that the things that were doing, were causing pain and hurt to other people. And we talked about some of that stuff. Oh, yeah, absolutely. You know, I, I became a user of people, I have a gift of communication. And like any gift, you can use it for the wrong things, you know, so I would, I would lie and manipulate people with my words to get the things I wanted, you know, even even if it looked like on the outside that I was achieving something that the world said was good in career in business, or whatever it was, because I was saying things that weren't true, or I was I was communicating in a way that was manipulative. I didn't care who I heard, you know, I was a stockbroker for a while, and I was pretty good at it, you know, I again, communication and that's what it relies on, you know. And I would, I would say whatever it took to get a sale, or whatever it took to make my income for the month and I didn't care who got hurt, I didn't care. That was kind of the culture, you know, it was it was based on making money no matter what. And as long as I made money in the company made money, we weren't really worried about investors, we weren't really worried about the little guy. And man, I will one day and I was like, this is a horrible, horrible way to live. I didn't like myself, I didn't like who I was. And I could feel that I began to feel again, it was like a softening of my heart you know that you can harden your heart towards the spirit you can hard your heart towards that conscious it towards the conscious in that spirit speaking in you, but then then there comes this softening in my life in this moment where I could feel God beginning to kind of work and massage me and trying to, like draw me back in. It took a while to get there, you know, it was a process but I, I can remember distinctly the first day that I woke up and I was like, wow, I'm, I'm pretty far off the reservation, and I need to find my way back. I'm outside of where I need to be. And I need to find my way back.

John Matarazzo :

So this was a 10 year ordeal that you walked away

Matt Snyder :

yet probably close to 15 years, I was off doing my own thing. Again, I grew up in the church. So I knew God I knew who he was. I still prayed many nights, I would still pray you know that often selfish prayers that we pray when we're mature, or or, like so misguided, because I thought that God's Will was my will, you know, I thought that what he wanted for my life was what I wanted, so that would pray those prayers. But in the end, it was just I was so far, I was so far out that I couldn't even see the way back, you know, I was just so far out. Unfortunately, when you come back, those things don't go away. You still have hurts and hang ups and all those things to deal with. But he did, he began to draw me back. We were at the time, my family and I were living in Florida, a place I always thought I wanted to live, I love the ocean, I love the water. And we were a wreck. You know, my wife and I were a wreck. We weren't married at the time. But we were together, we were a wreck. And God called us back into this area. And then he put people in our lives that directed us to time, you know, word worship church. And that was where the transition back began.

John Matarazzo :

So how did you make your way back from Florida? How did what did God say to you? How did how did you hear?

Matt Snyder :

It wasn't? It wasn't I mean, I was hearing his voice at that time, I clearly heard that we were I wasn't in the right place. I knew that things needed to change. But I never would have left on my own. I mean, we we lost financially. The second time, we lost everything, you know, we made bad financial decisions, we made bad investments. We spent more than we had we did all the things wrong that you do whenever you don't know any better, or you're not thinking clearly. And we had to come back. I mean, we had no choice no matter we lost everything. You know, and it was a case of there was support here from family but also family in need. And we just we just it was the only choice I never would have came back voluntarily. Okay, you know, God kind of kind of forced your hand a little bit kind of forced our hand. I mean, and he's, there's, there's evidence of that throughout my life, that he protected me from my own choices and forced me into places where, like, it was good for me. Yeah. You know, like the staff, Rod kind of situations, you know, where I feel like my life's been marked with those moments where I had the grace given to me that I didn't deserve, you know, and then also the moments where I've been directed, even against my own resisting, you know, my own push back. God has said, No, this is the right place. And that gentle hand is kind of you know, it's back.

John Matarazzo :

So you said you grew up in a Christian home? Yes. went to church, and went to a Christian school. What was your family thinking? When you were being wayward?

Matt Snyder :

I have an amazingly compassionate family, and that they never, no matter the crazy things I did, no matter the bad decisions I made, they never once set me aside or pushed me off or said no, or judged me. I mean, I would obviously I would get, you know, like, hey, that's probably a really stupid thing you're doing. But the minute I would turn back and look to them, they're like, welcoming with open arms. I didn't deserve it, you know, but it was, it was such a good example of who God is as, as a loving father. They never once condemned me or cast me aside or any of those things. They just they were always there for me. I know, I caused them pain and I know that caused them heart. Hey, I'm a father. I understand. You know, I understand. I can't imagine what it did. But I know that it did hurt. But they never once turned me aside. And anytime I would come back, they would welcome back.

John Matarazzo :

So when you moved back to Pittsburgh, yeah. You got connected with Word and worship. Now, bridge city church. Tell me about that. What What did that church family mean? How did you get connected

Matt Snyder :

we, we had bought our first house, our first investment property and we moved into it, my wife and I, she was eight months pregnant. Now she was four months pregnant the time with our first son, we were on my we moved into the house, we began to work on it. And a neighbor stopped over with a plate of cookies and welcome, Mr. The neighborhood. And in that conversation, like I said, I've been feeling this function from God. He had been tugging on my heart. And in that conversation, I said, Hey, you know, we're looking for a church, if you happen to know have a good church in the area, and this to two still dear friends. They said, Hey, we go to we go to word worship, and you would love it there. My wife had grown up Catholic and didn't know anything about charismatic and non denominational churches. So the first Sunday, I'll never forget, we pulled up and it was this goofy school building. I remember pulling a parking lot. My wife looked at me and she just said, why don't we just keep driving? We don't want to go into this place. That's it's and and we I said, No, I said, this is this is this is where we're going to go today. This is what we're going to do. And the impact when we walked in the welcoming fellowship that we encountered is basically why I'm sitting here right now. I mean, there was a few families that were so adamant about welcoming us in and pulling us in and sitting us down next to them and encouraging us. And just, I mean, maybe it was a family atmosphere. It wasn't a small church. There wasn't like a small congregation, but it was it was home. And I knew immediately that that's where I was supposed to be. I mean, it wasn't I bet you we were there 10 minutes. And I felt like this is this is where I'm supposed to be. So that Sunday, Sunday, I I rededicated my life to the Lord, you know, I had this encounter with God, and it crushed me to my knees and where I needed to be, but that just I'm trying to think back to the moment when I could feel it in my chest that that almost that lump in your throat feeling where I knew that I couldn't walk away from that moment without doing something different. You know, I knew that. I knew that I was home. Like I said, I had been on my way home up until that point, and I knew that I had come home. And I'll never forget the Yeah, it wasn't even. I think sometimes we make the salvation process pretty, pretty complicated and uncomfortable. For me, it was the greatest thing just to just to put my hand up and say I'm here and I want to be, I want to be transformed. I want to I want to meet the Lord. And just sat down with a gentleman and prayed. went through the whole process. And I knew from that moment, I knew that it would never be the same again. And I I know that I gave my life to the Lord when I was a child when I was younger. But it wasn't like this. This was this was different. This was a commitment that I made. Understanding who I was both the center and the and the sun that I was becoming and all those things it was it was just a total different and radical experience was awesome. That was just awesome. That's great. All week, I prayed because the girl that I was with that I was engaged to didn't know God, and I was terrified what that meant sure that that you can't be unequally yoked and that I knew my life was going to change. I mean, I was so determined that it was going to change that God was going to do work in me. And I thought that it would pull us apart. And I prayed for her. I prayed for Chris and I prayed for an upgrade for And wouldn't you know next Sunday we're in service and different pastor. And he gave a word that just struck her to the soul. And she raised her hand and God saved God salvation and next that Sunday. And we never looked back. I mean, we just, I mean, he he put us in a place where we were ready. We were so hungry for him. We were so hungry for the acceptance and the growth and the peace and all the healing that came from from that relationship that we just chased it and chased it. And we were surrounded by the right. I mean, we were in the right place at the right time. Yeah. The season of God where there was passionate people around us that cared about us and cared about our growth.

John Matarazzo :

You've preached a number of times at this church. Yes. And a few Christmases ago, you told a story about a very difficult Christmas for you.

Matt Snyder :

Yes,

John Matarazzo :

yeah. Would you mind telling that story?

Matt Snyder :

Yeah. This probably explains my entire time away from the Lord. I was in jail for stupid decisions and stupid friendships. You know, I think I was in for six months. And it was over Christmas. And my daughter, who at the time was five years old, I believe. This was from before. Krista, this was before Kristen. Yes, she was from a girl that I met when I was in the military. We had split amicably. But, you know, we weren't together and I had a daughter with her. She might have been six at the time. And it was a warm day for Pittsburgh, you know, for Pittsburgh, Christmas and my show, my daughter was up visiting my parents staying with them, you know, for Christmas. And obviously, I wasn't there. I was in jail. And nobody my daughter didn't know is in jail. They kept it from her. But what they did because I wanted to see her so badly was they brought her up to the the parking lot at the jail and they brought her bike up. And they man, I can still remember they let her ride around in the parking lot a little bit, just you know, like, you would let a child you take them out and we're going to go bike ride, it's gonna be fun. So I'm in my jail cell and I can look out the window to the parking lot, I can see this part of the parking lot. And for about 15 minutes. On Christmas Day, I got to watch my daughter ride around this parking lot. I couldn't see her, you know, couldn't touch her. I couldn't talk to her. I couldn't tell her I loved her. Couldn't tell her lover, but it was probably the best and worst moment of that entire experience. You know, I loved seeing her, but I just broke me down. It was just something. I have such a heart for guys that are away from their families like that, because it's devastating. And that was one of those seeds that led me to realize that I was in a bad, bad way. Yeah, yeah. But it's a it's it's kind of man, I don't know, I can't even go back there. I'm trying to go back on my mind. And I don't even want to, you know, I'm so far removed from that now. And I'm so blessed to have her in my life and have restoration in all those things that thank God that he, man.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah, he knew were a completely different person than who you were back then.

Matt Snyder :

Yeah, yes. I I love people. And I love the kingdom of God so much. I love seeing transformation. And it's probably you know, the Bible says he who is forgiven much, you know, I, I value transformational ministry. I love anything to do with healing and spiritual freedom. Because I was given that and I love to see that in other's lives. There's nothing that lights me up, like watching a guy break off years of addiction or years of abuse, or a pass that just been dogging him for all, you know, for a long time just to see those things fall away. And the restoration and the transformation that comes with a you know, relationship with Jesus is amazing.

John Matarazzo :

Speaking of relationship with Jesus, do you remember the first time that you heard him speak to you?

Matt Snyder :

I was thinking about this earlier. There's a few that really made an impact. The first one was, I had been asking about purpose and asking about purposes guys are wanting to do and he communicated clear to me that I was to be a counselor. I had never wanted to be a counselor. I didn't even know what he meant. But it was the first that was the first audible thing that I ever heard him say to me, you know, that I that I heard, I was like, wow, that's, that's the voice of God. I don't know what that means. But you know, I heard the voice of God. The other one that I that I love is we had a pastor come from an outside church, and he was doing some prophetic ministry. And he got a large group of people, he kind of put a hand on me. And he gave me kind of a prophetic word, that I was going to be a central part of the growth of the ministry that I was a part of. I didn't think that was the case. At that time. I thought that he missed it. You know, I thought that I mean, because he said a couple things that really made sense. But that was like the final piece. Right, right. And I thought that that was not the case. I said, I in fact, when we left her, I said Chris, and I said, You know, I think I think he kind of had it at first and then he made up the last part, I'll never forget talent. And I was like, I think he just made that up. You know, what was so amazing about God, a year and a half or so later, this guy, the same pastor comes back, never talked to him since never seen him. He didn't know me from anybody. And he's up on stage. And he gets some kind of the same prophetic mode. And he pulls me out of the the group of 100 some people up there and he says, you're going to be a central part of the ministry that you're involved in that you are going to be a keystone in that thing. And I was just blown away. I said the same word from the same guy year and a half later, he didn't know me. He didn't. It's not like he took notes. You know, I had to go up to the guy later, I was blown. I was in shock for days. But I think about him. And I said, I'm so sorry. I said why? And I said because I said you are a pathetic prophet. I said you had no idea what you were talking about. But clearly, yeah, you know, sorry about that. So those are the two times like the two earliest times where I know I heard God. The first time I was sure it was him. The second time I blew him off. And he made sure that I he made sure you got it this way. He made sure I got it the second time. Yeah, it was pretty. So how

John Matarazzo :

did the Word of God? How did hearing God's voice change you?

Matt Snyder :

Every guy, I spent a lot of time in men's ministry. So I try to think about what impacts a man, right? Every guy wants to have a purpose were created for purpose. As long as we are searching for that purpose, we're not going to be satisfied with anything else. Exactly. Yeah. The voice of God, the Word of God, that impacts me the most. And the ones that have really nailed me are the ones that speak to that purpose. And they have defined the things that I choose to do the people I choose to spend my time with. The skills that I learned everything about that is defined by that word of God. So in my life, because I value purpose so much, and I push for those things. When I hear that word, I've always said what does that mean, for my next step? What does that mean for my for my future? So how do you counsel somebody trying to find their purpose? That's a good question. If they haven't heard and had a clear, like Audible, you know, like God has said to do this. A lot of times people, I think, know what they want to be doing what God's kind of put in their heart, you know, God gives us, God gives us the desires of our heart, not in the end, I'm sure you know this, but not in that, like, I desire that and he's going to give it to me. But in that, like, he can really guide our desires. This is what I desire. I let somebody wants told me, God places those desires

John Matarazzo :

within us. And that's my favorite description.

Matt Snyder :

So where your desires a lot of time where your desires, meet your gifting. There's a sweet spot there, where you can be the most effective minister in that area. That absolutely could be another thing. I encourage people, it's like, what are you going to wake up tomorrow and be excited to do because God wants First of all, he wants to be the ants but above VOB are not about the obedience beside obedience. He wants, like, he wants you to be passionate. He wants you to wake up in the morning, and I'm sure in my imagination, and we're just God's like, Man, I'm so glad mats excited to go about the business that I've set him about. I'm so glad that Matt is, is is doing it with energy and enthusiasm. You know, it's hard to do something with enthusiasm if you don't like the idea of doing it. Yeah. You

John Matarazzo :

know, God doesn't want slaves. He wants sons that are excited about what they're doing Free

Matt Snyder :

Will was important enough to God that he let us fall. Yeah, because he gave us free will. I don't know why it's that important. I haven't figured out you can tell me but like, that's one of the things I think is so cool is that God valued Free Will so much that even though he knew ahead of time, that this was the path he said, you know, human beings need free will, my creation needs free will. So he doesn't want slaves he wants that that partner that that, that son that's going to do what he does for the love of the Father and do what he does for the love of the purpose. Yeah, there's, there's a lot of neat little tricks you can use to help people kind of understand, but a lot of times, it seems to me, they already know, it's just that you get so scared by the need to be successful or accepted or affirmed. Those things just get in the way, a lot of times again, what your real purpose,

John Matarazzo :

I consider those like detours. And yes, in that journey, finding in in walking in your call walking in your purpose. What's some advice that you would give to overcome that? And how have you overcome that in your life?

Matt Snyder :

Well, if I had a recent conversation about this, if I look at my, my sidetracked from the process of God back when I was a teenager, a lot of that had to do with who I thought I was, and what I thought I needed to do, to find success and acceptance.

John Matarazzo :

So what was your definition of success?

Matt Snyder :

And at that time, it was it was wealth, and prestige, you know, and so I pursued, I pursued authority, I pursued money, I pursued all these things. That actually really wrecked me, because I'm not built to go after those things. You know, when I had a lot of money, I was not a good person. When I had a lot of authority, I was not a good person. I was not, especially at that age, I was not built to handle those things. But I went after them. Because I set aside all the things that I thought I might like to do for purpose went after what I thought the world was saying is the right thing for me, you know. So my biggest recommendation there is to, to set money aside as a consideration until you really figure out what your call your calling or your purpose.

John Matarazzo :

And you're not talking about setting money aside as in like in a savings account, you're talking about setting aside money. And now I like that, yeah,

Matt Snyder :

this is not the most important thing. Right, right. You need to establish you need to answer a lot of questions before you answer the financial question. Because one of the things that has free my family to live, the way we're going to live is our decision to live as simply as possible. Not out of any aesthetic, like, Oh, we were pleased with the way it makes us look just because we like to live light and free so that we can pursue the things God put some fries. It's changed everything for us. You know, we we live simply on purpose so that we can travel so that I can spend time with my family so that I can win an opportunity. God puts an opportunity in front of me, I don't have to wonder how it impacts other things. I don't know. That's an opportunity I can go after.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah. And there's been plenty of times where you've picked up everything you have and moved.

Matt Snyder :

Yes, I think we've probably moved 15 times in the 10 years we've been married somewhere around your wife is an incredible

John Matarazzo :

woman for being

Matt Snyder :

Yeah, she should cheat. She's actually way more of a tough person I am she she puts up with not puts up with she enjoys the challenge of those types of things. Absolutely. We're well suited for each other's strengths and weaknesses. Yeah. You know, my wife would sleep on the ground for days on end on the road, or you know, and she'd she loves it. My kids love it. We're very blessed to have that call in our life. To get to see things again, a guy like, you know, you've traveled You know, there's a, there's a look, there's a blessing in sitting still sometimes and being in a place. Right. But some people were just called to be move. And that's Yeah,

John Matarazzo :

that's definitely gonna stand in one place.

Matt Snyder :

Can't let the grass go around my feet.

John Matarazzo :

That's definitely not so that you you're talking about your family? Let's talk about them for a little bit. Okay. Okay. So you and Kristen have been married for 10 years, 10 years at our 10 year anniversary. And so you have how many kids? five kids and what do you want? You want details? Okay, whatever you whatever you just started late, we would have a father has changed.

Matt Snyder :

Oh, yes. I'd like to talk about the fatherhood role. We we started late. We had our first son jack when I was 32. And our youngest son, when I was 40, we'd probably have more if we have started earlier. You know, I'm happy. I love the kids we have they are fantastic. They are they are I love them. Yeah, there's something else we've been. We've been blessed with kids that sleep through the night and listen, and, you know, are curious and challenging. And all the all the fantastic. You know, they're so different in every way. But they're, they're sturdy kids, you know, like we go on the road for months at a time. And when we're on the road, they don't talk about I wish we were at home, they talk about like, where are we going next? What's the next thing over the horizon? What's the next adventure when we're at home? You know, they talked about how they miss being on the road, they do they they love. You know, my kids have memories of jack wants to live in San Diego and Joe loves the desert, and then they just have all these different things that they pick up. I know your kids Yeah, I know, some kids couldn't tolerate, you know, wouldn't tolerate that just just there's different personality types, mine happened to be just, they're rough and tumble, they're ready to go.

John Matarazzo :

How has being a father changed you?

Matt Snyder :

I take less risks. Okay, you know, there's a lot of times that there's and I was I was a pretty risky guy, you know, and jumping on airplanes and stuff like that. And, nowadays, like I don't even ride a motorcycle, you know, I there's there's just things I that's one of the things that changes you a father, as a father, another one is I value father's I try to try to encourage and you know, fathers are so beat down nowadays. And and, and there's such a culture of that, that even if you're not beat down, you feel like you should be. So I take every opportunity I can to just like speak to guys and say, you know, the job you're doing is amazing, that, that you are an integral part of this whole thing, and that your attitude is everything, you know, even a bad day, you need to come home and be excited for your wife and your kids even. I mean, you have so much input into your children's lives and so much like, just influence and who they turn out to be right. I know guys just feel powerless. They feel like you know, the world is just taking the kids and doing what they want with them, or, you know, fathers are being put down and they don't have as much input. But that's not the case. The kids don't know that kids still look up to their dads as the superhero, you know, and you have so you only have a little bit of time, but you have so much equity and so much ability to communicate just love and care and all those things to your kids.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah, well, speaking of fathers, you know, there's a lot of jokes about dads and thermostats. And how, you know, you set the dad sets the temperature and nobody touches it. And if somebody does dad knows, it's like a six that it's like, yes, extent, dads are really a thermostat. They are the ones that can set the temperature in the home, spiritually, emotionally, physically,

Matt Snyder :

when I see when I see a problem in a family. And this might just be because I'm a dad. But if I see if I see something that's not right, my first thought is there's a problem with the Father, I tell you a real quick story that broke my heart. I was in line at Target. And there was a family in front of me. And there was a mother and a daughter and a son. And the kids were both like, early teenage years 1314 and the daughter said to the mother, Hey, Mom. You know, she wanted something out of that, you know, that section in the store where like you there's all the junk he can Yeah, got, you know, she wanted something on it right there. So the right? She was begging her mom for something. And her mom said no, no, no. And finally, I heard I'm just kind of listening. He's dropping a little bit. And the daughter says, you know, it was my birthday yesterday, I didn't get anything. And I'm like, Oh, well, heck, I'm gonna buy the kids something out of that little section there. You know, and, and the, the brother that was standing there, he said, I got something for you. And she lit up. She's like, really, you got me something for my birthday. And he, he reached his hand in his pocket. And I'm like, I'm waiting to see this neat moment take place, you know, and he pulls his hand out of his pocket, and he gives you the middle thing. And the look on this girl's face. I mean, she was just just totally hopeless, crushed and defeated. And in that moment, I didn't see a kid that had bad manners, I didn't see a family that was just like, lost and broken. What I saw was that there was no father standing there to correct behavior and speak life and encourage that daughter. And, and and have a conversation with this. I'd like I saw that there was a father missing there. I don't know their story. I don't know what's going on. But like, that's, to me, that's the importance of a father is that he steps into that place and enact change sets the temperature, the spiritual temperature, the relational temperature, that I still, if I think about that moment, it breaks my heart. Yeah, absolutely.

John Matarazzo :

I've heard you talk about that before. And it's

Matt Snyder :

one of the one of the defining moments of who I want to be and what I want to communicate to, to men in particular,

John Matarazzo :

as I'm talking with you more and more of your purpose is coming out. You haven't talked about that directly. Like you didn't give a this is my this is the three points or five points of my purpose. Yeah, but your purpose is to help people understand their purpose and calling. Yeah, just specifically men, specifically fathers, and to go wherever God's calling you to do that.

Matt Snyder :

Yeah, I think you would ask me originally about my path. We have a lot of really defined paths in ministry, you can be a pastor right and follow this clearly defined path. It's it's there's degrees for that there is degrees for that. And there's there's clear steps you can take even in our church, it's like if you want to be a pastor, these are the steps. If you want to be a worship leader, this is the path. The path that we follow, it has been way less defined. And that's probably been the the biggest hardship on that path is sometimes you're finding your way where there's no clear short destination, God has a calling on your life that isn't pastor with a title with a big p or isn't missionary, or it isn't evangelist, but it's all those things are some of those things. One of my defining moments was realizing I can pastor people, and I don't ever need a title. I don't ever need to be called pastor by anybody. Although when you when you pastor people the right way they call you pastor, sometimes anyways, you know, even without a title, but like that's a real thing is that you can be a pastor of people without a title without a position without a. And that's what I think that's what God's called a lot of us to be is just to go into your life and go into your world, whether it's across the street or across the country, connect with people create relationships, and encourage each other to grow. That's, yeah, that's my if I had a mission statement, that's it. I just want to meet people, and I want to encourage them to their purpose in God. I think so many people have so much more potential in them. They just have never seen how to pull out, you know, not that they can't they just don't know how, yeah,

John Matarazzo :

that's some of the questions that I like asking. And I kind of have to ask in every episode, being that this is based off of the maze road story of how the disciples were walking with Jesus, and they didn't realize that it was him until later. And then they turn to each other and say, did not hearts burn within us along the way, as he was revealing the scriptures to us, Matt, what's along the way moment that you think about where your heart was burning, and you didn't realize it until you look back?

Matt Snyder :

One would be the the story we talked about in the jail water, I can remember that softening me. I was pretty hard up until that point, you know, I was in my 20s. And I was a tough guy. And I thought I was it was pretty tough. And that there was a couple moments like that that really softened me. Another one would be there were some people that spoke into my life over the years, pastors that I knew when I was younger, that no matter my position, they spoke into my life with care. Yeah, and love. And at the time, I didn't want to hear it. But like you plant seeds, it doesn't matter of the ground wants the seed or not the seed planted, you know, actually the the gentleman that founded word worship church, who I never even met face to face until we came to that church and had been praying for me for years and, and comedic relief. My mother and I had talked to him a couple times over the phone, never met him, and then went to this random church. And there he was, he's the founder, pastor is the founding pastor. And I met him there. And I was like, I I know you. I know. I know that God was working through you for me, but I didn't know it at the time. You know, I could probably find more. But those are the big the big one was the softening the softening of my heart, right? God was working on purpose to soften my heart to receive or or to, really just to submit. Like I was just so hard hearted for a long time.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah. Matt, if you could go back in time and talk to young Matt, not your son, Matt. But young met yourself. You were on your timeline, would we meet you? And what advice would you give yourself,

Matt Snyder :

I'd probably go back to like 15 and slap him around a little bit, and rough him up. And then we'd have some like, some hard. Yeah, I think the one thing that I didn't get, and I don't honestly, I don't know if if anything would have changed my trajectory. But the realization that like somebody to communicate to me that I don't need to be who the world is telling me I need to be, I need to be who God created me to be. I just thought that there was this I was determined that I had to be this thing. Because the society around me the people that I associated with, said I had to be this way successful, right? And I almost broke myself trying to fit that mold. And just to go back and say, You know what? It's okay. Like you were created the way you are for a reason you were, you don't fit a lot of things for a reason, you have this specific purpose ahead of you, if I would have known that. I would like to think that would have changed my path. I actually communicate that to a lot of people now know, people that there's a lot of people that say I just don't fit, you know, like, I can't do this, well, I can't do that, well, I'm just not meant for this normal. That's okay. There's a purpose that fits exactly you and you just have to move towards that. But a lot of times we just pursue that, again, you can be a pastor, you can be an accountant, you can be a lawyer, there's these defined roles that we try to fit, right. But for some people, that's just not the path.

John Matarazzo :

So Matt, what does God teaching you right now?

Matt Snyder :

Right now he's teaching me to stop trying to force the process. I've been trying to force a process in my life for two years. A process towards the future that has just been kind of happening anyways. Okay, and forcing, it hasn't changed anything. So I'm adding stress to my life, and then my family, trying to force something that I just need to wait on the season for God.

John Matarazzo :

So it's kind of like Indiana Jones. If you're familiar with this whole thing, like Indiana Jones, this everything that happened to the movie would have happened without him. Yeah, regardless. Yes. But it makes a great movie. It's one of my favorite. Absolutely.

Matt Snyder :

But if he did just sat down and did the same thing would happen. And that's been the things that I've strived for. I still have some of that from my youth, I still remember that stop striving for success. The things that I strive for are coming about better without my help than they were when I was chasing after it and beating the bushes for how does that make you feel? Probably like these, I don't even want to say it out loud. I'm usually so thankful when it comes about. Yeah, I don't feel that bad about okay, but I do wish that I could just it's funny because I'm still pushing the process. Right? For the next thing Yeah, I need to learn and it's it's becoming more and more apparent that I need to learn just patience and God's timing. It's It's It's It's a lack of faith and a lack of patience that I wrestled with a little bit. But that's what he's working on me right now. It's good. He's gonna keep working on until I learned the lesson, probably. Yeah, yeah, I get that.

John Matarazzo :

God's very good about not, not graduating us to the next. That's right to the next thing until we learn the lesson that He has for us, right, as I always looked at it as

Matt Snyder :

you're trying to cross this like wall into like the next level of like a castle. And on one side, it's 100 feet high. And on the other side, it's like three feet high, we're banging against that hundred foot side, and you just gotta keep on walking around. And that's kind of like that path should actually find a spot in the wall where we're like, we can get over here. Yeah, then there's the next thing and the next thing and,

John Matarazzo :

yeah, yeah, there's always going to be a next thing. But the thing that God has us in right now is preparing us for that next thing,

Matt Snyder :

right? So I'm a big fan of the process. That's one, if I

John Matarazzo :

a hard thing to admit,

Matt Snyder :

it is I if I have one piece of advice for anybody ever, it would be just to not stop the process. You know, the only way that you fail is to sit down by the side of the road. Yeah, and just say, I'm not going any further. As long as you don't do that God will keep he'll keep pulling you along. And he'll keep and it's hard and the roads rough. Sometimes you get lost, but as long as you don't sit down,

John Matarazzo :

what's a practical way to to keep that attribute?

Matt Snyder :

I guess flexibility? Well, it's in me like that's just something I've I like it's a natural habit to me that I've kind of nurtured having guys around you or ladies around you, they're going to push you having a purpose that's going to drive you or even just having a desire for purpose is going to drive you. But in the end, it's just a stubborn commitment to, to not give up the same way, the same way that a marriage isn't always about love or liking each other. It's it's a commitment before God. You know, I've been married just 10 years now. It's been amazing. Every day has been amazing. But the reason we're still married is because we decided we wanted to still be married, you know, forever. It's not because every day it's been great. It's not because we like some days we look at each other. And I'm sure she she looks at me. And she's like, oh, man, what am I doing? But again, we are committed. So you just Yes. never stopped the process. That's That's it. It's just a choice. I'm not going to give up? And do

John Matarazzo :

you have a life verse that helps you with that.

Matt Snyder :

Not with that. The one that's driven me for a long time, and it really set me free was Romans 814. Those that are led by the Spirit of God are called sons of God. I think all most, if not all, transformation, and growth in a spiritual walk starts with my identity. You know, the enemy loves to attack our identity, the world loves to attack our identity, but knowing like I'm a child of God, and that I have an inheritance, and then I have authority and all these things that come with that. There's been there was a moment my wife was on her deathbed. And we were just praying out over, like, together. And there was a moment where, you know, moments where we've just suffered hardship and struggle, and that has been, you know, we're children of God, we have authority and power and grace and all these things. So that's been that's been my by far my life verse. That's good. Yeah, yeah. I mean, part of that equation is you have to be led by the Spirit, right? No, you can't. You can't ever stop trying to hear what God's saying and kind of following that along.

John Matarazzo :

What are some ways that you like to hear that make sure that you're in a place that you hear God? What books are you reading? What books would you recommend?

Matt Snyder :

I'm actually right now I am back in communicating for change by Andy Stanley. I'm teaching some speaking, and like emceeing training and just teaching the biggest thing and that is the

John Matarazzo :

emceeing for those that don't understand

Matt Snyder :

hosting the the Sunday service or the Sunday celebration, also just preaching in general and communicating for influence. But the idea in the church is that we are communicating for a specific purpose. That's for transformation. Yeah. If you get up and you communicate, and that's not your purpose, you're probably just drag distracting or subtracting from that purpose. I love that book. It's fantastic. Communicating for change communicating for change. There's, I don't know, I've always have two or three open.

John Matarazzo :

Yeah, but that's the that's, that's the one you would recommend.

Matt Snyder :

Yeah, right. Now, that's for me to where I'm at. Yeah, I think we can always as, as followers of and re presenters of Jesus, our ability to communicate to another person is vital. I think it's something we can always work at getting better at, I think it's something that we can always, you know, there's more ways to communicate than with words and body language, it can be without an embrace, or whatever. But just being able to clearly communicate with vision, why we do what we do, why we believe we believe, not necessarily to evangelize, but when somebody asks us, you know, when I'm living the life I'm living and somebody pulls me aside and side and says, hey, how is it that you're doing what you're doing? or Why do you act, the way you act, I want to be able to articulate that in a way that doesn't get in the way of the gospel. You know, a lot of times we can do a disservice to the gospel in the message by just being unwilling to practice a little bit and how we communicate,

John Matarazzo :

what is the the most important thing that you would like to communicate? what's the takeaway?

Matt Snyder :

For me, it would be that I like what you said, in summed it up, you have a purpose, a specific purpose, and it changes throughout your life, but like, there's a thing that God is calling you to do that is amazing, and exciting and powerful, that will fill you up like nothing else will. And until you find that, don't stop looking for it. And once you find that, don't let it go for something else. You know, you'll I do believe that when you find that purpose, you know it? I mean, you know that you're in fact, most people I think know it ahead of time, they just they're afraid of it, or they're unwilling to go after whatever the case may be. But man, the kingdom of God needs you functioning in that role.

John Matarazzo :

Absolutely not. And I really appreciate that. You haven't given up looking for that purpose that God has given you. And even though it doesn't fit a clearly marked path, like some of the other things you keep looking for, what is that next step that God wants you to do? Because that's something that specifically he called Matt, and Kristen, and your kids and your family to do, so that you can be the most effective for the kingdom of God.

Matt Snyder :

I like that that next step. That's that's key.

John Matarazzo :

Very good. Well, Matt, thank you so much for joining me along my way, and allowing me to join along your way.

Matt Snyder :

Yeah, man, it's been, you've been a great friend. This has been a good journey. so far. I'm hoping it keeps one for a long time.

John Matarazzo :

I appreciate that Matt was willing to share some of the more difficult aspects of his life. Sometimes along the way moments aren't from our best days that we can learn from them. And that's what makes the difference. Matt came to a point where he knew he needed to stop selfishly running away from God and turn his life over to Jesus. When we hit rock bottom, there is only one place to look from there, up. And God is right there reaching out to us. So we can receive His forgiveness and grace through what you Jesus did for us on the cross. Trying to find our purpose away from God will drive us insane and leave us empty. I encourage you to let Jesus show you your purpose. He is ready and waiting for you to receive him. If you would like to make that decision. You can pray with me right now. Jesus, I'm sorry for trying to live my life my own way. I don't have the strength to live this life on my own. I need you. I need your purpose. I need your love. Jesus, please be the forgiveness of my past and leader of my future. I trust you. I love you, and I will follow you. Thank you for dying on the cross for me and my sin. And I believe that you rose again. I want to give you my whole life and walk in your purpose from today on. Thank you, Jesus, amen. If you prayed that prayer and would like to know more about your new relationship with Jesus, please contact me. Also let someone in your life know that your life has changed because you met Jesus along the way today. Thank you for listening to along the way. If you've enjoyed joining me along my way, please share this with a friend who you think will be encouraged by this podcast. Also, you can rate and subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen to it. When you rate this podcast and write a review, it really helps new people discover this podcast and maybe they will find some great along the way moments and their life to You can follow me on Facebook, and Instagram. You can email me at John along the way@gmail.com on my website along the way dot media. You can listen to every episode of along the way. I hope that you've enjoyed this part of my journey. And may you realize when Jesus is walking with you along your way.