Ryan Dobson on the Kingdom of God

Kingdom of God

This post is part of an ongoing guest blogger series on the kingdom of God.

Ryan Dobson

Today, we will hear from Ryan Dobson:

Blessing or Testing?

I was at church a few years back and the pastor asked if we would be willing to tell stories about a time in our lives where we knew God was there. Some point in our past where without a shadow of a doubt God was there and actively working on our behalf. Hands were raised and as I listened there was a central theme. Aside from the guy who talked about his acid trip, every person there talked about a crisis, a breaking point or a time when they had finally hit rock bottom.

My story was along the same vein. It got me thinking about western culture and our concept of “blessings and testing.” How many times have you had someone tell you that “God was testing you” when you lost your job, or your kids were misbehaving or you were having marital problems? I saw a TV preacher the other day telling a series of stories each ending in the tag line, “and the hand of God was upon me!” I finally turned the channel when he told how on that very morning he was running late to church and couldn’t find a parking spot and, as he was about to give up hope when a spot appeared right up front. And then he said it, “And the hand of God was upon me!” Are you kidding me? Dude, you pastor a church of almost 50,000 people!! I’ll bet that 49,900 of your parishioners didn’t find a spot up front. That begs the question, “was the hand of God NOT upon them?”

I think our ideas of what a blessing is may be mixed up. It’s like Job said to his wife, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” I feel close to God in the good times but my intimacy grows more when I can’t stand on my own. “When I am weak then I am strong” takes on a whole new meaning in those times. Instead of running from my discomfort I’m trying to lean into it and learn from my pain. Who am I? Why am I here? What caused this, and what can I learn from it?

These past two years have been the hardest of my life but I wouldn’t trade them because of how the intimacy of my relationship in Christ has increased. It was in the midst on all this that I took a motorcycle trip with some friends. We camped out and fished all weekend. At one point I was alone casting my fly rod into a beaver pond waiting for a strike. As I looked around I could see fish jumping at bugs on the water, I could see the mountains in the background and the forest before me. It is one of the most perfect settings I’ve ever been in. Then it hit me. Why was this scene created? God knew I’d think it was cool. There was no one there to see it but me and the Lord knew I would be blessed. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble? Accept it all.

God Bless,

“If I could be doing anything in the world, it would be this.”

With the conviction that comes from knowing your purpose—and loving every minute of it—Ryan Dobson passionately pursues his calling in Christ. From his books to his podcast to his speaking engagements, Ryan uses every opportunity to call people out of the moral relativism of today’s society and into “the ultimate adventure” of following Christ.

Born in 1970, Ryan grew up as the second of two children of famous family counselor, author and radio host James Dobson. While many pushed him to follow in his father’s footsteps, Ryan took the time to explore his own gifts while trusting in Jesus as his guide. After graduating from college, Ryan found his natural talent for public speaking, combined with his passion for youth, soon opened countless doors.

Ryan traveled extensively for years, challenging youth at music festivals, concert tours, youth camps, and crisis pregnancy center activities. Drawing from his experiences talking first-hand to teenagers and young adults, he wrote his first book, Be Intolerant in 2003. This wake-up call warned young Christians not to fall for the lies of a relativistic, post-modern society. Described as having “a colloquial style with all the subtlety of a two-by-four to the side of the head” by Publishers Weekly, it quickly rose up the sales charts—followed by two more best sellers, 2 Die 4 and 2 Live 4 in the years to come.

Behind the scenes, Ryan has been developing his own base—KOR World Ministries, with the purpose to “build passion and identity in Christ followers”. He produces KORKast, a podcast that challenges listeners in how they see, hear, and think about life and their interaction with culture. He also continues to speak, leads short-term missions trips and men’s retreats, and has a fourth book coming out in 2008.

Ordained in 2007, Ryan has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Biola University. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Laura, and their son, Lincoln.


  1. says

    i totally get what ryan’s saying and it was good for me to read… but i fail to see how it really relates to “the kingdom of God” topic. can someone help explain?

  2. says

    Not trying to be mean, but if that was supposed to be about the KOG, then it is quite possibly the worst thing I have read in some time.

    perhaps Ryan just got his signals mixed up…

  3. -kp- says

    I’m utterly confused, but then again, Tony Jones’ post in this series wasn’t about the Kingdom of God either. All he did was pose the question, “What is the Kingdom of God?” and answer by saying that it’s complicated.

    Ironically, Ryan’s “bio” is nearly as long as his piece on suffering, and much more apposite to the Kingdom of God!

    Adam, did you read this before posting it? Was Ryan aware of the topic?

  4. says

    @Kellen and others. Yes, I did read this and sent Ryan a note asking him if this really was his Kingdom of God post. He said it was, and I wanted to honor my request for him to be a guest blogger by posting it. At the time, I really didn’t know what it had to do with the kingdom of God either, but figured that there was a slight chance I was missing something, and others might see the connection.

    Clearly, that wasn’t the case, and perhaps I should not have posted it. However, I have emailed Ryan and said there were some who were interested in knowing about his post’s connection to the kingdom of God, and I await his response here on this blog.

    I can assure you all that the next kingdom of God post is a beautiful essay and worth checking out. It will post on Wednesday.

  5. Brian says

    Maybe I analyzed this a little further than Ryan intended but I think that some people would agree that the kingdom of God refers to right now; therefore a blessing or a test is very pertinent in building up the kingdom. We are constantly put in a position where God is just going to pour out some serious blessings and in doing so that is ultimately furthering the kingdom.

    But I am interested in hearing what Ryan’s connection was.

  6. says

    Good for you, Adam. I’m glad you posted it.

    And, I’m even more impressed that you got such a wide array of people to talk about the subject. I mean, you got me in the room with Mr. Intolerance! That takes some skills.

    It was good to read what Dobson thinks about the kingdom (or doesn’t think) about the Kingdom.


  7. -kp- says

    Maybe he intentionally did not write about it just so we’d ask questions about his not writing about it???? Strange indeed!

Leave a Reply