About Mike Rusch

Based in Downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, Mike is the Chief Executive Officer at Pure Charity, a nonprofit dedicated to building world class technology solutions for Nonprofit Organizations, Individual Fundraising, and Community Advocacy.

Mike currently serves on the Board of Directors for Help One NowMercy House GlobalCanopy Northwest Arkansas99 Balloons@HopeMob, Laundry Love, and Serve Northwest Arkansas.  

Prior to Pure Charity, Mike worked for Nickelodeon, The Walt Disney Company, Hershey Foods, and served in the US Marine Corps. Mike is a husband of 22 years, father of 4, a lover of a great story, and never too far from a fly-fishing river.  

...the absense of Jesus

As I let my mind drift back to this day almost two thousand years ago I wonder what this day may have been like for those who followed the way of Jesus.  Today I think we take for granted that we have the knowledge that tomorrow He rose.

For a follower of The Way two thousand years ago, I think this day becomes a day of great doubt & great fear.  As the disciples awoke, there may have been one question that haunted them.

The echo of Jesus asking them, “but who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29)

On this day, I can almost begin to feel the faith of these men & women beginning to fade.  They are scattered, they are in deep sorrow & I can only imagine the doubt that rages in their minds.  Imagine the questions they may have been asking of themselves and maybe to each other…

“was yesterday real or was it just a dream?”

“how did I end up here last night?”

“where are my friends?”

“maybe it wasn’t a dream?”

“why has this all happened?”

“why didn’t we stop it?”

“why did I not do more?  Is this my fault?

“why did Jesus not defend himself?

“why did Jesus just let himself die?”

“could He really have saved himself?

“was he really God or am I a fool?”

Picture the morning as the followers awoke, prepared a meal, packed their belongings and began to set out on their day. Can you hear the silence?

For three years they awoke with a mission and with a purpose, a place to go, the sick to heal, a message to be shared, a Way to be followed, a kingdom to establish, someone to follow.

But today?

Today they experience the absence of Jesus.

Today the loss sets in.

Today the pain is real.

Today the loneliness is deafening.

Today the faith is weak and is failing.

Today the mission is over.

Today the promises were not kept.

Today the Messiah is gone.

Today a dream is crushed.

Today my God has failed me.

Today the answer to Jesus’ question of “but who do you say that I am?” is very different than before.

Today I do not know my purpose.

Today the kingdom is not at hand.

Today I am lost.

Today the tomb is not empty.

…why is it so easy to put myself in their place?

As the morning unfolds and these questions and emotions sink in, I can picture myself beginning to gather my things and return to the fishing nets I left behind. 

Those nets…they haunt me.

The last time I held those nets, a man came to us and spoke words that I’ll never forget. Words that ultimately led me here. 

So, how could I ever return to those nets?  

But, I’m a fisherman, so how can I not return to those nets?  

Am I still a fisherman?

I don’t feel like a fisherman anymore, but all that I had hoped for and believed is now gone.

So where do I go?  What do I do?

But all of this was real, it really happened…didn’t it?

Again I hear the echo of Jesus asking me today…

“but who do you say that I am?”

I can answer the question...

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