One80 Podcast, Episode 44

Mike D’Virgilio: Drive-by Truth Shooter

This transcript of One80 Podcast may have errors that veer from the recording found here:

Today’s show mentions partying, weed, and alcohol. 

Okay, so today’s One80 is not like any we’ve done. Out of all the shows we’ve recorded so far, we’ve seen the most trouble from this show, and Mike D’Virgilio is an everyday guy, but the part I think the enemy doesn’t want you to hear: a complete stranger talked to Mike.

We’re taught this lie that we just can’t talk to strangers about the good news. But Mike D’Virgilio was just minding his own business and a stranger who was driving by in the love bug just pulls over, gets out, tells Mike about Jesus, leaves, and Mike’s never the same. Welcome to Mike’s 180.

I was going for the Herbie the love bug vibe with the music. What do you think? 

Ryan Henry: Mike, welcome to 180. We are really excited to have you today. 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, thank you. It’s a pleasure and honor to be here. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah. So here we are. Let’s get started, man. I’m excited. So we like to start with just a random question. So I got one for you. You ready for it? 

Mike D’Virgilio: I don’t know. We’ll find out. 

Ryan Henry: Okay. That’s usually the answer.

People are like, I don’t know the, the question is this. So what photo opportunity did you miss that you regret? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, I’m not a big stargazer, but maybe when I was into golf and saw Tiger Woods and was too, like, I don’t like to bother people. That might be pretty cool given who he is and what he’s accomplished.

Oh yeah. But I’m the kind of person that, you know, there’s somebody you see that you know, or as famous, I don’t wanna bother them. 

Ryan Henry: So yeah. That’s very polite of you. Some people just break in. Well, that’s awesome. Let’s get into your story. You have a great story. So talk to our listeners about where you grew up.

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, I was born and raised in LA and grew up in two towns called Whittier and Hacienda Heights. And from all my family, cuz you could tell D’Virgilio the name is kind of Italian. So all my relatives came from Sicily through Boston and Brooklyn. 

And had a just a great upbringing. I have fond memories even though there was some certain challenges to it all. Sixties and the seventies. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Oh, for sure. What are some of your memories of childhood or just growing up with your family? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, the Italian ness of it, our family was very into the, my dad and mom Italian thing.

And so like every Sunday for all of our life, we had pasta, Sunday sauce, the red sauce literally every Sunday, and family and extended family. If you look at the two sides of my family, so on my mother’s side, the calmest. Mm-hmm. Kindest people you’d ever imagine. My dad’s side. Every stereotype of every Italian family that you’ve ever seen.

That’s crazy. And argues all the time. And that was that side of the family. Yeah, they were, yeah. It was interesting seeing those two side by side, but it was great. Was fun. 

Ryan Henry: Did you consider yourself a, a pretty good kid?

Mike D’Virgilio: Yeah, I think so. Cuz I remember those who weren’t and I never really wanted to be like those people.

I. So I attribute a lot of that to my upbringing and teaching respect, and that’s a very kind of traditional cultural thing, being respectful of others. And so, yeah, I mean, you do your stuff right, your rebellious ways. 

Ryan Henry: Right. What was your, what was your, like parents, like your dad, mom. 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, my father was a stereotypical kind of type, a interesting fellow, very hard on me specifically.

So there was some. Interesting dynamic about being in that family. Cuz my mother was kind of there to support. My dad was always trying to correct me, make me better, whatever in his eyes. And so that could be challenging because he didn’t abuse. But verbally, he was a challenge living with him. I appreciate a lot of what he did now because he was the man of the family, the leader, the provider.

And so I learned, right, those lessons from him there. But I also learned. What I don’t want to be. So he gave me positive examples from a negative example, if that makes any sense. Yeah. Cause you know, everything was an argument and it was just a grading. Sometimes 


Ryan Henry: Well that’s, that’s good to hear. What would you say the best part of being in your family was like? And also you talked to us a little bit about the faith component. 

Mike D’Virgilio: The best part is family. Just the togetherness, the commitment to one another. And at that time, probably more than it is now, you know, all of our family was close, so you knew your cousins, you knew all the extended family get together on all the holidays.

Mm-hmm. So that was great. Um, and the faith thing was, Grew up Catholic is, it’s typical for Italians and pretty much I would say a nominal Catholic upbringing. No, it was cultural, right? So my dad always said, I’m an Italian Catholic democrat and I’ll never change. And that’s just what he was. So you do that, you go to church on Sunday, you go to mass and you have your pasta and it’s just part of the thing, but never really made an impact on your life, per se.

But it also it gave me a foundation of. believing in Christianity. Even though I had really no knowledge of it, I wasn’t, you know, aware of everything about it, it gave me a respect for God’s word, cuz every Sunday you hear it. They have these short sermons called homilies. So we had those and you hear it read and just grew to appreciate it, believed in God and a conscience.

God always gave me a conscience, thankfully. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah. At this time, what were your thoughts about God just personally? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, it wasn’t that he was real personal, but he was there. Never doubted that, but it just wasn’t a real personal relationship. If you don’t know Catholicism, it can be going through motions and these kinds of things.

I know today a lot of very pious and faithful Catholics who have a relationship with Jesus and very personal and, but it can just be rote. And that’s what it was like. Yeah. I didn’t think God had nothing to do with kind of real life. You do it once a week? Yeah. On Sunday. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah. So what would you say, I wanna come back to that, the high school world and everything, 

Mike D’Virgilio: I had an experience when I was 16, 17 at a party and back then in the seventies, bulking and drinking, smoking partner was just kind of what you did for fun and was at a party and I saw these jocks pinching these girls on the behind and I was so ticked off.

I said, you know, there’s gotta be love and this, I remember that phrase in my brain still to this day. Said, there’s gotta be love somewhere in the world, but it’s not in religion. So I’ve been doing that. Hmm. I don’t know why that, well, it’s God in my head, but when I was exposed to the Bible, I believed it. Not a question. 

 yeah. Yeah. And there’s this poem from 1890 called The Hound of Heaven, and uh, it’s just what it sounds like. You know, God’s after me and there was markers along the way before I got to college and met Jesus personally. That God used. They were pretty cool. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Yeah. Well, take us, as you’re growing older, how did things change and evolve maybe through high school?

Mike D’Virgilio: Before I got to high school, this was a very profound moment in my life. I’m 12 or 13. We had just moved and I remember standing out in front of the house in the front yard. I’m looking up at the sky, the stars, and these thoughts started to come into my brain. My dad almost died in a car wreck when he was in the service at 18.

And supposedly went through the windshield and they didn’t wear seatbelts or whatever, and I thought if my dad died, I wouldn’t be here. And then I went on a regression. So if my mom’s side didn’t come here, and if my dad’s side didn’t come, my mom and dad would’ve never met. And then I just went on back and back.

So I thought, I guess I’m meaningless. And by that time in, in American culture, Darwinian evolution, you know, you’re basically a chance happening. That’s really all you are. The way I phrase it now is we’re just lucky dirt. I had imbibed that worldview, so at 12 or 13 I was thinking, yeah, I don’t really have purpose or anything.

So the consciousness of these bigger things in life just been there. And then when I was 16, my grandmother, who was a very faithful Catholic, gave me a book called The Robe. It was made into a movie in the fifties. Pretty popular back then. A wonderful story about one of the centurions at the foot of the cross.

You know, he win Jesus robe and it ends up changing his life. And what fascinated me about it is that he would go around through the Judean countryside, interacting with all kinds of people, and everywhere he went, people got better. Ah, that’s beautiful. That’s attractive. If I could be that kind of person or people could actually get along, and so on and so forth.

And then in 1977 Easter, there was a mini series called Jesus of Nazareth, and that was powerful to me because again, I’d read the robe. Jesus was intriguing. And now Franco Zeffirelli, who was the director, and he made Jesus very, I call it the conundrum that is Jesus, because he confuses everybody. Nothing he says, right?

People expect he does things people don’t expect. He treats people like right? The Samaritan woman, like his disciples, talking to a Samaritan woman, that just makes no sense. He confused people. So I had all of these things when I was confronted with the gospel for the first time before I went off to college.


Ryan Henry: Yeah, talk to us about that. 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well I was at a party having to smoke outside with a buddy of mine and a VW bug. They’re driving across the street. There’s some guys and a guy in the back and stops, guy in the back, hops out, walks over toward us and I’m thinking, you know, I’m gonna get shot or what’s going on here?

And he says, God told me to get out of this car, and ask you something. If you die right now, would you go to heaven? So I guess I haven’t murdered anybody, I guess have pretty good guy. And he goes, it’s not enough. God wants your all. And he quoted John three 16. For God so loved the world. He was only forgotten son. that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. And he said some other things, which I don’t remember, but, but I do remember very much.

God wants your all. 

So he’d left. So the last ever saw, I can’t wait to see him in eternity. It’s like, dude, do you know those words when you got out of the backseat of that V dub and this is an old VUB right? This isn’t like the defense. This is the old style. Anyway, just, it’s just fascinating to. God told him.

And he Listened. 

Ryan Henry: This guy just comes out of nowhere just for no reason. That just doesn’t happen every day. What were you thinking about that?

Mike D’Virgilio: I was thinking that, so my buddy’s pretty much a heathen and he just laughed. Uh, well that stupid was that, or whatever. So I went home and on the way home I thought, God must think a lot of me to have this guy.

Come outta nowhere to tell me this. Why did I have the response? I’d have no idea other than God, the hound of heaven. He was after me. 

Ryan Henry: As much as you remember that conversation. Take us to that dialogue. What was that conversation like? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, just that he confronted, he walked straight at us in a beeline. No small talk, just that if you died right now, would you go to heaven.

Wow, that’s intense. Well, yeah, it sort of was because, so in Catholicism, You really can’t know you’re saved. That’s a whole long theological conversation. But that concerned me because I didn’t want to go to hell and I believed in that. 

Ryan Henry: You believed in in hell? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Yeah. Okay. I believed in right and wrong. I believed that I was a sinner.

In fact, in one of the homilies, probably when I was 17, it was on Luke 18, and the Pharisee goes up and said, I’m not like the tax collector. Mm-hmm. I give all this and a pretty good guy and. And then the tax collector, which tax collectors in the first century Jews were traders and not good people. And he beat his chest, looked down and said, Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

And Jesus said, that, man, not the Pharisee went away justified, and I figured. I don’t know if I could pull off this Christianity thing, but I could do that sin. Well, I’ll beat my breasts and look down and say, Lord, I’m here Samuel’s sinner to be justified. Wow. I didn’t even know what that meant. 

Margaret Ereneta: Thanks for listening to 180. We really appreciate your likes and shares. Please consider leaving us a review on your favorite pod player. Now back to the show.

Mike D’Virgilio: So that conversation and that question is ideal because can I, and just this idea of whatever he said other than God wants your all in John three 16, it was God loves you.

He wants your all. Yeah. God loves you. He wants your all. I thought God wants your all you’re a priest or you’re a nun or something like that. For average folks, you go to church on Sunday for your hour. You go off, you make a living, you go do your thing. And so that concept was new, right? So on the way home, I’m buzzing like, wow, okay.

God cares about me. That’s a trip. And I go to open the family Bible, which is this gargantuan bible, which of course is never read. It’s got all these beautiful pictures and artwork. Right. And so I opened it up and I started Matthew for some reason, and I get five chapters in and 5 28. And she says, if a man looks at a woman lustfully, it’s hard.

He’s already committed to adultery. Wow. And I closed it up and I said, I’m out. Yeah. Wow. I’m out. I don’t think I can do this. You know? You’re a hormone adult. 17, 18 year old. Yep. Wow. Yeah. So. I just knew it wasn’t for me. But of course that experience doesn’t leave you. Mm-hmm. I mean, if God’s working at you.

Yeah. So the hound of heaven. Yeah. So how did things progress? Well, so that was a few weeks before I went off to college, like in July of 78. So I went to Arizona State partly to get away from my dad cause it was six hours. Mm. And so happens I move into this dorm called Best Hall and next door neighbors are two Jesus freaks.

Come on. That’s awesome. I had no chance he’ll get his people. So one night they’re going through the dorms, inviting people to a Bible study and they asked me the perfect question. They said, would you like to come to a Bible study about what the Bible says about who Jesus is? And that’s the right question cuz you know, the robe, you know, just intrigued me and there’s not a lot of Jesus in it.

But that what there is and it affects this guy so profoundly and wow. And then Jesus of Nazareth, it was like, This is amazing and I would like to know. Mm-hmm. You know, even though I went to church every Sunday for all those years, I just didn’t really have a sense of what that is. Probably more, cuz I wasn’t listening than it wasn’t taught.

Right, right. So I did, and during that we read through the beginning of John, the Gospel of John learning. Jesus was the word full of grace. I remember him asking me, he says, he’s full of grace and truth. It’s like, what is that? It’s like, I have no clue. Now, truth, justice, grace, mercy, unmerited favor, that is who Jesus is for us. It was powerful. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah, that’s amazing. What happened at this study? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, afterwards, uh, a guy named Jim, he said, I wanna show you something, uh, illustration called the Bridge. And I happened to be in Arizona where there’s the Grand Canyon. So, uh, there’s a bridge and there’s two sides. One side of the Grand Canyon is God, one side is US and then Jesus is, The cross that you can go over to God and he’s the mediator between God man, and he quoted some different verses and that you could be saved, you could go to heaven when you die, which was key concern for me.

And I was like, do you want to do this? You wanna accept Jesus, your Lord and Savior? Well, it was a struggle because all I can think of was now I can’t party and have fun anymore. So. I did. I prayed with him, and this was in the fall of 78. CS Lewis said he was the most reluctant convert in all of England.

I don’t know if I was the most reluctant convert in all of, let’s say, Arizona, but I was reluctant and I was miserable, and I just didn’t want to do it. But I like had no choice. I had to do it. I had to accept this offer because it’s eternal life. Are you kidding me? Right, right. And again, growing up Catholic, my understanding is you just.

Something you’re worried about all the time. You never attained it. You have to keep work. So here I just have to believe. Trust. Yeah. So I’m in. I’m in. It blows your mind, right? Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting because the hunger was, they gave me a Bible and I’m just like, I got this. Found a church that some of the guys went to. This was an incredible journey. 

Ryan Henry: So were you with your Bible study group? No, this was just me and him. It wasn’t a group of people I would pray in front of that I might not have even done. Yeah. And so you responded to Christ after he gave the bridge illustration? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Correct. Illustration. Okay. Wow. And they, and they were part of a group called the Navigators.

Some people might have heard of them. Just Campus Christian organization. And I ended up staying involved with them while I was in college. But that rest of the first semester. So of course the question for me is if this is real, if God is real, he deserves my all. Yeah. I mean there’s no question. Yeah.

What did CS Lewis said? If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, it’s of no importance. If he did, it’s of all importance, but it’s can’t be moderately important. Mm-hmm. It’s either all or nothing. Yeah. Right. But you know, you have to count the cost. Am I willing to follow him and give up whatever I think I might have to give up and.

So I struggled with that for quite a while. Went back to junior college spring semester of the next year. Mm-hmm. And learning and going to church. I found through a friend of my sister’s, ev Free in Fullerton, which that’s Chuck Swindoll, who a lot of people know, famous preacher, and I started going to that church and just learning and decided, yeah, I’m in. This is it. It’s amazing. 

Ryan Henry: What was that like for you when you decided, did you feel a change immediately? How did that feel? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, no. So I listened to a lot of testimonies and it’s fascinating to me how God brings people to himself and how all of the testimonies are different and the stories are different and the way God uses is different.

And there’s some people who, it just happens and boom. And for me, the reality, I mean, I knew it. I decided this is real and I gotta go after it. But as I say now, that something called the pain of sanctification, growing in Christ is hard and, uh, taught my kids all their life, you know, there’s nothing easy.

And if you’re gonna grow, God is gonna challenge you at every step because it’s friction resistance that helps you to grow as a human being. Hmm. And we don’t, no. So that was just the beginning of this what now? 40 uh three your journey, or 78 to 23, whatever it is. Wow. But it, you know, it was just consuming my.

My parents got worried cuz I was an OC cult now. Hmm. And that I was not a Catholic anymore. Really was offensive to my father for sure. He even even disowned me for a few days and his Jewish boss said, he’ll never come back if you disown him. I mean, what? What do you get from that? Mm-hmm. Wow. So he accepted me again, but he would always call me the born again whenever he introduced me to anybody.

Oh, there’s the born again. There’s the Born again. And then when I introduced him to my wife and she’s the born again too. So there’s the Born again. And that phrase was very common back then for evangelical Christians who found Jesus and all that stuff. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah, the Born Agains. What’s so interesting cuz you’ve got the whole section new with uh, Nicodemus, like you gotta be born again. Like it’s right there and you just open up the word. It’s important. 

Mike D’Virgilio: It’s interesting cuz of the seventies you had the Jesus freaks. I love that phrase by the way. Yeah. And the hippies and all of the movements of Calvary Chapel and these hippies playing Christian music now. And so it was a phenomenon.

Yeah, it really was. Yeah. Evangelicals becoming culturally powerful back then. Yeah. 

Ryan Henry: What were some spiritual truths that you really started to understand? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, the Navigators are huge into scripture memory. So we started to do that. And so basically when I went back I was like, I’m in a hundred percent. So I got involved.

 So for the next three years I was involved in the ministry and we did evangelism, and it was really kind of a great college experience. Mm-hmm. But just focused on my relationship with Jesus. Mm-hmm. And that’s kinda what they’re about. So it’s not terribly theological orientation, which is what I, I see things a lot differently now after all these years, but, Me and the Bible and that relationship and building it, and it took priority over everything and then sharing it with others.


Ryan Henry: But as far as how you viewed God, would you say that there were some things that kind of started to snap into place about who he was? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, yeah. I mean the gospel, so Christ forgiveness, atonement. Yeah. Jesus. Being the punishment for our sins, and then knowing you can be saved. Which was huge given that I didn’t want to go to hell.

Right. Yeah. Here you go. Right, right. Confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord. And believe in your heart that God raised and, and you will be saved. There’s no ambiguity. Yeah. You’ll be saved. But that salvation is something that’s worked out in your life, like Paul says, with fear and trembling, and it’s a process of learning to depend on God for that.

Mm-hmm. Yeah. And then I came across Francis Schaeffer’s, the God Who Was There, and Francis Schaeffer was an apologist, sixties and seventies and died in the mid eighties or something.

And that was powerful to me because I found out that Christianity is about all of life. It’s a worldview. God’s truth applies to all things. And that started to open up my whole world. Mm-hmm. And that first got me interested in apologetics. Cuz remember it was like, if this is true, I’m in. Right. And now I found out that there’s actually evidence.

Right. Logical reasons. There’s a ton of it that can be validated. It’s not pie in the sky fairy tales like the skeptics say it is. It’s actually historically archaeologically, and philosophically can be defended. Right. 

Ryan Henry: And many people who seek to disprove Christianity, I think come to faith. I’ve heard so many stories of people who have gotten into apologetics because they were trying to disprove Christianity, and then they studied and realized I don’t really have a case.

Like it’s really amazing. Yeah. And you’re, you’re in the apologetics realm right now, is that right? 

Mike D’Virgilio: Yeah, that started it. Yeah. And then learned about it through just reading. And when I graduated from college. I thought I might want to stay at the college and be involved in ministry, but I decided against it.

Mm-hmm. And tried to make a living and get a job and all that stuff. And then God had other plans and I ended up actually going to seminary when I was 26. Hmm. And when I was 24, I was introduced to something called Reformed Theology. People might know it as Calvinism. And it sort of changed my orientation from.

Christianity being about what I can do and accomplish, but what God has accomplished and done for me. Okay. There was a lot of freedom in that because Christ Paul says in one Corinthians one 30, he is our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption, and so it’s all him, and then he kinda works it out as we work it out.

It’s all just amazing. So that was a profound happening in my life. That’s why I’m. And have the life I have now. Yeah. 

Ryan Henry: Can you talk to us a little bit about your book, Uninvented

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, so going back to the question about apologetics, I went to seminary, but I, I never really felt called to ministry. Mm-hmm.

And met my wife there. It’s a place called Westminster in Philadelphia. So I go all the way across the country and my wife’s there. So the last thing I ever expected to happen, And so I was initially gonna go into academia, Something like that. Be scholarship and then we’re gonna get married in five more years of school.

Just, I don’t think I could do that. Right. So we ended up actually living in Pennsylvania for 10 years and there was a good focus of apologetics there, but then life got on, I was building business and doing this and that. So that wasn’t really a focus because of other things. But when we started to have children, I was always defending Christianity.

The truth of it to my children, proving to them that. The reason we believe this isn’t cuz it makes us happy or it makes us better parents or kids or whatever. It’s because it’s true. Right? Yeah. That’s the bottom line. That’s right. My daughter wants the greatest story. We’re on the way home from church and I’m lecturing as I always did.

And my son at the time, it was like seven or eight and he goes, dad, why are you always lecturing us? And I was sort of taken aback and my daughter goes, well Dominic. Daddy’s always teaching. And it was like, oh, oh, that’s awesome. It was so touching. Yeah. So I did apologetics with my children in a way.

Always. Cause this is true. Yeah, this is real. This is not a scam. I had this apologetics encounter with a coworker and I was embarrassed how bad I was. Hmm. Because I just hadn’t practiced, and since the eighties there had been an explosion of apologetics resources right out there.

I mean, it’s just the wealth of riches today. It’s just beautiful. So started learning and reading and growing in my ability to do that. And in 2015, I’d always written for, for blogs and things, And so I hear this story about a young lady who grew up in a Christian home.

She goes off to college, loses her faith right away. And I was ticked cause I thought that would never happen to my kids cuz I’ve taught ’em all their life. This thing is true. And so I decided to write a book and that was the sort of late in life becoming an author that was called The Persuasive Christian Parent.

How to Build an Enduring Faith in you and your Children. and then in that, Process. I kept growing in my apologetics knowledge. I kept coming across arguments that a specific story in the Bible or passage couldn’t be invented.

And then I was reading and writing my way through the Bible. It’s like, wow, that couldn’t be, it kept coming up in my brain, so I decided to write a book on it. 

Ryan Henry: That’s really neat. 

Mike D’Virgilio: Yeah, it’s very cool because all Christians don’t believe the Bible’s just made up stories, right. But some of us think, well, it could be, and I argue it’s impossible.

Especially given the Jewish nature of Jesus’ world, just don’t make up a Messiah like Jesus. 

Ryan Henry: Right? Yeah. And everybody who’s listening, you can always just check out our show notes and you’ll find a link directly to Mike’s book on there, and the links to a lot of different other things that Mike commented on in the show.

Actually, if you’re looking on Spotify, it’s the See More button. And while you’re there, make sure you also hit the check mark and follow us so that you can catch more episodes. So, Mike, that’s really amazing and I’m gonna have to check that book out cuz Apologetics is something that I have been getting into and it’s something that I think is really important in today’s world because it’s really a matter of just defending the faith.

And like you said, it’s believing something that’s true. And we really serve the living true God. 

Mike D’Virgilio: Yeah, and that’s one of the things that you bring up there is that for 300 years, as I talk about a little bit in the book, we as Christians have been on the defensive since the enlightenment are like, They don’t have to prove anything, but we do.

Right, right. But there’s always an alternative belief and you have to defend yours. And it’s very cool because when you allow God and you seek him, asks he can knock and he works in you, then you can help others. And that’s what the Christian life is about. It’s about love, it’s about service. And it blows my mind cuz back in my navigator days, I was like, I would like to be a wise man.

I wanna be wise. I didn’t know at the time how painful it would be for God to build wisdom in me. Cause that’s why I tell my kids I would never want to be young again, cuz it’s just too painful to learn all the stuff you have to learn to truly be wise and then to see what God has done and help others because of what he’s done for you and in you.

And it’s just, uh, it’s such a blessing. Yeah. That’s amazing. All because some drive by evangelists come by and. Well, not all because that God used it, but that’s such an amazing thing to look back at and go, wow, maybe I should do that. Yeah. 

Ryan Henry: Mike, for our last question, could you just picture yourself back at Arizona State, just doing your own thing, what would’ve been different if you hadn’t had that strange encounter with the love bug guy?

Mike D’Virgilio: That’s an impossible question to answer. Well see. It had to happen, but to think of going through life. Without a true North Star. Hmm. Just thinking you are lucky. Dirt. Yeah. And that’s about it. Trying to find meaning, hope, and fulfillment in this. Right. I’ve just finished reading Ecclesiastes. It’s all meaningless under the sun, you know?

And, and, and no matter how great it is in our lives, nothing truly fulfills us. Right. Because there’s something else, a home somewhere else. That that is truly gonna fulfill us. And we get taste of that here. It’s just a beautiful thing. But to think that I would be that person who didn’t, it’s impossible.

But it’s inconceivable, truly in the nature of that word, that if God didn’t use that guy, he would’ve used someone else. Right. It’s just, I totally believe that, that he, you know, those whom he chooses he will get. And again, I’ve heard that. So many testimonies. 

Ryan Henry: What do you think, this is kind of a follow up question here, but when people say that we can only share the gospel through friendship evangelism, what do you feel about that?

Mike D’Virgilio: My story sort of kind of shows is that God is always convicting me. One of the things I’ve done with my book, Uninvented, is to give it away. So whenever I would encounter somebody, I would say, Hey, here you go. Here’s a book you like to read, or whatever. And if I don’t do that, it’s like, It doesn’t have to be the book, but just, I need to bring this up because I may never see this person again.

God may want to use me for that. A lot of people are, are intimidated by that and the culture which magnifies secularism and just people that’s good for you. It’s personal and all that. But yeah, I try to be at least a little annoying for Jesus. 

It’s a little bit right, and then if you give and then you see how people respond by saying something with God in it or, I can’t think of examples off the top of my head, but like somebody will say, oh, have a blessed day, like person who’s checking you out at a store or something.

So I would say, okay, so that’s interesting. Are you a Christian? And if they’re not, it’s an opportunity if they are right. So I absolutely think that, uh, we could all do that more. And, uh, you know, it’s gotta be in you where you just have to, you can’t. Hold it in. It’s like, I need to tell people about this.

Cause it’s true. Yeah. Yeah. In your life. I don’t care how great a life you think you have. That’s right. Without Jesus, it is nothing. Not to mention eternity. Yeah. That’s great. 

Ryan Henry: Well, this has been so great talking to you, Mike. I really just appreciate you and thankful for your devotion to the Lord and to sharing the gospel with people.

Thanks so much for being on the show with us today. 

Mike D’Virgilio: Well, thank you. It’s a total blast. I, I love it. Have it done. My testimony in a long time, in a long format like this, so it was fun and I appreciate it. Hope it touches folks. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah, absolutely. I’m sure it will.

I hope you enjoyed today’s show, so maybe you didn’t have a complete stranger share Jesus with you, but what’s your story? Let us know by filling out the Share Your Story button on our website. The link is in our show notes and share this 180 with your people. It might be the best news they hear today.

Today’s send off features poet Nico Hayes, who wrote this in honor of Mike’s story. 

If you wanna be a part of a sendoff, let us know at

Niko Hays: On the road to endless light. 

There are many. We pass by 

faces of strangers and friends 

too blind to see the sky 

come hear their silent cries. For love and a lifeline, 

maybe the winding path of the new life we find 

is a King’s rescue plan. 

A beacon that outshines the darkness in their eyes. 

So, Let’s point our gaze up high, 

inviting them to do the same 

until the king gives them sight, 

hand in hand, and now remade 

on the road to endless light.