Posts Tagged ‘“Gods plan”’

worstbestToday is the anniversary of what felt like one of the scariest days of my life. After my day talked about downsizing my position for a number of years, it happened on May 7, 2015. I don’t mind telling you, I was scared. I had held my day job for almost 16 years and I understood why they cut the position, but I was still scared.

I’d been doing my speaking ministry for a few years pretty consistently, but wasn’t anywhere close to replacing the income from my day job. More than one night, in the early days, I worried and fretted and wondered how long it would be before I was going to be fitted for my blue Wal-Mart vest. I didn’t think my prospects were very good. I was pretty good at my job (or at least I thought I was) but my job skills were pretty specialized to the job I had and I wasn’t sure I could transfer them to anything else, but God was at work.

The bookings started coming in. People really seemed be taking interest in my ministry, before long I was booked nearly every week. Then as things were slowing down, I got a call asking if I would consider serving as an interim pastor for a church. The time schedule seemed to work with my slow times in the speaking ministry, so I said I would do it. I got to know the church, grew to love the church and it seemed to be mutual. Before long I was called to be their permanent pastor. The position is part time allowing me to continue the creative arts ministry as well. It turns out they understand and support my work in the larger church as well. It’s a near perfect fit.

Yes, May 7, 2015 felt like it might have been the worst day of my life, but God was in control. He took care of me through it all. There were several times before when I thought about leaving my job and pastoring a church and one by one they all said “no thanks.” I began to feel like God didn’t want me in the ministry anymore. That wasn’t true. Instead God was waiting to put me into the perfect position for His will for this season of my life. His timing was utterly perfect. My wife, Dawn, recently said this is the happiest she has ever seen me. She’s probably right. What could have been my worst day, really has been among my best days.

Here’s what I’ve learned. Trust God, prepare and wait. I would not have been ready to be where I am were it not for a lot of hard work, much of which didn’t always make sense at the time. Learn everything you can wherever you’re at. Wait on Him and try not to get too far ahead and one last thing. If you ever find yourself feeling like God doesn’t want you, you’re listening to the wrong voice. God loves you perfectly and in His perfect time, He will bring you to your “perfect” place.

I have pretty much always wanted to be an artist. Now I’ve also wanted to be a lot of other things, an actor, even a rockstar. Now the last two would have been eliminated by very little musical ability and a now healed fear of public speaking. Through it all, art has been the constant.

So how on earth did I end up going to college to become an electronics engineer? Well long story short, when I told my folks I was planning to go to art school out of high school, they said “No son of ours is going to starve in an attic somewhere.” As you can imagine I was devastated and some days still a little irritated. Then one day a man came into my high school and told me about this miraculous school in Ohio where I could finish in three years, and that graduates of their school started earning as much as 80 grand a year. I was the kid in school that most everyone picked on. At this magical school, I could finish and be earning 80 thousand dollars a year while my tormentors were still asking, “Do you want fries with that?” If I was going to do that, I would have to become an electronics engineer, so forgetting the fact that the only reason I passed math in high school was because my Uncle Denny, the high school math teacher, was a tutoring magician, forgetting that I had no aptitude or experience with electronics at all. I set off for Ohio two or three weeks after I graduated high school. It was my plan B and it was a bad plan.


I flunked out in a year, moved back home, got a dead end job in a factory and developed a pretty major drinking problem. About the only thing I did right in that time period was I began to work on becoming an artist. I moved back to plan A. After about three years of a downward spiral, my sister, who was tired of seeing me destroy myself, set me up on a blind date with a girl who A. did not drink and B. was a preacher’s daughter. These two facts were hidden from me until it was too late to cancel. That girl introduced me to Jesus, married me and gave me two wonderful sons and helped me find the plan A life I am on my way to today.

Now I have lamented plan B many times and to be really honest, I’m not a real advocate of plan B to this day. Better to work really hard at your gifting and strive for plan A. That being said if I had done it my way, I would have never met my wife, wouldn’t have my sons and most important of all I may never have come to Jesus. Plan B stank, it hurt a lot and most of the wounds I sustained in that time were self inflicted, but a lot of what is really good in my life today happened because I lived through plan B.

We all have a plan and I suppose that’s good, but there is a bigger plan, a better plan, a right plan. It’s God’s plan and it always leads to good. So wherever you find yourself today, trust God, honor Him, lean into Him and keep moving forward.

This song, (the original version, by the way) always reminds me of this journey.

Today in my devotional reading, I found myself in Exodus reading God’s immensely detailed plan for the tabernacle of Moses. I am always struck every single time I read this passage by how detailed it is. There wasn’t a lot of room for creativity on this project. God had a very specific way that He wanted everything done.

Here’s a video from that shows part of the plan.

Creativity is one of God’s greatest gifts to us, not just those of us who are “artistic” but for everyone who has ever faced a problem. In much of our lives when it comes to creativity, the sky’s the limit, but then there are other times. In these times we need to respect God’s boundaries and His plan first and foremost.

This is especially true of God’s Word. Anyone who has read more than one of my posts will know I am all about finding creative ways to present the Gospel to the world around us. I believe God has given us immense flexibility for creativity in this area and that He has given us immense creativity for this very purpose. To find new ways to reach people with the truth that can and will set them free. There is however one area where creativity is neither needed nor allowed and that is with the Word itself. It is the Word of God and God has given it to us just as He wanted it to be. We dare not do anything that changes the meaning of what He said. When we either add to the Word or subtract from it, we remove it’s power because it is no longer God’s Word.

God has a really specific way and a really specific plan. We deviate from the Word at our peril. In these times creativity has to take a back seat, we must surrender our will and our way and follow God’s plan to the letter.

Isn’t that what it means to submit our creativity to God?

For weeks now, I have been excited for the art show I was to participate in on Saturday. All the work had to be created on site and it was going to be a lot of fun.

I was coming off a rough week, nothing major just a pile of little frustrations and aggravations that made me kind of stressed out. The art show was to be my Island of calm. Six hours of creating anything I wanted. My goal was to create to the glory of God and allow Him to use me and my work as He saw fit. No agenda beyond making stuff and serving Him. Several things happened over the course of the week that told me I needed to relax a little and find my joy again and I figured that the art show was where it was going to happen.

Well the show was about an hour and a half away from my house, so I loaded about half my studio into my car and headed there, anticipating a very relaxing day. I got about ten miles away from the site of the show when it happened. I began to hear a squeaking, squealing sound under my hood followed by thumping and jerking. I was following a nice guy who volunteered to lead me when I found myself slightly lost. When I pulled my car over he noticed I was no longer following and turned around. He pointed me to a parking lot just ahead and asked if I could get the car to a parking lot in the clearing ahead, so i limped it there and that is where it gave out completely. When I saw what the parking lot was I couldn’t believe it. I pastor Dave Weiss had my car die on the parking lot of a strip club. (no it wasn’t open and no I wouldn’t have gone in if it was.)

My first thought was Lord if you want me to relax you have a funny way of showing it. I was more than a little upset and my funk continued. My wife came and picked her husband up at the strip club, something neither or us ever thought we would say, and we went home. No art show for me.

But here’s the thing. I got home and got by myself and prayed (a large part of which felt more like venting to God, its okay He understands). I got out a lot of my stress and frustration and felt his peace start to come over me. A different message came to me than the one I planned for Sunday which I will post to tangle a little later in the week about a man named David who ended up where he didn’t belong, It seems somewhat appropriate don’t you think. I had been reading Psalm 51 earlier in the week and thought it was just for me but I began to see how it applied to a lot of what had happened in the week.

I sat down at my computer and started to write when my cell phone rang. It was someone I have been praying for for a long time asking me if I wanted to go for a walk. We had a great time and some really good discussion and I would have missed it had I been at the show. Once again God knew what He was doing. I missed the show, but God had something better.

This is one of the pieces I was going to paint at the show. Many of you may have seen it before but if not, check it out. I think it has a good message for us all.

This is a copy of one of the pieces I did in worship at the recent church planters conference I attended. The theme of the evening was based around the concept that we were each created by God for a unique purpose, that we each hold a part of his plan for the universe. My task was to illustrate this. Now you’d think it would be easy, this is after all a cornerstone of my call in ministry, but it was surprisingly difficult. I got the idea of having the hand of God plugging a person into something pretty quickly but the problem came when trying to create the person. You see it had to be an image that represented everyone, all ages, all races, both genders, etc. It was a conundrum largely because it was ultra important not to leave anyone out, because our faith tells us that God didn’t leave anyone out. As I was praying the mirror came to mind and it solves the problem easily, every person who looks at this piece will realize that God has put them in the world, uniquely created, gifted and experienced for a specific purpose.

You are uniquely qualified to do something no one else can do. To put it simply, you are not an accident, there is a place in God’s plan uniquely created for you and you were uniquely created and equipped for it. Finding it is finding the meaning of your life. Your gifts and talents and yes even your experience both good and bad are clues as to what it is. Seek the Lord, pray and live it out. You were created on purpose for a purpose so live on purpose.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for a new believer is to help them find where they fit. Today I want to share about one of the first people to do that for me. Most of what I have been doing can be traced back to that event. If this video blesses you, share it with your pastor.