#172 Marketplace to Ministry

 Photo by Brianna Rapp

For many years I held an executive position in a major technology corporation in the United States. In my mid-forties I began to feel uncomfortable, sensing that there was something more important than working in the corporate world. I asked myself, “Why am I spending so much time building the kingdom of this company, when I could be spending time building the kingdom of God?”

About this time, our church wanted to plant a new church. A friend and I were asked to lead the church plant with our families. Four other families joined, and in 1994 we began the new church. I shared the pastoring with one other fellow for two years as a lay pastor. Our growth was explosive. We first started meeting in a conference room and outgrew that space; we moved to a junior high school and outgrew that space as well. In 1996 we were meeting in one of the largest high school auditoriums with about 250 parishioners. However, in a completely unexpected move, the administration told us one day that they would soon start renovations on the auditorium, and so we had to leave within four weeks. 

Faced with no place to meet, we contacted other big high schools in the area multiple times. Each time all of them told us their policy was to not allow any organization to use their facility. Our situation became desperate. We needed God to provide and God did.

The pastor of our church was in a prayer meeting with several other men and he explained our situation. An ex-NFL football player was among those at the prayer meeting and he asked if his high school alma mater—one of the schools who had refused us multiple times—had been asked to help. The pastor told him that the high school had been asked by our church several times and the answer was always no. 

Hearing this, the ex-NFL player decided he would ask his alma mater high school for us. To our surprise (but not God’s) they agreed! Not only were we allowed to use the auditorium, which held 600, but we also were allowed to use all the classrooms for our children’s programs.

I am so grateful to God for many things: for the corporate job that provided so well for my family for many years, for the call out of this job into ministry, for the many people that God brought into the church, for the lives that were transformed by the planting of the new church, and for providing a connection that led to a place for our church to meet. 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#122. Loving The Unloved

Photo by Trevor Rapp

My wife and I met in college through involvement in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. After we married, we became very involved in our church. I taught Sunday school for years and served on different committees. But we began to feel a real need to do ministry outside of the church walls. We started reading the gospels to learn more about how Jesus did His ministry. We saw that He was involved in church—but He also went out and ministered to those not loved by society. Our prayer was, “Help us to see the world as You see it and live in it as You lived in it.” 

We began volunteering once a week at Room in the Inn, a seasonal ministry of local churches that welcomes homeless men during the cold winter months, providing hot meals and a warm, safe place to sleep. We did this all winter and grew to know and love many of the men. At the end of the cold season, I asked the leader, “What do we do now?” The response was to come back next November. But we didn’t want to wait. How could we keep connected to our friends through the spring and summer? I found out that homeless men in our community gathered at McDonald’s downtown. I began stopping in the mornings to have coffee and hang out with the guys. Usually one or two of the fellows that I had met from Room in the Inn were there, so that made it easier.

One day I was working on the deck at our home and thought maybe a couple of the guys would enjoy helping to build our deck. They did, and before long they were helping in other ways at our house. They became a part of our lives. Our daughter played soccer and they went to the games with us. We opened up our family to them because most had lost their families. We had a small birthday party for one of our friends and bought him a gift and a cake. When we brought out the cake he said it had been 14 years since anyone had even said happy birthday to him. Something so simple brought him so much joy. We started thinking about all that we had and what we could share. We had a washer and dryer that we shared so our friends could wash their clothes at our home. We had a phone they could use, a computer, a garage where they could store things, and a couch for when they weren’t feeling well. 

Around this time, we also started a home group that met in our home twice a month for a meal together, and Bible study with prayer and communion. We did this at first with other members from our church. After one or two gatherings, we began to invite our homeless and marginalized friends. Every other week on Friday night we began to have a group of about 10-12 people, half were usually homeless and half were “homed.”

One day my neighbor pulled me aside and said, “I’m not sure you know how uncomfortable the neighbors are with what you are doing – having all these homeless men in your home.” A few days later, I received a letter from the city saying that I needed to cease and desist having a “church” in our home. That same week we learned that another neighbor had hired an attorney in preparation for a suit against our family to force us to abandon our work with the homeless. We thought, “What are we going to do now?” We loved our house and neighborhood. We prayed about it and thought we could fight it and go to court, but even if we won, the relationships with our neighbors would still be fractured. We had been praying and thinking about ways to simplify—so we decided to leave the neighborhood. We informed the neighbors we were leaving, and we decided to buy a smaller, less expensive home to get completely out of debt. We bought a home not far away but on a busier street where our homeless friends would be less conspicuous. Our new neighborhood was more impersonal than our previous neighborhood. Now several years later, our new neighbors know we “help people” but beyond that there have been no questions or complaints. And the financial freedom we have discovered after moving to this house has been one of the most liberating things we have ever done.

We created a ministry which provides bus passes, clothing, sleeping bags, and tents. We also wanted to give the fellows the opportunity to give back, and they wanted to do that. We began a woodworking night in our basement one night a week. The money made from selling the items we create goes back into the ministry to help others who are marginalized or homeless. I love woodworking and making conversation. My wife loves opening our home and serving others. Hospitality gives her so much joy. God uses both of us to love and serve our friends.

At first, we wanted to change our new friends. We wanted to get them housed and help them find employment.  Over the years, we realized that God doesn’t call us to change people. He calls us only to love them and communicate His love to them. Striving to change our friends was not really loving them. So, we accepted our friends where they were, knowing that in the end, they may not change a whole lot. We realized this must be the way God loves us in our constant struggles with our own sin. God is patient. He doesn’t give up on us. He is waiting for us to open ourselves to Him and confess our need for Him. God doesn’t reject us when we fail.

God has transformed our hearts. I was a faculty member at a big university and led research there. But God was calling us to a different life. I no longer work for the university. I now work fewer hours and make less money. This has not been an easy process. I have lowered my expectations of myself in relation to my career and now spend more time with my family and serving others. God has returned much more to us than we have given up. We are very grateful for the change. Now when I drive past a big beautiful home or a nice car, I don’t long to have those things. We are content—more than content. Through this process, God has brought us a new freedom, new relationships, and much joy and love.

God has also changed my attitude toward those who are different from me. Before, I was judgmental. I thought, “Why don’t they just get a job?” I didn’t understand. Before, when I drove past a guy pushing a grocery cart, I would not have thought of that guy as a Christian—but now I know many of those guys! And many are Christians—and have wonderful relationships with the Lord. Their problems are just very visible. My problems, though less visible, are no less real. Jesus has opened my eyes and my heart and I am so grateful.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ — Matthew 25:40

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#120 Undeserved Kindness


Photo by Trevor Rapp

Growing up I didn’t have a good example of living a life of true faith. My mentality was, “God’s up there and He’s hard to please.” And I continued this way of believing into adulthood. I didn’t feel like I could count on anyone. I felt like I could do it myself, on my own. I didn’t know I had Jesus to go to.

When my second child was born, I started to really put pressure on myself to provide for my family. I felt a new sense of urgency and commitment to “do my best for my family,” and to me that meant I needed to work more. I am a very competitive person by nature, and although I knew some people were more talented than me, I felt my strength was my ability to outwork others.

But working more resulting in being away from my family more and this was NOT a good thing. I put all the responsibility on my wife to take care of the children. We spent less and less time together as a couple. Our roles as parents supplanted our roles as husband and wife. My family history included a lot of divorce. My parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles were divorced. I went into marriage thinking, “If this doesn’t work out, we can just get a divorce.” My wife’s parents were happily married and they were very involved in their church. They were great models for me.

Someone at work began to pursue me. I think about the story of Joseph and how Potiphar’s wife pursued him but he resisted. I wish I could have been like Joseph. I wish I would have resisted. But I didn’t, and because I didn’t, my wife and I went through a very difficult time. I hurt my wife so badly. Fortunately, because of my wife’s family, she did not give up on me. I went to talk to her father about what I had done. I was ashamed and embarrassed. He came out to my car, sat with me and showed me love that I didn’t deserve. I will never forget the unconditional love he showed me. It still moves me greatly to think of the grace and undeserved kindness he showed me.

It was a tough five to six years after that. I didn’t know if I would ever get back the confidence and trust of my wife. During this season, I met the man who led me to Christ. We met through a work project. I remember the first time I walked into his studio. There was so much peace there. He invited me to coffee to talk. I thought, “What does he want from me?” But he just listened as I poured my heart out. He asked if he could pray for me. We were still in the coffee shop and I was worried someone would see us. It just felt awkward, like everyone was looking at us. But I said “yes” and he prayed a beautiful, powerful prayer for me. This coffee shop meeting was a turning point in my life. I thank God for this man because he helped me to understand who God is and what it looks like to live a life in relationship with Jesus.  

Over time, my relationship was restored with my wife and family. But there were other changes I needed to make. I had fallen into the trap of defining myself by my job. I needed a change in how I viewed myself at work and a new understanding of my true identity and worth. For years, I had been working for the same company and I really wanted to leave and start my own business, but the time wasn’t right financially. I asked the Lord to show me how He could use me in my current work situation. God provided opportunities for me to be a light to others at my work. I began to understand why I was at work, that it was about serving God and people and letting God use my talents for Him. My desire became to glorify God in what I was doing professionally. Eventually, the time was right and I started my own business. Although it has been really hard at times, I know God will use it all for something better than I can imagine. God has brought clients to my business who pray with me—we even pray together about our work. This has been such a blessing to me. I am trying to offer every part of my work day to God. Before I go into a meeting, I will often pray, “Lord, I don’t know what this meeting is about, but let me be what You want me to be.”

Throughout this journey, God has brought many people to love me and help me. I have a wonderful church, where there is excellent teaching and many tools and support. I joined a Saturday morning men’s group at our church where I found a community of men who encourage me and help me grow. For the last six years, I have been in a Bible Study Fellowship group where I have continued to learn. I am so thankful for the blessing of community that God has provided. I still struggle and there is much more to be written of my story, but this I know: I have a Father who loves me unconditionally, who restores my brokenness, and who provides for me and guides me. He is available to me every moment of every day. I don’t have to do life on my own. 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#114 In Awe of Creation

 Photo by Erin E. Photography

I have always wanted to travel the world—to meet people, learn about different cultures, but most of all to experience the natural beauty of the world: The Great Barrier Reef, Northern Lights, Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls, Mount Everest, beaches of Fiji, and on and on. For years I prayed that God would allow me to stand in awe of His beautiful creation. I haven’t yet been to any of these places, and although I haven’t given up on this dream, I realize now that God answered my prayer without traveling the world. This started to become clear to me when I read a quote from Saint Augustine:

“Men go abroad to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.”

For years I taught human anatomy to undergraduate, medical, and dental students. This involved both lecturing in the classroom and teaching in the laboratory by dissection of human cadavers. Shortly after I read that quote, I was teaching students about the small intestine. The small intestine is responsible for absorbing nearly all the nutrients in the food we eat. The lining of the small intestine is thrown into many visible folds which increase the surface area significantly. Each fold is covered with little finger-like projections, called villi, which further increase the surface area. Finally, the villi are covered with cells that have bristle-like extensions—a brush border—further increasing the surface area. The whole system is set up for maximum absorption of nutrients. Structure is beautifully related to function. The engineering is magnificent, as is the engineering throughout the whole body.

Another example is that the male pelvis is narrow with a heart-shaped opening, while the female pelvis is much broader with a round opening to allow passage of a baby’s head during birth.

The pupils of our eyes are encircled by tiny muscles that contract and relax at just the right time to dilate and constrict our pupils to let in just the right amount of light so that we can see. 

I could go on and on. There are so many examples. The human body is an exquisite creation and there is a marvelous unseen orchestra underway every minute of every day inside of us.  It is simply amazing the way everything works together, from our organs, to our cells, to the chemicals released, so that we can eat and breathe and laugh and think and walk and love.  Day after day in the gross anatomy lab, I HAD stood in awe of God’s beautiful creation, the human body. God HAD answered my prayer. It just wasn’t the way in which I had anticipated it. David said it best in Psalms 139:13-14: “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#110 Let’s Go Get Em’ Champ

Photo by Lang Thomas Photography

Eight years ago I left the corporate world having served as the President of Kentucky Fried Chicken for five years and as a Senior Executive for Yum! Brands, operating Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut. When I left corporate I was coming out of a very dry season – emotionally, physically and spiritually. I didn’t know if my marriage was going to make it.  Thankfully, the Lord led my wife and I to a counselor who helped restore our marriage by teaching us how to pursue one another and rekindle an emotional connection and intimate relationship. Not only is our marriage restored, but we now coach other married couples who are struggling.

But there was also the question of what would I do with the rest of my life after leaving corporate? I wasn’t quite 50 years old, I couldn’t sit still very long and didn’t play golf. I had served as the Executive Pastor for my church but I didn’t want to go back into “ministry” at the church and I didn’t want to go back into business. I prayed “Lord, help me know what to do.”

Around this time the Lord began to show me that I was half-hearted in my love for him. My faith had become more about a set of “guidelines and guardrails”. I had book knowledge and head knowledge of God, but I didn’t really KNOW Him. I didn’t have experiential knowledge of God. Because if I really knew God I couldn’t help but love him.

A turning point occurred when I attended a Faith in the Marketplace workshop and witnessed a man praying an adoration prayer. I had never seen anything like it before. It felt like I was listening in on an intimate conversation with his spouse. It reminded me of some of the ways our marriage was restored. I knew I wanted that kind of love for God, that kind of intimacy. I started praying adoration prayers, prayers about the nature of God, that God is good and faithful, that God is my advocate and my defender, that God has a plan for my life.

My wife and I felt the Lord call us to start adoration prayer and worship nights in our home. The first night we had 22 people. We held these worship nights quarterly and more people started coming – around 60-70 people– so many that we needed to move our furniture out to accommodate the people. The Lord led us to buy a barn, Iron Bell, and we began to host worship nights there every month, gathering together to adore God in a time of extended worship and prayer.

The Lord continued to teach us out of intimacy and love. We were learning not only more about God but were also learning about who WE are. The Lord taught me about covenant love and not having to perform, that intimacy requires not only the right view of Him, but also the right view of myself.  You won’t grow intimate unless you know there is no guilt or shame; that we are sons and daughters. We learned to operate FROM value not FOR value. (Romans 8:14-17 “for those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again, rather, the spirit you received brought about your adoption to Sonship. And by him we cry “Abba, Father”. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are His children then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”)

As time progressed my wife and I realized that these truths needed to be shared, specifically how to fulfill the first commandment “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all you mind.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and that as sons and daughters we work from value, not for value. Also we felt led to teach about how to fulfill our Ephesians 2:10 purpose in life; that His Kingdom can be expressed by partnering with Him in everyday work, everyday life. As God was doing a work “in us”, he then began to do a work “through us”.  A ministry, Iron Bell Ministries, was born out of that journey.

As you partner with God to work out your purposes in life I think this final story can give you great perspective. I used to think that God gave me a game plan and then said, “Go get em champ!” Now, I know that instead God holds my hand and says “Let’s go get em champ!” 

#76 The Beauty Of God’s Creation at B6

 Photo by Trevor Rapp

When I left Wednesday, flying out to California for work, it was very early. As I waited to board the plane at the airport, the sun was just rising. The sky was breathtakingly beautiful. I stood at Gate B6, gazing out the window, soaking it in and smiling at the gift that God so freely gives us every day. People were all around me—reading the paper, typing on their computers, looking at their phones, listening to the news on TV. And me too…how often I miss God’s beauty. It becomes a blurry background to my life filled with many deadlines, demands, and distractions. I wanted to share this magnificent sight, this sunrise, and proclaim to the entirety of Gate B6 the beauty of God’s creation. But I did not. My hope is that perhaps now I am sharing with even more people than those waiting at Gate B6.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#47 Three Times In Three Hours

Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

Something very curious happened to me several years ago when I was traveling by myself for a work assignment. While eating dinner alone at a restaurant, I was catching up on some reading in Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford. I read about the main character, Father Tim, preaching a sermon on the verse in the Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

When I got to my hotel room, I turned on the television and Joyce Meyer was preaching a sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

Later that night I talked to my son on the phone and asked him how his day went at school. At that time he attended a Christian school and he told me that they had a speaker that day who had spoken on the verse in the Bible that says we are to give thanks in all circumstances.

Now I had heard it three times within the span of three hours! This seemed like too much repetition to be a coincidence. I felt that God was sending me a clear message. In the months that followed, a tragedy occurred in our family and I needed that message of gratefulness in all situations. I clung to that verse and tried to find something to be thankful for each day, even on the worst days.

God knew what was to come and He prepared me in advance. Intentional thankfulness was challenging but helped me get through the terrible situation as it unfolded. I began to look closely for something to be thankful for each day and there were always many things. Eventually, practicing gratefulness became a habit, and I am now a more positive and happier person overall because of it—because of God’s message to me.  Three times in three hours can’t be a coincidence. God knows even the hairs of our head. God knows what is about to unfold in our lives and just what we need to help us. God sustains us in tragedy. Praise be to our God who loves, sustains and provides for us and for his holy Scriptures that nourish ours souls and guide our daily steps.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#25 His Love And Light Lead The Way

Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

I laid down ‘my career’ to follow Him.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. (Philippians 3:7-8) 

I was baptized at Southland Christian Church on Easter of 2009. Having participated in my first Bible study just three months earlier, I was seeing Light for the first time and in awe of God. My life was surrendered that day and the pastor said that God would do a circumcision on my heart to remove whatever is blocking me from Him. Just three days later, the earth shook. My role with my company suddenly was changing and the Lord, in His love and grace, gave me a choice to make… Continue working in the glamorous industry of sports or lay it all down to follow Him. Thirteen years had been spent building “my career”… working for major companies, high profile people, and championship-level programs. I knew in my heart that God was calling me to do something else. So eight days following baptism, my resignation was submitted… laying down “my career” to follow Him. The next day, the Lord led me to write my testimony, repenting of a work-a-holic lifestyle where “my career” was the center of my universe. I had been a perfectionist, independent in about every way, materialistic, and in the race to be first. The Lord helped point me to a new vision with Hebrews 11:1 leading the way, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

I was hoping for three things in life…

  1. God’s grace

  2. That I do His will

  3. For that great, Christian man He has for me (whenever that may be)

And that my life would be…

  1. Full of faith and love for life

  2. Every day an exploration

  3. Every year a “Bucket List”

  4. Healthy and fit physically… in-sync with a free and joyful spirit

  5. Making a difference

  6. A bright light

  7. Balanced personally and professionally

  8. Valuing every dollar ($0 debt, saving, giving and receiving)

  9. Connected in a special way with people, animals and the earth

  10. Rock solid in God’s word

I also had a new passion for helping broken people and felt called to be a leader working for a great cause.

Seven adventurous years have gone by since then and the Lord is so good and faithful. The whole miracle of life is found in Jesus. In him we live with God’s eternal love and infinite grace… and He is that which truly fulfills us. For so many years, I sought fulfillment and happiness in career accomplishments and success, busy doing one deal after the other, and one task after the next. Now, His love and light lead the way and I pray to be thankful and content in whatever season we may be in. Love is patient, this I now know.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God had done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God”. (Ecclesiastes 3:11-13).

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#22. 54 Rejections

Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

One month before my high school graduation, I met the woman who would become my wife for 47 years and counting. We both lived in small, rural Kansas towns but went to different high schools. God brought us together just in time—right before I left for college. I had been a terrible teenager, but God changed my life through my wife. Despite my many poor choices in life up to that point, the Lord brought to me a companion who accepted me not based on my past but based on what the Lord was doing in my life through Christ.  I had recently committed my life to the Lord and repented of all the terrible things that I had done. We dated for approximately one year before getting married. She was always there for me as an encourager, helping me focus on the mission that God had laid before us. To this day, I continually praise God for the wonderful grace He brought to me that day in April of 1968.

I had wanted to go to the University of Kansas to become a chemical engineer, but my parents only had $500 for my college education, so I opted for the chemical engineering program at Kansas State University, which was less expensive. I had saved enough money to get through one year of college if I worked while going to school—so that is what I did. At the end of my freshman year and before starting my sophomore year, I married the young woman that the Lord had brought into my life 16 months earlier. We moved into the basement of my wife’s cousin and my wife worked to support us while I was in school.

In April of 1972, a month before graduating from college, my wife was six months pregnant, and I had no job offers and no insurance. Chemical engineers had previously been in great demand, but the year I graduated was the first year of the oil crisis and companies were laying people off and not hiring. I had 54 job interviews and NO OFFERS!

Finally, I had a job offer from a government contractor making nuclear bombs. This didn’t feel right to me; furthermore, my wife’s pregnancy and delivery would not be covered by their insurance. We had reached a point of desperation but again God in His perfect timing intervened. A company with which I had previously interviewed and was rejected by called me back for an interview in Michigan. I caught a plane as soon as I could, but when I arrived, the human resources director said they had hired everyone they were going to hire. I must have looked very disappointed because they said they would try and arrange an interview with the company across the street for the next day. 

The interview went well. The job was a perfect fit for what I wanted to do. They offered me the job with benefits that would cover my wife’s pregnancy and delivery! This was the only company with which I had interviewed who would cover the medical costs of a pre-existing pregnancy. Again, I had to praise God for His providential care. 

But there was one more hurdle. I didn’t have a car that would make it to Michigan where my job was located. There was no way for my wife and me to get from Kansas to Michigan. I tried to get a loan at the bank, showing them that I was to begin work at a big company as a chemical engineer, but they turned me down.  My grandmother, who knew the president of the bank, offered them the money she had set aside for her burial as security for our car loan. They agreed and we were set! Once again, God had provided, this time through my grandmother.  

There were many more lessons that the Lord had to teach me. One was the lesson of humility. On my first day at work on my new job, my manager told me that prior to offering me the job they had narrowed down the choice to two people. The other person was so overqualified that they decided to offer me the job. This helped me see that it wasn’t my efforts that were the key ingredient in my life, but rather the Lord’s direction and control over people, places, and circumstances. I don’t know what my future would have been at any of the 54 companies that turned me down, but the job I ended up getting—across the street from one of those 54 companies—turned out to be an incredible opportunity.

I worked 32 years with that company. I became the executive director of Science and Technology for one of their major businesses and was one of their top-compensated employees in the company. I was able to see and do many amazing things, including living overseas with my family for four years. 

Praise God for the 54 rejections. Praise God for the one offer that was just in time and provided so well for our family. And praise God for my wife whom God used to transform my life. Praise God that I am now able to be a full-time missionary, leading an agency dedicated to taking the gospel to places where Christ is not known. Praise God that I can do this without requiring any funds for my own living expenses and thus return 100 percent of the donations to the Lord’s work. And finally, praise God for the hundreds who are giving their lives to Christ because of His work in this ministry. To God alone be the glory.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#16. Upside Down Priorities

Photo by Erin E. Photography 

My journey with God began when I was 15 and accepted Jesus as my Lord at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp. At that time I thought Christianity was all about rules. I tried to be perfect and quit drinking and cussing, but gave up after six months. I attended FCA camp three more years and each year I did the same thing: committed my life to Jesus, tried to be perfect, and then failed. By the fourth year of this I had pretty much given up that I was ever going to be able to do the Christian thing.

In my twenties, money and power became my god. I was chasing the American dream, making as much money as I could and partying hard. I wanted to become like my father, who was a successful businessman.

By age 28, the wheels had fallen off. I had become an alcoholic and a drug user.  I didn’t want to live anymore. I completed a faith-based program to stop drinking and learned that every addiction is a spiritual issue at its core and therefore requires a spiritual solution. A real relationship with God is needed.

In the next few years, I felt Him pulling me in, but I still had a hard time with Jesus because of my early failures with Him. God sent a Christian mentor to help me, and one day when I was talking with him I asked him what was up with the blood sacrifice of Jesus. I didn’t get it. He said I should ask Jesus my questions—and so I did. We were at a restaurant, and in an out-loud conversational prayer, I talked to God saying, “I need to know the real deal. If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life…if this is true, I need to know it. I don’t want my fear or pride to block me from the truth.”

This was a turning point in my life. Things started changing. Soon after, one day in my quiet time God sparked my imagination and gave me a picture. I saw a fishing boat in the ocean, like a 50-foot Bertram with a fighting chair in the back. There was a fisherman in the fighting chair with a big rod and reel and a fish on the line. The fish was swimming away from the boat, and I knew that Jesus was the fisherman and I was the fish. There was no real anxiety on the boat. Jesus just watched the reel spin and every now and then He’d tighten the drag on the line to make it harder for the fish to swim away. Finally, the fish tuckered out and allowed the Big Fisherman to reel him in. When I realized Jesus had been there all along and never let me go, I felt an overwhelming love for Him. Before this, the verse “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” just didn’t feel personal to me. But Jesus was showing me how it was personal. He was showing me in a way that I could understand and relate to.


Since then, I have been on a 23-year journey to go deeper with God. I have had visions of Jesus that have taught me more about Him—that He has a spirit of play, but also a spirit of absolute intensity when it comes to bringing His children back to Him. Jesus taught me that He wasn’t trying to mold me into a good little boy scout (that I didn’t want to be) or put me in a jail cell. He was trying to keep me out of jail! He wasn’t trying to take away adventure, but to set me on the greatest adventure of my life.

God showed me that He wanted in on all of my life, including my business and finances. He showed me that my priorities were upside down. Once when I was praying, I saw a man spinning lots of plates on sticks, like the man on the Ed Sullivan Show years ago. I knew that this represented me in my business, always doing multiple deals, spinning many “plates” with little time for God or family or even any serious questions. I came out of that meeting with God somehow knowing that I was no longer to be defined by what I did or how much money I made, and knowing that God wanted me to make some big changes. I made a commitment to start no new business deals for three years. I also knew that what I was giving to God financially was a paltry amount, and that had to change. I thought for sure all these changes would result in me going broke. But I did them anyway, and I did not go broke. Although I’m not much into the “Prosperity Gospel,” I did learn that you can’t out-give God, and in this three-year season I was extremely blessed financially. I was also able to spend more time with God and my family.

Where has God led me now? With His help I am now learning to help others; sometimes it is helping people meet Jesus for the first time, sometimes it is helping someone get sober, sometimes it is telling people how much Jesus loves them. I have been abundantly blessed and I am thankful to God for many things. God helped me get sober. He helped me understand my true identity. He opened my eyes to the truth about Him, crafting a personal and powerful message that spoke uniquely to me. He helped me correct my priorities and live a more fulfilling and joyful life. God has given my life true purpose and meaning.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.