Ready Set Grow?
Have you ever thought you knew just what God was going to do? You were ready, and doors were about to fling wide open. But then God decided to let those plans set a while – perhaps years.
I’m firmly convinced that it is during these times that we grow the most, if we can avoid bitterness. God gives us a vision, then sees whether we have the perseverance and patience to trust Him instead of forcing our plans and visions.
If during this time our Trust in Him grows, we may just find that the plans He has for us might be growing as well. A newsletter intended for a few dozen grows into hundreds. A decision to meet a small need grows into friendships and encouragement from around the world.
Five years ago I would have laughed at anyone suggesting I’d be speaking to groups larger than an occasional men’s breakfast, or actively involved in promoting Christian films. Proposing magazine articles would have put me in hysterics and the idea of writing a full blown book would have me rolling on the floor with laughter.
These are all ministries God has led me into, and though sometimes I still have a seed of doubt, I’m prepared to tell Him that wherever He chooses to send me, I am ready to go – and grow!
I was born in Pendleton, Oregon, and still miss seeing mountains on the horizon since moving to the Midwest in 1991. First for college in Terre Haute, Indiana (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 1995 BS – Chemical Engineering), and then to Peoria, Illinois, in 1995.
I started following Christ as a senior in college, but not until a 1998 Promise Keepers in Milwaukee did the mental decision finally reach my heart during a message by Dr. Crawford Loritts, Jr., on the year’s theme – “Live a Legacy.”
Five years later, I found myself serving on the volunteer leadership team when Promise Keepers came to Peoria, and served PK in various roles for several years, including Assistant Event Director when they returned to Peoria in 2008.
It was also PK that led to regional ministry efforts. A colossal failure of my first event (by worldly definitions) has shaped my life for nearly a decade, and began friendships and discussions that started a simple newsletter to let men know of events coming up in the area. You can Sign up for Taking AIM here.
That monthly email led to friendships across the country and around the world, and the eventual formation of Men of AIM (Action, Integrity, Maturity), a regional ministry providing communication/networking, Training, and Resources in the Battle for Men’s Souls.
In 2006, while venting several years of frustration that the EQUIP Christian Workers Conference had little to offer for men’s ministry, I heard that voice say, “and what did you do about it?” That voice led to one workshop, and the need to take a day off work for the conference led to a second workshop just to help fill the time.
“Vegetables of the Spirit” was first presented in February 2007. One month later, after presenting it at the first Iron Sharpens Iron regional men’s conference in Springfield, Illinois, I was told point blank by a successful author, “You have to write this book!” I did laugh at him, but over the years after further development of the idea and discussions around the county, I am looking to do just that.
God has also opened a door – and then kicked me through it – to build support for Christian films. As a long time anti-Christian film guy, I might have needed a couple kicks, but am encouraged that instead of saying, “It was a good Christian film,” in many cases we can now truthfully state, “It was a good film, supporting a Christian worldview.” If churches and Christians know a film is coming, they will support it, and that is our goal through the Heart of Illinois Christian Movie Central. (HOI CMC Facebook page)
Out of our local efforts, the encouragement of various producers and directors led us to write a booklet about the importance of and how to start Regional Movie Ministries – with the goal of seeing 500 such efforts across the United States. (RMM Facebook page)
Through all of this, the most important ministry in my life is my family. I married my best friend, April, in June of 1996, after a couple years of denying we were more than friends. All it took was moving a few hours away to realize we were wrong. We started dating a month after I graduated, and were engaged just three weeks later.
God gave us Jordan in 1999, a young man with a heart of gold, a great sense of humor (we both like Brad Stine and Weird Al), and a daily reminder of that 1998 Promise Keepers theme that changed my life – “Live a Legacy.”
- Field Trainer for Man in the Mirror (www.maninthemirror.org)
- 2010 Recipient: 40 Leaders Under 40, Peoria area (InterBusiness Issues Magazine)
- Founder / Ministry Director, Men of A.I.M. (Action, Integrity, Maturity)
- Christian Movie Ministry- Heart of Illinois Christian Movie Central
- Part time, untrained Cake Decorator
(first cake from 2009 below)
- Fan of “Man v Food” and other food related shows. Invite issued to MvF to visit Peoria in 2011. www.carnediem.com (Unfortunately unsuccessful so far!)