In 1981, I was working as the art director for one of the largest and most successful advertising agencies in Houston, Texas. Every day, I faced the challenge of generating original graphic concepts that could be produced within our clients’ budgets and time frames, concepts that would succeed in selling their products. I remember looking down at the blank sheet of white layout paper on my desk each day and feeling the constant pressure of quickly coming up with something from virtually nothing, and searching anxiously for the right inspiration.
At twenty-one years of age I had already reached my goal of becoming an art director, and was working successfully at my “dream job.” I thought I would have felt fulfilled once I reached my goals, but I still felt an emptiness in my life and that was puzzling. I traveled home to Pennsylvania to visit my family and to reconnect with my high school friends, thinking maybe that was what I was missing. But it didn’t take long to see that my old friends hadn’t matured at all beyond the games we used to play in high school, and I didn’t miss those.
On the trip back to Houston, I felt that empty feeling emerging even stronger than before. It didn’t seem logical to me that this could be all that life is about. With many thoughts swirling around in my mind, I suddenly blurted out, “God, I know there must be more to life than this! Please show me what it is!” Looking back, that was the first time I had ever prayed to God in that way, like I was speaking directly to Him. It was a short prayer, but it was sincere and from the heart—unlike the habitual repetition of the prayers I learned in the church I attended as a youth.
I purchased a Bible that looked easy to read, and began to read it. It provided some comfort, but I could not understand much of it. So I focused on the Gospels, because the message of Jesus Christ was pretty clear to me. The prayer I had uttered and my believing action to start reading the Bible must have been enough for God to open a door for me, because it wasn’t long before I was witnessed to by a Way Corps minister.
One weekend, I was out dancing at a local honky-tonk, country-western dance hall, when a waitress walked over to the table where I sat watching couples circling around the dance floor. I had noticed this particular waitress before, because she really stood out from the other waitresses. She had a bright, happy smile, she was a diligent worker, she was always so friendly and helpful to the customers she served, and she kept all of her tables clear and clean. As she approached, she put her hands on her hips and peered at me as if I was pitifully sad and abandoned. Shaking her head, she smiled and said the most amazing thing—“Don’t you know, there’s more to life than this?” Startled, I sat up in my chair and just stared at her. How did she…?—that was what I had just prayed about recently! Still confounded, I replied, “Yeah…what?” She laughed, waved her hand at me and said, “Oh, never mind, you wouldn’t understand,” and walked off.
There was no doubt in my mind that God had sent her to help me, so I tapped her on the shoulder several times that evening to ask her what she was talking about. The first couple of times, she reacted much like she did to my dazed reply, “Yeah…what?” Eventually, she must have perceived some sincerity in my tone of voice, because she turned around, looked me in the eye and said, “It’s God!”
Wow! I was electrified! That was another validation of the godliness of this woman and God’s involvement in this situation. I replied, “I’ve been reading my Bible lately.” To that, she laughed in disbelief and challenged me by asking, “OK, which one?” as if perhaps I would not have a clue on what to answer. I replied, “Good News for Modern Man.” That got her attention. She seemed impressed that I was actually reading a Bible, but unimpressed with my choice, and with all confidence and boldness she said, “Oh, come to my fellowship, I’ll teach you the Bible!”
It took a few weeks due to my busy work schedule, but I did make it to her household fellowship, where I met her husband and children. Soon the room was overflowing with excited, smiling people. When the fellowship began, I was immediately impressed with the way this group of people prayed with their understanding, from the heart. It was the first time I ever heard the manifestations of speaking in tongues, interpretation, and prophecy operated. I remember that the messages were so comforting, edifying, and inspiring. They were amazing!
Later, she taught about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the Book of Daniel, chapter 3. She taught like she knew the record by heart, with boldness, confidence, and authority. The teaching was in-depth and penetrated my heart. I learned vividly that day about the law of believing and what an impact we can have when we believe God. I saw how deeply those three men loved God and were so committed to keeping Him and His Word first, and how God protected and delivered them. I wanted to be like them and to have a relationship with God like they did.
After the fellowship, I told her that I had some questions about God and the Bible, so she led me out to their patio, where we sat down in lounge chairs that she positioned face-to-face. She opened her Bible evenly in her lap, folded her hands on top of it, and said, “Okay, what are your questions?” I thought, “Is she really able to answer my questions right out of the Bible?” As I posed my questions, she efficiently turned from scripture to scripture and gave me answers by reading verse after verse after verse and letting the Word speak. I was amazed that she knew where all of those truths were and at how clearly and simply she was able to explain spiritual truths I had wondered about all of my life. I felt as if I drove home on a cushion of air that night and never missed another fellowship.
That night I had met a group of people who really understood and lived the Word of God and walked in the love of God. It was clear to me that they had tapped into something special. It was also clear to me that they were all as committed to God as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and they were as bold in their witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God was living and real in them, and I could see that the spirit of God worked in them mightily.
It wasn’t long before I was sitting in the Foundational Class, where the Word of God set me free in so many ways. By the end of the class, it dawned on me that the heavy weight of past hurts, bitterness, resentments, condemnation, and many other negatives that had weighed me down for many years had all been lifted and were gone! My heart felt so light! I felt so liberated and free! It was like a new beginning! I recall how exciting it was to begin learning to walk by believing, to walk in God’s love, to walk with no fear—to walk with my mind renewed to God’s Word, and to be at peace.
No longer did I have anxiety and fear when I faced those blank white sheets of paper on my desk at work. Now the inspiration flowed easily and effortlessly. I could see that God was prospering my work as I applied His Word on the job. I grew from just trying to survive day to day on the job to having full confidence and the ability to reach out to help support others.
That was thirty-five years ago. During the last thirty-five years I have even had the joy and privilege to serve God and His household as a Way Corps minister on Staff at The Way International Headquarters. I have a beautiful wife and wonderful children who all stand with us in the ministry. I have indeed discovered from this ministry that taught me God’s Word just how much more there is to life—the more abundant life that Jesus Christ came to make available, and I’m enjoying that every day!