The Big Picture

18 Years A.D. (After the Death of a calling)

Nick Saban. Herchel Walker, Don Shula, Kenny Stabler, Joe Namath, Michael Waltrip. John Daly. Jane Seymour. Evander Holyfield. Lee Trevino. John Croyle. Michael Irvin.

All the names above are people that have stood in front of my camera and posed for photos. Some of them, (Nick Saban, John Daly, John Croyle, Evander Holyfield, and more) spent an entire day with me and my cameras.

Then, when I left photography the first time, I worked for a design house. One of my designs was sold in the Stadiums at the World Series. You could also walk into college football stadiums all across the country and buy shirts that I designed as well.

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“Cool story Bro, but what does that mean in the scope of eternity?”

NOTHING. ZERO. NADA. When it comes to eternal matters, all those pictures rank somewhere around a steaming pile of dung (to borrow a phrase from the Apostle Paul).

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ… ~ Philippians 3:7-8

 

2 Years B.C. (Before Creative Day Jobs)

I remember standing in front of a congregation when I was 18 years old and announcing that I was “called into full time ministry”. I packed up my things and moved onto the campus of Southeastern Bible College. I was actually there at the same time as our pastor. We didn’t know each other at the time, but we were in the same program headed toward the same goal. Bruce graduated and as you well know, is now our pastor. I, on the other hand, was unceremoniously booted out of school on my kiester. Believe it or not it wasn’t because I had hair to my shoulders, or because I walked around campus barefoot, or because I treated class times and dress codes as suggestions instead of rules. I was working full time and going to school full time and it took a massive toll on my health. The dean of students gave me an ultimatum, “Withdraw from school or I’ll kick you out for your own good.” So I packed my stuff and moved back home. A short time later I was on the road as a full time sports photographer.

When I announced I was called into ministry, I believed it 110%. I not only believe it 110% now, I’ve believed it the entire time I’ve been making images/designs to feed my family. I’ve believed it the entire time I’ve traveled the U.S., Mexico, and Canada for work. I’ve believed it the entire time I’ve seen people in the streets wearing my designs on their shirts. I’ve believed it every time I’ve seen my work in a publication. For 18 years, I’ve not only believed it, I’ve secretly been miserable.

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WHAT ABOUT MINISTRY?

I’ve played in countless christian bands, have helped lead worship at roughly 3 quarter bazillion 5th quarters/lock-ins, and I’ve also been a guest speaker to youth groups and churches on many occasions over the years. Those things are all well and good, and they have been my identity in service for many years. Because of that, some of you will want to try and convince me I’m wrong when you see what I say next.

No matter how much music I play, or how many times I preach/teach, it will never be the way I am best equipped to serve the church.

I know the credit for anything good that has ever come from the ministry I’ve been involved in belongs to God. I’m incapable of good on my own and any abilities I do have come directly from Him. Don’t get me wrong, I can serve in those ways, and would be foolish not to be used by in those areas when the church needs someone to fill those roles. But…

Neither of those things is my vocation. I don’t play guitar every day. Most weeks I only pick the thing up for practice on Wednesday, and for service on Sunday. I speak from the pulpit on much rarer occasion. I would hope no-one considers me terrible at either, but I know for sure I haven’t mastered either skill.

Photography, videography, and design ARE things I do every day of my life.  They are things that (unlike music and public speaking) I feel I have at least some level of mastery. So why has it taken me 18 years to understand that I can use my vocation to not only feed my family, but impact the kingdom?

I feel like a total and complete idiot for not putting those skills to use in ministry earlier. I’m writing this meandering confessional to the church because I wonder if maybe, I’m not the only one who needed to figure this out.

It’s not even some mystery that needed unlocking. It’s plainly written in scripture.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. ~ Proverbs 16:3

John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. ~ John 3:27

Refer back to my story about getting kicked out of bible college when considering my abilities as a biblical scholar, but when John says “even one thing” it sounds pretty all inclusive to me! If God has given us the abilities that allow us to do what we do for 40 hours a week earning a paycheck, why would we not find a way to put those abilities to use for kingdom reasons too?

In my case, I’m making media for churches to use in their services and outreach programs. I’m making a movie about foster care that will be a tool for churches and individuals to use in helping form their own orphan care ministries.

Is making an announcement video for service really of great importance in the scope of eternity? I don’t know. I doubt it. What I do know is that it’s more important than any commercial work I’ve ever done. Look at that list of names at the top of this post again. I’m proud of my secular accomplishments, but think about it. All 18 years of that work is less important than any single announcement video I’ve done for a Flint Hill service.

Our daily life, including our time at work IS ministry. We have an opportunity if we so choose to be an example of Christ to our co-workers and everyone we meet throughout our days. But our service shouldn’t end when we punch the clock on Friday afternoon.

  • Let’s say you are really mechanically inclined. Why not offer to do something simple like change sister so-n-so’s oil every 3 months so it’s easier for her to continue taking meals to our shut-in’s?
  • The girls of Tis’ So Sweet are a great example. When they cook meals for the staff, or for another life group, or take food to the homeless, they are making an impact on eternity.
  • When Casey Bly donates a photoshoot to one of the mothers from Save-A-Life, she is making an impact on eternity.
  • When you volunteer to work at the Grace Place for a day, you are making an impact on eternity.
  • When you offer to come help clean or maintain the church facilities so the staff doesn’t have to hire anyone to do those jobs or let it carry them away from ministry tasks, you are making an impact on eternity.
  • When you volunteer your organizational or leadership skills to help the youth go on a trip or do an activity, you are making an impact on eternity.

You could make an exhaustive list from the biggest jobs to ones that seem like insignificant and small task and even those small tasks begin to add up to souls after a while.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. ~ Proverbs 19:21

For a long time, I refocused the purpose of my life on my creative work. I photographed and dined with celebrities, had my work published and saw it hanging in stores all over the country. NONE of it made me truly happy, and NONE of it mattered in terms of eternity. The next straight forward 30 second announcement video I help make will. God gave me any gifts and abilities I have. I’d be foolish not to search high and low for ways to use them to His glory. My new day job doesn’t put me in the path of celebrity every day. It doesn’t take me to many exotic locations and my work is only really seen by architects and engineers now. Half of my job has nothing to do with creative work but I’m happier and more content than I have been for nearly two decades because I finally understand what “full time ministry” REALLY means.

Take stock of your own gifts, talents, and abilities. Figure out how your vocation could apply to helping the local church or it’s members. It doesn’t matter how small or how insignificant you think your contribution would be. If we all do the same it’s not only logical, it’s biblical, we will have that much more of an impact on eternity



Support Flint Hill Kids!

Flint Hill BC Silent Auction for Kids Camp

Mrs. Meghan and her helpers in the children’s ministry are preparing for our first silent auction event. The goal is to raise money for the big kids’ trip to Centrikid Camp this summer. Centrikid is a well established Gospel-centered ministry that has been a tremendous resource for Flint Hill families in discipling our kiddos. Our church leadership believes this is very important for each of our older children (grades 3-6) to attend, and doesn’t want anyone to be left out due to financial obligations.

Mrs. Meghan and parents will be taking 21 precious Flint Hill kids to camp at Shocco Springs this July…that’s just four months away! We need your help! Please help us serve the children of Flint Hill by participating in our very first Silent Auction! Our goal is to raise $2000, which would help make Centrikid a reality for those kiddos.

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Mrs. Meghan believes that Centrikid Camp is a vital part of helping our children grow in their relationship with Christ. There is much fun to be had at camp, but Mrs. Meghan’s favorite part by far is “seeing the kids worship together, raising their hands, and tears coming to their eyes as they realize the magnitude of God’s grace and their need for Him in their lives.”

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Let’s get these kids to camp, church! See Meghan Handley to donate items or volunteer, and come to the church on April 18 (9:00am-1:00pm) and April 19 (8:00am-4:00pm) to bid on all the wonderful items that have been included.



Flint Hill Ladies: Our Best Yes

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Busy-ness and stress and anxiety and the inability to do it all (or sometimes, it feels like, having the capacity to do ANYTHING) plagues our society, but especially targets women. We ladies struggle with a lot but multitasking is the name of our every game. We are like an internet browser with 30 tabs open all day long.

Many of our ladies at Flint Hill have enjoyed taking part in the “Best Yes” life group on Wednesday nights (book by Lysa TerKeurst). We have discussed the biblical basis of wisdom and practical ways to pursue it. We have commiserated on how underspent and underwhelmed our souls are feeling in this season of life. We have worked through a biblical foundation for decision-making and why we shouldn’t consider EVERY assignment OUR assignment. We have talked about how we should consider if, when, and how to say “no” to opportunities that come our way, and how to flavor our attitudes of service with grace as we pursue wisdom through excellence in the seemingly mundane bits of life.

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Ultimately we have taken a shovel to our lives and have dug down into the marrow of why we say yes to the things we say yes to…and how to say no to the wrong things, so that we are free to say yes to the BEST things God has for us. Together, we are learning to resist fear and anxiety about the decision-making process. We are learning to let our identity in Christ and His potential through us, as opposed to our fleshly insecurities, go before us into every moment of decision. We laugh together and we get all teary-eyed together, we talk through tough choices together and we dream together, we confess together and we have grown in wisdom…together.

Though the bulk of our study surrounded The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst (and along with that, various Bible stories and verses that have come up in our lessons) the book of Proverbs has also been a sidebar study of biblical wisdom. Taking pause each week to share and savor some of the best nuggets of wisdom that have spoken to our hearts has been everything from sweet to hysterical. Proverbs 2:1-6, however, has served as our mantra.

My son, if you receive my words

and treasure up my commandments with you,

making your ear attentive to wisdom

and inclining your heart to understanding;

yes, if you call out for insight

and raise your voice for understanding,if you seek it like silver

if you seek it like silver

and search for it as for hidden treasures,

then you will understand the fear of the Lord

and find the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom;

from His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

 

As we continue to reach for all the verbs in those verses, may the Lord meet each and every one of us with the true wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that can only come from Him.
*If you have not yet read The Best Yes, we highly recommend it. It is available for download on Amazon, and you can also borrow it from one of the “Best Yes” life group ladies who has already finished.