As I was in my prayer time last night pouring my heart out to The Lord and asking for discernment and guidance in our next season of life. I was reminded of where I was at 10yrs. ago this month. God did a miraculous work in His abundant provision by opening huge doors that allowed me to be in full time skateboarding ministry that developed me as an evangelist to this very day.
My hope is that the following short story will encourage you and strengthen your trust in The Lord.
I had just turned 23 and was already a few years into the crazy ministry tour life. We had a very professional type set up with a very large management /booking company out of Nashville, TN. Yes it was the one that probably booked all your favorite Christian artist in the early 2000’s. We were the premiere Skateboarding Ministry of the time with legit Pro’s/Ams and quality products. Our demos and presence attracted thousands of people to our outreaches. We were able to impact so many lives with the Gospel of Jesus that someday I hope to pen it all down in a book. In summer 2003, my good friend Jud Heald and I were touring like crazy and about to go on our first trip over seas tour to England. We had a little time off in July so we spent it at our ministry headquarters in GA. I remember a formal meeting was held with the leaders and some new guy who was “all business”. I remember this being the first time that I felt really let down and had that sort of helpless/confused feeling creep into my gut. It happened when we were told by those in charge that Jud and I would now only make 5% a piece on each demo/outreach we did from that point on. This ministry had a lot of great potential, but unfortunately it started to implode. One huge red flag prior to this meeting was when the original owner/visionary was no longer present. Many decisions that the new owners made were postured out of self preservation. I knew in my heart that God was leading me into a new territory but it was scary, because it was simply the unknown. People might let you down, but God will lift you up when you are seeking Him. Even though things didn’t make sense on paper, I always had every dollar needed to pay my bills. God is good! I still remember after that meeting, pacing the street in front of the house and asking God for solid direction. I knew a change was coming, and I didn’t have a clue on what I was going to do with my life. I always felt compelled to do my own demos individually and share some sort of message.
For the following, I am going to put the main highlights of each month that followed to demonstrate the power of the God I serve and love.
This all happened between June 2003 – February 2004.
Jud Heald, Dave Nelson, Jared Lee, Sierra Fellers & Myself left that ministry/company and started Untitled Skateboards! You can check us out today at www.untitledskate.com
We have team riders that are going into all the nations and proclaiming the Gospel!
My pal Jud Heald got me involved in making a ministry DVD called Livin’ It. The film was directed by Actor Stephen Baldwin and produced by the Luis Palau Ministry.
This DVD became in the years to follow the most widely distributed action sports DVD ever made. With a half million units distributed. This gave me a whole new platform to preach the Gospel from.
During the filming of Livin’ It in Portland OR, I met the love of my life while at a prayer meeting. Her name is Liz and we just celebrated 9yrs. of marriage this month. I am so blessed to have such an awesome woman of God as my wife.
This month was tough because I was in a holding pattern. Hind sight is always 20/20 🙂
I went back home to Missouri and prayed that God would somehow make a way for Liz and I to be together. Liz came to meet my family and stayed from Nov 19 – Dec. 13th “yep I still remember the dates”. I had a few thousand in the bank and no real residual income. I also had not a clue on how Liz and I would be together. In my simple thinking I just wanted to provide enough income, so that I could be with this woman for the rest of my life. I know it sounds mushy and crazy, but here we are 9yrs. later, madly in love with each other and Jesus 🙂
Just before Liz was flying back to Portland, I had an idea to call my new friend Kevin Palau who produced Livin’ It “yes the then VP now President for one of the worlds largest evangelistic ministries in the world” to ask for a job. BTW the Luis Palau headquarters is located near Portland. At this point I thought my Skating and traveling ministry days were over. I had turned Pro toured all over the US and I thought my time was up. Man, was I wrong 🙂
I remember getting off the plane in STL. after The New Year from a trip to Jamaica with KKSM. I checked my VoiceMail and there was a message from Kevin Palau offering me a salary and a job in the office at the Palau headquarters in Portland to help promote Livin It! A few weeks later
I arrived at the airport in Portland with just 2 duffle bags. Stephen Baldwin let me use his travel trailer to live in until Liz and I were married with our own place. It was parked and plugged into the Palau office building. I even had a little skating practice area inside the office. I was also provided a company car until I was able to go back to Missouri to get my own car. God is good!
February and beyond……
I woke up from a deep sleep while in my trailer one night, with a full message to be shared in front of people. As crazy as it sounds, I felt God impressing on my heart to go skate solo and share the Gospel of Jesus. I was clueless on how this was going to happen.
I believe it was the very next day when Kevin Palau arranged for me to do my very first solo speaking/skating event at a small Christian School in town. In the months that followed, I figured out a way to have a 30-45 min. skating/speaking performance in a small area on stage. Out of all the other ways to ride a skateboard, I always believed that freestyle flatland skating was much more appealing to watch to an average audience other than skaters. It was just perfect and I was made to skate on stages and preach Christ and Him crucified. Through all this, I quit my desk job at LPA in Sept. and continued flying around the US doing my own outreaches. I signed my first formal contract with RYC to manage my ministry in Nov. 2004. I continued to learn and grow as more and more ministry doors opened up. In all the years that followed, we have never come close to doing without. God is so good and He will always take care of our every need and beyond.
The rest is History……….
Today, even though I still have a busy schedule coming up and Liz and I are both healthy in our walks with Jesus. I find myself in a similar place of unrest. Writing this out really helped me to remember all that God has done and is doing in and through me. I would encourage you to write out difficult or transitional seasons in which you saw The Lord provide. There are obvious details that need no mention, but the sparks of memories from all these pivotal moments really ministered to me today. I pray that you allow God to minister to your heart as well, by the word of your very testimony to the glory of God.
Tomorrow Liz and I are on our way to the Dominican Republic. I will be skating and sharing the Gospel at a small festival this Saturday in Santo Domingo. Please pray with us.
All for Jesus