The story of how God got ahold of this rural Ohio boy, who couldn’t keep himself out of creeks and woods, building dams and forts, it still fascinates me. To this day I still find myself metaphorically “getting my pants, socks, and shoes wet and/or muddy while I wade out into the water or woods” to build things. I look back and wonder how I ever received a full-ride college football scholarship (let alone graduated), married an amazing 19-year-old girl who loved the Lord and me, or how we spent 10 years in youth ministry, or never shied away from the journey of having a large family and being the proud owner of 15 passenger van. And then, one day I awoke to the conviction that the Lord uses business for His purposes and glory and that this is for the joy of all peoples. Business is a wonderful tool for engaging your faith in practical ways to serve and love others well.
My momma had asked me in the fall of 2006 to pray about being involved in a business she had started called Morning Star Fiber. I had never been trained in business, nor did I know anything about textiles. I was 33 years old at the time, had been married for 9 amazing years and Marghie and I had 5 beautiful children. I had been a football player at the University of Toledo and had received a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies. After leaving school in 1996 I had married Marghie, worked as a youth pastor in my home town for two years , only to move to Cleveland, Ohio for a year, and then Marietta, GA for six more years of youth ministry before moving back to my stomping grounds to work on a graduate degree in biblical counseling.
That summer I had already been helping momma out in the mill. She had asked me to help in sweeping floors and cleaning up on Fridays, fixing things that broke, helping finish large orders that didn’t get done that week, etc. Next thing I knew I was working there a couple days a week while serving as a worship leader an hour and a half away. That summer I had also finished my last semester of on-campus classes and only had my thesis to complete. Life was busy but it didn’t feel that way.
That’s when my momma asked me to pray about coming on full time. Honestly, I had no desire to do that. I was convinced that the Lord wanted me to get trained in biblical counseling and then move back down south and get involved in “full-time ministry” work somewhere. I would have never imagined that the “ministry” that the Lord had in mind was going to be in the field of small business and that He was about to take me to school and teach me specifically how the Bible instructs followers of Christ to love God and love their neighbors well through business. And for over a decade the Lord used business in what I’ve come to know as “the school of Christ” (it’s one of many) to train me and open my eyes to a fully engaged four-dimensional Christian life.
I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!Psalm 119:32
So there I was, over a decade later in the spring of 2018, with a nagging football injury to my hip that was making it increasingly difficult to be on the floor 8-10 hours a day. You can imagine my confusion, as I was doing something that I had grown to wildly love and trying to make heads or tails of it. For over two and a half years it had become more and more obvious that this hip was going to become an issue. For several complicated reasons, it wasn’t as easy as just going and having hip replacement surgery. So I was intensely asking the Lord about this new transition. What was it? Why had He spent the previous 12 years teaching me business only to pull me out of it? It was during that time that he impressed upon my heart to teach others what He had taught me from the Scriptures. The more I pondered it, I realized it was yet another way to love God and love my neighbors well. But where did He want me to start as I came alongside to encourage and strengthen craftsman in their creative work?
That’s part of why I started this blog. I ultimately want to write a book about it. But this blog is helping me work out my thoughts onto paper. And your feedback and questions will help me to process through this better. In all of this, the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that the Lord places a love in your heart that removes all fear and instead replaces it with a deep abiding love for Him and others. The fear of failure is gone and the reality that the Lord has redeemed you for good works that He’s prepared beforehand to walk in becomes this fountain from which joy springs!
What the Lord developed in our hearts while working at Morning Star Fiber was this reality that God was making all things beautiful, which laid a great foundation from which to build off of. In much the same way, The Master Crafted is a company which sees how God is inspiring other craftsmen from all walks of life to engage in true joy-filled business. All of our consulting services and products are derived from this foundation. This rock solid foundation recognizes God wants to make our joy complete. It identifies Him as a wise master-builder, who by design placed Christ as the cornerstone and through the Holy Spirit inspired work of the Apostles and Prophets he completed the foundation. I came to know God as the Master Craftsman, and that we are His workmanship created for good works, which the Master Craftsman prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. [Ephesians 2:10]
Each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made by God in this way. This reality of a creator thinking things through many millennia before they physically take place is the epitome of something being Master Crafted. And it is within this framework, that Master Crafted views all of who we are, what we pursue and how we do it.
My hope is that this perspective will provide you with the opportunity to generate an ongoing business that is free from the fear of failure and firmly plants you on a foundation of redemption in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand for you to walk in. And it would be my pleasure to walk alongside you for a season to discover together the inspiration of your joy-filled business through Him for the blessing of others.