Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Who Am I to Think I Can Change Anything

Have you ever had a discussion with someone that had the potential to change the direction of your life? For good or bad. If you haven’t, I guarantee you that at some point it will happen. And the thing is you might of heard the same words or statements from other people in the past, but this time its different. Somehow the words went to the heart and made an impact on a very personal level. You will have a choice to make, continue on your pathway or abruptly change your course.

A few years ago, I remember having a talk with this guy that utterly shook my world. He was a total stranger, and I don’t even remember his name; however, I do remember that he held a major position within a well-known Christian organization. We were talking about the media and how Christian could make an impact in Hollywood. His words still haunt me today.” How do you think you are going to change Hollywood? How can you have a positive influence in media and entertainment when it seems that you have very little to work with?” Perhaps, from his perspective, I must have seemed crazy.

I was attending a banquet in an old church ( Old St. George in Cincinnati ) that had been converted into a ministry center. A few months earlier I had left my job and founded a media ministry and moved into the basement of Old St.George. This gentleman I was talking to was sitting at my table and had just finished a tour of the building. He asked me what I was doing. I told him I worked in the building, and I had founded a new ministry called Victory Videos.

We were planning on launching a media and training ministry for the development of future media missionaries. We had recently acquired air time to launch a new show on our local ABC affiliate, Channel 9. I also told him we were in the process of building a studio in the basement of the building. I’m sure he could hear the excitement in my voice as I said that we wanted to change culture by producing positive and uplifting entertainment with a Christian message. It’s then that he made the above comments and gave me a look I will never forget. I looked at me as if I was an alien with three eyes. I’m sure he was thinking there’s no way you can change anything or make a difference. He had seen my space. He knew it was a makeshift studio at best with little equipment.

I don’t remember how I answered his question. I’m sure I said something like with God all things are possible. To be honest with you, my confidence was shaken. Maybe he was right. How could I change anything working out of a 130 year old church basement, 2,500 miles from Hollywood with no money or resources? I don’t know if this guy had given up. Maybe he thought the problem was just too big and too complex. Perhaps, he was right. No one person can make a difference. The odds are too overwhelming. Who was I to think I could change anything?

I had a decision to make. Do I move forward or throw in the towel? I know I heard from God to start this ministry. But this guy was right. I had nothing. The next few days were pretty rough, but I was determined to not let this guy talk me out of the decision I had made. So I pressed on. And I learned something along the way. First, you just have to show up and make yourself available. Second, you’ve got to believe that it’s possible to change things. In other words, YOU can make a difference. If you don’t believe this, nothing is going to happen. And, finally, you just have to let God move. Just be a conduit and let Him use you.

Victory Videos went on to do amazing things. We aired on 15 networks and over 200 TV stations worldwide. We had hundreds of e-mails every month from people being impacted by our broadcast. Many people who went through our training program are actually working in Los Angeles as well as elsewhere in the media and entertainment industry. Maybe the best way I could have answered this guy’s question was to say I realize I can only have so much influence and I can only change so much. But if I have influence on one person, that one person can have influence on people that I don’t have access to. That’s how we can make a difference.

We never really get to see the big picture or the influence we really have. It doesn’t make it less true because we don’t see it. Today, I want to give you a word of encouragement. You can make a difference no matter what obstacles you face. And don’t listen to the people who are telling you it’s impossible to change our world.

Whether you work in the media or film industry or any other job, let God use you where you are planted. See your workplace as a mission field. I encourage you to adopt a missional lifestyle by building trust, relationships and friendships. I’m convinced we can change our world by living the principle that Jesus has taught us. We just have to believe it’s possible.

I’m glad I didn’t listen to this guy all those years ago. Trust me. I was discouraged. But I picked myself up because I still had faith that I could make a difference as long as I wasn’t doing it by my talents or in my strength. Don’t stop believing because belief is all we really have.

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