Jesus Billboard - The Calling


JesusBillboard The Calling

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I’d like to share the story of how The Lord called me into this specific ministry of carrying the cross, and how He likewise led me to build this website to go along with it. This was not an overnight call nor acceptance by any means. In fact it was close to a full year in the developmental process. He knew that it would take at least that long to prepare me both mentally and spiritually, and also that long for me to build all of this. (I figure I’ll get plenty of physical exercise along the way)!

Let me be the first to say that this IS NOT a publicity stunt for sordid gain or personal promotion, but simply an obedient response on my part to a divine calling that the Lord Jesus Christ BEGAN dealing with me about back in 2013. The call very simply put “leave it ALL behind and follow ME! Walk and share the gospel. WHERE? When He first introduced this to me I didn’t have a clue. HOW? No clue on that either. After looking back now I think it would be fair to say that the first time I sensed any call whatsoever it seemed like nothing more than a noble ambition or maybe just a simple test to see whether or not I would even entertain doing such a thing.

Little did I know that in April-May 2014 that same spark that seemed like a test a year prior would turn into something that consumed me non-stop. I couldn’t think about anything else no matter how hard I tried. It was in my thoughts all day long. I went to bed thinking about it and woke up with it right there to greet me every single day. By this time I knew that The Lord was ready to do something and meant business. He literally EXPECTED me to put everything else on the back burner and pursue that call.

After a 2 week wrestle with Him, and inner turmoil as to what anyone would dare think if I even mentioned doing such a thing, I finally said OK Lord I’ll do it though very uneasy about it. Matthew 16:24 began to bombard me. (Luke 9:23 and Mark 8:34 say the same thing) “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow ME”. Yes I am aware that under normal circumstances this is not a literal verse, but strangely for me this time it was. I said Ok Lord, I’ll build a cross and carry it if that’s what you got in mind, but where to? I remembered seeing a man walking down the highway with one when I was in high school, so maybe I could do the same thing!

Dallas, Texas of all places seemed to play repeatedly on the inside of me kind of like something that gets stuck in your head. I couldn’t shake it. Why Dallas? I had no idea. I have no natural ties there whatsoever. I was however confident that I had heard the Lord in my spirit correctly regarding the destination. Time would soon confirm that with 10,000% certainty. You’ll see what I mean shortly!

With Dallas being the objective destination, getting there meant that I would have to walk right through the middle of the first 3 towns where EVERYONE knows me or knows of me. If you think that doesn’t make it all the more appealing then I advise you to think again! “They’ll all think I’ve gone crazy” (and rightfully so), but they will definitely know that God can and will save and use ANYONE! (MY CASE IN POINT)! If He can save someone like me then there is no doubt hope for you, I don’t care who you are. Paul the apostle sums it up perfectly. 1 Timothy 1:15 states, “It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. That Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost of all”.

With the mission at hand certain, and convinced completely that it was time to start progressing towards it, I told my wife about this wild venture to Dallas carrying the cross. Just like the account of Abraham and Sarah in the bible; (when God told him what He was getting ready to do), my wife likewise laughed and told me I was insane, forget about it, and that it was not going to happen in a round-about way. I think the words even came out “I’ll leave you if you dare attempt it!” It sounded so true! She wasn’t ready to be guilty by association with the biggest nut in the Texas Panhandle.

Feeling like a scalded dog, I purposed to tell everyone I ran across about what I now knew the Lord was calling me to do. Maybe a little payback to her for helping me feel like a fool! Every time she ran into someone she’d have to hear about it. I did just that. I started telling people about it at random and the secret mission was spilled publicly. (Here is where it begins to get interesting, and the calling to unfold with unsurpassed confirmation time and time again). The very week I told my wife about this wild venture, I received a phone call within 2 days from a pastor friend of mine who was living in Amarillo, Texas. We hadn’t talked in a while but he would call every few months or so just to check in and see how things were going. Shortly into the conversation, I said Bill, let me tell you about something I believe the Lord wants me to do. I told him that I felt that I was supposed to carry a cross from my hometown to Dallas, Texas and I wanted to know what he thought about it.

His response was this, “You know that’s funny you should mention such a thing because I’ve got a huge cross in my garage that someone left at my house with a wheel on it! It’s old and worn and if it won’t work build another one. The person who left it said they didn’t need it anymore. They knew that I was a preacher, so they left it with me thinking I might have a use for it. I’m heading your way in a day or so I’ll bring it to you”. COINCIDENCE? Maybe so, but what are the odds? I’m guessing not very-good!

Our conversation ended and 3 days later I have an 11 foot cross lying in my front yard with a wheel on it! It sat under my carport for months so that I’d have to look at it every day for inspiration. But that’s not all. As if this incident wasn’t clear enough, I seemingly needed more proof. I remember praying: Lord you know that I am willing, or so I think, but just to be sure I’m hearing you correctly will you give me some further clarity and some more proof that you really intend for me to do this? Or better yet can you give me something to prove to my wife that YOU really intend for me to do this? Dew on the fleece type of stuff, for those of you who know the Word. His response could not have been clearer. Multiple times He did just that. Crazy things just like the cross incident above continued to happen as I went about my daily activities from this point onward. Here are some of those examples.

#1- A co-worker and very good friend of mine ended up working with me for a few days on the same job site; not long after the cross was delivered FREE OF CHARGE to my front door! We rode to work together to save gas and visit. We decided to go get breakfast prior to beginning our workday at the donut shop in my hometown. I knew the owners, and knew them to be Christian people. I had ordered at the drive up window many times before, even had gone in and ordered, but had never sat down in the dining area since they took over this business location.

As I sat down I looked straight ahead across the room, and covering the wall was and still is a huge picture of a man carrying a cross. The exact image I had imagined so many times up to this point. COINCIDENCE? Maybe, but I’m beginning to doubt it at this point. What are the odds? Especially in light of the cross scenario earlier. So now I say “Ok Lord I’m with you, laughing inside, but what else you got”? This next one got me! And it’s what has kept me devoted and inspired to keep going when it gets tuff. I think about it every-time I begin to feel uncomfortable. It is where the 10,000% Certainty comes into play that I spoke about a little earlier. The timing or the message could not be any more profound!

#2- I go to work a few days later. Upon arrival, I reach up and turn my Sirius satellite radio on to Family Talk Channel 131. Ed Young, a nationally syndicated radio preacher comes on and begins to preach a message on sexual integrity. Nothing I felt I needed to hear, and tempted to change the channel, I decided to ride it out a little longer. I totally was not expecting what was fixing to come out of his mouth within 30 seconds.

He says and I quote him word for word, “How far would you be willing to walk to be free? Would you be willing to walk from here to Dallas”?!!!! Luckily it wasn’t lunch time else I would have choked to death. COINCIDENCE? I’ll let you answer that for yourself. I know the answer as it pertained to me. Especially in the time frame of the previous 2 things that had recently happened. That literally broke me and I told GOD OK! Clear enough! I literally spent the rest of the day totally dumb-founded as you might imagine.

#3- As if numbers 1 and 2 weren’t enough. God had more! On a very random day a couple weeks from then, I decided I’d go to the local lumber yard and just see what kind of wood they had available. By now I’m confident I might need to start making some preparations. I met with a young man and he showed me what kind of wood he had across the street, and I asked him how much it weighed? Told him I didn’t want anything too heavy you know. He says oh no but you want some good strong heavy wood if you’re going to build a barn or something. I said look here! I’m not building a barn, I’m building a cross and I’m going to carry it on foot 300 miles down the highway. Only then did he see my point!

Once he knew my intent he began telling me that he knows someone locally who would probably gladly build it for me. Our conversation ended shortly after, and as I was backing out of the parking lot, wouldn’t you know the guy who he’d been telling me about had just pulled in. Before I could get away, this young man I had been visiting with was coming out of the store and insisted I visit with him. COINCIDENCE? Maybe so, but I doubt it. Just one more pat on the back from God above urging me onward. Letting me know He’s got all the details lined out and boosting my confidence along the way.

I went ahead and entrusted the task of building the cross to the company this man worked for and left it in their care checking in periodically to see how it was going. To my surprise nothing ever progressed. Every time I checked in it seemed to get pushed back a few days. Things went on like this for 2 months. Ultimately the wood that was ordered to build the cross was lost in transit and never made it to them. (Let me say at this point that I know some of you are thinking to yourselves) “Well I thought it was a God thing or so you say? Why didn’t it work out just perfect with no issues”? To you I say “Go read the Bible Jack! It’s filled with stories of obstacles that come out of the wood-work when someone takes a step of faith to do what the Lord has called them to do. My case was no different and worked out perfectly still! God was just harmonizing the time table and setting me up for what happened in the next few days.

#4 - I started looking everywhere for 4x6 cedar wood which was the recommended material by my first carpenters of choice. They recommended it due to its’ weather tolerance, being as light weight as possible for my specific application, as well as the specific dimensions I needed for putting on large enough letters for someone to be able to see. I literally called every lumber-yard within a 150 mile radius to no avail. I checked everywhere but one small place that I figured wouldn’t carry it anyway.

After all other options were extinguished and a few days had passed, I gave it a last ditch effort and called the place that I was so quick to write off earlier. Turns out they had just what I needed all along, and a lot of it. It was at a small lumber yard 15 miles away in the other direction. When I got there to pick it up, a carpenter friend of mine from my original hometown just happened to be there also buying materials for himself. He had his trailer parked right in front of the wood I was wanting to buy. (Oh-Ya)!

I asked Him if he would haul mine for me with all his stuff since we both were going the same direction anyway. He obliged and we loaded it up. I informed him that I would stop at his house later and pick it up. He took it straight to his wood shop and insisted that I use all of his tools and shop free of charge to build the cross! COINCIDENCE? You be the judge of that one. I certainly didn’t think so.

In fact it was at this time that I KNEW The Lord would have me to build my own cross. All the hardship that I had faced previously in trying to get someone else to build it was none other than Gods’ way of working out all the details in His time and own special way. If it was going to be my cross that I needed to take up and follow Him with, then it truly needed to be my cross. What better way to make it mine than to build it myself which was a step of faith in and of itself. I’m a country boy and have good common sense to figure anything out; but in all honesty I had never done wood-work that amounted to anything. (That was the real reason I wanted to pawn the project off on someone else initially).

The Lord reminded me that Noah had no ship building experience prior either. Rather he just began and the Lord guided him along the way. I did just that as well; other than some minor help here and there. I think I safely had at least 50 hours invested into building the cross alone spread out over a period of a couple months. Where would I get 50 hours of free time to build it and another 300 hours of building and editing this website 40,000 times before I was convinced the Lord was satisfied with it? I’m glad you asked! It’s what makes final divine intervention example # 5 the grandest finale of all.

#5 – I was an owner-operator truck driver by trade during the winter months. Key word I WAS. Right up until December 22, 2014. I ran this small trucking operation for 8 years hauling cottonseed and cotton bales on a dedicated contract that I had with the same place every single year. I was a heavy equipment operator the rest of the year. The specific trucking operation that I ran is not your average 9 to 5 Monday through Friday Job by the way. It is 7 days a week around the clock doing as much as you possibly can just to stay caught up for 3 to 4 months straight all hours of the day and night other than sleeping here and there just to go some more. I was right in the MIDDLE of my 8th season of operation and covered-up when I felt that The Lord wanted me to get busy building the cross.

About a week prior to Christmas my wife informed me that I needed to go to Amarillo with her and do a little last minute Christmas Shopping. Although it would no doubt put me behind I obliged. I had a good helper driving my other truck and I asked him if he knew of anyone who could drive (My Baby) just for the day? Turns out he did. To make a long story short I didn’t even make it 45 miles towards Amarillo before the phone rang and I was informed that MY pride and joy had just had a catastrophic break down!!!! I’m talking upwards of tens of thousands of dollars type of engine breakdown.

I had gone through this before with my other truck years back and had grown accustomed to shelling out tens of thousands of dollars in the trucking industry over the years on things that go along with the territory, but this one really left me in a foul spirit to say the least. I had just purchased this truck right at a year ago. It was my 3rd one, and I had all the maintenance records on it, even an authentic $30,000.00 engine repair manifest which had been done at a credible dealership stating that it had been done within the last 2 years prior to my buying this truck.

By this time I had had enough. I prayed out of curiosity (Knowing the Lord had called me to carry the cross) Lord Will YOU relieve me of all of this headache to follow YOU? He did just that!!! He relieved me of almost $100,000 worth of equipment in a deal that was struck within 24-hours, culminated in full 45 days later. He gave me what I needed to buy me entirely out yet not a penny more without bankers being involved in the transaction whatsoever. The only role they played in this deal was fully collecting on all bank notes that I owed upon, and likewise freeing me up the time that I would desperately need to heavily pursue this mission endeavor. Call it what you will but only God can orchestrate a deal like that and see it through all the way to the end problem-free. It was a serious progressive step on my part in leaving it all behind to pursue what He’s called me to do. That’s how I arrived here pursuing this call.

In closing, The Lord inspired me to build this website to be able to reach as many people as possible. After all, everywhere you look, people are constantly on the internet in some sort of fashion. I wanted to give them a place to turn to should they need to call upon the Lord and not know how. He shared it to me in the following format. “Create something that utilizes exactly what it claims to be. A WEB-site. A literal WEB that catches people for ME. Bait it with a crazy person carrying a 12 foot cross down the highway (Yes, That Would Be Me), Fill it with an easy to understand approach to the gospel message, (THE 8 FACTS) and turn it loose.  Be sure and check them out!!! They’re the reason I built all of this!

How did I arrive at the domain name? I like to think God had His handy-work in that as well. Honestly it was a random toss up of 4 different names that I thought sounded cool, and would match the mission objective. I wrote all 4 of them down on a piece of paper and left them for a few days. It was imperative that Jesus be glorified and lifted up supremely and not myself or anything or anyone else. The more I thought of the name, the more vision I gained both short and long-term for the ministry endeavor. Turns out it was the only name that was left that was not already taken out of the 4 when I conducted a random name search. Go figure! In light of all those initial guidelines, 2 Specific scriptures were the guiding parameters that basically picked the name and sealed the deal when I combined the thought behind both of them. They are listed here below.

2nd Corinthians 3:2-3 NASB reads as follows -“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts”.

Romans 12:12 NASB “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship”.

In light of those two scriptures I think it’s safe to conclude that our lives are a constant BILLBOARD so to speak, being read by everyone around us countless times a day, whether we realize it or not. The message we portray is a direct reflection of what resides on the inside of us. “Lord help me to present my body as a living sacrifice. A walking, talking, breathing billboard for YOU! A Jesus billboard that inspires many others to wear their faith proudly and win souls for your kingdom AMEN”.

Jesus Billboard - The Calling

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