Very soon after arriving in Dallas I met with the Sky Ranch Board of Directors. They assured me the engineering for the lake and utilities had been completed and the conceptual plans for the buildings for this camp/conference center were being finalized. The Board of Directors said they would take the responsibility for the funding and construction of the new facility. My responsibilities included the program, equipment, horses, publicity, camper registrations, staffing, the development of the non-existent conference ministry – and to be available for special fund raising events.
Deadline? Five Months!
The specialty of the architect, who had prepared the camp/conference plans, was country clubs. The main lodge was very beautiful, inside and out. Included was a gathering area with a big fireplace, the dining room and meeting rooms. This was a sealed building which required continual air conditioning or heating. It would be an incredible building for upscale weekend retreats, but I could not imagine campers using this building when coming in dirty and sweaty from soccer or horse back riding.
I have a vivid memory of waking up early many mornings and going into our living room and getting down on my knees to open my heart to the Lord. I realized I was a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also realized I was to live under earthly authority unless what I was told to do would cause me to disobey God?s directives. Two examples of this principle from the New Testament: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” Romans 13:1-2 “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17
I had to keep reminding myself that I was not responsible for the decisions which the Sky Ranch Board of Directors made. My responsibility was to do what I was told to do with a good attitude. I pleaded with the Lord to give me wisdom as to how to approach the Board, people I really did not know, and tell them I believed the present plans were unsuitable for their intended purpose, thus implying that the time and thousands of dollars spent on them had been essentially wasted. As I shared with the Board my concerns with the present plans, they began the process of coming up with new plans – continually looking to me for suggestions. The days and weeks were slipping by. To complicate the situation, it became obvious there were few significant contributions. Funds available? Essentially $500,000 of borrowed money. The next question became – Chuck, what buildings are essential if camp is to be in operation on June 1? Soon the Board asked me to assume major responsibility for fund raising. I had no experience with fund raising.
I began to struggle with frustration and bitterness. “Lord, I am woefully inadequate to do what the Sky Ranch Board is asking me to. Lord, help me to be calm. Lord, I am totally dependent upon you to guide me, to guide the Board of Directors.” I knew that if this ministry was of the Lord, He would have to act and the pieces would come together. If this was not of the Lord – it was over!
We must all live under the authority of God, of the government, and, for most of us, the authority of a person or organization. Living under authority is part of doing God’s work in God’s way.
Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, said “God’s work done in God’s way never lacks for God’s supply”.
Our responsibility is to understand our part in God’s work – and how to do this work in a way pleasing to God. These we must do! The supply end is God’s responsibility.