By: Richard Gazowsky
Probably the hardest thing for us to face in leadership is the realization that we have made a mistake. But God desires for us to confess those mistakes so that those working with us understand that we have chosen the will of God above our own reputations. This week I faced such a decision. I’d known about my mistake for the last few months, during which time God has been putting me under chastisement. Now He has told me it’s time to come to grips with it and explain to you how the mistake was made. I hope it will help you also clear the air and step back into the perfect will of God.
A few years ago I was just getting the revelation about asking God regarding everything I’m to do, and being careful not to commit the sin of presumption. For the first time I decided to put a major decision I was about to make before the prophets of God. The question was, “Should I get a loan on our business property in San Francisco and use the money to produce our first Christian film?” The Lord then showed me four prophets that I should bring to San Francisco. During a church service I put each prophet in a separate room so they could not speak to one another.
The prophets were brought into the main auditorium to give their word of the Lord concerning the situation. I had earlier made it clear that it was my desire to get the loan, but I wanted to know what the Lord was saying concerning the decision. I was surprised when the first prophet said, “The Lord said, ‘No. The loan signifies bondage.’” The second prophet gave a similar word. All four prophets agreed that the loan was not the will of God. Though I was somewhat embarrassed, I stood up and told the congregation that I would obey the word of the Lord and drop the idea of getting a loan to do films.
A couple of years later I brought in an accounting firm to computerize the church finances. Earlier the church’s mortgage on the building had been at an extremely high interest rate and we had since been able to lower it considerably. I had asked the Lord if this was okay to do and He said, “Yes, because it would make the payment load much easier on the finances.” After we finished the legal papers the loan officer commented that we were getting the loan for quite a bit less than what the building was worth. He then nonchalantly asked if I wanted to borrow some extra money to do something special with. He said it would not raise the payments very much.
That night I saw a particular sum in my mind and quickly made the assumption that it must be God who put the figure there. It was also around this time that I’d been approached by a German producer about his desire to seek financing for our movie company in Germany. He felt that if we already had a studio leased and were in early development of one of our film projects, it would be easier for him to pull major funding from the German bank, which was at that time financing many Hollywood films. “Wow”, I thought, “This is really God! It’s all coming together so perfectly!” But the trouble was, I was disobeying the word of the prophets when they said not to get any loan to use for movies.
To be honest, I don’t think I actually recognized I was about to make such a big mistake. The words of the prophets had been nearly two years earlier, so I kind of presumed (through my own strong will) that what had been said was no longer applicable to the current situation. Also, my desire for seeing our company progress fast in the film industry overwhelmed any subtle warnings that I may have felt. The money we borrowed easily took care of the expenses to lease an empty airplane hanger on Treasure Island. Before I knew it, we were working full swing on the island. I then flew to Germany and, with a business associate who lived there, went to the German bank that had just financed a major film in America. I made a convincing pitch for our film.
The meeting ended up being totally awesome because the German Bank quickly gave us a green light. But when I got back to San Francisco things began to sour. We found out we lost the German funding. Next was the studio. The financial situation became a very heavy burden for us to bear. We ended up going through years of financial trials. God slowly began unveiling the reason for the difficulties, but it wasn’t until the last six months that I actually saw the root cause. It was my presumption against God. The necessity of God revealing my mistake then became apparent to me. The smallest misstep can lead to great disasters.
Since the German fiasco, God has progressed us forward in many other areas in the film industry. But now we are extremely cautious that no presumptions are made concerning His will. At every step we are careful that every word from God is established “by the mouths of two or three witnesses.” We are constantly ready to answer before God and men when anyone questions our direction. I hope this helps you in your journey following Jesus. I’ve learned from experience that those of us who are strong-willed can easily slip into the sin of presumption, and therein lies great disaster.
God bless you and give you wisdom along your path to success.
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Richard Gazowsky pastors a church in San Francisco called The Voice of Pentecost, and is also president of Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks. He has directed the films, “Guardians” and “The Roman Trilogy.”