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Gently Leading, Still Proceeding...

Decommissioning, Repositioning, Recommissioning

November 27, 2017

Why did God lead Joseph and Mary out of Nazareth to Bethlehem? He was decommissioning them, repositioning them, and recommissioning them into His purposes. The journey was inconvenient in the short term. However, the long term for them and for us were out of this world.
I very seldom talk about myself in this article. But today I would like to share a segment from Redefining Rhema, my newest book with co-author David Lake, about my inconvenient recommissioning. Orchestrated by God, it transformed my life.
In 1974 God started repositioning me into my purpose and destiny. Twenty-four years old and equipped with a bachelor’s degree in personnel management, I was working as office manager for Grimshaw Mortuaries in Phoenix, Arizona. The company had sixty plus employees, four mortuaries, and one cemetery. I was the secretary of the corporation.
In March of that year, I had received Christ as my Lord and Savior. It was quite a conversion. Right away, I could sense that something was different. I immediately knew I was supposed to leave Grimshaw Mortuaries and start a new business. A print shop owner from my church mentioned a small book bindery he knew that was for sale. The owners were quite elderly and ready to retire, and the business had dwindled down to a few accounts. I knew nothing about book binding or printing. My vast experience in the industry was printing funeral folders at the mortuary.
I looked at another business, but there was something about the bindery that caught my attention. I was a new Christian, but this was the business for me. I wasn’t aware of it, but I had received faith from God for the purchase of that business. It wasn’t presumption or a wish dream; rather, it was a faith-infused utterance from God speaking presently to me providing illumination and direction. There was no doubt about it.
From that point on, it was done in Heaven. It just needed to be done on earth. We entered negotiations. And with the helpful eye of my father’s wisdom and business sense, I bought the business. That was the start of what is now Central Bindery in Phoenix, Arizona. I was twenty-four years old and had never been a business owner. I had little to no knowledge of the bookbinding industry. The one employee I hired as supervisor was a printing machine operator. The business was dying. The machinery was old. My main competitor was large, territorial, well-entrenched in the printing industry in Arizona and intimidating.
But I had one thing that trumped everything: I had God on my side (more accurately, I was on God’s side). I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t earn it. God gave me the opportunity to be part of what He was doing in my life and many other people’s lives also.
The first few years were interesting to say the least. What a learning curve! We built the airplane while it was flying. There were some spins and stalls. God had to carry us at times. I was under construction, and the business was under construction too. There was a whole lot of shaking going on. But after three years, everything started to come together. We moved from being deficient to being efficient, then proficient. We expanded and bought new quality equipment that had never been in Arizona. With God’s help, I unknowingly formed the greatest team of people I have ever known in the business world. They are still dear to me today.
By the time I was twenty-nine, Central Bindery was the largest book bindery in Arizona, with more than forty employees. The business was running as smoothly as any printing service business does. I should have been happy, right? I’d arrived—or so I thought. But something was changing inside me. Something was stirring. The season was changing. We don’t change seasons; we adjust to them.
Today, my brother owns Central Bindery and it’s grown even larger than when I owned it. Not only did the business change my life, but it also changed my brother’s.
What was the key to this? God spoke, and I listened to what He had to say. God was gently leading, still proceeding me to His dream, weaving me into His tapestry, repositioning, and recommissioning me. And that’s a beautiful place to be.
But wait, there’s more! Perhaps God has something to say to you too? I know so!

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com