This is a story that I have not really told a lot of people, about how I have had the opportunity to work with an well known, Christian, international speaker and author. The story begins back in January of this year with an an email that I sent. Before we get to all that though, let me give you some background information.
Dr. Mark Virkler
Mark and Patti Virkler have been married and active in ministry since 1972. Both received their Bachelor degrees from Roberts Wesleyan College and have also earned Master and Doctoral degrees. Together they have co-authored over 60 lamad-style books in the areas of hearing God's voice and Spirit-anointed living. They are the founders and directors of Communion With God Ministries (www.cwgministries.org) and Christian Leadership University, an internet school (www.cluonline.com). Mark travels extensively conducting workshops on how to hear God's voice and how to experience divine healing. They have helped establish over 150 church-centered Bible schools. Their grown children, Charity and Joshua, are active with them in ministry. (This description is from his author profile on Amazon.com). Here is a list of Books by Mark Virkler.
Some Background Information
Like I said, this whole thing started back in January when I sent him an email. However, the background to this story starts further back. When I was a Junior at Bethel College, I read Mark Virkler's book, Dialogue With God . This book drastically changed my life, as it taught me how to hear God's voice! One of the reason's that this book had a large impact on me, was how I learned to hear God's voice. As I would read the book, there were exercise's at the end of each chapter. As I would do the exercise's God would teach me things that would happen later on in the book. Let me explain.
Once while I was trying to hear God's voice I had a very difficult time overcoming some obstacles. However, one of the things that the Lord did, was He showed me how to overcome these obstacles. After this happened I read the next chapter. The topic for the next chapter was on overcoming obstacles. Then Dr. Virkler proceeded to outline the exact steps that I had taken, in order to overcome the obstacles I was facing in hearing God's voice.
The very first time that I sat down to journal what I felt the Lord was speaking to me, I felt very clearly that the Lord said, 'I love you.' To which I replied, 'Is there anything else that I need to know?' Then I felt like the Lord said, 'No.' Well that was a very short journal entry, and it was my first one, so to me, even though it was what the Lord was wanting to share with me that day, I was a little disappointed. That was until I read one of the later chapter's in the book. Dr. Virkler shared a testimony out of a journal entry of one of his previous students. His journal entry was EXACTLY LIKE MINE. VERBATIM! Well, when someone else has the exact same experience that you do, that validates your experience. This type of thing would continue to happen to me. The Lord would say things to me or teach me things that the book would bring up later. This validated my experience and the book. This gave me confidence that my experience was real and legitimate, I wasn't just making it up. Here is a video by Mark Virkler on the 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice.
How Did I Come to Work With Mark Virkler?
At one point I strongly considered taking some classes at Christian Leadership University. Since I was very interested in taking classes I spent a lot of time on Mark Virkler's websites. At the time I found them informative but hard to use. In January of this year, after checking out his websites again, I found them the same as I had before. While reading on one of his site's I felt like the Lord told me to email him and offer to help him redesign his websites. While this may sound awesome, I am not a professional web-designer, nor do I have any training in this area. I am self taught in some aspects, but let's be realistic, no international author is going to want help from some nobody who he has never met is he? So I didn't send the email. The next day I felt strongly that I was suppose to email him, since this impression had not gone away, but had even gotten stronger, I felt like it was from the Lord and I needed to do this. After all, the worst that could happen was that I would either not get any response at all, or to be turned down from someone whom I had never met.
One of the hard parts about emailing Mark Virkler was not explaining my qualifications, it was telling him why he needed his site redone. This is what I emailed him,
'To whom it may concern,
First of all I wanted to say that I love your ministry and specifically the book Dialogue With God. I have recommended this book and given it as gifts many times. Recently I spent some time at your website and found that there was an abundance of information but sometimes it's hard to use. I hope this doesn't sound to aggressive or forward, but the last couple of days I have really felt like I should email you and volunteer to help you redesign / update your site. I am currently unemployed and looking for work, so I currently have the time to work on it. I really just want to help you out and am not looking to make a bunch of money (though if you wanted to give me some books or something in exchange I wouldn't say no…). I am not a professional web designer, but on my own time I have built some sites, you can view my blog here: DiscipleshipGuy.com, I have a community site called myChristianConnection.org that should be available to see soon, as another example of my work.. I have no idea if your interested or not, but I just thought I would let you know'
That was it. He emailed me back the very next day and said he would love the help. He had hired a web developer, they were using a software called Drupal, and to keep in touch because they weren't quite ready yet. I emailed Mark once every week or so for about a month, and then he was ready for my help.
Helping with the 'Communion with God Ministries' Website…
The great thing about the web is that it is accessible from anywhere. So, for several weeks prior to moving to Indiana I began working on moving a bunch of content over to the new site they are developing. I worked on the menu structures, building content pages, and creating product pages for the store, as well as customizing the itinerary page.
Not only was Mark Virkler gracious enough to offer many of his products available to me for FREE, but he also ended up sending me money as well for my time and efforts. At one point we were talking on the phone about how everything had transpired and he said to me, 'Matt, we really feel like you have been a gift to us.' When he said that it really touched me. My name Matthew means 'Gift from God', when Mark said that to me, he was really re-affirming to me, that this truly was God who had set this up.
Recently, we got to a point where it didn't make sense for me to continue spending time developing the website until the web developer finished some other work. So while I am currently not working on this site, I did want to update people on what I had been doing. It meant the world to me to be able to help Mark Virkler on his website. I was able to talk with him on the phone about many topics besides just the website. I am also hoping to get to meet him at one of his event's this year. We actually have quite a few things in common. But one thing that I really wanted to share was this: Out of all the people in the world, out of all the messages that we as Christians receive, to me, the most important thing is hearing God's voice. And the foremost authority on this topic is none other than Mark Virkler. I think it's absolutely awesome how God works in our lives in even the small things. Allowing me to spend time working with a top author in a topic that is more important than any other to me, show's God's goodness. I don't know if I will continue working with him or not. I don't know if what I have been able to help with will turn into a full time position (like he had talked about at one time) or not. What I do know is that I really appreciated the opportunity to work with him, and it was only possible by the grace of God.
P.S. Since the new site is not finished, you won't be able to go see any of my work yet. Hang tight, the new site should be fully complete and running sometime around the middle of 2011.