Introduction for Phil Vischer -The Gathering 2011

On Thursday night, I quoted from 2 Timothy 1 and Paul’s admonition to keep our special gift stirred up: God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. Sometimes boldness becomes distorted and the flame of the gift consumes not only the person but those around them. I think that is part of Phil’s message to all of us in his book, Me, Myself & Bob. Some of our failures are private and well hidden and some, like the failure of Veggie Tales, are painfully public. To take a small company and experience revenue growth of 3300% or from $1.3 million to $44 million and put Veggie Tales on Inc. magazine’s list of fastest growing companies is a thrill. But, as Phil says, “unprecedented success is extremely difficult to manage because it is unprecedented.” And then to see that company overextend itself and spiral down into bankruptcy and later being sold was like the loss of a family. “To Lisa and I it felt a bit like our children were being put up for auction.  Like we’d lost the family farm, and now the neighbors were all coming over to see if they wanted to bid on the kids.  It hurt.”

Many people never make it past failure or they live the rest of their lives fixing the blame on others. Many are so demoralized or beaten they never try again. Not Phil. In Run With the Horses Eugene Peterson writes about Jeremiah after the fall of Jerusalem. Jeremiah chose to start over with a remnant. He chose faith and trust in God. He chose the rubble. I would say that is what Phil has done. He started over and that is the real story for tonight. It is not a story of great things but, as Mother Theresa said, small things done with great love. All of us can learn from the experience of Veggie Tales and all of us can be encouraged and inspired by Phil’s new chapter in the story of his life of faith.

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