For what purpose did God put you here, in this time and place? That’s what Kyle Justice, Emmy-nominated tv producer and Creation Science programming extraordinaire, asked Christian Worldview Filmmakers Guild attendees to contemplate at today’s general session.
He emphasized that all believers are put here on purpose for God’s unique purpose for one’s life. Justice highlighted Ephesians 2:10 to demonstrate, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God’s purpose for our lives doesn’t necessarily mean smooth sailing. God often uses difficult experiences to sift our lives and make us wholly dependent on Him before He reveals our ultimate calling or purpose.
Pointing to four examples in scripture, Justice explained how Joseph, Gideon, David, and Peter all had personal trials and sometimes significant delays in having their promises from God fulfilled. Joseph had to endure slavery, being falsely accused, and go to prison before God elevated him to be the leader of Egypt. God came to Gideon when he was hiding on the threshing room floor, and yet He called him, ‘O, mighty warrior,’ and used him to defeat Israel’s enemies. David was anointed as Israel’s next king at a young age, but endured years of fleeing from Saul before God installed him as king over Israel. Peter, whom Jesus called ‘the rock,’ endured the humiliation of denying Christ three times before God used him to lead the early church.
Justice assured us God’s still doing His good works through us today. When we surrender one area, then He pursues another.
“We’re all in process,” encouraged Justice. “How has God put a call on your life? Maybe you live in a certain area of the country. How is He orchestrating certain events? How is He giving you divine appointments? What good works does He have for you?”
He noted often God calls us to wait on the Lord, and it seems as though nothing is happening. He encouraged filmmakers to have faith that He is still working, even when we’re called to wait and cannot see His purposes unfolding as we had hoped.
Then Justice shared several crisis moments in his own life that God used to bring total surrender to His plan for him and his family. Justice and his twin brother Shawn, went to Jefferson High School for the Arts in Oregon and became a youth sensations in television production even as freshmen. His dream was to be a feature filmmaker like George Lucas.
“I developed a lot of pride. My identity was as a producer/director rather than as a follower of Christ,” Justice related. “My brother once said ‘We’re the best!’”
His parents found out quickly that USC film school was very expensive and his parents couldn’t afford to send them both at the same time. He ultimately attended Regent University where he also taught classes.
“It seemed like my dream was dying.”
Like David, it took him a while before God fulfilled his calling. Justice eventually went to work for Moody Bible, International Family Entertainment, and worked on syndication for the Mary Tyler Moore Show. He went independent in 1999 and did programming for the outdoor channel, ESPN, and broadcast sports. Justice was also nominated for an Emmy.
“Producing films may still be in my future, but for now we’re doing tv programming,” Justice concluded.
His work developed a crisis at home. He was producing one half-hour show every week for Action Sports cable network at the time, and he was making good money at it, but it required him to be away from home a lot. His wife asked him to prayerfully consider cutting back on his hours, fearing his two sons would grow up without really knowing their dad. Justice feared losing the work that was supporting his family.
“I decided to cut back, and God brought in corporate work. He began to fill in the gaps and I made good money doing corporate jobs,” Justice recalled. “I learned to trust God for my future.”
Then a crisis in business came a few years later. For a certain period of time, it was so lean, financially, that both cars were repossessed. On the same day, the IRS knocked on his door and sought the back taxes he owed.
“My wife asked, ‘you’re going to get a job now, right?’,” Justice reflected. “Was my dream now dead? I prayed.”
While only option seemed to go to work for someone else, he had a conviction that God still wanted Him to be an independent producer. He prayed with his wife about it. He eventually decided to stay independent. At the time, he was waiting to hear about a corporate job, when God came through and he got a check for $14,000 right away.
But he asked God ‘Why?’ didn’t you bring that check sooner, before we lost our cars and got in trouble with the IRS. We bought a used Volvo with cash, and he worked without a business vehicle for a while and pressed on.
Then a crisis of distraction came. He was offered a show that related to a ‘green’ (or environmentally friendly) economy. Though he justified it, his wife wasn’t comfortable with it. They showed him he could potentially make $150,000 a year.
“I could provide for my family, right? Isn’t that important, too?” Justice rationalized.
He accepted the job, despite his wife not being at peace about it, and then the wheels came off. A steady corporate client went away. The money from the green tv series didn’t come in.
God used Justice’s bible study of King Asa in II Chronicles to show him the error of yoking himself to so closely to unbelievers. Asa sought the help of heathen kings to join forces with him to defeat his enemies and it ended badly.
“God spoke to me in judgment that I had aligned myself with those who were not godly,” Justice recalled and pleaded, “Do not align yourselves with people who are not equally yoked with you.”
That’s when I said, ‘Okay Lord, my heart is fully yours now, and I may have to live with some consequences but I’m going to follow you now.”
While they eventually lost their home, God comforted him from that same passage in II Chronicles that promises to strengthen those who are committed to Him. That’s when God revealed his real path for Justice and his family.
Eventually, Justice started filming the Awesome Science show with his son Noah in 2010, using some footage from a family fishing trip. In 2012, he was planning to self-distribute it, when Masterbooks (affiliated with Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis) offered to distribute it and asked them to do more episodes. It turned into a series, and now he and his family produce creation science videos, documentaries, and kids’ shows, including licensing programs for networks.
“It’s not just me doing this, we are doing this as a family,” Justice pointed out. “We travel together as a family, and each of my kids get involved in production…we’re doing this as a family.”
He marveled at how God took him from his wife pleading with him to be with the family more, to now spending time with his kids and doing the work together.
A lesson for filmmakers comes from Esther 4:10. Justice asks as Mordecai did, did God put us here, “For such a time as this?” With the incredible advances in and accessibility of technology, equipment and with new ways to distribute programs and film, Justice encouraged Christians to redeem that and use it for the glory of God and encourage the church.
He warned of these common pitfalls:
- Being unequally yoked with unbelievers
- Comparing oneself to others
- Losing your first love/partial submission vs total submission
- Getting sidetracked
He encouraged filmmakers to write and post a mission statement so that you can refer back to it and filter every project through it. Drawing from the parable of the talents, he encouraged the audience to be focussed on what they’re doing with His gift to them, and asked ‘are you burying it?’
He concluded by reminding them to go and make disciples. Film is a tool, but doesn’t replace our mission to bring others to Christ.
“God is looking for those whose hearts are fully His — no reservations.”
written by Terri Hall