Without a vision of what could be, it’s hard to leave what has been. When the Lord provided the vision, I sold my wealth management business to live the vision. He also showed me that He could fill the hole in my life that I could not fill myself.
Twenty-five years ago, as an unbeliever, I found myself much more interested in the issues underneath the money, such as how fights about money are never about the money. However, I was in the money business. So, what does the average numbers-and-finance nerd do? He decides to merge money and psychology and try it out on clients. It was new, attracted national media attention, and actually helped some people, but the highs only temporarily filled the gaping hole in my life.
I continued to try to fill my life with other exciting experiences, but it wasn’t working. In 1998, three things happened at about the same time that led me to want to know about Jesus: I saw a fellow businessman pray about a serious business issue instead of figuring it out on his own, a brilliant minister pierced my agnostic armor with gut-punch challenges, and I saw God’s glory while fly fishing in Montana.
Early in my study of Him, I intellectually accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, but my heart was not in it. Shortly thereafter, my world started falling apart. A department of my business started losing lots of money. My father and my alcoholic mother moved to town—restarting the chaos in relationships that I thought I had left back home. This was followed by my mother’s death, cancer—the first time, three operations, divorce, two medical events with children, and more. Meanwhile, I was toughing it out at work since I was in control, right? NOT.
During this series of events, I moved from “woe is me” to “Lord, what are you trying to teach me?” With the next trial, I prayed to learn what God’s gift was in the tribulation. That change in my attitude started a process that ended with the biggest event of my life while in the throes of a second bout with cancer—my Elevator Ride to Damascus, during which I fully surrendered my life to Christ in April of 2008. Space doesn’t allow for a full description of what happened during that five-story trip, but I had never felt—nor did I understand at the time—the energy, power, peace, expansiveness, and a host of other indescribable feelings that happened immediately after my surrender.
I did not have a plan, but I’d begun a journey that would lead me to design a process to help people understand their purpose, how to fulfill it, and the specific actions to take. The secular, and even Christian, literature at the time just didn’t seem to be hitting both the concepts and the specific, custom-designed action to take. The Lord shook my wife, Nancy, and me up two more times while attending Brook Hills: the first, when hearing David Platt preach about mission, and the second, when attending Matt Mason’s Old Testament class.
The Holy Spirit took hold of my heart, and I started pushing hard on the Unstatus Your Quo® Process that had taken me years to develop and had helped clarify my own God-given purpose in life and how to take action to fulfill it. My first realization was that “What is my purpose, and how do I fulfill it?” was the wrong dual question. The enemy could not have designed a better question to take advantage of our self-centered nature and lead us off course immediately. It’s not about us. It is about Him.
Meanwhile, I was really struggling in my wealth management job. I felt convicted that I was helping multi-millionaires and much wealthier families become even wealthier, participating in a process that increased their sense of self-reliance and possibly added a stumbling block between Jesus and them. With this realization, “coincidental” good timing to implement my succession plan, and the vision that the Lord had given me, I sold the company to pursue the vision of helping Christians and those interested in Christianity learn how to live a fulfilled life for God’s glory.
I am now part of an organization that has helped many people, including pastors. They are growing in their Christian lives with the accumulation of tiny actions that incorporate their unique design by God—not just spiritual gifts. I’ve seen changed lives, men and women grow in wisdom, people experiencing fulfillment like never before, and reignited fervor for the Lord.
Finally, and for the first time in my life after starting a few organizations, I do not have a detailed marketing strategy laid out. Rather than follow the teachings of my MBA, I am trusting the Lord to lead me to Christian connectors and to send us clients who are dissatisfied, frustrated, fearful, and maybe even going through a painful experience in life. The Lord is providing and using a wretch like me.
Charlie Haines and his wife, Nancy, have been married since 2009 and have eight children, twelve grandchildren, and two dogs. They’ve been members of Brook Hills since 2013, and Nancy serves as a small group leader. To learn more about Charlie’s ministry, visit unstatusyourquo.com.