I know this article will sound crazy, but it’s all true…and I hope it blesses you.
Seeing the news about Pat retiring from The 700 Club today reminds me of a story I have only shared with a few people…until now.
I showed up on the doorstep of Regent University in the summer of 2002 to embark on a Master’s degree in Cinema/Television.
Regent is the graduate school that Pat Robertson founded in the 70’s. It’s located on the same campus where The 700 Club is filmed. It was common to see Pat driving around campus…I saw Jay Sekulow on a regular basis. I picked up Ben Carson one time from the airport. I produced a student film with Pat Morita (Mr. Miyogi). Mel Gibson showed up to screen his movie The Passion of the Christ before it was released in theaters. Peter Engel, the creator of Saved By The Bell was even the Dean of my school.
I was not a big fan of Pat Robertson at the time.
I don’t really know why, other than he was old and seemed a little kooky. I was an Al Franken fan…Franken had impersonated Pat Robertson on SNL in the 80’s. He was an easy target. And in his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Franken picked apart Robertson’s “words of knowledge” segment where he prays live on The 700 Club television show and shares information about the people he’s praying for. On campus, it was easy to make fun of Pat, the old guy.
I graduated in 2004, degree in hand, ready to conquer the world. I left Regent for Louisville where I got a job producing television news for WLKY-CBS. My salary was $13,000. “Is this what I went to school for?” I thought.
After about a year, I switched jobs to start work doing video production for Southeast Christian Church, the 4th largest church in America. It was a great job, with really great people…but my starting salary was only $29k per year and it didn’t take long to realize I was in big trouble. I had $72,000+ in student loan debt and couldn’t afford the payments. I was literally eating Ramen.
6 years passed…
I had worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. I spent almost every waking hour at church. I volunteered to work on as many extra things as I could. I networked with more people than I can count. I attended meetings with hundreds of people…it was a busy season of life.
But, I had come up short. I was still eeking by. Everyone else seemed to have nice million dollar houses and brand new cars – beautiful families, fashionable clothes, dream vacations, the newest iPhones and gadgets…one day I even saw a huge boat parked in church staff parking lot…
“What am I doing wrong!?” I shouted to myself. “I want a boat too! But I can’t even afford new underwear!”
Obviously, I was never going to pay off my debt if I didn’t do some side work. I tried everything, but it all seemed to flop. I lost $11,000 trying to put on a ministry conference with my friend. I spent $10,000 publishing a book that flopped. I broke even on a $9,000 Tim Hawkins event. I had an idea to put on an event called “Louisville Success” in the legendary Palace theater downtown and feature the most famous Christian people from Louisville sharing their testimonies. I had Denny Crum, the famed basketball boach…Pat Day, the Kentucky Derby winner… Wesley Korir, the winner of the Boston Marathon, and more. The event cost $29,000 to put on and I would have lost everything had it not been for two local Christian businesses that bailed me out (Drexler Plumbing and Bachman Auto Group…thank God for them wherever they are). The harder I tried, the more people at church I upset and the more money I lost.
I was finished.
I wanted to curl up into a ball and hide from the world. “How could I be so stupid?” I thought. “Why was I even trying?”
At then at that exact moment, the worship leader on staff gave me a good undressing and said I didn’t belong in ministry and that I should have never even been given my job. That wounded me more than anything I’ve ever experienced. I cried my eyes out. The executive pastor (who drove a Porsche) chewed me out, too. Urgh. I was obviously not understanding how I was supposed to work for peanuts and pay off my student loan debt at the same time.
I secretly wished I would get shot, hit by a car, or die in my sleep.
A man who worked for Pat Robertson randomly showed up at the church.
He took me out to lunch. I explained my problem. I loved working in ministry, but was drowning in debt. So much debt that I never thought I would have a real life. After lunch, in the church parking lot he stopped me from walking and said “I want to pray right now that your student loans and all your debt would be taken care of.” No one had ever been that kind to me. He proceeded to pray exactly that. I thanked him. He left and I’ve never seen him since.
Immediately after that prayer, I was asked to resign, which is a fancy way to say I got fired.
This sent me into a deeper depression. I could barely get out of bed. I honestly wished I was dead. I had worked so hard, and sacrificed so much time and money serving in ministry. And, now I was being cast out, a complete failure. Six years wasted.
The morning of my last day of work, I decided to go in late. I turned on The 700 Club for some reason while I was ironing my clothes and drinking coffee.
I NEVER watched The 700 Club. I don’t think many 32 year old guys were watching.
Pat began to pray. He proceeded to say (as best as I can remember),
My jaw dropped.
How was this possible?
I knew they were always praying for people’s health issues. But, this was totally different.
I got teary eyed. Did Pat just prophesy about me?
Suddenly, I had total peace about everything.
I went to work with a bounce in my step. I was happy and I didn’t even know why. I had a strange reassurance that everything was going to be okay.
Here’s where it gets even stranger…
24 hours later, I had $17,000 in my bank account. 6 days later, I had $139,000 in my bank account.
No, Pat didn’t deposit money in my account.
What had happened was something so crazy, you can’t even make it up.
You see, I payed $50 to have a website made to sell some of the resources my friend and I had made for Children’s Ministry over the past 6 years. The website went live at NOON on my last day of work. I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. I figured I should at least try one last thing before I would be forced to move back home to live with my parents.
The #1 blogger for Children’s Ministry shared a blog post about the deal. Over 1,300+ people ordered from the website in the first week. I had absolutely no idea that my new company would be launched into the stratosphere a few hours before I finished my last day!
Poof! Long story short, I wrote a check for $72,000, the entire amount of my student loans and wrote checks to pay off all the other debts I had.
I was 100% DEBT FREE!
The prayer the man had prayed for me in the parking lot set into motion events that would change my life forever.
And, Pat’s word of knowledge for me was right. Everything really was okay!
I began to support CBN after that. I received DVDs and CDs in the mail with teachings from Pat and his son Gordon, that helped guide me through the first few years of building my business. One particular CD I received from Gordon actually inspired me to move far away from home to spend time in solitude for a year. After I did that, the business exploded even more.
Thanks to wisdom I learned from both of them, my company was a huge success. I celebrated over ONE MILLION orders, and in 2018, Salem Media bought my company and I retired from working for money.
The lessons were clear. Never give up. Trust God. Keep moving.
I’ve had people contact me wanting to know how they can replicate my success and get rich. The only problem is this isn’t a story about making money or getting rich. This is a story about being faithful day in and day out for over a decade. There’s no hack or secret sauce.
And, I still drive a Honda. I don’t own a boat, and I live in a small apartment. But, I do have new underwear…finally!
I Was Wrong
I’m embarrassed that I was judgmental of Pat…and that I used to make fun of him, like so many other people do. God forgive me. God forgive everyone else, too. They have no idea how faithful Pat has been, how wise he is, and how much work he has done helping people around the world.
Anytime I mention Pat Robertson, people make jokes. They fail to remember Pat is 91 years old and has been on television for 60 years. He even won the Iowa primary for President of the United States! None of us would have ever made it! But, he did.
I’m so thankful that I took a leap of faith to attend Regent in 2002. And, I’m so thankful for that man from CBN who showed up to pray for me. And, I’m so very thankful for Pat and Gordon Robertson’s hard work and passion for reaching the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Well done Pat.
Article written for Stuff Christians Know by Nevan Hooker
Nevan graduated from Regent University in 2004. He built a publishing company that was acquired by Salem Media in 2018. He is now a full-time investor who lives in Las Vegas with his dog Arizona.