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"The Garden" Art of Faith: The 14-Year Documented History

"The Garden" Art of Faith: The 14-Year Documented History

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"The Garden" Art of Faith: The 14-Year Documented History

Lunghezza:
1,160 pagine
16 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Dec 23, 2020
ISBN:
9781734671148
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

This is the true story of angels, demons, miracles, signs, wonders and a vision given to a man and woman called by God to build a "type" of last days tabernacle in the Texas Hill Country.

Today, The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden is filled with 2.25 million dollars' worth of sculptures donated by three artists. This "Texas Tabernacle" presents 77 Bible verses, etched in stone in a "Path to Heaven". A seven-story, Corten steel landmark named "The Empty Cross"™ is recognized by many as the most symbolic cross sculpture in the world.

God is manifesting His power at this free art park 365 days a year, located on IH-10, halfway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, at the same latitude as Israel. Over a hundred thousand guests a year are drawn from across the world to the supernatural Garden.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Dec 23, 2020
ISBN:
9781734671148
Formato:
Libro

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"The Garden" Art of Faith - Max Greiner

CHAPTER 1

(1951-2001)

The Story Before the Story

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,

plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

JEREMIAH 29:11

WARNING: THIS BOOK MAY BE HAZARDOUS

WARNING: This book may be hazardous to your world view. I am not sure I would believe this story if I had not lived it. This is not fiction; it really happened to me, my family, and my friends. Our story is proof the Bible is true. It is not unlike the amazing testimonies found in the Bible. Millions of Christians around the world are living similar miraculous lives. However, most Christians won’t share their supernatural testimonies for fear of ridicule, rejection, or retaliation.

This true account will challenge your philosophy and theology. I don’t worry much about criticism. The older I get, the less I worry. So, I am going to tell our whole truth, so help me God, because it has eternal implications. I have documented in my Prayer Journals supernatural activity in our personal lives every day since 1989. Therefore, this book may be hazardous to your worldview. It is not my fault.

DESTINY

God knows the destiny He desires for each of us (Jer 29:11). We each are uniquely sculpted for His purposes (Jer 1:5). However, unlike inanimate objects, God has given humans freewill. We are like God in that we can choose, and we can love or hate. Our choices and the choices of others (good or bad) have a great impact on us. God desires that we choose His plan for our lives (Eph 2:10). Before we were in our mother’s womb, God gave us a destiny (Ps 139:13). He gave us the DNA, gender, skin color, talents, intellect, and many other attributes necessary to fulfill His plan. God allows education, training, and life experiences to move us toward our destiny.

In my case, God made me an artist. He trained me at the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University. After practicing architecture with the Architects Partnership in Dallas, I learned about commercial illustration, graphic design, packaging, advertising, promotion, persuasive writing, and public relations working for an international archery company. In 1977, my wife Sherry and I moved to Los Angeles, California, to work for Jennings Compound Bow, Inc. At the age of 28, we moved back to Texas to follow my dream to live in the woods and make art. We would learn that our life experiences, good and bad, would be used by God to prepare us for our destiny (Eph 2:10).

I personally believe when God was designing Noah’s Ark and the Ark of the Covenant (Eph 2:10), He was also designing The Empty Cross™ and The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden—a 24.5-acre Sculpture Prayer Garden built atop a 1,930-foot hill overlooking the Texas Hill Country.

By the grace of God, like the Tabernacle artist, Bezalel (Ex 31:1), the LORD prepared me and filled me with His Spirit to do His God-ordained work (Ex 31:3).

BORN ON THIS PLANET

Despite what some have claimed, I really was born as a little baby on earth in December of 1951. My parents, Max G. Greiner and Bobbie Sue Greiner, set the course of my life. By the grace of God, I had wonderful parents like the ones in the family TV shows of the 1950s, which I watched as a child. My dad taught me and my three younger siblings about honesty, integrity, hard work, and respect for others. He cultivated a love for nature, which I never outgrew. I can’t pass a striking sunrise or sunset without taking a picture. I have always appreciated natural beauty and good design in any form. My dad taught me how to tie a square knot, build a campfire, pop a bullwhip, hunt, fish, and shoot. Both my paternal and maternal grandfathers taught me by their words and example how to be a masculine man while being gentle enough to catch a butterfly, stalk a deer with a bow and arrow, love my wife, and play with our daughter when she was little.

My mother and grandmothers encouraged my artistic gifts. God made me right-brain dominant, so I excelled at anything creative from the earliest age. I was building things, drawing, painting, and sculpting as far back as I can remember. These great ladies supplied me with lots of art and crafts materials during my formative years. I remember doing only one paint by Numbers oil painting as a very young child and quickly abandoned it for a blank canvas.

By the age of 12, I learned taxidermy from a mail correspondence course. My grandmother, Eunice Greiner, was the only person willing to help me master taxidermy. At the time, I did not realize I was learning important lessons about design, anatomy, structure, texture, composition, gesture, and color. During my middle school and high school years, my spending money was generated from my taxidermy hobby, which I greatly preferred over mowing grass in Port Arthur, Texas.

As a young child, I loved to make things such as wooden battleships, forts, slingshots, and bows and arrows. My favorite toys were art supplies and models. My architectural inclinations first expressed themselves with building blocks, Lincoln Logs®, an Erector Set®, an Etch-A-Sketch®, and a Lionel® train set. I created elaborate scale model scenery and buildings, all made from scratch. For some reason, I had absolutely no interest in team sports, which I could not explain to my father, a football star at Texas A&M University, lettering all four years as a guard. He was a respected leader and served as team captain, graduating in 1951. I have a Christmas photo of me as a two-week-old baby, wearing a Texas Aggie jersey and holding a football.

I never wanted to chase a ball or play board games either. Instead, I wanted to make something, or chase rabbits in the fields and forests with my slingshot, or bow and arrow.

I was the oldest child in our family, followed by my sister Carol and two brothers, Mark and Michael. We were all loved, trained, disciplined and encouraged by our parents. They told us to follow our hearts and use our God-given talents. My parents did not force us into their dreams. We were exposed to everything good but not forced into anything. Mom and Dad didn’t smoke, curse or chew, and we never saw them drink alcohol as children. They were not perfect, but they set a great example and provided a nurturing home. They taught us that the most important things were: God, family, friends, and country. I made a public profession of my faith in Jesus Christ by myself at age 7 at Calder Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas, during summer Bible School in 1959. I still have my first little Bible. At the time, I remember promising God that I would pray at least once a day for the rest of my life. I kept that promise.

As the first-born, I can remember the financial challenges my young parents faced, as my dad began his financial career in Beaumont. Our house had no air conditioning or carpet. We never ate out. I remember lots of spaghetti, stew, cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. Soft drinks were a luxury.

My parents could have forced me into their dreams, but they did not. Instead, Mom and Dad observed I was a creative child. God put large amounts of imagination in my DNA. Thankfully, my parents wisely encouraged all four of their children to pursue their own God-given gifts and talents while exposing us to most good things in life, including pets, sports, music, art, reading, adventure—and Jesus.

LAUNCH PAD

I loved creating things. I don’t remember ever being bored as a child playing by myself. I was always making something or exploring the nearby woods. When I was 8, I begged my mother to let me to take art lessons instead of piano lessons with my younger sister Carol. There I learned the fundamentals of art and design after school one day a week from a real artist, Rita Allen of Groves, Texas. While other kids were still using crayons, I was mastering charcoal, pastel, watercolor, oil, pen and ink.

The Boy Scout program allowed me to expand my love for nature and all things wild. At age 11, I was inspired by an 18-year-old Camp Bill Stark summer camp staff member named Floyd Broussard. I respected his skills and integrity. I grew up in Port Arthur, and I went through the Boy Scout ranks with my best friend, Michael Scott McWilliams. He would eventually be my roommate in college and Best Man at our wedding. We are friends to this day. We earned the rank of Eagle Scout by age 16 and attended the Philmont National Scout Ranch. The following year, Michael and I went together to the 1967 XII World Jamboree. We came of age as America was dramatically changed by assassinations, drugs, rock and roll, free love, the space program, and the Vietnam War.

DREAM GIRL

When I was 13, I painted a small 4-inch tall watercolor face portrait of the most beautiful lady I could imagine. I asked God for a girl who would bowhunt, canoe, carry a backpack, and still look like a girl.

In 1970, God answered that prayer. I spotted a beautiful young girl named Sherry Sorgee at Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur. She captured my heart the moment I saw her. Twelve years later, I would marry the brunette in my prophetic painting. Sherry has followed me up and down the mountains of life ever since—and probably more than once wanted to turn around.

Throughout high school, art, archery, and Sherry consumed my time. We had so much fun that we saw no need for drugs or alcohol. My most inspiring high school teachers were Lionel Rowland and Rouel Rothenberger. With their assistance, I formed the first high school archery club in Port Arthur. I also taught the first high school class in taxidermy in the afternoons, and I became the editor of the school’s art and literary publication Ebbtide. I became a published author my senior year when Bow & Arrow magazine featured my story about shooting a six-foot-long alligator gar with my bow and arrow. I was paid $100 for the story back in October of 1970. Many more magazine articles would follow.

COLLEGE YEARS

I grew up hearing the axiom that all artists starve, so I earned a design degree from the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University (TAMU). When I arrived at TAMU in the fall of 1970, I could already write, design, draft, build, draw, paint, and sculpt. In addition to architecture and landscape design, I studied fine art, photography, jewelry, graphics, clothing, and product design.

Two architecture professors—Rodney C. Hill and Alan L. Stacell in the Environmental Design Department— loosened the lid of my imagination jar. These superb teachers encouraged me to explore the limits of my imagination. They opened my eyes to my own creative potential, removed my self-imposed limits, and greatly expanded my understanding of timeless design. At TAMU, I was tagged with the nickname Mad Max because of my bizarre art projects.

After my college graduation in 1974, Department Head Alan Stacell challenged me with this statement which I never forgot: Max, you have as much natural talent as God has ever given anyone. It is up to you what you do with it in your life.

In 1976, I put out a fleece (Jdg 6:11) to see if God wanted me to spend my life making architecture or fine art. At the time, I asked Professors Hill and Stacell to write Letters of Recommendation for me to the University of California Architecture Graduate School at Berkley.

Stacell wrote in part: I can tell you that Max Greiner, Jr. is a volcano of imagination. I make this observation with reference to hundreds of design students I have seen over 16 years. If there was a scale of physical and mental energy output, Max could be the standard by which others are measured.

Hill penned: Max has the most fertile imagination I have ever run across, bar none. He is refreshingly frank, honest, and unencumbered with game playing.

At 26, these words from my two favorite college professors would challenge me for the rest of my life to do my very best (Heb 13:7). God provided many caring teachers and mentors in my life to ensure that I reached my destiny. For this, I am forever grateful.

During my college years, art, design, archery, and Sherry were my passion. While in College Station, Texas, I met life-long Christian friend, Jim Beard, at the Brazos Bowmen Archery Club in 1971. Jim was older, wiser, and bigger than me. I learned things from this Methodist about archery and God I never knew before. I heard God speak personally to me for the first time while on a 1976 bowhunt for black bear and elk in the Idaho mountains. That was the beginning of a great friendship with Jim and a much richer relationship with the Holy Spirit. God would use Jim and his wife Darlynne to minister to Sherry and me throughout our married lives. These wonderful Methodist friends helped us Baptists reach the next high place with God.

THE WEDDING

Knowing we were getting married in four months, Sherry rented an apartment in Irving, Texas, so she could take a job as a junior high school teacher. I moved back into my parent’s home in Irving after college graduation and commuted to my first real job, which was making architecture in Dallas for the Architects Partnership.

Sherry and I were married on August 16, 1975, in the woods near the small town of Woodville. My parents owned a weekend retreat with a small lake on 116 acres of Piney Woods in Southeast Texas, located one hour north of Beaumont. Sherry and I designed our wedding ceremony, invitations, rings, and wedding cake—a three-layer, surrealistic cake was a kitsch piece of art, which I designed with Sherry’s apprehensive approval.

After the ceremony given by Dr. Raymond Parker of Woodville’s First Baptist Church, Sherry and I climbed into our freshly decorated 4-wheel-drive Chevy Blazer and headed north for a three-week honeymoon in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Our first week was typical except that we attended the 1975 biannual Pope & Young Archery Banquet in Boulder. That night, we met many of our bowhunting heroes, including Fred Bear, the founder of the Bear Archery Company. At the time, he was the most famous living archer in the world and was regularly featured on ABC’s The American Sportsman. Bear was greatly amused that two kids were going backpacking and bowhunting for elk on their honeymoon. Years later, the legendary archer became our friend and art collector.

Immediately following the archery banquet, Sherry and I headed to the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, just north of Meeker. We backpacked into the Flat Tops Wilderness Area and camped below the 11,120 foot Pagoda Peak, which we both climbed. This was the place where I had previously taken my first bull elk with a bow and arrow at age 19. Sherry beautifully carried her 40-pound backpack and five-pound compound bow for a week on her wilderness "Huntimoon!"

Arriving late in the afternoon at the wilderness area entry point, we were only able to hike about one-half mile down the trail before dark. We camped in our tiny nylon two-man 10-pound backpack tent and spent our first night in the magical land of the elk, mule deer, bear, and mountain lion. (Many years later at a dinner party, Sherry admitted for the first time that as she lay next to me in our down sleeping bags, she heard a jet flying high over us in the cold, clear, star-filled Colorado sky. Sherry told our friends she silently prayed, God, I wish I was on that jet!)

By the end of the week in the high-country wilderness, my beautiful wife fell in love with God’s creation and wildlife, a passion that remains to this day.

REAL WORLD

Before our marriage and right after graduating from TAMU in 1974, by the grace of God, I was offered three architectural jobs during the recession of the 1970s. I accepted the job offered by Texas Aggie architect Reagan George at his eight-person firm, The Architects Partnership, near downtown Dallas. After a month on the job, Reagan called me into his office and closed the door. My first boss said: Max, you are ricocheting off the walls! I remember asking him: Is that a compliment? I don’t remember his answer, but the bird calls I was doing from my loft drafting table may have had something to do with his statement.

Each morning, I drove to work in sight of the Dallas skyscrapers. One day, I asked God if I could drive to work through mountains instead. In January of 1976, after working two years in architecture, I accepted an advertising illustrator job in Valencia, California (north of Los Angeles) with Jennings Compound Bow, Inc. At the time, Jennings was the second largest archery company in the world. They offered me a job to create advertising art and test their bowhunting equipment. Plus, they would pay me twice as much as my starting architecture job. Sherry and I prayerfully considered this job offer—for about 60 seconds.

Sensing God was saying Go west, young man, we loaded my blue Blazer and Sherry’s Cutlass and headed to sunny California, with the rest of our lives ahead of us.

It was a great adventure being young and far from our Texas families. California is a gorgeous state with mountains, beaches, rivers, deserts, and redwoods.

Sherry took a job as a bilingual receptionist for two eye surgeons in North Ridge and later worked as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles for a short time. We loved exploring one of the most beautiful states in America most weekends.

At Jennings, I learned illustration, graphic design, package design, advertising, and marketing. I would use this knowledge for the rest of my life. Within one year of being hired as a graphic artist, I was promoted to Director of Advertising & Promotions at the international company. I worked directly for the president, Tom Jennings, and vice president, John Williamson. I created full-page color magazine ads, product packaging, tradeshow booths, logos and expensive 48-page color catalogs. I was 27. One morning, as I drove the 14 miles to Valencia, I remember gazing at the scenic desert mountains at sunrise and jokingly said: Thank you, God, for letting me drive through the mountains to work. Next time, could You put some trees on the mountains?

CAREER MENTORS

During our two years in California, God provided two amazing mentors who would shape the rest of my life. William H. Wadsworth from New Jersey was a retired, national executive of the Boy Scouts of America. He recruited me and five other men to develop the International Bowhunter Education Program, an idea Bill birthed while in New York State. We created a hunter education safety course for archers which was the counterpart to the gun safety training course. Eventually, this course trained hundreds of thousands of archers across America and the world. As the youngest team member, I learned valuable leadership skills from Bill that helped me recruit, lead and train thousands of volunteers over my lifetime.

I became one of the founders and President of the National Bowhunter Education Foundation and the American Wildlife Education Foundation, two nonprofit conservation organizations. I led these educational organizations during the late-’70s and ’80s. During this time, I also bowhunted most North American wildlife species from south Texas to the Arctic Circle for fun and art research. By 35, I had harvested wild hogs, wild turkey, deer, elk, black bear, antelope, caribou, and mountain lion with my bow and arrow.

God sent an incredible mentor for my art career. He was Douglas Van Howd, a professional sculptor, painter and avid archer. About 15 years older than us, Doug and his wife Nancy lived in Auburn, California. We were thrilled to learn it was possible to make a living as a fine artist. God told this accomplished, Spirit-filled Christian artist to mentor a young Southern Baptist bowhunter artist named Max. Doug’s wise counsel at the very beginning of my fine art career enabled us to achieve financial success quickly. (In 1980, Doug was chosen by President Ronald Reagan to create art for his administration.)

TEXAS DREAM

In California each night, Sherry and I would pray that one day we would live in the woods, make fine art and have a red Irish setter dog resting in front of a fireplace. No one knew about our secret prayer, except God.

After realizing our California Dream, Sherry and I boldly began to pray about a new Texas Dream.

In the spring of 1978, after God answered our fleece about my future profession, Sherry and I moved to Woodville, where we had gotten married, to start our fine art business, certain this was our God-given destiny.

On the Mother’s Day 1978, my grandmother, Lillie Mae Cain, called from Beaumont. She said that one of her friends had a litter of red puppies—Irish setters—that needed good homes. By the end of the day, we had a red dog who we named Chigger. Upon entering the house, the red dog laid down in front of the fireplace in the woods. God again gave us the desires of our hearts (Ps 37:4).

DOWN TO THE WIRE

By November of 1978, we had used up our savings from our two real California jobs. We had taken the big leap of faith and were down to $40 dollars in the bank. In December, we went into $1,500 debt to print our first, four-page, color art newsletter to introduce our new fine art business to the world. The flyer shared our dream and pictured my two paintings, two wildlife bronze sculptures, and a bronze belt buckle. Sherry and I addressed every envelope and licked about 500 stamps. We laid hands on the pile of newsletters on the living room floor and prayed for God’s favor before taking them to the Post Office.

I remember saying something like: God, if You want me to be an artist, then You need to sell a bunch of art fast because we have a $1,500 printing bill coming due in 30 days, and we are out of money!

By the grace of God, within one week we sold over $15,000 worth of my art. (That equates to nearly $50,000 in 2020.) Sherry and I were stunned by God’s blessing. The Lord had again given us the desires of our hearts (Ps 37:4)!

LIFE WAS GOOD

Because of the favor of God, the support of family, friends and art collectors, our fine art business reached $1 million in sales by the time I turned 35 years old.

Thanks to my education, first two real jobs and mentoring, this milestone was reached without the aid of outside art galleries or agents.

We were selling expensive fine art by mail order, something that no other independent artist had ever done before to our knowledge. By the grace of God, years before the Internet was invented, we were selling very expensive drawings, paintings, jewelry, and bronze sculptures across the United States by mail and a few art shows.

The Bible says that without a vision the people perish (Hab 2:2). This time, we asked God for our own property and house in the Texas Hill Country where we could bowhunt right out the door. Ever since I harvested my first deer with an arrow at age 16 in Llano County and canoed the rapids of the sparkling Guadalupe River, I loved the Texas Hill Country.

Abundant wildlife graces this scenic region of Texas, including white-tailed deer, Rio Grande wild turkey, wild hogs, peccary, Spanish goats, grey foxes, raccoons, ring-tailed cats, bobcats, and mountain lions. In addition, exotic species such as Aoudad sheep, black buck, axis, and fallow deer freely roam the region.

On July 4, 1981, thanks to our financial success, Sherry and I purchased 12 acres of land in Kerr County, 60 miles northwest of San Antonio. Not yet able to afford more property or build our dream house, we bought a temporary mobile home and moved it onto our small, but beautiful piece of land about seven miles from Kerrville. Our rugged 1,991’ elevation property had panoramic views, canyons, hardwood trees, live running water, and sculptural limestone outcroppings.

During my architecture days, I had dreamed of building a very creative, earth-sheltered, passive-solar (green) home/studio in the Texas Hill Country. As we prospered, we bought adjoining multi-acre lots surrounding our land. We wanted at least 100 acres for our solitude and bowhunting. Eventually, we owned 126 acres.

We were optimistic that one day we would build our dream house and art studio on our picturesque land.

I kept our dream alive by doing architectural sketches and building cardboard models of our future imaginative home. At the time, we were selling my expensive wildlife bronze sculptures before I cast them.

I also took expensive archery hunts across the U.S.A. to research my next annual wildlife sculpture. My Signed and Numbered Limited Bronze Sculpture Editions of North American wildlife sold out fast and doubled in value on the resale market.

The money was rolling in as Sherry and I worked hard day and night on our fine art business. We experienced financial success seldom known by most artists.

LIFE WAS GREAT, A FEW MINUTES AGO

Life doesn’t always go according to our plan. In 1983, Sherry and I learned that in every life eventually comes serious sickness, trials, and tragedies (Jas 1:2).

By the grace of God, neither Sherry nor I had ever experienced major problems or serious illness before. We were young and optimistic and did not appreciate how blessed we were.

First, Sherry and my dad and were both diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Then in 1986, the Texas economy crashed, and 95 percent of our millionaire art collectors went bankrupt due to the collapse of the oil, gas, real estate, and banking sectors of the Texas economy.

I recall hearing on an ABC newscast that an estimated 20,000 people a week were abandoning their homes in Houston, Texas, because they could not pay their mortgages.

Our art sales abruptly stopped. Up until that moment, we were giving a 100 percent Money Back Guarantee on my art because it was selling so fast and going up in value on the resale market. Now clients asked for their money back on their Greiner art collections worth tens of thousands of dollars each. Naturally, we honored our refund guarantee until we ran out of money. Because no new sales occurred, we were unable to pay the monthly notes on our land and mobile home.

These trying circumstances began to affect our health, marriage, home, and business. Even so, in November of 1984, through a literal miracle, Sherry gave birth to a precious little girl whom we named Diana Shay. It was a day we never thought possible because doctors had told us that, due to a medical condition, Sherry could not conceive.

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: God knew better—and today, our now-grown miracle daughter and her husband Justin Evans have three precious little girls of their own.)

But during this painful season in the mid-1980s of our lives, God used my parents; Jim Beard; and two Christian medical doctor friends, Phil Webb and Jim Mercer to help us survive this challenging time, which lasted for years. We would not have made it without them.

REALIGNMENT

I freely admit this was a humiliating time for me. After having sold over $1 million worth of my fine art across the country, we were broke. In the past, if I prayed and worked hard, I experienced great success in every area of my life. Now, I was losing everything important to me and I seemed unable to fix anything.

Sherry was my rock. She encouraged me to read the entire Bible, cover to cover, something I had never done before. Then Jim Beard called from College Station with a Scripture he said God gave him just for me. The Bible verse was Jeremiah 29:11.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

JEREMIAH 29:11

Like a well-placed arrow, the words went deep into my heart. Then Jim said: God wants you to read the entire Bible!

Since nothing else was working in my life, I decided to dedicate my time to the task, reading the Good Book from cover to cover, starting with the New Testament. I highlighted the parts that spoke personally to me in yellow. (I now have the Greiner Yellow Version of the Living Bible!) That year, I read most of God’s Word while sitting in a tree stand bowhunting for whitetail deer. I never killed a buck that season, but I did read the entire Bible. The entire Word of God was now in me. When I read the final word in the final chapter of the book, our financial circumstances had not yet changed—but I had.

TWO DIVINE IDEAS

In 1986, God gave me two divine art ideas. First, in April, the Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly and told me to create a sculpture of Jesus washing Peter’s feet based on John 13 in the Bible. I responded out loud as I sat in my car under an oak tree: What? God clearly spoke a second time in my mind and said: I want you to make a sculpture of Jesus washing Peter’s feet. I replied: But God, what about all these things I am doing? He was silent.

God was trying to teach me about humility. I had a lot to learn. At the time, I felt God should be fixing all my problems, specifically; I needed an art idea that would sell. However, in the moment, I promised God that one day I would do His sculpture, but I was busy now trying to make money. At that time in my life, all my art subject matter was secular—people, animals, and nature. I was not at all interested in creating religious art. I was 35 years old, and I thought I knew everything, so I disobeyed God.

Our lives got worse.

Then, in early October 1986, God graciously gave me a second divine idea. For two weeks, I had been trying to come up with a good idea for a piece of jewelry to make for Sherry’s birthday. As I was driving back to our ranch, out of frustration, I said out loud: God, I give up! I need a good idea quick, please! Instantly, in my mind’s eye, I saw the wings of a butterfly attached to the Ichthus fish symbol where the tail of the fish was the antenna of the butterfly. I exclaimed out loud: Great idea, LORD!

I immediately recognized this unique design also had commercial potential, and I knew Sherry would love it. When I presented her with the small 14k gold charm on her birthday, she loved it, and she urged me to quickly get my God-given design registered with the Copyright Office in Washington, D.C.

Shortly after this elegant design idea was given to me, my wise father called from Irving, and said: Son, if you want to stay in the art business, you need to sell something less than $3,000.

So, we developed a gift line around my new "Christian Butterfly®" composition. My gift products included 14k gold and sterling silver jewelry, inexpensive suncatchers, key rings, magnets, and a line of unique bronze wind chime bells based on antler designs and my butterfly.

Despite my best efforts, we were still struggling financially in 1988 and about to lose our land and mobile home. I remember standing in my small tradeshow booth at the Dallas Gift Show trying to sell $4 butterfly key rings to stores. Previously, we had been selling $4,000 bronze sculptures, $2,000 drawings, and oil paintings up to $8,000 each. Humbled by my rapid descent to obscurity, I remember saying to God as I stood alone in my booth: Well, LORD, we have come a long way, haven’t we?

OBEY EVEN IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND

Obedience is better than sacrifice (1Sa 15:22). During this two-year, self-effacing season of our lives (1986-1988), we struggled every day. My parents graciously loaned us enough money to live and launch our art gift business.

However, we were still unable to pay our art gallery rent, land, and mobile home notes. Our ship was sinking. My dad suggested that I talk to our property landlords and the mobile home finance company and admit our dilemma. So, I humbled myself, made the telephone calls and confessed that we could not pay our debts. God caused the hearts of the noteholders to soften and they gave us favor. We closed our art gallery in town, paid off a very low settlement offer on our mobile home, and I ate Ramen Noodles for the first time. The gracious lady who owner-financed our raw land allowed us to live on our property without making any monthly notes for two years (Pr 3:4).

Even so, things in our lives continued to deteriorate. As I searched for ways to find healing for our family and business, the Holy Spirit frequently reminded me that I had not obeyed His instructions to create a small sculpture of Jesus washing Peter’s feet. Every time I mentioned the subject, Sherry urged me to obey God and do the sculpture. I didn’t listen. (Note to husbands: At times God will speak through your wife!)

Knowing about our dire situation, prophetic archery friend, Jim Beard called from College Station. He prayed over the phone with me about our family’s worsening health and financial condition. As we ended the call, I told Jim about the Word of Wisdom (1Co 12:8) I received from the Holy Spirit to create a small sculpture of Jesus washing Peter’s feet. My friend confirmed the idea was from God and that I needed to obey—now. I rationalized saying that one day I would get to it, but right now I needed money.

I didn’t believe there was any substantial money associated with religious art. This was about obedience and humility. I didn’t have time to obey because I knew what was best (Pr 14:12). Who would buy a sculpture of Jesus on His knees washing feet?

Our life got more difficult on all fronts. Finally, after repeated warnings from Sherry, Jim Beard called with this ominous prophetic word: God said your situation will not turn around until you obey Him!

This time, I got the message. Broken and depressed, I finally surrendered to God.

On May 3, 1988, in a Houston motel room, I washed the feet of Sherry and Jim Beard. Then they washed mine. This helped me understand Christ’s example as described in John 13 of the Bible. (I always thoroughly research my art projects.)

On the night before His crucifixion, two-thousand years ago, in an upper room in Jerusalem, immediately after the Last Supper, Jesus disrobed. He wrapped a towel around his waist and began to wash the feet of His disciples. They did not understand what He was doing. This one unexpected act of the Creator washing the dirty feet of His creation was the humblest act of all time.

In the Houston motel room, after washing each other’s feet, we all better understood this profound act. We also learned that it is much harder to have your feet washed than to wash feet. We all received a much deeper revelation of Christ’s love for His children that day (Eph 4:13).

Within days of my obedience, our life circumstances started to change for the better. To our amazement, we sold $13,000 worth of my wildlife bronze sculptures to a doctor from San Antonio, after not selling a single bronze in two years. We used this money to catch up on bills. This sale happened before I started working on the one-sixth life-size sculpture. I dropped everything I was doing and began working on the small wax sculpture of Jesus washing the feet of Peter. God said the name of the poignant composition would be Divine Servant®.

In February 1989, at the age of 37, I completed the original wax carving of the small sculpture. Because we couldn’t afford to cast the small sculpture in bronze or even print any sales literature, I sent a personal letter to our art collectors, most of whom were now in bankruptcy. Sherry and I included a single 3-inch x 5-inch photograph of the Divine Servant® wax sculpture. Within 48 hours of the letters being delivered, we had $28,800 in sales: We received 24 pre-casting orders (each with a 50 percent deposit) for the bronze priced at $1,200 each.

The Texas Recession ended for the Greiners, praise God! He had again rescued our family at the very last moment.

LESSON: If you are sure you are hearing from God, obey Him as soon as possible. My destiny and our blessings were delayed two years because of my pride and disobedience. Thanks to God’s grace, forgiveness and patience, our lives were resuscitated by the Holy Spirit once I obeyed. The Divine Servant® artwork would resurrect our art business and literally save the ranch. Little did I know at the time, but this historically unique art composition would be used by God to eventually touch millions of people around the world and launch us into our destiny. (Collectors of my first Christian art composition would include presidents, senators, attorney generals, governors, a pope, Dr. Billy Graham, and stars of business, sports, TV and music. God wanted to thank and bless thousands of donors, trustees, preachers, evangelists, missionaries, teachers, and servants of the Most High God.)

QUANTUM LEAP

After I obeyed God, another quantum leap occurred in our spiritual lives. In 1989, God used a meek, former Presbyterian from St. Louis, Missouri, to take us to the next high place with God. The humble man prayed for Sherry and me to receive an empowerment called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Ac 1:8). Still determined to find complete healing for Sherry and my dad, God led us to a total stranger named Bill Banks during the last hour of a five-day trade show at the Christian Booksellers Association convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

At the last possible moment, God introduced us to this unassuming man who prayed for us to be released in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (1Co 12:1)! Because I had read the entire Bible by that time, I was aware of these supernatural gifts (Ac 2:4), but I had absolutely no understanding of how to activate them. During my 40 years in four Southern Baptist churches, I never once heard any teaching about these miracle gifts. In fact, no one ever told us they were still available to modern Believers though the Bible clearly indicated they were.

Because our family desperately needed healing, Sherry and I were willing to pray with a total stranger for this unusual Christian experience we were sure was real. Standing there, we both sensed something very special about this meek man. (We didn’t know at the time this was the anointing.) We would later learn the charismatic and Pentecostal Christian denominations called this empowering experience, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. We did not have a name for this spiritual upgrade, which is referenced to in both the Old and New Testaments. (Please visit the Greiner website—max.greinerart.com—for a detailed explanation of the Empowerment.) After our prayers, Mr. Banks gave us a copy of his autobiography Alive Again! which chronicles how he was miraculously healed of terminal cancer and baptized in the Holy Spirit through prayer.

Within 12 hours of asking for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, I prayed in tongues for the first time (Acts 9:16). (Right before our prayer with Mr. Banks, I told Him that God could cut the tongues if He wanted because Baptists don’t like tongues. The man smiled and said if we weren’t willing to receive any gift God desired for us then we weren’t ready to receive this Baptism of power. We were ready.)

Forty-eight hours later, I commanded a manifesting demon to come out of a Dallas man in the name of Jesus! Approximately 72 hours later, Sherry and I prayed for our elderly neighbor, Helen Barnes, who was in the Kerrville hospital. To everyone’s surprise, she was released from Sid Peterson Hospital the next day. Something had changed inside two Southern Baptists which we did not yet understand.

MORE SPIRITUAL MENTORS

After returning to Kerrville from the Atlanta convention, we were astounded by what had changed in our spirits. Since I was a confused Baptist, I asked God to send someone to me who could explain what just happened to us. I asked God that this individual be a normal Christian—not some wild-eyed charismatic with fancy hair like we had seen on Christian TV.

The next week, I went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant with my good bowhunting and Christian doctor friend Phil Webb. I him told about our strange charismatic experience and then prayed for Phil to receive the empowerment Baptism. Afterwards, I asked Phil if he knew anyone who might buy some Christ-honoring art. He looked around the restaurant and said: That man over there might buy some of your art. Phil pointed out Dr. Robert Carpenter, whom Phil said was a local dentist and strong Christian. When I got home, I called Dr. Carpenter’s office and asked if I could take him to lunch to share my samples of artwork with him.

The next day we met for lunch. I thought this meeting was about selling art. I was wrong. Within about five minutes, we were talking about God and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Robby, as I eventually called him, was a Texas Aggie, former Southern Baptist, and a hunter like me. He was also a great dentist, pastor, and brilliant Christian theologian. That day, the Holy Spirit introduced me to possibly the best Bible scholar I have ever known in my life. Robby would answer all my questions with Scripture about the Spirit-filled Christian life. This man became a wonderful mentor and friend.

God wasn’t through stretching me. When the word got out that two young Southern Baptists had been powerfully touched by the Holy Spirit, God sent another stranger into our Kerrville art gallery with a single cassette tape. Betty Hendrickson, who owned the local McDonald’s franchise, said that we needed to hear this powerful message. It was the personal Salvation testimony of a man we had never heard of named John Wimber from Anaheim, California. I thanked the lady and promised to listen to the tape. OH, MY GOD! I was absolutely stunned by Wimber’s profound, but humorous, non-religious, supernatural testimony! I was blown away by his refreshing witness about God speaking to him personally and the miracles, signs, and wonders that followed him (Mk 16:17). John Wimber was actually having fun being a Christian.

After listening to this one cassette tape numerous times, I called Betty for more Wimber tapes. In the next seven months, she brought me the cassette tapes from seven Wimber Signs & Wonders conferences which she had attended. I listened to each conference seven times as I carved on my wax sculptures. I was Wimberized! After marveling over this one life totally summited to God, I prayed, Lord, would You use me like You used John Wimber?

Three years later, in September of 1992, I was able to meet John and Carol Wimber at the Anaheim Vineyard in California. Sherry and I, along with Monte and Beverly Paddleford, owners of the Eagle Bronze foundry, donated my #7 life-size, Divine Servant® statue to Wimber’s church because of the profound influence his teaching had on our lives. The Wimbers founded the Vineyard denomination and had a major influence on modern Christianity and contemporary worship music worldwide. I was invited to speak and minister at the Anaheim Vineyard that weekend. Three people were instantly healed at the church when I prayed. Then, later at the Los Angeles airport while sitting in the boarding area, God healed a young deaf man when I prayed for him in front of the passengers waiting for our flight.

To the shock and amazement of everyone including us, eight of the nine supernatural Gifts (1Co 12:1) over time manifested in our lives as we prayed for thousands of people.

Everywhere we went, God would use Sherry and me to lead people to Jesus Christ in Salvation and to the mighty empowerment Baptism. Our life priorities radically changed. We wanted to share Jesus Christ and the wonderful things we had discovered with everyone. (Many of our Baptist Christian friends thought we went off the deep end. They were right!)

During this seminary season of my life, I also listened to the excellent weekly audio teachings of Bill Banks and treasured my time learning from Robby Carpenter and Jim Beard. Every day the Greiners were doing the stuff, as Wimber used to say. I also reread the entire Bible in different translations numerous times and then repeatedly listened to audio recordings of the Bible. Looking back, I now see this was my training for reigning!

CONNECTION

My first monumental sculpture, Divine Servant®, was cast at Eagle Bronze, in Lander, Wyoming, one of the largest and best art foundries in the world. The Holy Spirit selected this distant foundry out of nine foundries in the United States through an astounding miracle. Eagle Bronze was owned by strong Spirit-filled, charismatic Christians who loved the ministry of John Wimber. (Monte and Beverly Paddleford would become life-long friends and make it possible to fulfill our God-destiny.)

In July of 1990, Sherry, our young daughter Diana Shay and I drove to the Lander art foundry with my delicate, life-size Divine Servant® wax sculpture in our Chevy Blazer. Following hours of God-talk and prayer over three days, our family headed back to Texas.

The trip took a terrifying turn. While driving south of Lander, our car threatened to slide off a wet muddy road at a rainy construction detour near the Continental Divide. It was a close call, too close for comfort. We could easily have been killed.

Shaken, we later learned our beloved 13-year-old dog Chigger (an angel in a dog suit) had died in the kennel back in Kerrville.

We were experiencing spiritual warfare. Satan wanted to stop our God-given destiny which was about to unfold. We were being introduced to Negative Confirmations which indicated that God was about to do something remarkable in our lives that would one day affect the multitudes.

The cast life-size Divine Servant® bronze sculpture traveled with us on open trailers across America for the next 20 years in an effort to sell art and win souls. It would be a tool used by God to attract the attention of millions of people to Jesus. Eventually, the 1,200-lb. bronze sculpture would become an icon representing Christ’s humility. It was featured world-wide on both secular and international Christian television. Many would consider this sculpture my masterpiece.

God would use the Paddlefords’ friendship and their art foundry to launch a new method of evangelism which I named SEE (Strategic Eye-gate Evangelism). God would also use the Paddlefords to fulfill the Greiner destiny: The creation of The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden.

CHAPTER 2

(2001-2002)

The Call & the Vision

See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, silver and bronze, in the cutting of jewels for setting, in carving of wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship.

EXODUS 35:30-33

THE CALL

Usually the greatest adventures in life are unplanned. Our adventure began with a simple decision that changed the course of our lives. To my amazement, this decision would eventually impact millions of people around the world.

I was 50 years old at the time and had already experienced many of life’s successes and trials. Actions, good or bad, affect everyone around us and reverberate throughout eternity. Some people call this the Butterfly Effect.

Sherry (the bride of my youth) and I were told by a Christian friend, Margie Osborne, that a man who had raised the dead was coming to a church in Austin, about 100 miles from our home in Kerrville. Margie is a Holy Spirit Geiger Counter. She finds where the power of God is manifesting and then makes a lot of noise. Margie follows the cloud by day and fire by night (Ex 13:21). She passionately chases after Jesus (Col 3:23).

Margie told us that Dr. Mahesh Chavda, the pastor of All Nations Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, would be speaking on Sunday morning, December 9, 2001, at Cathedral of Praise church in Austin. This church was pastored by Dr. Bill and Sue Hart. A hallmark of this fellowship was that they placed no limitations on the Holy Spirit. This is very rare in the modern Christian church. (In 2020, the church merged with the One Chapel churches.)

Chavda is well respected in the Body of Christ because of his integrity, humility, passion for Christ, and the astounding miracles that follow his ministry (2Co 8:21). Years before, Margie invited me and some other hungry Christians to hear Mahesh speak in San Antonio, shortly after he raised a little boy to life. The Death Certificate had been issued and the body was in the morgue. Sherry and I would learn many years later that Chavda had been the apprentice of the world-renowned international evangelist and teacher, Derrick Prince. Chavda also was the person trusted by John Wimber (the founder of the Vineyard movement) to take over his international Signs & Wonders Conferences when he got ill in the eighties.

Margie said that the visible glory of God, the Shekinah Glory, (Ex 34:29) was frequently appearing on Dr. Chavda when he ministered. Anyone could see this dramatic miracle as it occurred. We were intrigued because the visible glory of God had been appearing in our lives every day since March 7, 1999, after Jim and Darlynne Beard shared the miracle with us over the telephone.

On that cold, clear December morning in 2001, Pastor Bill Hart introduced Sherry and me to Dr. Chavda before the service. We brought our art trailer to show Dr. Chavda some of my monumental sculptures. We took a photograph together in front of the sculpture trailer not realizing at the time that the photograph would document the beginning of the greatest adventure of our lives.

We quickly took our seats near the front on the left side of the sanctuary because I wanted to video tape the supernatural Glory dust if it formed on Chavda during his sermon. After worship, Pastor Hart introduced Chavda to the congregation of about 300 people. As the prophetic evangelist spoke the Glory dust (which looks like fine golden glitter) started forming on his face and jacket to everyone’s amazement. I turned the video camera on to capture the astonishing supernatural manifestation. The Bible speaks of a miraculous, glitter-like substance in both the Old and New Testaments. This miracle first occurred when Moses came down the mountain with the Ten Commandments (Ex 34:29). It is also clearly described in the New Testament when Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 7:55).

Suddenly, Chavda paused in the middle of his sermon. He intently looked around the room. When he spotted us in the congregation, he asked us to stand up, mispronouncing our name at the time. Dr. Chavda began to speak an unexpected modern-day, prophetic word over us (1Co 14:3):

"By the way, Max and Sherry Greiner, I’m going to lay hands on you later. I feel like God is going to be your ATTORNEY because of your hunger and because you both honor the LORD and His presence, the glory. There is a price you’ve had to pay. Some doors were shut, I don’t know the details. I just shook your hands today. I just met you, but the LORD is opening glory doors and you have heart, both you and Sherry.

I saw over you, Sherry, grace, grace, grace written there. There is grace coming in your life, your ministry. And the former things are former things. There is such glory up ahead for both of you. God, in His will, put you together. I just see a fire-bomb of the Holy Spirit with you two.

The Tabernacle of David, your work, what you are doing, these are some of the ornaments. In the spirit realm I saw the things you are doing are part of the restoration process. YOU WILL BE INVOLVED IN THE RESTORATION OF THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID. Very important to the LORD, what you are doing.

We want to encourage you. You are part of the army of Glory Nuts! You are one of the leaders in the creative area. There are a whole slew of creative people that you are pioneering for. I saw like a coonskin cap on your head! You were pioneering! But Sherry was right there with you. She has the fire and that kind of survival mode, being a pioneer woman! So, the LORD has given you much, but it really doesn’t matter because what matters is the presence of the LORD!"

The non-denominational, charismatic congregation clapped and cheered. We sat back down in our seats confused. This former Southern Baptist could not fathom this so called modern-day prophecy being true. I remember immediately dismissing the word as charismatic excess. I whispered to Sherry, Boy, he missed that one! God is never going to rebuild the Tabernacle!

The Bible warns Christians not to despise prophecy (1Th 5:20). Instead we are to test it (Mt 7:5) and see if it is true. Therefore, I saved my video tape and the audio recording sent to us later by Dr. Hart. In spite of my doubts, God had just birthed something in the spiritual realm through a genuine prophetic word given to us by a stranger (1Th 5:24). Exactly seven years later, on December 8, 2008, we would need God to be our attorney because we were sued to stop the raising of my giant steel sculpture called The Empty Cross™. It was to be erected in a type of last days Tabernacle called The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden located in Texas at the same latitude as Israel.

In that day, I will restore David’s fallen shelter, I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruin and will rebuild it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name, declares the Lord, who will do these things.

AMOS 9:11-12

THE VISION

There are times in our lives when God gives us the opportunity to partner with Him to do something special. It may seem insignificant to us at the time. We usually don’t comprehend the significance of God’s work in our lives (Ro 9:17). The Bible tells us not to despise the day of small beginnings (Zec 4:10). There will be seasons when God wants us to support His work in others. And, there will be times when He wants others to support His work in us.

About eight months after Dr. Mahesh Chavda spoke his modern-day prophetic word (1Co 12:10) over Sherry and me, God used another stranger to further reveal His destiny for us. On August 22, 2002, I received an email from a businessman in Beaumont, Texas. The stranger wrote that God wanted me to do a special art project. People frequently share their artistic ideas with me. They believe their ideas are from God and want me to execute them. Sometimes the ideas are from God and sometimes they are not. The Bible says to test everything (1Jn 4:1) and seek God’s will in the matter (Pr 3:5).

The stranger was Marlon Quibodeaux, who was about 40 at the time. The unexpected email stated that God had recently given him a prophetic word that involved me. The lay evangelist from southeast Texas wrote: Greetings in the name of the Lord! I am interested in ideas and the cost of building a statue of the Crucifixion 77-foot-7-inch tall. Quibodeaux ended his email by saying: I don’t want any credit; I do not want my name on anything. The only purpose I have is to reach the lost. I believe that the Lord is using very unique and simple truths to bring people to receive Salvation.

The stranger shared that God wanted me to create a giant Resurrection statue which he believed would be placed on IH-10 between Beaumont and Winnie. Tens of millions of travelers use this transcontinental highway which runs from Florida to California. It also passes through our hometown of Kerrville. Marlon wanted people to think about the sacrifice of Jesus as they drove down the highway.

Marlon found me through the Christ of the Ozarks ministry. After reviewing their website, Marlon and his family traveled to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to meet with Marvin Peterson, the director of the Elna Smith Foundation. This organization has presented the Great Passion Play to millions of people since the mid-sixties. Peterson was a personal friend of mine.

After receiving the unsolicited email from the businessman, I was puzzled. Therefore, I prayed about this letter for a while before responding back to the stranger. On September 3, 2002, I called Quibodeaux. During our conversation I quickly realized that Marlon was a totally committed follower of Jesus Christ. Marlon’s motivation was not money; it was souls for Jesus.

I immediately got checks in my spirit as I listened to the man’s ambitious dream to display a realistic 77-foot7-inch bronze corpse of the battered Christ over the interstate highway. The aesthetics and message of an enormous crucifix with a dead Jesus was not right. I explained that a sculpture this large made of anything, including bronze, steel or concrete, would cost over a million dollars and could take many years to build. That did not dissuade the optimistic layman at all. Finally, I asked Marlon if he had the funds for such a gigantic project. He said no but believed God would provide the money.

At the time, I was turning down fully funded monumental sculpture projects because God would not let me do them. I told the stranger that he needed to find another artist. I had just passed on a Centennial sculpture worth over one-hundred-thousand dollars offered to me by the City of Irving, Texas. Little did I know at the time, but God had a much bigger project for me which would absorb my creative time for the rest of my life.

I had already learned not accept every art commission that came my way. First, I had to get approval from the Head Office—Heaven. As a result, over my lifetime, I

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