The Story Behind the Name
So, where did the name ThirdChair come from, you might be wondering? Here's the story behind the name.
I had been serving at a large megachurch as their worship pastor for a few years when I began to hit some walls spiritually and relationally. I really had no one I thought I could talk to about it. A mutual friend recommended that I go see a couple, Jeff & Joy Beal who ministered out of their house up in Encinitas, CA. So I did. Jeff, recommended that just the two of us meet.
When I arrived, I was struck by how humble and how lovingly optimistic he was that the Lord would speak to my heart. He offered me a seat and then pulled out a third chair for someone else. I asked, “Is someone else joining us this morning?” To which he replied, “Oh yes! This chair is for the Lord. Let’s not just talk about spiritual things and what He would have us do or what He might think. Let’s ask Him to speak with us right here. It’s not polite to talk about Him & what He would say and not give Him an opportunity to speak for Himself. After all, He is alive, He is here and He really cares about what you are troubled by. So let’s give Him a chance.”
I think I rolled my eyes, of course not so he could see, but I “went along with it.” Jeff began to thank God and encouraged me to join in. We opened up our bibles and he thanked Jesus. He thanked the Holy Spirit. He thanked the Father for caring so much about me, for knowing everything that was going on in my life, for walking right beside me even though I may not have known He was present. He thanked God for His calling on my life. Then He said, “Roy why don't you tell Him what’s troubling you?” So I did. And as I spoke, I had the real sense that He was sitting RIGHT THERE IN THAT THIRD CHAIR listening, caring deeply, hearing me. When I had finished, Jeff then gently said, “Now let’s listen to what He might say.”
So I did. As we sat there in silence, we looked up verses that came to mind in our bibles. My heart and mind began to go to memories, then He directed me to some scriptures. Jeff seemed to be able to know this and asked me, “what is He showing you?” So I told Him. Then He shared some things that the Lord was showing him regarding me. He asked me if it made sense. It made wonderful perfect sense not only to my head but to my heart. Then Jeff wrote down a scripture and a sentence or two that the Lord had spoke to us about on a 3x5 card and gave it to me. Then He sat back, smiled and said, “Isn’t He wonderful?”
That day began a relationship for the two of us that continued on for the next 17 years before he went to be with the Lord. He was my friend, a pastor to me, a mentor & guide, a spiritual father. It was as if when I was with Jeff, I had “improved 3G signal strength” to hear from the Lord. That probably was true . . . for a while, till I had faith for myself. That day also began a fresh new dimension of my relationship with God.
To me, THIRD CHAIR represents a huge shift. A normal shift for anyone in relationship with the Living God. A shift from talking about God to speaking with Him. A shift from learning about God to knowing Him. A shift from trying to live the christian life correctly to simply letting Him love me, as Jesus modeled for us. A shift from serving in ministry for Him to being invited to love people with Him. A shift from an identity as a servant to a serving son or daughter. This is the reality that we are leading the creative community of artists into, a life with God. A life experiencing Him loving us. Loved people love people. It's living from the overflow of God's love for us.