“The Art Of Faith”
By Max Greiner, Jr. © 2012
BOOK CHAPTER – “Aligning With The Apostolic” by Dr. Bruce Cook
God made me an artist when I was born in December of 1951. I have been told my entire life that God put an abundance of creativity in my DNA, along with the artistic skills necessary to express my imagination. For years, others have proclaimed an apostolic anointing over me. However, my claim is that I am a servant of the most high God.
By the grace of God, I have made my living from my artistic gifts since 1974, when I graduated from Texas A&M University, with an architectural design degree. I began my professional fine art career in 1978, after first practicing architecture in Dallas and advertising in Los Angeles.
Many times throughout my life, people have asked what must they do to have success. By the grace of God, my professional work experience in the fields of architecture, advertising, commercial art, fine art, photography and writing allows me to speak to this question with some degree of experience.
My life journey as an artist has taught me many things about life and God. I pray my story will bless your life. Jesus Christ expects His children to be a blessing to others. The Bible also says that if we give, it shall be given back to us. I have learned this spiritual principle is true in every area of life.
We all have a God-given destiny, totally unique from anyone else who ever lived. We serve a creative God. In this life, we can walk into our God-given destiny, or away from it. The choice is ours. We can use our gifts, talents, intellect and skills to build God’s Kingdom, or we can use them to build our kingdom. Some may even use their God-given gifts to build Satan’s kingdom. Jesus said a wise man builds his house upon the Rock.
God has a good plan for our lives. Like any earthly good father, God wants the best for His children. He wants us to prosper spiritually, financially, socially and physically. This is why the Bible clearly instructs us how to live a righteous life, and tells us how to pray for God’s will in every circumstance. However, God’s ways are not our ways. His ultimate objective is to make us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. As a result, in this fallen world, we are all allowed to go through some very difficult circumstances in our walk to eternity. God perfects His children in this life, in preparation for Heaven.
God is the Master Sculptor and we are His sculptures, fashioned uniquely for His glory. We can yield to the Sculptor, or we can resist Him. However, no matter our level of submission and obedience, God patiently chips off the parts of us that don’t look like Jesus. God wants people to see Jesus when they look at us.
I know from my own life that this can be a long and painful process. Trials, tribulations, and disappointments are always hard. During God’s sculpting process, many things don’t make sense. This is where faith in God comes in. Ultimately, we have to trust Him.
The good news is that the Holy Spirit always provides a way for us to make the right choices in every situation. He also brings good out of bad, for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
My advice is to yield to the Master Sculptor. Allow Him to fashion you into a vessel of honor, just as He desires. Then, when He is finished, people will see Jesus in you. Choose God’s plan for your life, not your plan or Satan’s. God’s plan is always the best, and fastest way to live a fulfilled, successful life. True joy, peace, fulfillment and satisfaction can only come from living out your God-given destiny, whatever that looks like.
Fast Track to Destiny
There is a fast way to unlock God’s destiny, and there is a slow way. The key is to pray and obey. I learned the hard way, not as hard as some, but still hard for me.
By the grace of God, I was saved at age seven at Calder Baptist Church in Beaumont, TX. From that point on, I knew God had made me an artist and that I was His child. Thanks to Godly parents and grandparents, I grew up in the blessing, instead of the curse. Basically, everything was good in my life until age 32.
My prayers up until 1983 went something like this: “LORD, PLEASE HELP ME DO WHAT I WANT TO DO TODAY, IN THE NAME OF JESUS, AMEN.” Today my prayers have changed to: “LORD, PLEASE HELP ME DO WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO TODAY, IN THE NAME OF JESUS. AMEN!”
Sculpting the Sculptor
In 1983, for the first time in my life, things took a serious downward turn. Everything had been great up to that point. I had a beautiful wife, named Sherry, who loved God and me. I headed several state and national non-profit archery and conservation organizations. Bowhunting, camping, backpacking and canoeing was my hobby and passion. I successfully bowhunted deer, elk, bear, caribou and antelope across North America. I had a profitable fine art career creating drawings, paintings, sculpture and jewelry. By the age of 35, our family art business had sold over a million dollars worth of my fine art. My drawings, paintings and bronze sculptures of wildlife sold for thousands of dollars each. We owned a beautiful ranch in the Texas Hill Country, with the dream to build a unique, passive-solar (green), earth-sheltered home/studio.
Everything was great, I was living MY dream. Then, during the mid ’80s our world changed, almost overnight. First, Sherry and my dad were diagnosed with serious, life-threatening illnesses. Then, the Texas oil, gas, banking, agriculture and real estate businesses collapsed. About 95% of my art collectors went bankrupt in that recession. Many came to us wanting their money back since at the time, we were offering a 100% money back guarantee on my art to collectors. So, we refunded art purchases until our money was gone. As a result, we could not make payments on our beautiful land, or the “temporary” mobile home we were living in at the time.
I was shocked. Everything had been good my entire life, and then suddenly everything was going wrong. I was losing everything important to me: my wife, my marriage, our business, art collectors, land, home and my dad. Bowhunting wasn’t even in the picture anymore. There was nothing I could do; all the hard work, optimism, talent and education I had could not fix any of my problems. For the first time in my life I felt hopelessness and despair. I cried out to God for help. I asked for instant miracles, but God chose a slower path. He had a few things He wanted changed in me before I could finally walk into my true, God-given destiny.
A Voice Crying in the Wilderness
Jim Beard, a Methodist friend and minister from my college days, after learning of our predicament, called and prayed for us. However, even though I read the entire Bible at Jim’s suggestion, our lives continued to spiral downward, as I tried to fix everything myself. It wasn’t working. At the lowest point in April of 1986, when we were out of money and had not paid our land and mobile home notes in months, the Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly as I drove in our driveway.
God said to my spirit in His still, small voice: “MAX, I WANT YOU TO MAKE A SCULPTURE OF JESUS WASHING PETER’S FEET.” I immediately said : “BUT GOD, WHAT ABOUT ALL THESE OTHER THINGS I AM DOING?” There was no response. I disobeyed God, not seeing how creating a sculpture of Jesus could solve all of my problems. That was a bad mistake which delayed my God-given destiny for two more years and kept me stuck.
If you are sure you are hearing God correctly, obey Him immediately, even if you don’t understand what is going on. Unfortunately, at the time I disobeyed God, since I could not see how creating a small sculpture of Jesus washing Peter’s feet could help anything, except teach me about humility. I figured that could wait. As a result, our lives got worse, on every front. Despite repeated promptings from the Holy Spirit, and my wife, Sherry, I refused to do the sculpture and continued to work my plan.
Finally, in May of 1987, God started speaking louder and stronger to our family friend, Jim Beard in College Station, Tex. The Holy Spirit repeatedly told Jim to tell me to stop what I was doing and to obey. However, each time Jim delivered the prophetic word, I rejected it. I stubbornly continued to do things my way. The Bible calls this being stiff-necked.
Finally, in April of 1988, Jim gave me a hard word which I finally received. God told Jim to tell me: “UNTIL YOU DO THIS WORK, NOTHING ELSE YOU DO WILL SELL.” That got my attention since we were out of money at the time. The fear of God came over me and I finally yielded and started work on the small 1/6 life-size wax sculpture. Immediately, thousands of dollars in sales started to pour in, saving the Greiner Art Gallery, home and land from foreclosure.
On May 3, 1988 in order to better understand Christ’s foot-washing example, Sherry, Jim and I washed each other’s feet. It was a profound and humbling experience. I know now how Peter felt. It is much harder to have your feet washed, than it is to wash feet. Finally, I had given the LORD a teachable spirit so He could reveal my true destiny.
In February of 1989, I completed the small 1/6 life-size wax sculpture which God told me should be called “Divine Servant”®. At the time I did not have the money to cast it into bronze or print sales literature. So, Sherry and I simply mailed letters to our clients who were not bankrupt. Within a week we sold 24 bronze sculptures at $1,200 each! God instantly solved our financial crisis in a few days!
A few months later, in July of 1989, after I surrendered fully and made Jesus Lord of my life as well as Savior, God began to implement His plan for my life and destiny. At the Christian Booksellers Convention in Atlanta, Ga., Herman Baily, a TV show host with the Christian Television Network in Florida, was drawn into my small 10’ x 10’ exhibit booth. When the stranger saw the “Divine Servant”® sculpture he prayed that God would make it possible to create the composition full-size. I had never dreamed of making a large bronze sculpture, due to the expense. Herman prayed that God would raise up the buyers to make the monumental bronze possible.
Empowered for Destiny
At the end of the CBA convention, on the last day, at the last hour of the week-long show, through divine providence, Sherry and I prayed with a total stranger in his booth for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. As Southern Baptists, we did not believe this spiritual experience even existed. The man from St. Louis, Mo., full of wisdom, power and humility, was named Bill Banks, a gentle servant of God from a Presbyterian background. Within minutes of his prayer, Sherry and I knew our walk with God had somehow changed. Within seven hours, this Southern Baptist was praying in Tongues. Within 36 hours I had to cast a demon out of someone. Within 72 hours Sherry and I prayed for a neighbor in the hospital and she was instantly healed. Within three weeks I prayed for a Methodist man going into surgery the next day. God healed him, and his wife and a Southern Baptist missionary just holding hands with me!
Then, seven months after the CBA show, and the Baptism of Power, God sent two strangers who wanted a life-size “Divine Servant”® bronze sculpture. They were Jim Buick of Zondervan and Bo Pilgrim of Pilgrim’s Pride Chicken. Despite the fact that I had never created a large sculpture before, both servants of God paid $25,000 advance deposits so I could afford to do the job!
Multiplication of Fishes and Loaves
Because I finally gave my fishes and loaves to Jesus, He began to feed the multitudes. As a result, I walked into God’s destiny for my life. Today, Sherry and I live in the supernatural realm every day and have literally experienced thousands of genuine, authentic, supernatural miracles. Over the years since then, there have been battles, challenges and disappointments along with the victories. But, we have been fighting to build God’s Kingdom, not ours. In the years since, there is nothing I would rather do, than God’s will. This has resulted in the peace, joy, satisfaction, and the power mankind has sought for thousands of years. Everything is in Christ Jesus.
What God will do for one, He will do for another, so let our testimony challenge you to discover your own unique destiny in God. It is never too late and you will never be sorry!
Fulfilling Our Destiny
If we yield to God soon enough we can fulfill our destiny in this life. I believe I am in the process of that now, in my later years. I am amazed by what God has done with my small fishes and loaves.
One of the main reasons God created me is to accomplish my current assignment. I have been called with the help of other Christians, to build free, Christ-honoring Sculpture Prayer Gardens across the USA and world. The purpose is to bring glory and souls to Jesus Christ. The Coming King Foundation (TCKF) is currently building the first proto-type garden now, on IH-10 northwest of San Antonio, near the Hill Country town of Kerrville, TX.
On December 9, 2001 my wife and I traveled several hours to hear a man from North Carolina speak at Cathedral of Praise Church in Austin, TX. The guest speaker was Dr. Mahesh Chavda. Pastor, Dr. Bill Hart introduced us to Dr. Chavda as we walked in. To our surprise, later during the service, Chavda stopped in the middle of his message and asked us to stand.. Then, he spoke a prophetic word over us, in front of the entire congregation. He said that we would be involved in the restoration of the Tabernacle, and that the art I had created during my lifetime would now be used to decorate this last days Tabernacle. Chavda said God would be sending others to help us do this thing.
We were confused. As everyone in the room clapped, I whispered to my wife, Sherry, “GOD IS NOT GOING TO REDO THE TABERNACLE. THAT GUY IS NUTTER THAN A SQUIRREL!”
Eight months later, another stranger emailed me from Beaumont, TX saying that God was calling me to create a 77’7” crucifixion cross over IH-10. The man, Marlon Quibodeaux, said no one else could do this project for God. I called the business man in Southeast Texas and he explained his prophetic word to me and then asked that I pray about doing his project. I have learned in my old age to always pray before accepting or turning down any deals.
I explained that he did not need a sculptor, since all you had to do to make a cross was put two sticks together. I told him to call an engineer. Marlon insisted that I was the one called to by God to create this special work. At the time, Marlon thought the Crucifixion cross would be on IH-10 near Beaumont. I asked if Marlon had any money, since I knew a 77’7” cross made of anything would be very expensive. He said no, but might be able to find a donor. We prayed over the phone for God’s will. I fully intended to do my obligatory prayer and then tell the man, no thanks!
However, when I prayed after the call, to my amazement I got an open vision. I saw a 300’ long cross-shaped garden, with the Gospel presented in multiple languages on tiles, in a pathway that led to a giant open cross! The name God gave me for the Biblically symbolic, resurrection cross was “The Empty Cross”. It was the Door, the Narrow Gate, the Mighty Fortress and the Strong Tower that let the Light Of The World shine though.
I saw my life’s work of Christian monumental bronze sculptures in the points of the cross-shaped garden and people walking toward the giant 77’7” cross. I saw cars backed up along an access road, waiting to get into the garden Tabernacle! My spirit leaped as I immediately recognized this idea was from the Throne Room of God.
Where Do You Put A Last Days Tabernacle?
God put this project firmly in my spirit, though it had no funding, support, organization or location. However, after receiving numerous confirmations, I proceeded to form a 501c3 organization called The Coming King Foundation (TCKF). The Holy Spirit instructed me to form the new organization as an art museum rather than a ministry so it would be protected in the last days.
When I shared the vision with our Prayer Intercessors, I got two prophetic words back saying that the first garden would be on IH-10 in Kerrville, not Beaumont. First, Dallas financial planner, John Meder emailed on May 5, 2003 saying God would place the first garden in Kerrville. I responded back and said the money was in Beaumont!
Then, on June 26, 2003, Nazarene evangelist, Richard Schumann said the first garden would be at “THE GATES OF THE CITY” in Kerrville. We would later learn that the first garden would be located in Kerrville, in a small special area next to the interstate highway designated the “Gateway Zone”!
God Provides The Land
On December 11, 2003, I was sitting at a stop light facing IH-10 in Kerrville, when suddenly the Holy Spirit spoke and said: “LOOK UP, THIS IS THE LAND I WILL GIVE YOU.” After months of praying and doing the “natural”, God finally revealed the location for the first garden. It was ideal, an undeveloped piece of land at the main entrance to the city on the interstate highway facing the city. And it had a high place for the cross, a 1,930’ hill.
I immediately drove to the land, which was covered with Juniper and Oak trees. However, there was no” For Sale” sign on the property. So I drove to the Tax Appraisal Office and learned the owner of the 23 acres of prime highway frontage land was Clifford Reeh, of Pipe Creek, TX. When I got home I called Reeh and got a phone recorder, so I left a message. Then, I wrote a letter to Mr. Reeh. Both my phone message and letter basically said: “GOD WANTS TO USE YOUR LAND TO BRING SOULS TO JESUS CHRIST. WILL YOU PLEASE SELL US YOUR LAND, OR GIVE IT US?” Clifford Reeh never returned my two calls or answered my letter. I assumed I must have missed God again.
However on April 24, 2004, Reeh called and asked to meet me at the land. To my amazement, I learned Reeh was a Christian, he had bought the land purely for investment year earlier, but that God would not let him put in on the market for some reason. I learned that Reeh was also an art collector. Then, I learned he was MY art collector and that he had purchased my $1,500 bronze sculpture, “Divine Servant” in December of 1990!
We prayed together realizing this was providential. Clifford, who was of modest means, promised to pray with his wife, Dorothy about giving The Coming King Foundation their valuable land, that was worth millions of dollars.
Clifford called back and told me to draw up the legal papers and they would donate their land for the glory of God. I was ecstatic! The vision was coming together!
However, shortly after the legal documents were drawn up, my dream was shattered. Clifford told me that he had to back out of the deal because his two adult sons wanted money, since the land was their inheritance. I asked how much the sons wanted and Clifford said $500,000. This was a great price for the land, but when you don’t have $500,000 that is a lot of money!
Disappointed, but knowing God would provide a way, in my kitchen I wrote out $500,000 on a sheet of paper, and the comparable land prices next to it. Then I prayed: “LORD, DO YOU WANT US TO MAKE A COUNTER OFFER, OR DO YOU WANT US TO BELIEVE YOU FOR $500,000” Immediately a sparkling particle formed on the paper as I watched , right over where I had just written $500,000!
The Shekinah Glory dust particle (Ex 34:29, Isa 60:1) looked like a piece of glitter. I put a piece of transparent tape over the particle and called an emergency Board meeting. The seven Trustees voted to believe God for $500,000 and not make a counter offer to Reeh since we considered this a major, supernatural confirmation.
So, the land contract was written and we paid an earnest money deposit in faith. Since the Board had previously voted that we would never borrow money to build God’s garden, we all prayed for funds. By the grace of God, Sherry and I were able to make the largest cash gift of our life, but it was not enough. The Coming King Foundation did all the normal fundraising stuff, but we barely raised enough money to pay for the printing and postage!
Miracle On The Mountain
On September 16, 2005, with time running out on our land contract, 19 Christians gathered at the property to pray for the land, and a million souls for Jesus. We anointed a 17” wooden cross made from an Ash Juniper tree on the land,. We anointed it with oil and water from the Holy Land. As I planted the cross in the ground, and claimed the land for Christ, a three inch scorpion appeared and charged the cross! My wife, Sherry crushed the scorpion under her foot.
Then, my nephew, Sam, who had come in from Austin with my brother Mark, proclaimed, “LOOK UP, THE SKY IS FILLING WITH HAWKS! To everyone’s amazement almost a dozen wild Northern Harrier hawks began to circle over our heads! The entire event was recorded on video tape by Trustee, Rebecca Jons.
We all recognized the symbols of a spiritual power encounter in the heavens, but we still did not have the $500,000 we needed. Snakes and scorpions represent Satan and his demons, while eagles and hawks represent God and His angels.
The Vision Dies
Following our time of prayer, the seven TCKF Trustees meet to decide what we would do, since the contract was expiring and we were still short about $250,000. We prayed and several prophecies were given by the Trustees. I remember Pastor Jack Rothenflue prayed and said: “GOD, NOT ONLY DO WE WANT THE MONEY, BUT WE WANT A GREAT STORY TOO!” Since we had previously agreed not to borrow money, or make a counter offer, we had no options. With tears in my eyes, I thanked the Trustees for their service. The vision died that night.
The Vision Is Resurrected!
When Sherry and I got home that night, about 10:30 PM, I noticed the phone recorder light was blinking. I pushed the button and a voice said: “MAX, THIS IS HERSHEL. GOD SAID TO GIVE YOU $500,000.” I was stunned. The next morning I went out to the ranch of Hershel Reid, a man of God and the heir to a well-known American company. I asked Hershel what happened. He was one of the 19 people who prayed on the mountain the evening before. Hershel said he could not give us a dime since God had not released him to do so. He wanted to tell me the bad news in person.
However, when I planted the 17” wooden cross in the ground, Hershel put out a fleece to God. Hershel asked his Heavenly Father to put a hawk in the sky if his family was to donate $500,000 to buy the land to build a Sculpture Prayer Garden for Jesus. When he opened his eyes at least nine wild hawks were floating over his head! The Hershel Reid family donated $500,000 and the land was given to TCKF.
The Last Days Tabernacle Is Built
In the years since 2005, there have been many battles and victories on the journey to complete the evangelistic project. When the atheists and others opposed to the cross learned of our plans to erect a 77’7” on our private land, over the transcontinental highway, they became enraged and organized to stop us.
Their tactics were legal, illegal and even immoral. First they wrote hateful letter to the local newspaper and went to City Council meetings, attacking me and the project. When these efforts failed, they began using “dirty tricks” such as creating false News Releases and distributing them to the print and TV media. They sent pornography to our ministry office and even purchased mail order products in our name.
Finally, they eventually filed false charges with different state agencies and the IRS, resulting in an audit. We passed the audit with flying colors and I prayed for the Lutheran IRS agent to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. God also sprinkled him with the Shekinah Glory when we prayed on the property! When these tactics failed, they stirred up neighbors against TCKF and filed a lawsuit to stop the cross, which cost us $200,000 and took 15 months to settle. In an effort to keep the Christian legal firms out of our legal battle, the frivolous lawsuit was filed as a zoning case, rather than a constitutional rights case. This legal battle almost destroyed us.
Victory At The Cross
On July 27, 2010 the reddish brown $2,000,000 cross was raised over IH-10. The cross sculpture was donated by my family, and Monte and Beverly Paddleford, owners of Eagle Bronze in Lander, WY. Thousands of people learned of “The Empty Cross” when state, national and international media covered the story.
As the cross went up, most of the people gathered at the site were instantly sprinkled with the Shekinah Glory dust. The phenomenon was even witnessed by Associated Press reporter that day. That night, hundreds of worshippers celebrated the victory at the foot of the cross. They were again sprinkled with the Glory Dust, as they praised God inside the 7’ wide center space the massive cross. That evening, and subsequent evenings, the sparkling particles formed on the hands, faces and clothing of hundreds of worshippers at the cross.
In addition, thousands of round balls of light were photographed by dozens of people in attendance. These globes of light seemed to hover around the cross and worshipper, ascending and descending the cross. The Angel Orbs are believed to be the angelic beings described by Ezekiel (Ek 1:15). These signs and wonders continue to this day. They have been witnessed and experienced by thousands of people, and even documented by CBS New KENS 5 in San Antonio.
In addition to these miracles, now that the garden front entrance was opened to the public on July 19, 2012, thousands are visiting. Hundreds of visitors to the garden are getting Born-Again, Baptized in the Holy Spirit and healed at “The Empty Cross”. Four plaques inside the cross lead visitors in prayers for salvation, empowerment, healing and miracles. Even though we are still raising funds to finish the garden, thousands are being touched by the Holy Spirit.
Other miracles have also been documented at the garden Tabernacle. People have been physically and emotionally healed. In addition, during construction of the garden, contractors reported snakes leaving the property. A week later, on June 30, 2006, a pure white dove descended in front of the workers and walked toward where the cross would one day be located.
Later after the cross was raised, our LIVE security camera recorded a white vertical cloud that appeared behind the cross for 45 minutes on a clear day. The Kerrville Fire Department was called but no fire could be found, even though at least five people witnessed the white stationary cloud-like form on the video camera, including the 911 operator!
Thousands of miracles of all kinds are now being reported by visitors to the unfinished Sculpture Prayer Garden. It appears to be a “type” of last days Tabernacle predicted in Bible in Amos 9:11 and Isa 2: 2.
It is also providential that this garden is located at the same latitude as Israel, and is approximately half way between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on IH-10. The garden also looks like the Holy Land ,with thousands of massive 1.25 ton, genuine limestone blocks that have been used to decorate the garden.
Over three million dollars worth of monumental Christian sculptures have been donated by three internationally collected artists, including Beverly Paddleford, David Broussard and myself. About 100 to 300 people a day are now coming to the most symbolic cross in the world to find God. The presence of God is on the mountain!
Fulfill Your Own Destiny
God has a unique destiny for each of us. Don’t allow anything, or anyone, to stop you from doing what God has called you to do, once He has confirmed His will for your life. Satan will do whatever he can to keep you from obeying God. Satan will even use scripture and Christians to stop you from doing God’s will. Watch out for his schemes.
If you are truly doing God’s will for your life, there will be resistance. Satan will always put a snake in your path. I call these Negative Confirmations. Dispatch the snake using the name, power and blood of Jesus Christ!
Remember, it is God’s desire that we each use our gifts, talents and abilities, whatever they may be, to bring glory and souls to Jesus Christ. In this life we can choose who, or what, receives glory from our gifts and talents. Choose the King of Glory!
About the Author
Max Greiner, Jr. is a professional artist in Kerrville, TX. and a graduate of the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University. Max’s artwork is collected in all 50 states and over 65 nations. His testimony and artwork have been featured on CBN, TBN, CTN, TCT, INSP, Daystar and the secular networks. His art has been owned by Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Bill Bright, Oral Roberts, Charles Stanley, Rick Warren, Hal Lindsey, John Hagee, Jesse Duplantis, June Hunt, Tony Perkins, Mike Huckabee, President George W. Bush and the late Pope John Paul. Thousands of ministries, colleges and seminaries use Max’s art. In 2005, Max founded The Coming King Foundation with his wife, Sherry, and five other Christians for the purpose of building free Sculpture Prayer Gardens across the U.S. and world, to bring glory and souls to Jesus Christ. To learn more visit Max’s web sites at www.maxgreinerart.com , www.greinermemorials.com or their ministry, www.thecomingkingfoundation.org.