The Joy of the Journey with David Lake
Today’s show features David Lake, pastor, speaker, and owner of Lakeside Pools and Wrangler Construction. David has co-authored a book, Redefining Rhema, and currently speaks internationally, encouraging others to know God.
Ray: Well hello everyone, this is Ray Hilbert and I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith. We would like to welcome you back for another edition of the program. I am in the Phoenix, Arizona area and I’m having an opportunity today to interview David Lake. David is the owner of Lakeside Pools LLC. He has also the coauthor of a book that I’m holding in my hand and I hope we get to talk about this today on the program called Redefining Rhema, Redefining Rhema. That’s R. H. E. M. A. David, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
David: Well, thank you for having me, I was asked to do this and was looking forward to it. So I’m really blessed to be here and humbled to be able to partake of this.
Ray: I’ll tell you, I am really excited today, David, to have the opportunity to get to hear your story, but most importantly to hear God’s story that’s being lived in and through you. Are you excited to share that today?
David: I’m always excited about talking about history, which is really his story.
Ray: All right, fantastic. So before we get into, you know, how you live out your faith and those sorts of things, just give us a brief background. What do you do at Lakeside Pools and kind of how did you get started in your role and your business?
David: Well, we’re a pool builder in the greater Phoenix area all over the Valley. We remodel pools, we service them, we do monthly maintenance. So anything that has to do with the swimming pool, we offer those services. We’re a growing company. We’ve been in business actually since 2008, kind of weird time, especially if you’re aware of our economy during that time to go into business. But that’s when God opened the door to go into business. And so things have continued to progress. 2010 we became licensed and we continue to grow and feel like that’s what God’s led us to do. Continue to grow business.
Ray: And we’re going to get into that. And some of the things that you’ve seen God do in and through your company, but I want to just go back just for a moment. God led you to start the business in 2008, to venture out on your own, but you hadn’t been an owner before, right? You had been in this industry, but tell us a little bit of the back story about how it was that you came to be led to start the company in 2008.
David: Well, I gotta be honest with you. I’ve never wanted to be in business. I was pretty happy collecting my check and living my life afterwards and four kids, coach sports and that stuff. So I was pretty busy, so I never wanted to devote that time to it. My background, I built houses, I framed, I did all kinds of construction before I got in the pool business in 1995. I met a guy who went to my church who was the son of the biggest pool builder around and he needed a superintendent and somebody who could read a plan and a tape measure. Well, that’s how I got into the pool business. So, it’s been a journey on doing that. I stayed in it, I was a superintendent for about five and a half years and then I got into the construction management part of it. And ever since then that’s what I’ve been doing is managing the construction of swimming pools.
Ray: Yeah. And so through a course of events, God transitioned from working for another large pool company, right, to starting and building what is now becoming a really growing and thriving company where you are God’s steward of the business. Would that be fair to say?
David: Oh, I definitely believe he’s the CEO. I mean the orders come from him. And when he started in 2008, I’m not sure that a conventional wisdom said start a business during the recession, but that’s exactly what God did.
Ray: And it’s just like him to go against so many things that our flesh would tell us.
David: It’s so counterintuitive. And yet that’s the joy of the journey because God does so many things that maybe go against conventional wisdom and then to watch him fulfill what he’s going to do, he gets all the glory. You can never take credit for it when he brings things together like that.
Ray: Oh, that’s so exciting. And so before we get too much further, is there a website if one of our listeners just wanted to learn more about the company, how would they do that?
David: LakesidePoolsAndSpasAZ.com is our website, LakesidePoolsAndSpasAZ.com so you can learn about the company, you can price out a pool, check into financing. We try to service it all.
Ray: Okay, fantastic. And so what we really want to do here at Bottom Line Faith is we want to be an encouragement. You know, we have folks from all walks of life that we interview, but at the core, it’s really about living out our faith in the marketplace. Do you see your company as a platform for ministry in the marketplace? And if so, why or how do you see it that way?
David: Well, how can I not look at it as an opportunity for ministry? If Jesus is really Lord and center of our life, then it becomes a reflection. My business becomes a reflection of who he is in me. So yes it does. And it’s not just about doing the right thing in the business place. I think it’s about exhibiting a culture of getting to know God and meeting people where their needs are loving them. I mean, God has laid on my heart for Lakeside to be a destination of employment that people would want to come to work here. Why? Because of the godly principles that are exhibited there.
Ray: Well, you said something earlier, I just want to revisit. You said, I really just didn’t want to be a business owner, but how did that come about then that you moved from that to like, you are one now. What was that like?
David: Well, I first I get laid off.
Ray: So God moved in that way. He pushed you out of the nest, so to speak.
David: Yeah, so it’s hard to believe that something negative could be from God, but yet it was the very thing that catapulted us into business. So I get laid off. I started doing a little bit of sidewalk consulting and trying to make things happen. Then my mom says, Hey, why don’t you get your license? I kind of looked at her like, okay. I didn’t have any money at that time. And she paid for me to get the license. And then through events and circumstances, God brought the whole thing together. Now he’s actually changed my heart to enjoy being in business and look forward to building a bigger business.
Ray: And so, you’ve had some great growth over the last few years. Now, you know, we don’t necessarily need to know the numbers, but could you just give us a little understanding of what you’ve seen God do in terms of growing the business and its influence and impact?
David: Well, I mean starting from the beginning, just looking at the fact of how he brought it together. I mean, I got my license, I wasn’t doing a lot. Somebody approached me and said, we want to start a business, can we use your license? And we got money in Texas to do that. And I was like, okay, cause I was going to get a check. And so in about eight months they began to build this business. They got about, you know, four or five salesman, a general manager. They tried to get some offices and started selling a few contracts. Well I’d gone on a missions trip, come back from missions trip and the guy who invited me to get into business, the money shut off. We no longer have a business. So God takes this and really in miraculously in two hours, I changed my business license from the company where I was at to my own company again.
And suddenly I inherited salesmen, pool contracts, offices and all those things. So, a week later the guy who invites me in business, he quits, says I can’t do this. And then four of the five salesman quit, three of the four, whatever it may be. But God leaves me with one salesman who is probably one of the top sales guys in the industry for the last 10 years. And I had worked with him before. Well, we didn’t really play well together all the time, but then God knits our hearts together and he takes us and this guy sells them and I build them and God begins to build the momentum to make this happen. And over four years, or five years. It’s been an unbelievable journey.
Ray: Would you have seen five years ago that you are where you are in terms of the business?
David: No. I mean, three years ago I was happy with what I was then and then God lays on my heart, He says, David, a kingdom business is like a small mustard seed that was planted in a garden. It grows forth into the biggest plant in the garden, sprouts branches, even that the birds of the air would come and rest in it. He says, that’s what a kingdom businesses and what Lakeside Pool should be. And I’m like, God, I don’t even know how to grow a business. So I prayed about it for a year and God says, now the next year, and we begin to make decisions that God translates into growth. That I really didn’t have the experience or know how to make happen. Yet in spite of me, there’s nothing better than being weaker when it comes to God. He manifests himself, gave us wisdom to do things that I just didn’t have the knowledge to do.
Ray: Well, I’m very encouraged as I’m listening to this story. And so that really is a big goal of our program here at Bottom Line Faith is to be an encouragement, right? So if only one person hears this and hears the voice of God through this conversation and they become more obedient to what he’s calling them to be, or maybe they take that step of faith, then it’s a win from our standpoint. So with that in mind, what I’d like you to do is just take a moment and offer that word of encouragement to that. Maybe that one person who’s driving down the road like right now, and they’ve got their podcast playing, or maybe they’ve got their headphones on as they’re working out. What word of encouragement would you have for a Christ follower who’s really kind of seeking this whole thing out and what does it look like to live out my faith in business?
David: I think I would say to them, know God. And to break that down a little bit, I guess I would say, look, if God gave you a word that’s from him, number one, it will come to pass. Trust him in it. And if you’re having problems trusting it through him, may I recommend spending that time with him to get to know him so that your trust level goes up knowing that God will make it happen. The Bible is so full of instances where God gave a word to somebody that was so beyond who they were and yet you watch it fulfilled even when they didn’t make the best decisions. So if I could encourage anybody, I would say this, God loves you so much that he put that word in you and he necessarily will get you from point A to point B. Watch him work.
Ray: And so I’ve got to believe that as I’m holding a copy of this book that is much of what led to the writing of this book. Would you just speak to tell our audience a little bit about what is in your book, titled Redefining Rhema as soon as they can get it at any of the, you know, Amazon, Barnes and Noble sites and so forth. But tell us about why you wrote this book and what’s the main message that you want readers of this book to come away with?
David: Well, the key to the book was this reality that when God spoke, he imparted faith to do what he said he was going to do. And if you go into Hebrews 11 and the chapter of faith, the hall of faith, you realize a common denominator with all those people is that God spoke something to them. And so Rhema is really the Greek translation for a word that gives you the idea that God spoke something present tense. It’s specific, it’s for a specific time and a specific situation. And literally God designed you to walk in fellowship with him, to hear his voice so that he could guide you in business decisions, family decisions, spiritual decisions, and give you a specific word on what you need to do. So really the book examines that reality that when God speaks to you, he’ll impart the faith to get there, to make it happen. Faith becomes God-centered instead of man-centered in that book.
Ray: Well, let’s talk about that just for a second. Right? So, how do I know what are the characteristics? What are the factors that I should be looking for to discern whether it’s God speaking to me or as I say, indigestion, last night’s pizza that’s just not sitting well. How can we know the difference?
David: The biggest emphasis will be, it will happen. The journey to watching it happen is watching God fulfill the plan before you. Many times when God lays something on my heart, I’ll put my feelers out in the direction of those things. I don’t try to force something to happen. I watch God bring all the pieces together. I remember one time I was going on the mission field and I felt like God wanted me to go. And I always believe that God provides when he tells you to do something. So I’m getting to the deadline of when we had to have our money to go, and it was like 2,500 bucks or something like that. So I called the leader. I said, look, I don’t think I’m going to be able to go. I said, I don’t have the money.
He said, well, let me make a phone call and see what you can do. So he calls me back. He said, don’t worry about it. We got you taken care of, but I’m in the truck and I’m driving. And I said to God, I said, God, that’s not your best. I don’t believe it. I drive literally two blocks down the road, check my mail that day. And inside the mailbox is a check for $2,500 to go to this missionary trip. I had no idea that money was coming in. And the point being is that God necessarily provided so you can labor to rest and trust in what he’s going to do. And once you move beyond what you think he can do. And so that to me is a key thing. Not how hard you work, but really the fact of trusting God, knowing that he has it in control.
Ray: All right, so that’s really encouraging. And so now let’s talk through what does that look like in the day to day in your business? You know, what does that look like for you to really listen and hear God’s voice in your business? Maybe give us a scenario too in your company where you’ve seen God speak or heard God speak, and then what it looked like. Can you give us, give us some of that?
David: Well, first of all, to me the day starts off with God, you’re the boss. What do you want to do in the company?
Ray: Wait a minute. I’m just going to stop there. Is that like literally a prayer that you would speak out loud every day?
Ray: So you have a business meeting to start your day with God. Me and God.
David: Yeah. Right.
Ray: And you’re saying, okay, you’re the boss, Lord, you’re the CEO. What’s going to happen today? Do I have it right?
David: That’s exactly how it goes. Alright, this is your business. I give it to you. What do you want to do? So the attitude is set forth first thing during the day. Then as each situation comes up that I don’t have an answer for, I literally go, what do you want to do? I ask the question. I have given myself two waiting on him to respond in the sense that he’ll bring the pieces together, he’ll move the people along, he’ll bring the people in, he’ll bring the divine appointments together. So quite literally practicing let patience have its perfect work that you would complete, be completed desire nothing. I’m a firm believer, I’m not going to miss God’s timing if he needs to change the direction of the decisions I made or the things that I’ve done. I know that he loves me so much that he will do what he says he’s going to do and he will guide those decisions. So at the forefront of my mind, when a trouble customer, a difficult employee, a difficult circumstances, really, is God, I don’t know how to deal with this. You’ve got to give me an answer because I don’t know what to do. And he hasn’t failed me yet.
Ray: So how does this play out? If you have a customer that may post, say negative comments on social media or maybe giving you negative feedback or you know, do you stand there on the porch until God tells you how to respond to that or do you call them back or what’s that look like in the practical application?
David: First thing, when the situation comes up, it is a prayer. God, you’ve got to help me navigate these waters. Second of all, it’s an understanding that man’s going to be mad and those things are out of my control and they’re going to say what they say. I work very hard to make every customer satisfied and you’re right, we don’t hit a home run every time, but I have to leave those situations in God’s hands too. Man doesn’t determine my destiny. God determines my destiny. As I said earlier today, I get every contract or I’m supposed to have and every contract I’m not supposed to have, I don’t get and I’m comfortable with that and even the ones where the experience may not be so pleasant. I understand and know that God divinely gave me those contracts and we walked through that process because to be honest with you, those are the times that makes me more dependent on him. God, what do you want to do? So I have a difficult test customer. God, I invite him to the meeting as we go. I get out of the truck and I operate knowing that the Holy Spirit is giving me an answer in my time of need to deal with people.
Ray: Before we go any further, I just want to one more time David, the website where folks can learn more about you. We’d like to put in that shameless plug here for you if that’s okay.
Ray: All right. LakesidePoolsAndSpasAz.com. Okay, so what are some of the best, give me two or three best practices about your faith. We’ve talked about you know, trusting God and praying in those situations, but what are some of the best practices on the front end that you are going into business each day? Like you know, absolute principles that you are going to run and lead your business, you’ll lead your business by.
David: Well again, I think the praying and the day to day giving God the business number one. Number two, getting to know God and really getting to know God. I learned business practices because I know that’s how God acts. So I don’t approach it like reading the Bible and listening from the thing of what do you want me to do? It’s like, okay God, what do you do? A subtle difference yet miles apart.
Ray: So you’re, if I’m listening, well you’re asking God to reveal his character to you that can be lived out through you.
David: Absolutely. In fact, Galatians chapter two, it’s no longer I who live but Christ in me. So in getting to know him, it’s no longer about the decisions that I’m going to make. I really just want to reflect what he wants to do and getting to know him and knowing how he operates and what he does helps me to discern and navigate those things. So the most basic of all principles is really getting to know God.
Ray: Yeah, absolutely. And so this is exciting stuff, right? I mean, and like, okay, don’t be offended, but you actually believe that, right?
David: I’m not as sensitive to you right now. You know, and the people that I surround myself with remind me all the time. How bizarre this life is that you’re trying to live out, Dave. I take it as a compliment, and I’ve lived this way long enough to say I don’t want to live any other way. And whether you believe me or not, God always shows up and proves himself all the time. I don’t want to do it any other way. I don’t want to journey any other way. I’m excited about the discovery of what he’s going to do and then watch the fruit of what he does, even though I hadn’t placed my mind on trying to produce all this fruit.
Ray: So as I’m listening, I know, I just know that there’s somebody listening to the program right now and they have conflicting things going on right now because there’s no wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a minute. Wait a minute. David. I’ve been trained. You’ve got to have goals. You’ve got to have a strategic plan. You’ve got to know what you’re doing on a daily basis and execute upon those goals. That’s not your approach, is it?
David: No. I’m the worst goal guy in the whole entire world. In fact, I would be terrible if you were to look at my business plan, it’d be pretty short, actually, probably be a blank page. That doesn’t mean that somebody making a business plan or setting goals isn’t from God. It’s the way that he wired me. And I guess they would say this. If he’s called you to business, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to look like what everybody else’s does. You know why? Because I get to show the world a piece of God and you get to show a piece of God. We just get to manifest this piece of this great and mighty God, and you know what? It’s okay to be who you are because he made you that way.
Ray: And so you know, it’s not like you’ve got this like this extremist view that this is the only way that a Christian would run a business. It’s just the way God’s calling you to trust him on a day to day basis. And you’re on this crazy faith journey with him. Is that right?
Ray: So I’ve got to believe then, David, that that doesn’t always mean things go easy or right. So would you mind sharing for our audience maybe something really difficult that you’ve been through in the last few years as the owner of this business, a really steward in God’s business to be technically correct, but maybe share with us a tough time where your faith was challenged or maybe you just didn’t know how God was going to show up, but how he walked you through that. And what comes to mind?
David: I think in today’s culture, the social media aspect, when you work hard as you work and really give everything to be pleasing to your customers and then it doesn’t end up okay. And then they get on social media and they give their perspective, which is only really half a story that paints you in a negative way. I can remember just like, God, what do I do with that? Because my sales guys, sales people place a lot of value on that. Rightly so, and I couldn’t control it and I really had to wrestle through this thing. And really God said, Dave, I got this under control too. And so I had to learn to take those situations and set it in his hands. If God is for me, who can be against me? And it doesn’t matter what social media says, God still determines my future. So it doesn’t mean that I’m passive in my performance. It just means that I do my best and give the rest of God.
Ray: Well, it’s got to just be liberating and freeing, right? Because we don’t have to own all of this. We don’t have to get so wrapped around the axle about what’s going well and what’s not going well or where I’m failing and succeeding. That’s got to be like this great peaceful approach.
David: You know, in Hebrews it says the labor to enter into his rest. And I think Christians and businessmen and church people as a whole, we could do a lot better job in doing that. Laboring to enter into his rest literally means that you’ve ceased from doing your own works and allow him to do what he’s going to do. So that becomes key if we’re going to work at something, work at resting in him.
Ray: Oh, I love that. So what I’d like you to do is I would like you to think back and let’s pretend that you’re setting across the table from your 20 year old self, right? And you have a chance to really, advise yourself. So what would you say to the 20 year old David Lake, knowing what you know now, what would you say to it?
David: Know God. That would be my biggest thing. John 17:3. This is eternal life. To know God, his Son, Jesus Christ, and I would invite everybody, know God, because out of knowing God will burst, come forth the fruit of the fullness of what life is supposed to be.
Ray: So briefly walk us through. Are there some disciplines to that or what does that really look like to know God?
David: I think I would term it this way. Things that would help you to know God. Okay. Read the Word. Read the Word. Read the Word. You can’t get enough of the Bible. Number one. Okay.
Ray: Now before you go on though, you’ve got a very specific thing that you believe is important. What should be our goal in reading the Word? Is it just so we have answers on what to do or is there something else we should be looking for there?
David: Read the Word from the perspective of this is going to tell me about God. There’s some stories in the Bible that would put some of the greatest soap operas on TV to shame, but in those stories, God didn’t make a mistake in letting them be written, number one and number two, it literally reveals the character of God through those stories. One of my favorite stories is about how Abraham intercedes for Sodom and Gomorrah and we always treated that as a reason on how to pray for situation, which is really only half the story. What Abraham is manifesting is the goodness of God and really what that story, the painted picture, full picture is, is that God manifests his judgment and his mercy at the same time through Abraham and he demonstrates through that exchange that God really wanted to extend mercy in spite of what Sodom and Gomorrah had become.
Ray: Okay, so these characteristics or traits, if you will, of learning to know God first was reading your Bible with the intent, with the goal of understanding the character of God in every story and every passage. What else?
David: I think journaling. Journaling literally slows your thoughts down. You cannot write as fast as you can think. At one time I actually used to use different colored pens so that I know if it was my crazy thoughts or what I thought was from the Holy Spirit and I would write them down and I would review them and it really taught me to listen to God.
Third, if you will, pray and listen. Listen, my prayer time is more about listening and prayer becomes the thing where I’m reminding myself about what God’s going to do, not me telling God what he’s going to do. That’s literally what it’s become. And so I have valued the listening to God. So journaling, praying, reading his Word.
Ray: Such good, good counsel. And so if we could just do those things, we might learn to hear from God is what you’re telling.
David: We necessarily will hear God. So it’s not even a debatable thing. You learn to recognize his voice. The Word tells us that his sheep will recognize his voice.
Ray: Fantastic. The last question I ask is what I call my 4:23 question. It’s based out of Proverbs chapter 4 verse 23 penned by Solomon who says this, he says above all else, guard your heart for from it flows all of life. And so David, what I would like you to do is just for a moment, I want you to, let’s spin the clock forward. Just pretend you’re well advanced in your age and it’s about time for you to depart this side of eternity and you have a chance, one chance to gather your family, your friends, your loved ones, those who are most precious to you and you get a chance to pass along one piece of advice. So what I’d like you to do is I want you to fill in the blank on Solomon statement above all else.
David: Know God. It sounds redundant but it literally has become everything and it can be summed up in everything when you know God, it’s enough.
Ray: Fantastic. Anything else you’d like our audience to hear today?
David: Thanks for having me on; it has been a joy.
Ray: You and are going to be friends for a long time. If I lived here, you’d be building my pool. If I can get you to come to Indiana, we’ll have you build one for us. But it’s just been an honor and your faith is genuine. It’s infectious. I know that your employees, your customers, vendors, they are recipients and benefactors of your walk with Christ. And I just want to thank you for being a faithful model of Christ in the marketplace.
David: Thank you.
Ray: Well folks, another great episode of Bottom Line Faith in the books and we have been talking with David Lake, owner of Lakeside Pools LLC in Phoenix, Arizona. He is just another example of God’s soldier in the marketplace. A man who has been called by God and by his own admission really isn’t the most trained of businessmen, doesn’t have the big degrees, and those sorts in fact, didn’t even want to be in business, but has a call upon his life to follow Jesus in the marketplace and now is actually quite excited and thrilled with where God’s taken him in the marketplace. And so I hope you’ve been encouraged today. I hope you’ve been inspired. I hope you also can walk away from this conversation with tangible, real ways that you can grow deeper in your walk with Christ. And as David said, learn to know God because if we’re hearing his voice and it’s really his voice, it necessarily must come to pass. And that’s what we’ve learned from David today. So listen, thank you for joining the program today. Again, if you’re a first time listener, go to BottomLineFaith.org check out the dozens of interviews we have there. Become a regular subscriber. Tell your friends about it. Tell your family, tell your employees, tell them to become subscribers of this program because this is the place where faith and life and business all intersect. And hopefully you’ve been encouraged by the program today. Until next time, I am your host, Ray Hilbert. So long, God bless, and we’ll see you next time.