Facing Life with a Miracle Mentality: Tim Storey and Gordon Mote
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Tim Storey: It could be you’re on a hike and you see rare butterflies that you’d never seen before. It could be you’re in the ocean and out of nowhere you see a group of dolphins just jumping and leaping like they’re just exuberant. To me, that’s the miracle of creation, that’s the miracle of observation. There are miracles where someone runs a red light and barely misses you, that really maybe there was some kind of divine involvement.
Facing Life with a Miracle Mentality: Tim Storey and Gordon Mote – Episode #242
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Whether we notice them or not, there are miracles happening all around us. In our busy lives, we may forget to look for the miracles God has put right in front of us. As Sarah Young writes in Jesus Calling, God is “weaving miracles into the most mundane day if we keep our focus on Him.” Our guests this week have trained their minds to seek out God’s miracles and their life’s work points others toward those “miracles in the mundane” that God is orchestrating for us each day; life coach and author Tim Storey and Grammy-nominated country pianist and Christian artist Gordon Mote.
Tim Storey is an internationally known motivational speaker and author. Inspired at a young age by the fantastic stories and vivid miracles he heard about from the Bible, Tim believed he could do great things for God. At just thirty-two years of age, he started a Bible study in Hollywood that inspired people from all walks of life, from entertainment legends to professional athletes by teaching them about Jesus and how He came to the world to be our friend and advocate. Tim firmly believes that God is a God of miracles and we can choose to see His miracles through all the seasons of our lives, and to know that we are miracles ourselves.
Tim Storey: Hello, my name is Tim Storey, and I started off in church at the age of four. When I was a kid, I had a vivid imagination, and as an adult, I have a very vivid imagination. So church to me was phenomenal. It really built my faith even as a young person. Sunday school at age four or five and six, man, I was pulled into those stories about Noah and what he pulled off. Abraham being an old man, but he had a baby. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo. And I stayed very devoted to God my entire life since stepping into the church for the first time.
Keeping Imagination Alive
The imagination is so important because what happens is that when we’re little, we definitely have an imagination. When I go speak to kids in third world nations and they’re real young, I’ll say, “What do you want to be when you get older?” And a little girl might say, “A princess,” a little boy may say, “The president.” And I find it many times as we get older, life knocks the imagination out of us. But the imagination is something that’s key. I take time to imagine. I take time to really look at things through the eyes of faith on a daily basis.
“I take time to really look at things through the eyes of faith on a daily basis.” – Tim Storey
I was very fortunate that I had great mentors, so I listened to my mentors. Mentors helped shift and shape my life. We had a local pastor by the name of Pastor Ron Prinzing in Whittier, California. He had a heart towards our family and our family was lower income. My mother had a sixth-grade education. My father had a tenth-grade education. My father died in a car accident when I was only ten, and it left a big void in our family of five children. And Pastor Prinzing was so great to see, he was over and above about really showing concern, care, helped to tutor all of us, and that says a lot because he had a church of about 1,600 people. But it was a really noble thing that he did, and we are still great friends today and he is eighty-nine years of age.
And so as a young person, I really got to know God, I really feel like I am a friend of God. I believe that grace fills in the gaps and I truly feel this way. And I’ve been through a lot in my life and I am consistently with this mindset.
”I believe that grace fills in the gaps.” – Tim Storey
Bible Study to the Stars
I think I live an unusual life in that I started a Hollywood Bible study when I was only thirty-two years of age and I was helping people like Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Vidal Sassoon, Lee Iacocca, James Caan, Charlton Heston.
And many of these people that I’m talking about, they come from different faiths outside of Christianity. And the thing that I would hear from them is, “Tim, you’re so down to earth and you’re teaching us principles that work.” And I would just take messages on rejection or fear or loneliness, and I would teach from that. And so that really helped me to become very efficient at sharing the Gospel to a group of people who may have said ‘no’ in the past, and that is to look for the thing in common. We all go through rejection, we all go through fear.
And I do a lot of it from a Christ perspective, because, you know, His whole strength was walking in love, teaching on love, and showing compassion. And so that’s been my role model, the Jesus style as my role model. And what I find is that a lot of people say, “I used to be into faith, but I feel let down,” or “Religion has become big business,” and that’s my opportunity to really talk more about Christ as the friend and Christ as the One who understands and Christ as the humanitarian.
“A lot of people say, ‘I used to be into faith, but I feel let down,’ or ‘Religion has become big business,’ and that’s my opportunity to really talk more about Christ as the friend and Christ as the One who understands and Christ as the humanitarian.” – Tim Storey
And so if you have sadness, He came to bring you joy. If you have dead things, He wants to exchange your ashes for beauty. He never said He will put beauty on your ashes. He said He’ll exchange them. And that’s one of my big messages I would say a lot of people that run the world, is that Jesus Christ will exchange your dead things and exchange them for beauty. Whatever crisis, whatever setback, whatever painful thing that you thought you had to live with, whatever stigma label, that God is bigger than anything you faced.
“If you have sadness, He came to bring you joy. If you have dead things, He wants to exchange your ashes for beauty.” – Tim Storey
Introducing People to God’s Word and Jesus Calling
I think that many times the actual Bible seems very overwhelming. So when I’m helping somebody; and I buy them a Bible, I have to tell them where to start. Jesus Calling is a hybrid of many things, of really great writing—and I’m a writer. Very great writing, and also taking a topic and being able to add several scriptures to that topic and make it something that the average person can understand, even if they don’t really know God that well. And then the other thing I love about Jesus Calling is it has tremendous takeaways, so you can read and become educated. And then secondly, you have takeaways that you can apply. So I use Jesus Calling for the application as well.
So I think Sarah Young, who I’ve never met, knows God. And I think a lot of people know a lot about Him, but they don’t really know Him. What I find from her writings is that there’s a real connection and a real relationship with God. And so I think that definitely resonates with people because she writes a lot from the position of mercy and grace. No matter what you’ve been through, God is still there for you. God will still guide you, guard you, govern you.
“No matter what you’ve been through, God is still there for you. God will still guide you, guard you, govern you.” – Tim Storey
God is a Miracle Worker
I believe that God is a miracle-working God, that’s part of what He does. And so, you know, God is many things. He’s a forgiver. He is a healer. He’s a mender. He is one who brings peace, but He’s also one who brings forth miracles. And so out of His nature, He does what He does. So what I have found is that miracles are either coming or going at all times. I don’t believe that there is like a drought in the miracle world. The miracles are either coming or going at all times, and to me, a miracle is partially found by looking for them.
“God is a miracle working God, that’s part of what He does.” – Tim Storey
There are miracles where people are supposed to die of cancer and they find themselves truly getting healed. There are miracles of Tim Storey coming from a lower income family to being able to life coach some of the smartest minds on the planet. I believe that I became a miracle. So we are all living in the midst of a miracle. We are walking miracles, even in our limitations, our setbacks, our frailties, our faults, our failures. The challenges in our life, whether we be in a wheelchair, whether we were in a tragic accident, whether we have lupus, Lyme disease, fighting off cancer—thank you, God, for the many miracles that surround us, the miracles of the changes of our children, sometimes of children who struggled and somehow found their way back, or our grandchildren who struggled and found their way back. So become awake and then take inventory and you’ll find that there’s miracles all around you.
“We are walking miracles, even in our limitations, our setbacks, our frailties, our faults, our failures.” – Tim Storey
Narrator: You can find Tim’s latest book, Miracle Mentality, everywhere books are sold.
Stay tuned to Gordon Mote’s story after a brief message.
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Our next guest is GRAMMY-nominated country keyboardist and Christian musician Gordon Mote. Blind since birth, Gordon credits God for taking care of him and blessing him with good things all his life—including an early talent for music that would blossom into a full-time career as a keyboardist playing for country legends like Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Martina McBride, and Carrie Underwood—just to name a few. As a kid, Gordon listened to every record he could put his hands on and he and his brother (who is also blind) played and sang in churches of all sizes and denominations. Eventually, Gordon dared to dream that he might be able to play music in Nashville and was discovered by a producer who gave him that first break that led him to play on a host of hit records featuring his signature piano stylings and also recording Christian records to inspire fellow believers. Gordon believes that the opportunities he’s been given have all been heaven-sent, and he takes every chance he can to point people toward the One whose blessings allow us to become everything He intended us to be.
Gordon: I’m Gordon Mote. I’m a musician, singer, artist, producer, chief, window washer, whatever it takes to get it done. I started playing the piano when I was three years old on Thanksgiving Day. My family had no idea it was going to happen. And when it happened, they were freaked out because they heard the piano playing and wondered who it could be. And when they walked into the living room there, I was only three years old, barely big enough to reach the keys sitting on that piano bench. And the very first song I played was “Jesus Loves Me.” And since that time, I have tried to get better every day. I made my first public appearance when I was four at a military base close to home in Anniston, Alabama.
I went to the Alabama School for the Blind for preschool, kindergarten, first and second grade learned how to read and write Braille, learned a lot of the basics. But in third grade, I started mainstreaming into the public school system. Well, it was because of a great man with a great vision, his name was C.C. Davis and he was the superintendent of the Gadsden City Schools and he had met a couple of us just by chance. And he thought, You know, these kids are going to be living in a sighted world all their lives, and law had just passed that enabled these things to happen, and he always was a groundbreaker anyway. He really always had a vision and he wanted to make it happen. And so there were six of us. And he made a deal with the Attalla City schools. He said, “If you guys will provide transportation, Gadsden City Schools will provide the education, the teachers.” And so, yeah, it was because of a great man, Davis, who taught me so much. But one of the things he used to always say is, “Gordon, there is no such thing as a problem. It’s an opportunity.” And he passed away a few years back, but [he was] a great man with a great work ethic and truly a great vision.
Finding Friends, Finding Music
I was one of the first blind students to mainstream into the public school system, which had, certainly, its challenges. And kids can be really mean whether you’re sighted or not. Kids,you know, they don’t understand, they think that in many cases, if you’re different, you’re not cool, and sometimes they think because you’re different, you’re really cool. But I had it all in high school and middle school and whatnot, elementary school, there were some kids that were really horrible, really mean, made fun of me. But all in all, it was an amazing experience because most kids are good-hearted. They’re open to learning something new. And I had some dear friends in high school that I’m very grateful for.
I loved music so much. It was my escape. It kind of defined, you know, in high school. Everybody’s looking for, What am I good at? Well, for me it was music. And because I was what they called the childhood prodigy, it was kind of the wow factor was pretty high back in those days. And that helped me gain popularity, in a sense, it kind of set me apart a little bit. Even though I was blind, my friends thought I was cool because I could play any song they could name, you know, or sing any song they could name or whatever. So I’m grateful that I had that. And I thought, Man, it’d be really cool. You know, I had loved so many different types of music. I’ll be honest with you. I always loved it. I was too young maybe to think, Hey, I’m going to move to Nashville and play on sessions.
I was at Belmont going to school, a guy by the name of Mark Moseley heard about me through a teacher, and he allowed me to come into the studio with some notable Nashville players and he gave me a shot—because he couldn’t get anybody, maybe. But he gave me a shot and I learned so much and I caught on and I used to skip class and go work in the studios because I thought, Well, I can either sit in class and talk about doing it or actually go to work and do it and get paid for it. And I didn’t skip a lot of class. But if I got a job or got a session…Mark gave me my first opportunity just to kind of start developing my craft in the studio because the studio thing is different.
I worked with several artists, traveling and doing that thing. Word of mouth, other writers heard about me, and all a sudden, I’m the new guy doing demos and just working a lot. One thing led to another. And in 1999, 2000, somewhere along in there, I played on a few records, but nothing huge, nothing that was going to change the world. But I got a call to play on the new Alan Jackson record. Pig Robbins, who is in not only the Musicians Hall of Fame but in the Country Music Hall of Fame, he’s a piano player but he’s also blind and he’s legendary in this town. And he and I are kinds of the only guys, only blind guys, who’ve done it at this level. And Pig told them, “You need to call Gordon.” Pig was sick, wasn’t doing well, and they needed somebody and they asked him who they should call and he said, “We’ll call Gordon. He’s the new guy. He’s going to be the guy for a long time.”
Here comes 9/11 and everything that happened. And I remember I was in the studio that day with another artist. And I was just thinking, Man, what we’re doing is just useless, I don’t even know why we’re here. This is not going to help anybody. This isn’t going to affect anything. There are people who are in such need right now. And I prayed. I said, “Lord, I don’t even know what this looks like. Not even sure how this could work, but I’d love to be able to make a difference somehow. I don’t even know what that looks like. I don’t even know what I’m asking. I’d just like to make a difference.”A couple of weeks later, we go in to do the second half of the Alan Jackson record and he comes into the studio. And he had this stool that he would always sit on, play his guitar, and play us the next song we were going to cut. And he said, “Denise wanted me to come play a song for y’all, I don’t know if it’s any good or not, but imma play it so I can tell her I played it and y’all can tell me whatcha think about it.” And he played, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” And after that, it kind of went crazy for me. I was an overnight success that took years to make.
Grace Became Amazing
I accepted Christ when I was eight years old at a revival meeting in Alabama. “Amazing Grace” became more than just a song. It became an experience. And so if we could comprehend—which we can’t—what it must be like for Jesus to have that kind of mercy and grace for us and then to look down on this earth He created and see how we treat each other…I just feel like we need to love and do our very best to love because He first loved us. And where would we be without that grace? So that’s what it’s all about for me. And I need to be told that as much as the next guy, I don’t always do well. I’m not perfect, certainly. I don’t always win. But I hope I win more than I lose.
“If we could comprehend—which we can’t—what it must be like for Jesus to have that kind of mercy and grace for us and then to look down on this earth He created and see how we treat each other…I just feel like we need to love and do our very best to love because He first loved us.” – Gordon Mote
Our current radio song is a song called “Grace Became Amazing,” which, you know, we’ve all sang “Amazing Grace” so many times in our lives. And people who are not Christians sing it. They know it. They sing it in church. They grew up singing it. When they hear people singing it, it might remind them of a simpler time and all that.
Enjoy the Tempo of God
I have my devotional time in the morning, you know, and I have my prayer time and all that. But so many times I don’t take the time I should to just sit still and listen.
I’ve always been a big fan—I love Jesus Calling. I think Mrs. Young did a wonderful job and I wish I could meet her in person so I could thank her for that. I’m so grateful that my wife introduced me to it many years ago, and when I found the devotional when I found the app, I thought, Man, this is the greatest thing ever, because now my phone can read me these devotions and I can just have it on the go whenever you need it. And so grateful for Jesus Calling. Grateful that there are people out there who are encouraging us to stay in it. And there’s no encouragement like God’s word, and I love someone who can write so wonderfully and know that it’s God-breathed. And I just have a great appreciation for it and a great reverence for it and a love for it.
The Jesus Calling devotional from January 25th is, I think, very fitting for the times we’re going through. It says:
LET MY LOVE ENFOLD YOU in the radiance of My Glory. Sit still in the Light of My Presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones. Through the intimacy of our relationship, you are being transformed from the inside out. As you keep your focus on Me, I form you into the one I desire you to be. Your part is to yield to My creative work in you, neither resisting it nor trying to speed it up. Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step.
You know, with this pandemic that we’ve recently gone through, we’ve all had more time on our hands. And I have certainly tried to use that time to try to find the heart of God and just to meditate and to listen to what He might be trying to teach me or tell me. And this passage really spoke to me in a huge way. The sacrifice of our time, we’ll see how He will bless us and our loved ones. I mean, if that’s all you take away from it, that’s enough, because all of us want to be blessed and whatever it is we’re trying to do, and we want our loved ones to be blessed.
But I love the, Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you—whatever it is you’re trying to do—will open up step by step. I mean, we’ve all got questions there. There is not one of us who has all the answers. Sometimes it’s one little bitty step after another, and sometimes it’s kind of standing still, you know, the very first [line] of the passage talks about sitting still in His presence. And I think that’s me. And that’s what I don’t do enough of. So I love that passage, it really spoke to me as so many of them do. It’s almost like God knows what you need to hear on any given day.
Narrator: You can find Gordon’s latest release, LOVE LOVE LOVE, wherever records are sold.
If you’d like to hear more stories about the miracles God pours into our lives, check out our interview with mother and son Joyce and John Smith, whose real-life story was told in the movie Breakthrough, starring Crissy Metz.
Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we speak with comedian and host of Off the Cuff Podcast Michael Jr., who shares the story of how he made it in comedy, and how he strives to acknowledge God’s presence in all of his moments—even the ones where he’s making people laugh.
Michael Jr.: God is everywhere. So bring Him with you or at least give Him that freedom, saying “I’m going here.” I know it sounds silly to say, “Why don’t You come with me?” I know this sounds silly, but I’m telling you, neurologically in your brain, like, Oh, snap, Him. God is with me. He was here the whole time.
2 thoughts on “Facing Life with a Miracle Mentality: Tim Storey and Gordon Mote”
Thank you very much……
Thank you so much! I read my Jesus Calling book every day, and I have sent it to lots of people. I have enjoyed hearing and reading your life stories and your thoughts about God. I need some miracles! Thanks, again!