H. Rick Goff
Updated: May 24
As I embark on a new adventure as the Director of a non-profit called Champion Plaza which is sponsored by my church, Community Bible Church. I am reminded of all the God moments that have shaped my life. I have learned that what I thought were twists and turns in my life were actually the straight and narrow path of God ordered purposeful steps. I know now better than ever that I was purposely placed to be where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there. Every "twist and turn" was a stepping stone, and during those moments of uncertainty and doubt, all I had to do was persevere, and keep learning and growing. No mistake or crisis was wasted as they were preparation for the next God moment.
I was looking for an easy A during my first year of college at the University of Georgia when I walked past the AFROTC table during class registration. That's exactly what the young Captain asked as I walked up to the table! "Want an easy A?" Not the best recruiting tactic but it worked on me! I signed up for the class and little did I know it would chart the course of my life. I not only got an A in AFROTC all four years I was in the program, but I also was a Distinguished Graduate and earned my commission in the USAF. But most importantly, I met my future now my wife of over 40 years in that class. We both served in the USAF, and we were always assigned together and never separated during our 20-year careers. Walking past that table looking for and finding an easy A was definitely a God Moment!
As I was nearing retirement from the USAF, I was uncertain about my next chapter, but I knew it was time to move on. However, I was more focused on coaching my sons’ youth soccer team than I was planning my next professional step. It was a top priority to spend quality time with my kids and it was time well spent. Our teams were not the greatest, but the entire family had a blast during this season of life. It was during this time that I casually met the Father of one of the kids on the team, and we developed a friendship. He was at every game and practice, and we would often talk about fatherhood, parenting, and life in general. After the season, he asked me what my plans were after retirement and mentioned that he had an opportunity with his company that he wanted me to consider. After all the time we spent together, he never mentioned what he did professionally, and I never asked, we were just Dads enjoying the time we got to spend with our kids. He was actually the COO of Six Flags Theme Parks and the position he wanted me to consider was the VP of Operations. I accepted his offer and embarked on a great adventure that changed my life in ways I could have never imagined. It was truly a fun roller coaster ride that eventually moved me to New York City. I commuted to work in midtown Manhattan with six million of my new best friends for ten years, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was exhilarating and was a wonderful experience that my life would not be complete without. But most importantly, I helped to plant and found the Journey Church of Hudson Valley which is still growing and flourishing to this day. Focusing on spending time with my son coaching him in a youth soccer league was surely a God Moment!
After leaving New York, I moved to San Antonio Texas to enjoy retirement. I was living my best life fishing, golfing, hiking, traveling and generally doing whatever I wanted to do. Fishing in any body of water that looked like it might have fish in it, hacking up any golf course that I could get on, hiking in every National Park I could get to (I am up to twenty now), and visiting every country that seemed remotely interesting. I was reaping the fruits of my labor and had no plans of leaving this lifestyle. But as usual God proved he has a sense of humor and surely chuckled at "my" plans. After 6 years of rest and relaxation, he gave me my next assignment. I knew a God Moment was on the way!
Our Pastor had laid out the vision for Champion Plaza during one of his sermons. Champion Plaza would be a community service center that meets the needs of our community through a counseling center, a medical clinic, a thrift store, a food court as well as a full up restaurant. I fully understood the intent and purpose of the facility and felt moved to offer my time and expertise to help in any way I could. Little did I know the call was for me to do much more than help, my purpose was to provide leadership in making the vision of Champion Plaza a reality. As I struggled with the decision to come out of "retirement" to take on this challenge, my wife made one the most poignant statements to me that almost moved me to tears. She simply said, "You don't "Have" to do this, you "Get" to do this". This statement cleared up all my doubt and apprehension. It was one of those moments of clarity that we all seek when we face major and potentially life-changing decisions. While I believed in and supported the vision of Champion Plaza, I didn't see where I personally fit into the equation. But my God moment was confirmed by a simple yet profound statement from my wife. At that point everything came into focus, the path was clear, and my job was simply to take the step forward, which I have gladly and boldly done!! God Moment!
We all have God moments that plot the course of our lives. Some call it luck, coincidence, the results of their hard work, or being in the right place at the right time -- yea right, that's it!! But I am a walking testimony that it is ordered steps by God that we have the choice to take or not. It's living with intention and being open to the possibility that Jeremiah 29:11 was written just for you, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." My story (testimony) is uniquely mine, my God moments were perfectly timed, and gave me the hope and confidence I needed to move forward. I hope this essay helps to provide clarity and direction to someone struggling to find their purpose or their next steps. If nothing else, I pray it gives you Hope in the knowledge that God has a plan for your life!!