Sep Shoemaker shares how he overcomes the struggle of finding time to spend developing a deeper intimacy with the Father despite being busy.
Every day, we are faced with the fact that life never slows down for anyone. We have daily responsibilities at work and with the people around us. In the midst of the busyness, how do you make time with the Father? Sep Shoemaker enlightens you in this episode. Running his own businesses on top of being a family man, Sep is constantly faced with the struggle of finding time to spend developing a deeper intimacy with the Lord. He shares with us the compromises he’s made and the tools that continue to help him today. Through the highs and the lows, Sep never forgets to give glory to God. Let his story inspire you to hold on to this very important relationship in our lives. Let Him do His will.
I have Sep Shoemaker on this show with me. In this episode, we're talking about spending an extreme amount of time with the Father when you have no time. Here we go.
What's going on? I have Sep Shoemaker on the show with me. What's going on, Sep?
How are you doing?
I’m doing fantastic. Thanks for returning to be on the show. I appreciate you.
I love it.
I love you, number one. We've become good friends. Especially in the past, we've become a lot closer. You came to the Iron Deep event last September 2022, our very first one. Sep has been on the show before, but I want to repeat who Sep is. He lives in Richmond, Indiana. He has been married to his wife Allison for many years. They have two boys, Tucker and Toby.
He has been in the construction industry for many years. He owns his own property management company, Shoemaker's Property Management. He loves spending time with his family and working. He leads worship and small groups at LifeSpring Church. He puts his priorities in check. He says Jesus, family, business, and leadership are all the areas that he is consistently growing in. Welcome to the show. I am super thrilled to have you.
In this show, we're going to be talking about the topic. You inspire me, number one, because you have developed such an intimacy with the Lord. I see you and you're constantly going deeper. A lot of people have a maintenance program where they want to check the box. They go to church. They don't want to slide backward, but they don't maybe want to continue going deeper and more intimate with the Father. When I look at you, I see you going deeper. You've developed a program where you spend a whole day, an extensive time with the Father. I wanted to talk about that. When did that come about? Why did you say, “I'm going to spend this full day with God?” Let's talk about that a little bit.
Everything started back in about 2019. I started with a morning, scheduling out, pursuing it, and truly spending my first hour with the Lord every day. The first day I woke up, I read the book, Miracle Mornings for Millionaires. I knew that God was calling me to something. I didn't know if it was exactly going to be like the book, but I knew that it was going to be a sacrifice. It was going to be me getting up early and spending that time with him.
I remember the first morning I got up. I went downstairs to our living room and sat down and was like, “Lord, I'm here. What do we do?” I've read some scripture and decided to write out my prayers so I could always go back on them. That's been every day. I've not missed a day. It's 1,600 and some days since then that I've spent that morning.
A couple of years ago, I ran across a devotion. I used the new version Bible app and they’ve got devotions in there. I come across this devotion by a guy named Dave Hodgson. He's in Australia and owns a billion-dollar business. One of the concepts he does is every week, he spends an entire day. He gets up early, gets on his jet ski, and goes three miles upriver. He hangs out on an island that he has gone to for twenty years, sets up camp all day, and truly spends the day with the Lord.
He was talking about how if the Lord's truly the owner of his business and he is here to manage it, how does he know what the Lord wants him to do if he doesn't spend that time with him? I pondered that whole concept for about a year. In 2022, I started putting it into practice. The Lord kept nudging me. He took me back to that devotion to do it again. I told him, “I'm busier than I've ever been in my life. I'm trying to run three businesses. You're telling me to take a full day to go do this.” I compromised with him and said, “How about if I do it from 6:00 AM to noon? That way, I can still be a part of the daily grind and I can have that time.” He was okay with that. He said, “Let’s start there,” and so I did.
In the first week, I showed up and spent a great time in word and prayer. I was typing out my prayers so I can go back and look at them. It was mostly because of my personality. I forget things a lot. If I don't write it down, or even if I do, sometimes, I'll look back and think, “I don't even remember that. I'm glad I wrote it down.” I've done that, especially in tough seasons. When I'm finally out of the valley, it's good to go back, reflect, and give glory to God for bringing me through those valleys and seeing how he's molded and shaped me and chiseled off a little here and there. I was doing that.
I had this conversation with somebody because they wanted to start doing that. They did it the first week and were like, “I showed up and nothing happened. It was okay, but I don't know what to expect. My expectations were higher than what came about.” I told him, “I remember back, and I even went back through my journal, it was three weeks before I felt the Lord was sitting there with me, and I hide.”
When I first started, I would drive down to a local reservoir and I would sit in my car all morning and watch the sun come up. I would watch the geese land and watch the water. I would spend that time. It was probably easily three weeks before I felt a connection. I don't know that it was him testing me, but it was him watching to see, “How committed is he going to be? Is this something that's truly going to be real?” I've done it maybe with the exception of 1 or 2 weeks for medical reasons since August 2022. I've done it every week, but I've missed two weeks. One was for a funeral, and one was for medical. The more that I give to him, the more he blesses that. That's the biggest thing.
I've got this pulled up here. In 2 Samuel 24: 21-25, King David goes to this farmer. He says, “I need to build an altar to the Lord.” The guy says, “Here, I'm going to give you whatever you need. You can have my threshing wheel and all the wood. You can have my ox for the sacrifice. You can have it all because you're the king.” David said, “No way. I will not sacrifice anything to the Lord that doesn't cost me something.” He gave him a good price, which was 50 pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the ox. He then built an altar and sacrificed to the Lord. That sticks with me almost daily because I wake up and it's like, “What am I sacrificing?”
If I'm up at 5:00 in the morning or 5:30 in the morning, I would much rather be sleeping. I can tell you that. When I’m up and I go out and I’ve got my Bible app and I'm spending time, it’s like, “Lord, I showed up. I've come to be with you. I'm giving up. I'm sacrificing the sleep and the rest to be with you.” I'm going to tell you more than not, he shows me physically the presence of his holy spirits right there. That becomes very almost addictive. You want more because it’s better than anything we can find on this planet. I promise. It's attractive, so I'm attracted.
I remember about a month in, several years ago, when I was meeting in the morning, I was jumping out of bed. I was so excited because I had never spent that time with him. I've got worship wrapped up in that. There are times, especially on my prayer days, when I'll spend 1 hour or 2 hours worshiping, being in his presence, and being a part of that. There's nothing that I've found on this planet that can even compare. That's for sure.
Amen. That’s awesome, number one. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and sharing some of the resources too. You mentioned Dave Hodgson, right?
I want to hear his story behind that, too, and build a successful business. You're building a successful business. I love what you said about how it should cost something. The sacrifice should cost us something. It’s costing you time. One of the things that you have done is you're not showing up maybe with nothing, but you're also extremely intentional.
I know you've talked about bringing in prayers for different people. You've prayed over our group, all the guys at Iron Deep. You've continuously prayed over them. You come prepared to connect with the Father. Would you agree with that? You're not just showing up, but you come with anticipation and intention. You're prepared to come before the Lord.
It's a relationship. If you're married, if you don't spend time with your spouse, that relationship's not going to go very far. It's not going to last. It's the same with Lord. I've learned over the years that his love language is truly time spent with us. He moved heaven and earth to be with us. To have that, all we got to do is do our part and show up.
This wasn't the way it was when I first started, but my relationship has grown so much with him. I expect him to be there. Why wouldn't he be? He was there yesterday. He's going to be there tomorrow. He's the one that I can depend on that he won't let me down. Even in trials, it never goes the way I think it should, but we always get through. He walks with me and he doesn't leave me. I learn more that way, honestly, than if it would go the way that I thought it should. It's about being intentional. It's all about the relationship.
I love what you said. It’s better than anything that this world can offer. That's the way we were designed. It’s to be with him and to be intimate with him. Jesus himself, for us to model after him, he went away often to spend some time in prayer. It says that. It says Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. It says that in Luke 5:16.
He also prayed for some big things in his life. Whenever He had some of those big moments coming up, he typically spent the night before or spent days. After he was baptized full-time in ministry, he spent 40 days in the wilderness. That's when he was tempted by Satan. Let's talk about the night before He called His twelve disciples. In Luke 6, He spent the night in prayer. Relate this to your own life. Have there been big decisions that you've spent some extensive time and prayer for, not just a couple of minutes? What are some of those big decisions that you've had help from God during those times?
From February ‘22 to February ’23, we made a big adjustment in ‘22 in February in our business. I knew then he was telling me, “I had done part of the step,” and he was telling me to do the rest of it. I said, “We're in good shape. I can handle that part,” but that wasn't part of his plan. Into about August of 2022 or maybe September, it was almost like he has this way of making things happen where you've got to come back around to see what he wants to be done. It got so tough.
I've spent months. I don't know that I've ever prayed for anything as much and talked to him as much as what I was doing then. It was, “Lord, I don't know what has happened here. I had forgotten that I was disobedient flat out. Not intentionally, through my actions, I was disobedient.” He brought it back to my mind. It was like, “Remember when I told you to do this? I wanted all of this done. You didn't do that. These are the consequences of that.” It was hard, but in his gentle way, there still was discipline. It was gentle, but it was very tough.
Finally, in February 2023, I told Him, “I got to surrender this because if I don’t, I'm not going to be in business. It's going to be over,” and so I did. I'm not kidding. Immediately, like the next day, things shifted. It was huge. Things shifted in our company. There was still some tough stuff that happened after that, but they were all things that had to happen in order for everything to get corrected and fixed.
We had 2/3 of our staff walk out because I was holding them accountable for something. Whenever they walked out and I looked at the work they had been doing, it took us a month and a half to fix all that they had done because they were doing it all wrong. It's like, “What in the world?” That wasn't even the part that I was disobedient about. It was part of the result of it all. That was insane.
Even in that tough season of knowing, and we were in a valley that I didn't even know we were, I never feared. One time, I asked the Lord, “Is this not going to work? Can I walk away from this and be done with this season of my life? Can I close these businesses down?” He said, “No. That's not what I'm telling you.” He provided more than what I needed in every way to get out of that. We kept walking forward.
It’s because of the relationship I have with him that I know His voice, I know when he is telling me something, and I know when he is guiding me. I know what that feels like because the enemy loves to try to trick and throw some evil things that will get you going that way when you're supposed to be going that way. I know I can identify those. Without that relationship, I don’t know where I'd be. I'd probably be crashed somewhere in business especially, and probably to my family as well.
Amen. That's quite the journey. It comes back to obedience. You said that a couple of times. When we obey what he is asking us to do, it happens immediately. We are called to walk in obedience. That's one thing. When I think about you, you're walking in obedience. You're walking and doing what God has called all of his followers to do.
Sometimes, we might look and be like, “Sep spends a whole day in prayer and spends in the presence of the Lord.” Maybe that sounds a little bit radical, but it's obedience. That's what he called us all to do. It is to spend time with him, withdraw, and be in his presence all the time. Can you speak a little bit about that and maybe encourage other people? I don't want to put you on a spot or anything like that, but could you speak into the Christian life, what God is calling us all to do as followers of Christ?
I'm happy to. There's a word. I'm very excited about the upcoming Iron Deep in Helen, Georgia. I'm excited to be a part of that. When I started thinking about the topic and discussion that I’m going to be honored to present, one word stuck out to me, and that was surrender. As men, sometimes, that's hard. As businessmen, sometimes that's almost impossible. Thankfully, nothing is impossible.
When you are going to surrender your will and let him do his will, that's tough, but it is the biggest payoff you will ever live through. I can tell you that from experience. That's all he's asking. Have you ever had anybody else die for you so they could spend time with you and then not want to see you in eternity away from them but bring you to them? There's nothing on earth that is that. That's God's love that He showed us.
He created us to be with him and we messed that up. He’s like, “I got to fix that.” Jesus came and fixed it. It’s the gift waiting to be taken. It's that simple. Some people may be so focused on the money part. It's not about the money. It has nothing to do with the money. It has to do with the relationship with the one who created it all. When your dad is that guy, you don't have to worry about stuff.
I love that. You talked about that word. Sometimes, that word gets thrown around. Surrender all in, like everything. He says not to keep anything from him. Our organizations, businesses, lives, and everything is all about the relationship and his sacrifice. One of the guys from Iron Deep, Brad Lenardson, I was talking to him one day. Sometimes, we want God to partner with what we're doing. He is like, “It's not even really about that. I want to partner with what he is doing.”
That's exactly right.
That's awesome. It's all about surrender. Thank you so much. Have there been other times that Christ went away and spent some time and maybe there were circumstances, like a grief of circumstance? Even right before he was arrested, he spent some time that night in prayers. Has there been moments in your life when you've gone and spent some time because of something you were going through that you knew you had to go through? You talked about this in 2022 in your business. Even in your own personal life, have there been times that you went to the Lord and laid everything down because of grief or because of something you knew that you were about to go through that you had gone through? Can you talk about that?
This wasn't necessarily for me, but the burden was heavy enough that I had to go and spend time with him. A few months ago, there is a very close friend of mine. Our families do life together. We have for six years. Our kids are the same age. Their son was in a horrible car accident and lost his life at eighteen years old.
They had rescheduled prom at the local high school where our kids all go. Richmond had a fire. It was a big fire. It made national news. The place that they had rented for the prom was downwind from where the fire was. The fire was still going on. They decided to reschedule it. They pushed it off a month. That day, instead of getting ready for prom, he was heading to a friend's house and turned a corner in a semi-hit. It was less than a mile from his mom and dad's house.
Behind the semi was one of the daughter's boyfriends who had seen it happen. He ran to the house. At the same time, they see it already on our scanner page or our local Facebook. Thank social media. They run down and they beat the fire department and the police there. That's not something you want to beat the scene. They called us immediately. We went and helped and did all we could. We stood there with them at that crash site for hours. I don’t know how many, but it was hours while they cleaned it up. The grief that I have seen in my brother was not anything I'd ever experienced. It was so heavy that I knew that only one person could help us through that. That was our Lord.
That week, we spent every day with them. The funeral was pushed out a week. There was a lot going on that week. We were with them. I remember on Wednesday, my prayer day, I spent hours lifting him and his family up and asking God that even if they can never make sense of it, give them the peace that only he can bring to a situation. It's a process. It's not a, “Here, you're not sad anymore here. Here, you’re not going to think about it anymore.” It’s going to be the rest of their lives working through that. It’s because of the love and the grace that God pours out on us that they'll be able to walk through.
They were able to walk through that week, the funeral, and the burial. The school closed down on the day of the burial. They invited teachers and students. I've never seen so many people at a burial site in my life. It was an incredible celebration of his young life and an honor to the family and to who this young man was. I know without the Lord's help, and they know that, too, that they wouldn't be able to walk through this.
This isn't the way that it's supposed to be. Parents aren't supposed to bury their children. That is still very raw in my life. It's certainly a time that you don't even know how you're going to get through it. Every day, you get up. Every day, God’s grace is sufficient for us. Every day, He walks beside us. That’s something we’re all still walking through, and it’s something that this family will be walking through for years to come.
Without that relationship and hope, where do you turn? They have the community to come around them, like yourself. There are families walking with them. You said you've walked with them for six years. That's what God calls us to do. It’s put our burdens on him and to help lift the burdens and carry them for other people as well. Thanks for sharing that. I know that's tough praying for that family. I know you've mentioned that to our group before. I appreciate you sharing. Thank you for that.
The word that you shared with us is surrender. Everything is his. If you guys are reading this, I would encourage you to get before him and start surrendering. If you are holding anything back, then I would encourage you to dig deeper and give him everything, your businesses, your families, and your lives. Everything is his. There's nothing better. There's nothing worth it than surrendering everything to him. Do you have any closing words that you want to share with our audience?
I’ll tell you that it’s a daily process of surrendering to Him. Every day, in my time with him, it's, “Today, Lord, I'm going to physically, honestly, and spiritually surrender. I give it to you.” Throughout the day, you'd be shocked at how many times the Holy Spirit is tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “You’re surrendering, remember?” I’d be like, “Yes. I remember.” He is like, “You're surrendering.” I’m like, “I remember.” He’d be like, “It’s not your plan, but my plan.” I’m like, “I got it. I got to continue.” It is to open up your hands and let it go. It is seeking after him. All relationships take work. There's not any relationship that I know of that doesn't take some kind of effort and work. If you're willing to put the effort in, he is willing to put it in on his side.
That's awesome. I love that. That sounds good. I appreciate you. I love you. Thanks for being on the show.
Thanks for inviting me.
We'll see you soon.
I’ll see you.