Rep. Diane Black Discusses Religious Liberty; Barry Meguiar Urges Greater Evangelism Commitment
NASHVILLE (NRB) — God was working in Mike Lindell’s life and giving hope to others even before he was converted to Christ, the MyPillow chief executive officer said the evening of February 28 at Proclaim 18, the National Religious Broadcasters’ (NRB) International Christian Media Convention.
At NRB’s Media Leadership Dinner, Lindell – who says he was “born again” a year ago – told interviewer Eric Metaxas and a packed room of Christian communicators about his tumultuous path to entrepreneurial success, one marked by addictions from which God delivered him.
Addicted for more than 25 years to cocaine, crack, or alcohol, Lindell found himself the object of an intervention by his own drug suppliers in 2008. Three of Minneapolis’ biggest drug dealers refused to sell him crack after he had been up for 14 consecutive days. They also put word out on the street that no dealer was to sell to Lindell.
The three dealers told him, “You’re not getting any more from anybody,” Lindell said. “You made us a promise that some day you would come back and you would help us. And we’re not letting you die on us.”
Lindell said he had told the dealers, “I have this platform, and I am going to come back and I’m going to have this foundation. I would have all these prophetic dreams.”
That night one of the dealers took a photograph of a bedraggled Lindell and told him, “You’re going to need this picture for your book. You made a promise that you’d come back after you found Jesus or whatever -- you would come back and help us all,” the MyPillow CEO told the audience.
Lindell agreed with an observation by Metaxas, saying, “I gave them hope even then. All through my life I would do that.”
He had told them he planned to start a foundation to help these dealers and others in need. Two of those three drug dealers are now Christians and work for him, he said.
Lindell didn’t stop doing drugs that night, but that freedom came early in 2009. He recalled for the dinner guests his January 16 prayer.
“I said, ‘Okay, God please [bring an end to] these addictions. I don’t want to have the desire again. And then I’ll do this platform thing you’ve got me on,’” he said. “And I wake up in the morning, and the desire is gone. It’s gone.”
Lindell invented his pillow in 2004 while addicted to crack.
“I was an addictive person,” he said. “I was addicted to crack cocaine. It took about a year and a half to invent [the pillow]. I put all of my addiction into this. ... I went completely broke. I mortgaged our house, everything. I was all in on this pillow.”
Lindell lost his wife and their home. He described to the audience the adversity he faced in trying to sell and distribute the pillows, as well as in surviving a takeover effort of the company. He also shared about the provision of God at different points in his life and the business.
In 2011, he pooled money from family and friends to air a MyPillow infomercial with a friend to assist him but without a teleprompter or audience. At the time, he had five employees and was living in his sister’s basement. He had 500 employees 40 days later, Lindell said.
“These are things that led up to my born-again experience,” Lindell told the audience. “These were miracles. They don’t happen unless you have God, unless you have Jesus.”
Metaxas, host of the Eric Metaxas Show, told him, “This is raw. This is beautiful. God [worked on] your life while you were a wreck and was operating on you while you were still on crack.”
His foundation has become a reality. The Lindell Foundation takes care of the overhead and enables donors to give directly to meet specific needs.
“Imagine a hundred percent of your money goes to the need, and you pick your need, and you get to hear back the difference you’re making,” Lindell said of the foundation’s approach.
U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) also spoke at the dinner, urging the communicators to continue to defend religious liberty.
The freedom “to express our beliefs openly, joyfully, and without reservation” needs to be “fought for; it must be protected; and it must be handed on,” she said. “And I know that all of you fight for it every day, that freedom for the next generation.”
Black encouraged the group of leaders at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center to support the Conscience Protection Act (CPA), legislation she again is sponsoring in this congressional session. The bill would keep pro-life, health-care workers from being coerced into participating in abortions and other procedures to which they object.
“In the CPA, we are not seeking to change anyone’s mind, although I hope one day we will change everyone’s mind about abortion,” Black said. “We’re simply asking to protect the fundamental rights of Americans. No one should ever be forced to participate in killing an unborn child.”
“The freedom of expression that you all hold dear extends to the health-care providers who hold these pro-life values just as dear,” she told the audience. “So protecting one means protecting the other. We are all in the fight for religious liberty together.”
Barry Meguiar, founder and president of Revival Outside the Walls, closed the dinner by urging the Christian communicators to share the Gospel with others.
“Sharing faith is not an option,” he said. “It’s not something for just somebody. It’s something for all of us.”
A Christian doesn’t need to lead an unbeliever in the sinner’s prayer in each encounter, Meguiar told the dinner guests. “Move everybody every day closer to Jesus -- the waitress, the clerk in the store,” he said.
Revival Outside the Walls sponsored the dinner – an annual invitation-only gathering of the “principals” of NRB’s member organizations and specially-invited VIP guests.
By Tom Strode
Published: March 2, 2018