Thursday, April 30, 2009
Never Forget the Good People in Your Life
After yesterday’s Wisdom Wednesday, I’ve still sat at my computer this morning just goofing off and perpetuating my addiction to Facebook while thinking about what I wanted to write about today. My friends Dick and Gene gave me a great study of thought this week about lifting of holy hands that I want to talk about. My kids gave me the thought of talking about how important music is to relationships, God and each other. One of my former students in the youth ministry at Bible Baptist, Rebecca, gave me a great thought about loving the unlovable. But I think I just want to talk today as I thought about my church after sending off an email to my friend Michelle at church.
I’ve been incredibly blessed. God has given me a lot of good churches in my life. He started my childhood of knowing the church by giving me a great youth leader as a child in Joy Adams at Mount Zion in Anmoore, WV. She was the music leader-pianist and led us crazy little ones. She showed me that music was precious and that her love was too. I’ll never forget her love taking me 70 miles home after I was incredibly stupid as a 4-year old and jumped into the kiddie pool and cracked my noggin open. Thankfully, I only needed stitches. If you’ve read my salvation story, you know how much her love and support played in it.
That first church after my salvation, Faith Fellowship was great. I met great leaders like Sheldon Moore, who taught me never to take a speaker’s word as gospel, but to get my nose in that Bible and read it so that I’ll never be misled. I met Greg Lilley, who taught me that redemption is possible even after going through earthly hell after falling. And of course, I’ll never forget Tom and Nadine. Without them, I might have given up chasing after Christ. Their Wednesday night group probably did my mind more good than anything those first six years, even if all the chocolate did my waistline more harm.
While I worked at WLYJ 46, I got taught by some of the best Bible teachers in the world. I also got taught by some people who were more about the “name it and claim it” and some that were just outright false teachers. God used that time to give me a little discernment to tell the difference. I haven’t always been right, but God has used some of that as correcting tools throughout my walk with Christ.
Right before I left for Florida, God took me to Roger Thrower’s New Hope Foursquare Church in Fairmont. He used not only Roger, but most of the people in that church to love a man who was dying inside in a painful divorce. I was only there for a month or two, but God used that season to refresh and to give me a new sense of strength to ready me for the next part of my journey.
God gave me a sign, literally, to lead me to the church I may always call home. I remember driving up and down US 192 in Kissimmee for an hour and I kept seeing, Bible Baptist Church, “An Oasis in the Desert”. I’ll never forget Joe Williams when I told him that I was looking for a home and he told me that I had found one. He didn’t realize at the time that I had a home church and still hadn’t settled on where my house would be. Thankfully, I found a house not too far away. He brought me my best friend in the faith to date in Randy Jackson. Randy and I spent so much time together working with teenagers that if you didn’t know better, you would have sworn we were dating. He taught me more than I will ever learn from anyone else when it comes to leading a ministry. He taught me dedication and what it truly means to be “overworked and underpaid” in the earthly sense. The greatest gift he gave me was to show me that even after being burned by people that I could love people more than I ever thought possible.
I met my wife at Bible Baptist and we left a place I thought I could never leave. It is truly amazing what love can do. After six years, a lot of other people have left too. But there are faithful people still there and when I was home on vacation recently, I had a chance to meet the new pastor, Rick Flowers. I can only pray that they love him half as much as they loved me and he will be just fine.
After that, I did spend time in the desert. It was almost five years until I found New Hope, literally and figuratively. New Hope has been the home my family has needed. I’m not saying there weren’t good people at all the churches in between, but they never seemed to be comfortable fits. I won’t talk about all the gut wrenching details of what went wrong. Why? Because there were good people at each of those places and they deserve better.
But New Hope has been what we needed. My kids are well taken care of in the nursery. My wife and I have repaired a marriage that was taking a beating in the wind of no close family and friends. And God has given me a new job to do. He gave me a computer, a desk, three children who needed a daddy to stay at home and a connection to people to minister to and love on. One of my friends asked me why I don’t crack a Bible over his head like everyone else in his life. The answer is simple. We live Christ in front of them and by talking and bashing them to death. If I’m not sincere, you’ll know it. If the people at New Hope weren’t sincere, we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.
I think of all the people I could thank. I’m still afraid of who I might leave out. There are countless good people who work in the nursery. I couldn’t name all the people who have made the Marriage Ministry what it is. I will offer a side note here to pray for one of the leaders, Lisa, after she got hit head on by an elderly driver the other day. I haven’t found out her condition, but I pray for her healing, whatever she needs. There are countless staff and other members who have reached out to us. PV, Tyler and Bill have been great. They’ve all taught me something. I could go on and on about them, but I’ll save that for other blogs.
Why do I mention all these people and the churches I’ve been in? Because this morning, God allowed me to sit and think back about the good times, the good people and my good God. Sometimes I think we go through life without ever appreciating the people who made us, walk with us and change us. It may be middle age settling into me or just God truly speaking to the need to be thankful.
So I set a challenge today to be thankful for your people. The good, the great, the bad and the ugly. Without them, you wouldn’t be where you are. If it’s a good place, you’re really thankful. If you’re not in a great place today, at least it’ll be a moment to feel good about someone today.
I love you guys!