7/31/19 – Pastor Brian’s Blog
For the past 2 weeks Judy and I have been at Word of Life enjoying their campground with our church family and our children and grandchildren. We also got to reconnect with many friends that we have made over the years. We attended a retirement service for a pastor friend of ours that faithfully pastored in a town that many have never heard of: Piseco, NY. We caught up with our friend Rick (who wrote last weeks blog) and his wife. It was great to spend some time with the headmaster of the school that our children attended when we lived in Schroon Lake.
We were able to spend time with more friends than I can mention in this blog. Each friend that we visited with had one thing in common: as soon as I saw them, at least one memory (and often many memories) of them came to my mind.
While we were there I saw Harry Bollback, one of the founding directors of Word of Life. Harry shared a memory of his Sunday School teacher. At the age of 14, his Sunday School teacher saved up enough money to send him and 3 of his friends to a Christian Camp. While at camp Harry and his buddies got in trouble and were going to be shipped home. After much discussion, the decision was made to give the boys one more chance. That night at the meeting, Harry and his friends accepted Christ as their Savior.
For me, I will never forget Bob Dyer. My parents had sent me to a Christian camp and maybe like Harry, my counselors could not wait until my week ended so that I would go home and make their life easier. Well, when my parents came to take me home on Saturday I begged them to let me stay for another week. When they finally agreed, I am pretty sure that I heard a large groan all over the camp when the staff was told they had me for one more week!
Bob Dyer was in high school and had given up his summer to work at this Christian camp. On the last night of my second week, Bob spoke at the closing campfire service and it was that night I accepted Christ as my Savior. Just like Harry will never forget his Sunday School teacher, I will never forget Bob Dyer.
In my church we are doing a study on the life of the Apostle Peter. I don’t believe that Peter ever forgot his brother Andrew, but maybe not for the reason you may think. Peter was the first person that Andrew brought to Christ… The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
And he brought him to Jesus. John 1:41-43
That Sunday School teacher had no idea when she sent Harry to camp how God would use him. She never would have guessed that this troubled 14 year old would later be used by God to help form a ministry that today has 10 Bible Institutes around the world, that has been and continues to be committed to engaging our culture with the Gospel. Today, Word of Life is in 70+ countries around the world with camps and Bible Clubs due to the faithfulness of God, but also due to the faithfulness of one Sunday School teacher who loved her unsaved students enough to send them to a Christian camp.
Andrew had no clue how God would use his fisherman brother. For it was Peter who rose to prominence as one of Jesus’ closest friends; it was Peter that became the spokesman for the disciples. Peter walked on water, Peter preached that sermon at Pentecost where 3,000 Jews came to Christ. Peter wrote 2 books of the Bible, Peter died a martyr’s death for his faith. It is Andrew’s brother Peter that God is still using today to change the lives of people.
Bob Dyer had no idea what God would do in the life of that kid from Canaan, Maine. To a much lesser degree than Harry and Peter, but a kid that would marry a Godly wife, would raise his family to follow Christ, to be involved in full time ministry for 37 years and counting. Never could Bob have imagined that God would use this kid to impact so many people, that one day he would become a pastor, and would travel overseas to teach others about the very Christ that he had shared that Friday night at a campfire.
There is no record of Andrew ever preaching a sermon and we do not hear of him ever performing a miracle or writing anything that became part of the Holy Scriptures. He is simply remembered for bringing Peter to Christ. What are you remembered for? We are all known for something! How neat would it be if someone remembered us for bringing them to Christ?
Andrew would be a great role model for us to follow. Our job is not to change people’s hearts, nor is it our job to convict them of their sins. It is not our responsibility to make people do and say what they ought. Our job is to bring them to Jesus, and He will take care of everything else. Life does not get any better than that!!