July 5, 2017 – Pastor Brian’s Blog

Yesterday was the 4th of July. As a church we do some things the Sunday before the 4th that we do not normally do.  We pledge alliance to the flag; we also take a trivia quiz to see how much of our American history we can remember from elementary school.  We sing patriotic songs and then take the time to remember and honor those that have served us and those currently serving us, so that we can continue to have the freedom to hold a worship service the Sunday before the 4th of July!

Today we have some very good friends from Cedarville University, Brian and Diana Nester, leaving us to go back home.  They have followed us around from ministry to ministry since we went into fulltime ministry some 35+ years ago.  Did I say 35 years…. I’m not old enough to have been in ministry for 35 years!!

We have spent much of these past 5 days with the Nester’s reflecting, laughing, crying, and just enjoying our time together as we relived our past, talked through the present, and look forward to the future.

Last night Judy, me, Brian, Diana, and some friends from the church went out to eat together and then we headed over to the Alton Bay Christian Conference Center to listen to singer / comedian Mark Lowry.  We enjoyed our time together as friends, as well as sharing much laughter and being ministered to by Mark.

Among the numerous stories Mark told, he reflected on his mom and dad and the Godly impact they had on him growing up.

If you could shine a huge light on my life, you would see tens of thousands of finger prints of people that have impacted me.  Some for many years, some for a moment, but all of them God has used to help me become who I am today.

As I was reflecting last night about people who have invested in me, people that have invested in my life, knowingly or unknowingly, the list is pretty long and pretty diverse.  Matter of fact some of you reading this blog today are part of my list!!

But as I reflect with you today I want to share with you 4 people that have impacted me in 4 different ways.  First of all there is Bob Dyer.  Few of you if any would even know who Bob Dyer is but God used Bob to change my life forever.  Bob was a high school senior who chose to give up his summer to be a counselor at a Christian camp.

I was there for 2 weeks and it was the last night before my parents would come, pick me up, and take me home.  That night Bob spoke at the closing campfire service, and even though I grew up in a Christian home, even though my parents made me go to church far more often than I wanted to, it wasn’t until that night that my heart actually heard the gospel and I received Christ as my personal savior.  That night God used Bob Dyer to change my life forever.

I never saw Bob again after that night and he has since passed away.  I am sorry that I never contacted him to thank him and tell him how God used him that one summer to change my life and how God had directed me into His service.  I am not much of a singer but I can envision finding Bob when I get to heaven and singing to him, “Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am a life that was changed”.

Then there is my dad.  My dad was not brought up in a Christian home, matter of fact he did not get saved until I was in elementary school.  But as I watched my dad’s life and saw his commitment to God (even though growing up, there we many times that I did not appreciate it) it continues to affect me today.  Matter of fact Judy says that in many ways I have become him.

For those of you that did not know my dad, he had the gift of giving and God prospered his business so that he could give.  My older sister went to a Christian boarding school in high school and in her senior year he gave the school a brand new school bus, lettered and painted in school colors.  He helped start a church and invested his own money to help fund it until it was able to operate on its own.  He built our family a brand new home; we owned a cottage on the lake all debt free.  My dad invested in missionaries, helped Christians start businesses and the list goes on.

But I have also watched as my dad was kicked out of a church because he stood on truth and his Biblical convictions.  I watch as he lost his business, his home, his cottage on the lake, everything, because someone he trusted to run his business, embezzled money out of the business until there was no money left.  I watched as my father would spend the rest of his life working to pay off bills because the money he received from auctioning off everything, did not cover the debts that were owed.

But I think the thing that impacted me the most was the fact that he was the same person when he had much and when he had little.  And I believe that he was the same because He had God in the good times and in the bad and because he had God, he had everything he needed.  That continues to impact me today.

Then my reflections turned to Harry Bollback, one of the founding directors of Word of Life Fellowship.  I was able to serve with Word of Life for 12 years and if it was not for Harry and the example he showed me, I could not minister as I do today.

On Sunday Judy and I are leaving to meet up with family and spend 2 weeks at Word of Life and hopefully I will have the opportunity to thank Harry again for investing in my life.

As I reflect on the finger prints on my life, the one that has had the greatest impact is my wife Judy.  I could not afford the printer ink it would take to print off the pages upon pages needed to tell you how she has affected my life.  Over the years we have had thousands of people walk into our lives, but without exception, she is the Godliest person I know.

I have watched her life, I have watched her raise my children, I have watched her interact with her grandchildren, I have watched as she has walked the path of ministry with me, the good times as well as the not so good times, I have watched her as she spends time with God at the beginning of each day (that is after she makes her cup of coffee!!) and as I watch her and live life with her, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God created Judy with me in mind!

There are many things I could write about Judy but as always, the Bible says it best…. He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:28-29

Finding time to reflect in this busy world can be hard to do.  But can I encourage you to take the time to do it, don’t wait until the 4th of July comes, don’t wait until you go to hear Mark Lowry and don’t even wait until good friends come back into your life.  But take a few moments, maybe even now and reflect on those that have impacted your life and if they are still alive, drop them a note and thank them for the investment they made in you and make their day!!

And when you reflect, don’t forget the one who has orchestrated your life, who brought these people into your life, the one who has written and continues to write your story and makes it all happen; God…. Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” Selah Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf! Psalm 66:1-5