For 30 years now, I have been following Jesus. Three decades ago, I understood the gravity of my sin, and my need for a Savior … and God (in His grace) led me to Jesus, and my life has forever been changed.
Though my journey began in the basement of East Cross United Methodist Church, it did not stay there. Following Jesus has taken me to Bartlesville, Norman, Nevada, Russia, Dallas, Ovilla, Coppell, Norman (again), Mexico, France, and beyond. It has taken me into the Scriptures, church and small group communities, worship services, hospital rooms, housing projects, and summer camps. I have followed Jesus while single, married, and as a father. It has been joyous, difficult, life-giving, death-requiring, jubilant, lamenting … and more.
Throughout these years of following Jesus, I often found myself in a parade of sorts … Jesus was leading it, but there were a string of people following after Him. Often I found myself following someone who was following Jesus. In this way, they helped connect me to Him:
- My mom and Dad raised me in the church.
- Dwight Nash and Debra Villiger introduced me to Jesus.
- Dwight Darrah prayed for me to follow Jesus, and ultimately to be a Pastor.
- David Croninger listened to me and encouraged my faith.
- David and Hazel Kirchman taught me to pray.
- Kimberly Robinson showed me unconditional love.
- Todd Stewman introduced me to discipleship.
- Bill Boldt showed me what fearless evangelism looked like.
- Bruce Hess introduced me to faithful biblical exegesis.
- Tom Robbins showed me what it looked like to care for your flock.
- Wayne McDonald gave me a chance.
- Bob Reed pointed me to God’s grace.
- Mashall Brackin taught me generosity.
… and on and on I could go. I do not mean to leave anyone off this list, but simply want to remember in a moment the faith of those who have gone before me … and memorialize how it has impacted me.
As Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Like Paul, these all (and many more) have invited me to “follow them as they follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).” And I have been blessed as I followed.
Who has impacted your life? What are their names and how has God used them in your life?
For the Philippian Christians, they had many they were following. They were certainly following Jesus (see Philippians 2:5-11), but they also were following Paul the Apostle and the examples of a few other choice servants as they followed Christ. In this Sunday’s final message in the “Attitude of a Servant” series, we will look at Philippians 2:19-30, as we see the examples of servant heartedness demonstrated by two men: Timothy and Epaphroditus. May we all add the names of these two servants to our list of those whose example has aided us in our walk with the Lord. Hope to see you Sunday in our 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 worship services (inside and with children, student, college, and adult classes running), 8AM in our outdoor chapel service, or 10:15 online (wildwoodchurch.org/live).