I am 68 years old today. Old, but still a few years from “ancient history” status.
Let’s do some numbers:
- 49 years as Senior Pastor of Fellowship
- About 2 weeks being Founding Pastor of Fellowship
- 43 years of marriage to Barbara
- Three children and six grandchildren
- About 900 people now reading Interruptions (including both Russian and English versions)
Most influential verse from the Bible in my life in following Jesus (For 49 years, same as being a pastor, since I became a pastor two weeks after becoming a Christian):
Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things [God’s will] will be given to you. Matthew 6:33
The first verse that I memorized 49 years ago.
Every major decision that I have made, I’ve asked the question, “Is this seeking first the Kingdom of God?” I haven’t been perfect in this “seeking” but God’s grace has been perfect.
Some more numbers:
- 3,000 sermons preached
- 85 (I think) foreign mission trips
- Seven books written (with several more on the way)
- 30 chapters of the Bible memorized
- Pastoring thousands through my influence
Seeking first the Kingdom does bring “all things!”
Favorite moment: Seeing my wife for the first time. Her face is still vivid in my memory!
Second Favorite: After my first message about Jesus, having 16 accept Him as Lord and Savior!
Third Favorite: Understanding that my life was to be about “discipling disciples who disciple disciples who disciple disciples.” Read five times quickly.
Listing favorite moments can be dangerous.
Of course, my children, grandchildren, and you are important. As I reflect on my life, recollections remembered and then fading, good far outnumbering bad, there are so many reasons to be thankful.
Memories that could be first, second, or third are:
- The birth of each of my children
- Traveling to Russia for the first time
- Traveling to the Philippines for the first time
- The most recent installation of Jeremy Hudson as Senior Pastor of Fellowship
I’m anticipating a future eternity of serving Jesus.
In March of 2020, I was sitting on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and the Lord spoke to me saying, “Be a good steward of the teaching material that you have!” When I came back from Israel, right into a two-week quarantine, I began writing Interruptions.
Six days a week I write an Interruption. I get up, the Spirit stirs, I can feel it, and I begin writing. Soon after, I have another Interruption. This is #266. I write raw with little research and no re-writing. What has been building for 49 years flows through my keyboard.
(Thank you, Sharon Wildman, who edits, my wife, Barbara, who places graphics and posts, and Lana Volkova, who translates to Russian.)
While reading this Interruption, I know that you have been considering getting me a birthday present. My suggestion? Send me five names and e-mail addresses of people that you wish to receive Interruptions.
I’m praying that I will get to 1,000 readers.
Jesus gave his Great Commission in Matthew 28 while looking over the Sea of Galilee. I received my commission to be a “good steward of teaching” also while looking over the Sea of Galilee.
My lifelong passion has been the Great Commission. I’ve traveled the world teaching one-on-one discipleship in my book First Steps. A revision of First Steps, called First Steps Conversations, was published in 2019.
Because of 2020, the church of 2021 will not be the same as the church of 2019. I am confident that the Great Commission, given over 2,000 years ago and renewed in my heart on the shore of the Sea of Galilee will be the same in 2021.
Seeking first the Kingdom of God for me, for you, and the end-times church today will continue as…
Discipling disciples who disciple disciples who disciple disciples.