Thank you to those who have shaped me

This two part series has been really good for me. It’s opened up channels of thanksgiving and praise and reminded me of the potential I have to be influential in others lives. Here’s the next group of people:

5. John Erickson. John was a preaching professor at TEDS and local pastor. For some reason, John befriended me during my first year of seminary and I desperately needed a friend. The first year of seminary was also the first year of marriage. I found seminary easy (I know how to study) but marriage hard. John helped me understand what was happening. He showed me sin and pride that I was blind to. We met and prayed, held each other accountable. We talked about everything under the sun, from theology to sex, from beer and cigars to the Bible. I have had the opportunity to keep in contact with John since leaving and he continues to be a blessing and an encouragement. I haven’t been in touch in nearly a year, but realize I need to call – maybe tomorrow morning.

4. My kids. It sounds weird, but my kids, though they’ve only been around for eight years or less, have had a profound impact on my life. Because of them, I watch my life more closely. I never want to do anything that would make them ashamed, or leave them a poor example. They have also made me watch my doctrine closely. More accurately, they’ve pushed me to become so clear about things that I can express profound truths about God and his plans for us that I can explain them to children. I love them and think daily how I can better model for them godliness and biblical living.

3. My mom. I know, sounds like I’m a momma’s boy. I guess I am. My mom has modeled for me a faith and trust that seems at times to border on naivete. It might, but I’m a cynic and a pessimist, so my mom’s insistence that God will work things out if we trust him has been a good corrective in my life. She has always been a listening ear. She gives little advice, but listens so well. She is in her mid fifties and just finished up classes for her bachelor’s degree this year. I am immensely proud of her.

2. My wife. Lynn is an amazing women. Honestly, I feel like I need to live up to her all the time. I was told she was out of my league when we were dating, and she still is. As she has gone back to work full time I have seen again how skilled she is at was she does. As a mom she is a wonderful balance of fun and structure, discipline and flexibility. As a wife she is an encourager and also someone who would never let me get away stuff. She drives me, not in a nagging way, but she has confidence in me and I want to make sure it isn’t misplaced. She puts up with a lot from me (I know I’m not easy to live with) and she has forgiven me for a lot too. I was telling a couple of guys Sunday night and confessed that I don’t treasure my wife as much as I should (honestly, I doubt any husband does). I wish I was better at showing her how much I do love her and respect her.

1. My dad. I am sure there will come a time when my kids and my wife will move up the list and my mom and dad will move down. But not yet. As I think about the man I am I give credit (and blame? ah, we’ll stick to the positive) to my dad. I know my father isn’t perfect, far from it. But for all the flaws he is a wonderful, loving, faithful husband – I never doubted he loved my mom and would be with her till he died. He was a stern but compassionate father who always seemed proud of his three kids. And I forgive him for subjecting to endless hours of sci fi movies and tv (as a kid he took me to see the movie Dune. Before hand, we had to go to the theater and get a glossary of the technical terminology. I had to learn it before he would take me). He was also a biblical, faithful, caring shepherd of the churches he served. I remember him going to a bar to drag a parishioner out. I also remember him breaking a pulpit at a business meeting – but that’s a different story! I disagree with my dad on some fine points of theology, but I never considered that a small matter. I have never taken the fact that I disagree with my dad on some points of theology lightly. It’s one thing to disagree with a theologian in a book. It’s another to disagree with my dad. He’s a good thinker who knows his bible, has read widely and has spent his life serving the gospel. I care what he thinks deeply. I’ve seen my dad be faithful in good times and in times when he was downright angry with God. I’ve seen him healthy and strong (he’s a black belt – I remember seeing him break 10, maybe even twelve inches of concrete with a blow). I’ve also seen him sick. In all situations, my dad has displayed a love for Christ and a confidence in his ability and willingness to do us good. I’ve seen him sell everything he had and leave behind financial security to go and serve oversees. He has been a model of faith and faithfulness, service and passion for the truth. I understand how privileged I am to have been born into such a family – by God’s sovereign design and for his glory (just a friendly shot across the bow). Thanks dad.

I have actually asked my dad to guest post occasionally on here. I hope to see one this week if my dad is feeling better. He’s got a wealth of experience and I want to tap into for myself and to share it with other too.