I was prompted to stop and reflect on one simple description of a person who is blessed by God in Psalm 15 this morning. The question is asked in verse 1:
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
After listing several qualities of the person who will enjoy proximity and intimacy with God, verse 4 has mentions this:
“..he who honors those who fear the Lord.”
I began to think about the people in my life that I know “fear the Lord” – people who because of their love for Him have deeply impacted me. The list began to grow long in my head. How do I honor them? How can I show them appreciation and affection? I can pray for them certainly. But I wanted to go beyond that.
Therefore, here’s an attempt to honor a few of those who fear the Lord in my life, people who have made a great impact on my own faith. The list includes some of my former pastors and mentors. It also includes peers, some of whom may be surprised to see themselves on a list like this. And that pleasant surprise, I hope, will in some way be used as an encouragement to them today… to keep on keeping on.
- My parents. They have imperfectly but with great consistency and love been a source of spiritual uplifting, strength and undergirding
- Scott Duvall. A professor at my alma mater. I never took a class from him, but was privileged and blessed to be pastored by him at Caddo Valley Baptist Church.
- Kevin Wieser. I met him through Carolyn. He was her youth minister in New Mexico. I have him to thank for how his ministry impacted her to have a deep, abiding faith. It was a joy to serve with him at First Baptist Church Garland, Texas, and he leaks joy. He also modelled perseverance in suffering for us.
- Ben Phillips. We met our first year at seminary, and the amount of conversations we had about life, church, faith and books is astonishing.
- Joe Silva and Blake McKinney. They were younger than I at college, but both guys knew they wanted to pursue a vocation of ministry while in school.
- Dennis Tucker. I dated his wife for a few short months in college. Yep. But I’m grateful for him for other reasons. 😉 He became one of my best friends in college, was confident in his calling to ministry, and in spite of his Tom Cruise good looks and bow ties, he demonstrated disciplined Christian thinking and was a challenge to me.
- David James. My boss when I was a campus minister in Arkansas. A mentor. A friend. The first time I prayed with him, I think, was in the Love Field airport in Dallas, when he interviewed me. He taught me to pray with my eyes open occasionally that day. The first experience was… weird.
- Pat Baugh. “Mrs. Pat” to most of us, she volunteered to serve as the BCM ministry assistant when I served at the UAM BCM, and her love for Christ and wisdom as she counseled countless college coeds was phenomenal. She taught me more than I ever could have hoped to teach her.
- Mitch Bettis. Best friend. Business partner. Partner in crime. What do you say about someone who seems to always just “be there” for you. We met our freshman year in college, and he’s never stopped being an influence and encouragement in my life.
- Jamie Hansen. She’s my first cousin on my mom’s side of the family. We are not really close. I grew up in Arkansas, she in Minnesota. We rarely saw each other. However, I know she prays for me. A lot. Thank you, Jamie.
- Andy Westmoreland. He always treated me as a peer, and welcomed my presence into his office at any time. His laughter and playful approachability as a leader and then President of my alma mater has had a deep impact on me.
- Jake & Martha Lindsay. Jake is the pastor I’d like to be. Martha is the best cook I know. The two of them together reveal Jesus more than I could ever hope to.
I could keep going. Let me instead do a quick heart/mind dump of names. Each name has a story of how they’ve nudged me closer to Christ by their fear of God:
- Darrell Cook, Jackie Flake, Doug Hunt, Tim Smith, Neal Nelson, Lynn Lloyd, Arliss Dickerson. Campus ministers with whom I was blessed to serve. Now, by God’s grace, I live and serve the people of Northstar with Darrell and Neal.
- Christine Sipes, Sonny Tucker, Karen Minnick, the Leadership Board, staff and their spouses at Northstar Church, TJ Files, Jeremy Woodall, Phillip Slaughter, Ralph & Christy Ramsey, Michael McDaniel, Ben Coulter, Lindsay Grissom, Viktor Orekhov, Amy Lawson, Susan Scales, Stacy and Tracy Reed, Mark Williams, David Francis, Arch Macintosh, Hess Hester, Wes Kennedy, Charles Boyd, Brooke & Sarah Beyer.
Finally, it’s my immediate family who most often has demonstrated for me a fear of the Lord in their lives. It’s humbling to be taught so often by those for whom you’re supposed to be a spiritual leader:
- Carolyn. My faith warrior wife. Through thick and thin, cancer and hair loss (mine, not hers), church starts and new states, she’s consistently kept Jesus first and me in her prayers. She also laughs at all my jokes, which is how I know she fears God.
- Sam. My loving leader son. He loves people. He wants them to know Jesus. Even though his driving needs improvement, he’s driven to know and love God.
- Adelyn. My determined disciple daughter. She’s become a humble worship leader and a joyful disciple maker.
I’m sure that the next time I review this list for praise and thanksgiving, and to pray for those listed, I’ll be shocked at those that were left off. I challenge you to try to come up with your own list and honor those who fear the Lord. For those of you who know you were left off, my heart friends and soul mates, my prayer support and my encouragers, those who might have expected to see themselves here, please know it was not intentional. It’s a result of my own time-pressed-ness and mental shortcomings. It’s certainly not a result of my lack of wanting to honor you.
May our great God continue to be praised and honored by those who fear Him. My life has been nudged closer to His heart because of all of you.