Thank you for your influence

Thank you for your influence

While I was thinking about Father’s Day this week, I went on a great little journey.  This journey started as I thought about my father Ray and his influence on my life.  Ray, would sit in his rocking chair in the evening reading WWII books.  Ray was diligent at going to the library and picking out several books at a time.  I remember like it was yesterday the day he took me to see the movie Patton.  I was in middle school, so I didn’t understand much of the history of Patton.  As I sat with my father during the movie, he would tell me little things about the man Patton as we watched.  To this day, when I watch Patton, I can almost feel my dad sitting with me.  My father told me stories of his brothers and their time serving during WWII.  I knew full well of my father’s admiration for his brothers and their service.  The point is simply that even the small things as my father’s love for the history and the men that served during WWII influenced me to the point that I love reading WWII stories to this day.

Now, there are so many ways that my dad, Ray influenced me that I can not to this day measure. Thinking about my father and the fact that he passed away in 2001 is where my thoughts about the great men and their influence in my life began.

I remember way back when I was 15 my father had pneumonia along with asthma and emphysema, put him in the hospital.  I remember praying for him asking God to not let him die because I didn’t think I could live without him. God answered that prayer and my father lived till he was 80.  I knew even then the high value of my father and how much I needed him.

As I went down this journey this week, I also began to think of the great men in my life that the Lord knew I needed.  These men during middle school all the way through high school made a huge difference in my life.  I have tried this week to send them a little note because I know today as I knew way back when, that I needed them in my life.  So, I just sent out a little text that said, Thank you for your huge influence in my life. These men were a vital part of how one day I would ask Christ into my life. They loved me, the treated me like a brother, we had fun together, but most of all, I saw in them something that I wanted to emulate. Their faith, their walk with God was not fake, nor just words.  I saw it, in the way they treated people, friends, girlfriends, their parents and the church.

Enter adulthood, getting married, going back to school and entering ministry. Yes, some of these mentors remained, some of them even stood up in my wedding and they remain my friends and mentors to this day. There were new influencers, those that came along side of me, loved me, told me the truth, cared for me, showed me through a real relationship that I mattered. Even in my failing, my shortcomings that God had a plan for me, that this life of ministry was not easy, not about the position, not about a title or a good sermon.  They showed me, they influenced me to follow Christ, to live out who I was made to be, to keep loving God, to keep loving people, to keep being real.

This blog is for those men that entered my life, believed in me, loved me, never gave up but most of all showed me, just like my father Ray showed me, to be kind, love people, wipe the dirt of your clothes when I fall down and get back. These me showed me that walking with God was not formula, a religion to work hard and chase after.  No, no, no, these men showed me the life of faith was not all about what they knew, but about what they were learning, experiencing, as they freely gave themselves for lil ole me.

To you, my humble, regular, Christ following friends and my mentors, thank you.  I am grateful for your influence in my life.  For God knew how much I needed you in my life.  I am a much better man because of you all and you know who you are.