I was updating some of my personal information a few weeks ago and I was amazed at how many experiences there were of God moving in my life. It helped put a lot of things into the right perspective when I thought of the lives God allowed me to impact on His behalf. These were lives that heard the Gospel, responded, and started making their impact on those around them. They were lives that were just drifting like I was, and through the power of the Holy Spirit came alive, to not only live, but reeeeeeally live! Did it make me proud? Sure, but not only proud, but amazed at God’s power to use even someone like me. Oh, I have confidence in myself and I know God has gifted me in many different areas, but the deep spiritual things that He does are way beyond anything I could ever dream up or do on my own. (I’m good, just not THAT good …haha) These are the kinds of things that are not dependent on me being around to spark them into existence. Not dependent on my constant influence. Not really dependent on me at all. These are the things of God and they are earth shattering and life changing when you step back and observe what is happening. I think of Kevin Smith, one of our students from my first years of ministry. Kevin was one of the guys who helped start FCA in the local high school he attended, and with other Godly young men made an impact in their school and in many homes. I was fortunate to be on the other end of some challenging times in the Lord that really saw Kevin come alive. That spark continued and now Kevin is faithfully serving his church in Hawaii as they reach out to their community and their world for Christ. I am so proud of Kevin. Then I think about Craig Miller, who started out being one of the smart alecks in our youth group, and through a radical change became one of the Godliest men I know. He channeled his quick wit into something that could be used by God to share the message of hope to a lost and dying world. God has placed him in a High School in a place of influence at a time when students really need some guidance and direction. Craig continues to use the tools given to him by God to expand his territory, thus touching more and more lives. I am so proud of Craig. I think about Doug Pierce, who I had the opportunity to see saved and called into service for the Lord. God has gifted Doug with an incredible music talent and a heart for service that touches lives wherever he goes. His heart to reach the lost has him expanding his territory to areas we only dream about. Doug’s willingness to step out of the box and live a fresh faith has landed him as the worship leader of one of the leading churches in the nation. I am so proud of Doug. I think about Adam Batts, who started playing guitar for our band in North Carolina and after a little bit of time progressed so much in the Lord. That new found faith compels him to serve, and serve he does in a ministry to couples that will impact many in the days ahead. Just a moment in time, but a precious moment. I am so proud of Adam. Even just recently I think about Todd Johnson and his burning desire to be real as a believer and set a tone of renewal and real life faith that changes lives and churches. Because of the Holy Spirit, he cannot just do the “status quo” faith anymore, and that awakening in his life will impact many in and out of the church who are just going through the same ole motions. I am so proud of Todd. Of course, I can’t go without mentioning my children and their love for following God. From the oldest to the youngest they have felt a sense of God’s calling and that spurs them on to greatness as they represent God and reach others for the sake of Christ. Ty is a doctor who impacts people every day in operating rooms and breathes peace into troubled minds. Natalie is a worship leader who focuses those she leads toward God and God alone as she lifts up Jesus. Seth is going into the Army and he will lead many others to realize that a man can be in the army and be a man of faith. Jessica leads worship and through her open, funny personality brightens up other people’s days with the love of Jesus. They each realized early that God wanted to use them for His glory and they continue to allow that to happen through the ways that He has equipped each of them. Their love for Christ has caused them to seek out God’s person for them to marry, and they now share this love of serving with their spouses. And every one of my children’s spouses are leading active, strong lives of faith that are growing and relevant. I fully expect all their children to follow this example and continue this legacy of love that permeates each heart and mind. I am so very proud of my family.
So, how does all this happen? Am I just that good? Of course not. Oh, I love them all so much, and Andra has been the best mother and mentor ever, but it’s way beyond us. These changed lives, plus many more are the result of God using us to generate a love for everlasting change. In 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 Paul writes, “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” So, if I were to write in all those who would recommend me as a person of integrity and change, the list would be long and totally because of one thing. The power of God through the Holy Spirit. These and many more God has blessed me with by putting them in my path have been gifts given by God to grow me in my life. Oh, they may say I am the one who helped them grow, but I know different. I was just a vessel that God allowed to witness the whole thing. As I look back at them it helps me keep things in perspective, God’s perspective. I remember the old movie “The Ten Commandments” and in the scene where God put the commandments on pieces of stone, it showed it like God was writing it out on those stone tablets, one by one. As far as I’m concerned, I have been to the mountaintop and seen God write His love and direction on the hearts of these and many more, and I am overwhelmed in evidence of His Glory and His Power. A power that changes lives from dead to life. A power that gives direction, where there is none. A power that is eternal and real. A power that writes His words on the books of our hearts! I pray I will have the opportunity to see even more in the days ahead as God focuses my mind and heart on His Call, His Mission. There are more tablets waiting to be written on….. The Pilgrimage continues….. David Warren