I was reflecting on my life this morning and the way that God has led me to be the Pastor at ReCAST Church. And it is a winding path. But there are a few names and places that come to mind that are worthy of mentioning in thankfulness for their part in my life.
Steve Jackson was my youth pastor in high school. He took the time to invest in me. He gave me solid Bible teaching, helped me fall in love with the church and it was through his investment in me that I first began to see that God could use me in vocational ministry.
Columbia Bible College in South Carolina (now CIU) formed in me a love for the Word of God. I went there as a freshman with no understanding of how to correctly study the Bible, and I walked away with so much more than just tools of Biblical study . . . I walked away with a love for Jesus and the firm conviction that The Bible is God’s self revelation. It was through CIU that I came to the strong conviction that the best that I can ever offer to people is a better understanding of Scripture.
Camp Barakel is the place where I first truly gained experience in serving others. My first time setting foot on camp property was to join the summer staff as a counselor in the summer of 1993. Not only was that the best summer of my life in growing in my understanding of serving others, but it also was the summer I met my wonderful wife! I spent four more summers there serving and being stretched to see beyond myself. At Camp Barakel I was able to put knowledge into practice in a safe environment with close guidance.
Berean Baptist Church in Portage, Michigan was the first place I ever bore the title of Pastor. The five years I spent on staff there were years of learning to work with a team. I grew in my management skills and for the first time began to see God using me as a preacher and teacher.
Linda Filcek is the one person I have been able to count on in this life. She has been there with me through many transitions and changes, but it could not be more clear that we were meant for each other. I have found in Linda a level of service, patience, diligence, and optimism that has challenged me to be a better man. I am truly blessed to have such a godly wife!
I guess in essence this is meant to be a tribute to some of the major influences in my life. I am feeling thankful today and I imagine that it is a good policy to offer thanks when it crosses our minds. When you think back over your life, who deserves some thanks for their investment in you?