It has been a bit of a rough week for me. I have struggled with some of the strongest discouragement and the heaviest heart I have had in a very long time (years). Throughout this week, God has ministered to me. On Wednesday I met with one of the deacons for 15 minutes. The wisdom, love, truth and grace spoken into my heart in those 15 minutes got me through a busy day of ministry.
Yesterday I was struggling with the sermon for this Sunday. It wasn't working right and I was pretty sure that I was following my spirit much more than the Holy Spirit but I needed help to navigate because my own emotions can get in my way. I spent 20 minutes on the phone with a dear Christian brother. We went over the sermon together. He brought correction, gentle admonition, Biblical guidance and teaching, and grace to me. I cried as he prayed with me. Phone call over, new sermon written. This one is the Lord's. Grace & peace.
Today I got a phone call from Pastor Cliff. He asked if he could meet with me. I was going to be coming home past his house and told him I would come by. I spent probably 30 minutes there. He ministered the Word to me, with grace and love. Made me cry again, but out of joy and such a feeling of love.
As I left Cliff's today, I thought of Timothy & Paul. Paul was the older, experienced saint who was teaching. Timothy the younger pastor in charge of teaching a crop of new men. Paul the mentor, Timothy the mentee. Listen to Paul speak to Timothy, his younger student.
(1 Timothy 1:2) to Timothy, a true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much. All the best from our God and Christ be yours! I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much. All the best from our God and Christ be yours! Every time I say your name in prayer--which is practically all the time--I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion. That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith--and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed--keep that ablaze! (2 Timothy 1:2-6)
You've been a good apprentice to me, a part of my teaching, my manner of life, direction, faith, steadiness, love, patience, troubles, sufferings--suffering along with me in all the grief I had to put up with in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. And you also well know that God rescued me! (2 Timothy 3:10-11)
How wonderful must it have been to have Paul loving on you, guiding you, teaching you, and exhorting you. As I sat with Cliff today, I was deeply moved by how blessed I am. He is a man of God with decades of not just experience, not even just wisdom, but of gentle faithfullness. He reaches out to me, he teaches me, he constantly seeks to build me up and encourage me. I can say that in knowing him and being mentored by him for over 20 years that he has never once hurt me although he has corrected me many a time and helped me see when I was heading the wrong direction. So many pastors do not have such an incredible gift as that.
I am DEEPLY THANKFUL for Pastor Cliff Olsen. I hope that one day I might grow in stature, knowlege, and love to be like him. I'm not there yet I'll tell you right now. I am blessed. Thank you Lord for allowing this man in my life!