Isaiah 50:4-5 “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears and I have not been rebellious, I have not drawn back…”
I identify with that line from the prophet. I have no PHD’s or MDiv’s to attach to my name. I have great respect for those who do, but that hasn’t been my journey. I was captured by Christ in 1981 and he refuses to let me go. It’s that simple. The good news of Christ stole my heart, and he’s been wooing me ever since. An evangelist on the streets of Edmonton pitched me the gospel with a line that was familiar to me from a Cheech and Chong LP. “Would you like to hear the word of God?” I smiled and took the bait. He invited me to church; I never went. He told me to buy a bible; I did and I haven’t been able to set it down since. At nineteen Jesus blew me away and he still does today.
I am the son of a mixed farmer, and can ‘do things with my hands that most men can’t.’ I do my own carpentry, plumbing, wiring and mechanicing. I can pound posts, stretch wire and brand calves. I began my career as an auto body mechanic, working at a start to finish shop, and excelled at it. I owned my own shop for 2 years and worked in management in another for 17. At 45 my mid-life crisis cost me dearly. At the peak of my earning potential I traded it all in for a pulpit. I wanted to give the best years of my life to Him who gave His best to me.
I did take a little schooling back in the early 80’s – 2 years towards a 3 year bible degree, but most of my schooling has been in the trenches. The hardest years of my spiritual journey were 14 years spent in exile, where I majored in ‘painting myself into corners’ and ‘drawing circles of fellowship’. The steepest and most rewarding learning curve has been the last 8 years in ministry. Some of my richest moments in Scripture have been through my journey with CWP.
The hardest work I’ve ever done is what I’m doing now. I preach for a small congregation in Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada. It’s not the people, it’s the call that makes it hard. I get up every day with the aim to lay it all down. Sometimes I get it done well.
What I bring of value to CWP is my determination to say, ‘Yes’, to a relentless pursuit of the heart of God revealed in Scripture. I think deeply and carefully. I love attention to context and I’m good at conversation. I’m gaining a level of proficiency in the study of NT Greek thanks to Gary and the CWP family. I spend my weeks preparing to teach bible class and preach Christ to people I care deeply about but who aren’t as interested as I am in the details. That helps me to subject my scholarly pursuits to the real stuff of life.
I never fail to mine rich treasures from Scripture as I prepare to preach and teach. I’m good at sticking with the text in front of me. I insist on letting the text dictate to me and not the other way around. For this reason I’m a big fan of expository preaching; it’s the easiest way I know how to get my agenda out of the way. And sometimes I have the pleasure of cranking one out of the park.
I enjoy writing, but most of it takes place in the form of manuscripting my sermons week by week. However in 2015 I presented a paper at the CWP Live Event entitled The Wisdom of the Wise, which was my attempt to grasp the heart of 1Cor 1:17-2:16. I also delivered a sermon on that occasion entitled The Cross of Christ. Both are published in the book Engaging Paul in 1Corinthians by Gary D. Collier and Brian Casey. In 2010 Lynn Anderson asked me to submit an article for his book Talking Back to God. It is found in his section, Resources: Psalms from the Road, and describes my journey through the Psalms.
I believe in ministering out of the overflow. What has been flowing in, through my times of devotion for the past many months, has been Isaiah 40-56. Working at digesting this glorious text through the process of memorizing it has been very, very rich for me.
“Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee…”