“If I have observed anything by experience, it is this: a man may take the measure of his growth and decay in grace according to his thoughts and meditations upon the person of Christ, and the glory of Christ’s Kingdom, and of His love.”
My journey with Jesus began as a young child. I was introduced to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ at a Child Evangelism Fellowship event where the “Wordless Book” was used to illustrate the simple truth of God’s Word on salvation. The children’s worker walked through the colors that symbolized theological realities—black for my sin, red for the blood of the atoning sacrifice, white for the forgiveness provided through Christ, gold for eternal life with God, and green for continued spiritual growth. My response was truly childlike faith in the biblical narrative that was presented.
As an undergraduate student in theology at Moody Bible Institute, I was introduced to the spiritual reality that God came not only to save me from my sins, but the glorious truth that God so loves the world that He desires to redeem people of every neighborhood, every color, and every socio-economic class. He desires all people to freely and fully follow Him. I spent time in Chicago reaching out through ministry to people on the north side, west side, and south side of the city, a reach that put me in direct contact with people with very different personal and social needs, but also a common spiritual thirst for a God who could and would transform their lives. Though young and incredibly naive, I sweated in real life the work of evangelism, discipleship, and ministries to children, youth, and the elderly. What a gift so early in a life of ministry! I was brought eye to eye with lovely people who were beautifully diverse, yet still had a need for the transformative presence of God’s Spirit.
My graduate studies at Wheaton College Graduate School deepened my understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ. There, I was introduced to the beautiful biblical truth that Jesus was not only the sacrificial lamb of God—which He was—but also the victorious King who was making, and would ultimately make, all things new through His Spirit’s work in bringing a new Kingdom reality to this world. I came face to face with the reality of the “already, but not yet” nature of the Kingdom of God. My understanding of Jesus as victor and King would bring a new spiritual reality to the lessons of Jesus as Savior and Lord that I had learned earlier.
In recent years, it has been my interaction with wise and seasoned ministry and leadership colleagues that has further expanded my journey of faith with Jesus Christ. Norm Poehlke continues to remind me that Jesus is the promised Messiah, prophesied about in the Older Testament, who came to fulfill God’s magnificent redemptive plan. Cam Roxburgh has helped me to see that Jesus was sent by the Father as the King of a new Kingdom and that Jesus sends His followers to witness about the realities of our glorious King (John 20:21). Kent Carlson reminds me that God is a truly good God whose presence and power is real and operative in everyday life—in fact, in every moment of every day. Stu Streeter opens my eyes to the freshness of Christ’s church in each generation and the need to develop leaders to follow and point to Christ. Richard Brown encourages me to understand that God wants me to live with a “one Kingdom” mindset where I realize that God alone provides my—and the NAB’s—every need.
I continue to walk with Jesus in deep humility, thanking Him for the grace to grow in my knowledge and understanding of His reality in my life, the life of the church, and His work in redeeming the world.