years, my wife and I commented several times, “You realize that people our age are
the ones in charge and running things?” The adults who were in charge and in
their forties to sixties when I was a child and teenager are now in their last
quarter of a century and graduating to heaven one by one.
Harris, a blogger, writes, “A special kind of pain is felt when your mentor’s
time on earth is through.” We remember significant conversations, lessons, and
nuggets of wisdom they shared. Memories from their lives, which resonated with
value, begin to feel out of reach. And those who loomed larger than life –
almost immortal to us – show their mortality.
Today magazine once dubbed him “The Pentecostal Gold Standard.” A world-renown leader, he pastored The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California, eventually became Chancellor of The Kings College and Seminary, and wrote over 400 worship songs, including the popular chorus, “Majesty.” His radio and book ministry took his practical Bible teaching, heart for authentic worship, and love for the kingdom of God into the homes of countless Christians.
Pastor Jack’s emphasis on integrity – first learned when his mother asked him to answer her question “with Jesus in the room” - his presence as a bridge-builder in the Body of Christ, and his passion to experience Christ intimately made him a shepherd of shepherds across denominational lines. My wife and I traveled once to the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove to spend a weekend under his teaching.
|Pastor Jack and
Rhett at The Cove
The Discipler of Men
February, my long-time friend, mentor, and cousin, Morris “Moose” Keller went
to be with the Jesus he loved. Though almost forty years apart in age, our
friendship continued for more than thirty years.
Moose loved to fish for men, and life was his fishing pond. Whether on the job, at the grocery store, or in church. His signature line was, "Can I ask you a personal question? Do you know if you died today, you would you go to heaven?" And then, often using a "Steps to Peace with God" gospel track, he told them about King Jesus who died on the cross for their sins.
college days, he and I met every couple of months. I'd drive from Clinton to
Greenville and meet him for lunch at Stax Omega.
We talked about life, the Lord, and our struggles - things that matter. That's what mentoring is. Spending time with someone, connecting over important things, listening, helping them grow and learn. Moose trusted God. His faith was consistent.
time I visited his house he lay in a Hospice bed. His body frail but his
mind bright, he quoted Scripture after Scripture to me, telling me how he was
learning to trust God, and sharing how he led one of the hospital nurses to
faith in Jesus Christ a few weeks before. Moose asked me about my wife and three
children - all by name. He talked about my father, who had been gone for
He got out
his IPhone and said, "Ooooooh. I have to share with you what I read in my
quiet time this morning. I read it in the Message and I've never seen it say it
quite like this." He proceeded to read his morning reading to me. The last
several years, I could expect a daily email sent to several dozen people
outlining the notes from his daily Bible reading.
He told me,
"We've been through a lot, buddy." That time was probably the only
one he ever ended our conversation without, "Call me if you need me."
The Consummate Bible Teacher
Then in April, Charles Stanley, pastor of First Baptist Atlanta, Georgia, died. I tuned into his ministry as a freshman in college, listening to the InTouch radio broadcast. Attending a liberal religious college, which jettisoned the authority of Scripture and basic evangelical theology, his preaching helped anchor me in eternal truths.
year of school, I picked up his book, How to Listen to God, which
had a shaping influence on my nineteen-year-old life. The first of more than
two dozen of his books I would eventually read, I experienced his practical
teaching that drew deeply from the Bible but also was illustrated with personal
experiences. In that book I would find what was one of his constant
exhortations: develop a lifestyle of meditating on the Word of God, expecting
Him to guide you.
learned to preach from listening to radio teachers like Stanley. His winsome,
conversational style combined with practical exhortations and challenges to
trust God marked his teaching.
I met Dr.
Stanley only once quickly at a book signing in Atlanta. After waiting in line, I
said, “Dr. Stanley, thank you for teaching me about intimacy with God.” He
stopped, lowered his pen, and stared directly into my eyes. Then he
emphatically said, “That is the most important thing!”
Dan wrote, “Putting yourself in the driver’s seat requires creating a clear sense of where you want to go. A clear plan of action will separate you from 97 percent of the people you meet.”
Creating the 48 Days Eagle Community, he mentored modern entrepreneurs, which he called eagle-preneurs, to create the life they want, building their work around their life.
He modeled for many businesspeople how important it is to balance your life with both faith in God and making deep deposits in your family relationships. As he often said, “Success is more than a job.”
When we lose mentors, sometimes we grieve the lessons we’ll never learn from them. And then we realize we can cling to their God, embrace the same unchanging truths they believed and practiced, and make the world a better place by shining our light and investing in others – one person at a time.
Mountain picture used courtesy of Pexels