"I have revealed you to those that you gave me out of the world.
They were yours,and you gave them to me,
and they have accepted your eternal words.
Now they too know that everything you have given me comes from you.
I have faithfully delivered to them the words that you gave me;
they have believed them,
and know in their hearts that I have come from God, sent by you on their behalf."
A recap of my revelation:
- Death took my dad at the age of 31, I was 7. My mom, sister, brother and I started attending church for the first time in our family history. I responded to the invitation to Eternal Life at Vacation Bible School...pretty much every year.
- At the age of 11 I came under conviction of sin while at a church camp; but didn't kneel down to confess until I went home alone in my bedroom and gave my heart to Him.
- At the age of 12 I had a car/bicycle accident that strengthened my conviction that God, my Father, was carefully watching over me and had plans for my welfare.
- Some of my fondest memories are working at Spring Hill Camp under the mentor-ship of Enoch Olsen where I learned biblical principles of discipleship as well as the unconditional love and dedicated mission of the body of Christ.
- While attending college at Trinity in Illinois, I was involved in evangelistic outreaches that started me attempting to overcome my natural inclination to fear and self-will.
- I met my future wife while attending a Wednesday Night Youth Group meeting where I took it upon myself to correct the leader over some doctrinal trifle. Neither one was impressed much...but (she still married me), after our wedding we moved to East Lansing where we initially fellowshipped with believers in a traditional church. We valued their friendship, but desired deeper revelation.
- That hunger was intensified when we met followers of Jesus, in what became known as MSU Bible Study, because the greatest revelation comes through obedience. Through their lives they connected the Word of God with the power to overcome the ordinary struggles of life.
- We dedicated ourselves to being obedient followers of Jesus: we learned to follow His example wherever we saw the Truth in it
- a quiver full of babies, eight sons in all!
- attempting to raise them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord
- managing my family
- being excellent in whatever we put our hands to
- reaching the world with the gospel of Christ
- serving others when the opportunity presented itself; including the desire to pastor
- During a worship service at Teen Mania's summer camp, I was down on my knees unashamedly worshiping God amongst several hundred teenagers when a little girl, barely a teen herself, came up to me and touched me on the shoulder and said, "God wants you to know He loves you..." she turned and disappeared into the crowd and I never saw her again. It was a peculiar message, in word, not profound, but in Spirit it was a sacred pronouncement.
- My son Jesse pointed me to the writings of George MacDonald.
Let MacDonald explain why Jesus' revelation of the Father was not merely information about God but the uniqueness of our individual lives to Him:
"Not only then has each man his individual relation to God, but each man has his peculiar relation to God. He is to God a peculiar being, made after his own fashion, and that of no one else; for when he is perfected he shall receive the new name which no one else can understand.
Hence he can worship God as no man else can worship him,— can understand God as no man else can understand him.(from The New Name, Unspoken Sermons I)
This or that man may understand God more, may understand God better than he, but no other man can understand God as he understands him.
God give me grace to be humble before thee, my brother, that I drag not my simulacrum [impression, likeness] of thee before the judgment-seat of the unjust judge, but look up to thyself for what revelation of God thou and no one else canst give.
As the fir-tree lifts up itself with a far different need from the need of the palm-tree, so does each man stand before God, and lift up a different humanity to the common Father.
And for each God has a different response. With every man he has a secret—the secret of the new name. In every man there is a loneliness, an inner chamber of peculiar life into which God only can enter. I say not it is the innermost chamber—but a chamber into which no brother, nay, no sister can come.
From this it follows that there is a chamber also...a chamber in God himself, into which none can enter but the one, the individual, the peculiar man, out of which chamber that man has to bring revelation and strength for his brethren.
This is that for which He was made: to reveal the secret things of the Father."
O may we continue to marvel at Thy grace and love for us in knowing you Jesus Lord of Life!