Mentors and Heroes (all) Who Have Changed My Life

450 year old 'Angel Oak' in Charleston, South Carolina
450 year old ‘Angel Oak’ in Charleston, South Carolina

These men and women have been sturdy oaks in my life. 

[in no particular order except for the priority of the first two]

My Dad—My Dad was married to my mom for 50 years before leukemia took him to Jesus. I think of him every time I tell my kids that “the best thing I am ever going to do for them is never stop loving their mother.” I miss him every day.

My Wife StephnieA 5G woman–godly, gorgeous, generous, goofy, and filled with grace. A valedictorian in HS, a student of the word of God, wise and kind, and overwhelmingly tolerant of my idiocies, she reminds me of God’s grace every day.

J.I. Packer     A sound and gracious theologian who has remained steadfast in the gospel and a lion for Biblical Inerrancy for 70 years. Called home to Jesus in his 90’s and blind, he continued to mentor men until the end. I want to finish like him.

All the Backyard Farmers on Youtube    Your life experience is like candy to my green thumb-soul.

My Grandmother—Who gave me a love of gardening and a taste for tea.

Fr. Vincent deCritsTrigonometry teacher in High School. Life is about living not just making a living.

Mrs. Sullivan —In the summer between 4th and 5th grade, she taught me to read when my penchant for jokes, procrastination, and baseball threatened to undo my life before it really got started.

My Mom -Taught me that a life of service to others can be deeply fulfilling and productive.

Mr. Zych —Taught me German, Religion, and integrity, a passionate man with a big temper but a man who began my probe of justice with his own personal integrity.

Coach Tom Donnely —Track coach in High School. Life is filled with tough choices and sometimes they hurt because you love people.

Coach Cimo’ —High School football coach (defensive backs). Couldn’t possibly spell his name after nearly 40 years, but Coach taught me that hard work, real hard work, could overcome almost any deficiency, including lack of size.

Dr. Michael Green God is faithful, powerful, and holy. Faithfulness to Him is always the right thing to do. “What does the Bible say?”

Milly Soto —A friend who believes in you can help you endure almost anything. Good friends are to be cherished.

Pam BushLaughter, honesty and encouragement are wonderful traveling companions. Heartache is made endurable by a healthy sense of humor and the companionship of good friends. 

Dr. Gary Stanley —Friend, roommate, and the man who gave me my first shot at teaching at the graduate level. Creativity in the service of the King is a great thing.

Dr. Gordon Klenck —Guilelessness is a beautiful thing. Dr. Klenck is the longest living staff member with Campus Crusade for Christ, now CRU.

Dr. Bill Iverson ––The 5-5-5 plan of Bible study, a can-do Spirit, the sheer joy of living for Jesus, the story behind the Spirit of the Living God chorus, an intoxication with church planting, the power of humility, and so much more. The man is a spiritual giant.

My Brother KarlIt is a tragedy that every brother and sister in the world doesn’t have a brother like mine. Loving father, faithful husband, loyal friend, friend of God. Loving me is an acquired taste but if you don’t love my brother, there is something wrong with you.

Bill Bauer —Leadership can be quiet. Power can be calm. Generosity must be wise. Disagreement can be filled with grace.

Dr. Synesio LyraDiplomacy and graciousness are beautiful things.

Dr. J.P. Moreland —Friend and professor. Intellectual hard work in the service of the King is a worthy investment of my time. So glad he is on the side of the redeemed.

Dr. Roland AllenThe Holy Spirit is the guiding force for the advance of the gospel. Trust Him ,not systems.

Rich Mullins —Nothing is worth not living for God and his glory. Oh how I miss this servant of God. One of the first people I want to meet in heaven after my mom and dad.

Dr. Francis SchaefferTruth is like a lion. Christianity is robust. A Christian worldview makes the most sense out of all the data of life.

C.S. Lewis —Imagination and Christ are both glorious. Christ is worth holding on to not because he is pleasant but because he is the Truth.

Chuck SwindollBelly laughter and imagination can go together with clarity and sensitivity in the pulpit.

Dr. John Piper —“God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” (And too many other debts to even count. I praise God every day for this godly servant of Christ.)

My Four Brothers and Two SistersKind, generous, committed, hard-working, loyal, and fun. They honor their father and mother in ways that make all who know them rejoice. They should all be famous. The world is a better place because of each. They inspire me to be better than I am.

Jim Elliot, missionary and martyr to Ecuador—“He is no fool who give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Enough said.

Dr. David NicholasClarity and logic in your gospel presentation makes all the difference in this world for the next world.

Paul Becker founder of Dynamic Church Planting InternationalChurch planting and training church planters is a worthy way to spend a life.

Dr. Ron Jenson, First President of the International School of Theology—It is an odd and sad thing when our passion for the work of God is greater than our passion for God himself.

Mark Zouk —Missionary to Papua New Guinea. I have been telling his story for more than a two decades, ever since I saw the EE-Taow video of the conversion of the Mouk tribe. The gospel story is powerful. Learn to tell it well.

David WatsonA new hero. Living intentionally to reproduce disciples is the only way to live. (David is a missionary/trainer with City Team Ministries)

My brother Ed—Passion, thoroughness, faithfulness, and intensity, all of these are possessed in measures that exceed almost every man I have ever known. Welcome to your second career as a pastor after your stellar career as an engineer and trainer of men. Your willingness to take an 80% salary cut to serve as an executive pastor is a gain for the Kingdom of God.

Dr. Bob LangelGoddard Space Flight Scientist, lover of the word of God, launcher of satellites, investor in the college career group of his church, self-taught guitar plucker, current resident of heaven—Bob was the first layman in a church I ever knew who was serious about multiplying disciples. A good man.

Keanu Reeves–Look up his life story for why. I want to be a brother like him to my siblings.

More to come.

3 thoughts on “Mentors and Heroes (all) Who Have Changed My Life

  1. Your blog made me think of Steph and what a wonderful mentor she was to me. You both greatly influenced our few years at New Song. Wonderful training and encouragement for ministry.


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