What are the most important things that I want to communicate to you, my son, so that you never forget these things and always keep them at the fore of your life?
The first thing I would want you to hear from me is that life has to be about, first and foremost, a personal relationship with Jesus. It isn’t do’s and don’ts. It is not about religion, it is about a person. And knowing Jesus and having that relationship influence everything else in who you are and what you do is the key.
I would hope that you would take risks because God has called you to do things that He will empower you to do. I wish I had taken more risks for Jesus in my life—but I do not regret the ones I have taken. When we get out of our comfort zone, we allow the Holy Spirit the room to do incredible things. Most people live a life that is only within a box –and that is a life of fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity. Be bold.
Evangelism, it gets a negative name from too many in our circles—but let it be a core value of your life and ministry. Evangelism must be the engine that drives the church. Amen! When things seem stale—talk about Jesus in a kind and loving way—never argumentative- as it will fill you with all joy when you verbalize your faith. You will grow when you talk with people about Jesus because Philemon says that being active in sharing our faith produces full maturity.
Only two things last forever: the word of God and people. I think as I have been a part of this thing called “the Fellowship” we have been pretty strong on one of these and not always as good with the other… BOTH are key. Love God and love people. Speak truth—in love—into their lives. And God will use you. Do know that when you love people—you will be criticized. Be ready for it—and love people anyway. Forgive easily and do not hold grudges. .
I think about HOW to love God, his word and people—and I am reminded of I Thessalonians 2- the greatest chapter in the Bible on Ministry. The beautiful picture is of a nursing mother gently caring for her child is a terrific snapshot. Just as well, you too love and care for people—just as gently. But at the same time, be the father that is mentioned in that passage who is strong and firm and bold. The art of that balance will define the effectiveness of your ministry.
Be a hard worker. Remember continually that it is not about you. Do not take yourself too seriously. Laugh, enjoy life. Because God has given it to us. Make the most of it.
Commit yourself to live these principles out in view of “your” Timothy. It is not about what I can do—it is about what I can pass on. It is not about what you can do—it is about what you can pass on.
Love life, love Jesus, love your wife and family, love the people to whom you ministry and love those who do not yet know Jesus.
There are a lot of people who spend their life on things that do not matter. Ministry is a hard difficult life—but one that makes a difference. Finish strong and invest yourself in others.
I had a former boss say this to me: “As a teacher—you always hope that your student will exceed you.” That is my prayer—not that you are like me in my style of ministry or in the areas where God gifted me. God has given you different gifts and abilities. Use those for His glory—and you will indeed bless my heart because you will truly be used by God to exceed anything that I have done in my ministry.
Know that I am your biggest advocate and cheerleader as you serve God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. I am proud of you and thank God that He brought you into my life.