My dear sons,
I realize that you will be serving Christ in a world far different than the one where I was trained and 1st released into ministry. Your methods, your dress, your vocabulary, the technologies you use and even the problems you face have little in common with the world I knew, or even the world in which we both minister today. You will be a faithful servant of Christ not because you mimic my words or imitate my style, but because you live out the timeless values we share – values that come to us from the Word of God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So while I still have the opportunity, I want to take a few minutes to summarize in writing the values and life lessons i have attempted to live out before you and most want to pass on to you.
Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was and He said, “Love The Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and the 2nd is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.” I firmly believe that philosophy, and I have attempted to live that out in front of you all.
I know that the road ahead of you is difficult and you will want to quit at times. Don’t give up the fight. Our war is not against flesh and blood, so put on the spiritual armor, and look to the faithful men around you, your brothers and your brothers in arms. Stand side by side with them and stand firm. Look to each other for accountability and do not give each other quarter. When your brother falls, help him up. When you fall, get back up. Leave no one behind.
Give God the glory for all that you do. Take the talents that God gives you and embrace them, use them for His glory, and use them to disciple others. It is only through Him that we are able to do anything. And when bad stuff happens and the proverbial poo is hitting the fan, don’t blame God. He is not at fault. It is because of sin that bad things happen, so let that spurn you on to fight even harder against Satan and continue to give the glory to God. Devote yourself to the study of the bible. Study it, meditate on it, memorize it, devour it. We may not have much time left, in this country, to own it legally.
Do not allow shortsightedness to cloud your judgement or how you live. We are called to be like Jesus, and it is and has been my prayer that you will model Him, that you would live out the teachings that He taught and lived. Always remember that we are more than conquerors, through Jesus.
Always guard your hearts and minds against the subtleties that Satan will throw at you. He wants to destroy you by any means that he can use. Don’t allow short term pleasure to destroy you spiritually. Keep yourself pure. Place Jesus as the 1st priority in your life. Always make Him 1st. Place your family next and everything else comes after that. I know that there have been seasons where I placed other things in front of family, and I am sorry. I pray that you will not make the same mistake.
It is my prayer that you will be more godly men then I ever was. I pray that God will allow you to see beyond my stupidity and short comings; and learn what I have been trying to teach you, Love God and Love Others. You have each taught me more then you will ever know and I thank my God for that. I love you so much, and I am proud of you.
Press toward the mark, always,
P.S. One last piece of advice, if it looks like crap and it smells like crap, it’s probably crap. Don’t eat it. Love you.