Pastor Appreciation Month (my four pastors)

I've been told that October is Pastor Appreciation Month. In light of that, I would like to share some a little about the pastors who have had major influences in my life and share my gratitude towards them. This is in no particular order.

Allen Holmes.
Since we've moved to Greensboro, Allen has taken a special interest in me. I wont go into all of the weird stuff that happened and how we began to go to his church, but I can say this. "God definitely placed us together." Allen is one of the few men in my life that has had the ability to speak unbelievable amounts of truth into me and has corrected me on many occasions. In a culture like ours where confronting people is non-existent, Allen has been huge in his ability to help God shape my life. I guess the two biggest things that he has done for me is 1. Given me a heart for the Word. 2. Helped me build a great marriage. Before moving to NC, I never valued my bible the way that we all should. Our bible is God speaking to us personally. Pertaining to my marriage, Allen has modeled for me what it looks like to both lead and serve your family. I am the leader of my home because Allen not just told me how to do it but modeled it. Allen has been a huge part of God's calling on my life to plant a church in Boston. He was the first person to tell me to move and the first pastor to confirm the call to plant. Others has confirmed a call to ministry but he was the first to confirm a call to plant. Allen has taught me the importance of expository preaching, memorizing scripture, being a father and husband, and modeled leadership that I will be able to use in my own ministry as God allows. I've played ball with this guy, cried with this guy, argued with guy, and just did life with this guy.

Allen, I have told you this before, but I will say it again. There is no way that I can ever repay you for all you have done for me. Love ya Bro

Frank Bishoff
This is unique because Frank has been both my pastor and probably my best friend for the past 3 years. Before meeting Frank, I never truly knew what it meant to have a passion for Christ. I'll never forget the first day that I met Frank, he thought I was a youth kid and tried to invite me to his youth group. (I owned my own home at this point) Frank has been there for me in some of the darkest moments in my marriage. He has been someone who I could share my doubts with, my theological questions with, and my life with. I have grown to absolutely love this guy and his family. I have seen his son grow up to be a man, his daughter grow up to be a young lady, and was there when he went through the death of his 2 day old son. He is an unbelievable model of what a man looks like when he is pursuing Jesus. In my eyes he is a modern day David; a passionate man after God's heart. Frank was the first guy to regularly entrust me with his pulpit and entrust me in preaching. He's let me speak at OFY's largest events, and allowed me to be his wing man as he built a dynamic youth ministry. He's been my pastor, accountability partner, small group leader, mentor, coach; but most importantly he has been my best friend.

Frank, I may be closer in age to your son, but your still my main man. Thanks for all you have done for me. Words will never be able to express my love for you and all that you have done for me. Anything that God will ever do through me, will always come back to what he first did in you. I'll miss you man!

Stephen Shomo
This is hard because I am a little bias. Steve, your like a dad to me; actually you are a dad to me. You were the first man to ever take me under the wing and disciple me. I was a brand new Christian when I met you and yet you loved me just as much then as you do now. You have given your daughter to me in marriage and for that I can never repay you. Your daughter has become the absolute love of my life, so.....thanks for making her. (haha) We have shared so many of life's moments together. You have been there ever time I needed you since the day we met. Your church funded my way to Africa where my life was absolutely transformed. Your family has become my family. You took those 1:00am phone called on Saturday nights when I was in college and had questions on scripture. You have always encouraged me, loved me, blessed me, corrected me, lead me, and affirmed me. You have been a father to me when at times it feels I have lost my dad. Your the greatest grandfather to my children. They absolutely light up when they see you. You have gone out of your way to help me build a great marriage; you have babysat, paid for date nights, taken the kids for long stretches, and modeled a life of humility. You will probably never know how important you have been in my life.

I hope that one day we can be in ministry together. Maybe God will work on Karen. hehe :)

Dan Byrd
I met Dan when I was in college at Applebee's. I was a server and he was reading his bible in a booth. I walked by and told him that he was reading a good book and that began a friendship that will last forever. Dan was one of the first people who believed in me. I'll never forget preaching my very first sermon in his pulpit. It was a topical message on the importance of the bible. He critiqued it afterwards and said to me, "How can you preach on the importance of the bible but never open it in your sermon." haha; Looking back, that is so funny!! Dan was the first person that Beth and I told we were pregnant with Daniel. (We weren't yet married) He was the first person I told that I thought God was calling me into ministry. I remember him almost trying to talk me out of it to see if it was real. Dan married Beth and I and gave us the sex talk even though we were sinners and didn't need it. OUCH, I may have shared to much. Dan was also the first grown man to ever ask me if I had any butt paste to let him borrow? Weird! Also, I remember he giving me a check for $500 to go on a missions trip. The check came from the church and at that time I don't think we had more than 5 people for weekly attendance.

Dan, you have been extremely valuable to me. I am where I am because you inspired me to get there. There is still much work to be done in my life, but thanks for being my pastor for all of those years in college.

Beth "Bugsy" Chewning
Although not a Pastor, this person has been by far the most influencial person in my life. She is my soul mate, my angel, my gift from Heaven. She has been my inspiration, my guide, my safety. I cannot express the love that I have for this women. She is by defination, "My Helpmate", and indeed she helps. She has kept me in line, on course, and focused on the narrow road. She is the only one who truly knows me. She is the only one who knows my Smallville dance, my bullrun into the bed, and all the other stupid and crazy things about me. She's my sinshine, my ship face, my rolly, my sunshine. Over years she has shown me grace, love, true intimacy, accountability, and passion. She is the love of my life; and I'm so glad I've found her. Beth, I know I tell you all the time, but I can never tell you enough. I love you so much. You are and will always be the greatest gift I've ever received. Thank you for you. -143-

No comments: