You don’t know me, though we met a couple times about twenty five years ago. I was probably eight or nine years old at the time. You were serving at with the Vineyard church in Calgary and came to do a weekend workshop in my small town in northern Alberta. My parents attended and I was there off and on.
My older brother recorded your sermons on cassette tapes. Back then I didn’t pay much attention, while I was a Christian, as a child understands it, I would have rather been playing with my friends then listening to a grown up talk.
Those tapes sat on the table at the back of the church for years afterward. I don’t think anything anyone really knew what they were.
The seminar was on ‘Relationship’ and how it defines Christians and Christianity. I grew up Anglican and religion to me was mostly about participation in the liturgy.
Going through the motions and following the rules.
One day when I was about thirteen, for some reason, after looking at them for years, I took those tapes home. I began listening. It was the first time I can remember thinking God might be something more than an abstract untouchable being. I knew he loved me and all the typical rhetoric that comes from church, but it never really sunk in that you might be able to know him.
There was a tape that talked about meditating on and just thinking about the Lord’s prayer, line by line, absorbing how significant each is and why it was said. I had never thought about how deep simple words could go. I was confirmed a year later.
Fast forward two decades. One failed marriage, and a lot of life experience later. The marriage fell apart after my wife had three affairs. Not the best time in my life. I’ve never had a crisis of faith or even really stopped attending church, but I felt empty. I felt disconnected.
Nothing seemed to make sense. I went searching again.
The pastor at my church was very good. He helped me understand grace in way I hadn’t thought about before. I had moved on to a Christian Reform church. My life started to recover. I needed more. Fortunately by now, the internet was a thing. I listened to many speakers, Ravi and Driscoll, Chan and Stanley. They were good for the intellectual arguments I had inside me, yet I was missing the relationship. This is when I googled you.
I found your website archive, picked one, and soon a familiar voice came through. God opened my head and my heart, and I absorbed it like a sponge. I downloaded some of them and listen to them in my car. I turn them on when I’ve had bad day at work, or need to something for my soul to digest. Thanks for that.
I’m not an emotional guy. I work in engineering, I’m intensely pragmatic and not at all touchy-feely, but I wanted you to know, if you read this, that if we never meet again, the impact you’ve had on my life, through the decades, across a continent.
Your ministry is worth it.Your words are valued.
I hope one day you get the ‘well done good and faithful servant’ you desire. Thank you Mark.