I made a decision during my senior year of high school back in 1973/74 that would change nearly everything in my life. I decided that the Lord wanted me to attend Olivet Nazarene College, now University. I was challenged by a few folks as to why, after all they reasoned you are not going to be a pastor. I went to ONU as an education/history major. Forty One years later, the jury has long ago come back with a verdict, and the verdict is my life has been forever changed because of where I went to college.
My family contained no history of going on to higher education. It was not talked about or encouraged. You got a good job and you stayed in the lane you were supposed to occupy. My pastor took me to ONU for a visit when I was in the 8th grade. I stayed in a dorm and walked around the campus. My pastor even introduced me to Dr. Reed the President of the school. For reasons known only to God the Olivet fire was lit in my heart and it has not been extinguished to this day!
Reasons my life was changed:
- I received a quality education. A whole new world was opened to me.
- I received my call to preach: It happened during a revival. God asked and I said yes.
- I met my wife: She has been a blessing and cheerleader and best friend and she is now fulfilling a call that God has placed on her life as she too is an ordained elder and a hospital chaplain.
- I learned how to change socially. My world and focus was very narrow when I entered the campus, and I left not only knowing things, but knowing where answers are found.
- I made friends: Friends for a lifetime. Friends who have added color and texture to my life.
Everything that has happened in my life has been because of the Lord, ONU and the denomination in which I serve. I was someone who was rescued because of the work of pastors and Sunday school teachers in my home church. Sometimes it all seems so unbelievable, that God would use someone like me.
After church today in Florida Susanne and I had the privilege of eating lunch with ONU alums. Denny Williamson and his wife and Ed and Sonia Cleveland. As we ate and laughed and talked, I was once again reminded of a decision made years ago, that continues to this day pay incredible dividends. Unfortunately decisions do not with placards announcing you are about to make an important decision. Let me remind you and myself that I have made some poor decisions along the way. Thankfully, God is the God of second chances. Too many times we give ourselves all the credit for our decisions. Today I am aware that Jesus has led me all the way. Today brought it into focus for me one more time, how blessed I am