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Thoughts of a Dad

Janet and I had all of our family together last weekend and we were thrilled to hear our son, Evan, preach in the Saturday worship service. I exercised the Senior Pastor prerogative by asking him to do so while here on vacation. He was stunned knowing how carefully I guard my pulpit and cherish my preaching opportunities. Being the first time that I had invited him to do so, he sensed that “a wide door for effective work had opened to him” and “stood firm in the faith, acted like a man and was strong” (1 Corinthians 16:10,13). Hearing him preach the Word with clarity, content, and Christ-like humility reminded us that our “labor in the Lord was not in vain” through those years of parenting and persevering (1 Corinthians 15:58). To God be the glory!

Evan is currently serving as a middle school pastor and doing many “other duties as assigned” in the Dayton Avenue Baptist Church in Xenia, Ohio. He also led contemporary worship all last year. He does not preach on a regular basis except to his students, but God has given him gifts in that area. He has always had a heart for missions, particularly after playing basketball and serving in Turkey as a college student. His fitness, love of the outdoors, and willingness to go to the extreme suits him well for challenging ministries which may even be “out-of-the-box.” We still pray that God will lead a godly wife to him to join in the work of the Lord and to “make him a better man,” just as my wife and his mother has done with me. Pray for God’s direction in his ministry.

Janet and I are so grateful that our children have grown up and gone forth to serve the Lord from First Baptist of Naples. Those who taught in AWANA, Bible and Life Groups, and Student Ministry invested in our children. One of my good friends in our church notified me on Saturday of his love for Evan and belief that he would do well. That kind of constant affirmation, even when he went through some tough times as a younger child because of his strong will, has encouraged us in more ways than you can imagine. Evan, Kristin, and Allyson and now Mary Grace, Abigail, and Naomi have the rare blessing of being in a church touched weekly by the “hand of the Lord.” People are called forth into ministry and mission. Prayers are answered; lives are changed; hope is restored; homes are healed.

When you are working with little boys and girls, or even as you see them in the hallways or on the fields, remember that there is a little Evan out there who needs encouragement, prayer, and blessing. Who knows how God might use that child for His Kingdom?