IMG_3078Once we were total strangers.  Our paths had never crossed.  Each of us had lives that were being lived completely without each other.

Then, something changed.  It was not fate or the realignment of the stars nor was it even the meal that we had eaten that night.  Instead, it was the blessing of God that rearranged our lives to connect at church.

We were all ardent followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As men we each had a wonderful wife who stood faithfully by our side.  Then, independently of one another, we sought our Savior for not only our faith but also for our devotion in life.

I was their pastor.  They were men in the church who showed great initiative, maturity and passion for the truth of the Scriptures.  I watched as they lived our faithfulness, availability and teach-ability.

IMG_3080Over time I heard them teach, carry on mature conversations, and express their convictions with wisdom and insight.  I was convinced that these men could do more.  We talked about pushed a new envelope in spiritual productivity.

I wanted to teach these men how to preach.

As I explained the plan, they each responded as I expected.  They wanted to think it over and prayerfully consider the opportunity.  Of course as wise men they would talk it over with their wives.

One by one they agreed.  They were looking forward to our times together. It was exciting to teach good men the skills to pass on spiritual and eternal truth to others.

Of course the proof is in the pudding.  Each of these men were assigned dates to preach in church. I was right there with them when they did.

The receptivity was powerful.  People could see that there was a reason that they respected these men.  The words that they spoke were organized, powerful and sincere.  What human ears heard was something spiritual.

Our souls knitted together as we studied God’s Word.  It was not adding to our human prowess.  Rather our time was deepening our devotion to our Savior and to each other.

Time took us in separate directions.  Yet, a reunion was born in heaven.  We reunited and a special meal was the excuse.

Like the return of the Magnificent 7, we gathered without hesitation, without a loss of words and no shortage of good blessings to report.  Time slipped by and the evening grew late.  Soon, too soon we said our farewells as devoted friends and committed followers of our Savior.  I love these guys!

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography