Shining Brightly

3 Jul

In my youth, I celebrated the 4th of July. As a child, I don’t think we grasp the completeness of Independence and what it means, but I did understand that my dad put on the absolute best firework shows! Fireworks were never necessarily my favorite thing as they shone brightly for a second or two, but then they just faded away. I focused on the pointlessness of the fading away. One of the many things my wife is doing to improve my life is she is getting me to start focusing on the majesty of the display while it is happening.

July 3 is the day I had my first child (my wife did most of the work, and Jacob is such a perfect first child also). I therefore don’t believe there will ever be a danger of my not focusing on wonderful things on this day. We have been fortunate to have such wonderful influences in our life, who share a birthday with our Jacob. Our current church planting pastor and music leader shares a birthday with Jacob. This year, however, I would be remiss if I did not mention Bob Collins. As my wife is continuing to teach me, I need to focus on the majesty of his display while here.

Bob was a man I met right around the time that Jacob was born, so it was always easy to remember his birthday. I’ll never forget sitting in the pews at Faith Baptist and hearing someone say from the pulpit, “You have an incredible opportunity coming to church here. Bob Collins is one of the most godly men with one of the most exciting testimonies that you will ever meet. You need to get to know him. Cherish these forthcoming years with him and know that you are enjoying a gift from God.”

With such a ringing endorsement, how could I think anything other than this was a man I need to get to know. And while many sought him, and he was a phenomenal man, for some reason, he took an interest in me personally. From about 2005 to 2011, we met almost every Monday morning at his house to pray together. We’d do a little rudimentary study of the Bible, talk about God, talk about church and the people we should pray for, and then we’d spend an hour or so praying. I got to know him well, and it will always be a period in my life that I look upon fondly.

I remember him coming to my house a few times. I remember his coming to see my daughters after their birth and holding them as babies. I remember his stories of running an adventure camp in South America, writing hymns for Word of Life, playing sports, running a radio show, doing a headstand at church in his 70’s, telling about getting support at many different churches, talking about the births of his children and the unfortunate miscarriages, preaching from all kinds of pulpits, seeing his friends shot off horseback, enduring persecution for the sake of the call, and trading some livestock in order to marry his wife just to name a few.

Most of all, however, I remember him pouring into my life. I remember him being an encouragement to me to never quit striving to live the gospel out. He always encouraged me to live a life after God. He called me out when he disagreed with me, and supported me when he thought I did the right thing in a situation (even if it was unpopular). I also know that even when I didn’t deserve it, he went to bat for me, and really cheered for me and my ministry.

It has been almost a year since God decided he was more useful in Heaven than on earth, but I know that no one who met him will soon forget the man he was. I thought about talking about it at the one year anniversary of his death, but I wanted to celebrate his life more than talk about his death. I know that I was blessed beyond measure to get to know him better than most, but most of all I know that I cannot honor him in any legitimate way without doing the thing he always did—point people back to Christ.

So, if you want to find out about his life read God Planted Five Seeds and know that the man named Clyde in the book was him. Talk to those of us who knew him and we can tell you many stories about it. But more than anything, he would appreciate you being pointed to the God he loved, as that is a Light that will never flame out!

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One Response to “Shining Brightly”

  1. here July 9, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

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