Last week something special happened. It was the fulfillment of a dream from more than thirty years ago. I made the right choice twenty years ago when I chose to release the dream at that time.
You see, when I attended Bible college the greatest influences on me were professors, not preachers. Yes, I ended up being a preaching minister, but my dream in college was to become a professor. I actually only knew one man who was a full-time preaching minister while I was in college. The peopel who influenced me most were college professors. It’s no wonder I graduated with a dream of being a professor.
My early plans were to pay off my student loans and move to Memphis to attend Harding Graduate School of Religion and earn a Masters degree. But that was 1980 and high inflation was causing a recession that made finding employment very difficult. After applying at several businesses I heard about an opening at a rural congregation where I had preached some during my junior year in college.
While evaluating whether or not to accept the work when it was offered I remembered a statement from one of my professors. He said, “Boys if you have to choose between two works, go where you believe you can do the most good. I accepted the position. Little did I know that while working there for almost five years I would meet and marry my wife and earn a Masters degree. Sometimes God blesses your dreams through avenues you would never imagine.
As we moved to Maryland in 1985 it appeared my dream of becoming a professor was drawing closer. I would work with a congregation in Maryland and try to get admitted to a PhD. program in Philadelphia. Two things arose that altered this plan. First, our son was born and second I discovered I needed additional hours to be accepted to doctoral studies. I started working on some classes and realized that the rigors of education where challenging while serving a congregation and caring for my growing family. I decided either my family or my ministry would suffer if I enrolled in the program I had planned on taking.
For the next fifteen years I poured myself into being a dad who was invovled in the lives of my children. Home, church, school and sports were places where we spent time interacting. I was present for most of their events because I chose to forgo the additional schooling.
Six years ago, God started me on a remarkable journey. Late in 2003 my wife and I attended a fund-raising dinner. I never would have dreamed that this would be a way God would alter my course. I met three people that night who have become very significant friends–Jerry Trousdale, David Watson and Terry Neu. I will tell you more about Jerry and David in later installments, but this blog has more to do with Terry.
Terry Neu is a regional coordinator for Perspectives on the World Christian Movement classes here in our part of the country. Jerry taught some classes that Terry organized and took me with him to two of them and I enjoyed the stimulating discussions. I bought a reader and workbook at the first one and started working through the material. It was a godsend because I knew a young man in jail who wanted to take a college level course while incarcerated. While he did not earn credit, he was able to work through that material after I purchased a set for him.
Eventually Terry encouraged me to serve as the host of a Perspectives class here in Murfreesboro. I audited the course and also taught lesson four. Every semester since then I have taught at least one of the classes. Now I have a new title through Perspectives. I am a Professor of Record for the Perspectives classes that are taking place this spring.
Who would have thought I would serve as a professor of a missions mobilization class? God has fulfilled another dream related to me and education. I am enjoying the ride. Next month I will be teaching a two-week class at a Bible college in Zambia. Wow! It is amazing where God has taken me.
Dream big dreams! If you will give them to God, he will fulfill them in ways you could never imagine. One of the great results is he gets the glory.