Fingerprints

I've been thinking a lot lately about people who in one way or another have made an impact of investment in my life. In each stage and in each formative circumstance in my journey thus far, I can look back and see God's hand at work and in that I can see that he used certain people in a significant way. Of course there are the obvious, and perhaps most important people, like my parents and now my wife, who contributed far more than any blog post could explain and do justice. Since this post is going to be a tribute to those who have left their fingerprint on my life, it is only appropriate that I begin by saying a huge and understated thank you to those folks....my parents for having me and teaching me and supporting me and loving me and bearing with me and guiding me....I could go on and on....and then to Karen for loving me, supporting me, putting up with me, and being a wondeful wife.

But, as I stated before, there is not enough time or space for me to really devote to them. Instead I want to just mention a few people who have especially been on my mind in the last few weeks; people whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude for making a lasting impression and life-changing investment in my life.

The first person I want to mention is my youth pastor. Growing up I really only had one full-time youth pastor, and he was only there a couple of years. Mostly, we just had a group of church members who made up one fantastic youth committee. But towards the end of my high school days we hired a full-time youth minister named Tim Powell. I can't remember his Wednesday night talks, his Sunday morning lessons, or much of anything he said....but he ministered to me in perhaps the best way....he just hung out with me. In the summer he would stay after church to shoot basketball with me on Wednesday nights...then he'd drive me home. He took me to a Georgia Tech football game one time. I recall especially one time that he took me with him to share Jesus with a guy in our youth group. He really modeled a Christian life for me! He also let me use my gifts (such as they were back then). He allowed me to lead our little group of students in songs on Wednesday before he taught. Those were my first expereinces in leading a group in worship (as best I knew how). I am very thankful for his investment that has helped to make me who I am today.

The second person I want to mention is a guy by the name of Dennis Rogers. Dennis led 2 trips to Jamaica that I was privileged to go on in the summers of 1995 and
1996. Dennis is one of the sweetest men I've ever met. He's really tall, and I recall that every handshake with Dennis turned into a hug...he's just a super guy. It was really amazing how God orchestrated the opportunity to go on these trips...and now I look back and see how those were some huge defining moments in my life. Dennis played a key part in that! I specifically remember a converstation with him, where I was explaining to him that I was dealing with God's call on my life. I was beginning to sense that God was calling me to ministry, but of course at that age didn't really know what that meant. So I was just telling Dennis that, and I remember his wisdom as he assured me that this mission trip would help me to further know and grow in that call. He was right, and I see the part that those mission experiences played in my spiritual journey and my walk with Jesus. I am very thankful for Dennis and the impact he made in my life.

The third person I want to mention was a guy I served under for four years. I was a youth ministry intern at Ingleside Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia with a guy named Matt Nelson. Funny how we met....I didn't know him from Adam, but a friend of mine gave him my name, he called me and the rest is history. Matt took a chance on me, as he had never heard me lead worship, but he asked me to come be the youth worship intern. It turned out that it was a great move, at least for me. I gained so much experience and learned tons from Matt. He is one of the most gifted men I know, and God really used him not only to teach me, but as a friend. To this day, he is one of the first people I call when I need advice or wise-counsel. He's also one of the main reasons that I am in Guntersville as it was his reccomendation to the pastor that God used to orchestrate my move here.

I could go on and on...and this is not even close to an exhaustive list. In every step along the way, God in his sovereignty has put people in my path who have made lasting impressions. I am so thankful for the way God uses friends and aquaintances to remind me of his faithfulness and his purposes.

So, who has left their fingerprints on your life?

2 comments:

This is a great post, Matt. And (if I can get sentimental for a moment) your obvious love for the Lord and desire to serve him is a great testament to the faithfulness of those who have taught you and led you from your parents to Tim Powell to Matt Nelson.

June 10, 2008 at 3:04 PM  

Matt!!

What's Up?
You've really made it! I googled your name and came across your blog. You the man! Thanks for remembering your younger days and mine also! You never know what kind of influence you have on others. Good thought on fingerprints. We're doing okay here in GA. Living it up with our 2 girls, 6 years old and 3 years old! Cindy's doing fine! Drop me a line at timcindypowell@yahoo.com

Thanks for encouraging me today!

Tim Powell
(478)553-6659

We (Mr. Jack and myself) just mentioned you the other day!!!!

July 3, 2008 at 12:51 PM  

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