Acknowledging Indebtedness

For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it? [I Cor. 4:7, NKJV].

It is so easy to forget those who have taught us and shaped our lives. When I think about it I am so grateful to God for those who have influenced me for good and taught me the things of God.  Do you give credit where credit is due?

First of all, my parents taught me to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. They took me to church and Sunday School. When I was quite a small boy in Sheffield my great grandmother, Grandma Walker, used to take me on her knee, pray with me and sing children’s hymns to me, hymns such as ‘When mothers of Salem,’ and ‘A little ship was on the sea.’ Then I remember the various Sunday School teachers and Superintendents, including my father. He taught us that we ought to belong to the ‘RFA brigade’, that is, be ready for anything. He also taught us the chorus, “Teach me how to love Thee, teach me how to pray; teach me how to serve Thee, better day by day; teach me how to serve Thee, better day by day.’

The various ministers, lay preachers, evangelists, conference speakers all played their part, in emphasising the importance of the inspired Word of God. I remember the conventions and conferences held in the very large garden of Mrs Alexander Dixon’s in Moor Green Lane, Birmingham. Mrs. Alexander Dixon (nee Helen Cadbury) was founder of the Pocket Testament League.

Frederick P. Wood, co-founder and leader of the National Young Life Campaign, had an influence upon me, especially his teaching on worldliness, in his two books, Questionable Amusements and The Question of Worldliness.

Then there were those who were so helpful when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Sandy and Ella Sanderson of the CLC bookshop in Birmingham were a great encouragement. So were Ieuan Jones, Jim Parnell, Henry Brash Bonsall, and the leaders of the Young Warriors (WEC) who lived in Edgbaston at the time. It was they who introduced me to my first all nights of prayer.

Lorne Sanny of the Navigators, teaching at the Follow-up Instruction classes at the first Billy Graham Crusade at Harringay, London was used to confirm my call to full-time ministry. Andrew MacBeath, Principal of the old BTI, and Geoffrey Grogan, resident tutor, added their influence, and so did Don Summers, evangelist, who used me in his Bristol Crusades, through which I became known to Bristol churches and received my first call to the pastorate. And so it goes on.

Thank you, Lord, for all those you have used to chisel and shape me. Thank you especially for your precious Word and the blessed Holy Spirit, the Comforter.


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