Okay, so the picture is not that flattering but what follows are some truths I wanted to share with you….that hopefully are encouraging!
When Jesus called Philip and Nathanael in John 1:43-51 he states in verse 47, “…Behold, an Israelite, indeed in whom there is no deceit.” When I think of Norman (who serves at Oak Park as an elder, among the many things he does) I think of this verse, only in an opposite manner. Not in the sense that “what you see is not what you get” with Norman but in the sense that there are many things that people don’t know about Norman that maybe they need to. And to better appreciate one of the men the Holy Spirit has set apart (Acts 20:28) to lead and shepherd our sweet gospel outpost here’s some things you need to know about Norman:
- He has impeccable integrity. I’ve seen his high Christian character lived out time and time again. In church-life, particularly church leadership, you want men that you can model your life after and if its any consolation I have, I do, and I will continue to pattern my life in many ways after Norman as he patterns his life after King Jesus.
- He knows the Word and allows the Word to drive him in all that he does. He teaches Sunday school and though his class razzes him on staying in books or topics for extended amount of times they’re all guiltily of the elementary approach of letting people know you love/live them: you pick on them!
- He loves people. Someone told me a couple years ago that they thought Norman was not very approachable and it appeared that he didn’t love/like people. Just to let you know Norman and his much younger bride meet with a couple every week (on his day off – Saturday) to encourage them in their faith-journey. He meets every Monday night with a group of men to encourage them to be more faithful, godly husbands. Lastly, and perhaps the most challenging thing he does is that he and his bride put together a list that has individuals/families that they intentionally want to spend time with and get to know.
- He exudes the utmost confidentiality. Many times I have confessed sin to him without any thought “I wonder if Norman will betray my confidence.” It doesn’t cross my mind, which should encourage you Oak Park as he’s a faithful counselor and friend.
- He is financially savvy. He and his bride have been good stewards of the resources that God has given them, which has allowed them to be a blessing to a lot of individuals/families in our church.
- He’s aware of weaknesses or areas in his life that he needs to grow in. And rather than merely talk about them he’s putting forth specific, tangible action steps to see that he matures in these areas.
- He’s a thoughtful, accurate communicator of God’s Word, which is one of the many reasons that I’m thankful and humbled that he’s filling in for me this Sunday.
Preach the Word well my friend as you point your own heart and the hearts of Oak Park to King Jesus! Thankful for you Norman!