The most recent edition of Time Magazine lists their 100 most influential people. Interesting list which always creates discussion. The list contains notable people, and I thought it missed some important people. Like most American publications, the majority are from here, which pretty much demonstrates our American ego (Kind of like calling the championship of Major League Baseball the “World Series” or saying that the team who wins the Stanley Cup in the NHL are the “World Champions”). Anyway, I digress.
But reading the article got me to thinking, so I thought I would post an interactive blog and invite all you people who read my stuff from time to time to jump on board for a discussion. I got to thinking about who the most influential people in my life are, and why. What I realized is that a multitude of ordinary people who would never make Time’s list have had extraordinary impact on my life, primarily because they were people who spoke into my faith and character. Of course, my mom and dad are at the top of the list, and my wife Heidi would be the champion here. But for this list, I am not going to list family, but think of other people who have lived their faith before me in ways that impacted me. So here are five names from my life. Can’t really say they are the top five, because I would be in danger of leaving someone important out. But here are five from me. Why don’t you respond to the blog by naming five from your life and sharing why they are on your list.
Mrs. Phiropolous – OK, to be honest, I can’t even spell her name right, I don’t think. When I was a little dude hanging out at Maplewood Baptist Church, she was an older lady who loved kids. She led a program that was designed to teach younger elementary goobers like me how to find books of the Bible and how to memorize scripture.
Neal Farnham – His son David was my best friend growing up, and Neal was my dad’s best buddy (still is). Mr. Farnham worked with my dad in all the recreation stuff at my church, coaching kids sports teams, and hanging out at open gym night. He was a soft-spoken, caring guy who made me feel important.
Dr. Dale Allen – While I was a student at Missouri Baptist College, Dr. Allen became a professor in Bible and religion classes. To be honest, his classes were incredibly easy (I hope he doesn’t read this). Every time he gave a test, he would give a review the class before by reading the questions directly from his test. The thing that was incredible about Dr. Allen was how he passed on his experience in pastoral ministry to his students. At the time he came to MBU, he had just retired from over 30 years of pastoral ministry. He became an example of what it looked like when a person had deep compassion on people and a desire to lead them as a pastor for me.
Bob & Martha Taylor – For three years, Heidi and I lived in exile in the little central Missouri town of California, MO. These were the toughest three years of our lives, and a time of great testing and character development for the two of us. We probably would not have made it through without Bob & Martha. We lived with them fora while, and they became like parents for us while we were there. They were the picture of hospitality, grace, and love for us, and provided an ear to listen and shoulder on which to cry.
Bob Curtis – For thirteen years Bob was my pastor at Ballwin Baptist, and a great personal friend. I was deeply inspired as I watched his personal integrity and honesty. In a world that does not value truth and character, Bob was a great example of what it looked like to be formed by the truth of God in every dealing of life.
There’s my list. Of course, there are countless others I could share, but these are the people on my mind today. What about you?
if we’re not naming family, and we’re talking shaping our faith and character, then here are a few i can think of at the moment…
~dr. davis, prof at mobap (greek), fabulous teacher and bible guy.
~bonnie fairless- a sunday school teacher in my preteen years. was the friendliest, most loving woman (other than my mother) that i’ve ever met.
~anita (thornsbury)newman- one of my best buds in high school. she prayed to receive Christ one night as I slept over at her house. it lit a fire in both of us, and we began to desire to make our faith known at school for the first time.
~my husband, there’s no way to not include him. he’s been my #1 spiritual influencer since we met in 1986.