My Micah 6:8 Story

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There are two great moments in a person’s life; the moment you were born and the moment you realize why you were born.  I soon discovered that we were born in the image of God to be his instruments. (Sermon Andrew Beunk, January 2019, on Acts 1)

How does this influence my thinking?

Ken Shigematsu introduces us to two kinds of Adams (Survival Guide for the Soul, 2018). Adam 1 (Genesis 1) the striving person, and Adam 2 (Genesis 2-4) the soulful person.  

In my early years, I could easily identify with the first Adam—Adam as a striver, a worker, a multi-tasker, a person to get things done. I was able to be a soulful person, as well, because of my wife, Janet, who maintained relationships, developed friendships, and demonstrated a caring attitude.

As a teenager, when I made a commitment to Christ, I wanted to serve in everything I did: work, family, friendships, community, etc. I felt blessed. I worked at Children’s Camps, Youth Groups, Inter School Christian Fellowship, in public schools, and eventually in Christian Schools in Ontario, Alberta and BC.

I wanted to serve. I did. For many years, we raised a family. But in losing my wife, Janet, and losing the energy to lead in Christian education, my oomph went elsewhere. Micah 6:8 became pivotal. Walk humbly, seek justice and love mercy. Slow down Mike!

God blessed me with a new relationship (with a woman named Colleen) and a new focus as I came to grips with retirement.

I recognized why I was born: to walk humbly wherever God placed me, to seek justice for those whom I loved and cared for, and to show mercy to others. Striving to succeed was not a priority as much anymore.

My emphasis became community—visiting with those who needed friendship and companionship (senior peer counseling), serving those facing death (hospice), helping keep our community clean and secure (police victims' services), educating youth about our natural history became my priorities (Fraser River Discovery Centre), and Block Watch coordinator in our condo tower.

On the wider scale, we became involved in Disaster Response in North America through World Renew. Then came the International work of World Renew, coordinating relief to victims of flood, famine, and earthquakes in many countries. Through this, we have gotten to meet wonderful people from various cultures and walk alongside them as they pushed on.  Often I will share my life story and the reason why I was born.

Now Colleen and I find ourselves serving in a new way: teaching ESL in Japan in two MB churches for a year. In a new way, we share our lives, knowing full well, that only through the work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives will His Kingdom advance here. That is our prayer as we walk alongside many new friends in the local communities.

Last week, an innocent discussion about a song, “I am not my own” (Jeremy Benjamin) led to a wild discussion on a new and strange subject to someone new to Christianity. The seed had been planted.

Before we left Mali in 2008, the local organizing Committee gave us a blanket/wall hanging (pictured below) with a reference to Galatians: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap harvest if we do not give up.”  It travels with us wherever we go these days. As long as God gives us both good health, you will probably find us in community, in disaster areas, or somewhere we feel we can “act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with {our} God. (Micah 6:8)

Mike Goheen, quoting Lesslie Newbiggin (The Church and its Vocation, 2018) says that “the evangelist must use the language of his hearers” in his quest to communicate the gospel.

I am thankful for the many experiences that have taught me to choose my words carefully to an audience who could be repelled by the Gospel in a foreign culture. Finally, I rest on the work of the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

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