Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thanks Thornton

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of returning to my church family in Illinois and be part of a celebration of the 10 yr. anniversary of the life and ministry of my buddy Thornton (He is the good looking guy in the middle!) at Chatham Presbyterian Church. It was a surprise party during worship - recognizing the cool things that God has done thru this man.

Thornton was the first Christian man to really invest time into me.....and disciple me. It was a very interesting ride and one that I am forever grateful for. Here are some of the thoughts that I shared with Thornton in reflecting on the adventure we had together.....

A few words and phrases that come to mind when I think of you (and I think of you often):

Change-agent: You are one who will challenge “tradition” and always seem to have your Holy Spirit radar up for when God is doing a new thing – not just in programs….but also in people.

Joyful exuberance – You bring that contagious quality of joy into all of the situations you find yourself in…..and people notice.

Authentic – Being joyful doesn’t mean being happy all the time. You are transparent in your walk with Christ….sharing your struggles, failures, successes, and questions. I love that!

Creative extravagance – We so often had conversations where I was trying for simple and you were trying for “over the top”! From ideas for “Hot air balloon rides” at the Gathering, to hanging the Moravian star over the sanctuary (with electricity!), to gathering of musicians for plays/musicals you keep looking over the edge to see what else can be done. Thanks for not letting me “settle” for less than what God wanted as we ministered together in this place.

Integrity – You have it. I see it. Thanks for sharing it.

Unquenchable passion for seeing lives changed thru the love, grace, and power of Jesus.

You are so filled with passion for Christ that it leaks and oozes out of all that you do…..and all of the relationships that you invest yourself in. Because of our friendship and God’s work in you and through you, I have become a better husband, father, and friend. You have been a blessing beyond measure in my life. I thank God for you.

I ran into this scripture while “pondering” you (is that weird…that I pondered you?):

Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:10-11 (Msg)

A fitting description of the life and ministry of Thornton Woerner at Chatham Presbyterian Church.

It was a great day. Thanks, Thornton!

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