The Journey Begins
Like all who have come to know Jesus as Lord of our lives, Barbara and I were known by Him long before we recognized Him. We were trying to find our way in the dark and descending more deeply into despair. I as a Methodist pastor was preaching from Psychology Today; and Barb was planning her escape from the mundane to the glamorous.
Our moments of birth into the Kingdom happened within a week of each other in the early spring of 1965. Like all new believers we were discovered a wonderful gift—the ability to hear the voice of the Shepherd (John 10.). We rediscovered the Scriptures with new passion with the Sprit of Jesus helping us see fresh new truth. We and our two little ones were launched on the adventure that has captured us ever since—exploring the Kingdom of God with its glorious and eccentric citizens and occupations—both elegant and simple. Tom has written some accounts of how the Lord was at work in his life as a child. These incidences show God’s care for each one of us before we even know who He is…amazing.
We recently “retired” as pastors of the church we founded in 1978—Bread of Life Fellowship in Tulsa OK.
While I, Tom, was dealing with the joys & heartaches of pastoral ministry, Barb was being mentored in a more hidden school—the one whose curriculum included caring for and loving five children, several young adults, and aging, infirm, in-laws. During the past 40 years or so, both of us have learned (through inadequacy & desperation) to access the presence and power of the Lord Jesus and His love.
Now that our five children are married with children of their own (21 all together), we look forward with excitement to the next leg in our Kingdom adventure. Barb has been deeply involved in teaching and counseling troubled women at a homeless shelter in our community, and she has been involved in foreign missions to Cuba, India, Mexico, and Russia. Several years ago, she joined me in teaching a Bible study which I had taught alone for 17 years. In addition, we have held week-end teaching seminars at various churches in the U.S., the U.K., and Norway.
While Barb finishes her college degree, I have been sharing Kingdom life with small groups of believers, young and old, meeting together in homes. Some of the people we have mentored are scattered throughout the world—broadcasting Kingdom seed wherever they are sent.
We are eternally grateful for the many of God’s people who have touched our lives either personally or through books. One woman in particular must be highlighted: Edna Hutchins was a retired Methodist missionary who had spent 50 or more years in India. Edna’s life was so contagious that at a time when we were in darkness, we knew she had something more than empty religion. She introduced us to the real, personal, Jesus. She later would introduce us to books of E. Stanley Jones and his light concerning the real gospel of “The Kingdom of God.” These and many others were our spiritual mid-wives.
For over 40 years, we have been exploring and discovering the varied landscapes of that eternal Kingdom. It is infinite and ever growing. We are debtors to all those Kingdom citizens who have gone before us, but most of all to the initiator of it all, our Father God and His Son, Jesus, who made our citizenship possible.