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Footsteps to Follow: 2021 agenda: Be available!

“God does not begin by asking our ability, only our availability, and if we prove our dependability, He will increase our capability” (Neal Maxwell). “God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called. And the litmus test isn’t experience or expertise.

It’s availability and teachability. If you are willing to go when God gives you a green light, He will take you to inaccessible places to do impossible things” (Mark Batterson). Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, and Ananias: each expressed their availability to God by saying, “Here I am.”

Before they became great heroes of the faith, they were ordinary men. After hearing God’s call and becoming available for His use, they were transformed into the father of a nation, Israel’s deliverer, prophets, and witnesses for Christ. None of them expected to lead adventurous lives and to be so greatly used by God. Some of the six are even named in Hebrews 11, also known as the “Faith Hall Of Fame.”

God works the same way today; He is looking for men and women available for Him. Our church had the privilege of knowing such a man, our former pastor, Jack. This great man of God was “only a sinner, saved by grace.” After being raised in a Catholic home and going to Catholic school, he rebelled, turned his back, and told God he was no longer interested in Him. But, the Lord has a way of coming after us, and He pursued Jack. He used a myriad of ways, including Jack being a Marine and serving in Vietnam. And, then he married Tina.

They began attending a Bible-preaching church. Tina accepted Christ as Savior. The pastor visited them, and Jack thought he had steeled himself against hearing about conversion. Except that night, God grabbed him and wouldn’t let go. Jack gave in to Christ and never looked back. Then one day God did the unexpected. He let Jack know that he should go to Bible college, learn the Word, and preach.

So, that’s what he did. Jack remained astounded that God had called him, a former “bad-boy” sinner turned into a pastor. The man was dynamite in the pulpit: passionate and persuasive. He was also a great counselor: honest, compassionate, and firm. He listened, prayed, and showed grace and concern. Jack shared Christ wherever he went.

During Covid, a doctor said, “Why are you still visiting the hospital?” Jack simply answered, “This is what I do.” He understood what shepherding a flock was. Jack ministered faithfully for over forty years. Last year he preached through Revelation, chapter by chapter, before he retired. Then a few weeks ago, our new pastor got Covid, and asked Jack if he would be available to preach. Pastor Jack, 76, preached.

During the sermon, he shared that during his devotion time, God asked him, “Are you available?” Jack shared that he told God “Yes.” Two days later, Jack had a heart attack and instantly died.

Despite the grief of the sudden, unexpected loss, his physical and church family found comfort in knowing he died as he had lived, available to God! May we, like those biblical heroes and earthly mentors like Pastor Jack, give our Savior the gift of our availability in 2021. Isaiah 6:8 states, ”

Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”(NIV).

Rebecca Logan, retired UPMC Chaplain and member at Lycoming Valley Baptist Church, Montoursville

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