I am one of the few who have the youth group experience where you have the SAME youth minister throughout your entire youth group experience.
Every 11/18, I think of Mike on his birthday. And this verse always pops quickly in my mind.
Hebrews 13:7-8 – Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.
I wish I had pictures up here at school for you. I have known Mike since I was in 2nd grade! He was my youth minister from 7th grade to 12th grade. I saw him become a dad and babysat for the 3 kids as they grew up. He was always a listening ear and guiding voice in my life. He spoke truth, even when it wasn't popular. He is passionate about the Lord, really knowing the Lord, and he loves people very well. He loves God's Word and God's people and he loves the lost... all around the world. While parents are usually and rightfully the central role models in a kid's life, and I deeply appreciate my parents, it's also terrific when a kid can see other adults who are also living out the Gospel. I suppose it confirms the truthfulness of what the parents are saying about God. So, Mike spoke the word of God to us. Sometimes, there were 70 of us. His "way of life" has been an example. His faith has been a testimony. I want to remember him today and consider the outcome of his way of life... such joy, a wonderful family, a deep desire to worship God with his life... I want to imitate him in several ways.
And the Jesus Mike loved and served way back when we were in the same state and local church is the same Jesus I serve today and Mike still serves in Louisiana.
Love you, Norms! Soooo thankful for you! Happy Birthday!