I was born on November 20, 1942 to Polish defectors from under Russian rule who settled in Canada in 1929. As a child, I attended the Russian Ukranian Church of Evangelical Christians, and as far back as I can remember I had a heart for God. Growing up, I voluntarily participated in church activities, and as a senior in High School sensed a call on my life to enter the ministry. Since I couldn’t afford the cost of schooling, my oldest brother invited me to live with him in the ‘big city’ and get a job with a bank. It didn’t take long to discover that my business interests were woefully lacking, and while attending a summer camp a year later, I again sensed God’s call to ministry…this time with a sense of urgency!
I made the commitment, enrolling in Northwest Bible College (Now, Vanguard College) in Edmonton, Alberta: an honor-system school where students lived off campus and attended classes in the mornings, with ample time to support themselves financially.
Upon graduation in 1964, I moved to a small town to assist in a church. I was there I met an extremely attractive young lady named Julie Remple that I was instantly enamored with. But because I had been advised against pursuing romantic interests in the church I worked in, I ignored her completely; unaware that she was crazy about me as well. (Go figure!).
I eventually saw the light; and after a brief courtship while separated by 80 miles (by then I was pastoring another small church) we were married. A year and half later, our son, Cameron Michael, was born; and 14 years later, our daughter, Nicole Stacy Rene, arrived. We are now the proud grandparents of five boys and 2 girls (all Cameron’s, the latest adopted from Vietnam in the fall of 2007): Zachary, Jacob, Nicholas, Maxwell, Brittany, Luke and Mia.
As the years progressed and I served in various ministry positions: Assistant to the Pastor, Youth & Music Director, Senior Pastor, Counselor… it became obvious that my primary calling was that of a Pastor, with giftings in teaching and counseling…with just enough of a watchman-prophet anointing to make me dangerous and meddlesome. The gifting I clearly did not possess was that of an evangelist.
This was a critical observation, and one that we must all learn sooner or later. We must recognize our weaknesses and what we are NOT called to do. That can be just as important as identifying our strengths and giftings. Our weaknesses can be an area of strength in Christ; and satan can pervert our strengths.
If we can understand this concept, we can shut the door to many avenues of the enemy’s attack leading to defeat, guilt, condemnation, and discouragement that many believers suffer needlessly. This truth can set us free; and keep us free. For God’s Grace not only anoints us to be effective in the area of our giftings and callings. It also provides protection: covering us in the areas where He has called us!
If, however, we venture into areas He has not ordained us to be and function, we can become extremely vulnerable to the onslaught of the enemy; resulting in failure, and a subsequent spiral of defeat and disallusionment.
Let me share a personal example. As one with a gift of mercy, I ached with compassion for those who were enslaved to addictions. With failure after failure in working with alcoholics, God finally informed me that He had not called me to this specific ministry. Of course, as a pastor, I was generally and ultimately responsible for all the people in my flock. However, my specific responsibility to an individual struggling with addiction was often to find someone else in the Body who had specific anointing in that area; and connect them to each other. This was especially true in the case of an unbeliever since my anointing didn’t include that arena of ministry. That revelation brought me tremendous relief, freedom, and victory.
Several things began to emerge over time as I pursued the ministry:
I was unusual, always marching to a different drummer. As much as I attempted to submit to ‘the church’ processes, much of it just didn’t make practical or spiritual sense to me, and served as a constant source of confusion and frustration. Because of a strong aversion to ‘independentism’ inculcated into my life at an early age, I stuck with the program until, out of sheer desperation, in 1976 I left it all behind and pioneered a church attempting to get back to a simple, scriptural model of pastoral ministry. The following six years were some of the most productive, fulfilling years of my life.
At some point I sensed the Lord telling me I would not be functioning in the role of a pastor forever. In fact, He took the pastor’s mantle off me in 1982. Unfortunately, I failed to realize it, and wandered around aimlessly for some years. Eventually, I got back on track, and felt that the Lord’s desire for me was to settle into the business arena. The subsequent ten or so years were spent pursuing a sales career in real estate and pharmaceuticals without much of a passion to minister spiritually. The Lord placed me on Sabbathical. Eventually and gradually that desire began to well up within my spirit again; and it became more pronounced during the summer of 2002…increasing ever since.
From the earliest days of ministry I would receive insights to scriptural passages that I had never heard or understood previously, and I began to incorporate these into my ministry with amazing results. Occasionally someone would suggest I needed to publish these concepts. However, due to a false sense of modesty and lack of discipline, it never transpired. In the summer of 2002, I sensed a strong compulsion and directive from the Lord to write, with an accompanying inspiration, anointing and discipline to do so. So I began to write.
At 60 years of age I sensed the Lord telling me that I had finally acquired my Life Message; and it was time to begin sharing it with others. Having been ‘out of the loop’ of ministry for so long, I had no idea where to start. I poured out my heart to an email group of about 25 long-term friends and relatives. A friend responded that he sensed God saying I was to begin an online Bible Study. My spirit leapt in response! And here we are!
I now humbly submit this venture into the Hands of God, and to the revelation, inspiration, direction, and blessings of Holy Spirit…and to you, my trusted friends, relatives, and fellow workers in The Kingdom. May His Kingdom come and His Will be done! May The Truth truly set you free as it has me; and may you be totally healed, restored, and released to be everything God has always intended you to be. I am a testament to that possibility.
A special heart-felt thanks to all: for your prayers (past, present, and future), financial contributions, technical expertise, moral support, and godly input. May God bless you abundantly. I love you dearly; and appreciate you. Jesus is Lord!
Disclaimer: I have not been trained or licensed formally as a professional counselor. I was ordained as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 1964; and have ministered to believers as a normal and practical aspect of ‘doing the work’ of the ministry. I continue to do so: for the building up and training of the Body of Christ. And for the Glory of God!