Several years ago, before marriage, i lived in South Carolina, as i’ve mentioned before. Through some friends i stumbled onto a small, non-denominational church that i found to be really cool. One of the best parts was that the pastor and his young family lived in the same apartment complex in which i lived.
i got to know Mike Baer and his crowd pretty well. Frequently we’d go for walks together, he and i, and yack about life and ministry and about following the daily call of Jesus of Nazareth. We always tried to jsue names like that for Jesus…Jesus the Savior, Jesus the Carpenter, the Healer, the Prophet, the Priest, the King, or whatever best illustrated the current way in which we were relating to Him. i learned so much from Mike. He taught me the value of knowing the scriptures–that it is these that bear witness to the person Jesus. Mike’s confidence in the consistent presence of Jesus Christ was contagious. But one thing i’ll never forget is this . . .
One day we were out walking, and his little girls were toddling around us. Somehow, i got around to asking one of my favorite questions: “Mike, what are you doin’?” He asked me to explain the question, so i said something like “What are the big things you are called to, and are you doin’ those things?”
He didn’t blink. He looked me right in the eye (he could see through a person) and said, “Three things: First, I’m getting to know the Lord; second, I’m getting to know my family; and third, I’m teaching our congregation to pray.” Then he added a fourth: “and, I’m preparing for future ministry.”
He went on to say that these were the things he sensed God saying would make him most valuable to the Kingdom. A man who knows Jesus as a person, who knows and loves his family, and who can teach others to pray, is probably someone God will use for a lifetime.
i noted that he didn’t say that one of his goals was to reach our Island home for Christ. He wasn’t trying to stamp out abortion in our time. He wasn’t even trying to get republicans elected! (we laughed about that one).
So, lots of mornings, when we pray for you, i remember Mike Baer–whom God is still using, and am thankful that he was humble enough to see that the greatest cause in the life of at least one of Jesus’ boys, was to teach some folks to pray. i was fortunate enough to be one of them.
Blessings to you, friends. We’re mentioning your names into heaven each morning, asking God to put you in the way of His great Mercy and Grace. Peace! — mike