PLYMOUTH, MI – Venturing into something new is always easier and more enjoyable with others.
If I could go back and redo many events in life, I would invite more to come along with me, or I would join others in their adventures. I would discuss the kernel of my ideas before taking my first step meaning I would avoid some of my major mistakes; and, with the practical suggestions of others, I would squeeze more out of my positive experiences.
Four years of childhood solitude was miserable.
My family and home life was great, but I drifted through my late childhood like a lonely survivor in an apocalypse. Fourth grade to eighth grade was rough. I did not tell my parents. I managed it alone. My family moved to a different school district midyear when I was in fourth grade. I went from being known, well-liked, and secure to being bullied and feeling worthless in one month’s time. That feeling of being “nothing” lasted four years. Boys bounced dusty chalk erasers on my back during class until everyone roared. I slumped my shoulders, and disappeared into my isolation. Bow-legged David, at recess, repeatedly slammed me with a football. The teacher enrolled me in a special class that lasted one-hour per week with three other kids and a counselor which convinced the “normal” kids that they were correct judging me “defective.”
The great news is that God provided people to pry me out of my isolation.
John Ayers, who formerly led worship at Warren Woods Baptist Church, is someone who likely is not aware of how he saved my life at the end of those sad years. John and I met in band. We played cornets. John, even back then, had a calm and a class about him that remains. We competed for chair positions in the brass section, we hung out together; and, ultimately, I started enjoying school because John shared life with me. It gave me confidence to try out for football where I learned the value of teams. With John, I ventured into something new because I had a calm, consistent friend.
Mike Durbin, who serves the Lord as well on the state convention level, has become increasingly more valuable to me as a friend with every passing year. Neighbors since our teenage years in the Flint area, we have simultaneously moved through every phase of life. We were risky, out-of-control-teenagers. God called us both to salvation at the same church. We both surrendered to ministry during the same week. We married women from our hometown, far above what we deserve. We went to the same university and same seminary at the same time. Both of us took our children and wives overseas as international missionaries. We now serve the Lord as partners throughout Michigan. Mike’s drive to be set-apart for God’s service was evident from the earliest days of his salvation and continues to this day. Because of Mike’s devotion, I started this intimidating state-level role with an inspirational model walking beside me offering encouragement every step of the way. I am grateful God saw a way for Mike and me to continue as neighbors in our ministries and lives.
Jamie Lynn, who shares a ministry calling, three children, nine grandchildren and an arena of godly friends with me, is the greatest “someone” of all who walks beside me with a library filled with stories of “something new.” In fact, secrets be revealed, living life with Jamie and the Lord is new every day. Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV) says it accurately when it states, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Life nor death can stop what Lamentations describes. I held Jamie’s hand during the birth of our three children; she held me up while I fought-off cancer for years. Jamie has never fainted away from a new faith opportunity. Her confidence in God is harder than concrete. Jamie’s desire to impact others for Christ is immeasurable. Others might look at our lives and take note of the changes in our mailing address and see those occasional addresses and dates as something new; but, in some amazing graceful way, God has blessed our lives so that every single morning begins with a “Good morning, love” and a hug.
Our days begin with an insatiable hunger to start something meaningful and new for the Lord. We are not perfect with one another; life is not always easy; but, we prefer to start something new with someone rather than try alone.
Have you found the joy of sharing life with others? Why not start something new with someone in 2020?
Lead a Bible study during a break or lunch with coworkers
Invite family members, neighbors and coworkers to sit with you at church
Host people often in your home for meals and visits
Serve in a new role in church
Read the entire New Testament or Bible
Volunteer in the community where you can share life with those outside church
Rescue someone who lives in solitude as I did in the past
Write down a list of new initiatives then select one to start with someone
Venturing into something new is always easier and more enjoyable with others. Ask me. I know.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.