Shaped by Whom?
Each of us have people, places, things, and events that have changed and shaped our lives; for me, it is no different. So throughout 2013 I have decided to post a monthly “top 10” that hopefully will serve to inspire you to pour into people, travel the world, read good books, worship fully, and enjoy the life that the Sovereign One has gifted you with.
Top 10 Most Influential People in my life…
10. John Fountain
Perhaps the kindest and most genuine guy I have ever encountered was my assistant worship leader and close friend, John Fountain. Though not a theologian, apologist, or teacher, John legitimately loved Jesus and cared for people. His approach to music was similar to how he approached everything else: let’s do our best to bring the Lord the utmost glory and others the utmost good. Up until my meeting John I had been inundated with theology but often apart from love. This smiling guitar player reminded me that Christ was filled with truth and compassion and that I must not compromise either. Not only who I am as a worship leader, but certainly who I am as a person I owe to John Fountain.
9. Pat Griffiths
My junior year of college landed me in a class with a new professor to the university. The class was “Romans”; the professor was the impassioned, and unorthodox (in methods, not doctrine) Dr. Pat Griffiths. Though “Griff” was a hard-core dispensationalist – a system of theology which I detest – he possessed an ultra high view of God and great appreciation for exegetical preaching. Within a month I was working directly for my Romans prof as a “Bible studier” which meant direct mentoring from Griff. To some extent I owe my love for expository teaching, and even some of my “out-of-the-box” methods to Pat Griffiths. The thing I remember most about the man is his passionate, incessant cry in every class to “preach the word.” Since that time I have endeavored to do just that.
8. David Platt
I could add names such as John Piper, Matt Chandler, and Francis Chan to this list, but I am reserving this place of recognition for only those who I have personally met and had the opportunity to chat with. Throughout my travels I have encountered several reputable men and women, some of which – such as Todd Agnew, Mark Hall (from Casting Crowns), and the girls of BarlowGirl – were incredibly humble and truly pointed others to Jesus. However, in the winter of 2007 I was able to sit down with a man that I would truly come to admire. That man was my age, and the new pastor of a large Southern Baptist congregation in Birmingham. David Platt had not hit “the big time” yet through his soon to be published book “Radical,” but he was the same godly and unbelievably humble guy that many would come to esteem. Though our conversation was not long by any means (probably 15 minutes) I was deeply impacted by the genuine love for Christ that I saw in him, the passion for the Word that flowed from his lips, and the earnest, evident desire in this young pastor to make true disciples of our Savior.
Though, David, no doubt, has forgotten my name, he made an indelible impression that day, that only adds more weight in my mind and heart for his message and his writings.
7. Bob Jennings
I remember the first time that my Dad brought me to the Highway M Chapel in Sedalia, Missouri, I was in culture shock. The pastor and his family lived a very simple life; one which was foreign to my way of thinking. Each summer we visited Sedalia and each summer I spent time – little by little – with Pastor Bob Jennings. I vividly recall listening to Bob speak of the wonders of Jesus and knowing that this humble pastor had absolute confidence in the truth which he declared because he truly knew the One who is truth. There was no pomp, fancy frills, arrogance, or fraud in Bob Jennings. What you saw, you got: a man who loved Jesus, loved Scripture, loved prayer, love His family, and loved people. I will never forget one story in particular. During my season of rebellion in my late teens we made our annual trip to Sedalia. That first day Bob came outside to toss the football with me. He was not an athlete and probably rarely picked up a football. That day though, He saw tossing a football with a stuck up kid as a means of presenting the love of Jesus to that very kid – me. What he set out to do, he accomplished, and I will never forget that authentic love of Christ that I saw that day, and every day, in Bob Jennings.
6. Dwayne Storey
It was the book “Holiness” by J.C. Ryle that jump started my friendship with Dwayne. I was manning my dad’s book table at a church in Truro, Nova Scotia, when the youngest Storey brother strolled up. The following spring Dad and I ministered in the church where Dwayne was an associate pastor, and after planting his own congregation we visited several times over the following years. I always admired Dwayne’s passion for sound theology and his ability to articulate it, and it was his example, late night conversations, and the gift of John Owens’ complete works that stoked within me an ever increasing passion to know the character and workings of our God.
5. Dink Currin
I remember the first time I fully explained what this thing called “the Gospel” was to the beautiful blonde that I was casually dating. She was initially intrigued by the truth debating my beliefs with those of her own. However, before too long the Sovereign Savior had crushed her convictions to powder, making her heart His dwelling place. For years I have been discipling the blonde who is now my devoted wife, Dink (Peedlyn, Puffin), but curiously about two years ago she began doing the same for me. You see, discipleship is not just teaching someone truth (though occasionally Dink does remind me of something or even shed light on a passage a Scripture), but it is also living that truth before your disciple, and keeping them accountable. My incredible wife does just that. She fights to live for Jesus, love Jesus, support her husband, defend her husband, and slowly help me to become a better pastor, Christian, husband, and friend. Truly, when Solomon wrote that he who finds a wife finds a good thing he knew what he was talking about (for him 700 times over). I am incredibly thankful to my Father that He saw fit not only to bring me the Dinkster but to daily be using her – my disciple – to make me more like Jesus.
4. Nate Currin
My life has forever been altered by my closest friend for almost 33 years. Growing up, the Currin boys had very similar interests: terrible choices in attire as kids, an unceasingly love for North Carolina basketball, and a passion to play ball, chase girls, and get into trouble. As we progressed into our college years our minds shifted to theological and philosophical issues. We still loved sports, and yes, still loved the ladies, but we also loved to discuss intellectual issues great and small. We would debate, bicker, laugh, and inspire one another. The thing that struck me the most was that Nate always possessed a truly compassionate heart for the less fortunate. Those who most people would either mock or ignore, Nate would go out of his way to minister to. This was a lesson I desperately needed to learn, as I was all too often, all head and no heart. My theology was air tight, while my practicality was sorely lacking. For all those who I have counseled and who might applaud me for whatever compassion and mercy I carry…you may want to turn your applause in the direction of my big brother who challenged me to not just believe in the love of Jesus but to exhibit that love as well.
3. Dave Storey
Having met Dave in the summer of 2000 I was immediately impacted by his passion for lost souls, his love for Christ-centered doctrine, and his desire to proclaim the necessity of Jesus not only being the Savior of our souls but also the Lord of our lives. Over the next twelve years the relationship between Dave and I grew to one of close friendship. Each time I speak with the burly Canadian pastor my affection for Jesus is stirred as we recite Scripture, talk of ministry, and encourage one another to love Jesus passionately and fight for truth vigorously. For Dave, the line is drawn distinctly in the sand and every venture in life is either a pursuit of the Savior or a pursuit of self. I can truthfully say that throughout my adult life Dave Storey has been the closest thing to a true pastor that I have ever known. I have very few men who consistently pour into me, but Dave is certainly one of them, and for this I am very humbled and grateful.
2. Cindy Currin
Without question the two people who have made the greatest impact on my life are my godly and loving parents. My mom only lands in the second slot because, as a truly submissive wife, I know she would want it no other way. Throughout my adolescence my mother dealt with my pitfalls, rebellion, mistakes, and struggles. I was far from a model son, but that did not mean that she would ever cease in being a model mother. Patiently teaching we children the truth, she would reiterate again and again the great love of Christ Jesus and the immeasurable privilege it was to live for Him. I cannot count the times that I walked by her bedroom only to see her on her knees weeping for my soul. She was my biggest cheerleader, supporter, encourager, and prayer warrior and everything she did was done in unconditional love. I can honestly say that I have never seen a greater example of Jesus than that of my mother, and without question her authentic passion for Christ has influenced me in more ways than I can ever begin to express.
1. Don Currin
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” These words from the pen of the apostle John hung on my bathroom mirror throughout my teen years. Looking back now I can see that these words, pasted there by my dad, were not only true for the beloved apostle, but for my father as well. My dad understoodd better than perhaps anyone I have ever known that my future happiness and long-term prosperity were linked to understanding and applying the truth found in the Gospel of Jesus. Therefore, throughout my childhood, teen years, college days, and since, he has been a bedrock of communicating and living the truth. It is no secret to anyone who knows him, that though he candidly admits his mistakes as a father, all seven of his children love Jesus Christ, and are radically committed to His Word. This did not happen by accident, but rather by one man deciding thirty some years ago that he would endeavor to live in such a way that Jesus was seen as lovely before his family.
Having seen how few fathers take an active interest in not only Biblically training their sons, but in teaching them to be strong leaders, loving husbands, and responsible men as well, I am increasingly grateful that my dad was a steadfast example in all these areas. Though a strict disciplinarian, I never once doubted that the correction was done in love to reprove me and make me a better man. To this day, I look upon some of the loving chastisement handed down to me by my dad and warmly smile, realizing that had he restrained himself in that discipline it would have been to my eventual detriment.
I could continue in honoring my pops, but suffice it to say, without Don Currin as my father I would certainly not be the pastor, husband, lover of Jesus, and man that I am today.