...So they will be called oaks of righteousness... Isaiah 61:3
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Meeting My Hero!

Friday, April 29, 2016

I recently met one of my heroes of the faith. Jerri and I attend a wonderful conference that feeds our spiritual souls. The conference is called Together for the Gospel, or "t4g". We absolutely love this conference. The only thing wrong with it is that it only meets every other year. Which means that we attend this conference knowing we need to "fill up" on spiritual truth. It is almost sad as the conference comes to an end. I know I will not have the "t4g" experience for another couple of years. So when one "t4g" conference ends we dutifully place the dates of the next one our calendar. I am already looking forward to "t4g" in April of 2018. And Lord willing we will be there ready to experience Him in a special way.

But this year I met one of the men who has taught me and blessed me for many years. I had the joy of briefly meeting John MacArthur. And the word briefly really is the way to describe our meeting.

Jerri and I were in the airport at Louisville waiting to catch our plan back to Tulsa. As we sat in the terminal, close to our gate, Jerri said these amazing words. When I heard these "golden words" my heart raced, my head quickly turned and almost immediately I was out of my chair. Jerri said, very calmly, I might add, "There's John MacArthur." Pastor MacArthur had taught at t4g. I was able to hear him teach as he addressed 10,000 of my closest friends. I turned in the direction Jerri was pointing. There he was. John, as I call him now, was walking toward the waiting area where we were seated. He had two young men with him. He was dressed casually and enjoying his conversation with the two men, who I think were pastors or at least seminary students. I saw him give a final greeting, hug them both, and then he started to walk away toward another area of the terminal.

But now was my chance. With the speed of Superman. And without saying anything to Jerri I jumped from my seat and sprinted toward MacArthur. I could not miss my opportunity. He was quickly going to get away. As he turned to walk away I loudly, like a teenage fan of a rock band, exclaimed, "Dr. MacArthur." At the sound of my voice "John" looked me in the eye. And there I was standing eye to eye with a man I consider to be one of the greatest Bible teachers of our time. I have been listening to John MacArthur teach for over 30 years. Much of my desire to study and teach expositionally came because God used John MacArthur in my life. 

Now I am finally going to get to the point of this entire blog. I put my hand out to shake hands with Pastor MacArthur. I quickly told him that I would not take much of his time. I just wanted to meet him and thank him for his faithful ministry over the years. As I expressed my thanks for him I was able to tell him I had been a pastor for over 45 years and much of that time he had been the one the Lord used to feed my soul so I could feed the souls of others. 

As I shared my few words of blessing with John MacArthur he was extremely gracious. I know he was going to catch a plane. I realize he was tired. I understand there are many who love John MacArthur and want to meet him. This would especially be true in the Louisville, Kentucky airport just following t4g. And yet he had time for me. He thanked me for stopping him. He told me how honored he was to meet me. (Are you kidding), John MacArthur, honored to meet me? He was just being gracious. I know that. But that is the point. He was being gracious. Isn't gracious what Christians are suppose to be. I truly enjoyed those few minutes with John MacArthur. Who am I kidding. It was only a few seconds.

After we shook hands one more time I turned to go sit down by Jerri. She was laughing at me. I had met my hero. And I was like a school boy who just shook hands with "Mickey Mantle". If you don't know who Mickey Mantle is you are too young. Google him!  But as Jerri laughed at me I said, "You know, he was just like you would think he would be. He was gracious. He was kind. He made me feel important." As I thought about those few seconds with John MacArthur the Lord ask me a question. Are you what everyone thinks you would be? When people experience you do they experience the fullness of the Spirit? That is what I actually experienced with Pastor MacArthur. He was full of the Spirit and therefore exhibited the fruit of the Spirit.

John MacArthur will never know what it meant for me to meet him. But even that short meeting challenged me. I asked the Lord today to let me be what people think I am. I pray that will be true for all of us who follow the Lord. May we be what others think we are.


Book of the Month

Each month Dr. Kersh will recommend a book for growing believers to read.  His purpose is not to endorse any particular ministries.  He is simply encouraging believers to be readers.

See this month's book here.