Posted in people, spiritual, Uncategorized

Influence

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These two.  I can honestly say that these two men were the most influential men in my growing up years.  On the right is my dad, Allen Keifer; on the left is my pastor, Eldon Martens.  These two began a life-long friendship in the early 70’s.  Together, they started Fundamental Baptist Church in Escondido, CA.  The church started in our house in October of 1973, and I’m told one of the Sunday School classes was held in my bedroom!

As I look at this picture (40 years later… gasp), I get a lump in my throat.  These men were consistent.  Consistent in their work ethic, consistent in their outreach, consistent in their ministry, consistent with their families.  When I think of faithful, these two are top of my list.

I think about all the years I sat under the ministry of Pastor Martens.  From the age of 3 I listened.  And I learned.  Parents, please don’t underestimate the influence sitting in “big church” has on your children.  I sat under the gospel and a few months before turning 5 years old, I understood the gospel: that Jesus died on the cross for my sins so that I could go to heaven when I died; and I bowed my head and accepted Jesus as my Savior while my mom sang in choir practice!

Pastor had a way of relating to people.  Even as a small child, I knew I could go up to him and talk to him and he would stop everything and listen.  I remember getting a Bible as a gift.  I wanted to show it to him.  He stopped what he was doing and prayed with me that the Bible would be important to me and that I would read it every day.

I remember so many Sunday nights when “the whole church” would congregate at our house for my mom’s pancakes.  (I’m not certain how many people that was, especially in the early days).  I’m thankful that my “culture” was my church.  I grew up in the culture of the church as family.  We kids of the church played together, fought together, sang together, went to school together.  Church was a major influence.  And why?  because my parents made it important.  They made sure I was influenced by godly people.  They made sure I was sitting under the preaching; and you know what?  they made sure I was behaving myself so that I would not be a distraction to anyone in the service who needed to hear the gospel (how’d they do that, you might ask… Well, it had to do with going outside and my mom’s shoe… and as my dad would say, maybe some “weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth”)

My dad was a man of faith.  He was a man who gave.  SO MUCH.  He was of those secret givers, secret influencers.  We didn’t know half of what he did until his funeral and people started talking about it.

In the early part of 2011, Pastor Martens passed away and in October of the same year, my dad went home to be with the Lord.  Our families just shook our heads and thought, “Of course.  Those two.  Always did tend to be in the same places at the same time.”  Somehow, it was just RIGHT.

Let me ask you this:  Who will be the most influential people in your childrens’ lives?  I hope my legacy is as powerful.  I hope yours is.

Posted in people, spiritual, Thoughts from the Word

My Mother

This morning I got up early to drive my mother to the airport.  Despite my admitted “home-sickness” for California, I opted to fly her out here on my vacation so the whole family (except our 2nd born who is still on the other side of the world) could enjoy her company and so she could see our new home and meet the latest great-grandchild.  We have had a lovely week together.

I know most of us can say this, but my mom is probably the most influential woman in my life.  She has taught me how to walk with God, how to study His Word, how to understand people, how to relate to the Holy Spirit, how to delegate, how to function in pain, how to sing, how to play the piano, how to laugh at myself.  She taught me how to be a wife, a mother, and now she is setting an example of how to be a widow.

My mother is a mother to far more than her own four children.  SO MANY women call her “Mom.”  She is 5’2″ of pure determination, and I love that about her.  She’ll be 79 on her next birthday but she acts far younger.  She is fiercely independent.  She is CAPABLE.  She is a seamstress, a teacher, a counselor, an accountant, a secretary.  (Did I mention she teaches 5 of her great grandchildren school?)  Sometimes she talks about driving across country by herself, and I shudder… but wouldn’t I want to do the same thing???

Proverbs 31:27-31 “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.  Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.  Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”