About 35 years ago I met a young man at a church baseball game who had recently accepted Christ. My girlfriend beside me whispered (don’t you think Ken is kind of cute?). My response was something like, “Yeah, he’s OK”, trying to pretend I had not noticed. Later my father and pastor invited this young man to preach a youth revival at our church. When he walked in the first night in a vested pea green suit, my first thought was that he wasn’t going to go too far unless someone helped him out in the clothing department! Thus began my wardrobe ministry to the man I would marry a few years in the future.
Later, Ken and I attended the same college and he often gave me a ride home during breaks. It was an eight hour drive from Chattanooga, TN to Poplar Bluff, MO. On those long drives we talked about everything from politics to music to theology. I had struggled for some time with assurance of salvation. It was because of our discussions and Ken’s patience and scriptural knowledge that I finally came to realize that I could not earn (or keep) my salvation by my own efforts; I came to understand that my salvation did not depend on my own ability or goodness – but instead on the infinite ability and goodness of God. (John 10:28-29)
Since that time I have spent countless hours listening to my husband teach and preach. I have heard some of his sermon series multiple times and, strange as it may sound, I still laugh and cry at the same stories; still find myself encouraged or convicted at the conclusion. The primary reason for this, of course, is the Word itself – which he exposits verse by verse, book by book. Doing so, he says, will ensure that he preaches “the whole counsel of God” not simply his favorite verses or subjects. Secondly, Ken preaches today with the same passion and zeal he had as a 20 year old, only with the increased knowledge and wisdom that comes with growing in grace and walking with God through the journey of life.
God took a rough hewn hillbilly from the Missouri Ozarks and, because he was willing and obedient, gently whittled away on the rough edges of his character and abilities, making a multi-functional tool to serve His church and the Kingdom. The Lord brought him from the saw mill to the academy in order to use him in a larger way than would have been possible otherwise. My husband has never been satisfied with the status quo. He has always sought to run the race with excellence, pressing “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
I am honored and blessed that God united us in marriage and in ministry 31 years ago. My prayer is that we will be vessels fit and useful for HIS service, as long as he gives us breath.