Nancy Noller- Every week there are people who come alongside to encourage, uplift, and direct my thoughts spiritually. People are a wonderful gift the Lord gives to us. Hebrews 10:24, 25 tells us “…consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds…encouraging one another…” I am so grateful for fellow believers.
There is one High School teacher in particular that had a great spiritual impact on my life. As I struggled greatly with various issues of life, Mrs. Janice Denney came alongside to continually encourage me to allow the Lord to be the One to lift me above any circumstance I might be under. She consistently cared, prayed and encouraged me. The Lord used Mrs. Denney to teach me that His choices for my life are best, not my own wants and desires. She taught me to embrace what He brings along, be it joy or sorrow, a smooth path or a rough one. He will provide!
Over the years I had lost contact with Mrs. Denney but her words often came back to me encouraging me onward. Just recently, I had the joy of reconnecting with her and she continues, once again, to encourage me beyond my own inadequacies! Praise the Lord for people like Mrs. Denney who allow Him to work through them.
Pastor Jon– Throughout my life there have been many whom the Lord has used to have a positive impact on my spiritual growth. I can think of Sunday School teachers like Mrs. Elledge. Stand in grandparents like Mrs. Halberg. College professors like Mr. Kimbrough, seminary professors like Dr. Mike Canham, and grandparents like Grandpa Craig. I thank the Lord for the impact that each of these had in a variety of ways.
Next to my parents though, there has been no greater influence on my growth and maturity in Christ than that of a man by the name of Charles Wiechmann (week-man). My first memory of Charles was when I was about five years old. He was a teenager then and working at a Ross store. We went in to do some shopping and he was vacuuming floors. I recognized him as someone I had seen at church. Now let’s fast forward about 9 years. We left that church when I was 7 and then returned when I was 14 and a freshman in High-school. Charles had since been married (and was now the manager of his own Ross store!!) and he and his wife were the JH youth leaders. Over the next two years I watched Charles, interacted with him at combined youth activities and church work days, and respected him as one of the leaders of our church. In the spring of 1995 the Lord saw fit to merge my life and Charles life in a way that would impact me greatly. Charles had resigned from the manager position at Ross and was hired by my dad to work with us on an all-night job painting the General Mills plant in Martinez. After this job, Charles began to work with us full time. He and I worked together every day for the next three years and for thousands of hours over the following thirteen years. We worked together, served in our church together, worked at camps together, ministered to teens together, prayed together, worked through life trials together, served on boards together and argued theology with each other! Through Charles’ words and through his example in living I learned much about the love of Christ, the importance of the Word and how to apply that Word to life situations. While Charles never sat down with me and did a formal study through a book of the Bible or walked me through a systematic theology the Lord used him greatly to be an example and testimony of a life lived by grace. Almost no day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for the impact that Charles has and continues to have in my life. Thank you Charles, for your service to the Lord and to many young men like myself. Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens Iron so sharpens one man another”
Charles and his wife are now the lay youth leaders at Orchard Avenue Baptist Church in Vacaville and both continue to faithfully disciple many young people.
Just as the Lord used Charles in my life He can use you and me in the life of others. It does not have to be in a formal Bible study setting or as a program of our church. The Lord uses us as we intentionally seek to live by grace and invest ourselves in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Who has done this in your life? Have you thanked them lately? I think I will give Charles a call today!