Impact and Influence are two very powerful words. Everyone has impacted or influenced someone. We may not want to admit or realize that we have had an influence on another person, but we all have! With that being said, everyone has been influenced or impacted by someone. That’s what I am meandering about today.
I want to tell you about some of the people that have either had an impact or an influence on my life.
First, let me tell you about my high school football coach, Walt Fiegel. He taught me to have self-respect and confidence (a little shout out to coach Hughes, my wrestling coach, for teaching me discipline). He would treat students as well as athletes with respect. Coach Fiegel encouraged every student to live a life of character. Here’s one of my favorite Fiegel quotes, “Go home and give your mom a hug and tell her you love her.” I could say more but let me end here by saying, “thank you, Coach, for impacting my life! I sure wish you were alive to thank in person.”
The second person I want to tell you about is my junior high youth minister, Kurt Olson. He forever influenced the music I like and showed me what a true faithful follower of Jesus looks like. I’ll tell you upfront that he called me out and confronted me on the lifestyle choices I was making and held me to higher standards, the standards that Jesus set for all of us. Again, I could say so much more, but let me end by saying, “thank you, Kurt, for showing the love of Jesus to a teenager that needed it, love ya, man!”
I’m going to pause for a moment to tell you why this is on my heart. In the last two months two people that have impacted my life passed away. On Christmas day, Bob Agee, the father of one of my closest friends passed away. Just last week Lorena Byrd passed away. Both influenced my life greatly. Bob & Lorena were alike in many ways. They both loved people, rich or poor. Often times you could find them helping people by teaching them or listening to them. I would love to have sat them down in the same room to meet one another. “Thank you, Bob and Lorena, for impacting my life!”
The third person I want to tell you about is my dad. Wow, where do I start? My dad is a strong man in many ways. I have a picture of my dad holding my brother and I over his head, one in each arm. He wasn’t very big when he did that but he had strength from working hard at Wilson Trailer for over forty years. He taught me to change the oil in my first car and required me to mow our yard and shovel our sidewalks. He loved my mom and would not put up with “us boys” giving her a hard time. Yet, it was evident that he loved us. I remember when my dad was baptized and he became a follower of Jesus, after that, he started reading the Bible to us around our kitchen table. “Dad, I love you! Your example and life of character have truly influenced me to be the man I am today.”
And then there is my wife, Laurie! Where do I start? We met our freshman year of college. We will celebrate our 37th year of marriage this May. What an amazing ride it’s been! Here are a few ways she has impacted my life…first, she said, “YES”, woohoo! Second, her love for Jesus has influenced me incredibly. Her discipline in studying the Bible is amazing, and she doesn’t just do it for knowledge, but to know Jesus better. She has shown me Jesus in every avenue of her life, as a wife, mother, sister, daughter and truly as my best friend. “Laurie, your impact on my life has had an amazing influence on who I am. I am a better father, husband, friend, and follower of Jesus because of you. Thank you, Laurie, for loving me as I am, my friend!
The most influential person to impact my life is Jesus! I am forever changed because of Him! I have learned to be humble and kind because of Jesus. I have learned to be strong and courageous because of Jesus. I have the capacity to love because of Jesus. My life forever changed the day I was baptized at camp Nebowa. But let me tell you this, I was not even close to being where I needed to be as a faithful follower of Jesus. That’s what I love about Jesus, He takes us where we are and helps us get to where we need to be…closer to God! I am nothing without Jesus Christ! He is everything to me. I pray that you are faithfully following Him, too. If not, let’s sit down and talk, over a coffee or a Coke. “Words can’t express how thankful I am to be following you, Jesus. Thanks for impacting my life forever, I love you, Jesus!”
Trying to make an impact for Jesus, Mike
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I have decided to start writing some of the things that meander around in my mind. So, if and when you choose to read these meanderings know that some are just that, meanderings. But sometimes it may be stuff that I’ve thought about in great depth. With that being said I pray these thoughts will inspire and encourage you on this great adventure called life!
Primghar Church of Christ