“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.”
Since my conversion, I have had a strong evangelistic and apologetical thrust to my ministry. My heart’s desire has been to be a faithful and able evangelist and defender of the faith (2 Corinthians 5:20-21; 1 Peter 3:15). To do this the best way possible meant getting trained and equipped. A good deal of my training came through my good friend and mentor, Dr. Phil Fernandes. Many years ago I decided to study all of Dr. Fernandes’ seminary-level lectures and public debates. I also read a few of his books. Years later I felt as though I had been on a long journey with this man, even though we had never met. Finally I reached out to him through email to tell him how much I appreciated his material and how helpful it had been. I told others about his valuable ministry also, and in 2007, we finally met in person and instantly struck up a friendship. It was he who mentored me through my graduate work that ended with me (who barely graduated high school!) earning a Master of Religion degree. My three expressions of gratitude and respect for Phil are the same three expressions of gratitude and respect that people show others all the time. Whether the objects of our gratitude and respect are sports athletes, movie stars, singers, or our favorite politicians, in every case we want to reach out to these people to let them know how impressed we are with them. What else is this but a sincere expression of gratitude for our opportunity to experience them displaying excellence in their field? Secondly, we become their greatest promoters. We wear their merchandise, play and share their music and videos, and can’t help but encourage others to do likewise. Lastly, we want more from them, a new teaching, a new song, a new record or new athletic achievement. These sincere expressions of gratitude and respect ought to follow the Christian’s confession of faith also. No one who knows Jesus in a saving way can be indifferent to Him. If He truly is our Lord and Savior, then our hearts will be overflowing with gratitude that will come to visible expression. We will desire to tell others about Him as well (Acts 4:20), and encourage them to experience His presence and providential care (Acts 3:19). Lastly, we will be continually before Him in prayer, seeking to know Him better (Psalm 27:4-8; 69:32; 70:4; 105:3-4; 119:2). May our own lives reflect outwardly, our inward gratitude and appreciation for Savior, for His glory and the good of those He loves.