I have joked in the last few weeks about how this season of life has held a couple of things that were on my bucket list of things not to do before I die. The first was to not cry in public and the second was to not need counseling. In truth, I cry often when I talk about the blessings God has given Brandy and I in our children, and I have really appreciated the friendship and counsel of Jim Keller during a season that has been difficult for both of us. But this story isn’t about me; it is about Jim, my skydiving buddy (not true) and Kung Fu training partner (not true).
Jim and Renee, his wife of 36 years (true), have been attending Summit for a few years now, and he has become a trusted teacher here and a great First Impressions volunteer. In the immediate wake of Isaac’s resignation, Jim courageously agreed, with Renee’s support, to fill the teaching gap at Summit while we build our new teaching team.
And yes, it is true; I am now gladly going to Jim for counseling. I am doing this because I need it (it has been a tough couple of months!), I want to be a good example to our staff team, and I want to make sure that I am receiving accountability that will help protect me and my family.
So with all of my vast amounts of contact with Jim in the last two months, I have assembled this short list of facts (or speculations) that will help you get to know him as well as I have.
• Jim loves Jesus. • Jim does not eat as much food as I do, which makes it awkward if he is paying for dinner. • He has a long and varied history of wonderful ministry experience dating back to before he was married. • He can still dunk a basketball (speculation, but probably true). • He is a great counselor and teacher. • Jim is a real person. The man I have gotten to know as a friend and advisor is the same person I see on stage, teaching us the truth of Scripture. There is a trustworthy consistency in how he lives his life.
In these weeks that I have gotten to work closely with Jim, I have grown to really appreciate his character and humility, his love for Jesus, and his affection for this church. I have also gotten to see and hear the stories of how God is using his teaching to bring healing during a time of pain.
It is clear that God had Jim in place for such a time as this, and I will always be grateful for his obedience to a difficult call from God!