Great Days at Word of Life

post date: July 28, 2011

Ryan Williamson invited me to meet with these rising leaders.
I can still remember the first time I ever heard of Word of Life. During my student days at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, a man named Jack Wyrtzen came through town for a chapel service. I don’t remember what he said, but I do remember his electrifying impact.

That summer I ventured north with a group of friends from the school to serve as a counselor on Word of Life Island in Schroon Lake, New York. For a kid from the Deep South who knew nothing about life outside my little corner of the world, it was a transforming experience. At the time it was the most exciting thing I had ever done, mostly because I had nothing in my background that compared to it. We counseled kids from inner-city Baltimore and saw them come to Christ. I still remember the amazement of listening to Dr. John White teach through Nehemiah verse by verse. I met Dr. Ryrie and got to ask him a question about the Spirit-filled life. I saw Jack lead the weekly campfire service on the Island where campers dedicated their lives to the Lord. I never knew the Christian life could be so exciting.

That was the summer of 1972. Several decades later I started speaking at Word of Life Florida. About 12 years ago I started speaking at Word of Life in Schroon Lake. 

This week I’m speaking 14 times, which isn’t my record here. So far I’m 10 down, with 4 to go. Yesterday I ate breakfast with the young men in the picture. Ryan Williamson (standing to my left) spends time with these men who are rising leaders for Word of Life around the world. After I spoke at the Campground and Inn, Marlene had lunch with Betsi Calhoun and I had lunch with a pastor and his wife to talk about some challenges they face in their church. Then supper with George and Joan Theis and a late night get-together with Harry and Millie Bollback, Jimmy and Judy DeYoung, and John and Elizabeth Nelson. (At the get-together I had my first, somewhat shocking exposure to Limburger cheese. The other treats were delightful, including the pickled herring.) It’s more or less like that every day at Word of Life. You get up and start moving fast and don’t stop until you go to bed. 

This week I’ve been teaching on Miracles with a Message. Today it’s the Midnight Miracle (Luke 22:49-51), a little-known story with a powerful message about the dangers of retaliating when we are angry and hurt. 

Tomorrow we wrap up and on Saturday we head for home. On Sunday we head for Dallas to see Eli for the first time and to see Knox who just started walking. These are exciting, busy days, and as tired as we get sometimes, I don’t think we would have it any other way. 


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