I went to a memorial service on Saturday for my father’s best friend and pastor, Carlin Weinhauer. He was a remarkable man and a testimony of what God can do with a servant who puts Jesus first in all his words and deeds. He accomplished many, many things in his lifetime, but perhaps the most remarkable, was building up the people around him to build the Kingdom of God. He served people and often liked to say, “The way up is down.” He saw the potential in people and he was not afraid to go out on a limb and encourage the development of that potential.
My friend Norm Funk, the pastor of Westside Church in Vancouver, gave a tribute to Pastor Carlin at the memorial service. It was poignant and meaningful, filled with humour and love for a man he obviously loved in return. But most people there on Sunday didn’t understand that the remarkable thing about his tribute wasn’t in the words which were said, but in the fact that Norm was there speaking these words at all.
I met Norm at camp 30 years ago when he was a teenager and I was 20. I was a counsellor and he was the camp delivery driver. Everyone knew he was a gifted communicator, hilarious and a little crazy. We did many camp skits together which had the entire place roaring with laughter because of his impeccable timing and sense of humour. But if you had asked me then if I thought Norm would someday plant and pastor a vibrant and growing church in the heart of downtown Vancouver, I would have thought you were crazy. I couldn’t see it. Yet years later, at Willingdon Church, Norm was a crazy youth pastor and Pastor Carlin saw the potential in Norm and developed it. For a decade he prayed for him. And God blesses a life of prayer.
There are many days when I am dealing with difficult students that I think about Norm. And I think about Carlin who prayed for Norm and discipled him to live for Jesus. I can’t see the future. But God sees the potential in every child. I don’t know what will become of each student who walks through the doors at Abbotsford Christian School, but I do know that each one is made in God’s image and has the potential to do great things to build the kingdom of Christ on this earth. So let me encourage you to join with me today and pray for our students, especially the hard ones—that God will use us at ACS to see the potential and disciple them to live for God with their whole heart, mind, and soul. Because the way up is down.
These links are worth visiting:
Carlin’s Memorial Service – http://willingdon.org/carlinmemorial (Norm Funk: 48:40)