Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As He Is, So Are We In This World

To our good friend Bradley Brown, missionary to Nicaragua, on his 60th Birthday

At the Last Supper, Philip implored Jesus, “Show us the Father, and it’s sufficient for us.”

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you haven’t known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” 

You see, Jesus didn’t need to live among us for thirty-three long years in order to purchase our salvation.  He could have beaten a path to the cross, risen from the dead, and returned to His throne in considerably less time than all that.  But then, how would His disciples—and how would we—ever have known the incredible love of the Father Who sent Him?

What does this have to do with Brad Brown as we celebrate his 6oth birthday?

“As He is, so are we in this world,” John the Beloved tells us (I John 4:17, NKJV).  In fact, the entire chapter is about our Father God’s love for us, and how He longs, in turn, to extend that love through us to a lost and dying world. 

In the words of an old hymn: “Lord, lay some soul upon my heart, 

and love that soul through me.” Now, we all know it’s possible to engage in evangelistic outreach without feeling a thimbleful of love for the people we’re reaching out to.  Possible, yes, but not too awfully effective. 

On the other hand, when we become a broken spigot showering the lost—not with dry words, but with a demonstration of the Father’s soaking love—why, that makes a difference indeed!  But, oh, how difficult I find it, breaking through to that level of ministry.  I, for one, have a hard time “getting it.” 

But Brad gets it!  His ministry, more than any other I’ve seen, reflects Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “You might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, but I’ve been a father to you!” 

Thirty-five years ago, Brad Brown introduced my future wife, Janette, to her Savior.  But it didn’t stop there; he (along with his wife, Ruth) continued mentoring and fathering her till she was able to stand on her own without falling away.  I met Brad seven years later, and he’s always been a father to me when I needed one.

Time and again, I’ve seen him drawn to those who are wayward and fatherless, showing them the Father’s heart through action—not just words.  He’s not afraid of long-term commitment, for true fathering isn’t a hit-and-run business.  And you’re vulnerable. 

Brad’s heart has been broken more than once by those he’s cared for the most, and the longest.  Sometimes he’s felt like giving up.  (Don’t we all!?)  But he keeps on giving away.  As He (Jesus) is, so are we in this world.  As He showed the Father’s love, so we must do the same. 

Brad Brown, thank you for hanging in there.  Thank you for being an inspiration to us all.

-- Brad and Janette Fenichel

Visit Brad and Ruth Brown's website at www.FatherHeartMissions.com.

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