I’ve never watched the movie, but I have always been intrigued by the title. Over the past two weekends, I feel like I now understand what it means to go ‘back to the future’!
Last Sunday, MJ and I were speaking at a church in Cobourg, Ontario where, during my last year of Bible College training, I directed the Youth Program. I had no idea just how significant our return, thirty years later, would be. Included in the crowd were my brother and his wife, George Atkinson, president of Eastern Pentecostal Bible College during my days of ministerial training, Carl Verge, academic dean of the same college during the same period, and Wallace Johnson, the pastor who mentored me during my first six years of ministry in Oshawa, Ontario. The presence of some of these men was a reminder of a very difficult period in the life of my brother and me. It was the president and academic dean who announced to me, on November 22, 1979, that my parents had been tragically killed in a car accident. Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to publicly thank them, on behalf of Keith and I, for the way they handled a most difficult situation, and helped us plan a memorial service that will never be forgotten.
Then, yesterday, I spoke in Beresford, a bedroom community of Bathurst, New Brunswick. Bathurst was my birth place fifty one years ago (yes you read right, I am over the hill!). It was somewhat overwhelming to conduct a leadership seminar, in the place where I bounced in to the world as a 10 pound 6 ounce baby boy.
My time in Cobourg last weekend, gave me an opportunity to revisit a painful period in my life. It allowed me to realize that what had potential to sow bitterness, actually caused me to become a better person. Returning to Bathurst this weekend, reminded me that if I had chosen the path of bitterness during the painful periods of my life, there is a strong chance, I would have never had the privilege of pouring into the lives of church leaders from across Northern New Brunswick.
So, here is my interpretation of ‘back to the future’. Once and a while, it is good to revisit significant moments in your past, even painful ones. For many, going ‘back to the future’ becomes an incredible reminder of the God moments that have shaped their life into what it is today. Unfortunately, there are those who go back to the future and stay there, because of their inability to overcome the pain and bitterness of their past. I challenge you to turn potentially bitter moments into an opportunity to propel yourself into a preferred future.
Today I am writing this blog while flying (or should I say bouncing) back to Montreal in a little Dash 8. The last eight days will long be remembered as a trip ‘back to the future’ and, as it comes to an end, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing I would change in going ‘back to my future’.
My apologies to those who find my blog a little long today, but fifty one years of going ‘back to the future’ takes a little extra time!!!
Until next Monday…
Taking risks for Kingdom impact!
P.S. The man pictured with me, at the seminar on Saturday, is Bud Kaine, a long time friend of the family from Campbellton, N.B. – another ‘back to the future’ moment!