Since becoming a Christian in 1980, it would be impossible to name all those who have influenced me. However, I do want to name and acknowledge the more prominent ones. I am grateful to each one, and any good in my life is a result of the time and deposit these dear ones bestowed upon me. Some are widely known, others are known to few…all are known to God.
Susanne Shepherd Ivy – My lovely wife, who was my first convert, but quickly demonstrated a living example of a Proverbs 31 woman. She is my best friend and the love of my life. Also, through my suffering with cancer treatment, she demonstrated what “in sickness and in health” really means.
Joshua, Joseph and Joel (Our 3 Grown Boys) – They have taught me more about the Father’s Love for His children than they’ll ever know.
My Mom – My Mom, Yvonne, who since becoming a Christian, has demonstrated what a woman of prayer is. She is a living example of “camel knees,” which I had only read about before seeing them on her.
My Dad – My Dad, James, who grew up very poor, but has always demonstrated, especially since coming to Christ, what a cheerful giver looks like. Also, for instilling in me the honor of hard work.
Andrew Murray – His writings arrested my heart to know that the Spirit Filled Life had to do with surrender to God in humility, and not in gifts.
Francis Schaeffer – Whose writings gripped my heart with the demonstration of how truth could be spoken in love, and that a Christian Worldview is the only coherent model.
D. L. Moody – His autobiography was the first I read. His passion for souls still stirs my heart to this day.
John Wesley – His desire for true holiness and establishing small group communities is the paradigm which is as fresh today as it was then. His tireless work to further the kingdom of God to ‘all’ men.
Charles Hodge – His systematic theology taught and compelled my heart into the truth that theology can be alive and refreshing.
Leonard Ravenhill – Had the honor of sitting next to him at a conference and seeing and hearing first hand the heart of a man totally given to prayer.
The Word of God – I know, this one is obvious. But the teachings and instructions of Scriptures trump all the other influences. After salvation, I immediately fell in love with God’s Word, and that love burns brighter day by day. I discovered the freedom, confidence and safety to glean from other sources because Scriptures provided the final standard of absolute truth and the sure testing ground for all instruction.
I could go on forever with the likes of Hudson Taylor, Watchman Nee, Roland Allen, Praying Hyde, Paul Barnett, David Wilkerson, A.W. Tozer, Milton Green, Judson Cornwall, E. M. Bounds, John Foxe, Charles Spurgeon, Charles G. Finney, D. A. Carson, J. P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantinga, Francis Asbury, Peter Cartwright, Ravi Zacharias and others who have influenced me in various ways.
I’m indebted to these and many more. Heaven is certainly going to be a celebration!