By Lynn Winans, Pastor Christ’s Harvest Ministries.
Today I set before you “My Story”. It is only my story by God’s choice, His design, and His grace.
My Physical Birth, May 1941:
My forced entrance into the world took a co-operative effort of my mother, the Doctor, and the desire of this 9lb.15oz. Boy that was determined to escape.
An uncle in my teen age years referred to my birth and told me, “I was not a beauty”. I emerged very red, with forceps marks, with a nose spread over my face, and a mother who adjusted to the sight.
I was born into a farm home to a father that alcohol had a hold on until Jesus set him free.
A mother who understood her eldest as no other did. Mom, spoke to me softly, later confessed she knew I would drive nowhere and would only lead gently. Mother may have been smarter than me but more importantly she loved me and I knew it and I loved her. It was a fact she inter-ceded with me, for me, with God and others; until I was saved in October 1964.
The family expanded to include my younger brother, Lowell and a sister Lana that passed at 18 months.
The family included an aged unrelated Uncle Art who I still remember praying in the barn, in the box stall, in a loud outside voice.
My grandmother, Dad’s mother, lived with us also. I don’t remember her praying out loud. Yet! I believe her prayers kept me alive during my teens.
My Divine Invitation at 12 years old:
In grade school I stuttered so severely that I was sent to a special speech class. Yet! Beyond a doubt I knew if I surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ I would be a pastor.
My solution, I ran from the Divine Invitation from 12 to 24 years of age.
In the meantime I married my wife Ruth at 19, we had two daughters Toni and Terri, and we lived a very full, eventful, and non-traditional life. Our life at all time was interesting; we were partners in the adventure.
The Divine Invitation came again when I was 24:
The build up to the event;
- I had 24 hour gospel programing on my radio.
- Airplanes flying over the house sounded as if they were about to land in our bedroom.
- Lost control of the car, slid across an intersection, ended up in the median of a divided highway, in the water and rain, listening to air escape all four tires that were blown and all four wheels flattened, from running over the curb.
- The Holy Spirit was asking personal questions, “What kind of father was I? I didn’t know Jesus. How could I share with my children Him whom I didn’t know?
- Terri’s 2nd birthday, family and friends celebrated with us. Then we went to Church that evening.
- Ruth and I were saved. This was not an emotional event for me.
- We knelt at the altar. God asked me a question, the invitation was renewed, “Would I pastor?”
- I calmly contemplated the question.
- Yes! But do I have to tell anyone? He answered with a, No!
- I was saved. Something moved in me, Jesus had just moved in.
- I had just made Jesus Lord of my reservation, [fancy word for rebellion, i.e. sin]. I was free in Christ, one with Him!!!
My life had a dramatic turn [of Divine origin] in our late 20’s and 30’s:
Within weeks of conversion invitations to preach and teach arrived with no advertising on my part. The Lord handled all promotions.
- Local rescue mission invited us.
- Churches of different denominations called.
- Began to teach teens, then youth director, then adults.
- Signs and wonder, healing and deliverances happened regularly.
- Baptized in the Holy Ghost and spoke in other tongues and I didn’t know what had happened to me. I was not taught of this.
- The Lord had a willing participant and He was erecting a building of His design.
Mid to late 30’s into early 60’s many changes:
- Singers were added, week-ends increased, traveled parts of 5 states.
- Ministered full-time for 4 years.
- In my late 30’s returned to the business environment.
- Managed a retail plumbing, heating, electrical retail store.
- Then became the Manager of Business Services at Ferris State University.
- Retiring 23 years later at 62.
- During these years we taught, Bible Studies, ministered where and when we were invited. The Lord setting captives free.
- Contacted and traveled to other cities and places where there were needs that only Jesus could meet. He did!
Retired and wintered in Southern Alabama until the winter I was 68.
The Divine invitation re-instated: the same question I was asked at 12, 24, now I was asked again at 68. “Would I Pastor?”
Re-affirming the scripture, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance”, Rom. 11:29.
Gulf Shores, Alabama, January, early A.M., after prayer and Bible reading, I was waiting. The next event was for the sun to appear over the Gulf of Mexico. Three different mornings another noteworthy event happened.
Morning #1; I heard a question asked, it originated outside my right ear. The question asked, “Would I Pastor”? No response from me.
Morning #2; same time, same place, same question, “Would I Pastor?”
No response from me.
Morning #3; same time, same place, same question, “Would I Pastor?”
Now knowing the Church by an inner knowing, I had to respond.
My response was not a brilliant declaration of my intent. I’ll share with you my less than brilliant answer.
“Yes! But I will not do a thing to make it happen---I’ll move as doors open---and you do know it will take a miracle for this to happen, don’t you”?
Then I revealed less wisdom yet---I didn’t tell my wife of the question and answer series with the Lord---later I was to hear about my silence.
We came home mid-March, with-in two weeks I received a phone call,
The question was asked, “Had I ever considered pastoring”? The first door swung open.
I became Pastor of Christ Harvest Ministries in September. I was ordained and installed. I was 69 years old. This happened by God’s choice, His design, and His grace.
It is now 4+ years later, we are still following God’s design, and God has not changed the call, nor withdrew His invitation. It is still His ministry to promote.
“My Story” is still continuing, yet to be completed in this life. Yet, “My Story” will ever be ongoing in our life in Glory. Amen!