Normally, as you work you way through elementary, junior high, and high school, you will find one or two teachers that make an impression in your life. Add 12 more years of higher education, and there should be a nice list of teachers who influenced you over the course of your school life. In High School it was Mr. Green, a no nonsense band teacher that demanded excellence. Mr. Green pushed and challenged me to become a better baritone player. But the one professor I remember the most was Howard Hendricks from Dallas Theological Seminary. It wasn’t so much the personal time that I had with him, but his style of teaching, his love of the students, his joy for the Scriptures, and his love of Jesus Christ that rubbed off on his students. He had a way of making the Bible come alive, and making Biblical truth practical and applicable- challenging seminary students to become men of God.
February of this year, “Prof” Hendricks went to be with the Lord. However, he will always be remembered by his short, pithy sayings, which many called “Prof-isms.” Here are a few:
- A belief is something you will argue about; a conviction is something you will die for.
- You can impress people at a distance; but you can impact them only up close.
- Biblically speaking, to hear and not to do, is not to hear at all.
- Experience is not the best teacher; evaluated experience is.
- The size of your God determines the size of everything.
- People tell me they want to make the Bible relevant. Nonsense. The Bible is already relevant; you’re the one that’s irrelevant.
- You cannot impart that which you do not possess.
- All people are born originals, but must die a copy.
- The measure of you as a leader is not what you do, but what others do, because of what you do.
- Your career is what you’re paid to do; your calling is what you’re made to do.
- You are able to do many things. Be sure you find the one thing you must do.
- The typical cycle of a Christian’s spiritual life today is characterized by an initial spasm or jolt, followed by chronic death.
- You don’t build a pig pen on a skyscraper foundation.
- My fear is not that you fail, but that you will succeed in doing the wrong thing.
“Prof” Hendricks basically lived what the apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” He demonstrated Jesus Christ and encouraged others to be Christlike as well! Biblical mentoring, coaching or discipleship is investing your life in Jesus Christ; then allowing Jesus to spill out of your life and impact others for Jesus Christ. Paul encouraged a young pastor named Timothy, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2) The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:1-2). Timothy’s goal, as a pastor, was to remember the things he learned from Paul, and then faithfully entrust them to other believers.
When Harry was a young boy in Louisiana, he was always getting into trouble. One morning while waiting for the school bus, he pushed the outhouse into the bayou and went off to school as if nothing had happened. When he returned home that afternoon, his father asked, “Did you push the outhouse into the bayou?" “Yes, father," said Harry, "Like George Washington, I cannot tell a lie." Harry's father took off his belt and said, "All right, son, bend over. I'm going to have to whip you." Harry explains that Mr. Washington didn't spank George when he admitted chopping down the cherry tree. "Yes, son," said Harry's father, "but George's father wasn't in the tree when he did it." Our lives, whether we are conscious of it or not, affect other people.
-Pastor Mike Kotrla