"He focused on Jesus!"
In the last article (see Igniting Revival Passion) I mentioned my father, Wayne Van Gelderen Sr. passed away twenty years ago March 9. Many kind comments were made both on the blog and Facebook. Some of the comments described the fruit of the Spirit manifested in my dad’s life. A man is simply a man, but when that man walks in dependence on the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit of Jesus is supernaturally manifested. This is the revived life.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23). The following anecdotes demonstrate these graces.
Once when my father still based in Chicago after he had become pastor emeritus, some of the family members gathered to have Thanksgiving dinner with him. He got up from the table and said he was going to visit someone who was in the hospital. This particular person had not always been the sweetest member. But my dad said, “It’s Thanksgiving Day, and he needs a visit.” I remember being touched by his love for people, even if they were not always loveable.
Dad loved the ministry. With joy overflowing he rejoiced in the privilege of serving God. As a son, I do not remember him being “down in the dumps.” He seemed to always have vision and excitement for what God could do.
One day when I was on staff with my father in the Chicago area, another staff member came into my office. He proceeded to enumerate in detail some of the perceived problems in the church. He commented that he thought the church was getting ready to fall apart. I said, “Well, you better go talk to my dad.” He said, “You’re right,” and went to my father’s office. After about thirty minutes he returned. He pointed out my dad was reading his mail. This was a terrible time to talk with my dad, since you wouldn’t get any eye contact—he was reading his mail. My staff friend said he detailed to my dad all the problems he had mentioned to me. Then he said that finally my dad put his letter opener down and looked up, and simply said, “That’s nothing!” and calmly went on to the next letter. So the staff member said to me, “I guess it’s not as bad as I thought.”
I remember one time my father said to me after he preached on a specific matter, “Well, they didn’t get it. But that’s alright. I’ll preach on it again in six months.” Probably the main way he demonstrated longsuffering was during the years of cancer my mother experienced during those Chicago-ministry years.
Years ago when I first came on staff with my dad, an incident had recently taken place. My dad had dealt with a particular issue. A deacon got quite upset about it and ended up spitting in my dad’s face. He then left the church and never returned. Dad showed me the letter he wrote the man. It went something like: “Dear Brother So-and so, I want you to know I have forgiven you and will always remember you as the sweet deacon you were for years in our church.”
Once while on a family vacation we met and spoke with a pastor in the area we were visiting. Upon discovering the man was in financial need, Dad pulled out a $100 bill and gave it to the man. Jesus went about doing good—and He still does through Spirit-filled believers.
When the need was too great to handle humanly, my dad rejoiced, because he knew it was an opportunity to see God work. He trusted God for the supernatural.
Mueller defined meekness as a real preference for God’s will. Often as events would turn in a surprising way, instead of getting upset, my dad would emphasize, “God may be doing something.”
Dad had convictions, but he never embraced an oppressive rigidity. He loved God and believed in separation from the world. But he dealt with it practically, not letting the standards ever become his focus. He focused on Jesus!
John Van Gelderen
About This Blog
Hello, I’m John Van Gelderen. I am an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. This blog is focused on experiencing Jesus. I believe in order to really live, you must access and experience the very life of Jesus Christ.