The Blog of Pastor Mike Wilkins

In The Long Run

"The long run" referred to in the title of this blog is, in the first place, the many years Mike Wilkins served as West London's solo pastor, and then its Senior Pastor, since he and his wife Deb moved to London (and this church) in 1984.

In these past few years (beginning November 2011,) Mike's various health challenges, particularly a serious and ongoing case of cancer, has added another layer to the "long run" metaphor, and lots to blog about. Mike is currently on an extended Sick Leave, but generally worships with the church family on Sunday mornings.

With the publication of a book he wrote in 2016 entitled "Glory in the Face" (now available electronically and in paperback from Amazon.ca, and other online venders), Mike has just launched a new website, which will serve as a sort of scrapbook for readers of the book, with relevant background photos, for example, of That Last Final Solo Canoe Trip in May, 2011, as well as additional information about the book, and--coming soon--a new set of blog posts, mostly about the peace of God and the joy of the Lord and the face of Christ and the strength to face anything. You'll find the new website now at www.gloryintheface.com.

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  • Aug4Tue

    While I could

    August 4, 2015

    Now that it’s August and I am officially “out of the pulpit,” I am feeling very grateful to God for providing the church that I love with such a competent and suitable preacher to take “my” place,” and so appreciative of Pastor Jude St.John for accepting the Elders’ invitation to do so.

    And besides grateful and appreciative, how am I feeling? (Just thought you might be wondering.) I’m feeling lots of things, of course, but I am glad to say that high on this list of feelings is “glad.” I mean, now that I am not able to be the church’s preacher, I am feeling glad that I was while I could.

    There’s a lesson in this, as I suspect you assume there would be. It’s a lesson I have had the opportunity to practice over these last three years as I have learned to adjust to being unable to do the things that for so long I have loved doing.

    Example #1.
    Three times in a row, I have recovered from surgery by first walking and then cycling and then running, with actually running as the goal of my physical recovery. Now that I am for the third year in a row once again back to it, I must admit to myself that I’m not actually running the way I have actually loved to: that is, morning after morning, putting in the miles required, week after week, month after month, to run respectably a long-distance race --and almost certainly never again will. When I said to myself in 2007, “No more marathons for me,” I didn’t mind a bit, but at the time I didn’t mean to give up all long-distance racing. Now that I am forced to do so, my consolation is that, for a long time — for four consecutive years beginning in 1979 — and then for 10 more years beginning in 1997 — while I could, I did.

    Example #2.
    Although earlier this year, I had a very good hope of a “Summer of 2015" canoe trip and managed to secure a very good reservation in Killarney Provincial Park (No small thing!), later this year I was forced to admit that my badly beaten-up body really wasn’t going to be up to it. When I (sadly) cancelled that very good reservation, I consoled myself by saying again, “Well, while I could, I did.” From 1992, when my son Ben had at last turned eight years old, to 2012, when Deb and I took what turned out to be our last canoe trip (of eighteen), I did, while I could.

    In these ways and in some others, my experience has continued to strengthen my convictions that this principle is of great value, and that practicing this principle on lesser things, such as running and canoe-tripping, has been a great help in applying it to more important things, such as fulfilling the work that God called and equipped me to do.

    Dozens and dozens of canoe trips. More than a dozen marathons. Hundreds and hundreds of sermons. I did what I could, while I could. That’s a lot to be glad about.

    Comment

    On Saturday, August 22, 2015, Kathy Till said:

    What an encouragement and inspiration to the rest of us to do what we can while we can. I for one plan to take up the challenge. May God continue to richly bless you as you continue to do what you can whilst you can. Kathy

     

    On Thursday, August 20, 2015, Paul & Vi Fawcett In Touch Ministries - Markham O said:

    Pastor Mike we first heard of you through the London Free Press Article "The Last Sermon". We were touched by your testimony and how God has and is using you through yourcancer ordeal. You have made it sound like such a great blessing instead of a tragedy. You don't know the timing of all this but bless you for practicing what you have preached for many years! May God continue to use your testimony for His Glory and the benefit of others. Your family are in our prayers. Love in Christ..we'll meet you in Heaven!

     

    On Thursday, August 13, 2015, Tom Tavani said:

    Dear Pastor Mike, We met only a few times at Compassion events but I want to tell you that your blogs have truly been a blessing to me and have kept me focused. Your courage, faithfulness and loving heart for people shines through you in Jesus' Name. Although times have changed in your life, THE LORD is still using you and I wanted you to know that Brother. Please say Hi to Deb.

     

    On Saturday, August 8, 2015, Steve Zub said:

    Mike & Deb...I thought I would take this opportunity to reconnect with you after many, many years. Colone Trudgeon, from our Cochrane Alliance Church & my men's discipleship group, gave me a copy of "The Last Sermon" article in the London Free Press. He is one of your admirers, grateful for the positive spiritual influence you have had on his life whenever he visited your church. It was also a pleasant surprise to read the Reimer & Penner posts which immediately took me back to our "Wynelle" days together...a long, long time ago. I will be following your blog now that I am aware of it. I will also read your blogs backwards when I can, to get caught up on your journey. Suffering, indeed, is part of life but the believer in the living God and the follower of Jesus filled with the Spirit of God takes suffering to a whole different level. One that emulates our Lord and Saviour. You are emulating Him well and not just you but Debbie as well, as your loving, supportive wife. And as I think of you both I will pray for you both. The Lord is with you. May He grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans and answer all your prayers. The Lord is with you.

     

    On Friday, August 7, 2015, Arnold and Frances Reimer said:

    Mike, it is "required of a steward that a man be found trustworthy (faithful)." Thank you for demonstrating that so very well to the glory of the One we serve. When the page must be turned we can still anticipate, "things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him." You and Debbie remain in our thoughts and prayers. The unlimited grace of God will cover whatever flagging strength is not up to. Rest and rejoice. Love, Arnold and Frances

     

     

    On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, Marv Penner said:

    Hey my brother - I continue to follow your journey with you - learning all I can from someone who is so thoughtfully documenting a path that each of us will need to undertake in our own unique way. Lois and I pray for you and Deb and your family often - our prayers always coloured by the fond memories of all those Bayview Glen years together. Thank you for allowing your life to be a living example for guys like me. Your baseball excursion the other day reminded me to savour every moment, to love my adult kids well and to feel OK about critiquing lame umpiring! Know that you are loved by a brother out here in BC. Blessings on the week ahead! Count on our love and prayers.

     

    On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, Deb said:

    Pastor Mike, I was, in fact, wondering how you were doing the past two Sunday's, one being your last official day and this past Sunday being official.

    You have pastored your church well, you have shepherded your flock well, you have served our Father well, you have been faithful to God's calling, many people are who they are today because of God speaking to them through your preaching. Well done, thy good and faithful servant Pastor Mike.

    God is still using you, you are still serving Him, God is still speaking to many people through your preaching, blogs, words, life and testimony.

    We are grateful for your faithful years of sound preaching. You will always be our Pastor Mike.

    Always praying for you and your family......

     

    On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, Katherine Quick said:

    Although my years of enjoying the blessing of your teaching ministry were far shorter than Shelley's, my heart sincerely echos her sentiments. In addition, now that our oldest is recently married, I find myself repeating to her the good and godly advice that you and Deb gave Alan and I in our first years of marriage. Please know that the scope of your ministry ranges farther than the walls of WLAC and continues to bless generation after generation of those to whom you have given so freely of your time and your gifts in the name of our Lord and Saviour. He really does do abundantly more than we could ask or think. We love you, Mike, and you and your family are continually in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

     

    On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, Shelley Ripley-Bulckaert said:

    Al and I are grateful for the hundreds of sermons we have heard in our years at WLA. When recently asked by one of our children about how we are doing (after she read the article about you in the Free Press) I responded, "We love Mike.... We miss his teaching, I miss his wise and godly counsel. But I am so thankful for the years that he has led us and taught us. Some of who I am and what I am has been formed 'at his feet.' We will miss him." Running and canoeing may be behind you, and your preaching may be "officially" over, but your work is far from finished. God continues to enable you and we are thankful that you continue to speak and to encourage us through your words and your example.

     

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