Thursday, May 28, 2009

For Clete

I've had a lot of thoughts and not much time to write lately, so I'll be attempting to get some more meaty posts on here soon.

Today, my mind is on Clete Sipes. This blog is Happy Harper Stories, and this is another story, about another person who shaped my life.

Shortly after I turned eighteen on Easter Sunday, I "joined" the church and was baptized. Through my years going to church, I saw a lot of disgenuine people who talked about God on Sunday, but I never saw it lived out loud, so when I finally did, it was a major commitment and decision.

I became a believer as a child. When - I cannot say because I asked Jesus into my heart numerous times. I remember asking as a youngster if I could be baptized, but at the time, I was told I was too young, so Sunday after Sunday, at every invitation to accept Jesus, I prayed the sinner's prayer. When you are in the present, you can hardly see God working, but looking back, I can see how He held me in His hands in safety so many times.

So I was eighteen, and I had finally obeyed God and followed my belief in Him by telling the rest of the world and getting baptized. I had defended God before that point in time, but following Him in obedience was definitely a turning point in my walk with Him.

Almost two months later, I graduated high school, and after the summer, I started to college at Auburn University. I was determined to do the right thing and not fall astray during college so I immediately got involved with the Baptist Campus Ministry. That's where I met Clete. He was the campus minister, and I had no idea that he would shape my life so much. It's funny because it is not as though I spent a lot of time with him one on one, but he believed in discipling college students, so that they would in turn go out and disciple others. I went to TNT - Tuesday Nights Together where we had the best worship music I had ever heard in my life (at the time) and a speaker. Then I went to Freshman Insight bible study on Thursday nights. It is amazing how much time I had to play around back then. Yes, I studied, but I did whatever fun bible study activity I could - yeah, for you guys who really played in college, I was (and still am) a Jesus freak, and I don't care either. My insight leader was Brooke, and she married Joey, in the summer that year, who was also an Insight leader.

As I mentioned earlier, Clete was a discipler, so at the end of freshman year, I decided to join a discipleship group, and Brooke was my discipleship leader. What is discipleship you ask? It is where a mature believer teaches a less mature believer how to grow in the ways of Christ, and it is done in a very small intimate group of 2 or 3. Due to Clete and my own experience, I believe it is the single most important thing one can do after a person receives Christ. I learned how to spend time with God every day reading His word, praying, spending time with other Christians, and reaching out to nonbelievers too. More than anyone I had ever known, Clete encouraged me to be what God wanted me to be. It's as if he could see Jesus's potential in me, which I certainly could not see. And even though I was socially awkward and was not necessarily popular, he believed in me.

Ugh! Those days haunt me - life with Christ sure has its ups and downs. When I did summer missions, I received opposition from what I thought would be the least likely place. I was very naive about my family life, and I could not believe mom and dad did not totally support me to follow God. And when I went to NY the summer after my sophmore year, I was under the impression they did. I went on to lead a discipleship group, and senior year, little ole quiet me became the first ever evangelism leader for the BCM at the time - I wonder if they still have that position. I'm not sure I did much, but I sure have had a heart for people who do not know Him. Little did I know that after such an awesome time growing and seeing and even hearing God's voice, I would go into a spiritual valley.

Clete believed in his students. He loved God, and he taught his students how to in turn grow and become missionaries for him, spreading the truth throughout the world. I wonder just how many lives he alone helped change. Most of the students there from my class went on to full time ministry, seminary training, served as missionaries overseas, etc. He got sick while I was dating Daniel, and I believed he passed away shortly after we were married. One of the things we learned from MasterLife, the discipleship material we used then, was that believers can be grown exponentially through discipleship. If you invest in 2 lives in a year, and teach them to do the same, then you could potentially change over a million lives in 20 years. And not just a little bit, but the kind of change that lasts for a lifetime. Amazing isn't it?

I have not discipled every year that I have been out of college, not even close. And the lives I've changed? I hope I have been used in some way every year, but man, I sure do want to be like Clete, investing in lives and causing life change around the world.

What about you? Who has influenced you the most for Christ?

1 comment:

  1. Jamie - You are so right! I, too was disipled by Clete from '88-'92. What an awesome man of God he was. I did not know that he had passed away. I often think about the time I spent at AU and especially with the BCM. God used some great people to teach me about discipleship too. Thanks for sharing you memories!


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