11 November 2010

Keeping the Faith


Larry and Averie Alverson
Originally uploaded by bobmendo
Keeping the faith. The year was 2000. Ben Stiller, Edward Norton, A story about two friends, a priest and a rabbi, who fall in love with the same beauty (Jenna Elfman). Fun movie, funny gag lines, but not the best of movies. Apologies to Stuart Blumberg who wrote the movie.

Is that what I'm picturing here? A minister, a rabbi and a woman? Good try, but nope. This is Pastor Larry Alverson from Trinity Assembly of God church in Flint (Mount Morris) Michigan and his wife Averie, along with me, of course.

What's with "Keeping the Faith?" Back in 1971, I came to faith in Jesus, the Jewish messiah. And wanted both to keep the faith and pass it on. And I was able to pass it on to my Jewish family, to other friends, and work colleagues, and then in 1972 I was privileged to start a congregation in Lawrence, Kansas, along with some other fellows.

From his website, we read about Larry. "Pastor Larry was born into an army family in Olympia, WA. His dad, COL Bill Alverson, served in the Korean conflict and two tours of duty in Viet Nam. Army life meant a lot of moves. Pastor Larry went to 13 schools for his first 12 grades of school, living in several states and three years in Europe.

"Pastor Larry finished high school in Kansas and went on to the University of Kansas, where he majored in business. It was there that he met the two loves of his life. First was Averie, who also graduated from KU with a business degree, and then a year after they were married, Jesus Christ came into his life."

You see, it was 1972 when Averie met her friend, a cashier at the university student union book shop, Jeannie, who was a member of the church I started. The name, The Mustard Seed, was something I chose one day in prayer. We started small, like a seed, and hoped to grow. Who knew that Larry and Averie would be part of the growing tree?

So Jeannie led Averie to Christ early that summer and she understood 1 Peter 3 (a chapter in the Bible) to instruct her about keeping the faith, and that would help her (as yet) unbelieving husband to unpack the issues, to learn about Y'shua, and to find eternal life in Him. And that's just what happened.

A couple months later, Larry was born again on his way home from Topeka to Lawrence, and pulled off the highway to pray and ask Jesus to forgive him of his sins. God was more than willing to give Larry faith.

I baptized them both a short time later and they have continued in faith now 38 years on. And God is well honored. They have indeed kept the faith.

And they have passed it on for decades as well. Since 2002, they have ministered at Trinity AOG and I was privileged to preach there last weekend. Go to the Trinity website Trinity to hear or watch the sermon, and experience along with us the joy of finding friends from 38 years, and appreciate with me God's helping us to keep the faith until He returns.

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