30 January 2009

The Shaping Power of an Example - Lessons from the Twito Family

His steely blue eyes and Christ-like compassion have haunted me for years. 
His family was my first exposure to "home-schooling" and, while most of my friends questioned them as Jesus-freaks, the beauty of the Twito family had the youth group at Our Savior's Lutheran captivated. Their life had weight and eternality. Being labeled was a small price to pay for the eternal weight of glory that would be revealed in them (Romans 8:18).

Roger Twito was my youth pastor and he and his wife Cathy took that role seriously. They never approached it like a stop on the way to something greater - it, like raising their family, was God's calling today.   This strong sense of God's calling led to a powerful integration of the Twito family and the Our Savior's youth group.  

As a foolish and double-minded teenager, I witnessed something precious. Roger and Cathy loved Jesus, they believed in his Sovereign control of the universe and they would do anything to exalt His name. Seeing children raised in that environment was pure grace.  I thank God for their influence because it finally caught up to me and became a ballast to my search for truth and meaning.

I distinctly remember his phone calls.
Roger (almost joyful in song): "Hello there, this is Roger Twito!"
My phone calls today (as a pastor - who would have thunk it?) are almost identical. Influence is a funny, often unrecognizable, thing. Roger's influence has penetrated everything from my salutations to my theology. I remember an abiding trust in God's Sovereignty was the wellspring of joy in Roger's life and, today, my straying heart finds an anchor in the same place. In the words of Jonathan Edwards, "absolute Sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God.

Thankfully, God has crossed our paths once again. 
From a distance, I again am witnessing something precious.  The foundation of this beautiful family has been shaken by remarkable circumstances and this not as punishment but to reveal a captivating quality that opens the door to Gospel proclamation (1 Peter 3:14-15).  I am thrilled to you introduce you to the Twito family.  May their influence increase to the glory of Jesus. 

To the George Baileys out there, I hope this is a reminder of Hebrews 6:10 - God is not unjust. Your faith-filled, God-entranced pursuit of things eternal is having its God-ordained effect.  Thank you Roger, Cathy, Caleb and the rest of the Twito family.  God is still building my faith through your example after 25 years.  

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