How do I choose just one person? Seriously?!? I've been so blessed with people who inspire me on a daily basis. One person, who I've never blogged about before who inspires me continually is my friend Scott. The picture on the left (stolen from my friend Stephanie) has Scott, at the top left and his brother-in-law Kevin beside him. In the front row is Becky, her niece Ella, and Stephanie (the source of the picture and Scott's sister).
Scott was my youth pastor when I was in high school and now is a really good "talking out deep concepts of theology, life, and ministry, friend". One thing that inspires me is the way he is constantly learning. When I ask him what he's been reading, he always has an aswer for me, and it's always a variety: Stephen King novels, Lord of the Rings, books about spiritual disciplines, deep theology, social justice, etc. He's just started seminary and before his full course load started he took an intensive Greek class that he passed with flying neon colors because he taught himself most of the course work using a text book he purchased from a friend. WHAT?!? That is crazy.
Another reason he inspires me is that he has a way of slowly, quietly, and kindly pouring love and care on people. I don't know how it happens, but those he encounters feels cared for and are drawnt to his kindness. They want to have dinner, play basketball, hang out with him because people truly experience the character of Christ while in his company. In Scott's office during the time he was my youth pastor, he had a plaque hanging up that said "Preach the gospel always, and when necessary use words." I've heard dozens of people quote that, but very few live it out. He does definitely. (He'd probably list the ways he fails to live up to that call, but don't we all fail a little bit in little ways?)
One way that his friendship has blessed me is that he has challenged me to learn but I never feel like he is condescending or lording his knowledge above me. When I was his intern, he'd give me a book to read, I would mark pages I had questions about, and then he'd ask me about my thoughts on the subject matter. Me, sitting in his office as a 21 year old theology student, felt listened to and not like he was internally correcting everything I said but that he actually valued it. As I've gotten older, I've also felt like he's allowed me to grow up. Some youth pastors I know always treat the students who were in their youth ministry like they are kids. But, Scott has allowed me to grow up and build a friendship with him outside of our experience in youth group.
He also has inspired me to be a truth teller, but to do so appropriately. While I was in high school he was so kind and supportive of difficulties with friends and family, but never said or gave me advice in any way that could be interpreted as being not honoring to my mom. When I graduated from high school, and especially the summer my brother graduated from high school, our family went through some trials, but even as I was devastated and lamenting, he told me the truth when it needed to be said but without condemning, judging, or being snide about people in my life.
I also admire him because he's confident in the person Christ has created him to be. He knows his gifts, he knows his passions, and he pursues them, because those are the ways God has knot him together. I also love that his wife, Becky, is one of my best friends. Even though I don't talk with Scott as much as I talk with Becky, I know that Becky appropriately relates things I tell her to Scott, so I can feel his support and encouragement through her.
So, in a rather large nutshell, that is my friend Scott, one of many people who inspire me :)