Dear Pastor Mark,
I remember the first time I heard you preach. Honestly, I didn’t like it.
I was a young Christian in college and my roommate kept raving about this preacher from Seattle with a fast-growing Church. He suggested that I listen to you, and he finally convinced me to give it a shot. I thought the content was good, but felt like you used too many jokes. It just was a turn off for me. I wasn’t used to that style.
But something in me wanted to give it a second chance. And boy, was I glad that I did.
I went to a secular University. As a fairly new Christian, the first year of college was a trying time in my faith. I just got baptized the previous month and felt strong starting the semester, but my passion would quickly fade as attacks from the enemy engulfed me in the first week. Living in the unisex dorms, the sexual temptations were massive. Marijuana and alcohol were offered to me almost on a daily basis. Add that to the fact I didn’t have a strong community of faith yet, and one could easily see that I was starting to drown.
I secretly wanted to backslide and indulge myself into sinful activities. I thought, “I’ll just do my own thing for four years, and come back to the Lord after college.” But the Lord had other plans.
The Jesus you preached in your sermons seemed way better than a life of sin. The Holy Spirit used you to open my eyes to the beauty of the gospel, and I began to see Jesus as the great Treasure of the Universe, not just some add-on to my life. Indeed, it was a thrilling revelation.
I remember reading, “A Book You’ll Actually Read on The Old Testament.” I was 20 years old. I think I read it on one sitting. Up to this point of life I hardly read any books, but this book opened my eyes to not only the necessity of reading, but the beauty of it, and propelled me to become an avid-reader. I think I have read almost 100 books since.
What else can I say?
- You introduced me to the New Calvinism theology, something I am extremely passionate about.
- You introduced me to Christ-centered preaching.
- You introduced me to missional living, and showed me that all Christians are missionaries.
- You introduced me to biblical masculinity and what it means to be a godly man.
- You introduced me to the Church — and how we all should love, cherish, and serve the Bride.
And the list goes on and on.
I don’t know what to believe when I read stuff online. I’m not sure how many people you’ve hurt — or helped. I’m not sure what your salary is. I don’t know what your private life is like. I don’t know how you treat your family. I don’t know what you did with the money of Mars Hill. I don’t know what you plan on doing next. There’s a lot of things I don’t know, but there is one thing that I do know: Your ministry helped save and sustain me during the most difficult time of my life. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
I’m sure you are unlikely to read this, but I felt like I needed to write it. I wanted to write something positive about you amid all the negative that is going around — which is a lot, and probably more than you deserve.
Blessings in the gospel,
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