Dear Bill

Several days ago I had the honor of being in a room with a certain man.  A large room, mind you, but still the same room, thankyousokindly.  Our pastor begged invited him to come speak to us, the staff and spouses of LifeChurch.tv, at our annual event. And we…were…blessed. As my friend, Scott Williams, said, “It was like EF Hutton was here.  He talked, people listened.  Nobody wanted to miss anything.” Right he was. Bill Hybels is one of the most influential pastors and Christian leaders in the world.  So, it’s understandable that I found myself a little star struck when he came into the room and began eating the same food I was eating and breathing the same air I was inhaling. I know! I don’t know if the day will come when I get to visit with him face to face and can tell him how he influenced my husband and me, but if it does, here’s what I’ll say…
Dear Pastor Hybels, You don’t know me, but I was there that May evening in 1998 when you addressed us as church leaders at one of your conferences.  I heard your heart on how the local church is the hope of the world.  As tears streamed down your face, they also made their way down mine.  I listened as you talked about developing your volunteers and encouraging them.  I was blown away when you said, “You will never lock eyes with someone who doesn’t matter wholeheartedly to God.” I remember, Pastor.  I remember your words well. Since that time over ten years ago, we’ve seen some simply amazing things happen.  Teenagers who changed their lives around to follow hard after Christ.  Men and women who have been encouraged to go the long haul in their marriage despite the circumstances.  Seeing those far from God have an encounter with the Creator of the universe only to have their eternities changed forever.  But quite possibly the biggest transformation has been in us.  In our lives and therefore, in the lives of our sons.  We are different.  We are changed.  And we are forever grateful to you for sharing those words that cool May evening to a room full of wide-eyed dreamers. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Cindy Beall
Is there someone who has been instrumental in your spiritual growth?  I’d love to hear about him or her.

12 thoughts on “Dear Bill”

  1. How can I adequately write a tribute to the women who changed my life? Its not enough.

    Kay Zahasky — Thank you for taking the time to teach me and invest in me. Everything you said I soaked up like a sponge and it comes back to me when I need it. You opened my eyes to passion and to a bigger God than I ever knew.

    Kaylon Plugge — Thank you for helping me build a foundation. You made sense of the confusion and took the time to pray with me and show me how to do the same for others.

    Beth K — Thank you for being a prayer warrior and a woman of discernment. I am excited because I think our journey is just beginning…

  2. Hmmmm… sadly… not anyone that I’ve ever met or learned from directly.

    I love Beth Moore- her Bible studies often make my heart and spirit shout yes, yes, YES!

  3. Oh man…
    john piper, beth moore, jim avery, shawna nuthman, kim heinecke, tonya avery, jolene short, glenn short, casey short, carrie bertrand, jt witcher, cindy beall, amy groeschel, andrew murray, richard foster, brennan manning, becky tirabassi, paul, john, matthew, moses, mary, the samaritan woman, dinelle frankland,

    i’ll stop. you get the idea.

  4. rick howerton – he was our campus pastor during college and is now the small groups director at lifeway. a wonderful example as well as a true encourager in our life!

  5. Charles Stanley was my first experience at church as a new Christian. I watched him on tv and since he’s more mellow than some others, I took a shining to his approach. The biggest impact made on me honestly was by my senior pastor and the dean of our bible school. I’m always quoting them and I start crying everytime I think I’ve writing a letter like the one you wrote.

  6. My dad. Even though we haven’t always agreed.

    Chad Markley, Tiffany Rozek, Joey Rozek, Pam Markley, Davese GallaRini, Miles GallaRini, Mary Zollman, Rhonda Wozniak, Stacia Carlson, Eugene Peterson, Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Joey Boran, The Apostle Paul.

  7. Wow….there are many…some who WOULDN’T believe they’d make the list..like Regina and Ms. Clarke…and others who I’ll likely never meet, like Rob Bell….but one stands out…
    A crazy priest who is affectionately known as Father “Crunk,” Ricardo Bailey….being in the presence of a man so committed to the calling on his heart, has inspired me in more ways than I can convey…..and I’ve let him know too…
    even those spiritual giants need to know that we are different, and changed by the words of Christ that they challenge and inspire with….

    What a wonderful post Cindy….
    WOW…you made me tear up….


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