One Man's Journey
By Pastor Del Riemer
Most of you at SBC will remember Dean Martens. Dean is a larger than life figure with a loooong beard, bald head and booming voice who has attended for the past 5 years. Dean has lived life on a bumpy road in terms of marriage, finances and career, but his faith in Jesus has sustained him and kept him in pursuit of truth and purpose.
About 4 years ago, Dean started attending our Tuesday morning men's Bible Study group that meets at A&W weekly. With a rich background in scripture and faith (borne out of clear revelation from God while in the midst of cult and cultural influences), Dean has been a wonderful breath of fresh air (especially when he switched from cigarettes to puffing on a Vapour unit to quit smoking... which he has...), as he has added useful and relevant perspective to our Bible Study.
With many heavy issues weighing on his heart, and as a result of a spiritual truth discovered during one of our Bible Study times, Dean became interested in taking a year out of his life to attend Bible School and reset the God given default of his life. Dean and I travelled to Capernwray Harbour Bible School on Thetis Island this past Spring and sat at dining room tables with students, took in several classes and lectures along with discussing the potential of him attending this fall. The obstacles to Dean freeing himself from his business obligations, accommodation, financial responsibilities and relational challenges seemed insurmountable, but then again, if God plows the road, it is unmistakable. And so with the assistance of SBC's Beacon Initiative Seniors, Back Porch Gospel, the Tuesday morning men's Bible Study group and sponsorship from Capernwray Bible School, Dean left for his year of adventure on Thetis Island in September.
The adjustments for a very independent 54 year old moving into an environment with mostly 18-21 year old students is not an easy one. To eat from someone else's food menu, sleep in a strange bed, follow a strict time schedule, attend classes for the first time in over 35 years and absorb some 5 hours of lectures a day is no small adjustment! Yet Dean continues to place himself under the authority and accountability of the Bible College and truly, the Lord Himself. Dean is the campus painter on workdays, engages with young people from around the world, enjoys the amazing beauty of God's West Coast creation and pursues truth and life in lectures and study.
Many challenges lie ahead for Dean, both in terms of study, relationship, finances and future... But truly, he knows ever deeper the One who holds him, guides him and has a future and a hope for Dean in the months and years ahead.
Please uphold Dean in your prayers, that God would prepare and use him as a bold ambassador of resurrection life... For Christ's sake!
Note: After this blog post was submitted, but before it was published, Dean sent an email expressing thanks to the people of SBC. We have his permission to post it:
To whom ever is reading this, and if you are, you have a deep gratitude & thanks from myself for your obedience to the Spirits leading, it will not be with out effect, Lord willing and He is willing.
In just the 6 weeks since I've arrived,,my outlook, or definition of my walk with God ,has had to be rewritten in a lot of ways. At first it was difficult to believe I'd never heard a telling of the difference between 'me in Christ' and 'Christ in me', but they're quite distinct. I've read and studied the word of God for 35 years and have the "me in Christ" aspect fully understood, but now I'm having to revisit them all with the "Christ in me" reality. As I have shared with some, I've spent so many years surviving as a believer and experienced too little of the thriving aspect I've read about so so many times. Always asking myself what am I doing wrong, I knew there was more but I hadn't a clue so I kept fighting on. The Spirit has been confirming again and again in me that it wasn't so much what I was doing wrong but more a case that I need to cease and He needs to strive for me. This is a process that won't happen overnight to be sure but it's one that's begun and He always completes what ever good work He begins in us.
The gift/gifts that made it possible for me to be here have a two fold (that I'm aware of at the time of writing this) purpose. One is His provision and care for me. Second is, being 54 and out of school for 37 years, putting aside a marriage, business and known routine of life I've asked myself many times if I'm supposed to even be here when feelings of discouragement and being overwhelmed with the change and weight of what I'm learning hits me. I'm reminded by Him to look at His signature of confirmation on this in that only He could have arranged for me to even be here in the first place. He could have easily made it so I came up with the finances through work, but He knew I'd need an assurance that could only have come from Himself to settle the matter in my heart and mind. And there have been days I've relied solely on that fact.
So, thanks once again, from a tired old heart in the process of renewal. The Lords blessing upon you...
Your brother in Christ, Dean.