My Spiritual Heritage, part 1.

I believe that “where we come from” is important. The more we learn about our own heritage or the heritage of others, the better we understand them and can love them. This is true for both our physical heritage and our spiritual heritage. 

Here is part of my spiritual heritage. 

It is not so much about when my spiritual heritage began but one of the most important people I have met along the way.

This is my friend Lewie Clark.

We spent the week together in Spain recently serving a group of overseas missionaries. He is on the list of “Top 5 Most Important People in My Spiritual Life” outside of my family. We met in the fall of 1996 shortly after I moved to Little Rock, Ar. At the time he was serving on the advisory board for the ministry where I had just begun working. I had moved to Little Rock to work with one of my other “Top 5”, Tim. More about Tim on another day.

I will never forget that first encounter with Lewie.  I was brand new to ministry and clueless. Tim and I were sitting in a meeting with the advisory board.  I just sat and listened the entire time.  At some point this guy starts asking a bunch of questions that were really intense and thought provoking. He questioned everything.  It was not  in a mean spirited way but in a way that made you wonder if he could see through you. I honestly didn’t know what to think. 

While Tim and I were headed back to our office, I asked something like, “What is up with the guy who asked all those questions?  I’m not sure I like him.”  Tim just said, “We just need to grab lunch with him.” So shortly after that we met somewhere for lunch and by the time the lunch was over our 27 year friendship had begun.

What I learned over time is that there is one driving force in his life that is still true today. He lives to make disciples of Jesus.  It is that simple. He lives this out through the example he sets and the relational investment he makes into people’s lives. There are literally hundreds of people all over the world, living for Christ because of Lewie’s investment in them.

And he made time for me.

There are so many stories I could write about that we have experienced in friendship and ministry together.  More than experiences though are the things he has told me and shown me over the years that communicate something that I know to be true about Lewie. Before I tell you “what I know to be true”, here is a very short list of things from my friendship with Lewie that are seared into my heart.

  1. The time he walked up to me and said, “I spent a couple of hours praying for you this morning…”  I think it was in 2001. That is a long time for someone to pray for me! I was speechless and wondered if I had done something wrong!
  2. The time we met for coffee and he opened up a notebook and said something like, “I have five things I want to say to you and 8 questions I want to ask you.”  Everything about that took me off guard.  The fact that he spent time thinking that much about me blew my mind. 
  3. Him going to bat for me on multiple occasions when I have had some risky, crazy ministry idea. I have had plenty of those (college ministry in a bar, starting a ministry in an apartment complex, moving my family to Boston to start a church) and he fought for me as much as he could to get others behind me.
  4. Hearing him say many times, “If anyone can do this, you can.” 
  5. The message I received recently after sharing with him several things I’ve been discouraged about, “I love you Doug Hunt.”  
  6. He always listens.  He never tries to gloss over things or just “fix” them. He listens.

I talk to Lewie on the phone for about an hour every Thursday and every time I hang up the phone, I am encouraged.

So here is what I know to be true about Lewie. What he has shown me in our friendship is simple but also profound. For 27 years he has shown me John 15:13 in real life (go look it up). I know for a fact that I am not the only person who feels this way. But, I know without a doubt that Lewie Clark believes in me. He started believing in me back in 1996 and still does today. Even at 53 years old, that is a powerful reality in my life. 

He is a good friend and God keeps using him in  my life….and he still asks questions that make me think he can see right through me…

Lewie is part of my spiritual heritage, my spiritual family and I am grateful.  

Jordan, summer 2022. left to right: James (my son), Emily (my daughter), Jonyo, and Lewie. He really challenged me to give my teenagers an experience out of the country, so we went to the Middle East…

LEFT: Probably in 1997. His arm was in a sling from a hard fall while barefoot waterskiing.

RIGHT: 2002. He and I walking near UMASS Boston.

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