Monday, September 6, 2010
A Passion For Souls
This is Rev. Oscar Wagoner, the man whose ministry helped lead me to the Lord.
As I have said before, I have been privileged to meet so many wonderful ministers and their families during my years as a pastor's daughter. I have heard so many truly gifted speakers whose words would touch my heart and inspire me to move forward in my walk with God. Of course, to me, no one could speak quite like my Daddy. His rich, baritone voice seemed to bounce off the rafters as he ministered the gospel. His understanding of the Word of God always amazed me and, even to this day, I marvel at his grasp of the scriptures. He remains my first and foremost mentor.
There is, however, another minister who became so special to me, both as a young teenager and as an adult. Rev. Oscar Wagoner (pictured above) was my father's Assistant Pastor and our Youth Leader for many years. His faithfulness and devotion to the cause of Christ served as an inspiration to all of who knew him. His service and loyalty to my parents as he served in the church cannot ever be forgotten. I am reminded, as I write these words, of his unfailing love and support of the Body of Christ. What a great man he is.
When I first met Rev. Wagoner and his sweet wife, Brenda, I was only 14. He and his wife had not been married long and they had just had their first child---a lovely little girl named Joanna. He was gifted with an anointing that made his sermons come alive. Indeed, his preaching would, many times, bring the Bible so to life for me that I felt I was right there with the saints of Bible days. I hung on his every word and always looked forward to his preaching. He was, and is, one of the best ministers I have ever heard.
Though Rev. Wagoner was a fine speaker, it was his passion for souls that defined him. His obvious caring for the lost and his prayers for their salvation, permeated each altar call. His preaching was convicting, allowing the hearer to see the need for Christ in their life. But, oh, it was his desire to see each and every soul saved that propelled us to the altar of God. It was his rejoicing over each one's repentance that convinced us we had made the right choice. Many times I have seen him stay at the altar, in prayer with those who had given their lives to the Lord. He became someone we all looked up to.
Rev. and Sis. Oscar and Brenda Wagoner
Always by his side was Sis. Wagoner, "Bren" as we often heard him call her. Sis. Wagoner never failed in her support of her husband and his ministry. In addition, she played the piano and sang beautifully. When I was learning music, I had no one to help me until she came along. I had learned the chords by that time, but Sis Wagoner helped me put it all together. When "Bren" played the piano, her fingers barely seemed to touch the keyboard---she played so softly yet so beautifully. There were times when I would see her smile when she played and I knew she was enjoying herself immensely. I can still, in memory, hear her lovely music.
I recently received an email from Rev. Wagoner in which he asked me a few questions about my music. He then reminded me of a poem I had written for him years ago. Our youth group was honoring him and his work he had done for the youth of our church. I wrote the poem to show our gratitude for his teaching and for helping direct us in our walk with God. I was touched beyond measure to find that he still had a copy of it and still considered it "so beautiful". I could not hold back the tears as I thought about him still reading what I written.
I am so grateful for the great men and women of God who have come into my life. I have been so blessed to have been instructed, encouraged, and uplifted by so many voices. Though each of them have a place in my heart, Rev. and Sis. Wagoner hold the most tender spot. Hardly a day passes that I do not think of them. Always, I am thanking God for their patience, their teaching, and their caring for a young pastor's daughter who had trouble finding her way. Because of them, I am secure in my faith and my calling. Their influence upon my heart has never failed but, rather, has grown deeper with the passage of time.
Oscar and Brenda Wagoner, 2006
To say, "Thank you", seems so feeble in comparison to the love and support they have given to so many. Let me add "I am grateful", and that I think of them often. When I do, I remember a black-haired minister and his lovely wife. I remember his passion for souls and I remember that I am one he helped win to Christ. Thank you "Oscar and Bren", thank you from my heart. I love you both so very, very much.