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Severe Gifts from a Loving Father

"Did you hear about Mike?” “No,” I said. “What happened?” When I arrived on Western Washington University’s campus in 1980, Mike Dittman was one of the most dynamic Christians I had ever met. He was several years older than I was, and already a leader in the college ministry I attended. Mike had everything: a charismatic personality, great athletic ability, a walk of integrity, great skill as a worship leader, and wisdom beyond his age. I often sought him out at lunchtime to talk, and was later thrilled to end up being in a small group that he led.

Following his time at Western, Mike served as a campus pastor, and then enrolled in graduate studies to become a counselor. He worked with a church for a number of years, until finally an “intervention” of sorts took place. Men that Mike respected and loved confronted him and said, “Mike, you’re very competent, a dynamic leader, and you inspire admiration and respect, but you’re too blunt. You hurt people with your words. You lack compassion and empathy.” . . . .

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Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas, Pastor, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Western Washington University in 1984. He studied under the Christian theologian J. I. Packer at Regent College in VancouverBritish Columbia, receiving a master's degree in 1988 in systematic theology. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, in 2006 in recognition of his contributions made in the field of spiritual formation. Thomas is a regular teaching pastor at Second Baptist Church Houston, the fourth-largest church in the United States in 2013, with over 21,000 in weekly attendance. Thomas is the author of 20 published books. His most notable works include Sacred MarriageSacred Pathways, and Authentic Faith.


COPYRIGHT: This publication is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.

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