Looking back… and looking ahead… on my 72nd birthday

Reflecting back

I was privileged to have parents that considered my birth a “gift from God” and a divine stewardship! They formally offered me to God in dedication at our little church in Ronan, Montana before I was 8 days old. Their highest goal for my life was to see me serve the Lord, however and wherever He led me, through the years.

At 4 years of age I bowed my knees and invited Christ Jesus to be my Savior and Lord! Then I began my life of following Jesus by being baptized in water. A few years later I was “Baptized in the Holy Spirit” in our little Pentecostal church. At the age of 10 the Lord powerfully called me into the ministry in the prayer room at Glacier Bible Camp during a camping experience designed specifically for children (a “Kid’s Camp”). I said “Yes!” to God’s call that night and have never abandoned it – a call to teach and preach God’s word.

I drifted from my commitment in High School, but the Lord drew me back to Himself. A Christian high school teacher, Dean Shenaman, was powerfully used of the Lord to challenge me to read, study, and LOVE God’s word (and his challenge led to the most powerful personal “revival” I have ever experienced)! Later I met and married the most wonderful partner in ministry anyone could ever have, Sharon Barnett Bartel!

The rest is history… A wonderful family, rich and rewarding pastoral ministry, 35 years of service as a professor in a Christian University training thousands of leaders for Christian service, then serving the Assemblies of God (my denomination) as a national leader, and countless opportunities to invest in the lives of others and home and abroad personally, and in conferences and seminars.

Here’s my commitment after looking back on 72 years of life… “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may FINISH MY COURSE and THE MINISTRY that I received from the Lord Jesus!” (Acts 20:24) I just want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21, 23)

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