This first article is unusual because we just experienced the home-going of one of BJMBC’s founding fathers, Pastor Dennis Potts. The Lord commands us in Hebrews 13:7 to remember our leaders who spoke the word of God to us, to consider the outcome of their way of life, and to imitate their faith. God knows that we quickly forget those we no longer see, even our leaders. By forgetting and not considering their life example, we neglect a pattern that God intends to help us – a pattern that we have seen with our own eyes and of how the faith should be lived in this world. Remembering will help us to glorify our Father in heaven.
Since a person’s character and ways make him especially useful to God, I will focus on those personal details which displayed Pastor Potts’ character and ways.
The Lord uses someone with a passion to witness and see souls saved. Pastor Potts constantly grabbed opportunities to witness each day. What he loved the most was to seek souls for Christ. His favorite song for BJMBC’s Preachers Forum class was “Souls for Jesus.” Even after multiple system atrophy slurred his speech, affected his balance, and weakened his legs, he used his remaining strength to go out, meet people, have extended conversations, and talk about Jesus. The root of his passion for souls and witnessing was his passion for Christ and His cross. No one took the Lord’s supper more seriously and with greater sacred devotion than Pastor Potts. No wonder that his favorite song was “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
The Lord uses someone who also has strong biblical convictions. Pastor Potts preached hard against sin. He preached strong because he was convinced of the truth. According to the record in his Bible, he had read the Bible at least 33 times and the New Testament at least 40 times. Even more significantly, his Bible was marked on every page with underlines, many notes, lines connecting words, and sermon outline points. His convictions led him to speak out and take stands even when in the minority. For example, He strongly held to the qualification of purity for anyone going into the ministry. But he also loved to have fun, as long as it was holy fun.
The Lord uses someone who is kind and compassionate. Pastor Potts preached loudly in public but never raised his voice in private. When needed, he would visit at midnight or rush to the emergency room. He was the accountability partner for struggling members and gave load credit when a member ran out of load to text him. When a member had board exams, he would call him each day and pray with him over the phone. He would meet men in the church for coffee and pour out his heart to them. To those who wrongly left the church, he was gracious and kind, following Christ’s example who said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In discipline, he would try to package truth and mercy. But his genuine love also led him to do and say the difficult things, such as when a fellow-pastor needed rebuke.
Lastly, the Lord uses someone who faithfully, dependently, and believingly prays. One morning I made a surprise visit to his house and found him on the floor face down in earnest prayer for his family, church, souls, and friends around the world. His well-worn prayer cards guided his extended time of daily prayer. After reading Mark 11:23, he said that if it were needed to advance Christ’s work, God could pick up Taal volcano, remove it from Lake Taal, and cast it into the Pacific Ocean in answer to his prayer.
He now sees what he believed. His ears hear the heavenly voices praising the eternal King, his voice is joining with them, and his knees are once again strong to bend before the Lamb. Our lives will pass as quickly as his did. Let us see ourselves as lives in Christ and make choices for Him.