Yesterday I was given an unbelievable honor. I was asked to speak at the funeral of the pastor who led me to the Lord. It was a privilege I didn’t take lightly. I prayed that God would help me capture with words what this man meant to me, and that He would give me the strength to read it. He answered my prayer and following is what I shared.
Anyone who knew Dick Milham was impacted by his love for the Lord, for people and for life itself. He was a faithful friend and made himself available to our family on countless occasions.
Our family started going to Powers Drive Baptist Church in the early 60‘s when I was only 4 years old. I don’t remember when Pastor Milham started leading our church, but I’m grateful God sent him to us.
The year was 1969. I was ten years old and sitting in the pew between my mom and dad as I did each and every Sunday. But this time when the familiar hymn began to play–
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
–my heart nudged me to go forward. I was afraid, so I asked my Dad to walk with me. When we got to the front, Pastor Milham met me and said he wanted to be sure I knew what I was doing and that there was no hurry. He asked if I could come to his office and discuss what this decision would mean for me? I said ok.
Just as I am, and waiting not To rid my soul of one dark blot; To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Over the next three weeks I went to his office while this dear man with a huge heart for young people explained the Gospel. He made it clear that this decision would change my life forever. And it did!
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; Sight, riches, healing of the mind; Yes, all I need, in Thee to find, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Once he knew I understood the decision I was making and what Christ had done for me, I accepted Jesus as my Savior and was baptized on December 21, 1969.
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
I’ve know many friends over the years who as adults were re-baptized because they said they didn’t understand what they were doing when they were young. Because of Pastor Milham’s kindness and patience with me I have never had that experience. I knew exactly what I was doing and it has been the foundation of my life to this day.
My sister, Bettie, shared this memory she had with me and said how it has helped her countless times throughout her life when facing trouble.
During a Sunday message Pastor Milham must have been going through some tough times and shared this analogy with the church: He got in a boat and rowed out into this big lake to have time alone with the Lord and maybe he could get some answers. As he was out there a big storm blew up all the sudden. As he saw the far shore line he started to get worried about getting back to shore, but noticed a piece of paper in the lake a few yards from him. He heard the Lord tell him to row for that paper, then there was another and then another and before he knew it he was back on shore. He realized then the lesson the Lord was teaching him, there may be something really big and almost unreachable in front of you but if you take it step by step or paper by paper and keep your eyes on the task you will get there.
Just as I am, though tossed about With many a conflict, many a doubt; Fightings within, and fears without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Pastor Milham was the real deal. He shared his life with all of us, and was there for all the moments when we needed him most. He came right away when my Dad was dying from brain cancer and sang by his bedside because my dad loved to hear him sing. There were no accolades, no audience’s applause, just my dad needing to be reminded of the truth of the Gospel.
Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Pastor Milham, you are now before the throne of God and your faith has been made sight. What a celebration must be taking place as all of those who were influenced by your life, faith and love, have welcomed you home.
I am forever grateful for the foundation of Truth you laid for me that I am still standing on today. I pray my life will influence others for God’s glory the way your’s has impacted mine.