Recently, I challenged you to write a legacy letter to your family. I want to share this short version of my legacy letter. I hope it will serve to challenge you to write your own personal legacy letter as a witness to your family.
I am so blessed to have been given each of you as a wonderful gift from the Lord. Across the years, you have heard me share my spiritual journey both in conversation and from the pulpit. But memories fade with time, so I am writing this letter as a lasting testimony for you and all who follow in our family. I want all of you to know my deep love for the Lord Jesus, and my fervent prayer is for every generation in the Jordan family who follows to know Him intimately and love Him passionately.
God is so good to me. I was born to Aden and Norma Jordan. Both of my parents were committed followers of Christ and my grandparents were followers of Christ also. My young years were spent on a farm near Skiatook. Gramps and Granny (S.J. and Ressie Fritz) lived on that farm, and they were like a second set of parents. Gramps was a preacher, and he was a giant in my life. Our family served in the local church. Dad taught Sunday School and Mom was the pianist and organist for worship.
I never remember a time that I did not love Jesus. He was real to me from an early age, and our family life was marked by comfortable and frequent times of Bible discussion, prayer and worship. We were in church every time the doors were open. But deep inside, I knew that loving Jesus and going to church was not enough. I knew I needed a personal relationship with Jesus through repentance and faith.
I came to know Christ during Sunday School at age nine when Mrs. Butler retold (because she had told it to us many times before) the story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. That particular morning, she said, “Boys and girls, someday I hope you will trust Jesus as your Savior.” I raised my hand and told her I wanted to trust Christ that very day. I did and the Lord Jesus forgave me of my sins and He came to live in my life. I was baptized by Gramps at First Baptist Church of Skiatook.
During my teen years, I stayed involved in church. It was during a week at Falls Creek when I was 14 years old that I felt the Lord calling me to give my life for full-time Christian service. Because I was very involved in music, I thought He was calling me to the music ministry. To this very day, I remember every moment of that experience of God’s call. It is a memory that has never faded! The God of Heaven called me!
During my junior year in high school, God gave me an awesome gift in your Mom. The band nerd got the cheerleader! After my freshman year in college, we got married. We moved to Pratt, Kansas, for a summer job in the oil field. We joined a mission church with attendance of 15-20 people who met in a refurbished garage. It was just a month after we were married that God renewed His call on my life and made it more specific. He called me to preach and pastor. When I told my bride of one month that God was calling me to full-time ministry, your mother told me she knew all along God was calling me. She has always been ahead of me!
Through college and seminary, Mom and I saw the good hand of the Lord upon us. He provided for our every need. He gave us wonderful churches to serve, and we saw many people come to faith in Christ. We enjoyed the favor of the Lord in so many ways.
But life has a way of giving us unexpected challenges. After 11 years of marriage, we were told by a doctor that we could not have children. That was one of the most painful experiences in our lives. Frankly, I fell into bitterness. It is hard to pastor a church and preach when you are bitter. Your Mom was the one God used to lance the boil of bitterness, and God was so gracious to forgive me. Please know, dear family, that our God is a forgiving and gracious God! He comes near to the broken and contrite in heart.
God did not leave our arms empty. Through adoption, He gave us Adrian and Alisha. There are no words to describe the fullness of our thanksgiving to God for giving us our children. I can assure you, no parent who has given birth could love children more than Mom and I love our children.
Through heartache, trials, tough and hard times, He has been with us. We have not walked through one dark moment alone. God has been with us. When the times have been good—by far the norm—God has been there. As followers of Christ, we have been able to face every circumstance of life with peace because He is there. When I have fallen, He has picked me up. I have had the joy of living in the ocean of His grace. I look back on the journey and stand amazed that God would allow a “nobody” from Skiatook to serve in such amazing places. To be a pastor and then lead the work of Oklahoma Baptists has been a remarkable life filled with challenges and blessings untold.
One day, someone will close the lid on my casket, plant me in the ground, and you all will go back to the church to eat potato salad and ham. But know this, your dad, grandad, is not dead. He is more alive the second of death than at any point in life. I will be in the presence of my Savior!
My deepest prayer for every generation of my family is that you will yield your heart and life to Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you will make Him Lord of your life. Take the Bible as your guide for life. Live for Jesus and your life will make a difference now and in eternity. I am so proud of this present generation (Adrian, Janae, Lydia and Alisha) as you serve Christ through vocational ministry.
I love you with a whole heart, and pray this letter will be a more precious treasure than any worldly goods I might leave you.