My Man and His Ordination
Last week, after 3 years of intense seminary study and another year of ordination exam study, my incredibly hard-working husband, Danny Iverson, was ordained as an “official” Presbyterian Church of America pastor.
As he is now a fifth generation pastor (his dad, granddad, great-granddad, and great great granddad were all pastors), I would say that he was probably ordained to be a pastor, long before he “officially” became one.
And as I shared that evening during that powerful ordination service, he has truly lived as one long before the education and the thesis and those 8 hour ordination exams.
For those who have asked for a copy of this, I’m posting my words here….the ones I typed up prior to the ordination while my children ran crazy in the McDonald’s play place, so as to buy me some time to think straight. I’m no fool, you never let an emotional pregnant woman up in front of a microphone to talk about her husband, without having already written out, and already cried out, the thoughts and emotions that come with this monumental event….
Today, we look forward towards the ministry God is leading Danny into. Danny is being ordained to be a preacher and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But today, I want testify that far before his education, far before his correct answers for the ordination “grilling”, far before his memorization of the dates and events of the spreading of the Gospel in church history, he has been living that Gospel.I first became acquainted with Danny in college, where although five years ahead of me in his college education (yes, he managed to “cram” his undergrad degree into five years, not four), he had left a marked imprint on the life of the college ministry I was a part of. Every godly young man leading some element of Campus Crusade for Christ, could be traced back to Danny’s discipleship in the lives of his peers and younger students.Danny and I fell in love shortly after his move to Newark, NJ where he was helping his grandfather “love the hell” out of broken kids and individuals who had known nothing but the darkness of the “hood” their whole lives. It was here that he traded in his sports car (the one that he had used to give me and his younger sister rides in college) for a minivan so that he could give more street kids rides places. Not many 26 year olds I knew did stuff like that.He let the poor, broken and marginalized that he moved amongst (and eventually WE moved amongst as a married couple) break him, drive Him to Jesus, and reveal the dark and broken places of his own heart. Those first years of marriage, I witnessed him over and over move towards those who stole from us, used up all our time, and constantly needed something from us. He moved towards them not just with the Gospel message but with the Gospel lived out. He loved deeply, he loved radically, and He truly spent himself on behalf of the hungry and stood up for the needs of the oppressed, as Isaiah 58 speaks of.Then God called us to go to seminary to become better equipped. This was a very rough transition, for we were moved away from a ministry where we could find an identity in what we DID for the Kingdom, rather than resting in what the King has done for us. This breaking was so good, for we were freed up to find our identity in who were WERE in the Kingdom. Again, Danny did not just drown himself in books in the “ivory tower” of higher education, but started discipling some young teens whose father had recently passed away. He found younger students and poured his life into them. We had international students and Muslim young men live with us, and Danny loved them well, all while working three jobs, one of which was pastoring a small English speaking flock at a Korean church, taking a full load of classes, and being a supportive husband and loving father to our ever growing family. (you know, those three years didn’t just produce a masters degree but also two more Iversons) The Gospel was not just a Scripture or doctrine he studied, but a way of life he lived out. He pressed into the Savior and pressed into people’s lives, allowing them to taste the goodness of that Savior through him. He lived the GospelAnd now since we have lived here in GA, I have witnessed him love our neighbors (even when being betrayed by them), love the people God has brought into our lives, all while continuing to study for ordination and learn from Perimeter Church. And most poignantly, in the past 6 months I have witnessed him utterly pour himself out unconditionally for a very exhausted, moody, dysfunctional wife growing his fourth son and sixth child in her womb. I have watched him move towards the chaos of five kids who definitely sense that mommy is only half functioning. He has foregone “relaxation time”, personal schedules, and even some work events to come to the rescue of a de-energized mother of five very energetic children. And he moves towards those children and wife with the same loving, discipling, and Gospel-preaching spirit that he preaches from the pulpit. He lives the Gospel in our home.Although not perfect, this man is quick to confess sin, quick to repent at the foot of the cross and the foot of those sinned against, and he is quick to grasp hold of and stand upon this Gospel message for his own hope and security. So, although none of us are worthy to carry this sweet message of the Gospel into the lives of anyone, if there ever was a worthy man, this one is. He has tasted the sweetness of forgiveness, and the life-giving power of grace, and he is quick to not just proclaim it with his mouth, but to live it out with his very life.So as we embark on this next season of living for a Kingdom not our own, my only charge, Danny, would be to continue to live as you have lived. Continue to live a life of falling upon the grace of Jesus to save and empower. Continue to make your life, your gifts, and your abilities available to the Risen Lord Jesus, as He conducts His business and builds his Kingdom through an available vessel. Continue to live the Gospel, because it is the Savior we proclaim that empowers and sustains you. I love you, Danny, and thank you for truly living the Gospel to me every single day.