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I think about my dad a lot.  I miss him so much it aches.  But the most important thing he taught me was this.  There is only one way to live: all-out, go-for-broke, risk-taking enthusiasm for Christ.

He used to say, “Halfway Christianity is the most miserable existence of all.  Halfhearted Christians know enough about their sin to feel guilty, but they haven’t gone far enough with the Savior to become happy. Wholehearted Christianity is happy, and there is no other happiness.”

How did my dad get there and influence me to go there?  He really, really knew that God loved him and had completely forgiven all his sins at the cross of Jesus.  He did not wring his hands, wondering what God thought of him.  He believed the good news, his spirit soared and he could never do too much for Jesus.

I am thankful for what I saw in my dad.  It’s the most valuable thing anyone has ever given me.  I want everyone to have this treasure.

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4 thoughts on “The most important thing my dad taught me”

  1. chuck says:

    Great advice.. I always need to remember how much God lover ME!

  2. Shaun says:

    Ray, Praise God for your father, for you following him as he followed Jesus, and for sharing “this treasure” with us. Thank you for this reflection. It was just my prayer for my own life, my bride, and my own sons…”Let it be LORD, Amen.”

  3. Mike Malony says:

    Ray, your dad essentially led me to Christ in the first 30 days of hearing him preach at Lake Avenue. I was a USC student who grew up in Pasadena and had friend at Lake. I started attending Lake with sports teammates in fall 1977. I had been in church all my life, but I heard words like the ones you quote above. It was only then that I understood what a vibrant life was being offered by our savior. God bless your dad and his memory.

  4. gretchen horton says:

    I was broken and then born again under your dad’s preaching in 1974. How grateful I
    am all these years later. Am looking forward to a reunion in heaven.

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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