My heart is full tonight, thankful for the many good influences I’ve had in my life.
It is no understatement to say that Johnny Markham is one of the most important people in my life. I knew him first as my youth minister. Johnny moved to the College Street (Hills) Church of Christ in 1990 when I was in the 7th grade. Johnny loved Jesus, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tennessee Volunteers, which instantly made him cool in my book. And over the years, he’s only grown even cooler in my eyes. My respect for Johnny grew exponentially when I served as one of his youth ministry interns for a couple of summers while I was at Lipscomb. I learned that ministry is hard work, but the great ones (like Johnny) make it seem effortless. I patterned my own ministry after his, much like the many of the other young people Johnny has mentored through the years. But as much as I have cherished his role in my life as a wise counselor through my teen years and a professional mentor and colleague, I’m most proud to call Johnny my friend. His life of faith in God and faithfulness to his family and his calling continue to be a source of strength for me even today.
Tonight I had the joy of sharing some time with Johnny in our church’s Praise and Prayer gathering. We’ve been talking about marriages that are rooted and grounded in the love of God and Johnny shared wisdom and observations gleaned from 30 years of married life and ministry to families.
“Marriage is simple when you follow God’s plan. But simple doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Marriage is hard work. It requires energy and intentionality.”
“A healthy marriage requires intimacy without fear.”
“Selfish people cannot succeed in marriage because selfish people refuse to share. They won’t cooperate. They won’t communicate. Marriage is about sharing, becoming one, submitting, becoming servant, becoming submissive, becoming one.”
These are just a few of the wise words Johnny shared with us tonight. I’m so thankful for his influence in my life. Over 16 years ago, Sunny and I were honored to have Johnny officiate our wedding ceremony. We love every opportunity we have to spend time with him. Our only regret is that his wife, Vicki, couldn’t join us tonight. Thanks, Johnny, for sharing your heart with us tonight and for sharing your life with so many.