Foundations

 

 

Foundations are the structures we build the rest of our buildings upon.  As it relates to this article, what are the beginnings, the experiences, the life happenings that our local ministers have lived through that led them to be pastors or priests?  Finding out what those foundations are for the ministers of our community is the focus of this series of articles.

 

By Dale Fillmore

First Church of the Nazarene, Okmulgee

 

All of us have some things we are good at and others that we are not.  Josh Litwack, the priest at St. Anthony Catholic Church, says, “I was not very good at sports.”  Interestingly, that very fact was instrumental in him sensing the beginnings of God’s call on his life.  It happened like this.

Josh struck out.  Worse, he struck out in a T-Ball game.  “That’s kind of hard to do,” says Josh.  “After all, the ball is stationary - just sitting there.”  Thoroughly discouraged, he walked across the street to the catholic church to use the restroom.  There he encountered the priest doing some gardening. The priest was so gentle, sensitive, supportive, and encouraging that Josh found himself thinking, “I want to be like that someday.”  And that opened the door to God’s calling.

Later, when Josh was in high school, he started thinking about what the future might hold for him.  His childhood experience of encountering the kindly priest wasn’t his first or only contact with Christianity.  His parents were faithful attending church and Josh was deeply influenced by the teaching and training he received there.  His dad was a permanent deacon there.  Nor did his lack of athletic acumen mean he was not talented or capable.  He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, which is no easy feat to accomplish.

But in Josh’s words, “Discernment comes from listening to God for a long time.  I had been listening to God since, maybe, four years old.  However, for several years, I had kind of put God’s call on the back burner of my life.”

Even so, there did come a time when Josh sensed God speaking to him more intensely.  He went to a confirmation retreat as a junior in high school.  The Spirit of God was alive and active at that retreat and he truly sensed God calling him again.

Josh says that, “The more we know someone, the more we love that someone, and the more we love that someone, the more we want to please and obey that someone.  I heard God offering me a loving invitation.  Out of love, I responded and I obeyed.  Following God’s leading out of a response of love is best for us.  We become our best and we do our best.  We are all better when we listen and cooperate with God.  When I’m following God, I find joy, challenge, and confirmation in all I do.”

Josh has followed that call into several avenues of service.  Since 2013, he has served St. Anthony’s and our community as a priest who is living a “continuing response to a loving invitation.”

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