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I’m not sure I’ve ever known anyone who loved their pastor more than my wife loved hers. Joanne grew up as a member of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio where Buckner Fanning was her pastor. I learned a lesson early in our marriage, that led to a decision that, partially at least, shaped my ministry. I learned that Bucker was Joanne’s benchmark – every preacher would be measured by Buckner’s preaching. Then I made a decision – I was not Buckner Fanning. That led me to another decision. Since I spent most of my teen-age years listening to my pastor-father preach, I was trying to imitate him. I couldn’t do that either, so I decided if I couldn’t be Buckner or my Dad, I’d just be me. Sammy Davis, Jr. expressed it this way in a song– “Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong; Whether I find a place in this world or never belong; I gotta be me, I’ve gotta be me; What else can I be but what I am.” I came across this piece of advice attributed to College Basketball Coach Don Meyer – “Be what you is. Because, if you be what you ain’t, you ain’t what you is.” The Apostle Paul said it this way, “I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Once released from being someone else, you are free to be who God created you to be.

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