After years out of any type of service or ministry for God, I sit here wondering what qualities or credentials I possess that make me of any use or service to the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Is it the fact that a group of men asked me some questions about my calling and an organized religious group ordained me, and now I am called Reverend Arvie Bennett, Jr.? Is it the fact that I have a piece of paper displayed on my wall that says Master of Divinity? Or, is it the fact that I have served as a pastor of youth, children, young adults, and worship for nearly a decade? No, I do not believe any of those credentials listed above make me of any use to God. There was a time when those credentials would have meant everything to me, but over the past 5 years I have learned that credentials are not what God seeks in a servant. As stated, my credentials are of no use to God for they are simply titles and honors presented to me by man. As far as my personal qualities, I am, as Paul states in 1 Timothy 1:15, the chief of all sinners. Simply put, I am sinner saved by grace and I can only boast in the Cross of Christ. I have no other options…I have no other hope. It is His grace and His grace alone that qualifies me.
I have spent the past 5 years in a constant battle with God. Through this journey, I have found a new understanding of God and His grace through Jesus Christ. I have spent the last 2 years living the life of a working musician, performing 200 shows in any bar, restaurant, and casino that would let me play. I have gained the respect of fans and artists alike. Instead of thriving from this stardom, I developed the desperate need for something more than alcohol, money, women, and fame. I have experienced my heart’s demand for a renewed relationship with Jesus and when I finally listened to my heart, I found Jesus there waiting for me with open arms. Since then, I have been burdened for those people in the bars. God has inspired me to share my musical and speaking talents and the experiences in the bars with the Church in order to inspire my Christian brothers and sisters to rise up, reform, regroup, and reach a lost world for Jesus.
In addition to my recent time playing in The Arvie Jr. Band, God has granted me the privilege of experiencing great triumphs and great tragedies in my short life. I know what it is like to play baseball at the highest level and have known what it is like to lay motionless for weeks with a broken back. I know what it is like to be loved by my Grandparents and have known what it is like to be abused emotionally and physically by my Father. I know what it is like to feel the warmth of my wife’s touch and have known what it is like to feel the coldness of sexual abuse by a trusted babysitter. I know what it is like to preach boldly before hundreds and have known what it is like to be slandered to the point that I could not find two people who would listen to my words. I know what it is like to have a supportive and Godly wife and have known what it is like to be in a loveless marriage. I know what it is like to have peace of mind and have known what it is like to suffer from mental illness and clinical depression. In essence, I know what it is like to stand on the mountaintop and have known what it is like to walk through the darkest valley. It is my greatest hope that all of these experiences, both good and bad, will allow me to be a more effective tool for Jesus. I hope that through my willingness to share my joy and pain the world will be changed and God will be glorified.
In closing, it is painfully obvious that my credentials nor my personal qualities will ever earn me the right to serve the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Therefore, I must place my faith, hope, and trust completely in the “Grace Windfall” He has given me. That unexpected, unearned, unmerited, and sudden gain of God’s Love given to me through His Son Jesus Christ. I can rely on nothing more or nothing less than that. I hold to the belief that each and every person has a unique set of life experiences to share. Some people, like myself, have experienced life to the extremes and others have led more peaceful lives. No matter where you fit in the spectrum, God has given you a distinctive and beautiful story to share with the world. I believe God has called me to share my story and the message of this “Grace Windfall” with the world and to help equip the Church and each individual Christian to reach a lost world. I would love to share that vision with you and yours.
In His Love,
Arvie Bennett Jr.