From Machinist to Minister?????

09 May

Even though I have not been a full-time paid Christian minister for some years now by choice, over the next few Fridays I would like to tell you of some of my experiences beginning with God calling me to preach the Gospel. Although the person I’m writing about is me, the subject is our great God and how He has led my life in a way that myself, nor any script writer ever would, or could. 

In 1974, I was a regular 22 year old guy already married with 2 young children. We were living like the average young bunch at the time. I was earning a living as a machinist at my dad’s automotive machine shop. One of my grandfathers, as well as my dad, had always owned and made their main living in the automobile engine rebuilding business. I followed in their footsteps starting at a very young age (5) sweeping the shop floors; eventually becoming a machinist and then running the shop. 

At the time, we were regular church members where I was involved in teaching a Sunday school class for older elementary school age children. Beyond that my life was a normal one.

There was a particular service in that year that I sensed God dealing with me to preach the Gospel. At first I thought I was mistaken and didn’t mention it to a soul. But the feeling continued as I prayed about it secretly to The Lord. I read my Bible regularly, but to preach a sermon to mature adult Christians had never entered my mind. Honestly, I felt like Moses must have. I suffered the thoughts of Moses in Exodus 4:10-12:

“But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

I heeded God’s call because I could not run from Him any longer. I didn’t want to end up like a Jonah. At the time of my surrender there were only a few weeks before the Fall courses were starting in preparation for future ministry. I quit my job, we packed the Uhaul truck and off we moved. We had enough money to move 2 States away, rent a small house, and maybe have an extra $100 left over. By faith we heeded God’s call.

Over the next 4 years I studied all of the “ologies”, English, Greek, hermeneutics, psychology, counseling, administration courses, homiletics, you get the idea. The least course hours per semester I took during these years was 18. My last semester I took 21 hours. I went to Summer school every year as well to study extra subjects that weren’t offered in the normal college curriculum. This was done so that I could be as best prepared as possible. 

All of this was done while supporting my family with a full-time 40 hour week as a machinist most of the time while there. God provided the strength and resources for this all to be able to occur. To fit the hours all in I worked the 11pm – 7am shift so I had the day free for the studies I was immersed in.

 Looking back, these years formed me into a large part of the man I am today. They may not have been easy, in fact they were far from it; but God taught me endurance, faith, trust, dependence, and dedication to Him. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. 

During the years of study God prepared me and removed the fears that initially I had. As with Moses The Lord God prepared the way for me. 

The date was July 1, 1979; a hot Summer night in Texas when I was ordained into the Gospel ministry. It was a night that I will hopefully never forget. The service was a special ordination ceremony. Hands were laid on me, special words of encouragement and exhortation were spoken by elders, prayers were prayed for God’s blessings and power to be in my life as a proclaimer of the Good News of Jesus Christ. A special Bible was presented to me at that time. I still retain this Bible in the original box that I’ve never used to keep as a reminder. 

Through these seemingly difficult years The Lord God  proved to me that He alone is the great Sustainer. When He calls, He also provides. My faith in Him was not questioned. My minute Red Sea experience proved God faithful. He provided for me to walk through it on dry ground in what appeared to be insurmountable circumstances. 

Our God is more than able. He is mighty. He provides for His own in ways we would never dream of. And I’m not speaking just of physical needs. 

I’ll continue on with some of the chain of events, Lord willing, next Friday

By His Grace alone,



Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Christianity, Faith, Religion


18 responses to “From Machinist to Minister?????

  1. atimetoshare

    May 9, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Isn’t it cool how God has a purpose for everything that happens in our lives? Great post!


    • Levi Thetford

      May 9, 2014 at 7:56 am

      Thanks. It’s exciting to wake up every morning just to see what He has in store. Have a nice day!!


  2. Sue C.

    May 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I had to be Jonah for a few of my lessons. Thank the Lord it was only for a “few of the lessons.” lol


    • Levi Thetford

      May 9, 2014 at 10:13 am

      We all have at times. Not so fun is it? Lol. I’m glad The Lord is patient and merciful. Be good Sue.


  3. tellthetruth1

    May 9, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Phew. This scares me. I’d love to ask a question about my last five years, but I’m too scared! God bless your faithfulness, Levi. Far from mine, as I’m still working things out, or trying to!


    • Levi Thetford

      May 9, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Don’t be afraid. And there is more to this story. Feel free to email me if you ever want or need to. Have a great day!!!


  4. windleg

    May 9, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Looking forward to reading more of your milestones with God!


    • Levi Thetford

      May 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Over the next 3-4 Fridays I’m planning on posting different phases. I’m glad you found it of some interest. Have a great day and weekend!!!!


  5. limbiley

    May 9, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Lovely simply lovely,
    Why am African Safari full of nature???
    Who knowns for a holiday??


    • Levi Thetford

      May 9, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Thanks man! I’m not sure what you mean about the African Safari? Let me know it sounds interesting.


  6. Julie Harris

    May 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Yes- He is more than able! Thank you for sharing some of your journey… it was a great encouragement to me today!


    • Levi Thetford

      May 9, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      I’m so glad it encouraged you some today. I hope your weekend is a pleasure! 🙂



    May 10, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Wow thank you for sharing this. Looking foward to hearing the story of how God worked in bringing you about to Gospel ministry!


  8. Ron Whited

    May 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Levi, our stories are so similar it’s scary! I plan to run a series of posts like this soon as well. Right now my computer is dying so I’m shopping for a new one today and using my phone to post this.
    May The Lord bless you greatly my Brother,


    • Levi Thetford

      May 10, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Blessings to you as well. I’ll be interested to see how ours correlate as the story widens. I’m not going to go into great detail on mine. I’m looking forward to yours very much!!!


  9. Elaine

    May 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Not sure how I missed this last week, but thankfully found it today! Great to learn more about you and how the Lord worked in your life. Never knew til now that you are an ordained Pastor! I like what you said about feeling like Moses, that you didn’t have the words to speak to preach. In z different way, I often feel that way, like giving a testimony in church or speaking publicly at all. Apparently the Lord has different ideas in mind! Last summer, he gave me the words and the strength to speak at my exhusband’s funeral and last evening I did a short presentation at a ladies group dinner, based on the blog post I wrote on Feb 14th, She Life Gives You Scraps. Did not have any faith in myself that I could do it, but the Lord took me through it step by step successfully! Praise the Lord!!!


    • Levi Thetford

      May 16, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      I know how you felt but that was 35 years ago. It didn’t take long and it was no problem. He gave me the words and courage to proclaim them. He’s always faithful to us. Thanks Elaine!!


      • Elaine

        May 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm

        You’re welcome! Yes He certainly is always faithful.



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