My wife and I were asked to host Mr. Oakland at our house as our church was small and could not afford to put him up at a hotel. We had an extra room and no kids at the time, so we were qualified. We were very young and very excited that we were going to host a celebrity at our home. The deal was that we were to pick Mr. Oakland up at the airport and bring him to our home for the night, transport him to the church the next day, and take him home between services to feed and entertain him.
The scene at the airport was my wife and I, who looked like we were auditioning for parts in a heavy metal music video, stars in our eyes, excitedly waiting to meet Roger Oakland. We made a little sign with his name on it, like we had seen in the movies and thought we were very sophisticated. I still feel sorry for Mr. Oakland over this, he came off the plane dragging a carry on bag behind him and he looked absolutely exhausted, I mean really worn out, as if he had been travelling for months(which I think he had). Mr. Oakland saw us standing there with our little Roger Oakland sign, and me wearing torn up jeans, a t-shirt, long hair and earring, and I swear the look on his face was "can this get any worse?" We were overjoyed to see him and expected him to be thrilled to meet us as we bombarded him with questions, "how are you, how was your flight, are you hungry, would you like to go eat somewhere...?" The only response Mr. Oakland gave was "is it far from here," meaning our house. As I said, he was very travel weary.
Unfortunately, it did get worse for Mr. Oakland, he ended up in our guest room on a roll a way bed with a sorry mattress. I think he may have been expecting a hotel or at least a real bed. The next day, my wife prepared a nice Italian (of course) meal for after church. Mr. Oakland and I sat and watched football as my wife cooked. As I tried to engage Mr. Oakland in conversation, I could tell that I was beginning to irritate him. I stopped asking questions and we both fell asleep watching the game. There I was, in my living room, napping in front of the TV with a world famous author!
I have gained the utmost respect for Mr. Oakland through exposure to his materials. Recently, I was watching a documentary on creation science and Mr. Oakland was one of the featured scholars in the film. I commented to my kids about how much he had changed in 20 years. They were most impressed that he had actually spent a night in our home, I must say. Their excitement reminded me of the excitement my wife and I experienced so long ago when we first met Mr. Oakland. I do not believe Mr. Oakland would even remember us, and if he did, I am sure his memory of his trip to Sunrise Florida would be less than favorable, but it was a major event for us at the time.
One important lesson I learned from my experience with Roger Oakland, was that God uses real people to do His work. Mr. Oakland is what I would consider an Ivy League Scholar, yet he was willing to sit in my home and watch football, to indulge my youthful excitement and sit and enjoy a home cooked meal at my table. He never imposed or demanded anything, he was very gracious and very down to earth. He is also a man of conviction, as he, nor we, are, any longer, part of the church that brought us together so many years ago. We both left, we locally and he at a more national level, due to spiritual issues. I commend him for that as well, as I am sure his involvement was very lucrative and very helpful to his ministry. Mr. Oakland put God first.
Many times, as believers, we compromise our convictions because it is easier than rocking the boat or calling out sin. I encourage believers to demand that our Christian leaders behave according to scripture, I suggest you check out I Timothy as a great resource for what God requires of the the church, it's leaders and members. The church has lost much of it's power today because we have let sin into the camp and refuse to confront it. The church is here to influence the world for Christ, unfortunately, the world has influenced the church to the point where we have become marginalized and ignored by secular society.
I challenge you to study I Timothy and see how you measure up, do not be afraid to look into that mirror and allow God to show you what needs to be fixed. Revival in the church starts with me and and it starts with you. Real people who love God, people who refuse to accept mediocrity and compromise. Lets be light and salt together and watch God change the world around us!
Oh, by the way, Mr. Oakland, if somehow, you ever read this, thank you sir for being a positive influence on my walk with God and ... sorry, you know, for the whole Sunrise Florida thing, and if we ever did get the chance to host you again, we will do much better, I promise.