Last Tuesday I listened to the awesomest octogenarian I know, Mel Sumrall. A late comer to the doing Christianity (aka active Christianity) he spoke for nearly two hours, telling us his life story (with a few interruptions from the collegiate pastor). Born before the great depression, fought in WWII, worked as a supervisor in a large steel mill until his life fell apart. His baby girl died before he made it to the hospital.
He spiraled down for a year and a half before God brought him a man he’d call his first true discipler. He soon decided at 48 God wanted him to get a degree & he chose to attend Dallas Theological Seminary and at 52 he was at that time the oldest graduate. He has since then planted churches around the globe one of them here in Denton in 1976 before a young gun named Tommy Nelson, disenchanted with his current Methodist pastor, joined along side. Mel and his wife have travelled the globe together, starting churches, training pastors, helpmates, & eager learners seeking God around the globe. He has learned what it meant to go out and make disciples, the great commission.
He praised his ‘slick chick’ who has always supported & walked along side him, his beautiful wife Patty.
We ended the evening in praise to God with Mel’s favorite song:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.