That Time I Met Bob Mumford
I grew up in one of the most privileged homes in the world.
Both my dad and mom love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength. They love each other and us kids the same way. My dad and mom are true saints. They are faithful believers. Therefore, I grew up with an overwhelming advantage – I knew love and was raised in love from my very first breath.
I know what a good dad looks like, acts like, hugs like, encourages like, laughs like…the list is longer than this book could contain. And even with such an amazing experience and understanding of what a good dad is, I spent much of my first 30 years, insecure, unsure, and in search of my Father. I have spent many years living in the crisis of identity…
“Remind me, who is Bob Mumford?” Dave asked.
“Bob Mumford is a man of God,” I said incredulously. “And He’s coming here!” I was excited. I don’t know if you have ever had the opportunity to meet one of your real life heroes, but if you have, you know what I was feeling.
It was my second year of Bible College; Bob Mumford had been invited to speak. He came for the aptly titled, “Week of Prayer” which was an entire week dedicated to, well, you guessed it, praying. Instead of class, we went to a service in the morning, one after lunch, and one in the evening. Over the course of the week, we prayed for pretty much everything a person can pray for. During the week the entire school grew in love with God and in vision for both our nation and our world.
“Week of Prayer” was good, which is important when every service is mandatory. “Week of Prayer” was also long. I spent most of my days in deep meditation. I was pretty good at finding a nice piece of floor. I would lie down on my stomach, rest my forehead on my Bible, and pray. Dave told me that sometimes I would get so deep in prayer that it almost looked and sounded like I was sleeping.
“If I can just carry his bags when he arrives at the airport I think it would make me holier,” I said. I wasn’t positive that’s how holiness worked, but it couldn’t hurt.
“Those must be some powerful bags,” Dave said sarcastically.
“You don’t get it,” I said. “This guy is just a step or three below the Trinity.”
Dave finally showed the proper respect. “I guess I’d carry his bags too, then.”
“Yeah, but I don’t think he’d let you,” I responded.
I had many heroes’ growing up; they were the typical 80’s fare; Superman, Indiana Jones, MacGyver. But because of my amazing God loving parents, I also had a few Christian heroes. They were my dad’s hero’s first, but my dad had incredible influence on his kids.
There was Keith Green, the radical singer/songwriter revolutionary. There was Phil Driscoll, the growling anointed trumpet genius, and then there was Bob Mumford.
Bob Mumford was a man of God. I knew this because my dad told me so. My dad was a man of God himself, this I knew first hand. So if anyone would know, it would be him. Bob is a gifted speaker, a storyteller with incredible revelation directly from heaven. But as a kid, more importantly, Bob was funny.
My dad said that Bob loved to make you laugh so he could punch you in the teeth without splitting your lip. As a kid, I wasn’t sure why Bob wanted to punch me in the teeth, but I loved to laugh, especially with my dad, and Bob did the trick.
When the day finally arrived, I was giddy as a schoolboy. Giddiness isn’t just for the girls you know. I remember when Bob walked onto the stage before the service started. He was laughing with one of our teachers. My heart ached within me and I prayed sincerely, “God if I could just carry that mans bags.” He wasn’t carrying any bags at that moment, but I was pretty sure God understood.
When Bob spoke it was incredible. We laughed hard, everyone. Bob was funny. Bob was also filled with revelation. The message was profound and beautiful; I got punched in the teeth. “My dad is right,” I thought, “Bob is a man of God.”
After the service, I really wanted to speak to Bob. I desperately wanted this man of God to lay his hands on my head and speak with the authority of heaven. I couldn’t explain it at the time but I was practically paralyzed with this need – to be seen, to be valued, to be considered righteous and good. Looking back, I realize that I ached to discover and be discovered by my Father; I was in crisis and at that moment I somehow thought Bob was the answer.
I thought about going up to Bob, but there were lots of important people around him. I stood on the fringe of the swarming crowd, scared, unsure and waiting for the hullabaloo to die down. But eventually, I had to go – literally.
I was standing at the urinal sick of heart when an older fella walked up to the urinal on my left. I looked over while strictly following urinal protocol – eye contact only – and there he was, Bob Mumford, peeing right beside me!
I was nervous. Bob Mumford is a man of God. But I knew it was my only chance. “Brother Mumford,” I said… for those wondering, the school I was attending used “Brother” and “Sister” instead of Mr. or Mrs. as the respectable prefix.
“Yes?” He said.
“I grew up listening to you preach,” I said.
“Really?” He smiled graciously.
I continued, “I sure appreciate the word you gave us.”
“Thank you” He replied.
I took care of my business and headed over to the sink. Slowly washing my hands, I waited for Bob to meet me at the sink.
“Are you a student?” Bob asked as he joined me.
“Yes,” I said, introducing myself, happy that he had seen me washing my hands. Maybe he would let me carry his bags. I told Bob a little of my history with the school. He actually knew my Grandmother. He was gracious and friendly but the interaction was over well before the ache in my heart was even touched.
“Well, it was nice to meet you, Jason. God bless you!” Bob smiled as he dried his hands with the paper towels. He was a magnificent hand drier. And then, well, the man of God walked out the bathroom door. Just like that, Bob was gone.
“You too brother Mumford!” I hollered, as the door closed behind him. I dried my hands and followed, disappointed and still unsure. I had wanted to ask him to pray for me. I had wanted him to give me some profound word from heaven. I had wanted him to see me and say, “I recognize the call of God on you. You are a world changer!” I had wanted to carry his bags. I had wanted to follow him around as he ministered. I had wanted his phone number and home address. I had wanted to be invited to his house for the holidays where he would tell me he would always keep a spare room ready for me. I had wanted us to become best friends, maybe go camping together. Yeah, I had wanted to sit around a campfire and tell God stories while roasting marshmallows for our graham crackers and chocolate. I had wanted to eat Smores with Bob Mumford…
What I wanted from Bob was impossible for Bob to give.
You see, I wanted him to tell me who I was. I wanted the crisis to be settled forever. I didn’t want to live paralyzed by fear anymore. I longed for someone to make me sure, someone to tell me I was my Fathers son, that I was a man of God, maybe even like Bob Mumford…
For more info on Bob Mumford and his ministry go to WWW.LIFECHANGERS.ORG For an amazing book on the Fathers Love check out Mumford’s, Agape Road.
Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.
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