Tim Lee to speak at Mobberly Baptist Church during Patriotic celebration
POSTED: Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 8:49am
UPDATED: Friday, July 4, 2014 - 2:37pm
Longview, Texas (KETK) — For one Mobberly Baptist Church member, a link to the guest speaker at this Sunday’s Patriotic Celebration at Mobberly goes well beyond a common military background and what seems like a cruel coincidence.
Truthfully, evangelist Tim Lee and John P. Keith, Jr., the Mobberly member from White Oak, have never met. They’ve never had a conversation. There are no photos of the two together posted on the Internet or sitting in a dusty old box in the attic.
But make no mistake, there is a bond between the two, and that bond exists for the most important of reasons.
Twelve years ago, Keith gave his life to Christ after hearing Lee speak about Christ’s love.
“His testimony was so moving to me,” Keith said. “The way God worked in his life, I said, ‘I kind of want that in mine. I’m missing that in my life.’ So, I gave my life to Christ that day.”
Lee is a retired U.S. Marine who served a tour of duty in Vietnam. In March, 1971, with less than 30 days before his tour was scheduled to end, he stepped on a land mine. The resulting 13 major operations that followed would result in the amputation of both legs.
“God had taken the legs that carried me from His will,” said Lee, who admittedly lived a life far from God as a teenager. “My running had finally ended.”
Lee surrendered his life to God and the ministry, and four decades later, he continues to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Keith heard Lee’s message of hope in 2002. At the time, Keith was an active member of the U.S. Army, and the common military background undoubtedly helped him connect with the decorated veteran on stage preaching God’s Word.
By 2004, Keith was in Iraq, serving as a combat medical specialist. That Nov. 9, while in a convoy responding to an injured soldier, the door of Keith’s vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, severely injuring Keith. He would be placed in a medically-induced coma, waking up 17 days later at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
When Keith was awake and alert, he and his doctors were forced to make a decision – one very similar to those decisions Lee's doctors were forced to make 33 years earlier. Soon after, Keith's left leg was amputated.
During his recovery period, Keith often thought of Lee.
“Whenever I got down, I kept thinking about how positive Tim Lee was,” Keith said. “It kind of made me know that I’m not the only person going through this. Even though I was surrounded by people that were going through it, I still felt alone. Just to know that God works miracles – I just wanted to be there and see that and have that in my life. That helped me get through those hard parts.”
Keith continued serving in the Army until retiring in 2013. He and his wife, Pam, recently joined the church’s choir and he is looking forward to singing in Sunday’s Patriotic Celebration.
“The patriotic theme means a lot to me because I love this country and I love what I did,” Keith said. “I love the patriotic theme. It makes me feel good. It makes my heart feel good.”
Keith also knows that community members won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear Lee speak.
“Our church body needs to hear this message from Tim Lee because he has a positive message of how God can work in your life,” Keith said. “Even though you have a dark time in your life, there is always a positive that can come out of it with the love of Jesus. It means a lot to me, going through what I went through, to have him here to share with everyone the message I heard. Everybody can get a positive message out of this sermon.
“This is a message that needs to be heard; a message of the love and power of Jesus Christ.”
Mobberly’s Worship ministry will perform patriotic worship songs during all three services (8:15 a.m.; 9:30 a.m.; 11 a.m.) held in the church’s Worship Center on the Longview campus this Sunday.
Lee will speak live in all three services, and his message will also be delivered to Mobberly’s two services (9:30 a.m.; 11 a.m.) at The Crossing on the Longview campus and to its Marshall campus at the Marshall Convention Center at 11 a.m. More information is available