An Old Evangelist and the Password to Dentrix®
August 18, 2020
by Steve Cartin, MDiv
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3, KJV).
It’s hard to guess how many annual revivals I have taken part in or led in 34 years of ministry. One stands out above all the others.
It’s impossible to count the dentists I’ve worked with in the U.S., United Kingdom and Ireland. God has blessed me to know some of His choicest servants in the course of the ministry of dentistry. One stands out who must remain nameless for reasons we shall see later.
The revival was September 1993 and it was my first full-time pastoral call. Thom Ranier would later mention Midway Baptist Church in his book, Effective Evangelistic Churches, as being among what he categorized as the Top 4% of Churches in America in regard to evangelism. Rev. Clift Brannon was 84 years of age when he and his wife drove their RV into our church parking lot eight miles outside of Dayton, Texas. He was there to lead us in a week of revival meetings. After we greeted him, the first thing he unpacked was a large banner with Jeremiah 33:3 printed on it. As requested, we hung it over the choir loft, and it became the theme of our revival. God indeed did great and mighty things in the life of a church where crisis had recently settled in and hope had faded.
The discovery of a faithful dentist who claimed that verse as well, came during a time of crisis. His practice was young and growing and situated in the middle of an agricultural economy. Virtually everything in the town and region flowed into or out of the agrarian market. But rains and resultant flooding had ravaged the area for months. As livestock and farmers bogged down in the normally productive earth, Dr. Dentrix, as we will call him, was sinking into a production bog of his own. When I asked for a password to sign into his software and pull some reports, he shared it one character at a time, unaware that it would mean anything to me: j – e – r – 3 – 3 – dot – 3. It was actually later that afternoon when I came back to sign in again that it occurred to me: Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” He did not know I was a bi-vocational pastor. I did not know he was a Christ follower. His password provided the connection we needed.
I have thought often about the old evangelist, that verse and the dentist who remembered it every time he signed into his software. To me, passwords are perhaps the most frustrating thing about the remote work we do for practices around the country. A password for Windows® here. A password for EagleSoft® there. Like you, we have more passwords than we have hours in the day to look them up. And I find also that those we serve are trying to find a password to what seems like their own unique situation.
Just tonight I had an email from a Fee-for-Service practice looking for the password to a team member issue that has moved into a litigious phase. A couple months ago another needed one to unlock an A/R situation which had been knotted up over the course of 14 years by a recently departed Office Manager. Some need to prevent work stoppages while team members are out to homeschool their children during the COVID-19 crisis. Regardless of any help we may provide, I know the real help comes from the Lord.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV 1984).
As in the crisis time of our small church…as in the crisis time in the practice surrounded by flooded farms and fields…as in whatever situation we face today, the old evangelist and a password to Dentrix remind me to call upon the Lord. What He has to show me exceeds my thoughts and imaginations. He waits to answer, and His answer exceeds my understanding—things I know not! It is His great joy to show them to me if I will just call unto Him.