John Dobbs had the great idea to blog about ministers who have influenced us in our faith. What a great way to give honor to whom honor is due and express gratitude to God and these godly men for their service in the Kingdom.
My sister wrote about our Dad HERE, so please read that, too. There are many I could write about but chose one in particular.
Mike Tanaro (sorry, Trent, for stealing your preacher/dad) had been at the Lone Oak Church of Christ for a couple of years before we began attending. God was working on me, a 15 year old, and I had just been learning/beginning to pay better attention during the assembly and actually listen to the sermon.
Mike made it easier.
He was animated, loud at times, he paced all over, even standing among the youth group when they were talking and misbehaving. We would occasionally have a “Preaching and Singing till Midnight” on a Friday night. Those nights he would pace the entire auditorium as he taught. I will always remember him preaching a series on the book of Romans that was easy to understand and fascinating. In fact, all his sermons were easy to follow and understand. It was as if he was just talking to you about the Bible and Jesus.
I remember one time he was talking about Moses or someone lying prostrate on the ground, so he suddenly dropped down on his stomache, in the middle of a sentence! That got everyone’s attention. He had a lot of great catchphrases, some were probably learned at Sunset from Richard Rogers and others but I will always associate them with Mike Tanaro.
- “We are saved to serve. We serve to save.”
- “You walk, He wipes” comparing God’s grace to windshield wipers and sin as rain drops, talking about 1 John 1, as he walked across the stage and simulated wipers with his arms.
- “Do what they did, get what they got” teaching on the first Christians and salvation
Two more things someone reminded me of: The regular “Bible checks.” And when he asked a question during a sermon, he expected a response, and would shake his head up and and down, and side to side as he said, “This means yes, this means no.”
Even though I went through two Christian colleges and learned a lot as an associate minister in Italy, I picked up a few things subconsciously from Mike, although I will never be as good of a preacher. I do pace occasionally and feel tied down when I don’t have a wireless microphone. I don’t tell lots of stories or use long illustrations, trying to keep things simple and straightforward. I wasn’t taught these things at Harding, but do them nonetheless.
God used Mike Tanaro at the right time in my life to create a love for the Word and preaching. Although most of his influence on me was from the pulpit, it certainly left a mark.