The Christian View magazine  
A ministry of Christian journalism...always truth and good news
Shining the Light of Christ
Matthew 5:16

Reflections: Hero of the Faith

Written by Karen Brewer, Publisher

It is always good to honor and pay respect to heroes of the faith when they pass from this life, yet it is also proper to honor and pay respect to heroes of the faith while they are still with us, to let them know that we appreciate them and their service for the kingdom of God. These great Christian friends, Tommy and Linda Bowden, are a wonderful, godly couple and great witnesses with their lives for the Lord Jesus Christ.

On Sunday, February 25, 2001, I heard Tommy share his Christian faith at a local church. That church, Gap Hill Church of God in Six Mile, had sent to The Pickens Sentinel, the newspaper where I served as Editor, a press release inviting anyone to come and hear Clemson Tigers Head Football Coach Tommy Bowden speak. I wondered why a football coach would be speaking at a church, and I went and wrote a story for the newspaper.

I almost didn’t go that day. Back then, I was working more than 70 hours a week, including 12-hour Saturdays and 12-hour Sundays, taking my work home with me each Friday and trying to get as much done over the weekend before the 18-hour Monday and 18-hour Tuesday, which was our deadline day before starting a new workweek on Wednesday. So, I had much work to do. And it was raining that Sunday morning. And, at that time, I really didn’t care to go to a church. But I had this feeling that I should go. It’s hard to explain, other than, looking back now, it was God. As I got to that church that morning, I could see that the parking lot was packed. There was a man, whom I did not know but evidently a member of that church, standing there in the parking lot, and I rolled my driver’s side window down, planning to tell him that I was just going to turn around to leave, but, before I was able to speak a word, he told me that he had a place for me right at the front of the church. Where he pointed was not actually a parking space, but behind another vehicle. When I told him that I didn’t want to block anyone, he smiled and told me that was the pastor’s car and he wouldn’t be leaving early.

Little did I know that morning what an impact the decision of going would make in my life, hearing him share his Christian faith, meeting him that day after the service and asking him if I could include, in a story, his poem "A Simple Call" that he had written and he had shared when he spoke, and his asking me if he could have a copy of the story after the newspaper was printed -- and then later his speaking with me after asking me where I went to church and I told him that I did not go. I had no idea then that I would become his and his wife’s fellow church member and that they would become great friends and have such a positive influence over the years. And I had no idea, that morning, that I would leave my role as a newspaper Editor in order to establish a Christian publication and try to make a difference by sharing the Gospel through journalism. All glory goes to God, but I have to say that this man has a part because of his influence. Christian author Roy Lessin wrote, “The impact of one life lived for Christ will leave behind an influence for good that will reach the lives of many others.”

He is a winning coach and a soul-winning coach. Not only is he an accomplished football coach, and a great speaker, but, most important of all, he is a genuine Christian and a godly man who selflessly gives of his time to the things of God.

He has had a profound positive influence in the lives of many people through the years, including his players, who have shared of the impact he has made in their lives, not only as a successful football coach but also as a spiritual influence. He has spoken and shared his faith and his testimony many times for many years at many places. He shares his faith, and he lives his faith, as does she. There is a saying that, behind every great man is a great woman. I’d like to reword that a little bit by stating that standing alongside every great man is a great woman. She is also a positive Christian role model. I highly respect them both, and I will always wish God’s blessings for them and their wonderful family. They are great Christian friends and are a blessing to know.

February 25 (originally written February 25, 2018)