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The Rev. Hanks cites the Rev. M.D. Williams’ example - Odessa American: Columns

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The Rev. Hanks cites the Rev. M.D. Williams’ example

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Posted: Saturday, October 20, 2018 2:45 am

MIDLAND The Rev. James Michael “Mike” Hanks had worked his way up from roustabout to production supervisor for Gulf Oil when the pastor of the First Assembly of God in Odessa inspired him to become a minister.

He studied online at Global University in Springfield, Mo., and at the Assemblies District Bible Institute in Lubbock and was a pastor in Morton, west of Lubbock, and Sweeney, south of Houston, for 17 years before coming to the First Assembly here at 100 W. Wadley Ave. 16 years ago.

Referring to the minister who inspired him, the Rev. Hanks said, “Brother M.D. Williams was a great man of God.

“He had over 40 preachers come out of his Odessa ministry in 22 years. We always had wonderful services and were able to get into the presence of God. Even though we can’t see God, we can recognize when he is here.

“God’s grace is a gift he has given to empower us to be stronger and obey the commandments of the scriptures. We look to Jesus Christ because his grace is a tool for us to be able to go from our strength to his strength. His strength is made perfect in our time of weakness.”

Hanks is a 62-year-old Odessa native who graduated from Odessa High School in 1974 and worked for Gulf for 10 1/2 years. He and his wife Sandi have two children and seven grandchildren.

He is the Pecos Section presbyter, or overseer, of 22 Assemblies of God from Odessa-Midland to Big Lake, McCamey, Fort Stockton, Alpine and Del Rio. His church in Midland averages 200 people at its 10:30 a.m. Sunday services.

“My sermons are usually about things that will help people apply the scriptures to where they are and have better lives,” Hanks said. “The scriptures teach us how to live our lives from finances all the way through morality and ultimately how to be saved.

“We live in a world that deals with our human flesh a lot and we have to submit ourselves to God and make time to pray. We can’t pray 24-7, but we must stay in an attitude of prayer because we never know when we will need to call on God. We need to be in a place where we can connect with him at all times.”

Glen Beaver of Lubbock, superintendent of the West Texas District of the Assemblies of God, said Hanks “cares about the message of the Gospel and exemplifies his care for people by the way he pastors his church.

“Mike’s advice to pastors is based on the wisdom of the Bible,” Beaver said. “While he was in the oilfield, he was quite possibly working with individuals whose integrity and morals were not according to Biblical standards. Yet Mike is one who upholds the highest morals and Biblical standards of integrity and lives a life that is pleasing to God.

“He knows how to deal with people who are easy to get along with and those who are a little more difficult. With his demeanor, mannerisms and pulpit etiquette, he gets acquainted with people who may be visiting First Assembly Midland for the first time and makes them feel welcome.”

Odessa, TX

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