Six weeks ago Laurie and I were at the camp in Imuris, Sonora for the first time in 3 years. I was privileged to speak that Thursday evening. Before the service, we arrived in time to visit with several of the dear saints we’ve known for many years. We sat around the dinner tables and we listened and laughed and learned.
That evening in the service, Hermano Roberto Cruz got up to sing a couple of songs at the request of the campers. Then afterwards, I got a good picture with him, and suddenly a group of young people jumped in to be with “Hermano Cruz”. As we walked back toward to dining area, he needed a shoulder to hold onto, I was honored to provide and talk along the way.
This past Thursday was 6 weeks later. And I was in Ures, along with my wife, my brother Leonard and his wife Susie. We were there to honor the memory of Roberto Cruz. He died earlier in the week.
My earliest memories of him were when he pastored the church in Imuris, and I was a small boy. Through the years, he was known as one of my dad’s friends. He had a beautiful voice and a gracious spirit that made it all believable. I’ll never forget seeing him in Tucson at my mother’s funeral, and then a few years later, at my father’s. He came all that way. And he played his guitar and he sang. We all knew this was special.
So, when I heard him get up to sing six weeks ago, I knew it was special. And it was. I got a brief clip on my phone, not a song I was too familiar with, but one I can’t get out of my head now. It was the last time I’d hear him sing.
He served faithfully for many years. He led, many followed. Now, it’s our turn to lead.
On Monday, Karen Gandy Richardson got to see Jesus face to face. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/karenlrichardson/journal
Death for the believer is a whole different ball game. Sunday I shared from Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23 that we are the inheritance of Christ. We’re His. We belong to Him. And also, Paul prayed that as we realize what we already have because of Christ, that we’d realize the hope we have because He called us. Because we are saved, we now have a hope. That hope is to see Jesus. That hope is to have eternal life with God. That hope has now been realized for Karen.
There’s a lot about death we don’t like. I get that. But as followers of Jesus and worshipers of the Most High God, we have a hope that death gets us there. Hope isn’t wishful thinking. Hope is factual assurance based on the character of God and on His loving, gracious history. We trust Him because He can be trusted. We have hope because it is in Him.
Let’s keep our eye on the prize. Let’s keep our focus on Jesus no matter what curve balls have been tossed your way lately. He’s got you. And yes, He too is looking forward to the day when we all get to be together.
I love how God leads us to remember. You know what I’m talking about. Sometimes it’s a verse of scripture. Sometimes an old song, or even a once familiar smell. And suddenly our minds go back in time to a different place.
Today, I got to thinking about Zac, my nephew who is with Jesus.
It’s Mandy’s birthday, and somehow that got me to click on the link to Zac’s blog that Mandy is keeping up. I loved it. I love Mandy’s writing. I love that she is keeping his blog going b/c of all of his posts. I love that under the ‘comment’ section I can learn more of Zac’s very wide influence through his story and his suffering.
I have great reminders today of a young man I loved and his desire to live it all for God, without hesitation and without apology.
Happy Birthday dear Amanda.
Thanks to NewSpring for posting this video online.
I haven’t watched it yet. Guess I will soon.
Tough day. Glorious day. I dunno, you pick. Life with Jesus is awesome. Death on this planet sucks. I hate goodbyes. In just a bit, we’ll see Zac’s ‘earthly tent’ go in the ground. But we all know with clear confidence that on Sunday afternoon, Zac said ‘hey’ to Jesus, face to face. Seriously. And because of that, we do what we do. Tell as many people as possible that Jesus makes that gift available.
If you haven’t seen this for awhile, go ahead and take a look. http://www.hello-righton.com/2010/03/01/zacs-story-video/
Can’t wait to see Jesus, face to face. Until then, to God be the glory.
Memorial service to CELEBRATE the life and legacy of Zac Smith will be on Tuesday @ 4pm EST (1pm in AZ) on the Anderson Campus…AND online @ http://www.newspring.cc
This Saturday, April 24th at 11:30 a.m. our church family will gather around Tom and Jenn Cutlip and their kids for a memorial service for their baby Noah. Read here for Jenn’s blog. We will meet at the Ministry Center and a light lunch will be provided following the service. Let’s pray for the Cutlip family and show our love and support by coming alongside them on Saturday.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. Ps 139:16