5/27/2020 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
This month we lost two faithful men of the faith that finished their lives well. They left this world and finally arrived home, in a place not built with human hands but a home that was built by God Himself…
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.John 14:2
One of these men I only knew through a friend, a friend that will be impacted by this person for the rest of his life here on earth. The other man is the reason Judy and I have been in ministry for the past 39 years. Both of these men have left an example for all of us to follow.
One was born and raised in India, but ended up traveling the world. The other one was born and raised in Maine, and also impacted the world. They both shared the same “Father,” they both became sons of God and not only did it change their lives, it also changed the lives of the people that came into their lives.
Both of these men began ministries that will continue even though their earthly life has ended. One man was one of the deepest thinkers that I have ever listened too, while the other man… well, let’s just say that he was very unique and he ministered in word and deed like few other men. Yet because of their passion for God, and their faithfulness to the Gospel, there are many people walking this earth today that were drawn to Christ through their ministry.
Neither one of them were perfect men, yet they were loving and faithful dads, husbands, and grandfathers. They both left a wife that was their greatest cheerleader and helper in life, and children that are walking with and serving the same God that their fathers faithfully served. They lived a life where their actions corresponded with their sermons, where spiritual advice was their lifestyle and not just random information given out.
Both men loved people: people were not seen as an intrusion but as living beings with an eternal soul. Never did I hear or experience (in the case of my friend) a sarcastic or sharp word. Never have I heard them discount or belittle an inquiry from a person that was searching for truth from a sincere heart.
These men were two different people with different experiences and different personalities. They had different opportunities and ministries, but these men followed and served the same God. One of those men was Paul Bubar, who began Word of Life Bible Clubs. Paul Bubar had invited me and Judy as a young married couple to come to Word of Life and consider working with young people. Because of that invitation and his influence in my life, Judy, me, and my family has been changed forever.
The other man was Ravi Zacharias, who founded RZIM. Ravi Zacharias who impacted my good friend in so many ways, that today he too is defending the gospel around the world, and teaching students at one of the major Christian universities in America on how to reach the unreachable and how to make a difference that will long outlast his life.
Then there was Avis. See… you don’t have to be a famous person or a world traveler to leave a legacy for God. Avis was in her 70’s when we first met her. Avis was that quiet behind-the-scenes person that impacted our lives deeply. She exhibited a gentle and quiet strength. She never wanted to be made much of and would get upset with me when I did or if I ever asked her to speak in public. But oh did she impact Judy’s life and all that came in contact with her.
We first met Avis when we arrived at LeTourneau Christian Conference Center to direct the ministry. Even in her 70’s she was working 40+ hour weeks. She tirelessly worked long & strenuous hours living out her passion, serving people. Whether Avis was working in the conference center kitchen, laundry room, or in her flower beds, she always did it with a servants heart. For you see, Avis wanted everything to be perfect because she wanted the conference center to be a place where the guests “could meet Jesus.”
Avis was an encourager. She would constantly tell people, “Dearheart, you can do anything you set your mind to do. God will give you the strength when you need it.” You could not come onto the property and not be affected by Avis’s ministry. We held a staff & camper reunion to celebrate 50+ years of ministry, and without exception, everyone talked about Avis and her best friend Gerri, and the impact that they had on their life.
Avis, too, ended her life well. She worked well into her 90’s and was able to end her life just like she had lived it, loving Jesus and serving His kids.
You don’t have to be well known. You don’t have to be a dynamic preacher or teacher. You don’t even have to leave your own town to leave a legacy. Much has been written about the lives of Ravi Zacharias and Paul Bubar and deservingly so! But I remember going to Canandaigua, NY to attend Avis’s funeral and the church was packed and the testimonies of her impact were countless.
When I think of Ravi, Paul, and Avis, I think of the words of another one of my spiritual heroes, D. L. Moody who said…
“The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him. I will try my utmost to be that man.”D.L.Moody
See, at the end of our life, the only thing that really matters is Jesus. May each of us commit to be that man or woman that is fully and wholly consecrated to God. Like Ravi, Paul, & Avis, let us live our lives like nothing else matters to us but Jesus. If we do, who knows who will be writing about us after we are gone!!