Sunday Preview ~ July 29. 2010

July 29, 2010

Kristina and I are finishing our vacation and ministry trip in Northern California this weekend. I will be speaking in Novato on Saturday night where we are installing a new pastor in the church we founded in 1976. On Sunday morning I will be preaching in San Rafael at the Church of the Open Door, which was the first church we helped to start in 1973. It is a privilege and honor for me to be able to continue to do ministry and share the love of Christ with these faithful believers who have been our friends for almost forty years.

This weekend, Lance Rauhoff will be speaking to Living Streams about “The Authority of the Believer.”

I have been thinking a lot about Josh Heller since his death last week. Josh came to Living Streams as a boy when his dad, Alan, joined our staff in 1992. During college, he commuted back to Phoenix each weekend from the University of Arizona so he could sing with our worship team on Sundays.

I went to visit Josh in the hospital the day he was diagnosed with stage four cancer. I read to him from Isaiah 41:8-13, which was the passage I had been reading in my One Year Bible that day. I thought it was an obscure passage, but I felt it would give him hope.

“But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be nothing at all. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

As I finished reading, Josh looked up at me from his hospital bed. He then proceeded to quote the next verses from Isaiah 41:14-16 to me from his heart. “Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you.” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel.”

At that moment I realized that Josh Heller was more than a faithful young man who had grown up in our youth group. He had become a man of God. He wrestled with the forces of hell and remained faithful to the day he died. I am proud to have been one of his pastors. I believe the Lord has said to Josh, “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.”

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