Thursday, September 20, 2012

Keeping It Light

My dear childhood friend died a few weeks ago, not a young man at 65, but much too soon for those who loved him and shared in his life. For a number of years now he fought a brave battle with C. He never wanted to give Cancer a name. His wife asked me to speak at his memorial service, or to be more accurate, she hoped I would speak at his memorial service. They live in San Diego now and I live in South Carolina, so getting to our home town of Golden, Colorado would not be a quick, no-brain, inexpensive decision. But I knew Bobby would want me there; in fact I'm sure he would expect me to be there. This was one of those Nike moments: just do it.

There's no getting around it. Death is serious business. I was very close to it once myself after a heart attack, twelve minutes of CPR and seven jolts of electric shock. That was early 2008, just a few months before Bobby told me about his cancer. We talked about the fragility of life and its preciousness, our wives, our children, our grandchildren. Then last year when his cancer returned after a period of dormancy, he called to ask the number of another friend, a pastor with a healing ministry. Eventually, they met up in an I-25 truck stop in Loveland, Colorado, and there in front of a cafe full of truckers, Bobby bowed his head and asked Jesus to save him. He was ready now, booked and ticketed when necessary, for his eternal home. And then they joined in prayer for healing.

Bobby called me right away and told me he had trusted Christ as his savior, that he was born again and that he was healed from cancer. He called it by name. He said he was reading Psalm 91 each and every day. After that day we wrote back and forth a couple of times and talked on the phone a few more. At first Bobby said he felt better than he had in months but then the weight started falling off, his appetite declined and the doctor told him the cancer had spread. But he didn't waiver about his faith. He called me Brother.

So, was he healed? From The physical body, the shell, the corruptible flesh, it failed, as it always eventually does. But from the body of sin and death...Yes! By His stripes...yes. Forevermore. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!

"Death, where is thy sting? Where is thy victory?"

So when Bobby's wife wrote me about speaking at his memorial service, she said she hoped to "keep it light." She said it twice. I'm sure after watching her husband of more than 45 years in his final valiant days, after making arrangements, after the phone calls, after reading the cards, after it all, she is ready for some celebration, some laughs, some smiles, some hugs, some joy.

And me? I'm ready now too. That Bobby, he was a funny guy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Revelation 13:18
"This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666."

The first time I heard about 666 was in high school. My dad's cousin, whom I referred to at the time as a bible fanatic, had self-published numerous pamphlets and booklets on the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation, the impending Russian invasion of the Middle East and the coming oil crisis-- all pretty much a bummer for a young lad about ready to graduate. He, among others, believed that Social Security was mixed in somewhere and I began to envision a world I really hoped to avoid.

I mostly figured 666 would not be "literal." But I worried a little when the license plates for my dad's red VW bug arrived--RA 666. And when one of my first checking accounts had 666 in the middle of the account number, I made the bank change it. I'm sure the banker thought I was nuts.

But now, today, as I was reviewing the stats for the number of "hits" my blog has received, you guessed it: 666 hits!

So, please, anyone, anybody! Read this post and get me out of a heap of trouble!