15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,[e] 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.[f] So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
The Gospel According to Joe: Celebrate Me [Nearly] Home!
Today's update is brought to you by God, author of the Number One Best Seller, the Holy Bible
First a note from Joe's Pastor
My heart is overwhelmed with both joy and
sadness. It is right to grieve, but I will not grieve as Joe's wife or children
will—and perhaps others. I grieve as pastor, a brother in the Lord, a friend
and as one of those who have been greatly impacted by Joe's influence. No one
else has had a more significant impact on my adult life than Joe - particularly
on my role as a husband and a father. His unity in the gospel has been a unique
privilege. There's just so many times he has been used by the Lord as I have
served Christ as a pastor to minister to me I don't know where to begin. For
now, I simply send this to you all - the church family he has so loved. I will
travel this Monday with my friend Andy McCracken to visit Joe and his family. We
all would do well to read this final note - repent of our idols and seek to
live in light of eternity. His idols are mine as well. I'm broken.
With a heavy heart and much hope in Christ,
I have had a great life:
57 years. A wonderful childhood, a loving family—Mom and Dad, sisters and
brother, an aunt and uncle who loved me more than I can know, great childhood
friends—Jim, Roger, Brett, Steve, Tim, and many more whom I can’t remember
I’ve enjoyed freedom to
explore, freedom to make mistakes, freedom to take risks. I have traveled to
all 50 states and several other countries. I’ve taken trips to some of the most
wonderful places on Earth, spent two summers running a fishing camp in Canada,
made four trips to Hawaii, including one for five weeks.
I earned a master’s
degree from the #1 business school in the country and exercised that knowledge
through great careers spanning 35 years, leading and helping others reach their
God has blessed me with
a wonderful church family and pastor, great friends, amazing in-laws, a
wonderful Godly wife, seven great children, two wonderful daughters-in-law, and
a son-in-law who is a wonderful mate for my daughter.
For 56 years I was in
great health. During that time, we built my dream house, a 6,000-square-ft. log
home on a secluded and beautiful property that we named Utopia (thanks Linda
for loaning us the name). I acquired tractors, motorcycles, ATVs, a powered
parachute, guns, snowmobiles, and basically anything my heart desired. If it
sounds boastful or prideful, I apologize. I am merely stating facts to make a
So what is that point? All
the above were idols for me. ALL. Of my 57 years this last year with this lousy
cancer has been my best! None come close to being as good. It has been the
hardest and longest year of my life but I would not trade one day of it for the
any of the 56 years prior.
How can this be, you
might ask. Because God, through His Son Jesus Christ and with the work of the
Holy Spirit, has redeemed me. He has saved my soul. He has striped me of every
idol mentioned above. He has shown me that He alone is worthy of my love and
praise. He has proven over and over that He is completely trustworthy. He has
opened my eyes. This is my best year!
Today Hospice takes over
my care. I have stopped all treatment. The side effects of the drugs aren’t
worth it to me. After four different chemo regimens that didn’t work, it’s time
to throw in the towel. I am so happy that the end is near for me. I won’t miss
anyone or anything here because I will be in the presence of Jesus Christ,
worshipping Him forever!
Obviously, I don’t know
my time. Only God does, and I trust His timing. Would you pray a specific
prayer with me that God will take me soon and peacefully? My prayer is tonight,
but again, it is His will, not mine. But I do know He answers the prayers of
the righteous. Please stop praying for my healing. I want to go Home. My wife
and family are in agreement, as well.
So I leave you with this:
Trust Jesus, Trust Jesus, Trust Jesus.
He alone is worthy. He alone saves—not any of your good works or good
intentions will get you to Heaven, but they will send you to Hell. If He can
save a wretch like me with all my idols, He can save you. Trust Jesus, Trust Jesus, Trust Jesus.
If you know me and can
do so, I hope you will make it a priority to come to my funeral in Columbus
Indiana. It will be a great time of celebrating!
Good bye and I will see
some of you in Glory.
And as always if you
ever want to start at the beginning of these updates then please check out the
link posted by my dear sister in Christ Sharon at http://sweetwaterfromtherock.blogspot.com/