Friday, August 28, 2015

Finishing Well!
Thoughts following Ty & Terri Schenzel’s Homegoing … Homecoming!

Wednesday's memorial service for Pastor Ty & Terri Schenzel was probably the largest in my memory here in Omaha. Over 3000 people overflowed Christ Community Church, and thousands more watched it online. I believe most of you know they were killed in a head-on collision with a pickup truck going the wrong way on I-90 in South Dakota last Thursday. 
Click here for News links and podcasts.  

Ty & Terri have been good friends and co-workers for over 20 years, In the mid 90's I remember standing with Ty in a neighborhood in North Omaha we had just PrayerWalked...Ty began to asked some questions about something that was burning in his heart...   In their death, God is multiplying the impact of their lives into thousands more…many times over. 
To honor their memory, in this Update I want to share a few thoughts and insights from my heart.

Ryan & Emily Hrubes were with Ty & Terri in the car. Emily is the only survivor and is still in a hospital in Sioux Falls.

Ty & Terri's four kids sharing at the service

Finishing Well is not the result of living a perfect life,
or accomplishing the “American Dream.
It is more than success and accomplishment for God…it goes much deeper.
Finishing well is not so much what you “Did” but what you “Became”
…Becoming more like Jesus. -Romans 8:29

When I think of Finishing Well, My pastors as a youth at Bethany Fellowship come to mind: Ted Hegre, Harold & Cathy Brokke, blue collar servant leaders like Al Linder and Harold Carlson…People who most of you don’t know, but God does and honors. 

Life mentors like Paris Reidhead and Elmer & Nancy Murdoch are on that list. 

They are all people with lots of humanity who did and are Finishing Well.

What is Finishing Well?
Finishing Well in God’s Kingdom is a life that is (1) more in love with Christ,
(2) more committed to His service, and (3) more devoted to godly leadership
at the end than at the beginning.

Sadly there are a lot of leaders who do not Finish Well. Many have ended discouraged and disenchanted, and others fall prey to moral or ethical failure and compromise. But God always has shining examples like those above who did and are Finishing Well.
There are two more on my list who Finished Well…Very Well! Ty & Terri Schenzel.

People grieve in many different ways, and we do need to do our “grief work” for healthy processing in times of great personal loss. 

The Bible tells us to weep with those who also says we do not grieve as those without hope.

Death from this side is a big fearful mystery, but it is not a mystery to our God. He comes to personally walk that valley with each one of His kids -Psalms 23. 
“Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones.” -Psalms 116:15

Ty and Terri’s lives were not taken. In the final analysis, Revelation tells us that Jesus holds the keys of life and death. He alone makes the final decision when it is time to come home. We need to trust His love and wisdom for that which we do not yet understand. The Salvation Army rightly calls death for the believer “Promotion!” Promoted into the presence of King Jesus!

There will always be things here we will not understand until eternity. I definitely do not have all the answers but I would like to share a bit more from my perspective.

Several people who knew Ty well shared some amazing things that Ty said in the last few weeks. Ty recently retired from the Hope Center for Kids, which he founded, saying that he felt he had finished his assignment and was ready for a new adventure. He said that he was looking forward to going on a long vacation with Terri.Wow! They began that vacation on earth and ended it in Heaven!

By contrast, on Sunday, May 17th I woke up at 4:00 AM with chest pain that did not go away. I knew it was something more than I have had before. It was the day of our grandson Caleb’s Graduation, and I was wrestling with waking Sheryl, and whether or not I should go to the ER. I remember praying: “Lord, I know you don’t need me…but I would like to finish my assignment.”

I made appointments with my doctor, and the EKG and Cardiac Blood Panels came back normal. We scheduled a stress test which one Cardiologist misread, and two days later--thanks to a friend who connected me to Dr Thomas Porter, a believer and world respected Cardiologist--I walked into the ER unaware that I had a 99% blockage of the primary left artery of my heart and an 80% blockage of my primary right artery.

During that time four separate cardiologists told Sheryl that I never should have walked into the ER alive. On June 5th I had a triple bypass surgery.

Below is a picture of a miracle…Every medical person that has seen it says, “Oh, that is a ‘Widowmaker’, when it goes…you're gone, period!” God kept my heart working…that pain was angina, not a heart attack, so there is no damage. With a good diet and exercise, I can be 100% again.

Thanks to everyone’s prayers and support, I am doing better every day and my cardiac therapy is progressing very well.

Are you seeing an interesting contrast here? Ty knew his primary assignment was done. I felt mine was not, and I had awesome peace the night before my surgery...whether I lived or died. I know that this is not the way it always goes, but I know that God knows best and will prepare His kids for whatever is ahead.

What a way to go…

Some feel it was so tragic that Ty & Terri died at the same time. I know Jesus said that there wouldn’t be giving or taking of marriage in heaven, but unless God wipes out our memories, a special love like Ty & Terri had will carry into heaven in some fashion. I am convinced that agape (Unselfish, Giving) love and phileo (Brotherly) love are eternal.

I also know there is special Grace when one life partner dies leaving the other alone. I frequently say to Sheryl, “Remember, the longer we're together, the shorter we will be apart!”

I know it's hard on the family to lose both parents at the same time, but for those who have grown into spiritual oneness, and whose kids are grown and have their life partners, then what a way to go! Into the presence of Jesus…together…It doesn’t get any better than that!

That Great Crowd of Witnesses…

One of Ty’s best friends, Pastor Lincoln Murdoch, closed his wonderful section of the memorial service with the illustration of passing on the baton in a relay race. Each runner runs his or her best as they carry the baton. 

Once they pass the baton on to the next runner, they go to the finish line to watch and cheer for those still running with the baton.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. -2 Timothy 4:7-8

There is a very interesting verse in Malachi 3:16 “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.” 

Someday when we get to heaven, we can go and look up what God has written in His journal about what we talked about here on earth during these days as we each are still running the race…

Ty & Terri are at the finish line watching and cheering for us to Finish Well and to welcome us into that great crowd of witnesses in the presence of our Lord and King.

Be There!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Leadership Consultation with David Ravenhill this Saturday Morning

This is short notice, but a few days ago I found out that David Ravenhill will be at Life Church this weekend Aug 21-23. Pastor Dobie Weasel has graciously granted Saturday morning for my friend Femi Awodele and me to plan a Leadership Consultation with David.

I had the privilege of hearing David's father Leonard Ravenhill a number of times as a youth and his book "Why Revival Tarries" is must reading for those serious about seeking revival. David Ravenhill has "a burden to see the church come to maturity through intimacy with God..." 

For some time I have felt strongly led to facilitate a meeting with David and church leaders in our city.  Please come this Saturday morning and invite other ministry leaders that you feel might want to be part of this special consultation 

"Preparing for Persecution"
A leadership consultation and dialogue on "Discerning the Times" with David Ravenhill
9:30 to 11:00 AM, Saturday, Aug 22
8433 W Center Rd (map)

Please RSVP so we know how to plan.

David Ravenhill will be ministering in services open to the public Friday & Saturday Evening at 7:00 PM and Sunday Morning.

"Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?" - Lenard Ravenhill