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20 Christians Who Died in 2016

In Memoriam (Listed by Date of Death) Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.  Blessed indeed, that they may rest from t...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions

Grace Sight #21 is Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions.

On New Year's Eve we often think of resolutions. When Yahoo News wrote an article on the History of New Year's Resolutions, they highlighted Jonathan Edwards resolutions as part of that history.

The Christian minister Jonathan Edwards wrote his famous resolutions between 1722-1723. Even though they were written in the language of almost 300 years ago, there genuine reliance on God's grace is worthy of consideration as we make any plans for our life. Here is a reading of all 70 of them with the corresponding words written out. If you would like to see them all written out together visit this link.



Maybe this year instead of writing a quick list of resolutions we should listen to this piece of Christian history and take a year to thoughtfully write them like Edwards did. 



Photo: The photo in this post is in the public domain because of its age.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

20 Christians Who Died in 2011

In Memoriam (Listed by Date of Death)
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Blessed indeed, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!" (Rev. 14:13)

1. Szeto Wah died in Hong Kong on January 2, 2011, at the age of 79. Szeto Wah was a Christian political figure in China who advocated for freedom and democracy. An article on his life and death can be found at the persecution.org website. Here is a video on the celebration of the life of Szeto Wah.


2. Commissioner Andrew S. Miller died on January 17, 2011, at the age of 87. He had served numerous positions as a minister in The Salvation Army, including being the National Commander for the United States from 1986-1989. Commissioner Andrew Miller had a relationship with the late Robert F. Kennedy and served as an usher at his funeral. A blog entry on the passing of this Happy Salvation Army officer is found at the Rooftop Blog.

3. Shabaz Bhatti was assassinated on March 2, 2011. He was 42 years old and the only Christian cabinet member in the Pakistan government. He advocated as a minority member for a change in Pakistan's blasphemy law. More information about him is in his obituary done by Christianity Today, March 2, 2011. Here is a video of tribute to Shabaz Bhatti.



4. Dr. William Greathouse died on March 24, 2011, at the age of 91. He had been the President of what is now Trevecca Nazarene University and served as a General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene from 1976-1989. He wrote many Christian books that became an important part of the Wesleyan-Arminianism Christian theology. You can read more about Dr. William Greathouse in his Wikipedia page.

5. Rev. David Wilkerson died on April 27, 2011, in a car accident at the age of 79. He was the founder of the Times Square Church and the ministry known as Teen Challenge. He formed a ministry in the early 1960's with New York gangs where Nicki Cruz was saved and which formed the basis for the best-selling Christian book, The Cross and the Switchblade. You can read more about Rev. David Wilkerson in his New York Times Obituary. Here is a portion of a sermon given by Rev. David Wilkerson on our need for God today.



6. Dr. Walter Soboleff died on May 22, 2011, at the age of 102. According to his Wikipedia page, Dr. Soboleff was the first native Alaskan to become an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and was beloved in the State of Alaska. During his ministry he traveled to "remote Alaskan settlements, fishing villages, and even lighthouses as needed by the Presbyterian ministry (Wikipedia: Walter Soboleff)."

7. Commissioner Helen Clifton died on June 14, 2011, at the age of 63. Commissioner Helen Clifton was a minister in The Salvation Army whose final appointment was as the World President of Women's Ministries in The Salvation Army. Her husband is General Shaw Clifton, a retired General in The Salvation Army. For more information on her life read a Salvation Army News Release on June 15, 2011.

8. Rev. Michael Wenning died on June 28, 2011, at the age of 75. He was the pastor of the Bel-Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, California from 1995-2001. He had been the minister to President Ronald Reagan and performed the Los Angeles based graveside funeral of the 40th President of the United States. You can read more about Rev. Michael Wenning at his New York Times Obituary.

9. Rev. F.C. Barnes died on July 11, 2011, at the age of 82. Rev. F.C. Barnes was known for his Gospel singing and writing a song that made it to the top of the charts called "Rough Side of the Mountain". He was the founder and pastor of Red Budd Holy Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina for 50 years. There is a new story on his life and death at the Rocky Mount Telegram. Here is a tribute to his ministry.


10. Rev. Dr. John R. W. Stott died on July 27, 2011, at the age of 90. Dr. Stott was the pastor of All Souls Church in London for over 60 years. He was a leading Evangelical theologian and wrote the book Basic Christianity. A memorial website has been developed for Dr. Stott at www.johnstottmemorial.org. Upon his passing a special blog post at Grace Circle was written about him.




11. Rev. Dr. Howard W. Creecy, Jr. died on July 28, 2011. He was the Pastor of Olivet Baptist Church. In addition, he served as the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, the group co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This Christian Post article has more about his life. Here is a video of the news story on his death from a local Atlanta station.



12. Delois Barrett Campbell died on August 2, 2011, at the age of 85. She was a member of a Chicago area Gospel trio called the Barrett Sisters. You can read more about Delois Barrett Campbell at her New York Times Obituary. Here is a link to Delois Barrett Campbell and the Barrett Sisters singing Till We Meet Again.



13. Senator Mark O. Hatfield died on August 7, 2011, at the age of 89. Sen. Hatfield served two terms as Governor of Oregon and served for 30 years in the U.S. Senate. He was known as "St. Mark" for standing true to his religious convictions and opposing war, abortion, and corruption. You can read more information on Sen. Hatfield in his obituary at Christianity Today. Here is the Associated Press announcement of his death.


14. Jessy Dixon died on September 27, 2011, at the age of 73. Jessy Dixon had been a Gospel singer and songwriter. He wrote over 200 songs including what is considered his greatest called I am Redeemed. You can read more about Jessy Dixon at his New York Times Obituary. The following is a picture memorial tribute to Jessy Dixon.


15. Jorge Comesanas died on October 27, 2011, at the age of 71. Jorge Comesanas was a leader in the Hispanic ministry in Florida and regarded as one of the national leaders of ministry to Hispanic people. At the time of his death he was the pastor of the First Baptist Church Hialeah Gardens. Here was the funeral service for Rev. Comesanas.


16. James Buford Abner died on November 19, 2011, at the age of 94. He was a long time Gospel singer who founded the Swanee River Boys Quartet in 1937. His quartet was featured in the movie "Sing a Song for Heaven's Sake" in which they sang this song. 


17. George Gallup, Jr. died on November 21, 2011, at the age of 81. He was the head of a famous polling company that his father founded. His life work included measuring spiritual values of America and he wrote three related books: The Search for America's Faith, The Saints Among Us, and Adventures in Immortality.  You can read more about George Gallup, Jr. in his New York Times obituary. Ed Stetzer also wrote a farewell blog post on George Gallup, Jr.'s passing.

18. Sister Lukrecija Mamic was murdered on November 27, 2011, when her monastery was attacked. Sister Mamic was a Croatian nun who had been serving as the head of a 150 bed hospital in a monastery in Burudi, Africa. Her work included helping the very poor and people with AIDS.

19. Denise Sproul died on December 18, 2011, at the age of 46 after a long battle with cancer. She was a mother of 8 children and the wife of R.C. Sproul, Jr. Her father in-law R.C. Sproul is the founder of Ligonier Ministries and he preached her memorial service. Her obituary is online at the Aquila Report. The text of her memorial message is at Ligonier Website.

20. Guinell Freeman died on December 19, 2011, at the age of 83. Guinell Freeman was known as "Miss Sunday School" at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. The long time Sunday School advocate created a program called Operation Andrew that was adopted by many churches. A news story on her life and death is at the Jacksonville.com website.


Dedication: This post is dedicated to some personal Christian friends who passed away in 2011. 
Steve Warner of Lansing, Michigan (May 9, 2011)


This feature is part of an annual series. All the years of the series can be viewed at these links.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baptism

Grace Sight #20 is My Son's Baptism.

Last Sunday my special needs son Jonathan was baptized. I hope and pray as he grows older God will help him to someday embrace the faith represented in his baptism and affirm it for all eternity. The following is the letter I wrote and read prior to the baptism. Please note that I have intentionally not mentioned what church Jonathan was baptized in because my belief is that we are baptized not into a church but as part of the Christian faith that includes many churches who have some differences in rituals and expressions.

December 11, 2011

Dear Jonathan,

As you are baptized today we want you to know that we love you so much but our love is so small compared to how much your heavenly Father loves you and wants you by his side for all eternity.  All of our dreams for your life are fulfilled in this–that you would come to know the grace of having Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and that you would give your time, talents, and treasures to God in this life.  May you experience personally the words of faith that you are already singing along with the Cedarmont Bible songs.

We know that sometimes life is complicated and difficult for you because of your autism.  Always remember that you are different, not less. If there are ever times in your unknown future when you wish you did not have autism, then hold on to the truth that the sovereign God made you who you are for a reason.  One never knows how our life impacts others. We know that in your short life of 7 years you have already taught us so much about patience, humility, vigilance, hope, and trust in the sovereign God.

The Scripture verse we hope you hold fast in your heart is 2 Corinthians 12:9:  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.