A Prophet Among us

Rich was part of our pastors’ accountability group for maybe 18 years. Rich recently died from a brain tumor at the age of 61, my age.

Rich added value to our group in many ways but one way was as our resident prophet. I’m not sure when we gave Rich the nickname of prophet but give him the name we did.

After we’d share a problem, hurt, struggle, or issue with the group Rich would often reference a scripture passage that was appropriate. Rich built his life on God’s Word. It was his rock. He believed Jesus when Jesus said that foolish is the person who hears His teaching but does nothing with it, as foolish as a man who builds his house on sand. The storms come and the house washes away. But wise is the man, and Rich was wise, who listens to my words and does them, Jesus said. He is like a man who builds his house on a rock. The storms come and the house stands.

The storms came for Rich. We brothers of Christ in his accountability group sat beside him, had front row seats, as he went through his storms. We sat there with him as Job’s friends sat with Job, but we learned by negative example from Job’s friends and resisted giving Rich advice. We sat and mainly listened to the prophet.

Rich had more storms to face than you would want your friend to have to face. There were the storms related to his life’s calling as a pastor/teacher as he was led by the Lord from one ministry to another, changes not often initiated by Rich. There were the financial storms of too little income. There were the storms of being alongside his wife Mary as she faced her own storms of health issues. Then there was the perfect storm of the killer brain tumor.

We watched Rich weather these storms and weather them he did, to the glory of God! Rich never doubted or wavered in his storms. His faith stood firm because it was firmly based on a foundational belief in God’s perfect Word. Rich built his life upon God’s Word. He not only spoke God’s Word to us, he lived it. Truly, he was a prophet among us!

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