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During the month of June, I want to take the opportunity in the Pulse to remember some of our brothers and sisters in the faith who have gone before us into the presence of Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” In that spirit, I want to remember and honor the work of the Lord that was done by some truly special men and women and testify to how it was not in vain.
An important part of the Prayer Wall that I include with every Pulse of NewLife (our weekly e-newsletter) is the “prayer focus for the week,” which is typically based on a verse or passage of Scripture and is often in line with whatever I have written in my article. Every time I write that prayer focus, I am reminded of the woman who encouraged me to add that to the Pulse, Eve Christie. Eve was a woman of great faith and prayer who was a long-time member of NewLife before dying of cancer in June of 2010. Her trust in the Lord through many difficult circumstances was a testimony to the power of faith and prayer.
One of my most treasured memories of Eve had to do with prayer. Eve came regularly to our prayer meetings, which in those days were held on Thursdays in our church office. One day she came with a big notebook to show me. In that notebook, she had collected hundreds of prayers by other people, Scriptures, promises of God, and personal prayers. Reading through this book was like looking into the portfolio of a renowned artist, or the compositions of a virtuoso musician. Eve’s passionate heart, full of trust in her God, was displayed on every page. As she showed me the book, she recommended that I add a “prayer focus for the week” to the weekly Pulse, and I did just that, often drawing on something from Eve’s prayer notebook in order to stir our church’s hearts towards greater faith and prayer.
One of my favorite verses to preach on when I lead a memorial service is Ecclesiastes 7:2 – “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man.” At every funeral, we are reminded of the finality of death, the importance of living every day to the fullest, and the need to make sure we are right with God. We are also reminded of how uniquely special the life we have been given really is, and the opportunity we have to forever impact the lives of others. One of my favorite quotes comes from the late Christian musician Rich Mullins. Reflecting on death, he wrote, “I think we cry at funerals – even at funerals of people we don’t like – because we realize what a miracle a life is. You realize, ‘This will never happen again.’ There will never be this exact combination of genes, there will never again be the things that have created this person to be what he is. God has spoken uniquely here, and it’s gone. It’s over. And I think there is some regret, because we all realize, boy, we didn’t pay enough attention.” God spoke uniquely when He created Eve, and through the weekly prayer focus in the Pulse, she continues to bless us all.
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