Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going to start Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  I'm not too far into it, but I thought I'd share a story I read last night.  Before I do, in case you're wondering, Francis Chan is a pastor of a church called Cornerstone in California.  When I googled him I read this about him on wikipedia--it's pretty cool. 
"After a three-month leave from Cornerstone, Francis said he felt convicted to sacrifice more for God. "Chan gives away about 90 percent of his income ... Chan doesn't take a salary from his church, and he has donated all of his book royalties, which total about $500,000 to various charities. Much of it goes to organizations which rescue sex slaves in foreign countries."  Furthermore, in 2008 it was reported that Cornerstone would give away 55% of its income to charitable causes."  What a great example. 
Okay, the story:
"As a pastor, I'm often called upon when life 'vanishes like a mist.'  One of the most powerful examples I've seen of this was Stan Gerlach, a successful businessman who was well known in the community.  Stan was giving a eulogy at a memorial service when he decided to share the gospel.  At the end of his message, Stan told the mourners, "You never know when God is going to take your life.  At that moment, there's nothing you can do about it.  Are you ready?"  Then Stan sat down, fell over, and died.  His wife and sons tried to resuscitate him, but there was nothing they could do--just as Stan had said a few minutes earlier. 
I'll never forget receiving that phone call and heading over to the Gerlach house.  One of his sons, John, stepped out of the car weeping.  He asked me, 'Did you hear the story?  Did you hear?  I'm so proud of him.  My dad died doing what he loved doing most.  He was telling people about Jesus.'
I was asked to share a word with everyone gathered.  There were children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends.  I opened my Bible to Matthew 10:32-33:  "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." 
I asked everyone to imagine what it must have felt like for Stan.  One moment, he was at a memorial service saying to a crowd, "This is who Jesus is!"  The next, he was before God hearing Jesus say, "This is who Stan Gerlach is!"  One second he was confessing Jesus; a second later, Jesus was confessing him!  It happens that quickly.  And it could happen to any of us.  In the words of Stan Gerlach, "Are you ready?"


Patty Sisk said...

Wow. How convicting your whole post is.

Langleys Mom said...

What an awesome example...thanks for sharing! So great talking with you this week!