A friend and ministry mentor of mine died a couple of weeks ago. Dave had been sick for awhile, but it still was a surprise to hear the news that he had passed away.
I said Dave was a mentor for me. He was more than that. He was one of my Bible college professors and preached the sermon at my ordination.
Dave died on Sunday, March 22. As I contemplated what Max Lucado calls the "applause of heaven" that Dave is surely receiving, four of us from our church attended a ministry conference in Redmond at the end of that week.
The conference was at Overlake Christian Church, a mega-church if there ever was one.
As Joni and I made the long walk through the huge parking lot to our first day of conference classes on Friday, March 27, we heard what sounded like applause.
I thought maybe there was a surprise concert that morning or something.
But the source of the applause became abundantly clear as I walked up to the entrance.
The foyer was lined on both sides with volunteers from the church applauding and giving high fives to the conference attendees as they made their way in that morning.
What a great way to start the day. In fact, applause greeted us all when we left the building each day of the conference.
Now it was nothing like the applause Dave is receiving, but it was great to get just a small sample of it so soon after his passing.
One of the many extra benefits from the conference this year is that I received some free children's ministry magazines.
The other day I read in one of the magazines the poem below by Chas Singer. It brought me back to that theme of applause.
It's a timely poem with Easter coming up in just a few days.
The poem flat out reminds you why you serve the Lord.
Here's the poem:
When your labor seems
Exceptionally long and difficult
And no one seems to notice
When you begin to wonder
If it's all worth it
And are tempted to quit
Just find a place alone
Very quiet and still
Listen with your heart
And with Your spirit
And you will hear it
Of nail-scarred hands.