I received a text yesterday morning that I knew would come. I was not ready for it. I don’t believe any of us were ready for it. The Pastor of my heart and under whose ministry I have had the most spiritual growth, has gone on home. My heart is sad, but my heart is full… full of many things. The world lost a truly great man yesterday, although you won’t see it splayed over all the world news channels. He was not famous, other than to those that loved him. He was not a world traveler, as his ministry was to his church – his people and his local community; but first and foremost, his service was to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
From a post that I wrote back in April of 2018:
This Pastor was someone that was there twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. He saw us through so much throughout the years. Our walk together has been a blessing that I treasure. It was fun and, at times frustrating, emotional and joyful; but most of all it was fulfilling, encouraging and cemented by a solid strength that helped me grow spiritually. Through it all, he was there … leading by example; which, after all, is what we all should be doing. One of the things he taught me was to serve where you see the need, which I feel that I am doing currently. God led me to work with a church that is in a growth process and needs strong, Christian workers. I love where I am serving but I have felt so conflicted over the past couple of years, especially the past few months, when I just wanted to be close to my friend. I truly believe he was one of the very few who understood what I was doing. I was “going out to serve,” as he had taught me.
There are preachers, teachers and pastors that lead the church. Preachers are amazing and can bring about such positive change. Church leaders as teachers are so necessary, especially in these perilous days when we need to hear Truth. But pastors, they are special, and not every preacher or teacher can be a good pastor. If you are blessed, though, you get one that is a preacher, teacher and pastor all in one. They are the ones that make a difference in the day-to-day, people-to-people life of the Church and the Church Body. They are the ones that are there with you through the good and bad times, at the birth of a child, the death of a parent and all those precious moments in between.
This pastor was absolutely all three, preacher, teacher pastor… and add to that friend. He completed his life journey yesterday. It had been a tough road the past few years. He had fought a valiant physical fight through those years. It never caused him to lose his spiritual focus, which was to tell others about his best friend, Jesus. I am not saying he was a perfect man, he had his flaws just as all other humans do. The one thing is that he never failed to tell people about Jesus, no matter the reception. You would never be out with him that he did not tell someone about Jesus. Through all kinds of situations and in all places, you could hear him asking others about their day, encouraging them, asking them if he could pray for them, or simply telling them about his very best friend, Jesus. That is what he would want me to tell you about. So I will!
God created a perfect world. He loved His creation. Then, through the disobedience of man, God’s created beings, sin came into that perfect world. God, as the Creator, was the only One that could redeem His creation. Over two thousand years ago, a season in time came to be when Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, God in the flesh, was born as a tiny babe. (Christianity.com has a very good article about how Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies of the much looked for Messiah. Of course the better place to read this is in the Bible itself.) He lived a sinless life. At the age of about thirty, He began His earthly ministry. Jesus was abandoned by His followers, tortured and crucified to death. This He did deliberately, giving up His life freely. He was buried in a borrowed tomb that was heavily guarded by Roman soldiers. Then, as He had promised His followers, He arose from that grave on the third day. “Why,” you ask, “would He do this, go through this?” Ah, the reason… Love. He did it for you, His beloved creation! He did it for me also, of which I am eternally thankful. The thing is, He gave His life as redemption for the sin of the whole world. This same Jesus will come into your life. God is Spirit. You come to Him in spirit. Confess to Him that you realize you are a sinner. Tell Him that you believe that Jesus is His Son, that He came to this earth to redeem you. Tell Him that you will turn away from a sinful life and follow the teachings of Jesus. Then find a local, Bible-believing church and become involved with the fellowship of the Church.
Here is an excellent website that can give you additional information about making Jesus Christ YOUR best Friend! PeaceWithGod.net
I truly wish I could share the Gospel of Jesus as boldly as my pastor. He has taught us that not everyone will have that boldness. He told us that we are to share the Gospel of Jesus in the way that we are gifted… just get out there and do it! I feel that one of my gifts is the written word. I try to teach and encourage and tell about the love of Jesus within my writing. My pastor inspired me to serve where I am and with the abilities that I have. I will miss him greatly. I will really miss touching base with him most days with a hello and a scripture. Those are precious memories that will be forever treasured and the legacy of faith and service he left with us will be felt by many, some throughout eternity.
(As my niece called him when she was little) Uncle-Brother-Pastor- Preacher Ronnie, I love you and will see again!
As you pray, please remember the family, friends and church of my Preacher, Teacher, Pastor and Friend.
In loving memory of Reverend Ronnie Arnold. (See his Obituary)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
“In reply Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again'” (John 3:3).
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” (John 14:6).
“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame'” (Romans 10:9-11).
“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).