When Jesus died, the disciples found themselves sad, confused, frustrated, and feeling like they lost their leader. Even though Jesus told them that he would die and rise again three days later, they didn’t feel ready for his departure. They all grieved the loss of their friend and they did it in different ways.
As Life’s Journey continues to grieve the loss of our friend, Pastor Rod, we can be encouraged by the disciples’ story.
You will continue to hear that we must all pray for wisdom and trust that the Holy Spirit will show us a way forward and remind us of all the things Jesus taught just as Jesus promised the Spirit would do. This is what the first disciples learned to do. They walked, face to face with Jesus Christ, but they too had to learn to trust that God is good and that he is always in control. Rod’s death offers us the choice to implode with sadness or to hold on tighter to Jesus and learn more of what this life’s journey is all about. Since there is now a void in the full time pastoring of this church, it’s time for all of us to be willing to disciple one another, to step out and stretch our faith as God works through all of us during this time.
Scripture references: John 20:1-14, 19, 26; John 21; Matthew 26:31-35
When the Israelites left Egypt they were a people united with a common vision and following one leader – Moses. The first time in some four hundred years, the people of God were a people with renewed purpose and led by one, chosen leader. Moses led God’s people for nearly four decades and he was the first dedicated leader than many of them ever had. And then he died.
After he died, God spoke a wonderful truth about Moses. God called him “My servant”. The people found themselves without a leader, yet God held the plan and God wanted the Israelites to continue with the vision he gave them through Moses.
The Life’s Journey congregation may feel like a people without a shepherd, but we are reminded that God is the leader and he is the true shepherd. As Life’s Journey begins the process of finding a new senior pastor, we know that God is with us where ever we go. Be encouraged as Casey reminds us that God sets the vision and we will continue with purpose, strength and courage if we are willing to listen and move just as Joshua and the Israelites learned.
On January 22, 2018, Pastor Rod Benner left this world for his eternal home with Jesus. His Christian family at Life’s Journey Christian Fellowship grieve with the thousands of other people who came to know Rod during his long life and ministry. The grief is mixed with joy because although we lost a mentor, spiritual father, brother, and a friend, we know we will see him again in glory in the life to come. We know this because we know Jesus.
We can rejoice in sadness not only because of where Rod is now (and Who he is now with), but we can rejoice because of the life and example Rod showed us. In teaching thousands of people who Jesus is, Rod lived a noble and worthy example of who Jesus is. As a friend of Rod’s wrote, “Thank you for saying yes to Jesus and never looking back. Thank you that you refused to let bitter people make you small; that pain didn’t break you; that darkness couldn’t dim your light and fear didn’t hid your love. Thank you for loving without reservation; in a reckless almost boyish way you displayed the “can’t help myself” love of Jesus. Thank you for loving us without an agenda. Thank you for your commitment to reaching the world one soul at a time; to see as Jesus saw, to hear as Jesus heard, and to do as Jesus did. Thank you for not condoning, not condemning but being filled with compassion. Yours is a life to to be honored and imitated; lived with passion and integrity in pursuit of the heart of God. Only heaven knows the full impact of your life and it’s mark in eternity. One thing is sure, the best is yet to come!”
Be sad with us, but rejoice with us too. As Rod would have wanted you to, get to know the Jesus he called friend and Lord. Rod led a life worthy of the Master’s praise, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Rod’s funeral will be held on Saturday, January 27, at 10 AM at the Colstrip High School (gym) in Colstrip, MT.
When you feel you are surrounded by the enemy, open your eyes and see that God surrounds the enemy!
When a servant came to the prophet Elisha and cried out in fear because the enemy army had the city surrounded, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes.” The servant then saw horses and chariots of fire on the hills surrounding the enemy.
Whether your enemy is a group of people threatening physical harm or the fear of shame and rejection, turn to God and look at the situation through his eyes. God wants you to know that he chose you and had a plan for you before the foundation of the world and that Jesus is for you.
In Pastor Rod’s last sermon, he reminds us that God is big and Christ is powerful. God is forgiving, God is powerful, God is in control, and God is love. He loves you. He will uphold you. He cares for you.
Open your eyes and see the presence of God around you and know, when Jesus is your master, the power of Jesus lives inside you. When you know what God wants you to know, you’ll see what God wants you to see.