One year ago today, Pastor Rod Benner preached his last sermon. The previous year saw Rod survive through a massive heart attack and then God’s amazing, wondrous healing power in Rod’s life. Still recovering from the months of rehab and doctors’ visits, Rod entered the pulpit on Sunday morning, January 21, 2018, to preach as if he had many, many more Sundays ahead of him. This sermon now stands as the perfect farewell sermon from a pastor who changed the lives of so many.
This sermon is worth remembering not only because it contains an encouraging message, but it is yet another example from Rod Benner of how to live the Christian life well. Rod could have retired once the heart attack hit. He could have decided it was God’s way of telling him to stop. He could have quit, but instead he kept serving and fulfilling the call of God on his life. Rod and Sherry were able to watch their years of training and development paid off as the people of Life’s Journey Christian Fellowship continued to be a team and continued on with the vision and mission the Benners helped us form. Rod always had his focus on today with a look to the future. To Rod, life was not measured by what happened yesterday but by what Jesus is doing today.
If you couldn’t see God’s purpose yesterday, today is the day to receive new vision. If you didn’t feel God’s love yesterday, today is the day to receive it. If you didn’t know Jesus yesterday, today is the best time to meet your new best friend.
Be encouraged by the legacy of Rod Benner, so well summarized in his last sermon “Supernatural Sight”.
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.