Wednesday, October 10, 2007

From Pastors and co-Workers

This area is for pastors and co-workes who have served with Jim over the years. Click the "From Pastors and Co-Workers" link to add your note or letter. Please add your mailing address and email at the bottom if you wish.


Rick Hurley said...

Dear Jim,

You are a great man who has been greatly used by God. Your love for Christ and His church continues to encourage and inspire me in my ministry. Just as you used to quote Wilbur I quote Jim Tozer. Your wisdom and ability to see clearly under pressure have been guides to me.

Thank you for all that you taught me, for your patience and willingness to let me "grow up" under your tutelage. My days at Covenant were rich and fulfilling because of your leadership.

You have fought the good fight, your legacy lives on and I am forever grateful that God allowed me to work under you and minister with you.

Jim, a sign in your office said "With sustained enthusiasm you can accomplish anything." You have had a sustained enthusiasm for the promise of God in Christ Jesus. Hang on to that glorious promise as you enter into the joyous rest of Christ.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rick Hurley

Hoyt A. Byrum said...

Jim -I rejoice that your suffering is over and your reward is realized. I know Jesus welcomed you with the words we all want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." In 1971 you invited me to help re-direct Covenant's stewardship ministry and your trust in me overwhelmed me. Four years later you extended to me the privilege of joining your staff and I served Christ by your side for the next thirteen years.

My life has been given to the church and it has been my greatest joy. If it weren't for Dr. James R. Tozer, God's purpose for my life would have been lost. I admire you most for your love for the Word of God.

Only a few months ago you called me and we had a blessed conversation. You knew things were not good but your spirit was as usual, trusting in God's soverign will. We told each other how much we loved and appreciated each other and that conversation was one of the most meaningful moments of my life. Thank you for your reaching out to me and for extending yourself on my behalf. It evidenced to me your obedience to God's prompting and it makes this difficult moment for me so much more bearable.

May God extend His blessing to your precious family in this time of sorrow. Thank you Jesus for gracing our lives with the opportunity to be mentored by Dr. James R. Tozer. To God be the glory!

Hoyt A. Byrum

Stan ott said...

James R. Tozer
August 9, 1930 – October 13, 2007

Remarks by Rev. Dr. E. Stanley Ott
Memorial Service
Covenant Presbyterian ChruchOctober 17, 2007

W. Lafayette, IN

John 14 says, “Trust God, trust also in me,” and Psalm 100, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.” It would be a challenge to find two verses in all of Scripture that Jim loved more, embraced and embodied more, and affirmed more.

The first words we may hope our Lord Jesus says to us when we are before him face to face will be the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of your master!” I think those were the second words Jim heard and that the first word Jesus said to Jim was “Fantastic!” And Jim likely responded with the same word.

Jim Tozer led a fantastic, wonderful, marvelous life. To know Jim has been to know the most contagiously enthusiastic and encouraging person any of us have ever known. He loved Jesus -- he loved life! He so deeply loved you Vivian, Lynn, Bob, Laura, Rebekah, Anna, David and Beth. He loved you and me. He lived his life with joy, and we will always remember him with joy.

Jim was born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, to A.G. and Esther Tozer. A.G. was himself a Presbyterian pastor. The heart Jim had for preaching and for the pastoral care of people is something he clearly learned from his early years. A.G. and Esther had a heart for pulling people in who were on the fringes of congregational life. They lived in Waukegan, Illinois, and during the war years Jim’s parents every Sunday hosted for lunch some twenty sailors who were preparing for war. At an early age Jim received his people eyes -- the eyes of Jesus for people who need his word of hope.

I remember when I was visiting Jim and Vivian up at their Glen Lake home; Vivian told us we had twenty minutes until dinner. Jim said, “Let’s take a walk!” As we walked down the street he stopped by each house to tell me who lived there and concerns that each home was encountering. When the twenty minutes were nearly up, I started looking at my watch. As you know Jim could be a “tad” conscientious about a schedule, but he was only interested in talking about people. His life was about Jesus and people.

Jim attended Lake Forest College for his undergraduate degree and followed in his father’s footsteps earning his Master of Divinity degree at McCormick Theological Seminary where he won preaching honors. That is no surprise to any of us as he became easily one of the finest preachers of his day. Later he was to earn a Ph.D. from Northwestern in the field of Intellectual History during the era of the death of God theology. Jim stood virtually alone among the disbelief of the faculty and student body of that time.

One of the impressive things about Jim is that he not only studied the intellectual greats of theological history, he became one in his own right. His own scholarship from his wonderful books on the dynamics of a disciple-making church and the Christian life, his fiction book Tales of Manitou, a dozen books or more of sermons, and his continuing writing after retirement were all a tribute to his conviction that the Christian faith has intellectual integrity that can stand successfully against any other philosophy or religion. A hunger to master and to respond to God’s Word became the dominating feature of Jim’s life. He memorized passages of the Bible until rather recently. What he preached he had already taken into his own heart and life.

After Jim graduated from McCormick, he became the assistant pastor of the Northminster Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. He often quoted the pastor there, Wilbur Closterhouse, who liked to speak about a “third way.” When Jim and his leadership team faced innumerable decisions where neither alternative course of action seemed to be correct, he would start to run his fingers through his hair and quote Wilbur and say, “There has to be a third way!” Then he would work with his team to find it.

While Jim was the assistant minister of Northminster he gave a seminar for the Presbytery on Junior High youth work. At that time, Vivian happened to be a Junior High worker from First Church who came to the seminar. After the meeting, participants were standing together praying and someone’s necklace broke spilling beads all over the floor. Jim remembers hearing a calm voice saying, “Everything is okay,” as she carefully helped pick up the beads. It was Vivian. She liked what she saw and came to his church for a visit. There is a convenient difference in recollection at this point, as Jim claims that she made herself known by entering the church in an elegant dress and seating herself on the front row. Vivian denies that any such thing happened. Vivian, my guess is that you are correct in “fact” and Jim was correct in “memory.”

Wilbur Closterhouse, told Jim to make sure that he made a call on each visitor to the church while he was away. Jim quickly followed Wilbur’s instructions. The chemistry was certainly there and the rest is history. I have a copy of an old letter sent to Jim by Ray Bowden, then of McCormick Seminary, in which Ray wrote, “I congratulate you as a good friend, Jim. Ever since you stole my junior high advisor at First Church in Indianapolis to be your bride, I have been an admirer of yours. Anyone with as good judgment as you had about Vivian had to be a very special person.”

I remember Jim preached a series on the Christian family when you had been married about sixteen years. In fact if I recall correctly, you (Vivian) preached one of the sermons. In one of those sermons, Jim spoke bout the second week of your honeymoon. It was about three o’clock in the afternoon. Jim was lying on the beach in the sun, and you were under an umbrella. Suddenly, Jim said he had a paralyzing terrifying thought. It was your birthday, and he had forgotten it. As he was to say later, in that single early event, unknown to him at the time, were all of the ingredients of agony and ecstasy in marriage. He bolted straight up and exclaimed, “I forgot your birthday!” People all over the beach started to laugh. He said he never forgot the expression on your face when you said warmly, “That’s okay. It’s been a perfect day just being with you.” This in many ways has been a perfect fifty years.

You have shared in marvelous things from the joy of your children and grandchildren, the challenges and affirmation of growing Covenant, to the wonder of your home at Glen Lake and the wonderful friends there. Then there is the memorable adventure of going to Israel to join an elite group of pastors who met with Menachem Begin, prime minister of Israel, Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt, and Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan to discuss goals of a peace settlement. Whenever Jim went to a spiritual growth experience such as Explo ’72 in Dallas or to a Christian growth seminar, you went with him. You have shared in relaxing times at Gulf Shores, Alabama, skiing in Vail, the wonder of time at L’Abri in Switzerland and the discovery of the Swiss master sculptor Willy Klopfenstein who made the wonderful statue of the Good Shepherd here in the transept at Covenant.

You shared the adventure of the many tours to Europe that you planned and Jim led. He was such an avid sportsman, and you enjoyed sharing it with him as you were the ultimate paraclete to one another. For over fifty years, you have remained that calm and reassuring voice as Jim ministered so effectively in the public eye. In the dedication page of one of his books, How Not to Be Uptight in an Uptight World, Jim wrote, “To Vivian, my fullest joy and to Lynn and David, our finest blessing” Today he would add Bob, Laura, Rebekah, and Anna!

Lynn, I remember vividly a moment that occurred in the months leading up to your marriage. Jim called me into his office, shut the door, and said that he may need me at the last minute to officiate at your wedding. Now that was a long time before my own children began to be married, and I had no clue then of the emotion that was to saturate those moments. However, I was immensely impressed that your Dad who knew how to control his emotions in very intense public settings was so captivated by the joy of being your proud father. Everyone present at the wedding remembers your Dad in his tuxedo leading you and Bob in your vows with the greatest of joy.

Bob, Jim was extremely pleased that you are in his family. His appreciation of your love for Lynn, your spiritual leadership of your family, church, and professional work were constant themes of conversation when I was with him.

Laura, your grandfather told me about a time he was helping you study for English and the thrill it gave him just to be with you. Rebekah, your grandfather wrote and told me he had been climbing sand dunes with you in Michigan and that he loved time with you. Anna, your grandfather loved the Chicago Cubs, and he loved to watch a whole Cubs game with you talking the whole time. He loved it when you all played wonderful music for him in your home. He wrote me to say his move to Huntsville led to the happiest days of his life.

David, the intensity and immensity of your Dad’s affection and commitment to you and love of being with you is beyond my ability to communicate. Whether following your photography, your interest in cars, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, and all manner of sports with you -- I would say you were his very heart.

In the spring of 1958 Jim was invited to be the founding pastor of a new church here in West Lafayette. On September 17, 1958, there were 243 people at the first worship service held in Burtsfield Elementary School. One week later on September 28th there was a service called “Organization Day.” Jim preached a sermon entitled “In the Beginning,” and Covenant which was yet to be named was under way with all sorts of challenges.

At one point in the construction of Covenant I remember Jim telling me that just as all of the curved wooden arches forming the shape of the roof had been put up, a strong wind came along and blew them all down! Life was one adventure after another.

Covenant matured over the coming decade into a healthy traditional Presbyterian Church. Jim finished his Ph.D. and found himself involved in a variety of community activities from helping Purdue leaders deal with the days of student unrest to joining the Home Hospital Board. Things might have simply continued in this fairly traditional pattern, but God had other ideas.

A small group of three people asked Jim if he would meet with them weekly to study the word and to pray. He said, “I’m too busy,” and given his church and civic responsibilities, he was. They said, “We understand. We are going to pray for you that God’s love and power will be with you.” Jim affirmed them. They prayed for Jim.

A year passed by and Jim said, “I experienced the love and power of God welling up around me. One night I went to meet with them almost out of impulse. Within that fellowship I had profound experiences of God’s power. I vowed to get out of the way and let the unobstructed power of Christ flow into this congregation because the power of God is unlimited.”

Vivian, I know that you and Jim joined that small group. The spiritual renewal of Jim Tozer, Covenant growing to over 2,000 members, and an era of unmatched wonder in many of our lives had begun.

During this time, as Jim has said, he was preaching “closer to the Bible,” meaning his sermons were increasingly in touch with the message of the Good News of Jesus. One Sunday morning after “preaching closer to the Bible,” Jim was greeting people back in the narthex. A Purdue student by the name of Don Fraser came and shook Jim’s hand and said, “Dr. Tozer, something is happening to me, and I don’t know what it is!”

Later, Jim said to me he didn’t know what it was either. Jim was beginning to learn to recognize when God was working in a person’s life, something he became very good at doing. The current directors of Campus Crusade for Christ at Purdue, Alex and Pennie Thompson, happened to hear what Don Fraser said to Jim. Alex and Pennie offered to take Don to Jim’s office until Jim could join them. Then Jim witnessed Alex and Penny lead Don to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Jim was utterly motivated by that experience. As you know when Jim was motivated by something, he would be very motivated to get others involved with him.

He attended the Evangelism Explosion training being offered by James Kennedy in Orlando. The following Sunday as a Purdue graduate student I was driving around West Lafayette looking for K-Mart. I managed to get lost. Instead of finding K-Mart, I drove up in front of Covenant at 11:00 Sunday morning. I thought “Guess I’ll go to church.”

Jim had just returned from the evangelism training and invited people to join his new class on how to share our faith. I responded, and Jim used on me what we learned to call the “with me principle,” -- taking me with him when he visited in the hospitals, not to teach me about visitation, but just to find time in his busy schedule to be together. What exciting times those were. Covenant was growing. Small groups were launching. People were becoming contagiously excited about sharing their faith in Jesus Christ.

In one two-year period worship attendance grew by some thirty percent and with it the need for physical space grew. Plans were drawn up for the Retreat Center. I had just joined the staff at Covenant and was naively unaware of the politics that the new building had spawned. It wasn’t until years later that I was cleaning out a box of old papers that I came across a letter objecting to the construction of the Retreat Center, its cost, and the effort involved. It was signed by a group of substantial members who I then knew had been pillars of the church but who did not understand Jim’s new spirit of renewal. You can imagine how difficult it would be to receive such a letter. Yet Jim never stopped, never wavered, never yielded. He not only preached courage, he was courage. The Retreat Center and many more building expansions were to come as Covenant continued to grow as the early church was described in Acts 16:5, “In faith and numbers daily.”

Jim often said, “Our society is in need of a major spiritual impact. No small influence will do.” He brought all of his vast leadership gifts in utter dependence on the Holy Spirit to be an agent of such a major spiritual impact. He stood for the truth of Scripture in many situations at the seminary, denominational levels, and in countless situations of significant uncertainty in this community.

I have to say the one aspect of Jim’s life that lifted our lives was the intensity of his spirit. He was mighty in spirit. Whether hiking, golfing, skiing, fishing, or beginning some new ministry adventure there was always a “Ye-ow!” Off he would go, and we would go too. Rick reminded me of a sign that used to hang in Jim’s office, “With sustained enthusiasm you can accomplish anything.” Add to that his passion for the words, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and we hear the key to Jim’s enthusiasm.

Jim’s great spirit had a way of drawing exceptionally strong people around him. Community leaders, past presidents of Purdue, and countless remarkable people such as Isabelle Hunt, Bob Pickett, Al Stewart, Edna Spitler, Bob Chalmers, and Emerson Kampen, and so many others. Emerson once wrote him to say, “Jim, I have said to you on many occasions that you would be a very great success in the business world or in any other profession you chose. Fortunately, the Lord chose you to be His messenger…”

Jim drew exceptional theologians around him as well. Elton Trueblood, the great Quaker theologian, was a frequent guest of Jim’s. He once preached a sermon here based on I Chronicles 29 entitled, “God is able to make you great.” Dr. Trueblood wrote to Jim. “To build a congregation from nothing to 1,800 persons is to participate in a work of magnitude.”

Dick Halverson, Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, loved to come and be with Jim and go to Purdue-Notre Dame football games with Emerson Kampen. Robert Shuller invited Jim to be on the Hour of Power. Both men inspired each other to do great things for God.

Early in my own association with Jim he told me to find one or two giants of the Christian faith and to build my own young Christian life and ministry on them. Jim Tozer has been that giant for me. He is my father in the faith, mentor, and dear friend of the heart. He is that for countless others here in this sanctuary, for many around the world, and for many of those who have gone on into the presence of Jesus where Jim has joined them.

In the midst of gratitude for Jim’s life we are fully aware of our grief as well. Jim’s father used to say, “Love is not buried, it is eternal, the gift of the grace of God.” Our love for Jim remains, and Jim awaits us in the presence of Jesus. While we know he is with Jesus, we also miss him and the sound of his voice and his word of affirmation very deeply.

Yet it is in both gratitude for Jim’s life and in the experience of grief that we come to one of the greatest words in the Bible -- the word “grace.” Grace simply, profoundly means God’s gift -- the gift of relationship, forgiveness, and God’s presence bought for us at the expense of the life of Jesus and offered to us through the resurrection of Jesus. Jim Tozer has been a wonderful affirmation of the grace of God -- the gift of God in our lives. Of course God’s greatest affirmation of grace is the gift of Jesus Christ to us.

It’s hard to imagine Jim preaching a memorial for anyone of faith in Jesus without offering the people present the opportunity to commit their own lives to the One who stands among us in his risen power. He used to say, “My greatest joy is to see people of every age come to a deep and dynamic faith in Christ. As they face every adversity, they know all things are possible through Christ."

You may have known Jim deeply or peripherally, but you can know that the same God who so marvelously changed his life is standing ready to change yours as well -- a God whose love covers over your sin and darkness, who literally invites you to begin the shared adventure with him.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, the one who believes in me will live even if he or she die,” which is a way of saying that believing in Jesus -- faith in Jesus is the key that opens heaven’s door. The same Jesus who met Jim in small group moments here at Covenant and in countless other ways, who changed Jim’s life and who will change your life is the Jesus who stands among us right now in His risen power, inviting all of us to renew our commitments to him or to affirm a new first time commitment to Jesus. Nothing you could ever do would bring more joy to Jim Tozer than to learn of your commitment to Jesus.

A few moments ago I quoted from John 14 the words of Jesus to you and to me. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust God, trust also in me. In my father’s house are many living places and if it were not so I would have told you for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am there you may be also.”

Jim Tozer at this very moment is having the greatest experience of his life, a personal face-to-face audience with Jesus. You and I through our own decisive commitments to Jesus are welcome to join that audience at the right time for each of us.

“Lord Jesus, your grace is a most Amazing Grace. May all of the experiences of life, even the moment of death and sorrow serve to draw us closer to you. May we know with full assurance that neither life nor death nor things present nor things to come nor anything else in heaven or on earth can separate us from the love of God. We do open our lives to the person of Jesus Christ, to trust and follow him in a deep dynamic way. We thank for Jim’s life and the joy of people with one another on this special day. Amen”

Mike Honeycutt said...

Remembering Jim Tozer and
Bearing Witness to the Resurrection

Rev. Dr. Mike Honeycutt
Aouthwood Presvyterian Church
Huntsville, AL
Octobert 15, 2007

I first met Reverend Jim Tozer through his sermons. It was about eight years ago, I was staying in the home of Bob and Lynn Frederick and happened to notice a sermon series of his on the shelf. They were solidly biblical, they were delightful to read, and I cannot remember how far into the night I stayed up going through them. That was a nice, quiet way to be introduced to this great man of God, but it didn’t prepare me for meeting Jim in person.

As Bob Frederick, Jim’s son-in-law, has said on many occasions, Jim was indeed a figure larger than life. When he entered a room, people knew he was there, when he left a room, his absence was felt and missed. In part that was because he is a man of such great enthusiasm. You see that in the way he went after life, even as a child.

As a young boy growing up in New Mexico, he lived the life of the characters in The Little Rascals, Our Gang as many of us remember the show to be called. He had a great deal of freedom to roam the wild with his childhood friends and camp out in the wilderness. He also has a scar on one of his ears from those days. Some of his young friends were Mexican girls with earrings; Jim decided he would look nice with an earring; so with a hammer and nail they fixed him…permanently.

Jim had no less enthusiasm when he pursued Vivian, the woman who would become his wife. A woman, I might add who was up for the chase. She first met Jim when, as a young pastor, he spoke at a presbytery meeting Vivian attended. After the meeting, Vivian found out where Jim’s church was, went on Sunday, and let’s just say, “made her presence known”—I believe by sitting in the front row. Jim recognized her and showed up on her doorstep later that week, with the words, “I’m required to call on every new visitor to our church.” Smoothest pick-up line I’ve ever heard.

Jim did nothing half-way. He snowmobiled, he skied. And he had a fishing boat called “The Word” so he could tell his congregation when he was out fishing that he was spending time in the Word. Which was true in both senses. One day, he was drifting in his boat trolling for fish when he drifted close to another boat. The man in the other boat, who was there fishing with his wife, Martha, could see that Jim was reading a book and asked him what he was reading. Jim said "the Bible,” but before he could carry on the conversation, a large bass struck Jim’s line, and as Jim began to reel in the fish, he could hear the man in the other boat say, “Martha, next time bring the Bible.”

Jim’s enthusiasm for life carried over into his ministry, a ministry of extraordinary fruitfulness. He was founding pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in West Lafayette, Indiana. During his 37-years there, the church grew to well over 2,000 members and became nationally known for its vitality and outreach. He’s written significant books on Christ-centered living and discipleship in the local church; he holds four degrees, including a PhD in the History of Christian Thought from Northwestern University; he served his denomination, the Presbyterian Church in the USA at the highest levels, was a member of the Council of Advisors for the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and enjoyed relationships with men like Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the U.S. Senate, Elton True blood of Earlham College, Sinclair Ferguson, R.C. Sproul, and Francis and Edith Schaeffer. He’s also participated, as a Christian leader, in small, private meetings with former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, former Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, and in White House briefings with former President George Bush.

His was a ministry of rare fruitfulness. But it did not begin that way. In fact, as he has expressed from this pulpit, he began ministry as a Presbyterian minister who didn’t know the God he served. He believed in God but did not know him.

In the passage I read moments ago, the writer of the book of Hebrews speaks of a confidence to draw near to God out of a “full assurance of faith” that comes from having our sins washed away by the blood of Christ. When Jim began ministry, he did not have that confidence, he did not have that “full assurance of faith” because he did not have a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ who alone can wash away the guilty stain of our sins.

But God pursued Jim with even more enthusiasm than Jim pursued life. A group of deeply committed followers of Christ invited Jim to join them in a small-group Bible study. Though Jim turned them down, telling them he was too busy, he began to see something in their lives he didn’t have himself. And eventually, through the vitality of their witness to him, and through Jim’s reading of the ministry of Nicky Cruz, known to many because of his book, The Cross and the Switchblade, Jim said yes to Christ, committing himself fully to the One who had first committed himself to Jim on a cross some 2,000 years before.

And once a member of Christ’s kingdom, Jim Tozer became one of the most enthusiastic ambassadors for Christ’s kingdom I have ever known. He wrote only recently these words: “My greatest joy is to see people of every age come to deep and dynamic faith in Christ.” These are not just words, they are a reflection of his life. It would be nearly impossible to be around Jim for even a few hours without being introduced to Christ. He received a letter from a friend’s son not too long ago. He had led this young man to Christ years ago, and in the letter, he said to Jim, “You changed my eternity.” By God’s grace, Jim did that for many, many people. There are people all around the world who have been impacted for eternity because of one man who couldn’t help but let the world know what Christ had done for him.

Jim’s enthusiasm for life became an enthusiasm for eternal life. He helped many embrace eternal life and he helped many of us experience that life more abundantly. Because he was an encourager. Anyone who knew him even for an hour knew that about him and came away from him with a renewed sense of courage to embrace more fully the life Christ has called us to.

In the passage we’re looking at this afternoon, I read this challenge from God to all who would follow Christ: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Jim was a master at encouragement. In a world full of discouragers, Jim left you feeling as though you could conquer the world. He did exactly what we are called to do for each other in this passage, and in doing so, he came as close to the work of the Holy Spirit as anything we can do in God’s family. The very word, encouragement, means to come alongside someone and help them be courageous. The Holy Spirit is called the Helper who comes alongside someone and helps them be courageous. [Swindoll, Grip, 47-8.] In this way, Jim was a constant source of strength for many of you as he has been for me. I never left Jim’s presence without feeling more able to do what God has called me to do and more ready to do that no matter what the cost.

Jim’s last weeks were very difficult for him—physically, emotionally, and yes, even spiritually at times. He loved his family and truly did not want to leave them, and like any of us as we draw near to the utter holiness of God, there were times in his last hours when he cried out again to God for forgiveness. In the end, though, Jim did just what this passage calls us to do—he held “unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised us is faithful.”

During his last weeks, these are some of the verses he memorized and trusted in as he sought to “hold unswervingly to the hope” he had professed so well for so many years:
Philippians 3:21. “He will change our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body.
Romans 7:24. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

2 Corinthians 5:8. “We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
Psalm 13:5. “I have trusted in thy steadfast love. My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 16:11 “You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forever more.”

From spending time with Jim, I would have to say that his greatest pleasure on this earth was his family—his wife, Vivian, of more than 50 years, his son, David, daughter, Lynn, and son-in-law, Bob, and his three granddaughters—Laura, Rebekah, and Anna. He treasured each of you, and he will embrace you again in the land where there are “pleasures forever more.” As Jim held “unswervingly to the hope we profess,” you must do the same in this hour and in the difficult hours ahead, “for he who promised us [indeed] faithful.” We shall certainly, together, “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”