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As you may know, I’m seeking to spearhead discipleship of the men in our Gap Year program (9 months for 18-20 year olds).  Currently I’m in Cambodia with the men of Gap N.  Early on, my co-leader Raf and I gave them some things to ponder, and agreed that if we were asking them to do these things, we should also participate.

First we asked, “What would you want the world to look like in 100 years, in part because you lived?” 

Then they were to write what could hopefully be their honest eulogy if they lived at least another 50 years. 

I didn’t expect this draft to yield an answer they’d lean on for the rest of their lives, but rather to start a habit of developing vision bigger than they could currently map. Nonetheless, the results were encouraging, mostly focusing on the Lord, making His name outshine their own, and leaving an impact beyond their years.

They’re truly a great group of men that I’m honored to journey with. Thank you so much to all of you that have partnered with me in this work so far, and to all those that one day might.

As for me… here it is, the type of eulogy that I’d hope my children could honestly read at least 50 years from now… Lord willin.  

Hopefully, it will encourage you to consider something similar. 


“…Whether you’re here to honor the life of our father, or to support someone deeply affected by his passing, the fact that you’re here is like a mirror, reflecting the goodness he sought to reflect to the world; the goodness and kindness of the Father, the loving-obedience of the Son, and the responsiveness and guidance of the Spirit…

Dad would say ‘Everyone dies. You might as well live until then.”

And our dad certainly lived. 

It didn’t always look like what others thought it should, or even could… but he did live.

How did he do it?

He knew the word of God.  

He knew that he who would save his life would lose it, but, more importantly perhaps, that he who would lose his life for the sake of Christ would gain it. But… he wasn’t just a hearer of the word, but a doer also.

He refused to throw ‘religion’ under the bus, but rather, tried to live a religion ‘pure and undefiled before God… to care for widows and orphans in their affliction AND to keep one’s self unstained from the world.’

He didn’t want to let his care for widows or orphans serve as justification for slacking in  holiness, nor did he want his zeal for holy behavior be viewed as a sufficient replacement to the Lord’s command to care for widows and orphans.  He’d seen and felt the dangers both personally and in the body when either of those two took place.

Dad would to say that one of his jobs was to deliver adoption notices to a world living like orphans. He spent his life doing that and trying to train up others for the same work.

How did he do it? 

He knew the word of God.  

He knew the value of taking every thought captive and making it submissive to Christ.  He tasted the fruit of being transformed through the renewing of his mind, and not hoarding the initial or renewed mind he’d been blessed with.

Again, he was not merely a hearer of the word, but a doer also; a man who went beyond his default personality, even to the point of creating spreadsheets to track progress in life rhythms he thought vital to cultivating the fruit of self-control in his life. And when harvested, he would eagerly take the seeds of that fruit to plant and cultivate it in the lives of others. 

He developed teachings, videos, blogs, and books. He mastered the art of the one on one conversation, sharing the wisdom your situation called for… and even if it took 10… or 50… or 73 times… would remind you of truth encouraging you to live accordingly. He’d never abandon you because of your ineffectiveness to activate a helpful change.

That patience and hope was fueled by a belief that we’re all just a certain number of decisions away from being one of the best or worst people we could imagine; and it was that belief, in part, that kept him leveled, and helped him not take himself so seriously.  

But despite his patience, by no means did he want to compromise on the truth as far as he could understand it, even if it was unreasonable. 

In fact, one of his favorite quotes was, The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.’  to which our father would add his own twist, ‘and life is full of unreasonable men and women bending the world to fit them… and to what end?  … It’s all the more reason for an army of God’s men and women to be more unreasonable with the disbursement of the love, kindness, grace, mercy, and truth of God.’

Our dad used to say, ‘Everyone lives with purpose, but if you don’t live on purpose, it will always stay hidden.’ and he’d add, ‘beware of the counterfeit purposes the flesh and world will try to get you to spend your life on… but only the purpose of the loving heavenly Father will save you from living a bankrupt life.

And again he’d remind us of the importance of living informed by the mind transformed.

That might be a nice thought, but our father actually lived on purpose, and it was no counterfeit. Not only that, but he had such hope for others to do the same. Knowing that faith was the evidence of things hoped for, but not yet seen; he looked at the Lord’s work in his own life as evidence of what could be in the lives of others.  

He knew faith in Christ had been instrumental in moving the mountains of fear and insecurities to make room for mountains of courage, and had empowered him to move the mountain of his default laziness to make room for a life lived on purpose, but not just any purpose, God’s purpose.

Our father believed that we are, as the Word says, ambassadors for Christ, who he would affectionately call ‘the King of Kindness,’ which he would remind us was different than being nice.

You might be nice out of self-preservation, but kindness was more driven by truth and genuine care for a person, over their opinion of you, and because they might have a different view of truth, kindness was more likely to leave you rejected than being nice. 

He would say ‘you can be spineless and nice, but to be an ambassador of the King of Kindness you’re going to have to develop some depth; the kind of depth only discovered in the shadow of the majesty of that King.’ 

To be kind you’d have to develop humble confidence in sometimes unpopular truth; To remain kind you’d have to develop a patience, hope, and joy purified of entitlement by disappointment and pain, mourned in the care of that same King, for blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

…And dad remained kind to the end…

The fullness of this arena is evidence of it.

We saw him be kind to strangers and to many of you.  

We saw him love, cherish, honor, and be kind to our mother all of our days, and we felt safety in the assurance of their love. He would say ‘I’ve got an eternity of love for your mother, and the good Lord saw fit to challenge me to try to squeeze it all into under 75 or so years’

… and, even with his shortcomings, he was largely up to the challenge.

As for us, we felt that kindness in such rich ways, that we now desire to be ambassadors of the same king, at whatever cost. 

But it’s one thing to want something, and it’s another to get it.  

Our dad sought to attain what might have previously been unique, but he never meant to keep it that way. 

As he once wrote, ‘If the corners and pieces of the Kingdom of God that we explore are trapped in our skin, their benefit to the world is no stronger than our will power, no more impenetrable than the yellow lines in the middle of the road, and no more long-lasting than the breath in our lungs… such things should not be true of something so great as even a fragment of the Kingdom of God.’

He knew all sorts of people wanted to be a man or woman of God, but there were a number of things that would get in the way. He wanted a relentless desire for that to reside in you, and especially in us, because he knew that’s what it would take. 

And so he showed us the joy of what could be, while not shying away from his inadequacies, so that even though we might think he was a special man, we could be assured that the real ‘secret sauce’ was neither personality nor intellect; neither any other gifting or character trait.  

It was one thing; the combined mysterious, yet attainable, mercy, grace, goodness, kindness, love, wisdom, and majesty of his King.

And though you might not even be listening to this…Thanks dad, you helped us find our citizenship sooner than most in a kingdom ruled by the same King that you lived and died for…

The King of Kindness.

Our dad also liked jokes, and he’d want us to seal up our seriousness with a bit of potentially twisted levity.

Knock Knock 

(Who’s there?)…

Not Dad”


Best wishes.

Stay Classy and Be Blessed… if ya want.