O Death…

1Co 15:50-58 KJV  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.  (51)  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  (52)  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  (53)  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  (54)  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  (55)  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  (56)  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  (57)  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (58)  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

The first official casualty of 9/11 was a Franciscan brother whose calling was to minister to everyone in New York City – from the homeless to the mayor. Father Mychal Judge was a chaplain to the NYC Fire Department.

Father Mychal Judge

Upon arriving at the scene of the 9/11 tragedy, Mayor Giuliani asked him to pray for the victims. He started outside and then moved into the WTC North Tower Lobby to reach for more victims there. As the South Tower collapsed, debris crashed into the North Lobby windows, striking Father Mychal Judge and killing him as he prayed aloud. NYC Policeman, Bill Cosgrove, found his body, and he and other firefighters carried him out of the North Tower propped up in a chair. A photographer from Reuters snapped the picture that has been called the “essence” of the rescue effort of 9/11.

Bill Cosgrove makes this statement, “… The only reason I am here, today, is because of him. I know that sounds weird, but everybody you see in that picture was saved. And I’m sure had he not been there I would have been trying to look for other people and when that North Tower fell I would have been right in the middle of it just like the rest of the firemen were and some of my cops. But nothing was going to happen that day. At least to me…”

At his funeral, his dear friend and Franciscan brother, Michael Duffy, was Mychal Judge’s choice to speak the homily, or funeral message.

According to Father Michael Duffy, Judge’s job was to minister to the thousands that came through his world – an impossible task for sure. Yet, with the thousands of fire fighters he felt his job was to take them up to the point of death, making sure they were ready to meet their maker. The rest was up to the individual to be prepared for the moment of death.

At the close of his message, Michael Duffy uttered these faithful words.

  • We come to bury…
    • His body, but not his spirit
    • His voice, but not his message
    • His hands, but not his good works
    • His heart, but not his love

A poem by CT Studd called “Only One Life” makes this opening stanza declaration:

“Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way;

Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

As with no other national leader of the Apostolic Movement have I felt so saddened by the passing of Bishop Kenneth F. Haney. Upon hearing the news last Thursday, 11/10/11, I have been in a thoughtful and sensitive frame of mind – and mood.

Bishop Haney was only 18 years older than I, a young man. He and Joy Haney had just celebrated 50 years of marriage. In my calculation of time, there were still many more years, if not decades, for Bishop Haney to carry on his Apostolic Torch and Leadership for Apostolics everywhere.

On the morning of 11/10, I sat at my computer and wrote a “memorial” to Bishop Haney. It says so much better the thoughts I have of his life, and example, than I could possibly share with you to today.

That morning I began to collect memorials from others who perhaps knew him closely as a friend, colleague, family member, or peer. Primarily Tweets, these 140 character message speak depth and volume with only these few words.

Perhaps you would indulge me a little time to share a few of them with you.

  • StephenieHaneyMontes (@StefHaneyMontes) 11/10/11 8:37 AM My daddy the 5 star general is in heaven….His legacy will carry on.
  • Joel Urshan (@joelurshan) 11/10/11 5:42 AM If you’re not living the legacy you’re trying to leave, you will not have left a legacy, but a fallacy.
  • Raymond Woodward (@raymondwoodward) 11/11/11 7:20 AM KENNETH HANEY, Soldier of the Cross. Grandparents received Holy Ghost at Azusa Street. Departed battle yesterday. HOME.
  • Art Hodges III (@AHodges3) 11/10/11 9:30 AM Will greatly miss my ‘birthday-buddy’ & former racquetball partner @KFHaney ~ the visionary Gen Supt who led the UPCI into the 21st Century!
  • Jerry Jones (@jerryjjones) 11/10/11 4:11 PM Deeply saddened by the loss of one of the best men I have known, Kenneth Haney. Visionary, revivalist, Christian. See you again, Bishop.
  • Carlton Coon (@HMDIR) 11/10/11 12:10 PM Honor to Kenneth Haney! A man of vision and imagination who had a heart for bigger things. I will ever value my “one on one” times with him.
  • Darrell Johns (@DarrellJohns) 11/10/11 11:02 AM Mourning & celebrating the passing of Bishop Haney. Unparalleled in vision & purity of purpose. Oh, for a thread of his mantle to fall on me
  • Shay Mann (@ShayMann) 11/10/11 10:41 AM Saddened by the LOSS, but so inspired by the LIFE of @KFHaney. Grateful for the influence of his unparalled passion for Apostolic revival!
  • dannie hood (@DannieHood) 11/10/11 10:23 AM Kenneth Haney: a true man of God who took the visionary step first & then thought about the cost; a life of sacrifice never 2 b forgotten.
  • Aaron Soto (@RevASoto) 11/10/11 9:39 AM  – He showed us how to grow a church to thousands, how to give millions, how to serve one Master. Thank you for the gift of example.
  • James Blackshear (@jamesblackshear) 11/10/11 5:29 PM Bishop not only loved, but better yet believed in young preachers. He believed we would see the Revival he preached of.

On any of these memorials I could stop and preach for a while, but let me share with you this simple thought in two simple parts:

How will you be remembered in Death?

  • I read a blog just this morning, an open letter to all Corporate Leaders that called on them to have the vision and the activity of someone like Steve Jobs. He asked this question, “Will we cry when you die?” It is not that others should weep at our passing, yet there should be a vacuum that cannot be easily filled by another. It is not only that you have corporately prepared your replacement, but that you strive to help keep your gap filled with a successor plan.
  • Upon preparing to battle cancer, author Bruce Feiler called together several friends, men that would step in and fill a portion of his shoes to be the men in the life of his young twin daughters. He prepared for his death in a way I wish that I would.

How do you want to be remembered in Death?

  • A legacy left is not one of great wealth, or corporate respect. No, a legacy is left when those you have touched through your life rise up and give you honor in your death!
  • The Apostle Paul left behind churches in many different cities and countries, converts that called him their spiritual father, letters of instruction that have been circulated through the centuries, and a hope for the life after this.
    • Yet, at his waning moments of life, he charges young Timothy with these final words:
      • 2Ti 4:1-8 KJV  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2)  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (3)  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4)  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (5)  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (6)  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. (7)  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (8)  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
      • The phrase, “I am now ready” uttered in the ancient Greek tongue leaves us with the idea that Paul was Willing To be Offered to Death. Even though he had done so much, and had even much more to give, he was ending his life trusting in those that he had passed to the torch to…
        • Preach the word! Be Instant in Season, out of season, Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort