Dying Well

Hey TD,

There are few events like a funeral that can set the vision of our lives straight.  John Piper said this,

I thank God for funerals. Or to put it more personally, I thank God for the ministry of the dying in my life. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints (Psalm 116:15) … I would rather preach at a funeral than at a wedding, not because I love death more than I love marriage, but because the gospel of Christ crucified and risen shines more brightly at a funeral. At a wedding there are so many earthly reasons to feel happy. At a funeral, if the gospel of Christ is not true – if the blood and righteousness of Christ are not sufficient to make us acceptable to God – then there are few reasons to be happy. The effect of death on my life in the ministry has been profound, and I thank God for it and for all those who in their dying taught me so much.”

Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth are literary giants in the world of Christian publishing, and are the literary agents for many of Christendom’s biggest authors, including RC, Ravi, and Joni.  In fact, Bobbie was one of Joni’s best friends … was.  They used to sing hymns together every chance they got … used to.

Bobbie past away last month from a two-year battle with cancer.  I have never seen anyone die so well from cancer as Bobbie did.  The radiance of Christ always came through her, but never so much as these last two years.  She was possessed … by Christ.

My family has had the privilege of knowing the Wolgemuths over the years.  Bobbie even had Daniel and Angela sing with her on stage during one of Joni’s conferences.  They radiate Jesus.  We had a chance to pray with Robert a few days after Bobbie’s passing while we were in Florida last month with Ravi’s ministry, and he was trying to encourage US!  Please pray for his days ahead.

You NEED to watch the portion of the Bobbie’s memorial service above (already queued for you), beginning from her granddaughter singing to the end of her daughters’ eulogy.  It is inpsiring and provides a vision for us on how to live life well daily in Jesus’ presence.

Notes of interest:

– the pianist for her granddaughter is the same pianist that accompanied Bobbie 48 years ago when Bobbie sang the same song, when Robert first saw Bobbie.

– at the very beginning of the service are wonderful paintings she drew (many have hymns woven in)

– world-renowned preacher, Alistair Begg, gives a short but powerful gospel message later in the service – at 1:07:56

– a few weeks before her passing, Robert took video of Bobbie taking a walk in her neighborhood, singing Trust and Obey – at 1:48:53

– Arthur

What if You Are Dying?

Hey TD,

The question in the heading is actually rhetorical, for in reality, every one of us IS dying.  We are one day closer to it everyday.  We ARE dying.  How would you handle a diagnosis that your dying process has been accelerated due to cancer or something similar?  That’s something Sandra and I think about a lot.  Not morbidly, mind you; but realistically.  We have both been experiencing unnatural pains or sensations in our bodies of late that have reminded us of our mortality, especially in light of the consistent and unyielding stream of funerals we’ve attended in recent years.

In Randy Alcorn’s life-changing novel, Safely Home,” the lead character (my hero), Li Quan, constantly asks, “Is this the day that I die?”  He too does not ask it morbidly; just realistically … and biblically.  It’s really a question we ought to be frequently asking.  In Luke 12, God calls out those who don’t think this way, warning them that their lives might be required of them that very night (v. 20).  A few verses later, He instructs, “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.  Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.” (vv. 35-36)

In this video, you hear how Bobbie and Robert Wolgemuth are handling Bobbie’s battle with cancer.  They are good acquaintences of ours and dear friends of Joni and Ken.  The doctors have told them there is nothing more they can do and have stopped all chemo and treatment.  Though very difficult, their lives demonstrate the truth that Jesus makes, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.” (John 14)  I hope you’ll watch soberly, consider your life and calling, and live hard for Him this week! – Arthur