One of the things I do with some degree a regularity is attend and participate in funeral/memorial services. Having participated in over 200 and attended several others, you could say I have spent a lot of time in somber places. Tomorrow I will be a participant in the memorial service of a pastor colleague. His name was John Bouldrey, he was from Ohio and went to Olivet Nazarene University, he pastored the majority of his ministry in the state of Missouri. His last pastorate was in Indiana and it was in a small church in a little town. Nothing I have just said about John does justice to describing who he was or how he lived. John was a leader, he was a part of the denominational leadership team when he lived in Missouri. John was a friendly, kind, servant leader. Once while visiting him at church, he sang a special and I realized he had an outstanding singing voice. He loved his people, he was a shepherd and the impact of his life and ministry will only be fully known when we get to heaven. John, experienced disappointment and heartache and grief like all in the human family. He lost his first wife. He later married Mary Jane and she became the love of his life as well. We are keeping Mary Jane and the family in our prayers. Grief is a powerful emotion. We become overwhelmed by the loss. Our hope as believers is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because He lives we too shall live.
John’s quiet confidence had a great impact on all who knew him. He was your friend from the moment he met you. As I reflect back on his life I believe John is a person worth emulating. I always felt better about myself and life after spending time with John. He had the gift of being encourager even when he was not saying words. You knew he cared about you. I would like to follow his example. He was always smiling and he had a positive influence on me.
His last pastorate was a small church, yet he was not a small person. He always had big plans and big dreams. Like John I do not want to be limited by where I serve, but I want to be the shepherd Jesus wants me to be right where I am today.
John did not prepare for death the day his health started to fail. He prepared a long time ago, when he became a Christian. Now, make no mistake Christians grieve, but we grieve differently. The Bible explains the difference, we grieve as ones having hope. Our hope is that death is not the end! It is the beginning! Death is not permanent it is only temporary. As believers we really believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything. Including our lives and our deaths.
John recently heard what we all long to hear, “Well done Child of God, well done.”