Tuesday, March 20, 2007

He Is In The Presence Of The Lord

Sergeant John O'Neil (LASD, Centurion Fellowship) was ushered into the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, on Friday, March 16, at approximately 1415 hours. John's wife, Cindy, and their two adult children, Sean and Lindsay, were joined by family and friends at John's bedside, as he began his eternal life with our great God and King.

I count it a great honor and privilege to have known John in this life; and I look forward to seeing him in the life to come. John was a man who loved the Lord deeply, who loved his wife and children passionately and sacrifically, who cherished prayer and fellowship, and who deeply cared for other people. I knew John to be not only a gentleman, but a gentle man. My one regret is that I did not meet John sooner than I did. But thanks be to God that I was blessed to call John my friend, my brother in Christ, and my brother behind the badge.

John and his family have taught me a great deal over the last several years. They have served as godly examples of faith, worship, prayer, courage, peace, and love. While I am sure they all experienced moments of fallibility during the long ordeal now graciously at an end, if they ever showed such human fraility in my presence I cannot remember, because it was utterly overshadowed by the obvious fruits of the Spirit so often exhibited in their lives.

While I was not blessed with the honor of being at John's bedside when he went home, I did experience the love, warmth, care, and worship that enveloped John and filled his room the day prior to his home going. Yes, many tears were shed that day. But the sorrow was for one another--the family and many friends John would leave behind. Thoughts of John, on the other hand, were filled with joy and anticipation, because we were all supremely confident about John's destination--heaven.

Never a somber song played on the stereo. Only worship music filled the air. And it wasn't long before the music coming from the stereo served merely as background vocals for the voices of the people singing in the room. The Bible's command to pray without ceasing was not only believed, but obeyed. Throughout the day people could be seen (if not also heard) praying, both inside and outside John's room. In a day and age when "church" can mean so many different things--many of which are unbiblical, the Book of Acts was alive and well in John's room. The Body of Christ could be seen as it should be seen--living as it should live, worshiping as it should worship, caring as it should care, and loving as it should love.

Please join me in continuing to pray for Cindy, Sean, and Lindsay, and John's extended family. Pray for all of those who have been impacted by John's life, faith, courage, and physical death. Pray for the many seeds planted in the hearts and minds of unbelievers who knew John and who may now be asking significant questions about their own mortality. Pray that every Christian who knew John will follow in his evangelistic footsteps--using John's gallant fight and entrance into eternity as an occasion to present the Law and the Gospel with lost and dying souls. May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified in it and through it all.

John is in the presence of the Lord, now. As Cindy and I mused more than once the other day, since "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," we will see John "in just a minute."

See you in a minute, my brother.

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