Archive | January, 2013


26 Jan

A mentor of mine once told me that funerals would get easier as I continued in my Pastoral career.

I don’t think he could have been more wrong.

When it’s someone that you had built a great relationship with, someone that you enjoyed spending time with, someone that was just a great man, then it’s especially hard.

Gordon Burrell was one of those people.

Gordon Minton Burrell passed away from this life at his home Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, at the age of 81. Gordon was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed life to the fullest. He served in the Army and retired from Safeway. He was preceded in death by a son, Eddie Burrell. Survivors: His wife of 61 years, Mary Burrell; sister, Betty Mitchell and husband, Billy, of Euless; brother, James Robert Burrell of Fort worth; children, Gordie Burrell and wife, Ann, of Weatherford, Pati Alexander and husband, Freddie, of Burleson, Tawana Clark and husband, Gerald, of Hemphill, James Randall Burrell and wife, Eileen, of Rowlett and Johnny Burrell and wife, Athena, of Haltom City; daughter-in-law, Kim Burrell of Elmore City, Okla.; 13 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The one thing I hate about obituaries is that they don’t really touch who he was… Gordon was so much more and in many ways, his memory will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Psalms 116:15 says “Precious in the Sight of the Lord is the death of one of his saints”.

And Gordon Burrell was definitely a saint.

I met with the family and they shared some memories with me that, though, I knew Gordon well, helped me  know him a little better.

The first thing they told me (and this I already knew) was that he was a man with a strong work ethic. This I already knew. I would drive over into that neighborhood, I would usually see Gordon out working in his yard or across the street helping his neighbor, Doodle, with some project.

They said that he was a survivor. Different medical issues had come his way and yet he kept  bouncing back. Mary told me that his doctor called him “the Miracle Man”.

They told me that he loved to fish and hunt (this I also knew).

And that he was “Mr. Fix It”… there wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix.

And that he was artistic.  I know this because of a cross I have hanging in my window of my office. Gordon had made it and brought it to me. I remember telling him that the ladies at our church were wanting to decorate one of our walls with crosses, he bluntly told me that the cross was for me. So in my office it went.

My daughter Destiny saw it and said “I want one”.. and a few days later, Gordon showed  up with a cross made especially here.

Both are equally beautiful.


He was just a good man.  A man who stood by his word. A man who loved his family .  A man who loved the Lord.


He was a saint.

Now don’t misunderstand.

When I say “saint”, I am not saying he didn’t have faults.

We all do.

We all have areas where we fall short.

That’s why Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God”

Gordon was a sinner just like you and me.

But like you and me, he had an opportunity to make it right. 

Romans 10:9 tells us that if we put our trust in the Lord Jesus we can be saved.

At one point in his life, Gordon came to the understanding that without Jesus, there was no chance of him really enjoying abundant life on earth or eternal life in Heaven.

John 14:6 tells us that “I am the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except by me.”

So he gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ.

And that’s why his death, though hard for us to deal with, was precious in the sight of the Lord.

Because even before we were completely sure that Gordon was gone, he was already in the arms of Jesus hearing these words from the King of Kings:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant”.

I have been had the unfortunate task of doing quiet a few funerals this past month.

And some of them have been for men that I would classify as true heroes.

Men who understood that you stood by your wife and stayed married regardless of the circumstances (61 years, that is remarkable!)

Men who understood that the best way to get the things you needed for your family and for yourself was to work for it, not to ask others for it.

Men who had no problem making sure that their children knew on a daily basis how much that he loved them (the children made sure that I knew that he was always openly affectionate with them even after they were adults and because of their deep respect for him,  they always reciprocated).

Men who loved their country.

Men who may never grace a history book, may never have songs written about them, but are nevertheless truly what this country is made of and truly what the churches of today, and especially Christian families need more of in abundance.

Men like Gordon Burrell.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of one of his saints”.

I will miss you Gordon.

I will miss us trading jokes (especially the political ones).

I will miss seeing you in your same spot every Sunday morning.

I will miss being able to visit with you at your house.

I will miss you.

But I rejoice to know that this is only temporary because someday I will see you again.

Not because you were a  great man.

But because you put your trust in a great Saviour.

And because of that, I look forward to being reunited one day with a great hero.

Until then, I love you, my friend.


New vs. Old

21 Jan

There seems to be a new morality in the world these days.  I hate to sound like I’m 100 years old but some of the ideas and mindsets of the generations coming up scare me. There is what I call a “new morality”.

I first noticed it years ago when a certain President redefined what “sex” and the “truth” (and for that matter, the word “is”).

Now, things that were once considered immoral and wrong are being promoted as perfectly acceptable. We are defining things by how we feel rather than by anything else. The problem with that is this:

Feelings are deceptive. They can be based on physical condition, current situations, the convenience of the moment. They can change and they are totally unreliable.

This scares me because mankind’s natural bent is to walk away from God. We are not basically good. Romans 3:23 makes it clear that we are all sinners. Given a choice, we will most likely make the wrong one.

So to base things on feelings is going to mean walking away from God most of the time.  We can’t base things on emotions  but rather on the Word of God.

Now there is a sure standard. There is something that never changes. There is something that has always proven true.

But it’s not an easy standard to follow. It goes against our human nature. It tells us that sometimes what we feel in our gut is wrong. It teaches us that what looks good may actually be the direct opposite.

At times, when following the Word, I have been frustrated. I have been angry. It feels like everyone else gets to have fun and I cannot. At other times, I have lost friends over it.

But ultimately, when I stay true to it (because sometimes I stray), I always end up in a more than blessed condition.

Throw whatever new standard you want at me.

The old one does just fine for me.