For the girl working the drive thru…

For the girl working the drive thru and trying to cover the pain,

 

It was a late night, we realized we had not yet eaten dinner, and it was too late to cook. We knew the easy option would be to just run through a drive thru. I hopped in the car and drove down the road, ironically it was a food place I didn’t really go to quite often.

I went through the drive-thru, and placed my order. When I pulled up to the window and paid, I saw you working in the drive thru and noticed that you were acting a little different. You were friendly, said the usual comments, took my card and ran it, and told me my food would be out shortly. I smiled and waited patiently, not thinking about the situation anymore, after all I was just another customer ready to get his food for the night. A few seconds later, you opens the window and ask if I wanted any sauce, or extra napkins, it was at this moment I saw it. The reason you had been moving so awkwardly and acting funny was because you were trying to hide what was being exposed. You were trying to cover up your arms. This time, however, you did not, and your arms revealed a story. You didn’t realize the story that was being told was a tale that drew a lot of unexpected emotion out of me. It was a story of scars, a story of a girl in pain, and it was a story that was stuck in a repeated mode because of all the scars going up  both sides of your arms from just above the wrists, to where her uniform polo met your arm. It was quite clear that this young lady had been cutting herself on a regular basis for quite some time.

 

My heart hurt so bad at this unexpected discovery.

 

 

Sensing the opportunity and the conviction that poured over me I made a game plan to talk to you when you handed me my food. In fact I knew what I was going to do, I was going to pray with you, maybe offer a word of encouragement and even tell you about my savior Jesus.

You came back to the window, handed me my bag, and closed the window.

 

 

I froze. I had realized I had not even had the chance to say thank you, let alone pray with you.

 

 

I left, feeling absolutely crushed.

 

 

Self-harming, cutting, and suicide are all things that I thought that I would never understand.  why people would do it why people would feel the need but the longer that I’ve been a youth pastor I see it more and more and I realize why people cut and why people harm themselves as I hear story after story of teenagers other people who cut and mutilate and self harm the same thing common.

They don’t feel like they are in control of the situation, and they feel that they can control their pain through a blade.

 

 

They don’t feel loved.

 

 

The cutting allows them to feel something. It helps them feel alive in a dead love society.

 

To the girl working the drive thru, and trying to cover her pain I am sorry, I failed you.

 

I am sorry that I did not show you the love that Christ has demonstrated toward me.

 

I am sorry that in my hesitation, I became fake.

 

I don’t know if you will ever hear this or read it or whatever, but what I want to tell you is that Jesus Christ can give you the comfort and control and care that you need he said in his word to cast all your cares upon him because he cares for you.

 

Jesus can show you love, where I failed to.

 

Tonight I will go home to my wife, and my children.

Tonight I don’t know where you may go, but whatever circumstance you may be in whatever pain you may feel whatever torment you might be going through whatever torture your soul and mind is putting you through on a daily basis every single day whatever it is, whatever it may be, whether it is to conform to an image or maybe to satisfy peers or maybe to try and look attractive…

Please realize you are beautiful in God’s eyes and number two you don’t have to rely on a knife when you can rely on Christ whose love goes beyond anything that we can ever imagine. If you struggle with pain if you struggle with depression if you struggle with thoughts of self harm cutting or suicide know that God loves you so much, when it feels like no one else does, or when a pastor you have never met fails to demonstrate that love. God loves you.

 

 

Sincerely,

Pastor Chris – Psalm 29:11

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Jesus and Java. The impact of atmospheres

Anyone who knows me also knows that I am a coffee connoisseur.  I have tasted so many coffees that I can literally tell which blend and brand of coffee it is I am drinking, Folgers, Maxwell House, Speedway and others. Some would argue this would need to be a staple when working in student ministries, I would not disagree. I started really getting into coffee when I was in college. I had certain times that I required myself to sit down and study for my classes. I hated studying, I hated reading, I hated writing, and I hated the fact that I had to do all three in order to get through college. Sounds like a success story doesn’t it?

One cold winter day the heater in our dorm decided to stop working, knowing there would be no way of getting any of my work done I decided to pack it up and head over to the campus coffeehouse. As I was approaching I could smell fresh coffee being brewed, which even if you’re not a coffee fan you have to admit it is a pleasant smell. I walk inside unsure of what to get so I ask for a simple cup of coffee and walk over to the nearest table to sit down. As with any coffeehouse there was some soft music in the background, small chatter of friends and the various noises of different coffee beverages and smoothies being made. Not really thinking much of it I begin studying, before I had realized it, four hours had gone by and I was still absorbed in my studies. It didn’t take me long to realize the atmosphere of a coffeehouse, or even just a good cup of coffee kept me focused, and motivated with my studies. I began reading more (which I love doing now), studying more, and remaining focused on my tasks at hand. It’s amazing the extra motivation we can have when the proper atmosphere is in place.

I find it interesting how Jesus would pray in the cool of the Morning. Mark 1:35 indicates that Jesus would wake early and find a solitary place to pray. He went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane asking God to remove to the cup from Him, but still submitted to God’s will. (Matthew 26:39) Even David spoke of specific times of seeking the Lord, (for him it was early morning- Psalm 63:1). What I am getting at is that without the proper atmosphere surrounding you, it could be difficult to worship, to pray, or to get into the Word of God. This is why we start our worship services with singing praise to God through Hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), it helps tune our hearts to be prepared to worship and to receive God’s Word with readiness. Our invitation is always accompanied with music to create an atmosphere of closeness with the Lord.

You may hate coffee, and that’s totally understandable, but what is the atmosphere you need to draw you close to the Lord? On my day off, I usually go to a coffeehouse just to spend some extra time in God’s Word apart from my Quiet Time. It’s incredible, and refreshing. What do you need to do just to get away from the World for a bit? It could be a park, a library, a separate room in the house. Let me encourage you to find that atmosphere that draws you close to your savior. It’s a special place that is unlike any other.

It could be something to think about over a cup of coffee sometime.

That’s a CBOriginal

The Peak of Everest (Jude 3, 1 Cor. 15:31)

 

          Mount Everest, the climax of every climbers dream is to stand atop the tall peak of Everest. Stretching to an incredible 29,029 feet, it sits as one of the tallest mountains in the world.  I personally have a fear of heights, so attempting this feat is far from being on my bucket list. Every year, hundreds if not thousands of climbers attempt the breath taking endeavor to the top of this behemoth. To begin this journey a climber must first get a permit to ascend the mountain, this permit costs $25,000.

 

Yes. Twenty-five THOUSAND dollars, just for permission to climb, which means the climber would still need to purchase equipment, gear, and oxygen tanks. (as the air get extremely thin the further up you go.)  There are a total of five camps along the mountain, starting with “base camp” located at 17,000 feet, and ending with “Camp IV” which is approximately 26,000 feet up, which leaves about another 3,000 feet before reaching the peak of Everest. To put this in perspective, the average cruising altitude for an airliner jet is about 30,000 feet. Everest’s peak is not much lower than that at a little over 29,000.  

 

Over the years many climbers have taken on the challenge of checking off Everest in their efforts to climb, many without regard of the cost, whether financially, or physically. While it has not been officially recorded, it has been proven that there are over two hundred bodies of dead climbers scattered throughout Everest’s mountainside. Some of these deaths were due to falls, others due to frigid temperatures, as well as being smothered from lack of oxygen. Due to the thin air, the terrain and the temperatures, retrieving the bodies is impossible, thus making the mountainside a permanent graveyard. The frozen temperatures have also preserved the majority of the bodies throughout, bringing about eerie sights I am sure.

 

They were willing to die… to climb a mountain. Would we call that passion, or insanity? Some would say its total commitment, and dedication. Climbers I’m sure would say I wouldn’t understand because, well, I’m not a climber.  All I know is that it would have to take a true sincere passion to try and scale the peak of the deadly Mount Everest.

 

I think about what it would take to even develop the thought of being willing to die for something. I mean, sure, we are willing to die for our children, spouse, family, even friends, but what about beyond that?

 

The next logical answers pop up into our minds. I would die for my country, for my freedoms, in a few cases for the sake of my job, great, what about beyond that? (I know, I’m digging deep here, hang with me…no pun intended)

 

I look to the book of Jude and see in verse three where it says: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

 

What does it mean to “earnestly contend for the faith”?  The phrase here comes from the Greek word “agonize” (AH go nee Zay) meaning to “wrestle intensively”. So to “contend for the faith” would mean that we should wrestle intensively for it. It should be our passion.  Paul told the Corinthians that we should even be willing to die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31)

He says it again in Galations 2:20 that we are crucified with Christ, and again in Philippians 1:21 that to live is Christ, and to die is gain. This being the case, are we willing, to really contend for the faith?  Are we willing, to sacrifice it all for the faith? The climbers of Everest, were willing to give money (a LOT of it) to climb, they were willing to give time (a LOT of it) to climb, they were willing to give their life (ALL of it, literally) to find the peak of Everest.

 

Christian, are we willing to give the same, not to climb, but to CONTEND for the faith? Would we be willing to give to missions, or to the ministry? Would we be willing to give time to the ministry? For the faith? Would we be willing to give our life, all of it, literally, for the faith?

 

What is your passion? What is your desire? What is your goal? Where will you leave your legacy? The bodies on Everest mark what will only be known as a climbers legacy that failed. What will your life hold? Are you earnestly contending for the faith?

 

That’s a CBOriginal.  

 

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Krazy K Part VI: The Dream (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17)

NOTE: this entry marks the sixth and final entry in a series of entries I have called “Krazy K” . After a lifetime of friendship I felt it necessary to share memories, encouragements, and humor from a man that helped to change my life. Randomly encouraging? That’s a CBOriginal. Randomly funny? Well, that’s Krazy K.

 

 

            The bond that Kent and I shared was one unlike any other. It was Earth shattering knowing that I would no longer get to call him, or hang out with him. I dreaded the viewing and funeral, simply because I didn’t want to accept the truth and the reality of the situation. Nonetheless, seven days after he was gone, my wife and I found ourselves pulling up to the church for his funeral and mass.  Being in ministry, I knew the basics when arriving, and pulled right up to the funeral home director who was guiding traffic, and attaching funeral flags to cars.

 

“Are you friend or family?”

 

Without hesitation the words came out.

 

“Family.”

 

He placed a flag on my car.

 

“What relation?”

 

Again, no hesitation.

 

“Brother.”

 

He directed me to the line behind Kents parents, brother and Grandparents, my extended family.

 

Shortly after I met up with the other members of the Green Team, and a few of our other friends as we circled around Kents casket and carried him into the church. After hugs from his folks, and his brother, we went in to sit for the service. The service was beautiful, scripture readings, singing How great Thou art, and hearing an incredible testimony from Kent’s Dad brought things to an almost complete full circle. The memories flooded in once again as his dad spoke of that house across the street from mine where Kent grew up, where all of us hung out all of the time.

 

Upon completion of the service, we made our way to the cemetery, where the Green team came together one last time with our dear friend. We brought the casket out and set it on top of the rollers above Kent’s final resting place. It wasn’t ironic that I slipped a little and my foot when in for a brief second, Blake grabbed my and helped me regain my balance. Kent probably got a kick out of that.

 

After another short service, people slowly began leaving, but I just couldn’t stop staring at the casket of my best friend. Before I knew it, my wife and I were the last ones standing there beside the grave site.

 

“I don’t know that I’ll ever understand this babe…”

 

She put her arm around me and said she knew. A few minutes later, we left, and Kent was finally laid to rest.

 

The next several days were extremely hard, wanting to pick up the phone and call, wanting to hang out, not really being able to be effective in my ministry works, but simply going through the necessary motions.  I just kept asking God for comfort, but still felt weighted from the loss. It was about a week or two after his services that I feel God divinely worked.

 

I was having trouble sleeping one night, tossing, turning, emotionally drained and down. All I know is at some point I think I fell asleep, and whether it was a vision, or a dream to this day I don’t know, but what I do know is that it was sent from God.

 

In this dream, I was driving down I-75 on my way to Kents house like I had done for so many years to hang out, when the highway number changed to 568, which I didn’t quite understand. I pulled off the highway to seek direction and found myself pulling into a parking garage. Still a bit confused I drove to where I assumed the exit would be, only to slow down due to a massively bright light coming through my windshield. I stopped the car, parked it, and got out walking forward into this bright light. I noticed someone walking toward me, wearing a suit, but I couldn’t quite make out who the face was. I didn’t want to bump into this guy so I held my hand out to feel around because the light was blinding. To my surprise, the gentleman walking toward me took my hand and we both stopped. I still couldn’t see, but my confirmation was clear when this guy took my hand…

 

…and did the Green Team handshake. 

 

Although he never said anything, I knew this was Kent telling me everything was okay. I immediately woke up, and my wife was standing over me with a tray of pancakes that she had made for breakfast. I asked her if she had taken my hand to wake me up, she said that she had not. I was convinced at that point, God had allowed Kent to enter this dream, shake my hand for confirmation that he was in a better place, and allow peace to come over me.

 

            This sort of thing is something that really I have no scripture backing for all that well, The Bible does say in Joel 2:28 as well as Acts 2:17 that the old men shall dream dreams, and the young shall have visions. Did I have a vision? Possibly. Was it just a dream? Maybe. Is what I’m saying completely theologically correct? Honestly, for this situation, I don’t really care.

All I know is that my God is the great Comforter, and that a lot of people were praying asking God to comfort me and those who loved Kent during this incredibly difficult time, and I think God did just that by letting me “hang out” with Kent one more time, albeit through a vision or dream or whatever it was. I just thank God it happened, because for the first time in several weeks, I felt at peace.

 

I still miss Kent, I always will. That will never change. He’s my brother, and he always will be.

So to you Krazy K, I love you bro. I will see you again one day. Thank you for twenty five years of absolute amazing friendship, brotherhood, and memories.

 

 Green Team on three….

 

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That’s a CBOriginal.

 

 

Krazy K Part V: The Unexpected. (Psalm 116:15)

 

 

NOTE: this entry marks the fifth in a series of entries I have called “Krazy K”. After a lifetime of friendship I felt it necessary to share memories, encouragements, and humor from a man that helped to change my life. Randomly encouraging? That’s a CBOriginal. Randomly funny? Well, that’s Krazy K.

 

 

August 17th, 2013.  I arrive at Kent’s house to do a normal day of hanging out, and taking a trip up to the flea markets and outlet malls.  Two months prior to this I had moved to Findlay, Ohio to take on a new youth  pastor position so being able to hang out didn’t really happen as much as we would have liked for it to happen.  Kent was really striking gold on this particular day, he found all of the figurines from his childhood that he had lost or thrown away, found some DVD’s at dirt cheap prices, and was poking fun at me for not finding anything I wanted. 

 

          Heading to the parking lot we were talking about what the Reds needed to do to make a run in the playoffs, and ironically we started talking about friendship.

 

“We’re old bro. Remember riding bikes everywhere and jumping behind bushes to avoid cars seeing us?”  I asked him.

 

“Yeah, not too many people can say that they stuck with their buddy into their 30s man. We always joked about it, and we did it. Drama free is the way to be…drops the mic” (a wrestling term) the statement had us both laughing pretty hard.

 

“Well I don’t plan on stopping now, we gotta make fun of the nurses trying to take care of us in the nursing homes one day too.”

 

“Oh yeah dude, definitely.”

 

Not too long after that we pulled up in front of his house and he got out of the car, as he was walking up he turns around and starts singing “I had the time of my life…” If you knew Kent, this was normal, after a final laugh I pulled away thinking through my schedule when we could hang out again.

 

August 21st, 2013.

          It started out like any other day, I went in to the office, poured my coffee and was prepping for Sundays lesson when I got a phone call from Matt telling me Kent had called off work. Which wasn’t really like Kent at all, he would usually drink a sprite and tough through it, so he must have really not felt well.  He asked me to get a hold of Kent, to see how he was doing, so I did.  My wife even offered to take him to the doctor if necessary, I mean you could never be too careful, right?  So I sent him a text.

 

You alright bro? Matt called me and said you weren’t feelin’ too well.

 

A few minutes later came a reply.

 

Yeah I am good now.

 

Ok, cuz my wife offered to drive you to dr. if need be man, shes free.

 

No, I am fine, thanks for the offer though.

 

Sure thing man, can’t be too careful and we plan on keeping you around for a long time bro.

 

So that was that.  Kent wasn’t really a fan of doctors, so when he said he felt better we all took him for his word on it.  The day progressed on, we had our evening service and I felt my phone vibrate several times during the service. I chuckled to myself a little bit because Josh always had this bad tendency to try and call me during church. Once the service was over I glanced down and noticed that my Mom had tried to call several times and texted me asking to call her.

 

I went into my office and called. I could tell by her voice I wasn’t going to like what she had to say, I braced for the worst, and it still hit me way too hard.

 

 

 

 

“Chris, I have some terrible news. Kent…died today.”

 

There are things in life you are never prepared for, then there’s news like that.  I stood in stunned, complete silence. I walked into the foyer and interrupted a conversation my wife was having with someone to bring her into the office with me. My mom was still on the phone trying to tell me the scenario, I just told her I would call her back. I informed my wife and she instantly burst into tears. 

 

It didn’t seem real. The guy I called everyday, the brother I needed when I desperately needed a laugh, my best man in my wedding, my best friend, my brother, was now gone. Four days ago we were talking about how we would keep it going, how rare it was for people to be best friends for twenty-five years. Three days ago we were on xbox joking around at how bad we were at Call of Duty. EARLIER THAT DAY we were texting. 

 

I had never been so shocked, so saddened and so confused in my entire life, my instant thought and prayer to God was a simple one.

 

God, why Kent? Why Kent? It’s KENT. The nicest guy on the planet, the funniest man in existence. MY. BEST. FRIEND.  WHY. KENT.

 

For the first time in a long time. I was frustrated with God.  I know that’s probably something I shouldn’t say on a blog that’s meant for encouragement, but I have to be real with you. I was upset. Of all the people in the World, that “deserved” to die, and yet it was Kent. What about the drunk driver who killed the family? What about the abusive ex-husband? What about the rapist? What about the mean people? Why did it have to be the nicest person on the planet? The guy who was everyone’s best friend? I thought about his parents, his brother, his grandparents, no family should have to go through that.  What was worse was the fact that we all had no answers for it.  

 

The only thing I could ask God, was the only thing I prayed every day for the next three weeks.

 

“God, just please tell me why, and I will accept it.”

 

My mind went back to that time I spent the night at his house and we were up most of the night just reading the Bible, and making sure we would go to Heaven one day according to the Word of God. I came across a verse that I used to comfort others and initially I didn’t quite understand it.

 

Psalm 116:15- Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of  His saints.

 

I didn’t get that. What makes it precious?  What makes death special?  Looking at it and facing this situation or any situation where we lose a loved one, we would be the first to yell, NO! Death is NOT precious! It is terrible! It is gut-wrenching! It is not something we want to see! EVER.  Death will never be precious! Death is a horrible thing! No one should ever have to see their loved one lose their life!

 

Then it hits home.

 

Jesus Christ.  Lost His life…while His Father watched, and couldn’t do anything about it. Why did that have to happen? What had Jesus done to deserve it? 

 

Then I look again at Psalm 116:15- PRECIOUS in the sight of the Lord is the death of HIS saints. 

 

Suddenly dots connect.

 

His saints…

 

Kent always belonged to God. 

We all belong to God if we are His children.

 

God loved Kent, and so He took him home. So many times we feel like this is our home when in reality it is temporary, it is short.  Kent is now doing better than all of us because he is in the very presence of Jesus Christ and God the Father. God gave him that mansion he always wanted here on Earth if he ever got rich.  While these thoughts do not remove the pain, they definitely help.

 

As I am writing this it has now been a little over four months since Kent went home to be with the Lord. To be honest it still doesn’t seem real. I still get urges to call him all the time, I think about him whenever I pass by our favorite restaurants, or when I watch sports, even when I see a comic book. I thank God for putting Kent in my life, because frankly, Kent demonstrated Christ more so than the majority of Christians do today in the fact that he LOVED EVERYONE.  He never talked bad about anyone, ever. I know that he is loving “chillin with Jesus” and hanging out in his new mansion. I know Kent is gonna tell me all about it when I get there one day, he’s gonna tell me how I knew he needed to check the place out before I got there to see if it was really what I hyped it up to be all the time, then I think Kents gonna show me where my mansion is, although I already know its location….

 

 

 

…across the street from his.

 

 

That’s a CBOriginal. 

Krazy K Part IV:Growing up…sort of (Romans 8:23-28)

 

 

NOTE: this entry marks the fourth in a series of entries I have called “Krazy K”. After a lifetime of friendship I felt it necessary to share memories, encouragements, and humor from a man that helped to change my life. Randomly encouraging? That’s a CBOriginal. Randomly funny? Well, that’s Krazy K.

 

 

 

Time continued to pass, I found myself in my last year of college before going into full time ministry, and Kent was interning at Disney in Orlando Florida. We were on the phone pretty frequently and randomly as best friends normally would be. They say high school is where you find friends, and college is where you find best friends, in our case I had to disagree. While true I made a few friends in college, Kent being the open and outgoing guy he is, made a TON of friends in Florida, from all over the country, and beyond.

 

Of the several hilarious phone calls I received while he was in Florida, one particular one sticks out.

 

“Sup bro?”

 

“Chris, I’m really nervous right now man.”

 

“Why?”

 

“I’m kinda throwin’ a party tonight.”

 

“Okay…still not sure why you’re nervous.”

 

“Well…my roommate doesn’t know about it.”

 

“Ohhhh.”

 

Needless to say, everything went well. (At least to my knowledge, but I still laugh about that phone call all the time).

That party, and that planning, (or lack there of) defined Kent and I.

 

We were random. We never really knew what the next day would hold. When I transferred to a college in Pennsylvania it was less than memorable, in fact I didn’t really enjoy my experience there at all. I looked forward to going home more than anything, and even with Florida, its great weather, and glamorous times, Kent told me on several occasions he was ready to come home and hang out with the boys again.

 

It’s funny, in life we always want what we think is better, its who we are, it’s how God made us. I would venture to say that is how God created us all, to naturally want what the better. Why do we work out? Why do we eat healthy? Why do we go to College? Why do we strive for promotion? Paul in the book of Romans talks about wanting what’s better, or “kind of growing up” if you will. In Romans 8:23-25 it says: And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (italics added)

Let’s face it, we long for something better. So we try and pursue it on our own, often leaving us groaning for more. It’s no surprise that just a few verses later Paul says that everything is gonna work out if we love the Lord. (Romans 8:28) So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to accomplish the “big things” in life? Enjoy things now, let God take care of the rest. That’s what He is good at. Kent enjoyed life as it came, always did. It gives us a solid example to follow. Stress just isn’t worth our time. God is. Worry is not worth our time. God is. Fear, its just not worth our time. God is. So how do we spend our time? What do we do with it?  

 

Upon wrapping up the internship, Kent went back home, a short time after that I graduated and went home as well. I became a youth pastor, Kent began his career at Wal-mart to work his way up in the company. It was no surprise that Kent began making a lot of friends through working. He would call me and ask if his buddy from work could hang out with us, I didn’t mind, we all had fun. It caused more friendships to be developed. Kent was like a puzzle piece, he connected everyone. Even if people had problems with one another, if Kent were there, those problems went away because well, it was Kent.

When Josh moved to Florida and Adam began working a lot of shifts to take care of the kids, Kent and I found ourselves hanging out with the most random of people, a heavy metal loving guy named Matt, who for his credit, was very strong in his theology. The three of us pretty much became a new crew, hanging out whenever we could even after both Matt and I got married.

We still arranged times for all of us to get together, and relive classic memories, because no one ever truly grows up. If you do, you’re probably boring, so that’s what we did. We played games, went to Reds games, went fishing all the time, and loved life. It wasn’t until some time later that one more change would take place in the lives of us, the green team, and honestly the world that no one would ever be ready for. 

Krazy K Part III: The Space Between (Philippians 2:14-16)

 

NOTE: this entry marks the third in a series of entries I have called “Krazy K”. After a lifetime of friendship I felt it necessary to share memories, encouragements, and humor from a man that helped to change my life. Randomly encouraging? That’s a CBOriginal. Randomly funny? Well, that’s Krazy K.

 

 

It would be a lie to say that both Kent and I were happy about the fact that he would be moving. Granted I had my driver’s license and I would be able to just drive to the new place whenever we wanted to hang out, it just wasn’t going to be the same. He had lived across the street, LITERALLY across the street for the entire thirteen years I had lived in Englewood at that point.  We even scheduled at least one class together at Sinclair (A community college nearby) per semester. We had to face the music though. The Griffith family was moving.

 

 

We decided for old time’s sake I would spend the night there one last time before the move just because we could. It was not the best of memories I had at the place, seeing all the moving boxes around the house.  That night involved more than just our usual video games, or movie marathon, for Kent, the next day he would be going out of town for a while, and when he would get back, his new home would be waiting for him. It was his last night in Englewood. So we mainly spent the night talking about the future. We talked a bit about everything, comics, how we could still hang out, how the mall would be closer to him, as well as some baseball card shops. Even at 18 and 19 years old, we were still kids. That part would never change.

 

As the night progressed we began asking each other deeper questions concerning one others churches.  We went to two different churches, and a few of the beliefs were a little different from one another, but nonetheless we were both faithful to our church, as anyone should be. Before we knew it, we actually had Bibles open, looking up different passages of scripture, and what the Bible said on different things.  It wasn’t too long that we began talking about eternity.

 

“Alright, I got a question. Seriously, so, how do you know, you’re gonna go to Heaven? I mean I know what the Bible says, but like, I wanna know what you think.” 

 

It kinda caught me off guard a little bit. Kent and I talked about everything, so it would make sense that this subject ultimately came up, but it still threw me off a little bit. Especially since I could see the honest sincerity in which he was asking. So, I did what I would do if anyone asked me that question.

 

“Could I borrow your Bible a sec bro?”

 

The next several minutes, Kent and I read through several passages in Romans. I shared with him how I felt according to the Bible how I knew I was going to Heaven. Kent listened, intently, and surprisingly focused. (If you knew Kent, you knew this was a feat in and of itself) When I had finished, I asked him what he thought.

 

“Well, yeah, I agree with all of that, so what do I do about it?”  He asked.

 

“Well, it says that you pray, admit that you’re a sinner, believe Jesus died for your sins, and ask to be saved.”  I replied.

 

“Would that mean I would have to leave my church?”

 

“No, you wouldn’t have to leave your church Kent. In fact, I would recommend going there more often.” 

 

Kent laughed.

 

“Yeah I probably should. So, is there something specific I should say?”

 

“Well, there is a prayer you can pray, called the sinner’s prayer, I mean, do you wanna do that?”  I inquired.

 

“Yeah, let’s do it; I just wanna make sure I go to Heaven, y’know?” 

 

I nodded in agreement. That night, at Kent’s house, he made sure he was gonna go to Heaven. It was something that neither of us ever forgot.  We never really broadcasted what happened that night, but we knew, that night the two of us grew closer to Christ, and grew stronger in our faith.

 

If you ask anyone who knew Kent, ANYONE, they would tell you that he was genuinely the nicest guy they had ever met. No one was an enemy with Kent, they either loved him, or they didn’t know him. He accepted everyone. I would venture to say he represented Christ more so than 90% of all Christians today.  Philippians 2:14-16 says: Do all things without murmurings and disputing’s: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. Kent just never complained. He loved life. So here’s our challenge, how do WE represent Christ? How positive are WE? Do we take the role of being lights in this World seriously? What needs to change in our lives to be positive examples?

Shortly after that night, Kent and his family moved to Dayton, closer to the Kettering area. We actually grew to enjoy the move. After our courses at Sinclair we would hang out every day until ultimately I answered my calling to go to the Word of Life Bible Institute in New York to begin training for full time ministry after our first year at Sinclair.  Kent, Josh and I would still hang out on breaks in between semesters. I transferred to another Bible College in Pennsylvania, and sitting in my new dorm room I asked Kent how things were going at Sinclair, he said things weren’t really the same, all the changes, the classes getting more difficult, he also told me he applied for an internship for his business courses, but he didn’t think he would get it. I told him I wasn’t really too fond of the new college I was going to either, but we figured we would just tough it out, knowing that college is a temporary thing.

One particular night after calling home, I gave Kent a call to tell him about the latest set of heroclix that were coming out. He changed the subject pretty quick to tell me about the internship he had applied for several weeks prior. He was excited to tell me that he got accepted.

“So where are you gonna be interning at? The Newspaper ? A bank?”

“Actually, I’m going to Florida, I’ve been accepted to intern at Disney. Didn’t see that one coming did ya?”