January 20, 2005

Jack Arnold

Last Sunday at our church, the music pastor told us a story about a man named Jack Arnold, who had been his own pastor at one time. He told us about how this man had died close to the end of his sermon.

Then again this morning during our teacher's devotions I got to hear the story again. Jack Arnold had at one time been the pastor of the church that is associated with the school where I currently teach. This morning I got to hear a little more about his story.

After being a pastor for many years, he founded a ministry called Equipping Pastors International. So when most men are considering retirement, this man was founding a new ministry where he would be traveling around the world, going into the most remote places of Africa and training the national pastors. He was like a one-man seminary. And as you know, there are no luxury hotels in the deepest parts of Africa, so he would simply live, sleep, and eat with the people that he was training. All done for the furtherance of Christ.

Our music pastor, who knew him personally said that his final sermon was a characterization of his life. Here is an excerpt about that sermon that I found on the EPI site:


As Dr. Arnold neared the end of the sermon on the "Cost of Discipleship," he spoke of his favorite verse - "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." He quoted from Wesley saying, "Until my work on this earth is done, I am immortal." He continued, "But when my work for Christ is done..." and slapping his hands together skyward, "I am outa here! I don't know about you, but when my work on earth is done, I go to be with Jesus. And that will be gain! And when I go to heaven..." At this point, Jack paused, looked up, swayed slightly and his spirit departed.
--Website of Equipping Pastors International


This morning I was told that at the end of his sermon notes he was planning on saying something like this: "... what the church needs today is bold Christians. Christians who are known by Christ and are living for him."

I agree. I would say it this way though, "What the church needs today is Christians being Christians." If we are going to carry His name, then we need to live like him the way this man, Jack Arnold, lived for Him.

I have found this story to be both encouraging and challenging, so I decided to share it with you. You can read more about Jack Arnonld and his story here, here and here.