July 20

Written by Bill Grandi on July 20th, 2022

As I sat down this morning to enter my devotion that I had written at home during my Encounter Time, I suddenly realized that I wanted to take a different course. I will save that devotion for tomorrow.  Since you were praying for me yesterday (last night) concerning the funeral, I thought I would let you know how it went.

I told the family when I saw them at the visitation that whenever I hear of someone or am asked to do a funeral of someone I do not know, I always wonder if possibly I have met them before. I go to the Y on a regular basis and have since I moved here in ’05. I have also been active in the community for that many years so it is totally possible I have met someone but not known who they were. I did not know (let’s call him John).  I know exactly where he lives since I have been by there numerous times.  But I had never met him.

All in all I thought the service went well. It is my practice to neither send someone to Hell or to Heaven, unless I know they were a Christ-follower to the core. John was a man of faith. His family was telling me of the churches he attended in the area.  (Funny aside: OVCF bought this building in 2010 from the Mormons. When the 3 siblings met with me this past Sunday, they knew exactly where the building was because they used to attend here. This was one of their dad’s stopovers during his search for meaning).  Neither of them are now or ever plan to become Mormons…ever.

Anyway… the service went well.  I was able to use their eulogy and their suggested Scripture and implement them into my words from Psalm 23 (the requested Scripture from them).  I do believe an open door is there for future interaction.

I learned something which I already knew but needed to have reinforced in this day and age of militancy. Just like no one likes to be put into a cookie-cutter and classified at “being just like all the rest,” John broke the mold. I can honestly say I do love gay people. I have no animosity with or toward them. I try to be kind and respectful toward them as individuals. I do not agree with their lifestyle choice (and he began questioning it big time the last year of his life).  As I said, John broke the mold. He was not flashy. He was not the “typical” gay man. He was not flamboyant. He kept to himself and he kept his lifestyle to himself. That doesn’t make it right in God’s eyes, but it flies in the face of the militant ones who want to garner so much attention.  He lived with questions and the last year of his life the question of “Have I sinned too much? Could God love me?” surfaced in conversations with his children. I wish I had known him to tell him that no one sins too much and yes God loves Him. Does He approve of the lifestyle? No. But he had already decided a friend is all he wanted, not a relationship.  I met his friend and he was a true friend with none of the “fringe benefits.” John was done.

Jesus once told a parable about the man who had laborers in his field. He needed more so he went and got more. He needed still more and got them. At the end of the day he paid them all the same. It doesn’t matter when a person comes to Jesus. Early in life; middle of life; or on their death bed. The reward of heaven is the same. I cannot say whether John bowed his knee to the Father in Heaven.  He knew. He had been taught (outside the Mormon faith) of his need for Jesus. I can only hope and pray he made his choice. But it is still not my place to say yeah or nay.

As for the 3 siblings: I am hoping and praying for fruit. One lives out of town so I don’t see much interaction from her family.  The other daughter I had a chance to talk with and she expressed an interest in coming to OVCF. In fact, she said, “Don’t be surprised if some Sunday you see us walking in.” I told her I would look forward to that.  The son? He pretty much kept to himself but since I know where he lives, I can keep in contact.

So as I close this rather long (and I suspect sometimes rambling) post, would you mind praying for the Lawson family? Pray for them to find the wisdom and peace they crave. They are definitely going to need God’s direction as they sort through things. And pray for fruit to come from my ministry to them. I am thankful to God that He brought them my way. And I am thankful that He made it possible for me to be His representative. 

And I thank you for praying for me.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Beautiful story . . .
    Yes, I will keep the Lawsons and you in my prayers, Bill.

  2. Ryan S. says:

    Thanks for sharing Bill, amazing the doors that get opened when the light and love of God is shared.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I agree Ryan and I pray that doors will stay open and continue to open in other ways.

  3. gail says:

    Thanks Bill, we cannot explain how much Jesus loves us to go to the cross for us, if we cannot love the people we are trying to talk to. I am sure you made a good impression and in doing so, the Lawsons feel that they have an invite into the kingdom instead of a closed door.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks Gail. I am praying this will lead to another opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them.