Sunday, September 18, 2005

Chuck is Finally Home

What An Entrance!

My friend and partner in ministry is finally "home". Chuck Obremski completed his earthly pilgrimmage this afternoon and saw his Savior face to face. We prayed for Chuck and his family in the Yankees' chapel, the Blue Jays' service and in our prayer time with the umpires today. A few hours later Chuck went home. Please keep Linda and the family in your prayers in the days ahead. Thanks so much for your partnership over the last year as we watched Chuck ride the "cancer coaster" from our distant vantage point.

Here are some of the details from the prayer ministry at Kindred Community Church:

“For I am already being poured out, and the time of my release is here. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. For the rest, the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me in that Day, and not only to me, but also to all the ones loving His appearance.” - 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Pastor Chuck is home! Death has been swallowed up in victory, and earthly life has given way to heavenly glory! Pastor Chuck has finished his course, kept the faith, and will receive the crown of righteousness! At 1:05 p.m. today (right at game time), Pastor Chuck took his last breath on this earth and ran straight into the arms of his Lord and Savior!

His prayer has always been to finish strong. That prayer has been answered as we’ve watched the strength of the Lord lift him up and carry him through each trial, each tribulation, all to the glory of the Lord! The message of the gospel Pastor Chuck has proclaimed has reached more people during these past two years than in the many years prior. People have been transferred from the control and dominion of darkness into the kingdom of God. Hope has been restored to the downtrodden. Life has taken on new meaning. Christ has been glorified!

The words, however, just don’t come easily. . .for the joy of knowing that our dear Pastor Chuck is rejoicing with the saints of heaven breaks forth at the same time that our hearts ache with the earthly loss. We will miss hearing the clear challenges each week. We will look for that bright smile and brighter eyes and reminisce of how Pastor Chuck could take a difficult topic and provide insight, clarity, and humor. We will think back on the sermon openings and personal glimpses of his family and faith and we'll smile, as tears of joy tinged with sadness stream down our cheeks.

And our hearts throb... for the personal pain of Linda, for Pat and Howard, for Dana and Jack and Luke and Charlie, for Ryan and Leah and Krista and all of the other family members and close friends. Before their hearts reach the breaking point, may we be found on our knees, pleading for the comfort of the Lord to reach them, to abound in mercy and grace that will pour into the crevices and empty places of their lives.

As each day progresses, may we lift them to our God Who promises to reach out to the brokenhearted, to uplift their hearts and sing His sweet songs of love to minister to them. May we be open to the Holy Spirit to reach out to them when He says “Reach out, “ and step back to allow time for healing when He says, “Wait.”

For now, our place is in prayer. Our place is to continue walking in a way worthy of our calling in Christ Jesus. Pastor Chuck’s challenge remains: “Fight the good fight. Finish the course. Keep the faith.” None is optional for the believer. And neglecting one means neglecting all. Pastor Chuck would never allow for wallowing in self- pity. “Death is not a punishment,” I can hear him call out with fervor. “It’s a reward!” And then he smiles, his head cocked slightly to the side. His eyes reflect light and grow more intense, in keeping with the singular rise of his voice. “Keep on keeping on!” he entreats us. “It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus. Keep your eyes on Him!”
Pastor Chuck’s eyes are on Jesus.

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk by His side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When His face is before me
I can only imagine
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You, Jesus, or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing Hallelujah? Will I be able to sing at all?
I can only imagine; I can only imagine
I can only imagine when that day comes
And I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship You
I can only imagine .

Pastor Chuck no longer has to imagine. He’s there!
May we be found faithful to follow his example!

Here's a note from Vince Nauss, the Baseball Chapel President who conducted the chapels in Ahaheim today:

I wanted to inform the entire Baseball Chapel family that Chuck Obremski went to collect his inheritance from the Lord Jesus this afternoon. He fought the good fight. He finished the course. He kept the faith. And there is laid up for him the crown of righteousness!

We mourn his departure in death and ask you to continue to pray for Linda and the family, but we also invite you to celebrate his entry to eternal life.

This morning in Anaheim, I shared in the chapels that Chuck's passion and commitment was to know and obey God's Word and to encourage others to do the same. Chuck taught God's Word in a way that was fun, easy to understand, practical and challenging.

Chuck was an authentic man of God that each one of us would do well to emulate. He demonstrated a life dedicated to pleasing God in everything he did. And he faced adversity more courageously than anyone I've ever known by fixing his eyes on Jesus and keeping an eternal perspective. And Chuck taught us all how to finish well. One of our Major League Leaders told me the other day that this must mean that God has something significant for the rest of us in the Baseball Chapel family that he would place Chuck's life and testimony in our midst. "After you have suffered for a while, the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 5:10-11

1 comment:

  1. I am sure there are family, church members, and friends that are in deep pain tonight. My prayers are with them all. What a couragerous fighter for Jesus!

    "Death has been swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!"