Monthly Archives: June 2013
It took just that long for one of the Discovery Channel’s biggest stunts to actually take place.
But to those who live in opposition to Jesus Christ, it must have seemed like a lifetime.
As Nik Wallenda prepared to make his walk across a southwest portion of the Grand Canyon Sunday afternoon on live television, I thought it was pretty hokey. The only recollection I had was of his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda was his falling to his death doing a similar walk in the 1970s. It seemed like a useless stunt that had no real upside for anyone. He makes it – he was suppose to. He falls and you end up with a human sacrifice on live TV.
I thought the engineering explanation was fairly interesting. But the fact that they had a paramedic ready on the valley floor seemed a little ridiculous. If Wallenda actually fell the equivalent of the height of the Empire State Building he wasn’t going to need a doctor, he was going to need a team of guys from ServPro.
It just smacked of Geraldo Rivera breaking into Al Capone’s vaults on live TV and finding nothing but an old stop sign and a few empty gin bottles. (“The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults“, ABC, 1986). It was a great documentary for 105 minutes, but when it came time for the big payoff, it was a total let down.
Boy was I wrong about Wallenda.
The Discovery Channel got its full mileage out of the 90-minute show. They interviewed everyone and their brother related to the event. Wallenda’s wife, sister and safety coordinator to name a few. Even Joel Osteen was on hand to pray for the family right before he stepped onto the wire with his balancing pole and nothing else.
But no matter how hard you looked, there was no indication as to what Wallenda would do for almost all of his near-23minute walk. And Christianity got a much-needed shot in the arm from an unlikely source.
Wallenda calmly walked across the canyon, praising God for His provision and asking Christ to calm the winds and steady his nerves. He even gave thanks for the incredible view – the one he saw live and that we viewed through a camera strapped to his chest.
It was one intense worship service the moment he took his first step. And it captivated an estimated 10.7 million viewers the entire time.
In our toughest struggles, in our darkest hours, what is our first thought? Is it self-preservation? Is it for family and friends?
For Nik Wallenda it was all about God.
And Wallenda has certainly proven he is one man who can walk the talk, even on a cable over the Grand Canyon on a windy afternoon.
Lorri Conover was one of a kind.
I first met her in the Spring of 2010, having driven over from my home in Ridgecrest, Calif. to meet my soon-to-be wife, Dee. After making my way through the gauntlet-o-hugs by members of The River (as I referred to it at the time), we were introduced. She flashed that warm, inviting smile and in her melodic voice she welcomed me in.
I had never run across a female pastor to that point, and certainly not one acting in the lead position of a church. So it was with trepidation that I sat and listened to her that warm March night. Little did I know that it would only be the first of many Saturday services that I’d sit like a sponge trying to soak in every word. She’d read from the Scriptures and give us an honest, open interpretation of what it was saying.
No spin. No agenda. Just truth.
I have had many pastors over my 49-plus years on this planet and she is only one of two that handled the Word so accurately, so enthusiastically and so lovingly that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was right on target. In her words you could almost see Christ and His Disciples walking the roads of some Biblical town, reaching out to those who would listen and calling out those who would twist the law to meet their own ends.
You could see how a single verse fit into the passage it came from.
You could see God’s love shining through in every single word.
I only met her husband Ed once before his passing, shaking hands with him briefly on my initial trip over in 2010. Over the next three years I heard repeatedly of the deep love that he and Lorri shared, and could only imagine how much it must have hurt her to lose him. Having listened to just about every sermon The River has ever had, many of which Ed preached, I find more and more that I “bump” into him on a fairly regular basis. It is clear that there are significant pieces of him being carried around by the four Conover boys – Ed Jr., Dylan, Zach and Gabe.
And it’s been clear for a long time that the girls – Blake, Faith and Sarah – carry large portions of their mother within them.
As time progressed, my family and I were privileged to become part of a smaller inner circle with Pastor Lorri and her family. She treated us like we were one of her own, and so I had the opportunity, both personally and as a member of The River’s leadership team, to really get to know her and for her know me. No matter what I shared with her she always responded in love, even when she knew I was being an idiot.
And that may be the greatest legacy that she leaves us with as she heads home to be with our Heavenly Father and her husband Ed.
Christ took everything that comprises the law of the Bible and condensed it into two commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself. And then gave us one commission when He told us to go out and tell the world.
No single person in my entire life has exemplified living that out more than Lorri Conover.
In the coming days a great many folks will mourn her loss. I know my family and I will be among them.
But I hope in a short time we will be able to see that Lorri’s life was one that should not be mourned, but rather rejoiced in.
You see, Pastor Lorri’s life was never about her. It was always about others. It was about reaching people and teaching people and loving people until they could see God like she did. It was about doing what God commanded us to do, to go out and love the world and tell them about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
She spoke of the sin in the world, but always followed it with salvation.
She spoke of the sadness in the world, but always followed it with joy.
She spoke of the hatred in the world, but always followed it with love.
God called one of His angels on earth home last night. And the world, for a while, will be a little less bright.
But it can shine even brighter if each of us that Lorri Conover touched go out and share what she taught us with those around us every day.
Pastor Lorri Conover, we love you.