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While taking a break from their STUDIES and MISSION WORK, Ron and some of his classmates went SWIMMING in the SURF off the north end of Luzon Island in the Philippines when a SHARK ATTACKED. Ron’s leg was SEVERED below the KNEE. He was carried to SHORE by his friends. Emergency crews tried various methods to apply ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION. Frantic effort was put into SAVING the young man’s life. But Ron Arney DIED from loss of blood in spite of all that was done to SAVE him. Charles Selby, a MISSIONARY in the islands said, “In my 26 years here I cannot recall anyone being injured or killed by a shark.” This, of course, raised a lot of questions: “Why now?” “Why Ron, of all people?” “What GOOD can come of this?” “Where was God in all of this?” The untimely death of a young MINISTRY student forced upon Ron’s loved ones LESSONS that were difficult to learn. But Ron, even though he was BLEEDING to DEATH, wasn’t FINISHED TEACHING. As two of Ron’s Traveling College companions, Bill Watkins and Dean Summers, stood by him, he LIFTED his EYES to HEAVEN and said, “God, I LOVE you. This is the MOMENT I have been WAITING for.” He taught more in those SENTENCES than he might have in years of PREACHING. Then, Ron CLOSED his EYES and DIED. For those left behind, a TRAGEDY—for Ron, ETERNAL VICTORY.

 
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Chris McCarthy
 
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THE CRAIGSLIST MURDER

When Charlene Sanders drove home from a routine day of work April 28, the last thing she expected was that she would be telling family of her husband’s death later that night.

At about 9 p.m. on April 28, Jim Sanders invited a young man and women into his home to view a ring he had posted for sale online. Within 30 minutes, Jim Sanders was shot dead before his family’s eyes.

The events of April 28 changed the local family forever, as it shook the quiet town of Edgewood, and the "Craigslist Murder" drew the attention of media nationwide.

Jim was the head of his hard-working Christian family that included his wife of close to eight years, Charlene, and their two boys – Jimmy Jr., 14, and Chandler, 10.

As a trusting, loving human being, Jim never suspected the evening visit would take the direction it did. If he had, he would have stopped it at the doorstep. He was an unfailing protector of his family.

Jim was always cautious, and fully prepared to protect his family against intruders, said Charlene. But on April 28, he was blindsided.

"He was duped," said his younger brother, Derek Sanders. "He trusted someone and he let them into his home."

Once things took a turn for the worse, Jim did what he had to do. After seeing his 14-year-old son pistol whipped by one of the intruders, he freed himself from the zip-ties around his wrists and defended what was most important to him: his family.

"Jim stood courageously and he died for his family," Derek said. "The way he was taken has made his story what it is – he stood up for his family, he fought, and he died. If he died in a car crash, it would have been tragic, but it would have been just another obituary."

Jim’ family has spent the time since his tragic and untimely death clinging to their faith, trusting in God’s plan, and searching for meaning in such a senseless slaying.

What they have found is that their family’s story, which has spanned international news, has inspired people to make positive changes in their own lives.

 
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THE CRAIGSLIST MURDER

When Charlene Sanders drove home from a routine day of work April 28, the last thing she expected was that she would be telling family of her husband's death later that night.

At about 9 p.m. on April 28, Jim Sanders invited a young man and women into his home to view a ring he had posted for sale online. Within 30 minutes, Jim Sanders was shot dead before his family's eyes.

The events of April 28 changed the local family forever, as it shook the quiet town of Edgewood and the "Craigslist Murder" drew the attention of media nationwide.

Jim was the head of his hard-working Christian family that included his wife of close to eight years, Charlene, and their two boys -- Jimmy Jr., 14, and Chandler, 10.

As a trusting, loving human being, Jim never suspected the evening visit would take the direction it did. If he had, he would have stopped it at the doorstep. He was an unfailing protector of his family.

Jim was always cautious, and fully prepared to protect his family against intruders, said Charlene. But on April 28, he was blindsided.

"He was duped," said his younger brother, Derek Sanders. "He trusted someone and he let them into his home."

Once things took a turn for the worse, Jim did what he had to do. After seeing his 14-year-old son pistol whipped by one of the intruders, he freed himself from the zip-ties around his wrists and defended what was most important to him: his family.

"Jim stood courageously and he died for his family," Derek said. "The way he was taken has made his story what it is -- he stood up for his family, he fought, and he died. If he died in a car crash, it would have been tragic, but it would have been just another obituary."

Jim' family has spent the time since his tragic and untimely death clinging to their faith, trusting in God's plan, and searching for meaning in such a senseless slaying.

What they have found is that their family's story, which has spanned international news, has inspired people to make positive changes in their own lives.

(From a sermon by Chris McCarthy, Kamikaze, 8/17/2010)

 
Contributed By:
Thomas Black
 
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The late Vance Havner’s wife was also named Sarah. Shortly after her untimely death, Warren Wiersbe met him at Moody Bible Institute, and expressed his condolences with the simple words, "I’m sorry to hear you lost your wife." Dr. Havner smiled and replied, "Son, when you know where something is, you h...

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LEIGHTON FORD--Leighton Ford is a minister and a brother-in-law to Billy Graham. Leighton’s son Sandy died an untimely death. Leighton wrote a book about his son. The following is taken from that publication. "When Sandy was alive, he sometimes made his friends a little uncomfortable by being slightly apart, separate, present to the moment but not totally committed to this world, as if his eyes and mind were set on things above. Now that he is gone, his absence reminds us frequently of heaven, helping us to recover the old notion that our lives are brief, and lived continually under the eye of eternity and in the grace of God. "During the months following Sandy’s death, to cope with my grief and sense of loss, I kept a journal. Through a series of ’conversations’ with Sandy, I continued to express my grief and bring our relationship to a close. "In one of those chats, I said, ’Sandy, you’ve been dead two months earth time.’ "’I feel as if I have been alive forever, Dad. It’s a lot like one big long today.’ "’It’s not a matter of time, Sandy, except that time heals. It’s more a matter of nearness. I guess I’m concerned that as our time goes on, we will lose any sense of nearness.’ "’But why, Dad? You’re moving closer to eternity every day. You’re no longer moving from, but to me And besides, the "Wall" between is so thin--you would laugh if you could see it.’ "’I think more of you than when you were at Chapel Hill.’ "’Sure I know you do. I hear those thoughts.’ "’Night, son Enjoy the stars’ "’It’s morning here, Dad. Enjoy the light’" "Pheidippides ran exhausted into Athens with news of the Greek victory at Marathon, shouting, ’Rejoice We conquer’ Sandy ran through the lives of those who knew him shouting, ’Rejoice He conquers’ Then, like the runner-warrior Pheidippides, he died."

 
Contributed By:
Kent Wise
 
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TOMMY'S STORY

Father John Powell, professor at Loyola University in Chicago, writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:

Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith.

That was the day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then I know in my mind that it isn’t what’s on your head but what’s in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under "S" for strange...very strange.

Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a cynical tone, "Do you think I’ll ever find God?"

I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically.

"Why not," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing."

I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out, "Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!" He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.

I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line -- He will find you! At least I thought it was clever. Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was duly grateful.

Then a sad report came. I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe. "Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often; I hear you are sick," I blurted out.

"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks."

"Can you talk about it, Tom?" I asked.

"Sure, what would you like to know?" he replied.

"What’s it like to be only twenty-four and dying?"

"Well, it could be worse."

"Like what?"

"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies in life."

I began to look through my mental file cabinet under "S" where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my life to educate me.)

"But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, "is something you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered!) He continued, "I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, ’No!’ which surprised me. Then you said, ’But He will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. (My clever line. He thought about that a lot!)

"But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that’s when I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven. But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit "Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit.

"I decided that I didn’t really care about God, about an after life, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: ’The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.’

"So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him. 'Dad.'

"'Yes, what?' he asked without lowering the newspaper.

"'Dad, I would like to talk with you.'

"'Well, talk.'

"'I mean .. It’s really important.'"

"The newspaper came down three slow inches. 'What is it?'

"'Dad, I love you, I just wanted you to know that.'" Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him. "The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me."

"It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years.

"I was only sorry about one thing --- that I had waited so long. Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

"Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with Him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, 'C'mon, jump through. C'mon, I’ll give you three days, three weeks.'

"Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour. But the important thing is that He was there. He found me! Y...

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