Summary: Memorial Service for Mark Grossman

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“Remembering Mark Grossman”

December 9, 2009

I gave a lot of thought about whether I should wear this chaplain’s uniform for this service. I wore it a couple years ago when our Sheriff passed away. I wore it when a Highway Patrol Officer was killed and I wear it every year at our memorial service for fallen peace officers. I couldn’t think of a greater way to honor my little brother than to wear my chaplain’s uniform.

One of the greatest honors of my life was being asked a few years ago to baptize Mark. Mark and I had gone separate ways in life. When he was just a young boy, I had my experience with drugs and alcohol and rebellion. It almost cost me my life. It did cost me so much and left me scarred in so many ways. Sin always hurt you. It always scars you. But God saw something in me worth saving and when I surrendered my will to His, He took me on a path that led to Bible College and working with Police officers and people with addictions.

Mark took a different path. And it cost him dearly. But like the prodigal son, my prodigal brother came to his senses and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. When I came home that summer, he asked if I would baptize him and his youngest son, Ethan. It was my privilege and honor to walk into the waters of that Minnesota lake and baptize him in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I wished you could have seen Mark at that time. The joy; the faith; the love for Jesus. His face would shine as he talked of his Savior. He poured over the Scriptures. He never missed a Sunday of Church. He delighted in worshipping the King of kings and Lord of lords. He was very bold in his testimony. I remember him walking into a convience store in Minneapolis and a black man seeing the swastika that was tattooed on his arm and asking if he was a hater. Mark said he used to be – but God had changed him and he loves everyone now. And he shared Jesus with that man.

Mark and I had a close spiritual bond. We were more than blood brothers – we were spiritual brothers. I went on to baptize not only him, but each of his three kids as well. I cherish that experience.

For some reason, God has seen fit to call me into a lifetime of ministry far away from my family –far from my parents and siblings. I have been pastoring for almost 35 years now and a couple decades as a chaplain for either the sheriff’s or police department. It was Mark who came to visit me at my first church in El Sobrante, CA. He stayed with me a short time and we wrestled and arm wrestled like a big brother and little brother does. I could beat him in those days! Later he moved to Hawthorne, NV for a short time when I pastored there. He even stayed with my ‘in-laws, the Bob Wildens, who was pastoring the church that I now pastor in Mount Shasta. In fact, of the four churches I have Pastored, Mark visited me in all but one. I share that to say that there was something special in our relationship. He always treated me with respect and honor. He always loved and supported me – and I value that.

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