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The Departure of Two Icons

June 29th, 2009 Posted in encouragement, Pastor's corner

As we all know, two American icons passed into eternity on the last Thursday of June, 2009 – Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.

Farrah Fawcett was once regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful women. Her hairstyle was copied by countless girls in her day, and her posters hung on many a young man’s wall. Tragically, she contracted cancer and eventually succumbed to it. Prior to her death, when she was still trying to beat it, a TV special chronicled her fight and her hope to overcome this dreaded disease.

Unfortunately, it was not to be, and Farrah Fawcett entered eternity. Her memorial service was held this week. Her boyfriend Ryan O’Neal and her family had been hoping for a miracle. In an interview he gave before her death, O’Neal said he would only talk about Farrah’s recovery, because ”the alternative is too painful to accept. It would be an awful conversation to have.”

It’s understandable, isn’t it? People don’t like to face — or even talk about — the reality of death. It frightens, even terrifies us. The New Testament speaks of those who are ”held in slavery by the fear of death” (Hebrews 2:15).

But as we all know, there is no escaping it! The Bible says, ”There is a time to be born, and a time to die … .” Across our world, 3 people are dying every second …180 every minute … nearly 11,000 every hour. That means that 250,000 people enter into eternity every single day.

In addition to Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, other recent notable deaths include Ed McMahon, legendary sidekick to Johnny Carson, as well as TV pitchman Billy Mays. This reminds us that death is no respector of persons. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, famous or unknown. Death knocks at every door.

King David said, ”Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath” (Psalm 39:4-5, NIV).

In days gone by, people thought about such things more than many of us do today. In his book, “Heaven,” Randy Alcorn points out that ancient merchants often wrote the words, ”Momento Mori,” or think of death, in large letters on the first page of their accounting books. Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, commissioned a servant to stand in his presence each day and say ”Philip, you will die!” In contrast, France’s Louis XIV decreed that the word ”death” not be used in his presence.

Although many knew Farrah was fighting cancer and might die soon, the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson was a shock to many. Now, as more comes out about his life, it would appear that he had been on a downward spiral for months, even years. Jackson had unprecedented success, winning 13 Grammys and selling a staggering 750 million records worldwide. He was one of the few artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. The Guinness Book of World Records declared him to be ”the most successful entertainer of all time.”

Before his death, Jackson was preparing for a series of 50 concerts that would have been held in London, England beginning July 13, 2009. But then death came, as it does to everyone. Even so, 50 years of age sounds like way too young an age to leave this life — and it’s sounding younger all the time!

I don’t know where Farrah and Michael were at in their spiritual lives. I only hope they had put their faith in Christ, and have both gone on to be with Him, the true and living King. On the same day that this news was breaking, I was called to visit a man on his deathbed. He knew he had cancer and that he only had days to live. We talked about eternity, and though he claimed to have faith, we went over God’s glorious plan of salvation and prayed as he committed his life to Jesus Christ.

I told him that I would visit him again on Saturday, but he didn’t make it. In fact, he ended up passing into eternity, into the arms of the Lord, only hours after our visit. I’m so glad I went to visit him! Thursday was an extremely busy day and I had considered waiting to go until Saturday, but felt prompted by the Lord to go that day.

This is why, as a pastor and an evangelist, I want to spend my life telling others about Jesus. Because we never know when life on this earth will end. If you know someone who is not yet a believer, go tell them today how to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, the living Lord. If you yourself are not a believer, check out this link that will explain how to become one.

Elvis Presley, the King of Rock, is dead.

James Brown, the King of Soul, is dead.

Kurt Cobain, the King of Grunge, is dead.

And now Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, is dead.

But Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, is alive forevermore! Let’s tell people that, so they too can live forever.

Jesus said, ”I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.”

Amen.

91 Responses to “The Departure of Two Icons”

  1. Gabriela Crespo says:

    Pastor Greg,

    Can you PLEASE send me that beautiful prayer that I hear you say every morning in the radio, The new Begining? It is the prayer that you say outloud? I am looking specifically for that prayer.

    Thank you and may God bless you ALLWAYS.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very true…not only is it a great reminder that one out of everyone persons will enter eternity but its also worth noting how quick and sudden it was for Micheal Jackson and it
    shows that we should always be ready and walking with our Lord so when the hour comes for us to go home, we are READY!!

  3. randy says:

    Amen Pastor Greg, Death is a respector of no man.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Pastor for your words, they are a blessing to me, and very comforting, it is an awsome message to all of us to share the gospel with all. I understand that Micheal Jackson was affliated with the Baptist church growing up in Indiana, and also worshiped at the AME church in LA. I also heard him in an interview quote from the bible when they asked him a question about his talent, he said “he remembered the story of the apostles that wanted to be great and who would sit at the right hand of God, he said I am happy to be at His feet.” my talent is from God, I am only a servant. When they asked him about why he liked children so much, he said when I look into a childs face I see God.

    I think of all our youth and how can we get them back, I know that we need to pray for all young people, this is an awful world, I am glad that I am not young anymore and have the pressures these young people have. I am praying for them and for your family. I know you have Topher’s anniversary coming up, We love you Pastor and will keep praying for all of your family and our church.

  5. Paula says:

    My Mom and I were just talking about this, and how her sister told her, you can have “your beliefs”, but don’t push them on me.

    I told her to tell my beloved Auntie, that she MUST tell her, as when it came her time to stand before God, Mom would have no explanation as to why she did not give her the salvation message, as being afraid of her reaction would be no excuse for not telling her the “truth”>

    God, give everyone courage to tell the truth, and bless the world with your peace. So many spend a lifetime worrying about dying, and really miss what is important in this life.
    Gilakas’la!
    Paula

  6. Ellie says:

    Thank you so much for those comforting words. My brother, who is up north, is just about ready to enter eternity & he is not a believer….I called him yesterday & was trying to convey the Gospel to him but I’m not sure he understood me with all the medication he is taking….I’m so encouraged by your words..that I know the Lord led me to read this today so that I’m going to call him again & share with him & ask him if he would like to receive the gift of eternal life. God Bless You All @ Harvest.

  7. Faith says:

    AMEN!

    This reminds us once again no one will escape death no matter who and what you represent in this world.
    The Lord called my 43 year old husband home nine months ago, and even though I have daily stuggles I know that he is in Heaven with our Lord and Savior. We are just passing through and we need to have a personal relationship with the Lord and fill the great commission to spread the Gospel. All I can do is put my life in Gods hands every day for His will to be done.

    God Bless you and your ministry.

  8. Connie Downey, CA says:

    Amen Pastor Greg and LR that also felt like I did when I was text by my son that Michael Jackson had died. My first thought was where is his eternal life? My second thought was – he was not a happy man. Thank You Pastor for praying for others and the love that God has given to you for others. I continue praying for you and your family.

    God Bless!

  9. Hannah says:

    This is so well put. Thanks for sharing :-).

  10. Howard Gold says:

    Dear Greg,

    I just wanted you to know that this is the first blog I’ve read that deals with the death of those four “celebrities” that passed away recently and gets down to the real importance of what their death really means. What was their relationship with the Lord. As you mentioned of the man you visited in the hospital who was dying, he reached out to ensure his salvation before passing on to eternity.

    I think people should look upon the deaths of Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays, Ed McMahon and Michael Jackson not for who they were in the world or what they did, but were they ready to spend eternity in heaven or hell. Every life is precious and one needs to reflect on their own life as to where we will be eternally. You have shown that we never know the day our life may end, but that all of us will have an appointment with death. We need to reach out to Jesus for our salvation and have that assurance that when that day comes, we will not fear for we will be in His loving arms and spend eternity with God in heaven forever. Thank you Greg.

  11. Julia says:

    Pastor Greg…I have been blessed with Christian heritage. That is the best gift anyone could have. I thank the Lord for that each and every day. You have been given a gift to preach the Word. You do it so well. I am looking forward to your Harvest Crusade next month!

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