The Passing of a Wild Man

August 22, 2015

About 4 1/2 years ago a man came into our church looking for a handout. Every other word was profanity. And...he was...intense and hysterical (to say the least!) Our Communications Pastor, Keith Runkle, took him under his wing and in a few days, Gary Landis Goldman‚ found himself on the floor, crying out to God for salvation with Keith holding one hand and Rich Browning the other.

He used the only language he knew as he prayed, laced with profanity. He's the only man I know who literally cussed his way into the kingdom! But God heard him and saved him from head to toe.

Gary became one of my dear friends. We were born just one month apart and shared a common era. He called me ""Half-timer"" because when I traveled to preach he thought I wasn't working hard enough!

Gary sat on the front row most Sundays, right in front of me, always bringing 4-5 of his friends from off the street with him, and he would talk back to me all through my message. Often, whole sentences, questions, and comments. One time years ago I just gave him the microphone 'cause he was saying exactly what needed to be said! He was tireless in loving and bringing lost men and women to Jesus.

A few hours ago, Jesus said something to him: ""Time to come on home, son."" And Gary was ushered into the literal presence of the One he'd come to know and love so much. No more pain. No more struggle. No more financial worries.

Gonna really miss my friend. Our church is going to miss him. Most importantly, hundreds of homeless people he ministered to are going to miss him, but I am elated for him!

We've had 2 great men die in the last 2 weeks: Sid Carswell, a veteran missionary and prayer warrior and pastor at 84. And Gary, a rough and tumble, 63 year old wild man who was rescued just 4 years ago but burned out for Christ ever since.

I wonder who will step up and take their place?

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