Last week, my church lost a brother. On Thursday, Ronnie Smith, a former pastor at Austin Stone Community Church, was shot and killed while jogging in Benghazi, Libya.
I never knew Ronnie personally, but as a member of the church he helped to lead, and as his sister in Christ, my heart is heavy.
Confident that he is WITH God right now, I am joyful. When I think about his wife, Anita and son, Hosea, how they are waking up this morning without a husband or father, my heart deeply aches.
If you follow Jesus and don’t expect it to cost you anything, you are a desperately mistaken. For Ronnie, it cost him his very breath. Yet in losing his life, he gained everything in Jesus. The reward- relationship with Jesus Himself- far outweighs the cost.
When he moved his family to Libya, Ronnie knew the risk. To him, the decision to move to a place where churches barely exist was a no-brainer. To him, the gospel was worth it.
This Sunday, our church honored Ronnie, and The One for whom he died, by showing a video of the sermon he was best known for titled, The History of Redemption. The sermon is unique, as every word that comes out of Ronnie’s mouth is straight from the Bible. Every single word, memorized. All God-breathed, nothing thought up by man.
It was incredible… weighty… convicting… soul-filling… hopeful… to listen to this man preach on the story of the Bible, the story of God and of his plan for redeeming all people back to himself… knowing that he had given his life for this very gospel only days prior.
This gospel that has nothing to do with how good we are, and has everything to do with the perfection and glory of Jesus. This gospel that, if we let it, will consume every detail and corner of our lives, every fiber of our being, and take it for itself… giving us true life in return. This gospel that takes our evil hearts, hearts with no desire and ability to know God, and declares them righteous and forgiven and justified and redeemed under the name of Jesus Christ.
I want to believe the gospel like Ronnie did. I want to believe that it’s not just something worth dying for… it’s something worth living every minute of every day for.
If you have 30 minutes today, watch The History of Redemption. You can find it here, or below.
And if you would like to support Anita and Hosea during this time, here are a few ways you can help:
– Make a donation directly to the Smith family here.
– Purchase a copy of the book, ‘The History of Redemption.’ All proceeds go to the Smith family.
– Pay what you want, and get a downloadable version of the movie JOB. All proceeds go to the Smith family.