Celebrating the homegoing of a Christ-centered giant

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In God’s providence while in Asheville, NC at the Billy Graham Training Center, the Reverend Dr. Wayne Allen Barber, 73, of Chattanooga, TN was promoted to Glory for eternal life on Monday, August 29, 2016. For him, joy! For us, deep sorrow and grief yet, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Instead, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God!

Those are the opening lines of an announcement aptly titled “Not I, but Christ.”  It can be read it its entirety on the Woodland Park Baptist Church website: http://woodlandpark.org/

Many comments about Wayne and his ministry also appear.  If anything is made clear from the heartfelt comments, it is that Wayne appeared to practice what he preached.  Consider a sampling of the tributes:

What a joy he was to be around! He had a significant spiritual impact on my life and taught me how to study the Bible in depth. His life was a testimony of what the walk of faith should look like. I will never forget his many humorous stories and a statement he used to say all the time: “Just let Jesus be Jesus in you!” – Scott

I really appreciated Bro. Wayne’s desire to zero in on the main principle of a passage and not be distracted by issues which might obscure the Truth of the Word in the proper context. – Russell

I cried when I read this because he, more than any other pastor spoke and encouraged me to walk daily with the Lord. He always would say, don’t trust what a pastor says, check it out for yourself in the Bible. Read and study God’s word. – Kenneth

I have never known anyone else who so boldly and joyfully lived out “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Maegan

There was no question that God called him to teach and shepherd and “equip the saints”! I was discipled by him as I sat in the pew from my freshman year of high school through my freshman year of college. My love for God’s Word and digging deeper into God’s Word began with Wayne’s teaching! – Mandy

What Pastor Wayne invested in me is eternal. I have never felt such grace from any other person. – Heidi

How is that for a eulogy?!  What a difference this man made in the lives of others for the glory of God!

Jodi and I came to appreciate Wayne and his ministry while we were students at Bryan College in the early 1990’s.  Wayne came to the college for a series of lectures on the book of Philippians and his passion for Christ was contagious.  Jodi and I also visited Woodland Park Baptist Church on several occasions to hear Wayne preach or to attend one of their pageants.  In recent years, we have attended the Christmas Eve Service at the church.  Those were Christ-focused, joyful celebrations!

As I reflect upon my brief encounters with Wayne Barber no concept comes to mind as much as Christ-centeredness.  Every time I heard him speak, he would zero in on the person and works of the Lord Jesus.  From all accounts, his life proved that he very much believed the words that he spoke.

Moments like these cause me to reflect upon my own legacy.  How will I be remembered?  What difference am I making in the lives of others today? Do people hear me mention the person and works of Christ and do they see the tremendous difference Jesus has made in my own life?

I’m not sure.

How I want my eulogy to be written may be different than what actually transpires.  I hope that is not the case.

But we all know that how we live today adds to the body of work which will be recalled later.  So, and I have said this before, today matters.  Today is significant.  The decisions I make today and the words I utilize today are important.  The same is true of you.  Another truth to consider is that that same Jesus that captivated the attention of Wayne Barber still exists!  In fact, Wayne now has more information about Christ than he could have ever imagined!  He lived for Christ in this life and now he will spend eternity with Him!  Let us follow in the footsteps of this giant (Wayne was a tall man)!

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