Friday, July 17, 2009

Rich is Not A Bank Account Balance

We drove down for Paul Barclay's funeral yesterday and so did over 1,500 of his closest friends.

There was also a webcast of his funeral for those who couldn't make it. This was not a funeral attended out of obligation, but out of love.

We cried a bucket of tears over the loss of this hilarious and crazy man who made such an impact on so many for Jesus.

I know that many of you read my post about returning home from our Young Life assignments and referring to as "rotten potatoes". Lynn Barclay wins in a contest that nobody wants to win. Please pray for her.

Our friend Glenn Austell wrote an amazing letter that gave a beautiful tribute to Paul that I would love to republish here:

"Last night, Young Life was dealt a terrible blow when Lynn Barclay, our camp director, got news of her husband's sudden death during our final club and Say-So. Many of you have gotten wind of this already and have already begun to pray for Lynn and her boys, John and PJ. For some of you, this might be the first you're hearing of this. If you knew Paul, but haven't gotten this tragic news yet, I am sorry to be the bearer of it. And some of you who have been praying for me didn't know Paul at all, but you are prayer warriors nonetheless and because this family is close to my heart, I know they will be close to yours too. No matter which category you fall into, I am asking that you pray and pray hard for the Barclay family as they wade through the next days, weeks and months.

The stories I know of Paul Barclay are legendary. Either I got to hear them from Paul himself over the years, or from Lynn in the last week or so, or from Charley Patten when I trained under him. Paul left an indelible mark on all he encountered...whether he journeyed with them for years, or simply brushed up against them once. You couldn't help but walk away from Paul either laughing until the point of near vomiting or simply moved...because you had just been with a man who's heart breaks for the broken hearted. Paul pushed me to Jesus and he didn't even mean to do it half the time...that's just who he was. And though I wasn't around him often, the times I was around him were just didn't want it to end. The legacy of lives he touched and led to the Savior is hundreds of miles long. And the mission of Young Life owes much of its continued heritage of excellence in ministry to Paul and Lynn. I liked him for so many reasons.

I like that he stepped in and drummed for Hot Chocolate to record their hit song "You Sexy Thing."
I like that he wrote the great YL skit "Uncle Al the Kiddie's Pal."
I like that he managed to marry way over his head.
I like that Paul, along with Charley Patten and Steve Moldrup taught me everything I know about humor in ministry.
I like that even 15 years after most people had stopped calling me Jake, that he still did during a YL meeting we attended together last year in Atlanta.
I like that he didn't give a crap about politics in ministry.
I like that I was one of the first people he told that he had just peed in some high school boys' bottle of Jack Daniels at Frontier Ranch.
I like that he fell asleep going #2 at a rest area in Kansas, only to be awakened 6 hours later by State Troopers banging on the bathroom stall door.
I like that I've known countless kids (who are now grown up) who walk with Jesus because of Paul Barclay.
I like that he set the bar for the career aged volunteer YL leader.
I like that he helped build Windy Gap and make it what it is today.
I like that he sent Lynn out into the trenches of ministry with nothing but his greatest blessing...for all these years.
I like the way he spoke over the years of his two boys and how proud he was of them.
I like that he never pulled any punches...that he always called it like he saw it, for better or worse.
I like that during a time in my life when I felt like a "nobody", that he made me feel like somebody.
I like that he is in the company of angels tonight and that he roots for all of us in this ministry to never let up in taking the message of Christ to lost kids.

It's odd really...that literally as countless kids at Frontier Ranch were standing to declare that they had "decided to come home to the Father", Paul Barclay was actually coming home to the Father too...once and for all. 24 hours later, after we all got the news of Paul, our Frontier team is deeply missing Lynn...our leader, friend and greatest cheerleader. Elise rode with her and some other dear ladies to Denver to get Lynn on a midnight flight home to NC late last night. When Elise got back to Frontier at 3:00 am, we spent the rest of the night talking, crying, and praying. We continued to do those same things today. 450+ kids and leaders rolled into Frontier this afternoon for the best week of their life. We all know that Paul and Lynn would want us to keep moving the ball forward for the sake of the Gospel...we are doing that very thing.

Suddenly, the swine flu "bonanza" that we endured early in the assignment has become a distant memory. And while the enemy has been near during these last few weeks, he is still no match for our King, is he? The Lord has and is meeting us (and me) every step of the way. I have learned some big things about His sovereignty this month and He has shown me something about myself that I hadn't seen up until this point in my life. He's not just at work in the lives of lost kids here at Frontier Ranch - He is hard at work in my life...and He and I have been doing some serious business in the last 72 hours. Painful and yet hopeful business that (I have a feeling) will change the way I do things from here on out.

I just really wanted to check in with each of you and ask you to keep praying for me. For those of you who haven't already, would you add the precious Barclay family to your prayer list? Pray for Lynn, John and PJ. Would you ask others to pray too?

I'm grateful for each of you. Thanks for loving me and for believing in me.



The bright spot of the day was getting to see Leslie Petree, my blogger friend who I follow in every form of social networking and we got to spend five minutes together while we waited to greet the family. Gotta love that we were both wearing similar dresses-take a look at that neckline!

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