Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

In Memory of a Friend: Brian "Ozzy" Osborne


On Tuesday afternoon traveling back from my great-uncle’s funeral I received a text that a childhood friend, Brian “Ozzy Osborne was found in his home on Monday, April 26th not breathing. Ozzy had passed away at the young age of 43 years old. I was shocked and saddened by the tragic news. No one likes to hear the news of people passing away, especially those whom you were close to at one time. I first met Ozzy the Summer of my freshman year when I had moved to Phil Campbell, AL from Russellville. Back then the hang out place was downtown Russellville on the “strip.” This is where I first met Ozzy, along with his uncle Waylon (which I always found interesting that Ozzy was older than Waylon, but Waylon was his uncle), Skeeter, and other Seniors of 1991. I had a Summer job at McDonalds and I would often go to the “strip” after I got off work to hang out. Ozzy had a odd sense of showing how he liked you (or at least liked me) by picking at you (me). One night, I remember getting off work and showing up at the “strip,” and Ozzy in front of several people called me “McBeck" sine I worked at McDonald's (You get. Right?). I have to admit, it embarrassed me at first, as everyone laughed at his comment. However, at that moment I sensed an acceptance by Ozzy and the other guys from Phil Campbell, as I was the laugh for the night. It was then I began to hang out at Betty’s (Waylon’s mother and Ozzy’s grandmother) house to play pool, cards, and do what PC boys used to do. It was then the older guys took me in as their little brother and they were my older brothers that I never had. Ozzy was special in the sense he loved life and he lived it to the fullest. I remember his smile. His laughter. His sense of humor. He was a jolly guy who always had to have the last word:) He was Ozzy.

     I received a call from the family on Wednesday morning asking if I would speak at Ozzy’s funeral. I was more than honored to minister the Word of God to his family and friends. There were several of Ozzy’s family members I had not seen in several years and I hated to see them under those circumstances. Myself along with Jason Burcham, and Brain Scott, all childhood friends spoke at the funeral. Friends that we went to high school  gathered to remember Ozzy’s life. Some friends traveled hundreds of miles to show their support to his family. Funerals are a sad time, but it is a time God uses to remind us that all of humanity is mortal. What I mean is that, life is brief and there are no guarantees when or where ours will end. Therefore, I wanted to share some thoughts from Ozzy’s funeral that I shared with the friends and family.

James 4:14 tells us, “You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

Renee DeCarte a 16th century French philosopher has been attributed with basically saying, "all men ask 4 questions when it comes to life:"
#1 Who am I?
#2 How did I get here?
#3 Where am I going?
#4 How do I get there?
     At some point in our lives we ask these question. Perhaps not out loud but in the recesses of our being. The purpose of these questions begs to answer another question: “What is the meaning of life?"
Outside of a biblical worldview one will never understand the purpose or meaning of life. In order to make sense of evil and death in the world today one must have a proper understanding of sin. Evil, nor death makes sense apart from the Word of God. 
As James writes to the persecuted believers to remind them that life was fleeting from them faster and faster. And therefore, we need to understand 3 truths about this life:

  1. Life has no guarantees.
Someone has said, “There are only two guarantees in life. You are guaranteed that you will pay taxes and die.” To which I say, “You don’t have to pay taxes!"
However, you are guarantee that you will die. This is an absolute fact. It is a 100% guarantee that you will not leave this world alive, unless you are a child of God when He makes His visible appearance. 
The Bible teaches us, “that is appointed once for man to die and then the judgment” (Heb.9:27).

  1. Life is short. 
An older preacher once told me, “Yesterday I was 8, today I am 40, and tomorrow I’ll be 80.” He was telling me how fast life goes by us. 
We all remember growing up we couldn’t wait to turn 15 or 16 so we could drive. It meant freedom. Then we couldn’t wait to graduate and move out of the house. Then we couldn’t wait to get married and have children. And now we wish we could go back and be a kid again. 
My grandmother use to say, “Don’t wish your life away. You’ll be an adult soon enough.” She was right. 
James says, “Life is a midst (vapor).” Life is not like a midst. It is a midst. The average American lives to be 80 years old. That is not a long time to live when you think about it in light of eternity.
Too many people spend their short time here on earth living for themselves and never finding true fulfillment. The reason why is because God has created us a beings who worship. The problem is that most spend their short time worshipping the creation, rather than the Creator.

  1. Life is under God’s control. 
We are all born believing our destiny is in our hands. It is up to us in what and how we do it. James reminds us, that we should be reminded life is under the “Lord’s will that we will do such and such.” 
For several years I thought I was living the life the way I wanted to (which I was) and it brought great pain and damage to myself and others. It was only by God’s amazing grace that I was spared death at an early age from car wrecks, along with drunken stupors and drug binges. I hurt several people from living the way I wanted to live, yet God was providentially sparing me for something greater than myself. He was sparing me for Himself. 

In the same way, if you are reading this God has spared you for this very moment. I do not believe in accidents. It is God’s providence that you are reading this post in memory of Ozzy. There is a purpose for everything which happens in life, even evil and death. Even though we don’t fully understand it, God tell us “The secret things belong to the Lord, but the things revealed belongs to his children” (Deut.29:29). God has a greater purpose for your life and its better than anything you could ever imagine for yourself. He desires that you know him through a personal relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. You see, even though I was sadden to hear the news about Ozzy’s death, and the loss his children and family will have to live with from now on, I was encouraged by the fact that Ozzy had came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I was blessed to hear that Brian Scott had the privilege of leading Ozzy to the Lord and that Christ had made a difference in his life. 

In conclusion, I would like to answer the 4 questions that all men ask at some point in their lives:

#1 Who am I? You are a living creature made in the image of God.So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen.1:27). 
#2 How did I get here? God created you.  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). 
#3 Where am I going? If you are forgiven in Christ by trusting in Him alone by faith (not of works Eph.2:8) you will possess an eternal heaven. If not you possess an eternal hell.   "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).

#4 How do I get there? Jesus and Him alone.  “ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

I have never lost a father, son, brother, or nephew and cannot truly understand what this family this has experienced. Only God knows the pain and suffering of this family and it is only God who can truly give them 
"the peace that surpasses all understanding in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Phil.4:7).
My prayer is after you read this you would take a moment and pray for this family. 
My prayer is if you have not been forgiven of your sin and have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ that you would seek Him today, by turning from yourself and turning to Him. He is a gracious and loving Father. 
May God be praised! 

Please feel free to leave a comment or a memory about our friend Ozzy in the comment section.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"Remembering My Great-Uncle Oscar: And A Gift To My Great-Aunt Barbara"

If you were to ask me, “Chad looking back at your childhood, name the men who had the most spiritual impact on your life.” Without hesitation, I would answer, “William Walker Cummings (my great grandfather) and Oscar Burrow (my great uncle).

Uncle Oscar was a man of few words, but taught me so much by his faithful example in being a godly man. Proverbs 17:27 says, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Uncle Oscar was a wise teacher, who may not have known the impact he had on my life personally, but it was evident in the life of others too.

When I think of Uncle Oscar I think of one word: FAITHFUL. The Apostle Paul submits, “Moreover, it is required that a steward be found faithful.” Uncle Oscar was a faithful steward of God. He was faithful to his wife for over 66 years, his family, his job, and most of all he was faithful to follow his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Uncle Oscar was faithful in his life and taught many, especially us young men what it meant to be a real man. 

Titus 2:2 "Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness."
The Apostle Paul wrote to Titus to set the churches in order on the island of Crete. One of Titus’s task was to place elders over these congregations. He was also instructed to have the older men to teach the younger men in the church and in everyday life. As I think about this admonition Paul gave Titus, I am reminded how Uncle Oscar emulated Titus 2:2 for us younger men. 
Therefore, I want share with you 6 ways that my Uncle Oscar, as an older man taught me, as a younger man.

  1. Uncle Oscar taught me to be “sober-minded."
This mean literally, not to get drunk. To think and act with wisdom. As far as I know, Uncle Oscar was faithful to live this out. He understood, Ephesians 5:18, “Do not be drunk with wine, but let the Holy Spirit control you.” He knew the danger and evil that being controlled by anything than the Holy Spirit. Most of all, He knew how being anything but sober minded would affect his testimony for Christ. He was a clean-minded man whose life was evidently controlled but the Holy Spirit.

  1.     Uncle Oscar taught me to be “dignified."
Uncle Oscar was serious minded, but but so much that he didn’t have fun. Uncle Oscar enjoyed life to the fullest. He enjoyed Alabama football, Atlanta Braves baseball, watching Westerns, and watching his grandchildren swim. He was a man who was dignified and had a good reputation with others. 
I think about growing up and going to the local store where he would take us and tell us to put our drinks and candy on his “tab” or “credit.” The store owner knew he would be there to pay for it on pay day. He was dignified.

  1.     Uncle Oscar taught me to be “self-controlled."
This means to “act with a saved mind.” I am not saying that Uncle Oscar was perfect, but I can recall never living out of control. Again this goes back to being controlled by the Holy Spirit. This self control speaks of being disciplined. A self controlled man is a disciplined man. 
Matthew Henry says, “self control means the ability to govern well his passions and affections, so as not be hurried away by them to anything that is evil or indecent.” Uncle Oscar was a self controlled man.

  1.     Uncle Oscar taught me the importance of “sound faith."
This word “sound” means literally healthy. The older men were to be fit in their faith. Their faith were to be healthy. You were not around Uncle Oscar before too long before he would make his way to the Bible. Uncle Oscar knew and lived the Word of God. I remember only 3 weeks before he passed away, I drove to Alabama to sit and visit with him. It wasn’t long he and I began talking about the Word of God. He was quoting the Old Testament about the sinfulness of the world today and the only hope was Jesus Christ. And I think about today, Uncle Oscar is now with the eternal Word Himself today.

  1.     Uncle Oscar taught me how to “love."
How did he do this? He never sat me down and said, “Now Chad I want to teach you how to love.” No, he taught me how to love, how he loved his wife for over 66 years. He taught me how to love in how he love his two daughters, Linda and Kathy. How he loved his grandchildren. He taught me how to love by loving me, even though I wasn’t even his flesh and blood. You see some of my fondest childhood memories was when I spent time with his grandchildren, who were my cousins. I remember there was a time when they all got new Alabama jerseys and I got one too, just like I was one of his own.
Uncle Oscar taught me to love.

  1.     Uncle Oscar taught me how to be “steadfast."
This word is a compound word which mean to remain under. Uncle Oscar lived a steadfast, enduring, persevering life in Christ. Matthew records the words of Christ in Matthew 24:13, “those who persevere until the end will be saved.” Uncle Oscar had been graced with salvation some years ago. He understood that he was a sinner separated from God and his only hope was in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Uncle Oscar received the gift of repentance and faith it is was evident as he persevered until the end in his walk with Christ. Uncle Oscar’s faith in Christ was unshakable and immoveable and he was able to say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith."

I pray that I may be able to influence my children, grandchildren, and others for Christ like Uncle Oscar. I give God the thanks and glory for providentially placing me in the life of this man and his family. I will be eternally grateful for his faithfulness to the Lord and how it has impacted my life as a pastor, husband, and father. May the Lord be glorified.