Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Monday, March 14, 2005

Please pray for the Gulleys

Nearly everyone at my old church in Waco knows the Gulleys. Carl is the youth pastor, James Mark leads worship, and Jonathan and his wife are leading the church plant in Chicago. The younger sons are Stephen (who I think is finishing up college) and Jeffrey (who I think was in college). I've met all of them, but only somewhat know James Mark. However, I have many friends who are very close to at least one of the Gulleys.

Right now there are about 500 college students spending a week in Juarez, Mexico for the annual spring break mission trip. According to an email sent out by our pastor, last night Jeffrey Gulley was helping lead worship at one of the ministry sites when he collapsed and his heart stopped. Pastor Jimmy explained that there was a fireman on the scene who immediately started CPR. And he, Jonathan and Stephen Gulley were also in the same area and started praying. An ambulance arrived within 10 minutes to transport him to the hospital. At the hospital they worked on him for at least 30 more minutes, but they finally came out and said there was nothing more they could do.

Jimmy said that while they were praying for Jeffrey they felt the Lord speak John 11:25 : And the Lord said to [Martha], "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies." This word gave them peace and faith to trust that the Lord is in control.

I'm amazed at the Gulley's response: "The Gulley's have expressed that the way you can honor them and to honor Jeffrey is to draw closer to Jesus, knowing we will receive mercy and help in our time of need. "

Jonathan Gulley also wrote in the email:
Jeffrey gave his life to the Lord in August of 2004. As I was thinking about all the years we had spent praying and contending for Jeffrey, I felt God ask me this question in a very kind and Fatherly way 'Wasn't it worth it?' As a family, we grieve because of our loss but we feel victory because Jeff stands in the presence of God, he worshipped his way into Heaven.

I end this post with the lyrics to a song James Mark wrote for Jeffrey about a year and a half ago. You can hear a portion of it here, from the World Mandate '04 cd.

Ransom (for Jeffrey)
by James Mark Gulley

I call to God
And the Lord saves me

Evening and morning and noon
I cry out to You

And You hear me
You hear my voice

And You ransom me
And You set me free
From my enemy
And You render him powerless
In my need
You sing a song of deliverance
Over me
You wave a banner of lovingkindness
You will sustain me
You won't let us fall
'Cause You're the eternal King

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