September 5: Rev. D. James Kennedy

This Day in Presbyterian History

More Alive than I have ever Been Before

The veteran preacher was speaking about his translation to heaven from the pulpit one Sunday morning.  As he spoke of his pine box being brought in at his funeral, Dr. D. James Kennedy warned against any weeping at the sight.  Instead, he said “I want you to begin with the Doxology and end with the Hallelujah chorus, because I am not going to be there, and I am not going to be dead.  I will be more alive than I have ever been in my life.  I will be alive forever, in greater health and vitality and joy than ever, ever, I or anyone has known before.”

The above quotation was on his funeral bulletin after his death at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on September 5, 2007. He had returned from the medical facility just ten days before, after being stricken with a heart attack the previous year. His last sermon had been preached on December 24, 2006, with his retirement from the pulpit of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church for the last  forty-seven years.

Much has been written on the man and his ministry.  His twin themes of the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate characterized his messages and ministry in Fort Lauderdale, the state of Florida, the nation, and the world.  Certainly, the lay-witnessing methodology for sharing the gospel impacted countless Christians, including this writer in his pastorate of forty years.  Taking every thought captive to the Lord Jesus and reclaiming the culture of our once blessed nation and people, enabled the cultural mandate to become practice instead of mere theory.   For all this, we can thank the Triune God for D. James Kennedy.  No wonder can the funeral hymns be started with the Doxology and end with the Hallelujah Chorus.  The sovereign God deserves all the praise for the spiritual gifts He had given to His servant, Dr. Kennedy.

Words to live by:  Jesus once said that we were to pray that laborers be literally thrust out into the harvest, for it was ready to be gathered.   When is the next D. James Kennedy to be raised up for the ripe harvest?  Indeed, where is the next generation of pastors and teachers, missionaries, evangelists, helpers, administrators, and you can add all the spiritual gifts here, going to step forward and be counted for labors in the kingdom of grace?  The harvest is there.  The church is there.  The culture is there.  Where are the laborers?  Pray for a mighty calling today for service in our day.

Through the Scriptures:  2 Chronicles 17 – 19

Through the Standards:  A Pattern for prayer  

WLC 187 “How is the Lord’s Prayer to be used?
A.  The Lord’s prayer is not only for direction, as a pattern, according to which we are to make other prayers; but may also be used as a prayer, so that it be done with understanding, faith, reverence, and other graces necessary to the right performance of the duty of prayer.”

WLC 188 “Of how many parts does the Lord’s Prayer consist?
A.  The Lord’s prayer consists of three parts: a preface, petitions, and a conclusion.”

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