Tribute to Rex Frederick

rex.jpgThe first time Rex Frederick walked into Life Connections there was no way I could have imagined the influence he would have on my life and the church. He had a great smile, was friendly but seemed a little cautious. He asked a few questions, talked to a few people and then left. I wasn’t sure if he would be back but he did come back, this time with Bonnie and his family and from that point on they never stopped coming. I don’t exactly remember when he made the decision to make Life Connections his home for his family, but when he did, he became a part of its very fiber.

There were lots of times he questioned me about things and I wasn’t sure why, but he seemed genuinely interested in both me and the vision I had for the church. I don’t know how many times in the early years I heard him say, “I don’t think I’ve ever met any one like you, you’re different, you look at ministry different than anyone I’ve ever met.” I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not, but over time I began to gain his confidence and he began to gain mine. His personality was both warm and quick-witted; he became someone I felt I could trust and I think he felt the same toward me. He poured himself and his wisdom into my life from his many years of experience in ministry, as a father and the leader of his family. Once Rex told me that he and Bonnie had never had a fight. I thought, you’ve got to be kidding, but over the years both Bonnie and his kids confirmed the fact that they had never fought. I remember asking him, “even when you bought the Corvette on your honeymoon or the Corvette you accidently bought online?” That kind of example intrigued and challenged me to be a better husband. As a dad, Rex would always say about his kids, “they’re not perfect, but they’re good kids,” and a big smile would come across his face. Anytime I would talk to Matt, Melissa, Heather or Katie about their dad, the same kind of smile came on their face…you knew he was a good dad and they loved him. As a young pastor with no ministerial background, Rex became my mentor, my elder and my friend. Rex saw the scripture in a different way than most and though he was an excellent speaker and minister who had preached in many pulpits, he had no desire or agenda to promote himself, it was always how can I help you make Life Connections a better place to worship. He always was asking, “what’s your vision for… or how do you see…” It was never, “this is what we did at… or I have a better idea.”

He never missed a service, bible study, prayer meeting or community event unless he was out of town and then I would always get a text apologizing and explaining why he couldn’t be at the service or event. As the church began to grow and major decisions had to be made, I would tell Mary, “I’ve got to talk to Rex.” Our relationship became one where each of us trusted the other. He trusted my vision and wanted nothing more to see an outpouring of God’s Spirit and I trusted him to run with the vision, never fearing he would loose sight of what I saw.

Over the last two months of his life I spent most of my days with Rex. His zeal for life, faith in God and belief that God was going to heal him never wavered. He may have been in pain and had doubt, but when you walked in the room his face lit up like fireworks in a night sky and the same smile I saw the first time I met him was still on his face. When you went to visit him you knew you were going to hear about one of three things; what he was going to do when he got out, something that God had gave him in prayer or David and the Giants and the new Christian music jeopardy game he had created.

The Bible talks about David’s great army and all the accomplishments that David was able to achieve in his life. There were many men who fought along side with David, but the scripture mentions that there were 37 men who were called “Mighty Men.” These men were rare, they put there plans and ideas aside and invested their talent in David’s vision and goal. Many of these men were highly educated, skilled and talented and they likely could have rallied men around themselves and built their own kingdoms, but instead they chose to be a part of something bigger. Rex Frederick was one of those Mighty Men. He was a great husband and father, he loved God with all his heart, he had great skill in the pulpit and a way of seeing the Bible like few did. He could have easily pastored a church and done a great job of reaching a community, but he chose to invest himself in others. For that I am grateful. He enhanced my life, my family and his investment in the beginning and foundation of Life Connections will forever be remembered.

  • Rex Frederick passed from this life on December 21, 2015. He was a minister of the gospel, executive board member at Life, husband, dad, grandfather and a great friend to me and many others.

Just a Little More

Psalms 1:3
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
 And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Leaf.pngA few days ago I was setting in my office looking out my front of my window and admiring the splash of color that fall had brought; bright hews of reds, oranges and yellows. Today as I look out that same window those same trees are now barren with the rare exception of a leaf or two. The combination of sun, wind and an occasional rain shower has taken its toll; now only the strong remain. What caused some leaves to have the strength to remain attached? A little more attached to the water source, a little more wind endurance or maybe a little more sunshine. Whatever the reason, a few leaves have had a little more strength than the others and they remain.

Life is much like that of a leaf. What allows some to endure the seasons of life? What allows them to remain attached to God when others seem to fall away? The formula is much the same as we see in a leaf, a little more attached to the life source, a little more intentional in their walk with God. They prayer a little more, spend a little more time in the Word of God and are just a little more faithful to His house. Those are the things that give us strength for the hard times. Be a person that remains, just do a little more!

Anticipating Change

4seasonsRight now everyone is hoping that winter will disappear and spring taking center stage. We’re tired of the subzero temperatures and we’re anxious for flowers to start blooming. Unfortunately there is little we can do to make seasons change. Do a “spring dance,” set out the patio furniture; even get out the spring wardrobe. While doing those things might help us mentally, until winter is ready to fade into a distant memory all we can do is anticipate a change in seasons. The good news is that we know that the change in seasons will eventually come; we must simply endure until it does.

What is true of weather seasons is also true when it comes to the seasons of life. While we might long for a certain season of our life to come to an end: a stressful situation that wearies us, a difficult person at the office or a financial situation that justfrost seems to linger, whatever the circumstance, we are left with one choice, endure. How do we endure a season? I get my encouragement from David. Sometimes we think that David lived a life without difficulties but it’s obvious that he too dealt with difficult seasons. Think he wasn’t discouraged where he wrote, “I will bless the Lord at all times” or wasn’t overwhelmed when he said, “I cried to the Lord?” How did he survive the season? He trusted God (Proverbs 3:5) and waited. So how do we endure? We hit our knees and spend time with God, we come to church with praise in our heart even when our flesh doesn’t want to and we read God’s Word and take courage in His promises. Will it make the current season go away? No, but it will give us the strength to endure until God brings the change we are anticipating and know is inevitable because we have read His Word. Now bring on the flowers, patio furniture and cookouts, I’m ready for spring!

That I May Know Him

KnowIs there anyone you would really like to meet? Or better yet, is there anyone you would really like to get to know? There is a great difference between knowing about someone and actually knowing the person. Someone can know a lot about a politician, artist or sports star but this much more different than actually knowing him or here. Being able to repeat every detail about Andrew Luck, his pass rating, which college he went to, his sack to touch down ratio or even the fact that he still carries a flip phone doesn’t mean that you know Andrew Luck.

Like knowing facts about your favorite politician, artist or sports star, I’m afraid many know a lot about Jesus but don’t actually know Him. There are those who profess to be Christians, but nothing about their life shows that they are. There are those who study theology, some who can quote a lot of Scripture or even debate doctrine but this is not an indication that they know Jesus. Being a member of an organization, following a set of disciplines or faithfully attending church is all fine but it does not mean that you know Jesus. In Philippians 3:10, Paul says “that I may know Him”, referring to Jesus. In the simplest terms, knowing Jesus involves seeking after Him. Not seeking favor or blessing, not seeking His miracles or power, not revival or even an answer to a problem but simply seeking to know Jesus. Knowing Him involves intimacy, relationship and a longing to be with Him. It means looking to His word to see how we can please Him. It’s being so crazy about Jesus that nothing can keep us from His house or missing an opportunity to be with Him. It means being faithful to pray because we want to know He thinks about things in our life. There’s a big difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 7: 22-23, “22. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23. And then I will declare to them ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

Like Paul, my prayer in 2015 is “That I May Know Him.” How about you? Do you know about Jesus or do you know Him? Let’s get it right in 2015!

Seize the Moment

seize-the-momentIt was a moment. A moment a woman realized she might never see again, so she seized it. She stepped out of the life of the mundane, took a risk and her life was forever changed. She had no promises that her life would be changed, her past erased, her pain removed or circumstances rearranged. She simply realized she had an opportunity to be in the presence of the God of the universe and she was going to worship Him. While others stood by, she seized the moment, worshipped God and over 2000 years later, we are still talking about her act of worship.

What causes some to seize the moment and other to shrink from it? Sometimes it’s as simple as being unaware of the moment. Caught up in the daily affairs of life, we miss the fact that we are in the midst of something magnificent. Sometimes we get focused on our situation instead of the God that is over every situation. Other times we don’t realize how special the moment is or that we may never see the opportunity again. Instead, we put a higher priority on something less important. Finally, too many times we put a higher priority on something we see as more important than being in the presence of God. That day, many people were in the room, but each had a situation, priority or a reason for why they weren’t ready to seize the moment.

As we enter into 2015, I challenge you to make this year the year you seize the moment. Seize them in your home, on the job, with your children and at church. Sometimes, the moment is an opportunity to make a memory. Another moment may be a chance to be a witness of God’s love and grace. Seize the breeze of the Spirit when in devotion, when in prayer of while listening to a worship song. Seize the moments in this church. Be the first to worship, to lift your hands or come to the altar. Pray with someone and let the Spirit operate through you. Simply put: Make His presence a priority and seize the moment!