Today, many people in and around the Omaha area and others across the globe are mourning the loss of a couple that were true servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. As I saw the news of a deadly crash involving a pastor and his wife scroll across my cell phone Friday morning, I began searching to find out more about their lives. I realized that I had never met this couple (which made me quite sad). However, I visited their church early in January to receive prayer, which was really powerful.
Although I did not know this pastor nor his wife, I am surprised at the extent of grief that I feel. I know in my spirit that the community has lost some giants in the kingdom of God. The news continues to reveal the multitude of people that have been impacted by their love, vision and faithful witness. You see, Ty and Terri Schenzel founded the Hope Center for Kids in 1998. For many years, the Hope Center has been changing lives in north Omaha (and now Fremont) as the staff, along with, I would imagine, countless volunteers, “strives to faithfully inspire hope in northern Omaha youth and children through education, employability, collaboration and faith.” As a pastor at Waypoint Church, I’ve read that Pastor Ty was all about “restoring hope where things seemed hopeless.” The article goes on to say that Terri was very involved in the church’s women’s ministry and “stepped in wherever she was needed, wherever she could.”
Pastor Ty and Terri and Ryan Hrubes, (a friend who, along with his wife, was driving with the Schenzels), entered heaven on Thursday evening, August 21st in South Dakota as they were heading towards Mt. Rushmore. (Please pray for Ryan’s wife, Emily as she is in ICU.) These men and this woman of God had hope. They understood hope; hope as the scriptures tell us in 1 Peter 3: 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. [They have received their ultimate reward–something ALL BELIEVERS will receive someday! We will live forever with God in heaven, something those of us still on earth cannot even fathom.] So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. [From all accounts I have read, Ty, Terri and Ryan were most assuredly worshipers, and Christ was indeed their Lord.] And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. [Again, all accounts–all–mention their desire to explain the hope they had as believers in Christ, to live their lives with that hope, and to encourage those who didn’t have hope to receive hope through God’s Son, Jesus Christ.]
What is this hope? Here it is again, spelled out really clearly in First Peter, chapter 3:
- Christ suffered for our sins once for all time.
- He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.
- He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
- Now Christ has gone to heaven.
- He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.
And so today, I want to encourage you to live your life with hope in the Lord. Be the bright light that God created you to be, and don’t stop shining. Receive and share God’s hope and His love here on earth until that one day when you, too, will be called safely home to be with Him.
Peace to you in Christ and love to all who mourn,