“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” ~Acts 20:24
Many of you know and love my friend and brother, Pastor John Hibbard. For the past several years he has battled bone cancer and has done so bravely and valiantly.
Back in December he asked the Lord to give him one more opportunity to preach at the Colony of Mercy Chapel as it would have been his Father’s 100th birthday. God gave him the desire of his heart and he preached, seated in a chair, with passion, energy, and boldness.
He shared the gospel at the service and at the end, a resident of the Colony came up to sit next to him, and Pastor Hibbard had the joy of leading him to Christ. Attending that morning was a couple who Pastor had married while serving at Pemberton’s First Baptist. Because of the husband’s addiction, he lost his family, came to the Colony, and for the last several years has been trying to reconcile with his wife and family. They just happened to attend the service that morning not knowing Pastor Hibbard was preaching. Pastor John was thrilled.
The Lord gave him one more opportunity to preach to the men of the Colony several weeks ago, and it was just an amazing message. He has had a HUGE impact of the Colony men since he has been preaching at the Colony Chapel these past several years.
On Thursday evening at 8:43 PM, Pastor John was ushered into the presence of His Savior. He finished his race with joy. He didn’t limp to the finish line – he finished well.
Pastor Hibbard’s son Jay, wrote these words about his Dad which is a fitting way to honor and remember this incredible man of God:
Tonight my Dad – John Landale Hibbard left this earthly home at 8:43pm for his eternal home with the God he loved and has served all his life. He was the foundation of our family, pastor to thousands through the years and a friend to anyone who met him – even in his last days. His life and daily testimony of service to others and deep faith has impacted all who had the opportunity to meet him. We will all miss his booming infectious laugh, sense of humor, affection and words of encouragement. My prayer for my own life and for all of you reading this is that we will finish our lives as good as my Dad did. He shared with me on Tuesday night and summed this sums it all up…”I have no regrets – I am ready to go “home”. Thank you for all the prayers – I can tell you my Dad and all of us felt them and we appreciate your prayers for my Mom in the days ahead.
What a great example Pastor Hibbard has left for all of us. Is it your desire to finish your race with joy? Are the steps you need to take assure that you will?
I will miss you, my brother. You have touched my life profoundly.
Written by Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick. He has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grandkids. He loves music and is an avid reader.
Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan
Daily Quote: Someday you will read in the papers, ‘D. L. Moody of East Northfield is dead.’ Don’t you believe a word of it! “At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal — a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another ~Romans 15:14 (NKJV)