A Tribute to Dad
by Chris Phillips
June 17, 2023
Categories - Timeless Truths
Topics - death,loss

Several well-known ministers over the last few months have been ushered into the presence of God. It is special when one of God’s soldiers finally meets His Lord and Savior. My dad, a faithful preacher for over sixty years, was one of those. His name was Jack Phillips, but everyone knew him as “Preacher Jack.” During the last two months of his life, even the hospital check-in desk, the doctors and nurses knew him by his nickname. He was a gifted preacher and pulpiteer. After retiring from the pastorate, he continued serving by ministering as an interim pastor for several churches who had lost their pastor. The day of his funeral, many commented on how he had rescued their church and kept them together until they found their next pastor. When dad passed away, my parents were just a few weeks shy of celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. They were 100% committed to one another until the day he passed. What a heritage!

However, the most important thing about Dad was a decision that he made many years ago. When Jack Phillips was around 12 or 13 years old, he was faced with a choice. He was confronted with the truth about death and life. The most important thing about Dad was that he chose life. Jesus said in John 14:6 I am the way the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me. That day, Jack Phillips chose to become a follower of Christ. Because of that decision, I can say with all certainty that today, right now, he is in the presence of Jesus Christ.

As the family took turns sitting with Dad during his last days, I thought about how terrifying death must be for those that do not know the Lord. On this side of heaven, there is no visible beauty in death. But from Heaven’s perspective, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)

Charles Spurgeon in the Treasury of David states:

“This song reminds us that the Lord watches over his dear children while they are on their dying beds, smooths their pillows, sustains their hearts, and receives their souls. Those who are redeemed with precious blood are so dear to God that even their deaths are precious to him. If we have walked before him in the land of the living, we need not fear to die before him when the hour of our departure is at hand.”

Good people die every day. Preacher Jack was a good person. But that was not his hope. The hope that he held onto was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that everyone that believes in Him, even if he dies, will live.

…because I live, ye shall live also.” (John 14:19)

For this reason, we can all take heart when our loved one dies in Christ. They are alive in Christ, and we have the guarantee that we will see them again soon.

To those that have not chosen to follow Christ, what will you do with Jesus?

To those of us who are still grieving the loss of someone we love, our Lord has given us clear instructions on how to continue.

For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” (Philippians 3:20–4:1)

“Stand fast” is a military term that means to stand firm, stay the course, stay steady under fire and difficult trials. Our Lord would not exhort us to do something that was impossible during times of great difficulty.


  • Stay the course weary believer. We are on the winning side.
  • Stay the course exhausted parent. God will strengthen you for the task ahead.
  • Stay the course disillusioned pastor. God requires that you be faithful, nothing more, nothing less.
  • Stay the course lonely widow or widower. The pain is real, but Jesus is nearer still. He’s not done with you yet.
  • Stay the course you who are sick, weak, and suffering. One day, sooner than you may know, you will be strong and healthy forever.
  • Stay the course brothers and sisters in Christ. God promises that the enemy will be defeated and one day, He will make everything right.

…so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved…

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