This Memory Brings A Blessing . . .

Like big stones landing in a still pond, great lives leave ripples . . .

Today is the anniversary of the passing of Dr. David Nicholas, the founding and Senior Pastor of Spanish River Church (SRC). David served the people of SRC for 42 years. I was an 8-year-old kid playing in my backyard when David and Nori moved to Boca Raton to launch Spanish River Church. Little did I know how much God would use that man to mark my life.

Live well for God and you continue to bring God glory even after death. That is the message of Proverbs 10:7,"The memory of the righteous is a blessing."I believe this is part of the reason God calls us to evoke the memory of godly men:Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7 ESV)

As I remember David, I think about aspects of his walk with Christ that I want to imitate. Here are five:

  1. To rest in the power of the gospel. Only God can save the human heart. David would often say, "Tommy, the power is not in me, and the power is not in you. The power is in the gospel." And then he would quote Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. David's words echo across my heart and mind. I may share the saving message, but God does the saving! It is His power at work, not mine. That message brings comfort and confidence, peace and power.
  2. To get the job done without fanfare.  By God's grace, David built a thriving church with a heart for its community and a vision for the world. During his tenure, Spanish River launched a school with 560 students, established a counseling center, invested in the lives of young leaders, diligently served the community, and gave away ten million dollars to help start over 250 churches around the globe. It was never about the accolades or publicity, it was about the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. It was about getting the job done. I love that!
  3. To nurture my relationship with Jesus. David spoke of having a love relationship with Jesus, but he did more than that--he modeled it. Like a guilty criminal graciously pardoned, David never got over God's love for him. His sense of wonder was part childlike awe, part mature reflection.  At my ordination service, David reminded me of a principle that was his mainstay: "Tommy, remember the words of Jesus, 'Apart from me you can do nothing' (John 15:5); 'with me you can do everything'" (Philippians 4:13). These were not idle words, with David. He knew the power of walking with Jesus.
  4. To give the praise to God. I cannot count the times I heard the words, "Praise God!" come out of David's mouth. If you shared a story about how someone came to Christ under his preaching, he would respond: "Praise God!" Compliment a message and tell him how you grew, "Praise God!" came the response. As he reflected over the years of his ministry, or over God's work in your life, or the impact of Spanish River Church, the response was always the same: "Praise God!" David knew Who deserved the credit. He praised God!
  5. To love my wife like Christ loved the church. David and Nori were married forty-seven years. Name something that doesn't show the wear of 47 years: Cars, homes, clothes . . . they all deteriorate with time, but not David and Nori's relationship. The years made them stronger, not weaker. The love was obvious, the respect was mutual, the relationship was growing! The message of the Scriptures is,"Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25).The bane of many pastors is that they love their church more than they love their wives--not David!

Yes, the memory of the righteous is a blessing. Praise God!


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