Monday, May 31, 2010

A Friend Has Gone Home

Hello All,

I was informed earlier this week that a friend of mine had suffered congestive heart failure. Sunday afternoon, with his family by his side, Kevin Thomson went home to be with the Lord. I am not sure how many of our friends knew Kevin Thomson, but he had a profound impact upon my life in several ways, some early on in my Christian life.

Kevin was one of the founders of the groundbreaking Christian group "Sweet Comfort Band." He was the bass player. I was unaware of this in my early years as a Christian. All I knew about Kevin was that he was the guy that brought Stryper to Calvary Chapel in Redlands and that was a mind blowing experience for me. Like any young Christian male, I was attracted to loud and heavy music. I remember being rather young and going to that first Stryper show with my Dad. I was in awe that this could be happening in a church. Kevin later told me some of the behind the scenes tales of how certain church members felt about it, some of whom were less than enthusiastic! But that night opened my eyes to Christian music.

Later, Kevin would bring other great Christian bands that would become amazing influences to me in those formative years of my walk. Often, in the middle of these shows, Kevin would get up and speak, inviting people to Christ and many responded. Even then, I remember how unassuming and down to earth that Kevin was. He got straight to the point and it was effective. I later learned and came to appreciate this much more on a personal level.

In fact, it was much later in my walk, but right in that same building, that Kevin's straight talk meant the most to me. I will never forget this: It was an apocalyptic rainy day in Redlands. It was dark and gloomy and I was sitting alone in my friend's office. I had not had the best day. In fact, I was considering resignation! I wanted to quit! I don't remember what brought me to that point, but it was not the first time that I had had these thoughts. I sat there staring out the window of what used to be Don McClure's old office, just hoping for that day to end.

That's when I heard a noise behind me. Kevin had come down that hallway and quietly come to the only lighted office in the building. He smiled and came in. I sort of put on the Pastor's cap, thinking that he might be there for some kind of counseling. I sat down at the desk and he sat across from me. We started to have this conversation about church and politics. Before I knew it, I was sharing my heart with him and he was counseling me! I'll never forget what he said to me that day, summed up in the line that still stands out in my memory:

"Church doesn't have to be this way."

It must have been obvious to him, because at one point in the conversation after he said this, he told me "You probably know better than I do why the Spirit brought me here." He said that he had been driving somewhere else, but felt compelled to come to the church. I might be wrong, but I am not even sure that he and his wife Robin were going to Redlands at the time, so it made it that much more impressive to me. That conversation, but more than that, Kevin's willingness to come and minister, floored me and gave me some tread to continue.

Several years later, Kevin and Robin begin attending Redlands again. This time, I was the worship leader who needed a bass player to fill in for me on occasional Wednesday nights. I was so delighted to ask Kevin, not because of his prowess as a bass player or legend as a pioneer, but because he was a part of how God kept me going. I wanted his wisdom, insight, humor and gentle heart around me as often as possible!

Regrettably, when I left for Spain, I lost touch with the Thomson family. I heard through the grapevine that Kevin had struggled through some difficult health issues. Then, when I heard the news this last week, I knew that I would not have the chance to reconnect again with him here on earth. I wish that he could have read this, but at the least, I pray that having read this you will understand the value of your Christian life. How much impact can you have simply by being willing to be "re-directed" by God's Spirit? Who might He have you have an appointment with?

To the Thomson Family, Robin, Josh and Eli, I love you all and my heart and prayers go out to you in this season. I know that you will have many people share similar stories with you. I just wanted to share mine.

To those who are Facebook friends with me, I shared this video earlier this evening. It's a fitting tribute to a man who loved the Lord and who the Lord loved through. I don't know when this video was made, but it's Kevin who is sharing at the beginning of it. His words, perfect for the time, are much more true now than they were then, as Christ's coming looms ever closer. I imagine that big smile is glowing tonight in the presence of Jesus!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez


April said...

I remember Kevin asking me which bands I'd like to see play at Calvary (mid 80's...I think I was 12). I said: U2. :) He said he'd try...and smiled.

jo said...

well u2 would have been nice, but the yellow and black attack was one of the best memories I have as a 12 year old. :) He was a great guy!