By Lisa LaFleur Meinhardt
Today, it is our deepest honor and profound privilege to celebrate the life of an extraordinary man. Thank you does not seem enough to a man who has personally ushered many into the Kingdom of God and ignited a wildfire among God’s people to step up and continue building the true Church.
To one he was Husband. To three he was Dad. To six he was Papa. To many he was a Father. To crowds he was Elder. To hundreds he was a Teacher. To all, he was LOVED.
If My Dad Was Anything, He Was Authentic.
That’s why he was a great preacher and teacher. He never tried to be someone he wasn’t. He was comfortable in who he was and what God called him to do. Great preachers genuinely believe in what they are saying, and there is nothing more powerful than preaching from your own strong convictions.
He was famous for his fireside chat style. He taught useful messages. Some preachers explain the Bible’s historical depth and what everything means in the Greek, but Dad talked about the simple, applicable truths people could carry out and live during the week ahead.
He was someone who could capture an audience’s attention and connect with them. He used humor, analogies, stories, and illustrations to take the congregation on a journey in understanding the scriptures and revealing Jesus.
He stood in the pulpit and he walked down the aisles. He preached to the sinner, the saved, the front row, the back row, and the platform. He made a connection with everyone in the building.
He related to people and knew what was going on in the world. He even knew the trends—who could ever forget his famous Michael Jackson moonwalk? He stayed informed about what was going on in people’s lives and in tune with what truth they needed to hear and when they needed a laugh.
The Elder’s life was nothing short of remarkable and interesting. It started on a path paved with one giant obstacle after another, including a tumultuous journey through a dark childhood.
Maybe it was there in the unknown—where there was nothing else to rely on except a Savior to help him—that his trust in God was forged. At seventeen years old, God took him away from that place. Over the next few years, Elder took an ocean-sized leap as he stepped out where God called him, with nothing but faith under his feet.
Maybe it was here, in this place, with nothing else to rely on except Jesus, that his fear of man vanished.
Maybe it was in this time when God lifted him out of darkness, that Jesus placed him front and center of the brightest light on this earth.
What he became from there didn’t happen overnight. He went through the process of building credibility in both good times and hard times and he followed God’s way in consistent everyday decisions.
How many of you allowed him to pastor you, to be your Apostle? For those who did, I can’t imagine your ever regretting that decision. He brought us all on this pilgrimage together, and he always had wisdom enough to shield us from all the harmful nonsense that was in our path, even when it was sitting among us at times.
As our leader, when he departed, he left no room for cracks in the armor that would jeopardize our spiritual safety. That is A LOT to be said.
How do we honor a man like Elder LaFleur? How do we say thank you for all that he has sown, built, laid down, picked up, carried, and poured into our lives? Through the years we have grasped for words that carry the weight and distinction he deserved.
Here is what is in my heart for him—for who he was and all that he did.
Do You Guys Remember When Elder Preached The Messages About “Suddenly”?
Not long ago, I was reading Psalm 22 and it made me think about those messages. When David was crying out because there was trouble upon him and no one to help. He was at his lowest and felt God wasn’t hearing his cries. ‘Why have you forsaken me right now when I need you the most? I am being hunted and the wicked want me dead’. You can feel the anguish.
There’s a turnaround in his language around Psalm 22:18-22. Like David, when Saul was trying to kill him, I have found myself in a situation thinking—I didn’t think things were going to go this way. In the middle of agony, David had a revelation that suddenly hit his heart. David doesn’t go from sorrow to a gradual victory. He went from agony to victory, suddenly. It didn’t matter that he was still surrounded by his enemies. He knew God had answered him.
I see Elder in this passage. I don’t know about you, but I want some of those suddenly moments.
Suddenly, confidence will fill your heart.
Suddenly, you’ll tell God, “I am going to trust You. I am going to believe You for my family. I am going to believe that You will heal the wounds of my past. I am going to trust You for my future.”
Suddenly, you’ll tell yourself to stop listening to other voices that say I am not good enough or strong enough. You’ll let the evil reports die in the wilderness, and tell God, I am going with You—no matter what giants I have to face.
Suddenly, you’ll realize God is going to take your life in its emptiness and raise it up to be something that brings glory to His name!
Suddenly, you’ll remember the day the lights went on, and you’ll remember that moment, there was no turning back.