There’s a book that was released just a few months ago that I would encourage you to read. It is a compilation of blog posts written by a young man who fought a battle with cancer and in the end you could say cancer won, but not really. His name is Daniel Harper and on August 9, 2011 he died in Georgia from brain cancer. My wife and I were there along with Daniel’s wife, his parents, and a number of family and friends. When it appeared that this would indeed be Daniel’s last day we all gathered around his bed and prayed. We prayed for a miracle. The miracle we wanted didn’t come that day. But be assured of this, the miracle will come.
Daniel gave us just a taste of that miracle in his blogs. He wrote voraciously in the final months of his life. He wrote about his faith, his doubts, his deep love and affection for his wife and family. But most of all he wrote about a deep passion to see his church, the church he loved, set on fire by the Holy Spirit. I met Daniel and his wife Logan at the back of my church as I shook hands with members making their way out of the sanctuary. I was absolutely thrilled! Any pastor is thrilled to see a couple in their 20’s in attendance at church! Daniel expressed a great deal of excitement about the church, and the potential for ministry in Salt Lake City. Eventually Daniel would lead out in a ministry called “Ignite”. It was a worship gathering on Saturday afternoon meant to attract a crowd that wouldn’t venture into our more “traditional” service which met in the morning.
The service never really caught on. But you couldn’t help but be inspired by Daniel’s heart, vision, and passion to reach people far from God. He was kind enough to let me preach at the service, but the best message ever shared was when he talked about his battle with cancer. Total strangers showed up that week, but they weren’t strangers to Daniel. He had met them around town, on the mountain when snowboarding, or at a restaurant. They came because Daniel had reached out to them at some point. With his background in marketing and sales he was hard to resist. But it wasn’t charm or fast talk. It was a genuine love for God and a desire to see people be overwhelmed by God’s love for them.
I think of Daniel often. I miss talking to him about the latest book he’s read or inspiration he’s had about how to reach people. I miss being pushed to think differently about the church, and the power God has to do something special in this day and age. I miss watching Nacho Libre, and Napoleon Dynamite with he and Logan during our wacky movie night marathons. Knowing Daniel though, he would rather I focus on making a difference in this world. He would want me to pull out all the stops to reach people with the message of Jesus. That’s what this life is really all about after all. Once you’ve experienced the love of Christ the only way to live is with a constant awareness that what you have is so good, it would be wrong, even sinful, not to share it!
As Daniel would say, “You are the light of the world, DO NOT be hid.”
Get the book. You can by it and some extra copies for your friends by following the link below: