Jack Arnold had no idea the second Sunday of January would be the final sermon he’d ever preach. But it was. He was speaking at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oveido, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, where he had been senior Pastor until the late 1990s. He left there and started “Equipping Pastors International,” a ministry helping train and support pastors in Asia, Africa and South America. Although he devoted most of his time to EPI, he also continued to serve as Pastor-at-Large for Covenant Presbyterian.
His sermon that Sunday morning on the subject of going to Heaven was built around his life verse, Philippians 1:21, where Paul writes, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” The next two verses say, “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far ...”
Michael Beates, Associate Pastor at Covenant, said Jack had just quoted theologian Charles Wesley, saying, “Until my work is done on earth, I am immortal.” He went on to say, “But when my work for Christ is done. I am outta’ here!”
Jack’s final words were, “I don’t know about you, but when my work is done, I go to be with Jesus. And that will be gain! And when I go to Heaven ...” Instantly, Jack looked up, grabbed the pulpit and began to sway before collapsing to the floor. A number of medical personnel present in the service tried to revive him, but couldn’t. He died of cardiac arrest. He was 69.
Jack Arnold grew up in Barstow, California, and attended UCLA where he also played for legendary coach, John Wooden. Later he attended Dallas Theological Seminary, earning both a masters and doctorate degree in theology. His family said they were grateful he died doing what he loved to do.
Matthew Henry wrote, “It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day.” Not only was Jack Arnold prepared to go, but he also died encouraging others to do the same. What a way to go!
Imagine ... finishing your next sentence in Heaven.
Are you ready?
© 2015. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.