Friday, October 9, 2009


I received the news two days ago that my nephew, Kent Thelen, had died. Kent was 44 years old and has battled brain cancer for over 13 years. Doctors told him he had only a 20% chance of making it five years and he made it a lot longer than that. He battled to the end and never gave up hope. My sister and Kent's brother and father as well as our entire family and his many friends are sad and grieving his death. I wont say loss.

Is a person ever lost when you know where they are? I know where Kent is and that is in heaven. So he isn't lost. He will not come back to us but we will go to him if we have a relationship with Christ. Kent knew Jesus personally and loved both Him and his fellow man. Love was all over Kent. You couldn't find a person that knew him who didn't say that Kent was a loving person. Not only was he loving but serving was his passion in life. Kent loved to serve others. He was named citizen of the year in the small fishing village of Cordova, Alaska where he has lived for the last several years. He was a volunteer for many organizations, served in his home church, and loved the arts. He has a beautiful voice and I will always remember he and my wife, Jeanne, singing "A Whole New World" for Tony and Karol Piantine's wedding. Kent will be missed dearly and I ask prayers for his family, especially his mother, brother and father. We know God is good, all the time, even when times aren't good.

The point I want to make here is: how do you answer the question about being lost? You can be strong, healthy and making your way through life thinking all is well and still be lost. There are many who are lost today and have no understanding of it. Jesus pursues the lost and desires that all be a part of His Kingdom. The Word says "As many as receive Him, He gives the right to be called children of God." And, " He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and receive eternal life."

Kent's life spoke volumes about the love of God. He was truly the "sweet fragrance" of Jesus wherever he was. I believe there will many more in God's Kingdom because of how he lived out his life. It was an honor to know him and to be his Uncle Jerry.

Kent, I love you and will miss you. But even more, I am looking forward to seeing you again in God's great heaven. Heaven is a lot closer now that you are there. What a great reunion day that is going to be!!


  1. Thank you Jesus for the hope of everlasting life! I don't know how I could go a day without it. So much sadness and loss in life, but there is hope in Jesus Christ. I am believing that many lives will be won for the kingdom because of Kent's life and example. I know you are too! Love you!

  2. Pastor Jerry- Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They make me think of the son "In Christ Alone." I LOVE that song! You are right - no one is lost when you know where they are. Thanks for continuing to speak the truth of salvation both on your blog and in the pulpit! My prayers are with you and your family through this time of grieving.

  3. There is coming a day when no heartaches shall come
    No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye.
    All is peace forevermore on that happy golden shore,
    What a day, glorious day that will be.

    What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
    And I look upon His face,
    The One who saved me by His grace;
    When He takes me by the hand
    And leads me through the Promised Land,
    What a day, glorious day that will be.
    There'll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear,
    No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there;
    And forever I will be with the One who died for me,
    What a day, glorious day that will be.

  4. I think this was probably Jim Erickson's favorite song. Certainly as he approached the last few years of his life, it meant more and more to him. I mentioned the song during my message this last Sunday. He, along with Kent, Danny, Ann, Mom and Dad, Charles, as well as so many others we know, now really understand the full meaning of that song. What a day we are looking forward to! Thanks, Lora.

  5. What a beautiful post for a beautiful life. I did not have the pleasure of knowing Kent....but I look forward to seeing him in heaven one day! Thank you for sharing your heart with us in this way, Pastor. Sometimes I don't know if I get more insight out of your Sunday morning messages, or your blog posts. (You don't blog enough, though.)
    My prayers are with your family is hard for us mere mortals to say "so long". What a day, glorious day we look forward to with great anticipation!

  6. I stumbled upon this eulogy by mistake while google-searching my own name. As I read Pastor Jerry's words as he eulogized his nephew, I was grieved and humbled. Kent was truly a giving and loving saint who reflected the life of Christ. I regret that I never knew him. God grant that we may one day meet in eternity. Matthew 5:5

    Kent Thelen