A personal reflection following the death of my friend and colleague, Rob Frost, who died on Sunday evening, the 11th November 2007.
First of all, I would like to express my love and sympathy to Robâ€™s family â€“ especially Jacqui, Andy, Chris, and his father, Ron.
Rob was a visionary Christian leader and a faithful and obedient servant for the Lord.Â He leaves a legacy of changed lives, challenged churches and renewed Christian institutions.Â He had a passion for evangelism and communicating the Christian faith, which came from his deep love for the Lord.Â He was a man of prayer and conviction.Â He courageously pursued what God was saying to him.Â His itinerary was relentless, but despite personal exhaustion at times, he was driven with a passion to share Jesus.Â He would not allow people to blur his vision or to compromise.Â He burnt the candle at both ends, fuelled by the Holy Spirit.Â I know many of his 25 books or more were written whilst â€˜on holidayâ€™ or well into the night!Â Jacqui, his wife, has been a saint to stand with him through such a demanding ministry, whilst pioneering her own projects too.Â
Thousands, possibly millions, of people have been influenced spiritually by this faithful Methodist, whose ministry went beyond our denomination.Â He stood up for what he believed with all his heart to be true â€“ constantly challenging comfortable Christianity.
Despite his notoriety, Rob was a humble man, and a good friend to so many.Â Many will have sat under his leadership or ministry, and later shared a bag of chips with him or a breakfast after his radio show, or a coffee in between meetings or events.
Rob had time for people.Â He was a great enabler and placed a frightening amount of confidence in his friends â€“ especially young leaders!Â Countless people will have found their way into the full-time Christian ministry or to some kind of Christian service or mission, through Rob.Â This was evident to me when I trained for the ministry and heard many students give testimony to the influence that Rob had been upon their lives at some time or other.Â Â He recognised peopleâ€™s gifts and entrusted them with huge amounts of responsibility.Â He was committed to sharing his vision.
Personally, Rob has been a tremendous influence and encouragement in my life.Â In fact, he did the marriage preparation for Frances and me, 23 years ago, and we knew him before that.Â We used to babysit when Andy and Chris were small.Â He is partly responsible for my involvement in radio.Â He advised me when I considered a call into the Methodist ministry, and he was there for me when things have been tough â€“ as a friend and a counsellor.Â Â He also wrote a most generous commendation for the book Frances and I wrote.Â This was a new venture for us and he gave us every encouragement and support.Â We will miss him terribly.
My sister-in-law, Marian Izzard, the Deputy Director of Share Jesus International and Robâ€™s close colleague for over 20 years, was the co-ordinator of Easter People, and I have seen first hand how much work was involved in giving birth to that wonderfully successful and influential convention that has renewed the Methodist Church in many respects and reached out into towns and communities.Â
Not only did he pioneer events like Easter People, and tours like Visions, Breaking Bread, Pilgrims, Burning Questions and so on, he also had the courage to bring successful things to an end in Godâ€™s timing.Â Easter People came to an end on its 20th anniversary.Â Some criticised Rob for this, but Rob knew it was right – his unexpected death bears this out. Moreover, heâ€™d already been handing over much of the work of Share Jesus International to young people under the leadership of his son, Andy.Â Â Rob was so proud of all his family.
There is so much I could write.Â But, in short: Rob loved Jesus and simply gave himself to enabling others to love him too, and to know the power of His saving grace in their lives.
Rest in peace, Rob, and rise in glory!
These was words come to mind from the book of Wisdom (5:15-16; 3:1-5,9) come to mind:
The righteous live forever,
And in the Lord is their reward,
And the care for them with the Most High.
Therefore shall they receive the crown of royal dignity
And the diadem of beauty from the Lordâ€™s hand;
Because with His right hand shall He cover them,
And with His arm shall He shield them.
The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
And no torment shall touch them.
In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died;
And their departure was accounted to be their hurt,
And their journeying away from us to be their ruin:
But they are in peace.
For even if in the sight of men they be punished,
Their hope is full of immortality;
And having borne a little chastening, they shall receive great good; because God made trial of them, and found them worthy of Himself.
They that trust on Him shall understand truth,
And the faithful shall abide with Him in love;
Because grace and mercy are to His chosen.