Friday, October 22, 2004

Pray for Norma

Hello Folks -- The LA team is requesting prayer for Norma, who was in a car accident yesterday on the way to work. Norma is a single mom from Honduras who has been involved with our team for some years. She was an intern with us two years ago, now lives in the neighborhood near Kathy, and desires to be full-time with our team here. She recently led an entire family network to the Lord.

Anyway, she has no broken bones, but she is in extreme pain and can hardly move or breathe because everything is painful
Thanks for your prayers for our Friend and co-worker for the Kingdom.
Jude for the LA team

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Born: February 14, 1924 Death: October 6, 2004
Service: October 12, 2004 Officiating: Rev. George G.Vink

Scripture: John 11: 17-26


Dear Arlene, Peter & Thea, Jude & John, Brenda & Carlos, Ben & Janine, brothers, sisters, family and friends,

As you know, Mark, your husband, father/heit, brother, fellow believer, did not view death as a friend to be welcomed! He wanted to live! He deeply desired to have more years with his friend and wife of 59 years. He wanted to delight in the lives of his children and grandchildren. He saw life as good, as something to be relished. He enjoyed being among the living. Here too he demonstrated a world & life view consistent with what he had been taught from God’s Word. Death, whether it comes slowly or quickly, despite all attempts to the contrary, remains the enemy of life!

We heard the Psalmist(116:15)say it. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Years later, the apostle John would hear a voice from heaven say, “Write:Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” (Rev. 14:13a) But, the blessing is based on the truth of what we read in John 11 as he tells us the encounter between Jesus and the Lazarus family. To be blessed, you’ve got to “die in the Lord” or be one “of his saints.” We bury those we love with the good confidence that they will rise again! We read that too at the graveside from I Corinthians 15.

That’s the truth of Paul’s writing to the Corinthian church. Then we will be vindicated in our faith! Then we will experience the joy of being with Jesus, never having been beyond His power to redeem! Death is strong, but Jesus is stronger! He never lets us go! Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus! The comfort in death is what comes when we confess our belonging to Him! It’s what Mark confessed and it’s what we heard again as we laid his bodily remains in the earth. I recall our Adult Ed. Class’ discussion on comfort (trooste) when with a twinkle in his eye as well as a strong voice he leaned forward and recited,“…that I belong to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ!”

If there was someonewho wanted to do what the song “Find Us Faithful” is all about, I suggest it was Mark Tiersma. Did you hear it? “May all who come behind us, find us faithful.” A kind and gentle man of faith gave his testimony to family and friends. His words were consistent with his deeds. Originally a somewhat shy person, he desired more and more to let others know that he had a purpose in life which included making sure that they knew the truth of Jesus’ claim, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Believing it leads to a full life, here and now, and then in dying, to a realization that the dying is a final journey that all must make, but those who “die in the Lord” don’t really die but go from this life to another! Mark is with his Lord, his Redeemer. He was more than confident of that certainty, and as he said his farewells, wanted to make that clear to all.

The question we must now ask is the question that Jesus Himself asked his friend Martha, “Do you believe this?” Do you? Do I? Will you imagine hearing Mark ask you? Whether in the language of his newly-loved country, “Do you believe this?” or that of his schooling, “Geloof gij dat?” or that of his mother tongue, “leauwe jo dat?”

Jesus came to his friends to comfort them. They weren’t expecting a resurrection from the dead. Lazarus was dead and already buried. His sisters were grieving. In the midst of her grief, Martha chastises Jesus for not being there to prevent Lazarus’ death and assurances of his eventual rising weren’t good enough for this outspoken sister! It’s almost as if you can hear her, “I know….I know…don’t tell what I already know….”and we see the patience of Jesus as He deals with her. A patience with people that some like Mark exemplify more than others.

Jesus follows it with one of the wonderful, powerful “I AM…” statements.
It’s not the traditional comfort stuff that Jesus is giving this griever. Jesus wants her to believe in Him! When one with Christ in faith, then death still means life! Bodily death, whether caused by cancer, heart failure or a car accident, cannot end the new life that is yours in Christ. In Christ, you can live forever. Let’s ask it again, “Do you believe this?”
The new life we have in Christ, does not come just at the end of life. It’s new life in the way we farm our fields or the way we treat our cows or love our family. When, in the language of John 3, we are “born anew,” we have passed from death to life. But, that doesn’t happen without believing in Jesus!

Mark believed it! Arlene believes it! Do you? It’s a rather grandiose claim isn’t it? “I am the resurrection and the life!” We’re so inclined to respond with, “Yes, but….” while struggling with the realities of life. How do we explain God’s inactivity when we suggest He could get involved and stop some terrible things? How do we make sense of a world where families feud over finances while losing the most important relationships? We cannot, and we will not.

Walter Brueggemann in a great sermon talks about our being governed by “Yes, but.” He suggests it’s our proud capacity to control or our fearful need to control that makes us resist God’s power for newness, and as such it becomes an act of atheism. We limit or box God in, the God who came in His Son and said, “I am the resurrection …”and went on to raise His friend Lazarus. “Do you believe this?”

Mark Tiersma, husband, father, brother and friend, believed and wanted you to know it. Yes, tears came when we talked about his dying, even weeks before his actual final breath. He wanted to live longer, not being too quick to think of himself as old! After all, what was being 80? He was willing to do what needed to be done, not as a denial of the truth that he believed, but as an affirmation of the joy and goodness of life! So too, we grieve best, when we shed our tears but go on with life! We share the memories, while also affirming life by living as those who believe that God cares about how we live it. He gives us life to live it to His glory. He gave Mark unique gifts that have impacted us all in some ways. Do we thank Mark, or thank God? What do you think Mark would have us do?

Mark spoke of his Lord, and in the stillness of the night, would be caught singing to and about his Lord. Imagine it again would you? Hear Mark’s voice, “There is a Redeemer….God’s own Son…”followed by, “Thank you, O My Father…..” We sang it. “Do you believe it?”

Martha answered, “Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God….” and then called her sister Mary. Jesus is deeply moved by the death of Lazarus and how it affected Mary and the others. He knows the pain of death, the separation it involves, weeps, and raises Lazarus! “Do you believe this?”

As we go from this time of remembrance, let’s not forget that question that Jesus puts to all of us, not just Martha! Do you believe His claim?

Believing it made all the difference in life and in death for Mark. It can for you too! Believe it and be living it! Believe it and find comfort. Believe it and make sure your life shows it so that those who come behind you will also find you faithful. Then too, you will hear from the Lord Himself, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Back to work and the intensification of Life.

Life and Death pushes us when we realize that what we all have now will be released. I have started by simple things. Cleaning out clutter that I have had trouble getting rid of before. Stuff does not seem very important to me right now. There is a line in a Mark Heard song that haunts me, "Nobody gets a second chance to be the friend they meant to be." I am impressed by my Father-in-law who while he left us earlier than we wanted... still was able to go on without regrets.

It is hard to not drift in thought sometimes. Those who know me will smile at this comment because i have always been easily distracted... but now it is more true... but this is not all bad... I am distracted by life. I see the child walking through my building with a smile or a tear in his eyes. I see the pigeons whirl and fly. I hear more, see more, witness more... and this too is a gift... like waking from a dream and realizing how much has always been going on... and so it goes...

Sunday, October 10, 2004

In Jude's own Words about her Father's passing on to glory...

Hello Friends -- My dad was “promoted to glory” (in the words of my mother) on Wednesday October 6, 2004, after 80 faith-filled years on this earth. He died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. In the last couple of weeks, around 5:00 AM, he would wake up singing the Dutch hymns he grew up with.

His favorite song in recent years was “There is a Redeemer by Keith Green.” The last verse reads:
When I stand in glory
I will see his face
And there I’ll serve my King forever
In that Holy Place.


Funeral Info:
Monday October 11, 6:00-8:00 PM — viewing at Miller Memorial Chapel
1120 W. Goshen, Visalia, CA 93291 (559)732-8371
Tuesday October 12, 10:00 AM Graveside service at Visalia Public Cemetery (next door to Miller’s)
Tuesday October 12, 11:00 AM Memorial Service at Visalia First Christian Reformed Church

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Passing on to Glory

this is an audio post - click to play

Three of Mark's Favorite Bible Passages:

John 11:25&26

Job 19:25&26

Isaiah 40:31

Lord Teach Us To Number Our Days

I am returning to My Father-in-law's farm. He established the place. He is at the end of his days with us. He has assured us that he is confident in the promises of God through Jesus Christ.

We will miss him because of his love for life & family, his faithfulness in even the small things, and the courage with which he faced both life and death. I am honored to have recieved in prayer a blessing from such a man. He took the time to bless all of his children.

Pray for us in this season of deep running currents of feelings and the start of a new chapter for all of us.