Back in 1989, the denomination that we pastored in wanted us to determine where our loyalties lay – with the denomination or my family. We chose family and the repercussions of that decision effectively cut us off from the church and colleagues that we had attended Bible college with. There was one young man – age 18 – @Bradley Truman Noel, who remained a true and loyal friend for 35 years.

This past summer, we stayed a couple of days with Brad and his wife, Melinda and also bought a “Come Home Year 2022” mug on our visit home. What we did not know was that when I spoke with Brad (in July), it would be the last conversation I would have with him because he tragically passed away on Sept. 10th. As I was recently washing that mug, I couldn’t help but think that Brad went HOME as well in 2022, but to an eternal home that is far better than NL.

I googled the definition of home and found this:

“The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.”

Dictionary Definitions from Oxford Languages

On Sept. 10, 2022, Brad was riding his motorcycle to his home in Springdale (his temporary home), and many have said that he didn’t make it home. If we truly understand the definition of HOME, he did make it home – his permanent home.

There is not a day since then that I have not thought about him. I have wanted to write a blog but honestly, have struggled for the right words. Today I re-read my blog post from Dec. 31, 2019 where I spoke about holding my new-born granddaughter (born on Christmas Day).

Holding that child in my arms gave me such an amazing sense of the miracle of birth. I could feel my little granddaughter breathing as she lay on my chest. She is so tiny and completely dependent on someone else for pretty much everything, except breathing. Thankfully, she is breathing quite well on her own.

Word4Now – Dec. 31, 2019

The reality is that even the breath we have was given by God. As I re-read that blog, my mind went to the evening of Sept. 10, when the breath went from Brad.

I then thought about Dr. Ken Boa who said, “You cannot live in two worlds simultaneously.” He described “womb world” as a place where the baby has everything it needs and therefore, has no desire to leave that place. However, we must die to “womb world” in order to live in this larger world – Earth. He goes on to say, “We were never meant to stay in that womb – to stay there would be the way of death and the birth canal is the death to ‘womb world’ but birth to a larger, wider world (another larger, wider womb).

Is the world we live in now, as it is, our home? Is this where we were meant to live? We are not in the land of the living; we are in the land of the dying, but we are going to the land of the living! Death is actually a second birth canal that opens up a larger, wider world.

Restoration Requires Wreckage

Have you watched some of the home Reno shows, where a couple agrees to have their kitchen wrecked? In most cases, the kitchen was functioning fine, but the homeowners wanted to update it, make it new and even improve how it functions. This illustrates the perspective that we need to have and what we all look forward to in our future as believers. Brad’s body was “wrecked” on that ride, but wreckage is required to bring restoration.

A week before the accident, I started a home Bible Study using Randy Alcorn’s book titled Heaven. It has made me realize that we say many things that are not biblically accurate.

What I wrote above is a prime example: “When I spoke with Brad (in July), I didn’t realize it would be the last conversation I would have with him.” If we understand the theology that Brad taught us, the truth is: we will walk with Brad again on the New Earth. We will have resurrected bodies and we will talk with him … the life we have now continues into eternity.

Randy Alcorn says,

“We need to carefully reform our vocabulary to express what’s actually true. If we don’t, we will ultimately fail to think biblically and continue to embrace predominant stereotypes of Heaven.”

Randy Alcorn, Heaven, p. 136

Do you remember Brad’s passion and ultimate goal? Making thinkers believe and believers think.

Let me suggest two ways to continue Brad’s legacy:

  • Determine to “consciously correct our vocabulary so it conforms to revealed biblical truth.”

The realization that the present heaven (where Brad is now) will change and will one day come down to the New Earth is eye opening and is helping me process what has happened in 2022. Our daughter shared very encouraging words to me this past month: “I can’t wait to see you and Brad walking together again having a life chat” (referring to our time together on the new earth in our resurrected bodies). I am looking forward to my next conversation with you, Brad!

For now we hold on to these captured memories!

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