Thursday, January 3, 2013

Everybody Needs A Jim Frew

It's the call you never want to receive. Your best friend has been tragically killed in a automobile accident.

It was May 30, 1996 when my father, Kevin Sr. received just such a call. Jim Frew - Dad's best friend - was on a missions trip in Mexico when a van coming down a mountain lost its brakes and struck their vehicle, sending it careening down a 600' cliff. Jim, his eldest son Jimmy, and two ladies on their team were killed in the accident.

My dad and I recently visited Jim's widow Lori in Nebraska and spent some time with her and her family. I remembered Jim from my childhood, and it was neat hearing stories about his life. During our drive home I asked Dad to tell me more about Jim, and what made him an exemplary, inspirational, great friend. Here's what he said:

Jim was a Family Man. He always spoke highly of his wife and sons. He included his wife in decisions and didn't purchase even books without checking with her. Money was tight and I think Jim knew he would blow the money, so having his wife as a financial accountability partner was good for him.

He really love and cared for his sons. He spent time with them and always tried to attend their school and sports activities. He would spend evenings playing his guitar and singing with them, talking to them about the Lord, and praying with them.

Jim was Authentic. He was the one male friend I could share anything with: frustrations, work issues, life issues, etc. Jim was trustworthy. He always kept confidential things confidential.

Jim Practiced Accountability. We worked out a code of ethics between us. He would walk by my open office door every 10 minutes when I had a female in the office, and I would do the same for him. The funny thing was that his office was at the end of the hall, so me walking by his office probably looked strange to the woman! Being the first time in ministry for both us us and having our wives and kids at home, we wanted to start out on the right ethical foot and avoid any appearance of evil or impropriety.

Jim was Fun. He knew how to laugh and joke and enjoyed life completely. He was always fun to be around. He was self-deprecating. Even in embarrassing situations, Jim was always quick to laugh at himself and never took himself too seriously.

Jim could through a softball over 80 mph. He had a rocket arm. He knew and enjoyed the game, coaching new players, and helping everyone play their positions properly; and he did it without a condescending bone in his body. He chatted with the players on the field and in the dugout, always encouraging and always cracking jokes.

Jim had Solid Friendships. To make friends you have to be a friend. Jim was a friend to many, many people and made each of us feel very special.

Jim was Caring. Jim would give you the shirt off his back. One time he loaned his 35mm camera and equipment to someone. They never returned it! Yet Jim never bothered to go after it. He concluded that the person must have needed it more then he did.

Another time I needed a second set of wheels to travel back and forth to work while leaving the car with my wife. I don't recall making my need known, but one day Jim handed me the keys and deed to his Honda motorcycle. He never had any regret, and never gave it a second thought.

Jim was a Team Player. Jim and I hosted an early morning “live” radio show for 2 years. We always met to discuss the show, line up musical guests, and prepare messages.

Jim was a Man of Prayer. Jim and I met often to pray over family, church situations, missionaries, friends, etc. He never missed an opportunity to pray.

Jim was Respectful. Jim knew his place. He was always honoring of those in authority and respectful to peers with whom he worked.

Questions:
  • What qualities do you look for in a good friend?
  • How are you a good friend to others?
  • Of the characteristics listed above, which ones would you say you need to grow in?
  • Who is your Jim Frew?
  • Who are you a being a Jim Frew to?

7 comments:

Rachel Merritt said...

I wasn't sure why I couldn't sleep tonight, so when I turned on my phone and saw a post from you on the FG alum page, I was worried that another one of our frends had gone on to see theLord. What a delight to find this heartwarming tribute to such a wonderful man. I know that he and my dad became very close as co-Pastors for a period of time.
I remember him as being the wildman on the softball field with a sensitive spirit off the field.
Who is my Jim Frew? I have to be honest....I'm not sure that I have one, because such people are so rare to find. As a result, I try to demonstrate to others those qualities, hoping to set an example and be someone else's Jim Frew.
Kev, thanks for this post; not only as a walk down memory lane, but as a devotional for us all in pure,unadultereated selflessness.

Robert Zimmerman said...

Yep, remember Jim well and he was a true friend to many folks. He left a mark in many people that is for sure.

Tifani said...

I knew Jim and Lori, too, and can personally vouch for everything that is said in this blog. I met Jim when I was 15. He had this 'thing' about him that at that age, you just can't put into words. When I was a senior in high school, he put together a mission trip and if you were interested in going, you came to prayer meetings and prayed. For weeks, we met. And prayed. Not discussing the trip or anything. I ended up being one of those that went on that trip the summer I graduated. My life was radically changed. I met Lori when I was 14. In my heart, I claimed her as my sister. She, also, had this 'thing' about her that I loved so much. I held their boys when they were born and spent time at their house. As an adult, Jim spoke into my life at very pivitol moments. He was a man's man. He left a legacy.

Bill Benninghoff said...

Thanks for posting this and the photos Kevin. It brings back great memories. As many who have commented here, I also had the honor to have known Jim and spent time with him in Bible college and afterwards. He was such a great friend and encourager. When he died there was a huge gap in my life and no one has ever been able to take his place and provide for me the friendship and reality check that Jim would provide. He had this way of looking at you when he didn't agree with what you were doing or what you said. It was kind of like he was saying, "Are you crazy?". I'll never forget that. I'm looking forward to seeing Jim at the resurrection. I know he has many rewards in heaven and he's very close to the Lord Himself.

George Quin said...

I considered Jim one of my closest friends in Bible College. He nicked name me "RAZOR". We played a lot of softball and golfed as often as we could. He could hit either ball a long way. However, his successful history in the amateur softball league didn't quite carry over into golf because he had developed a habit of over-swinging. He threw the ball hard as well. One day I hit a grounder to shortstop (Jim) and when I arrived at first the ball came in hard from Jim and it hit me in the top of my head and then projected all the way over the backstop. Apparently it made a loud sound upon impact with my skull. It knocked me to the ground. Jim came running in fear that he had hurt me but when I looked up and he saw that I was OK. His pale sober look turned to relief and it wasn't long we were talking about how hard headed I must have been to take a shot from his mighty right arm.
But Jim's passion wasn't limited at all to sports. Serving the Lord was no doubt his greatest passion. When Jim became the mission’s director at Fountain Gate he was so excited. I believe that he was the one who started the 24 hr. hot-line ministry. We put out signs and cards through Plano in Laundromats, diners etc. He was willing to do anything to reach people for Jesus. I remember Jim asking me to go with him to take a turkey dinner to a family who lived out in the woods in a trailer house without a floor. Jim shared Jesus with the family and left the place brokenhearted for the children. He really loved everyone. Jim also managed the Early Light Radio ministry at KLTJ at 3:00 am on Saturday mornings for Brother Eldridge Thomas. Those were some fun hours of ministry. If any of your remember the late Olga Bingham. She got saved through that ministry.
In all the things we did together, the most memorable were our two mission trips to Haiti. Jim was on the turf in which he belonged. The language barrier didn't keep him from bonding with the Haitian's.
I remember how sincerely Jim spoke of Jesus changing his life and won’t forget how his life touched mine.

Rachel Merritt said...

I won't try to steal my dad's thunder, because I know he wants to post his own sentiments. Having said that...we were talking over the weekend, and he shared with me a bit about Jim's upbringing and how he overcame extraordinary obstacles to become the man he was when we were blessed to know him. Just goes to show: No matter where you come from, the Lord meets you where you are and gives you a chance to make an impact. It might happen once in your life, or, in Jim's case, many many times! Clearly, his legacy is deep and far-reaching.

Paul Koepp said...

I recall Jim being very intense and a sold-out-for-the-Lord kind of Christian brother. I don't believe he was a church-raised Christian, but his sold-out intensity for the Lord and the service of the Lord quickly matured him beyond most. He was one of those individuals who accomplished more in their shortened lifetime than most do in a full lifetime. Other sold-out Believers who seemingly met untimely deaths may come to mind. Singer Keith Green from back in the '70s and '80s, Renee Sasser Loux's husband Derek (2009) and others you may know that were abruptly taken away, as it where. We still have the fragrance of their memories, but their "untimely" departures can leave cavernous holes in those lives with whom they were intertwined and touched.



The "Why?" question can loom very large. Where was God? Can't he protect His own? Yes, He can and does protect His own (often more times than we'll ever know this side of heaven.) All of us have had at least a few close calls with the possibility of death that we know about, what about those times that we don't know about, be it unknown accidents that we could have been involved with, unflowered diseases, medical emergencies, robberies, wars, etc. Some Believer's "untimely" death was due to human error or neglect on their part. I believe Keith Green's plane was overloaded on a hot summer day. God did not intervene and suspend His laws of Physics. Twelve people died that day. Who fully knows the mind and workings of God? Was this scenario simply and purely the results of lapsed judgment? Perhaps Keith's work was done and his intense sold-out life was at a pinnacle to be a monumental shining testimony that would still later affect, inspire and bring many others into the Kingdom. Perhaps a greater Glory is the daily, on-going Grace that is to be the portion of those left behind.



Apart from the absolute surety of our soul's salvation and our eternal on-going walk, fellowship, and grace with the Lord, there are no absolute outer assurances in the veil of this life's walk. His Grace and Fellowship is more than sufficient to get us through, though we grieve and our mind's reel in shock. On a theological note, if God was overly interventional, Christian's would get lax. Non-Believers would join "Christianity" for the side benefits. God would be a genie in a bottle.



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