When I first had the idea for Rubicon Ministries I never thought I would be writing an article that is to follow. Of course, thanks to Daniel Boone (it really is his name and he really is a descendant of the Boones) who shares the vision with me to encourage men to be all that they should be for God, we put a section on the website that we titled “The Cloud of Witnesses”, basing it on Heb 12. We have placed articles in this section about those who have gone on to be with the Lord but left behind a witness for all to follow. Those who gave their lives to Jesus Christ, paid the price, ran the race and finished their course with, I believe, a voice accepting them stating, “well done My good and faithful servant”.
I write this article today to honor such a person. His name might not have been known to the extent of being celebrity famous, but to me he was famous and a great witness in my and Bettye’s lives. Last Tuesday heaven received another amazing witness. His name was Joe Smith. Joe Smith was one of the first ministers to ever prophesy over Bettye and me. He was the first to pray for physical healing in my body. He was the first to teach me intimacy with the Lord Jesus, how God was a father and a good father and how we could go past the veil to be right there with the Lord.
Joe and his wife Katie were the first ministers my wife and I knew that were just real people with no pretense. They would stay in our home and were just down to earth but also spiritual leaders to us. He was the first one I ever heard about confessing the word of God and had tapes that my wife and I would go to bed listening to. He was a minister to mainly college students and young adults who were just coming out of college and getting married. This is when Bettye and I knew them the best. Joe and his wife saw the needs of this demographic and wrote books to help navigate and push them through so many areas of life that were coming at them. Joe and Katie produced books on marriage and spiritual warfare, raising the family, and management.
There are still so many sayings he would state that many of us to this day still remember. Such as, “We have freedom of choice but not freedom of consequences”, my favorite “Why is it we don’t have time to do it right the first time but we have time to go back and re-do it’? There were so many. But I titled this article, “What is a Witness?”, and I believe it is someone like Joe Smith.
Joe along with his wife Katie changed thousands of lives with their witness. As I look back at all the men of God that the Father used in my life, to grow me and mature me in the Lord, Joe was one of them and in so many areas he was the first to make a Godly imprint in me. The fact is that some of the foundations that were established in Bettye and me were by Joe’s faithful witness. Those truths still hold and keep me moving through this journey as a Christian. So what is a witness? It is someone who has given you a blueprint, someone who shows you how to read the blueprint and encourages you to walk it out, which builds a life in God that will keep you all your life. But it is also someone who helps you by showing you where the holes are and how to avoid them. A witness is one who, when they pass into the next phase of this journey, leaves a clear path that is worthy of following.
Joe passed away at the age of 80, still traveling and ministering God’s word. While Joe is gone on to be with the Lord, his words, books, tapes, and his life are still speaking which I believe is the greatest witness of all. They are still speaking to me about life with God that never stops, a life beyond the veil, a life that loves God no matter what. Joe was a man who, when coming to Jesus, came all the way. A life that gave it all to The Lord Jesus Christ and like the scripture states, put his back to the plow and never looked back. So when I look at the definition of a biblical witness in my life, I have Joe Smith as one of first and an amazing witnesse in my life. Thank-You Joe for being the man God called you to be and the witness that you were to Bettye and me. Thank you for being there and being you. We will always cherish your witness . You are now part of that great cloud of witnesses.