MY BEST FRIEND is now in the presence of Jesus. Friday, June 29, 2001, at 7:45 a.m., Central time, one of God's greatest servants walked into the presence of Christ. Since April of 2000, Ron had suffered greatly. Now he is free from all suffering. Ron leaves behind an incredible wife, Kaye, and two children still on the earth, Kim and Stephen. Ronnie preceded Ron and now father and son have been reunited.
MANY YEARS AGO, in eternity past, God set his heart on Ron Dunn. He got to know him, formed him, gifted him, and created him to be a preacher. What a preacher he was! When God finished with His design, He gave us one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century. Long before he was ordained as a young teenage preacher in Arkansas, there was a private anointing that took place between God and Ron.
WHEN GOD LOOKED AT RON, He found someone He could trust with great truth. God's call on any man, and the anointing of the Spirit on his ministry is conditioned upon the man's heart. Ron had a heart that trusted in God. He taught all of us to stop asking "Why?" and ask, "What now?"
GOD FOUND IN HIS SERVANT qualities that He could use for His glory. God blessed Ron with a unique ministry. Ron blessed us with distinctive, dynamic messages. Ron always had a fresh word from God. Ron found things in Scripture most of us couldn't find if we searched a thousand years. The truths were there - Ron was just patient enough to wrestle with the Word and discover the meaning of the text.
THE TEST OF A GREAT PREACHER is that he is able to encourage believers in their desire to have an intimate relationship with Jesus. Ron knew how to talk to the broken hearted. He knew how to minister to the remnant. When he painted a picture of God, it was so clear, you knew what Jesus looked like and what Jesus wanted you to look like.
THOUSANDS OF PREACHERS, missionaries and lay persons around the world have listened to the tapes of Ron Dunn over the past three decades. He blessed us, encouraged us, challenged us to walk by faith, and taught us the meaning of suffering. I first heard Ron preach in Kansas City right after the death of his oldest son. He preached on Romans 8:28. Ron didn't give pat answers that night, he shared his heart. Oswald Chambers said, "to be able to explain suffering is the clearest indication of never having suffered." Sin, suffering, and sanctification are not problems of the mind, but facts of life - mysteries that awaken all other mysteries until the heart rests in God, and waiting patiently knows, "He doeth all things well."
I'LL NEVER FORGET the first time I had lunch with Ron. He was preaching at a church in the Dallas area. Every day I went over to hear him at the noonday and evening sessions. On that Tuesday, he agreed to have lunch with me. We talked about Vance Havner and his impact on our lives. I came home on cloud nine telling my wife, Terri, I had gone to lunch with Ron. Believe me folks, that was a big deal for this preacher. That meeting changed my life. That night, I met Kaye for the first time.
LESS THAN TWO YEARS LATER, we had Ron for a Bible Conference. Having Ron preach in my first pastorate was a great thrill for me. The fact that he would do so for thirteen consecutive years, still astonishes me. Since 1987, there's been one given on my church calendar, the Ron Dunn Bible Conference. The thought of not having Ron for a Bible Conference is too much for me to bear.
RON'S TAPES have gone all over the world. A lot of us have preached his sermons and never given him credit. I could never listen to Ron's sermon on a passage before I prepared my sermon or I would end up throwing mine in the garbage - He had a way of digging deep into the Word and mining great truths. There may never be another one like him.
IN THE 1970s, God used Ron, Manley Beasley, Jack Taylor, and Miss Bertha Smith to touch churches in a mighty way. They were the first people I ever heard talking about the "Victorious Christian Life." Ron has stayed on course all these years. His books and sermons have reminded us all that we can walk in victory, regardless of our circumstances.
LIKE ABRAHAM, he was a man of faith, willing to go wherever God might open a door. He never judged a church by size. Like Job, he was a blameless man, upright and fearing God. Like Job, he suffered greatly but now has seen his redeemer. Like Jeremiah, he was a prophet. He always stood ready with a word from God. Like Paul, he could take the deep things of God and explain them to the church. Like Jacob, he wrestled with God and found in the wrestling, a blessing. Like Hosea, he sought the Lord and longed for another wind from heaven to blow across this land. Like Habakkuk, he understood the just shall live by faith. Like Jesus, he fed the sheep, sowed seed and taught us to pray.
RON PROBABLY DID AS MUCH to help churches with Intercessory Prayer as any preacher alive. When so few churches were having an Intercessory Prayer Ministry, Ron's church in Irving, Texas was charting the course. Ron's book on prayer is must reading if you want to know how to boldly approach the throne of grace.
IN THIS "NAME IT, CLAIM IT" DAY in which we live, his book on "Faith" and "Will God Heal Me?" must be read. Every person who wants to manipulate God or tell Him how to do His business needs to read these books and listen to his tape, "Will A Man Serve God For Nothing?" from Job, chapter one.
AS I WRITE THIS, the reality has yet to sink in. I do know this. One, I'm a better man for having known Ron. I wish I could be half the man he was. Two, there are now three of my heroes in heaven: Vance Havner, Manley Beasley, and Ron Dunn. Three, a godly man passed our way for eleven consecutive years as a church. We are a better church for it. Four, this church loved Ron and showed it in so many ways - through prayer, through gracious and generous gifts. I am so honored to say I pastor a church that loved Ron and Kaye so much. Five, there will never be another one like him. He was one of a kind. Six, my best friend in this world is gone. Along the way, I'll pick up the phone to call Ron, but he won't be there - I'm not ready for that. Seven, I'll miss his sense of humor, his dry wit and that laugh. I'll miss that little sigh he had when he was preaching - you knew something was coming.
FRIDAY MORNING, Jesus called His servant home. We will miss him. There is a great hole in our hearts. There is a vacuum in the body of Christ. A giant oak has fallen. A great teacher is now silent. A great man will no longer cast a shadow on this earth in the physical realm, but his ministry, his words and his example - will continue to provide shade for weary travelers in their pilgrimage toward glory.
THANKS RON for always being there for me. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for being my second dad. Thanks for being my hero. Thanks for loving me and my family. Thanks for all the times you prayed for me. Thanks for all the times you taught me, stretched me and encouraged me. Thanks for all the meals we shared together. Thanks for taking me under your wing. Thanks for believing in me when many didn't. Thanks for answering God's call.
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, I'll try to stay chained to the chariot. ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Michael C. Catt