Yesterday I did the memorial service for my Uncle Jack who just went to be with the Lord last week. Uncle Jack was not a man to be trifled with, especially before he came to Christ. As the picture below clearly shows he looks like a beefed up version of The Wolverine.
Jack was a fighter. He fought both cops and thugs depending on the situation. He did hard time and had hard times. But he fought his way through it all with his tough-as-nails wife Earlene by his side the whole time.
If there was a Biblical figure that I think of when I think of my Uncle Jack it's Benaiah. According to 1 Chronicles 11:22,23, "Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down an Egyptian who was five cubits tall. Although the Egyptian had a spear like a weaver’s rod in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. "
I think of one time when my Uncle Jack took on an offensive lineman for the NY Jets (who outweighed him by 100+ pounds) Jack ran to him, jumped up and hit him square in the chest. When the man fell back, Jack just stood over him and yelled with a laugh, "I love you big suckers. You're hard to miss!"
Jack was full of muscles and rage. If you were on the receiving end of his fists it would not end well...for you.
But then one day one of Jack's aquaintances (Bob Daly) dared a hillbilly preacher nicknamed "Yankee" to share Jesus with him. Yankee took the dare and when Yankee asked if Jack was ready to believe he said "Hell yeah!" That was his sinner's prayer! For the full story as told by Ralph "Yankee" Arnold himself check this video out:
So, in honor of my Uncle Jack and his "Hell yeah" prayer of salvation I wrote a poem entitled (of course) Hell Yeah! It was an honor to read it in front of my aunt Earlene and the many family and friends who showed up for his funeral in the beautiful mountain town of Carbondale, Colorado yesterday.
There was a man who’s name was Jack
A man we won’t soon forget.
If you didn’t get a chance to meet him
You’ll have to live with that regret.
In his prime his muscles rippled
And his tattoos moved when he flexed.
The size of his biceps had one competitor
And that was his own giant pecs.
You dare not push him too far
By making a younger Jack mad.
If you ever challenged him to a fight
He’d smile and shout out “Hell yeah!”
From choking cops out in a fight
To knocking out angry thugs
He’d fight his way to bloody wins
By kicking his challengers’ butts.
If most guys fought at a five
Jack always fought at a ten.
He lived his life in the same way,
Like a pit bull determined to win.
From hard time to hard times
Jack knew the good and the bad.
When life gave him it’s very worst
He’d just smile and say “Hell yeah!”
But one day he met a tougher cuss
Than he had ever encountered before
A hillbilly preacher called “Yankee”
Shared a message he couldn’t ignore.
That Jesus came to save the worst,
Sinners who were just like him.
By faith alone in Christ alone
Jesus could save Jack from his sin.
The Gospel rocked him like a punch
And for the first time in life he was glad
Yankee asked if he was ready
And right then he shouted “Hell yeah!”
Hell yeah he was ready for Jesus.
Hell yeah he gave him a “YES!”
Hell yeah was his life in two words
And, hell yeah, he gave it his best.
Jack shared this message with others.
But those who said “no” sometimes bled.
If they refused to say “yes” to Jesus
He’d give them Moses upside the head.
He reached out to the bad and the broken,
To miners and fighters and thugs.
Many of them said, “yes” to Jesus
And received true life from above.
And today as we lay Jack to rest
We remember his passion and love.
His passion for his family and friends
And his love for the Lord Jesus above.
And someday if somebody asks you
If you knew Jack, don’t be sad.
Put a great big smile on your face
And shock them by saying, “Hell yeah!”
Written by Greg Stier in honor of my one-of-a-kind Uncle Jack.
July 2, 2017
By the way, if you have a hard time with my generous use of "Hell" during this poem you can take it up Jack on the other side of eternity.