Last week Northside celebrated its 40th anniversary. It was a great day of celebration and reminiscing. I’ve only been around for 13 years of its history and have been eternally blessed in that time. Many of you have been a part of Northside for much longer, and some of you have been at Northside since the very beginning. We all sand on the shoulders of you two have been around longer than us working as faithful servants of the Kingdom. Thank You.
When I was hired at Northside 13 years ago, Roy Hooper was one of the elders who hired me. Roy was always a constant encourager and supporter of me and has been in my corner every day since those men hired me. When our boys were sick and in the hospital for months I went to the Elders concerned about how much work I had been missing. As I began to plead my case for why I hadn’t been doing the job I felt I should be, Roy spoke up and before I could even finish said, “You take care of your family, your wife and boys are your number one priority, that’s the most important thing to us right now.” If you knew Roy, these words don’t surprise you in the least. I didn’t know these men well enough initially to know if they really meant what they said, or if they just knew it was the right thing to say.
The Elders never once questioned my work during this time. They just asked about how Bekah and the boys were doing. I can’t express the weight those words took off my shoulders. There were many other times in our relationship that Roy offered great wisdom and understanding that I desperately needed as a young minister. This one probably stands out the most because it was Roy and those other men whose words kept me from making a big mistake that far too many men make. His words and actions spoke to show me, a young man with a new family, what was most important in life.
Thank God for Roy and people like Roy who have meant so much to so many. If you knew Roy, you were blessed. We love you Hoopers and we will certainly miss Roy, but we are confident of the glory he is now experiencing with Jesus.