Pastor Lawrence Omega "Mackey Francisco
By Philip A Matthews (June 28, 2014)
Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, "O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. “2 Kings 13:14 (KJV)
14 When Elisha was in his last illness, King Joash visited him and wept over him.
"My father! My father! You are the strength of Israel! he cried. (Living Bible)
The prophet Elisha was sick with a fatal disease, and as he lay dying, King Jehoash of Israel went to visit him. "My father, my father! he exclaimed as he wept. "You have been the mighty defender of Israel! (Good News Bible)
Good afternoon. I have been greatly honored to attempt to give a eulogy of this great man, my pastor, my mentor, my friend, my fellow servant in the ministry of Jesus Christ, and my spiritual father. I called him "Dad. Of course, I will have to do this from my perspective, and I give no apology for my way of looking at things. This is supposed to be a time of celebration because of his wonderful life and because he has finally stepped over into that other world, that heavenly world, which we all hope to make it to someday. To Mom, Sis Juanita, the family, and friends, I say be comforted because of this fact, that your husband, father, grandpa, uncle, brother in Christ, or friend, lived his life honestly Coram Deo, before God, and has received his reward that he worked so hard for most of his life. We really loved him, but God loved him best.
So this is a celebration. And yet, there's a part of me that still doesn't feel quite like celebrating. I just can't help feeling how great a loss we here on earth suffer when a great man like Pastor Mackey Francisco leaves us. We have heard a lot about his charisma, his sense of humor, his extraordinary intelligence, his love for watermelons (and his ability to shoot the seeds like a weapon of mass destruction!), his unorthodoxy, his crazy way of thinking, and so on. But his most outstanding contributions actually occurred in the spiritual world. His spiritual identity, who he was in the kingdom of God, what part he was really playing in the church”this is where he really made his mark. Somebody once said, "Only one life, it will soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last! This is what makes a man truly great”what he has done for God. Or rather, what God has done through him. So I want to talk about Bro Mackey's eternal contributions, especially since he was a man who had a keen awareness that all of us are literally just a breath away from eternity.
He always said that he was a "voice crying in the wilderness, NOT an echo! By this he meant that he wasn't just going to repeat what everybody else was repeating just because we had all been repeating it for so long. Repeating something for a real long time doesn't make it right. Instead, he received the Word from God's mouth and shared it with us. Sometimes it was almost the opposite of what we had been taught and what we had assumed to be true. He was quite a prophetic maverick. He was unique, a trailblazer, a leader who knew where he was going because he had heard from God. He was a spiritual giant, sometimes, quite frankly, among spiritual midgets. He was a man way ahead of his time. He was a prophet who saw things and heard things that other men just weren't seeing or hearing and, seemingly, just couldn't understand.
Many of us here”maybe even most of us here”have been greatly impacted spiritually by Bro Mackey over the past 20, 30, even 40 years. Most of us have changed many of our spiritual outlooks and adjusted many of our doctrinal positions over this time. And I mean for the better. Some of us have sought and found God in ways that we had never experienced before. We have found a freedom and liberty and joy in Christ that has truly blessed our lives. Even though you might not have realized it, Bro Mackey Francisco deserves the credit for a lot of that. This enlightenment came after we all started thinking for ourselves and digging into the Word of God for ourselves. And in our church circle, this began back in the late 60s and early 70s with Bro Mackey Francisco. He was placed there as a spiritual trailblazer and given to us for this purpose, and we are all reaping the benefits today.
Personally, I was a "fire-breathing fanatic in my early Christian life. I couldn't wear a wedding ring. Couldn't drink coffee, tea, or coke. I couldn't listen to the Dodgers or the Lakers. Couldn't own or even watch a TV. Couldn't go to an amusement park. Couldn't wear an Afro. I worried about how long my wife's dresses were, and what people were going to say if she wore her long hair down instead of up in a French roll. I couldn't take medicine for my chronic ailments and allergies. I had to wear long sleeves, long pants, and usually a long face, because it was very unspiritual to smile too much or be too happy. Couldn't even put too many embellishments in my singing. Because I was radical, I spent lots of time obsessing about this kind of stuff. As a young preacher, I wanted to straighten everybody up, and thought that all the other preachers should be doing the same. This was not a good thing at all.
But God in His mercy used several godly men to balance me off and free me up and open my eyes to the light of what it means to be a truly spiritual person. Bro Mackey was the first man on that list to help me, to challenge my beliefs and assumptions, to answer my questions, and to point me to find a real relationship with God Almighty. He started me out on my journey away from legalism, at a time when I really needed it, but also at a time when it was completely politically incorrect in the church network we were part of. Indeed, it was just about suicidal to your career in the ministry. So now I do what I do because I love God and He has revealed His will for me to me. I have true God-formed, not pass-me-down, convictions. This forces me to seek to know how He wants me to live in detail, because I no longer have a set of rules, regulations, and traditions to blindly follow. This makes me a more mature, fully developed Christian, resulting in a much stronger righteousness. It is Christ in me now.
Back in 1990-91, I wrote a book, a message to the denomination we were in at that time, called Show the House to the House. It dealt with the fact that the church had become greatly distracted from its primary purpose of saving souls by emphasizing lots of the secondary issues I just mentioned. The book had quite a galvanizing and polarizing effect, but also a liberating effect, on the whole movement. Some people praised the book, and others razed the book, i.e., they literally burned the book. Personally, I believe that most of the changes that have occurred in that denomination over the last 24 years can be traced primarily to that book. But let me let you in on a little secret: Bro Mackey Francisco was my chief consultant, so much of the book represented what I had learned from him and what we two talked about. If you remember, on the very first edition I didn't even list my name as the author. Some of my resource materials came directly from him, e.g., Women's Adornment: What Does the Bible Really Say? by Ralph Woodrow. The other culprit was my wife, Sis Segatha Matthews. She pushed me and inspired me to do it. So they are mostly at fault: Without those two there wouldn't have been a Show the House to the House at all.
This was at a time when some people were seeking freedom, and other people were seeking to deny them their liberty in Christ. Things got quite hypocritical”and still are”with some people, even leaders, hiding their TVs in their closets or elsewhere and others checking out movies to watch on their VCRs, secretly. The whole idea was that "We can't tell people that they have liberty because they might abuse it! You know, the "Classic Fanatic Fear: "If we tell people that they have liberty regarding the matters that the Bible does not explicitly forbid or condemn, then they will exercise their liberty, and what's the church gonna look like then?! How are we gonna keep this worldliness out of the church? We're gonna look just like all the other compromiser churches! So some leaders and churches made themselves "pearly gate watch dogs, when all the time these conscience matters were actually between God's Holy Spirit and the individual.
I remember when Bro Mackey and I both ended up on the outside of our little church group looking in. The church powers were telling me that the way I could get back in was to renounce and abandon all of my association with Bro Mackey. I'd have to drop him, they said. Years later, he told me that the same people were telling him that the way he could get back in was to renounce his association with Philip Matthews! But conviction toward God prevented both of us from playing that kind of church politics. You must align with God and right, regardless to what the church powers might want. Somebody has got to stand up for and defend the truth.
He was the first spiritual challenge to the church at a critical time when it desperately needed to be challenged and questioned. He was somewhat like Martin Luther was to the Catholic Church, and his example caused many of us younger preachers to start thinking for ourselves. Until Bro Mackey, it was absolutely wrong, even sinful, to question the church. It was wrong and rebellious to question those who claimed to have all the spiritual answers. But how can God speak to people, how can He reveal anything new or more perfect, how can He get us to adjust our histories and traditions and long-held assumptions in an environment where nothing can be questioned? Hey, real truth can stand any challenge, so go ahead and challenge it. If it falls apart under the close scrutiny of the Word, then it wasn't truth to start with. Eventually, I came to see that if you are not perpetually seeking the truth, then you simply are not honest before God. Since when does any church have nothing to improve on spiritually or to correct theologically? If you think you've got all the truth and nothing but the truth and you are not open to more and deeper truth, then you will grow old and stale spiritually and be left with nothing but powerless traditions and toothless religious opinions.
Bro Mackey was one of the first preachers I knew who would read the Bible to find out what it taught, instead of reading the Bible to find scriptures to support the doctrines we already believed. Whoever thought of doing that? Don't you realize that most religious people use the Bible in this backwards manner? Decades ago he introduced several of us here to the wonderful book by Professors Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. This book taught us how to discover what the Bible really taught, what it really meant at the time and place it was written, and how to apply that meaning and those same principles to us today. On another occasion I found a big book in the back of the church called Vincent's Word Studies in the [Greek] New Testament by Dr. Marvin Vincent. Nobody but Bro Mackey would've been reading”and lost”a book like that, and he gave it to me! I still have it. He set us to wondering and searching, and we are forever in his debt.
Even his long-past moral failure became a great source of spiritual lessons for the church. He apologized repeatedly numerous times in numerous settings. He followed the rules he was told to follow, but the fact that the church could never forgive and restore him was an indictment against the church, not him. The ministers meetings of the late 70s and early 80s became huge theological battlegrounds that God allowed to hit that movement to enlighten and teach about grace, forgiveness, and several other biblical concepts that most of the leaders seemed to know little about. For example, when a man sins, does he automatically backslide or can he just do "quick repentance, pick himself up, make restitution if necessary, and move on? Or does he need to get saved and baptized all over again? It soon became obvious that we leaders disagreed on whether Peter completely backslid when he denied Jesus and had to "do his first works over, or whether he just simply repented and moved on.
We disagreed over the concepts of grace, forgiveness, and restoration. Some of us read Galatians 6:1 as "If a man sins, you spiritual leaders restore him, but others read it as "You spiritual leaders destroy him! To this day, very few in that movement know anything about restoration. We argued over whether or not a leader who sins loses his gifting permanently. Some preacher even wrote a 300-page book about it, full of gobbledygook and misinterpreted, misapplied scriptures stuck together with "spiritual crazy glue! That's a phrase Bro Mackey often used and probably coined. Whatever, his case exposed several major theological differences, none of which were ever resolved.
It is because of these things”these major spiritual influences that have impacted most of us here eternally, even if we didn't know it”that I chose the text, "O My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof! You are the strength of this kingdom! You are the defender of Israel! The Body of Christ depends on these kinds of leaders. We cannot afford to keep losing these kinds of men. We hardly have any left. "They don't make ˜em this way no more! It is because we are missing Christians with God-formed convictions so strong they are willing to suffer rejection and die for their beliefs that our society appears to be swiftly swirling down the drain and spinning out of control. This is happening, mind you, in spite of the fact that we have lots of, millions of, "church folks. Brothers and sisters, something is wrong! The salt has lost its savor!
Makes me wonder, what kind of person are you? Does God”can God”reveal Himself to you? Are you close enough to even hear Him, or have you gone too far away from His presence? Are you open to Him, or only to what you've always been taught? Do you even know Him”for real? In a world where fewer and fewer people know the Word and even fewer people are willing to live their daily lives according to that Word, where are you in all of this? Do you really follow God? Or are you mostly following the crowd, perhaps even the church crowd, as it moves away from God and away from His divine Spirit and away from His holy ways? The best way to make God the Father, the Son, and the angels in heaven happy is to get your act together”finally”and come whole-heartedly over to the Lord's side. This would've made Bro Mackey very happy also, because his chief concern was about eternity. What does it matter if everything goes right on this side, if you aren't ready for the other side, the eternal side?
Listen, if you are not ready for eternity, then you are not ready for this present society. If you are not ready to die, then you are not really ready to live. If you're not at this very moment living your life according to timeless truths and godly convictions, then you are part of the problem! There's no way in the world we can bury this man without doing something that he was most concerned about, that is, giving you a chance to pray and get right with God. Anybody here want to pray? Anybody want to give themselves to God? We will take time right now to stop and pray with you, whether this is a funeral or not. This is what Dad would have wanted. This is what he was all about¦
May God bless these words to your hearts. Thank you.