Archive for June, 2017

Text Version of Jim Fyke’s Eulogy

Monday, June 26th, 2017

It has been my great honor to be both Fykey’s pastor and friend for nearly 24 years.I first met Fykey at the June 1993 Park Board Meeting when, as the founding pastor of Highland Park Church, I was there requesting permission to hold our weekly church services in Looby Auditorium which is a Metro Park facility. Long story short we were approved, and met there until we out grew the auditorium. In the process Jim and Becky started attending and became two of our very best friends. When Looby became too small, Fykey arranged for us to move into the newly renovated, 1000 seat Hillsboro High School Auditorium where we stayed until we moved to our permanent 66-acre campus on Knob Rd. Over the years I’ve kiddingly  told Jim that he had been the key to our success as a church. It was not my messages, the music or our staff. It was our prime location in the heart of Green Hills, that he had gotten us after I had been told “NO” and practically “Hell No” by the Principal who explained that much of the last church’s time there had been a nightmare. I have no doubt that God sent Jim and Becky to our fledgling church to open the door of Hillsboro H.S. which led to our permanent location. Later when some of us launched Crossroad Community Church Jim and Becky were among the first to sign on.

Tommy Lynch told me a while back at the Y that the secret to Jim’s success was that instead of saying “No”, Fykey would always find a way to take care of people. He was for sure that kind of guy. He always did it in a humble and unassuming way. I never heard him toot on his horn, when he certainly could have. I don’t think he had a horn. He really was As Frank Ward said so well, “The nicest man in the world”. I was blessed to spend a fair amount of time with him during the past 6 months. Time after time he would say to me. “John, you don’t have to do this”. I would tell him I know I don’t have to but I want to. Jim Fyke made people WANT TO. Folks instantly fell in love with him.

The day that he was moved from Vanderbilt Hospital to Stallworth Rehab the first time his attending physician, at twenty something Chinese – American, came by to say good-by. They talked for a few minutes and then, while shaking hands, the young doctor put his left hand on top of Jim’s and there was an emotional connection. The doctor looked him in the eyes and said I hope I never see you gain. Because if I do you will be sick again. When Jim told me that story it was obvious that that moment had made an impact on him. There was an aura around Fykey that drew folks to him. He was so beloved by so many because he was the real deal and we all intuitively knew it! When you came away from spending time with him you always felt a little better. I know I did.

One of his assets was a sense of humor that lasted until nearly the end. Last Thursday some of us were at the house visiting Jim and all watching the U.S. OPEN. He was sleeping as much as watching. The hospice nurse came to check on him, I think maybe she was adjusting his oxygen level or something. Anyway, she was kind of going about her business And we heard him say to her, I’m sorry for asking so many questions, but this is my first time to do this. I thought I was going to pee in my pants!

A few weeks ago, we were talking at the hospital and I asked him: “Fykey, outside of family stuff, what is the most meaningful thing that you have been a part in your life?” He gave me an answer which was not on my radar. I thought he might say something like starting the greenway, almost doubling the acreage of the Metro Parks or reopening the parks after Gov. Sunquest had closed them down. But he was his reply: “If you had asked me a few months ago I would have said having the Park Headquarters named after me. But today I know it was being a part of giving that money to those new churches. I just found that being a part of helping those other churches with nothing in it for us. That was a great thing to do. I’ve always liked helping people.” Back story: Jim was Chairman of our church board and last year we decided to give $600,000 to a few newly emerging churches in Nashville area that were attracting young people to Jesus.

One day a few months back as were returning from one of his over 180 radiation treatments, I suggested that we stop at Sam’s Place on Hwy 100 for lunch. We often did lunch there where he would usually have pizza. His sense of taste had taken a hit from the chemo and radiation but spicy and tomato based still had a hint of taste. He replied, “Would you mind if we just got a quick lunch at Taco Bell?  I have a youth golf meeting at my house at 1″. The day before he came home from the hospital he and his team wrapped up Fykey’s final dream for our city —- youth golf program for young Nashvillians which will be based at a revamped Percy Warner Golf Course and funded by over 1.5 million dollars from private donations. Jim literally died helping others. He was one of a kind; he will be missed!

David, in the Bible had some thoughts about being missed when he said to his friend Jonathan. I Samuel 20:18 (NLT) “You will be missed when your place at the table is empty”. When we lose a loved one or a friend it leaves an emptiness that’s impossible to fill. Fykey’s place at the table will never be filled nor will his place in our hearts. He cannot come back to us; we would not call him back if we could. No not at all because the instant he drew his last breath Tuesday night the was free of Merkle Cell Cancer whole and complete in the arms of his Savior.  King David of the OT said of the baby he lost, He can’t come to me but I can go to him. The same holds true for us today. Let’s consider death just for a moment. In Jim’s case, I know in my heart that death was not an enemy but a friend.  God in his mercy took him home just after 8 Tuesday night Job in the Old Testament said, after everything had been taken away from him, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive sorrow?”  In all of Job’s pain, confusion and tears God’s love, mercy and grace did not fail Job. Neither did God fail King David, Samuel, Paul or any of the Bible’s characters. He’s never failed me and He didn’t fail Fykey. And He will not fail you folks. That’s his guarantee.

On the other hand, God does not insolate against hardship, failures, troubles, choices, grief, cancer or a relative early death. So much of life I can’t figure out. But I know God works in all the seasons of life. I want us all to see that death delivered the key that let Jim escape out of the sufferings of this life into the presence of his living Savior and into a land where there is: no radiation

no chemo

no walkers

no wheel chairs

no hospital

no dependence on others

no frustration,

no fear

no hospice care.

Yea, Jim will be missed for sure. But our God is the God of all comfort.

To Jim’s family: He will bind your broken hearts with His love and He will not stop with them. He will do the same for each of us. God loves us and sees our needs. Let Him meet those needs today and every day. By getting into the habit of leaning on him even before your feet hit the floor each morning. By saying “God just for today, as best as I can, I’m going to live by Your will and not mine”. You start doing that and you will find it LIFE CHANGING. If enough of us do it we can change the world. And if you haven’t come to the point that you can honestly say you don’t fear death. Then you have some business you need to take care of sooner than later.  Don’t put it off tomorrow may not come.

St Paul wrote these words as his date with death approached:  “2 Timothy 4  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.”

And folks, that is the reason that even in the midst of our loss we are so full of hope.

Let’s pray

Audio Podcast of above at;

https://www.buzzsprout.com/41402/529601-fykey-wav

My personal journey to wholeness in my free online book  @

Part 1 UNSCREWED – Becoming Whole Again