Archives For death


November 12, 2015 — 14 Comments

Nov. 13, 2015 – Update from Doug’s brother, Brad: “Friends, thank you for all your support and prayers. My beautiful brother Doug is now in the presence of the Lord.”
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Doug “Booty” Neece has always been a step ahead. It looks like he’s going to finish the race of life ahead of me too.

For us, this started early. In elementary school—I don’t remember when, but we were an age where educators could still require participation in things we didn’t want to do—we had a school play which I remember nothing about, except for this one thing. Doug got to be Superman, and I had to be Clark Kent. He got to be the hero with superpowers. I got to be the nerdy reporter with glasses.

That event seems to typify the normal order of things. I don’t mean that it was typical for Doug to wear Superman tights. That would be weird. What I’m saying is that he was always a step ahead.

About the same time, the girl I was “going with” dumped me to “go with” Doug. It was a dumb phrase, since none of us could go anywhere except to recess. And it was a dumb phase, since neither of us needed a girlfriend at that age. Even so, he was still a step ahead.

As we moved into middle school and high school, this pattern worked itself out in sports. Doug was a great athlete from a family of athletes, who gave him the Booty nickname. In basketball, Doug started point guard. I played some, after Doug got tired. In football, Doug had always been a running back, and I had always played quarterback. But when we got to high school, Doug moved to quarterback, and I got bumped to receiver. Booty played QB one year, and he led us to the State Finals. He was always a step ahead.

On the field and off, Doug was quiet and confident, a leader more by action than words. Disciplined. Dependable. He was a good teammate, the guy you wanted next to you when the game was on the line. Doug’s smile started on one side of his face. If something were funny enough, the other side of his smile would tag along. He was a cool dude. Doug earned our trust and respect.

We haven’t stayed in close contact over the years, but all reports say these traits stayed with him. I’m reading lots of reports about Doug these days because his health is failing. He has cancer.

I guess even Superman has his kryptonite.

Tears fell last night as a read messages about Doug and scanned the constant stream of pictures being posted by friends and family. He will be greatly missed.

As much as others look up to Doug, I’m sure he really is Superman to his sons. Of course, there are titles far more significant than Superman. He will mostly be missed as a husband, as a dad, as a son, as a brother, as a friend. Doug was a laid back, unassuming guy. These titles fit him better anyway.

Doug’s wife, Kim, posted this update:
Doug has been a warrior, but our battle is coming to an end. They were not able to place the line for the chemo yesterday and his liver is beginning to fail. We will be transported to Hospice in Abilene sometime today. We thank you so much for your prayers. We know God hears, we know He answers but sometimes the answer is simply “No”. We are heartbroken; we don’t understand, but we will continue to trust in Him. My boys and I will need His presence more than ever for the journey that lies ahead.

For me, this is a reminder: even the best among us can’t beat death. Even our heroes need a Hero. Our ultimate victory is not one we can win for ourselves. The great victory over sin and death is one that Jesus won for us through the cross and the empty tomb. For those whose trust is in him, the Bible tells us that our battle is already won:

.     .     .
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
  “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”
Thanks be to God, who gives us the 
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

(1 Corinthians 15:54-56)

For us all, this is a reminder that life is short, and it is foolish to ignore our need for God. Another friend who died of cancer used to remind me: we are all circling the drain, and you may go down even before I do. Friends, trust Jesus with your life now so that you can trust him with your death then.

I am praying for Doug and his family. I hope you will pray too. It’s hard to comprehend the step Doug’s about to take, but we have hope because Jesus walked this road ahead of Doug.

To my friend, Doug…
In the new earth, I don’t know exactly how things will play out when sin and sickness and sorrow are no more. Who knows exactly what happens when Jesus makes all things new? I am convinced that, in some way, it will be a place full of time and space to play. It’s hard for me to imagine an all things new kind of world without the friendship of teammates. So, maybe we can team up again, play some backyard ball, and draw up plays in the dirt. Maybe you’ll be a little taller, and I’ll be a lot faster. Maybe this time, you won’t miss me on that wide open post route. Maybe we won’t care and will just laugh about it all. I don’t know for sure about all that stuff, but this I know: somehow, whatever happens, everyone wins then. Booty, we love you. We will miss you. We will follow a few steps behind you. Just like we always have. So save some of the victory celebration until the rest of us get there. We’ll see you soon.


I didn’t notice the little Superman in this picture until after I wrote this post. Seems fitting.
Doug has left a legacy to his boys, who will follow in his steps.


I recently ran across two resources that I wanted to pass along to you as you prepare your heart to mourn on Good Friday and to celebrate on Easter Sunday. It is this combination of mourning and celebration together that gives our worship mystery and beauty and power. Like no other events in human history, Christ’s death and resurrection fuse suffering and rejoicing, rejection and glory, tragedy and comedy. If we are to celebrate fully, we need to enter into both sides of the Easter event–the death and the resurrection.

The Kind of Relationship God Wants with You

For me, the best way for me to reflect on all that the cross and resurrection mean is to place myself within the true story of the Bible. One way to do this is to consider the wedding imagery the Bible uses to describe our relationship with God.

The wedding is one of the most powerful and poignant images the Bible utilizes. Marriage is rightfully a relationship shared between a husband and wife who have devoted themselves exclusively to one another. When I perform a wedding ceremony, we speak of the importance of the covenant relationship, of two becoming one, of an inseparable union. Then, the bride and groom exchange rings as an announcement to the whole world that these two are committed to one another only.

God chose the most intimate human relationship, marriage, as the example of the type of relationship he wants to have with us. Like a groom, he initiates and pursues and woos. He declares his loyal love for his people, in spite of all their brokenness. And he calls us to respond to him in loyal love and faithfulness.

Unfortunately, God’s people have often had divided hearts which led to spiritual unfaithfulness. God’s jealousy burns strong for his beloved bride, even as she commits spiritual adultery. Where she is false, he remains true. His loyal-love is strong in spite of her weakness.

Nowhere in the Bible is this picture displayed more clearly than in the Old Testament prophet of Hosea. In this book, Hosea is commanded by God to marry a woman who would prostitute herself to others in spite of Hosea’s faithfulness.

My friends at Irving Bible Church, have captured a contemporary version of Hosea’s story in a powerful series of six short films. They total less than 20 minutes of viewing. These shorts stirred my mind and my heart, so I wanted to post them here. I’ve included some of my thoughts and questions to help you process as you watch. My hope is that the films will pull you into the story of love, betrayal, and redemption. This was the story of Hosea. This is our story too.

#1 – The Covenant Love of God (Hosea 1 – 2:1):
To think about: Have you ever entered into a personal relationship with God? What does it mean that God pursues you like a faithful groom pursues his bride? Have you ever considered that every beautiful love story the world has ever known pales in comparison to the great love of God? Can you imagine betraying a love like that?

#2 – The Tough Love of God (Hosea 2:1-13):
To think about: We all have divided hearts. In what specific ways have you allowed your heart to be divided and distracted from your love of God? God is a jealous God who wants your whole heart. The Bible says that God disciplines those he loves. Are you experiencing God’s tough love that wants you to come home?

#3 – The Tender Love of God (Hosea 2:14-23):
To think about: Do you see areas where you have betrayed the love of God? Have you become attached to lesser loves that will never satisfy you fully and forever? God is patient and slow to anger and abounding in loyal love for those that are his. Will you receive the mercy and forgiveness that he offers to you when you have strayed?

#4 – The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 3):
To think about:
Do you sense God calling you to let go of false loves and come home? What biblical truth can you depend on even when you don’t feel God’s presence? How do you know that he loves you (hint: the cross says he loves you no matter what)? God’s redemption is not based on our goodness, but on Jesus’ goodness. He knows all the bad we’ve done, and he comes to redeem us anyway. Will you accept that redemption?

#5 – The Love of God: Our Response (Hosea 6):
To think about: Have you decided? The choice is yours. His love is greater than your brokenness. Is it hard for you to trust a grace like this? Does your past or your hurt keep you from trusting God’s love? What would it take for you to have faith in God’s redeeming love?

#6 – The Relentless Love of God (Hosea 14):
To think about: Are you dealing with the consequences of your bad choices? Do your circumstances make it hard for you to believe in an unfailing love? What does it mean that God loves you in spite of your sinfulness? Can you–right now and in this moment–trust the relentless love of God that came for you?

What does Hosea have to do with Easter?
The true story of Easter is this: we were created by God who loved us deeply, but we did not love him in return. Instead of enjoying him as he intended, we betrayed him and gave ourselves to lesser lovers. Though we deserved to be cast out and abandoned, he came to rescue us. Putting himself in our place on the cross, Jesus took our punishment, our suffering, and our death. But the tragedy of his death turned into the comedy of new life.  Everything turned upside down. Pain was really payment, loss was really gain, dying was really salvation. When Jesus rose from the dead and rolled away the stone, our entire world reversed course. Those who were guilty were righteous. Those who were doubters believed. Those who denied him began to proclaim him. Those who had run away returned home. Those who rebelled renewed their relationship. Love was now sure, and hope was now certain. Easter changed everything. And it still changes everything for those who believe.

Wherever you find yourself in the Easter story, Jesus’ death and resurrection are strong enough for you. May you trust and treasure Jesus more than ever.

If you would like to think more on this…

My friend, Jason Johnson, had an excellent post this week on Easter and the Great Wedding to Come. This gives a biblical / theological look at the marriage imagery and our connection with God. I’d encourage you to give it a read as you continue to reflect on this amazing relationship God offers to us. We have much to look forward to.