30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”
24 “But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.
HOLYwood lost one of its all-time greats today.
When you first met Louis Howard you may not have immediately thought of a ‘mighty warrior’. But that’s just because you have been too influenced by Rambo movies and other airbrushed Hollywood tough-guy icons. Louis wouldn’t get a call back from the casting director for the next action thriller, because in Hollywood, appearances (even surgically altered or medically enhanced ones) matter more than integrity and heart.
Though late in his life he may have physically resembled Mr. Magoo more than Maximus (and won’t we all), Louis was a constant reminder that true wisdom, eternal wisdom, and perfect wisdom do not look at appearance or at the height of one’s stature. Wisdom, the Lord’s casting agent and HOLYwood’s only critic that matters, looks at the heart.
Providentially for all of us, when the Lord of the universe was casting for His latest big budget blockbuster, Louis was exactly the hero He went looking for.
I have always respected and admired Louis, wife Rosemary, and their other “postmarker” friends for years. Yes, I said “Postmarker”. This is the name that, 10 years ago, the Howards and others came up with as they eagerly stepped up and created a ministry that would equip, encourage, exhort, enable and remind the older/wiser folks around Watermark to finish strong. Postmarkers, by the way, was a name I never liked or supported, because to me, it implied EXPIRED (like a postmarked letter), and I loved to tease Louis about it. Even more, I loved the way he shot back, as kindly as a man whose idea had just been mocked can, and if you know Louis, you know it was kind. His head slightly tilted, his voice gently lowered, his wry smile still present, almost giggling when he said, “Now Todd, I am fine with your thinking, but you asked us to come up with a name and we like Postmarks. To us it represents who we are. We are not going to quietly sit here while others start a new work. We are going to be a sign, a strong and clear signpost that marks the way so others can continue with us on the trail to faithfulness. Now you can laugh at our name…but we are going to mark the trail and challenge others to follow us.”
Needless to say, Postmarks became the name.
Now, ten years later, you can still go to watermark.org, hit the ministries tab, and there find a ministry by that confusing name which exists “To help people over 55 years of age get connected to the body of Christ at Watermark through community and service to share with others a wealth of lifetime maturity and accumulated wisdom”, and you know what, the name doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Louis, Rosemary, and others of their generation are heroes to me. They represent what I want to be. An octogenarian with passion for Christ. A leader who dies happily married to the same person they pledged their faithfulness to over 5 DECADES earlier. A man, who each passing year, grows more gentle, not more cantankerous. A man who considers his own preferences and even his own power, influence or titles as insignificant in light of Kingdom advancement and opportunity to see thousands more radically impacted for Christ. A man who fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith. I’m going to miss your smile Louis. I’m going to miss your warmth. I’m going to miss your encouragement. I’m going to miss watching the way you loved your bride. Thankfully, because of you, there is a signpost firmly planted in the ground ahead of me that will remind me and show me the way I want to end this journey. Well done my friend. Thanks for blazing the trail.
May I, and the thousands of others who read this, have the wisdom to follow you until we get our “star” on the walk of fame in Holywood’s streets of gold. I hear the only Director that matters is still casting…and there are lots of parts to fill.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.