Monday, April 20, 2015

Leaving a Legacy

In 2002 I spoke on the phone with Fred. We talked about the situation at what was becoming Living Stone Community Church. We had a mission team coming up that summer from SC. When the mission team came, and I was in Maine, I stayed with Fred and Harriet. I met PC (the cat), and was introduced to sleeping in the middle of summer with no air conditioner and the windows up. I was also introduced to lobster rolls (homemade ones). It was then that my relationship with Fred Osgood began to grow.

As a 26 year-old first time pastor, I was as green as they come. I had no idea what I was doing, but God provided a man to take me under his wing and pour his life into me in a way that would change me forever. Among the three spiritual fathers in the Lord that God has given me, this is the first has has received his heavenly reward. However, I know it is vast, because Fred loved Jesus so dearly, and worked for Him so diligently.

I remember when he and Marshall (Mashall, as he would say it; sometimes Erika would have him say things three times before she could translate from South Georgia to Mainer) would come to the church and shovel snow, or clean, or anything else that was necessary. They were doing that one day while I was doing an interview with the Portland Press Herald reporter, and the reporter spoke to Fred, and Fred replied, "have you ever been born again?" And thus the article entitled, "Born Again Church" written in the spring of 2003, and brought us much over the next four years.

So how did he make such an impact on my life in four years? He helped bring me to Living Stone. I still remember he, Erika, and I sitting in the pews of the church before we started (had a picture, wish I could find it). Those old pews made in about 1901, that weren't screwed down to the floor. Every Sunday he stood at the back of  the church greeting people coming in and going out with a smile and a hug that no one could resist from a white-bearded old man. He warned me about pastoral errors that I was about to make, then turned around the next day and apologized for the warning, saying that I was the pastor, and for me to do what I felt needed to be done. He raced cottonballs with children at VBS. He went on every evangelistic outreach we had. He helped me learn to do baptisms and communion. He went and helped me practice visitation, and counseling, and church discipline. He became one of the elders at the church. He prayed for Erika and I so faithfully. He taught classes. He let the prayer ministry. He built bookshelves, and sofa tables, and gave me a 1900 printing of the Expositor's Bible Commentary. And maybe most importantly, he modeled Jesus for me. At home, in the family, in past jobs, etc., he lived like Jesus.

And all that was after he had passed 75 years old. I am much indebted to this man for the discipling that he did in my life, probably more than I will ever know on this side of eternity. The last time that I was with him and Harriet, we ate lobster rolls together with the family, afterwards we talked and visited. Then he called me and my girls over to him. He got down on one knee ever so slowly and carefully. Then he reached out with his hands and set them upon my daughters' heads, and bestowed a blessing in prayer that God would use them in a mighty way and show great mercy on them.They didn't fully understand the significance, but I did, and I will never forget.

I am so thankful for the privilege to have known such a man, and had his hand on my life. If I could leave the legacy that he left to his family, to many churches, to many disciples, I would be honored.


  1. Jason,

    As one (of many) of Fred's grandchildren, thank you so much for sharing your sweet memories of him. He truly was an incredible man of God and I am so blessed to have not only known him but to call him Grampy. I am sorry for the loss you are feeling right now along with so many others.

  2. Fred was amazing...and tougher than a bag of hammers too.

  3. So thankful the Lord brought Fred and Harriette into our lives...may we all strive to be more like Christ.... Pam and Doug