But God… These two words change everything!
Paul said it as clearly as can be stated, “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked… (Let that sink in for a moment…. Pursuing the values of this world, rejecting God’s authority, living by the passions of your flesh, lost and without genuine hope. This describes us all at one time)….
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:1-7
On Sunday, November 21, our beloved pastor, mentor and friend, pastor Steve Troxel departed this world surrounded his loving family, But God welcomed him into his eternal home and the loving arms of his Savior, Jesus Christ.
Steve has been an edifying role model to us in so many ways. Let us highlight a few of these.
Steve loved the Lord Jesus and dedicated his life to making Him known and loved by others. He would be the first to tell you that death is never an easy reality to face.
But God…. makes all the difference! Even though we were dead in our sin, through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been made alive together with Him. By grace we are saved and seated with Jesus in the heavenly places.
Steve’s love for the Lord God and the priority of Jesus Christ in his life shined through him constantly.
Steve had a tremendous heart for God’s Kingdom Mission. One of Steve’s favorite life verses was Acts 20:24. “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
After preaching for 35 years, Steve began the ministry of Shepherds’ Support in 2006 to encourage, equip and engage pastoral couples in under resourced areas of the world so that they could finish strong in both their ministry and marriage. He was committed to helping others remain faithful and multiply the Gospel of grace throughout the world.
Steve had a passion to preach and teach Truth. This flowed naturally out of his own relationship with Christ and a passion to study and teach His Word. In a day and age when most delight in sharing their own opinions, Steve taught Truth from the Bible. He shared from his own life’s struggles and challenges, as well as victories and vision, in a humble and practical way that invited others to let down their guard and hear the Words of Christ speak to them. Steve loved to preach and teach the Word. (Listen to some of Steve’s messages HERE)
Steve had a contagious sense of humor. It was a rare day not to hear a funny story or a joke from Steve (Notice that I did not say that they were all funny jokes). It may seem strange to highlight this in appreciating a pastor friend, but Steve’s sense of humor had an endearing quality to it that also drew people in.
I remember fondly listening to Steve begin to tell one of his infamous parrot jokes and then forget the punchline. In a demonstration of just how well loved and remembered his humor was, all of us who were gathered around the table with him easily finished the joke for him. “You know….”
Steve demonstrated a gracious and generous heart. Diana and I witnessed this time and time again in the ways that he and Connie cared for pastoral couples locally and around the world. It showed in the kind words they shared with them, the actions of their care and in the generous giving of their financial support to help in times of need. Steve often said, “we have been blessed to bless.”
Steve’s heart for the Lord, the Gospel, God’s Kingdom Mission, the Word, his sense of humor and his generous spirit have been great examples to us. He has indeed lived out Acts 20:24 and he has finished well! Steve will be greatly missed, But God has changed everything!
A memorial service was held in Steve’s honor on November 27, 2021 at 10am at Wayside Chapel in San Antonio. You can watch a recording of it below.
Steve’s legacy lives on in each of us, through those he has taught and touched at Wayside Chapel and through the ministry of Shepherds’ Support around the world.
To God be the glory!