i didnt know jonathan bird

today i am speaking at the funeral of a close friends brother who was murdered this past weekend. this is the message i am giving…

early sunday morning i received a phone call that jonathan bird had been attacked and killed in front of his home in wylie tx. i didnt know jonathan bird but he was the brother of a close family friend and as the story surrounding his death began to unfold a sense of numbing sadness came over me.

questions began to form in my mind. who would do such a thing? and why? but even as the answers to these questions came to light the tragedy of the events remained unsettled.

last nite i had dinner with the family and listened to stories about jonathan. stories about who he was and what he meant to the people closest to him. these stories were full of colorful descriptions of his fishing and cooking skills and they revealed the life of a man who was both loved and loving. a man who stepped into the lives of a family that was not his own and yet took them under his wing and cared for them in such a way as to make them his own.

one reference really stood out among the rest. in talking with his fiance and friends last nite they discussed getting tattooed with the numbers 381 in memory of jonathan. they explained the meaning as:

3 words

8 letters

1 meaning

this was jonathans way of saying i love you. this revealed both his heart and mind when it came to his friends and family and showed me a man i would have been blessed to know. a man who enjoyed life and whose life was enjoyed by those around him.

in the wake of his passing i realize theres nothing i can say that will take away this tragedy.  there are no words that can replace his life. but we have to acknowledge that the events that have brought us here today are evidence of the broken world in which we live. and we cannot afford to live thru this experience without considering just how fragile we are.

everyone at some time or another has heard a preacher give a frightening account of what happens to those who do not turn to jesus before they die. just like everyone has heard the exalted descriptions of a heaven with pearly gates and golden streets awaiting those who do turn. this turn or burn concept has been called the good news.

but is joy or pain in the afterlife really what the good news is all about? and what about right now? what is the good news for those who are suffering and grieving the loss of this beloved man? what good could possibly come from such a horrible tragedy?

as ive prayed and thot about it for the past few days it has become clear to me that the good news is that god the father suffers and grieves beside us today – aching just as we ache.

the good news is that he knows what its like to lose someone because his son was brutally beaten and murdered without cause.

the good news is that there is hope because the power of evil and death in this broken world is not the ultimate power.

the good news is that god the father raised jesus from the dead – giving a promise to everyone who would trust and follow him that they too would be raised.

the good news right now is that the new life god the father promises isnt put on hold until we pass from this world but takes immediate effect – giving us hope for living right where we are.

john 1:12-13 tells us:

to all who receive him and believe in his name he gives the right to become children of god – born not of blood or flesh or even mans own will – but born of god.

and isaiah 43:1-3 tells us:

do not fear because i have redeemed you – i have called you by your name and you are mine. i will be with you when you pass thru the waters and thru the rivers – they will not overwhelm you. you will not be scorched when you walk thru the fire and the flame will not burn you. for i am the lord your god the holy one of israel your savior.

in an evil broken world this is good news. we havent been left alone – he is right here with us. the power of evil and death is not the ultimate power. there is hope in the promise of god. hope for life…

right here.

right now.

this is the good news. and it can begin for you today.


heres the story in the dallas morning news

below is the news report from the local abc affiliate:


~ by graceshaker on November 10, 2009.

7 Responses to “i didnt know jonathan bird”

  1. Good word bro. Praying for you all today.

  2. That’s a wonderful message. What a tragedy for this family. Thoughts and prayers for all of you.

  3. Thank you so much for the beautiful words at my cousin’s memorial service yesterday. He truly was a great friend to many.

    Ophelia Bird Downing

  4. You have certainly given a great message! I didnt know the family either but have caught word of it and have decided to donate goods for the bake sale this Saturday. I was having a difficult time trying to decide how to do the design on the food… well, I am going to be putting 381 on them! God bless!

  5. I am Quintin Bird, the father of Jonathan Bird. First I just want to thank you so much for the memorial service. Your words and words of others were a comfort to me. Time and prayer will take care of the rest.

    Secondly, I want to respond to some other words I have heard over and over. People have said to me, “How could God let this happen to Jonathan?” “Quintin, how could God let you and the rest of the family suffer?” “How could a loving and caring God allow this to take place?”

    Let me pass along an illustration. Back when Jonathan was a small boy, he fell out of a tree in the back yard. He had broken his arm just above the wrist. We rushed him to the emergency room where the doctor set his bone. I had to help hold Jonathan’s hand and wrist just right while the doctor set it. Jonathan was screaming and crying at the top of his lungs. What made matters worse was that the bone did not set correctly. The doctor had to re-break the bone while I was holding on. I had never heard such horrible scream from any child. While sitting there holding Jonathan’s hand, I felt right on the verge of passing out. You can hurt me all you want, but hurt my children, is a pain that any good parent will not forget. After that ordeal a week later, we were all at the church gym. I was down stairs playing basketball with the guys, and Jonathan was upstairs in the video parlor playing games. Jonathan came running down the stairs then tripped and fell to the bottom. After that doctor’s visit, Jonathan had 8 stitches and a bandage around his fore head.

    So with Jonathan in an arm sling, and his head bandaged, I’m sure some people that didn’t know us would suspect parent abuse. The people that really knew us, that thought never entered their mind. Nobody ever asked me, “How could you let such a thing happen?” They knew me. I would never “allow” a bad thing to happen to my children if I have “ultimate” control. Point being, I do not have ultimate control.

    God with so many things He is, He is a good parent.
    He doesn’t allow bad things to happen to us. The first human beings in the Garden of Eden made that happen for this world, then satan got his say on what goes on here. When bad things do happen to us, God will bring comfort to us His children. Even though we do not understand the reasoning for it all, God does.

    So anybody reading this, let a good Parent help you. He is surely comforting and helping me.

    • Quintin, this is Jill…Jimmy and Judy’s daughter in Abilene. I wanted you to know that we are praying for you and your family. Mom called me with the news of Jonathan and we both sat there on the phone crying together. I pulled out some old photos of Jonathan and have them placed in my living room with a lit candle in his memory. I cannot believe this has happened. I just wanted you to know that you and Patti and Cara are in our hearts and prayers. I feel blessed to have known Jonathan.

  6. I feel so horrible for the boys that have lost their father figure. I am a Wylie resident and I am still shocked that kids did this to such a good man. Please let me know if there is anything I can help with. Every young man needs a role model and unforunetly these boys have lost theirs for a 2nd time. Jons father is an incredible man. I did not sense any hate in his words he is truly touched by God in order to stay so calm. I can’t imagine the pain and heartache this family is going through. If there is anything I can do please let me know. I live in Wylie and would like to help any way I can. I will definetly pray for this family and hope the pain of this tragedy will ease.

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