Monday was already kind of a melancholy day here in our part of Charleston. They were laying to rest a Police Officer who was shot in the line of duty. I found myself watching/reading the news reports about the processional/service, praying for his family, and giving thanks for those who protect & serve.

And then I got a text from my good friend Buck Wardle simply saying, “Call me, it’s an emergency.” I called and he told me the news, our good friendScott Gamel had died. Honestly, all day long it felt like someone had punched me in the gut.

Scott was my friend. I’ve known Scott since I was 16. Actually, that’s when I first met Buck & Scott. Back then, as everyone knows, they came as a pair. They were traveling for ACC (with Laurie Bryan Wardle & Vicki Gamel – wow, talk about a great team) and like so many others, I was drawn to them. They became my life long friends.

So many Pastors today talk about their “Board of Advisors”. I’ve never had anything official like that – I’ve just had these guys and few other really good Pastor friends (Michael DiamondGary Thompson) that I talk to at least once a week, share the ups & downs of life/ministry with, speak truth into each others lives, laugh together, and encourage each other. Scott was a part of that group for me. He was one the groomsmen in my wedding.

Scott was larger than life! FUNNY, oh my gosh, he was funny! He could imitate every Professor at ACC and everyone else for that matter! And he was Smart/Funny too! If you knew Scott, you know what I mean. Man he was smart – so well read! If you were playing any kind of Triva/Pop Culture Game you wanted Scott or maybe Melissa Stinson on your team! To this day, when I’m preparing for messages or studies and I have questions about anything, I still call Scott & Buck – why they let me tag a long with them is still mind boggling! Don’t tell anyone, but we even share each other’s messages from time to time! Well, that’s not quite true. Scott & I could preach 2 sermons from one of Buck’s! And what an obnoxious Alabama fan! I can still remember going to a Bama/Georgia game with Scott, David Workman, and I’m not sure who else, but thinking all of us Bible College Boys were going to get the crap beat out of us because of how loud & obnoxious our friend was in Bama’s last minute victory!

And let’s just be honest, back then, Scott (and Buck) WAS obnoxious. He was arrogant, narrow minded, and legalistic. He was just so smart and funny about it (and I wanted to be just like him). But then that’s what makes Scott and his life so truly amazing and beautiful. The GRACE of God just got ahold of him! And you all know what I mean. I’m not sure exactly when or how it happened. Maybe it was just life or a process or failures or his wonderful wife & children. But got a hold of him it did. Still smart, funny, confident? You better believe it. But now that TRUTH was also full of GRACE – just like Jesus. And we’ve all been a witness to the results. And I am and will continue to be a better man for it. I love you Scott. I love you Vicki. You & the boys will be in my prayers! Carry on New Hope! Scott would expect nothing less. “May the GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NIV)