A Tribute to Jim Maher

March 15th, 2011 · by Tom Stuart · News & Reflections, Overcoming

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15 NIV)

Late last Friday, March 11, 2011, we got word that Jim Maher, an amazing man of God and friend of our Bridgewood church family was killed in a motorcycle accident.  As a leader from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Jim was a member of our church advisory board and frequent minister in our midst.  The news of Jim’s death hit those of us who knew him very hard.  We grieve and pray for God’s comfort and strength his wife Elizabeth, their children, grandchildren and extended family.

The verse above from Psalm 116 offers us a viewpoint of death that is both unusual and insightful.  We are told by the psalmist that the death of a godly man or woman is something God regards as precious.  In fact, the Hebrew word from which precious comes is also translated splendid or weighty.  However, an untimely death like Jim’s is not something we would consider precious.  To the contrary, at least from our vantage point, such a death seems to be the very opposite, a senseless waste.  And it can engender an almost endless string of unanswered questions spinning uncontrollably from the central question “Why?”

So there you have it – two perspectives, one from heaven’s eyes and one from human eyes.  Seeking to see things from God’s perspective lifts us into to realm of eternity and frees us from the limitations of human perception and rationale. 

So how could Jim’s homegoing be precious to God and thereby also precious to us?

1.  “And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.”  (Hebrews 11:4)  Jim is like Abel, referred to in this verse.  His message and ministry do not cease with his homegoing.  First and foremost, Jim’s life and legacy will live on through his wife Elizabeth and their offspring, daughter Rebekah and grandson Daniel (2), and their son Ruben with his wife Alison and grandchildren Kaitlyn (7) and Ethan (3).

And beyond that Jim will continue to deeply impact lives by the Holy Spirit through the legacy he leaves as a gifted worshipper, leader, teacher, pastor, minister and author.  His audio and video recordings and his writings will continue to speak to us and generations to come while bearing fruit until Jesus comes.  He was the author of several very impacting books including “As Storm Clouds Gather” (about the call upon the Gentile church as it relates to Israel),  “The Coming Kingdom” (an overview of end-time events) and the “Watchman Prayer Guide” which has transformed our prayer life at Bridgewood.   That is precious in God’s sight and should be precious in ours.

2. “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2 NIV)  Jim’s death can also be precious to us if we take to heart the brevity and uncertainty of life.  Jim made his life count for God.  His all consuming passion for God and the things that move God’s heart made it easy for him to put God first in his life.  And that is what Jim did.  It was inspirational and a gift God gave to us through him. 

I believe Jim was one of those rare individuals who literally lived every day for Jesus, as if it were his last.  His life and death beckon us to do the same.  We do not know what tomorrow will bring and so we must bring our very best to God today. 

My friend Tim Roehl, a fellow Bridgewood advisory board member of Jim’s wrote this when he heard the news.  “Only the Lord knows our days…so every one is precious!” 

Please feel free to share any remembrances of Jim.  His funeral was on Wednesday, March 16, in Kansas City at the International House of Prayer 12444 Grandview Road, Grandview MO 64137. www.ihop.org

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15 Responses to “A Tribute to Jim Maher”

  1. This was a very sobering event for me and brought me back to looking at what my relationship with the Lord looks like to those around me. Does the Heart of the Lord permeate my being and my presence? Am I ready to gaze in to the face of the One who loves me and gave Himself for me? Does my relationship with the Lord make a difference and cause others to go deeper or even enter into faith with the Lord? Thank you Jim for who you are and for allowing your life and death to touch me in such away that I hope will keep your legacy going and that will further the Kingdom of God for His Glory.

  2. Jim was a very dear friend – and our friendship goes back all the way to 2002. He came to Bridgewood to teach us the Harp and Bowl prayer model; and there was just something about him. It was almost an instant connect.

    Although we never saw each other much, except for when he came to BCC for meetings; we did talk via email quite a bit. I’d ask him questions about stuff he wrote or something Mike Bickle said at IHOP.

    At least on a couple occasions, he had words of knowledge for me. I always loved the story he told about how the Holy Spirit moved in Melbourne, FL when he was a pastor there many years ago. He was a dear friend; and will be missed greatly. His teachings, stories and writings will keep his memory alive.

  3. Mrs Reena(Grant)Hicks March 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Jim , was a rock to my family, when my son was deployed in Iraq, He was leading music at Harrisonville, Mo. Church On the Rock, and I had just gotten word my sons unit was under fire, and didnt look good while at Church..Jim told me something that to this day resonates with me he told me “Reena, Lance can make it through road side bombs, snipers, you name it, He is invincible in Christ, until his numbered days are through, destined by God” Jim was a war Vet from Vietnam..and he knew what he was talking about.I was able to rest upon those words as a single mom, the worry was heavy..He taught our family to live life to its fullest, and fully trust God through it no matter what happens!And he was not afraid to reach out to a single mom and her kids…I will never forget..what a gift that was..I pray peace over Elizabeth and the children!

  4. Jim played a very significant role in my spiritual walk. I grew up Church of Christ and while I quickly fell in love with instruments in worship, I had very limited exposure to Spirit-filled worship. He was leading worship at Church on the Rock in Harrisonville, Mo and I was pretty new to the worship team when my husband left. In a “practice” worship night, I felt the Spirit move for the first time in my life. Broken, scared, confused and hurt— suddenly, I was NOT alone. And it was like that every time. Like the gates to Heaven were hidden within his guitar and when he started strumming, they flung open and unleashed His love and power. I remember countless Sundays when we never even made it to the sermon- worship lasted until well after every other church in town was cleared out… Jim taught me that worship isn’t something we do, it’s something we LIVE. Every day. Rain or shine, smile or tears. That they’re not songs, but a kiss at the feet of our GOD who created us for nothing else. I thank God for having Jim in my life to teach me how to really thank God.

  5. Annie Fredrickson March 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I met Jim at during one of the toughest times of my life. He was the worship leader of COTR in my hometown. He invited some of the young people in our church to get involved with the worship team. I’m not proud of it, but I joined the worship team for the wrong reasons. That just goes to show you that God can take all the wrong reasons and turn it into something beautiful. And I’m so glad He can. Worshiping with Jim was so easy. It was as if you never had to journey up the mountain of God- Jim’s music and heart were a teleporter with direct access to the throne room. It was during one of the countless 3-4 hour, sermon skipping, Jim-led worship sessions that I realized that Jesus died for ME, that He loved ME, that if I had been the only person that needed saving, He would have made that sacrifice for ME, that He was my Abba Father. During a time in my life that saw me struggling to find worth in my earthly father’s eyes- this realized humbled and overwhelmed. As I’m writing and remembering this man who introduced to a personal God, I’m painfully aware that my relationship with Christ isn’t what it should be, and again it’s Jim leading me to a knowledge of what I already know and I’m inspired to seek again. Jim, through your life and your death, you have been an incredible role model and teacher. Thank you for blessing me with your incredible heart of worship. I guess Jesus wanted better seats to hear your voice so He called you home. I rejoice for you. We weep for ourselves.

  6. I am grateful for all the offerings of love, guidance, wisdom, teaching, and leading that Jim gave to Bridgewood Community Church. I so appreciate his passion and devotion in worship and his focus on Israel and end times. My prayers are going up for his family especially, his spiritual family, and all his personal friends. May his torch be passed on to many others.

  7. Jim’s death has made a big impact on me. It startled me. Jim always struck me as so ‘alive’! My impression of Jim was that he was funny and talkative and gentle and kind- a great balance of humor and reverence for the Lord. I gained from the grace and wisdom Jim shared just in casual conversation. I gained from a right-on-the-money word he gave my teenage son, and by words he spoke into the life of the body. Recently I watched a clip of he and Elizabeth as they taped a message to a staff member leaving staff. I was struck then by his integrity and his Christ like character- his love for others and love for the Lord. I have a strong memory of Jim leading “Grace Like Rain” for worship at my home church- I think it might have been the first time I’d heard the song, and I loved his leading on it. That was some years ago and to this day every time I hear that song I think of Jim and hear his voice on it.
    As I’ve wrestled through the implications of Jim’s death, two things have stuck out to me. A dear friend of Jim’s commented “It’s sad, but Jim and God aren’t sad!”
    And someone on Twitter commented that the last conversation they’d had, Jim said he was going to study the issue some more “and get back to me on it. Guess he has the answer to it now!”
    I feel sad about him going and for his family; it’s a very real loss. Something to grieve. And at the same time I have a growing sense of wonder and joy for Jim. He believed he would one day be in the presence of the Lord, and now he is. As I glimpse that, it leaves me speechless.

  8. Jim, was an awesome worship leader and I looked up to him a lot. He played a vital role in my spiritual growth as well while he was leading worship at COTR. I had the privilage of playing percusion/drums along side of him and it was always fun and uplifting. Jim was always full of laughter. I have so many good memories of him and our worship team on stage as well as off stage.
    To Jim’s family, I pray that God’s grace and peace rest over your home and lives. I have experienced this personally in my life and I know it is the only way that you can get through something this tragic and shocking. I pray that through something so imposible to understand as to why or how this could be a part of God’s plan that in that struggle of understanding, He shows you and us in a mighty way, exactly that. His Plan.

    God Bless, and Jim, you will be dearly missed!

  9. Jim trained our Simeon internship on the prayer room process and the Israel Mandate at IHOP. I was struck by how much Jim simply loved the Lord. We would start each lesson with worship. He would always close his eyes and sing to the Lord as well as lead us. He would worship much longer than anyone was used to, and we enjoyed every minute of our time with the Lord and Jim. He taught me how to really worship and became my friend at the same time. I am sure Jesus loves having Jim face to face in worship even more than He did during his all to brief stay here on earth. We will all be blessed when Jim leads us again in the Kingdom. Miss you Jim…God Bless and reward you greatly.

  10. I ran into someone from my old church ” New Covenant Fellowship” who told me about Jim Mayer. It is so wonderful and strange how news of someone reaches people that knew him. She was someone I have not seen in years. But I was able to know.
    Jim Mayer was a blessing to so many people. Once coming to the alter, he prayed with me. He told me ” You can not change others by direct action, but through the grace of God he can change your heart to where it does not hurt so much” His prayer was comforting and with a sense of humor because he called some parents… ” Stinkers” But he told me how to approach it and prepared my heart even if it did not turn out good. Strength I needed to face health issues and overcome. .later. I wonder how many people he took time for that has that portion of God so big today. In my life I am grateful for Jim Mayer for his teaching. He was a trailblazer for Christ! When I hear his son Reuben speak I hear his voice. And I remember the song ” Fly Away” . Elisabeth saying all the things he loved. They are precious to so many people. He was a great disciple for Christ.. Sandy Nixon

  11. Jim played a very significant role in my spiritual walk He is someone whom I will forever hold close in my heart.It is because of Pastor Jim and God working thru him why my heart has been forever changed.
    Pastor Jim, you may be gone but you will forever shine in my heart and what flows from it.
    Thank you for throwing me my life preserver (Lord Jesus Christ) when my ship was sinking.
    You Rock!
    Weda

  12. Wow. I am at a loss. Through a “fluke” of browsing through the Internet, I saw a link to the 7 year old girl who sang at her grandpa’s funeral. I watched it only to realize she was talking and singing about Jim. It has been many years since I lost touch with Jim. When he moved away from Melbourne and left the church, I too moved on. He was the reason I found a deeper relationship with Christ. He Baptized my 3 sons and married my wife and I. After all these years to hear he passed away, is very touching. I certainly feel a loss and yet a passion has been lit within me. I think that is the gift he has. It is still there, still living. It will never die. My belated condolences to his wife and family.

  13. Yes, such a sad loss, but Jim leaves such a rich Christian legacy to so many! So thankful for his life and the impact he had on me personally!

  14. Lucy Niemann Zeitler March 11, 2016 at 11:11 am

    It’s been 5 years now since Jim’s death. He was more than my pastor, the one I called ” Dad”.
    He introduced me to Kansas City, and I followed he and Elizabeth there to just be closer to Yeshua. I’m so greatful that he is alive with the Lord and we will see him again when Yeshua returns. I miss him terribly, but my heart will choose to say Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

  15. I’ve know Jim prior to his International House of Prayer back in Central Florida when I attended New Covenant Followship. As pastor of NCF, Palm Bay, FL, Jim was an awesome man of God that was always there to lend a hand and to assist those in need. He was a mentor and teacher to me and also a good surfer friend. Rest in peace my friend.

    Alex Sellos

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