"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:12-14)
Harry Van Der Noord
C12 Group South FL
"C12 has fulfilled a need in my business. Not just financial, but more importantly C12 has given my wife and I direction and peace about our decisions in business and our personal lives...The monthly segments too have been priceless. I am lord willing staying in C12 until I pass."
A Race Well Run
While there is no 'seniority' associated with C12 group membership, there was a first member. His name was Harry Van Der Noord and he went home on January 4th. Harry attended C12's very first introductory lunch, in Bradenton, FL, in 1992, and was the first one to fill out an application and write a check to C12. He attended his last C12 meeting in November 2012. Harry was a member of the Bradenton, FL C12 group for 20 years.
I didn't really know Harry prior to his joining C12. I knew of his reputation as an outstanding businessman and a visible Christian leader. We had only met casually at various events and I didn't know what his reaction might be to my presentation. He stayed after the meeting to fill out an application and to give me a check, then lingered a bit to talk about my hopes for C12. Harry's response encouraged me to press on.
Over the years, in our one-on-one meetings, I grew to appreciate Harry as a brother and friend struggling to walk with Jesus on the narrow path, who like me, bounced off the rails at times. However, through repentance and God's grace, we always climbed back on to try again. Harry wasn't a 'hot-house' Christian. And like the rest of us, he was far from perfect. He lived life in the rough and tumble of the world. His natural business gifts were huge and he used them in development of real estate properties including: marinas, mobile home parks and residential and commercial buildings. Sometimes in his enthusiasm to complete a deal, he was perceived to have run past (or over) another's interest. I loved that when he became aware of this happening, Harry would try to make it right and seek reconciliation. More than once, I saw him take a hit that he didn't deserve, for his good faith efforts to heal relationships that were strained.
There were good times and difficult times but Harry's infectiously positive trust in Jesus never wavered. He was an encourager. I watched him take various younger men under his wing to mentor and help them. He put great and evident effort into understanding each member's annual core business reports to give them truly insightful help and feedback. Back in the pre-digital era, Harry would print out his copy of that month's core business presentation. He came to the meeting with it marked all over, with tiny hand written notes that only could have come from hours of concentrated study and reflection. His insights were amazing!
After Harry's funeral, there was a memorial service with an open microphone that family and friends were invited to use to share experiences and stories of their life with Harry. A man's legacy is exposed in times like these. What a legacy Harry left! One by one, not only from his family but also from his C12 group, business and ministry associates, neighbors and friends, people stood and told how Harry had touched their lives and blessed them. At the end of the service, Harry's beloved wife Barb stood and spoke with a smile in a clear voice of their love, which began as high-school sweethearts. A love that will never end.
No one likes to lose the company of a friend, let alone a family member. But as we gathered, I think we all had the sense that it wasn't really a separation, just another dimension of a continuing relationship.
We are one in the Lord's Spirit with all those in Him: present and past. And since the Spirit of Jesus was so very present in that place, Harry was truly there. Your race on Earth was well run and now finished.