Funeral for a Friend

Celebrating the life of C.J. Bordeaux

This weekend Mary and I drove to the eastern part of our state to visit with the family of our longtime friend and ministry mentor, Dr. CJ Bordeaux, who went home to be with Jesus on March 25, 2018.  I have known CJ since 1979 as a student at Campbell University.

As the first guy I met on campus he proved over and over again what it meant to have a true friend.  We have been through some very wonderful times together as well as the most tragic.  Although CJ was nearly 5 years my senior his love for me (even back in college and seminary) continue to have a deep impact upon me and hopefully through me, to you as well.

As I write this, I am soberly aware that most of us have very few genuine friends – mine can all be numbered on one hand, and one of these is now gone.

It was difficult to stand in the long line of people making their way to the front of the Antioch Baptist Church where CJ had served as their faithful pastor for years.  As I have said before “we don’t always remember the years, but we can certainly remember the moments. There are a great many moments swirling in my head and heart today.  Let me share four words that I think characterize CJ in my mind:

  1. Love.  CJ loved Jesus and CJ loved people.  Regardless of how people treated him, rejected him, and reacted to him, he constantly showed the love of Christ to them. He loved the lovable and the unloved.  He was a man of compassion because he was a man of faith.
  2. Laughter.  Brother CJ loved to laugh and have fun.  As our friends have been talking since the passing of CJ we have remembered the moments of fun we had together.  Just pausing to think about our friend brings smiles to our faces. Our sadness has been transformed into gladness because of our memories and moments we had together.  Whether we were in a meeting, at lunch, on a golf course or riding to the top of a mountain it was always a time of laughter.
  3. Listener.  CJ always took time to listen to me (and others).  He was, as James instructed quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger — James 1:19 hcsb  He was never too busy to listen to the things of my heart.  A true friend knows how to listen.
  4. Leader.  In almost every area of life this man was a leader.  He was a powerful preacher, and personal soul-winner, and persuasive administrator.  No matter the stage, be it an individual conversation, a local church pulpit, a statewide or national platform CJ was always leading and pointing people to Christ.  This, I am sure is the result of the fact that he was a constant learner. He learned more of the love of God each day and he shared that, without compromise to the people in in circle of influence.

Dr. Bordeaux was my friend and I loved him dearly.  He will be missed, but the void left is my life is filled with the knowledge that CJ is at home with the Lord.  I’ll miss my friend but I know that one day I will be with him and all who have gone before us into that place prepared for all who love the Lord.