Wheels Of Grace Magazine

Volume 12, Issue 1

Issue link: https://cp.revolio.com/i/1327981

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Page 19 of 31

20 | WheelsOfGrace.com | #53 "I ain't never going to make it to heaven," a gruff biker named Rusty told Rob Rowbo om. "Why?" Rowbo om inquired that night during a two-day ride in Utah to which Rusty had been invited. "There isn't one of the Ten Commandments I ain't busted," Rusty replied. Rusty recounted the conversa on during a memorial service September 13 for Rowbo om, one of Utah's most well-known Bap sts, who died September 6 a er a sudden, weeklong illness at age seventy. Rowbo om tenderly pointed Rusty to a man in the Bible named Paul who had led in the killing of Chris ans before his life was redeemed in an encounter with Christ. "I got to thinking about that," Rusty said, "and I realized that if God can do something like that . . . I could go 'home.' to heaven." "To an eternal home," Rowbo om assured, as he led the biker in surrendering his life to Christ. "I didn't have to be cold and mean and hateful," Rusty said. "I could breathe, I could feel good about myself, and help people." Rowbo om "was just awesome," Rusty added. "You could look in his eyes and you could see it, you could see he lived it." F R O M M I L I TA R Y T O M I N I S T R Y The re red sergeant major—the Army's highest enlisted rank—sparked a similar sense of amazement at First Bap st Church in West Valley City, twelve miles southwest of Salt Lake City, and in numerous churches across the state. He did the same in the Chris an Motorcyclists Associa on, serving as the area rep and Cowboy Gospel Night leader, and at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake, where Utah Governor Gary Herbert joined him on stage to sing at the annual Thanksgiving dinner in recent years. Rob Lee, execu ve director of the Utah-Idaho Southern Bap st Conven on, said Rowbo om "exemplified the hundreds of pastors and lay pastors that go the second, third, and fourth mile." "We'll miss the pure joy he brought not just to our lives but to anyone he met," Lee said at the memorial service. "He had a pure joy of loving the church family and loving those in the community around those churches. Everyone loved the pure joy he brought in leading singing about Jesus," Lee con nued, "whether his guitar and rich voice were heard at a motorcycle rally, a cowboy church, or an Easter sunrise service, and in his preaching and teaching about Jesus and the pure joy He can bring to anyone. Jesus is that true joy." Reflec ng Rowbo om's personal mo o that "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet," Lee stated: "Even when your Harley breaks down on that favorite ride that you have planned all year… consider it pure joy, [Rob] would say, because it's a chance to make a new friend at the repair shop." Rowbo om was serving as a volunteer "support pastor" to Carl Young at First Bap st West Valley City at the me of his death. He had been pastor of the former Road to Freedom Biker Mission; a bivoca onal pastor in Mt. Pleasant; a transi onal interim pastor in Duchesne; and a pulpit guest in numerous Utah churches. He was ordained to the ministry in 1996 at Millcreek Bap st Church in Salt Lake City, moving to Utah to be closer to his two daughters and son a er twenty-two years in the Army. He had served in Germany, where he was part of Bap st churches in Heidelberg and Augsburg, and at the Pentagon and had taught at the Army Sergeants Major Academy in Fort Bliss, Texas. A St. Louis na ve, Rowbo om made a profession of faith in Christ around the age of eleven at a Bap st church he a ended thanks to transporta on provided by his brother, Al. We just showed them the love of Jesus ' H I S L I F E S P O K E I T A L L' Young, who had ministered with Rowbo om for three years, said the funeral would be the most difficult he had ever preached. "In a lost man's funeral, you honor the dead, you comfort the hur ng, and you glorify Christ. And you can do that with a good Chris an, somebody who lived out the faith. But a man like Rob… everybody knew he was a man of honor, a man of courage, a man who lived out his convic ons un l his death. What do you say? His life spoke it all—the way he evangelized, the way he preached, the way he taught." Rowbo om's last message, on August 20, 2020 focused on the apostle Paul's exhorta on in Philippians 2:1–11 to be "like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind" (NKJV) to reflect the humility and servanthood of Christ. "The humble person is… going to allow Christ to use what he is and has for the glory of God for the good of others," he said in a weekly Facebook Live "Pastors' Talk" with Young that began with the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. "God calls you the way you are," Rowbo om added. "God is going to make the changes necessary in your life; He's going to build you and use those a ributes He's already given you." On Thursday, September 3, the church's Facebook page stated there would be no Pastors' Talk that night. "Please keep Pastor Rob in your prayers as he is ba ling an illness right now," the post stated. Three days later, Rowbo om passed in the early morning hours at a local hospital. A test for COVID-19 came back nega ve. T W O F R I E N D S O N FA C E B O O K Young was re cent about the Facebook Live sessions, but Rowbo om suggested they chat just as they had each Monday morning at the Hidden Peaks coffee shop—as two friends, talking amid moments of lightheartedness and laughter about their lives and their families, especially his children and grandchildren, alongside the church and the Bible. In their video sessions, Young said, "You'll catch me looking at Rob [with] a look of total amazement at his understanding of theological issues, and yet he had the ability to make it understandable and applicable to people's lives. He'd always say, 'You got the seminary training' [at Gateway Seminary], but I would literally look at him and think, 'Man, God's really using you right now'… You can't learn the stuff that Rob had in seminary. You've got to learn that in life." And Rowbo om had leadership skills that were God-given, Young said, no ng his ability "to influence and change lives by using God's Word and loving people and encouraging them, mee ng them right where they're at." Young recounted a visit to a Navajo reserva on in Arizona Well-known Utah Baptist Leaves Legacy of 'Pure Joy' By Art Toalston 20 | WheelsOfGrace.com | #53

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