On Friday, November 29th Pastor Ed Ryerson of Vineyard Church of Naples died as a result of cancer. But as you can see in the video above, 5 days before his passing God honored his life and gave him a glimpse into the life to come.
Ryerson’s life was about to intersect with Senior Pastor Kevin Fisher and the Miami Vineyard Church who were literally on a mission from God.
In an act of extravagant generosity, the members of Miami Vineyard loaded up in cars and in a scene which looked straight from the movie Hoosiers (see picture), drove the 120 miles from Miami to Naples to financially bless Pastor Ryerson and his family.
From this point, I will let Pastor Kevin tell the story:
“The Naples Vineyard is a church of approximately 75 people and is roughly five years old. It’s actually a restart/relaunch and Pastor Ed was just hitting his stride when he discovered he had cancer earlier this year. Doctors thought it was treatable, but his body did not respond to the treatments — in fact, the cancer spread more aggressively.
As I was jogging recently, and thinking about Ed and Donna and their church and praying for them, I heard God speak to me and tell me to give them the entire weekend offering. We were currently in a series on generosity that we were calling ‘Living Large’. I told our church about God speaking to me and what we were going to do the next weekend. I told them to bring their regular tithe (the entire 10% — not just a tip) and they did. We combined the offerings of our five services and made a road trip.
I invited all of our folks to come but with the trip being a two hours each way and it being Thanksgiving weekend, I didn’t know how many would come. But as you can see from the video, they came out in force. We walked into a night of prayer and worship event they were having with three other Vineyards (Cape Coral, Ft. Meyers and Doral) and surprised them with that check.
Earlier that week, we were unsure if we were going to be able to make the delivery because Ed had gone into hospice care and they said there was no way he was going to be able to make it for the service. We believe God did a supernatural work in allowing him a 15 minute window to be there and to SEE this offering this side of heaven. Who knew he would go to be with Jesus five days later?!?
After we gave away the offering, Ed’s son told me through tears that ‘His dad had everything in place for his departure except the financial piece and then you guys come and give us this check.’ He could not believe what was happening at that moment. It was surreal.
This was a night that God had on His agenda book a long time ago and we simply were his hands and feet. There’s never been a truer statement that there is more happiness in giving then in receiving.”
If there is more happiness in giving than receiving, and I believe there is, then Miami Vineyard may be the happiest church on Earth. This was the church’s eighth offering for a combined $333,000 the church has given away.
In closing, please remember the Ryerson family during this time of loss. If you wish join Miami Vineyard in blessing this family, in lieu of flowers, donations in Ed’s memory may be made to an educational fund for his children at Fifth Third Bank acct 7433753147 for the benefit of Ryerson children account.
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