Derek Buehrer was a party waiting to happen. He was the first to burst out laughing in our team meetings, the first to shout in prayer, and always the one to initiate a greeting hug.
I’ve been Derek’s team leader in theFurnace since January when he joined… which gives me a unique window into what a willing, determined and generous man he was.
His willingness can be seen in the way he came into theFurnace. Those of us in this collegiate house of prayer are well aware of the 1st Semester Rule: no dating for your first semester, which is defined pretty strictly (long distance relationships included, etc.)
Well, Derek had a stronger boundary put in place—he couldn’t talk to a girl alone for the whole semester, past about 2 minutes. This would be a challenge for any guy, but Derek proved he was up to it. He updated us every week on his interactions, which often went like, “There was this woman at work I was in this meeting with…” “Derek, bro, it’s OK – we know you need to at work.” “Just wanted to be sure.” He learned discipline from this experience, and showed without a doubt he was willing.
It was our last team meeting of the spring, and I decided we’d hike the Incline. The other two guys in our team (Steven and Jonathan) had no trouble with the uphill climb – these two track/climbing guys could conquer Pikes Peak over lunch break. But Derek and I had to push through it. He’s always been eager, and started out going real fast.
In my experience, the Incline is best hiked slow and steady—start slow while it’s easy, then when it gets hard your body has to kick in to 3rd gear to hold that pace. I told Derek as much, but he kept a furious gait. Until he stopped for breath. Soon we were in step with each other, and encouraging one another towards the top. He determined to ascend that hill, and did so. Many of us need that zeal in our spiritual walk.
The biggest thing all of us have to give is our time, and Derek’s hours were spent giving to God and giving to others. He showed me a grid of his schedule just a week before the Lord took him. I think it was 5:30-7:30 every morning penciled in as God Time… except on Wednesday when he met with a UCCS Navigators guy to pray and tell him about God’s ways.
Then there was Monday nights leading with Healing Streams, Sunday mornings serving with the church bus ministry, and meeting with a men’s group Tuesday nights (apart from his Furnace commitment). Derek often went over and above his Furnace requirements as far as prayer meetings go.
Derek wasn’t perfect—he was stubborn, not always timely, and was working on life responsibilities. But I love the guy, and I’m a better man for having known him. We know without a doubt Derek is in a better place, worshipping his Father with complete joy, free from the difficulties of the flesh.
I thank God for Derek’s outgoing, bright, spontaneous, thoughtful, theologically-minded, party-animal personality. And I pray He works some of those things in me.
(clockwise from bottom left): Derek, Steven, Jonathan, Josh