Gerlach was giving the eulogy at a funeral service when he decided to share the gospel. "You never know when God is going to take your life," he said. "At that moment, there's nothing you can do about it. Are you ready?"
Then he sat down, fell over and died. His wife and sons tried to resuscitate him, but there was nothing they could do.
When the pastor arrived at the family home, his widow and his son John were crying. "Did you hear?" said John. "I'm so proud of him. My dad died doing what he loved doing most. He was telling people about Jesus."
The pastor was asked to give a word to the family and friends. He opened his Bible at Matt 10:32, 33: "Therefore whoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven."
He asked everyone to imagine what it must have felt like for Stan Gerlach. "One moment, he was at a memorial service saying to a crowd 'This is who Jesus is!' The next, he was before God hearing Jesus say 'This is who Stan Gerlach is!'
"One second he was confessing Jesus; a second later, Jesus was confessing him. It happens that quickly. And it could happen to any of us. In the words of Stan Gerlach," he said, " 'Are you ready?'"
That's a good question.
*Second edition. Colorado Springs, Colorado: David C. Cook, 2013.