We’ve all been there, fumbling through forced conversations, prying open awkward connections. How do you build a bridge to a new way of understanding and living that won’t fall on deaf ears?
Bob Huey, who died on April 13 at the age of 80, found an exceptional method. He designed crosses as a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice for us. The simple crosses made out of nails, screws and even golf tees invited comfortable, yet evangelistic conversations. When Bob talked, the gospel came to life. His story was an active, breathing tale of redemption since the broken parts, the imperfect parts, the beautiful parts were all transformed by God’s love.
He enjoyed making poignant inroads into people’s lives; crafting hundreds of crosses and giving them away on the spot to anyone who admired them, to those who would listen to his story. People of all ages heard the sacred, transforming narrative of what God did in Bob’s heart and what God could do in theirs. Bob loved Christ and presented him as a wound-healer, a comforter, a burden-carrier.
Retiring after years as a teacher and counselor in the southern California school system, Bob dedicated himself to service at Saddleback. In addition to making crosses, he was an integral part of a behind-the-scenes team, absolutely essential to every weekend service, major Saddleback event and all holidays. He and his wife of 62 years, Esther, stuffed bulletins every weekend. This allowed Bob to serve even as the COPD, the pulmonary disease which eventually took his life, worsened. He passionately embraced his two “sit down ministries” of cross-making and bulletin stuffing - working late into the night on his crosses and rarely, if ever, missing the Saturday afternoon gatherings, assuring every Saddleback attendee received all the necessary communications pieces.
Bob was friendly and outgoing, and thought of these two ministries as his home, and he placed a high priority on serving the church anywhere he could. Bob’s legacy is his heart for the church and his service which continued despite the confines of his illness. Even when his disease made it difficult to volunteer, he arrived with a great sense of humor and his excitement about heaven uplifted his fellow servants.
Though he knew he was dying, Bob remained tethered to God through service. He continued to create and serve, because he knew he was formed in the image of God, who is the Master Creator. In his final days, Bob was still volunteering and teaching people to be to others the things God is to us: forgivers, second-chance givers and servants. Bob embraced everyone and counted many people of other faiths among his friends. He strongly believed this: judge no man and love everyone.
Bob is survived by his wife, Esther, two daughters, Vicki and Sherrill, grandsons and great-grandchildren.