During the month of June I am looking at Apex Leaders, those who at the top of their professions, along with their habits.  This study would be woefully incomplete without including Ike Reighard, the incomparable senior pastor of Piedmont Church located in Marietta, GA.

I cannot convey how much I love and respect Ike Reighard.  There is no person I admire more than this man.  He is the most giving, humble and selfless well-known individual I have ever met.  Ike is an absolute gift to anyone who knows him and the Body of Christ as a whole.

On April 30th, Ike suffered a heart attack.  Today was his first day back in the pulpit and I would not miss his sermon for anything in the world.  And of course, Ike did not disappoint as he shared his story.

The following are Ike Reighard’s 9 Lessons From His Heart Attack.  Every comment below is a quote from him.  After the lessons, I will include an additional 41 quotes from his heart-felt, life-changing challenge to those in attendance.  Don’t miss a one of them.

  1. Life Is Really Tissue Paper Thin – Everything can change in an instant.  Death is more universal than life.  Everyone dies but not everyone lives.  Don’t put things off until “one day.”  “One day” is not guaranteed.
  2. Life Is A Gift We Should All Be Thankful For – Years ago I gave my wife to the Lord.  I gave my kids to the Lord.  I gave my granddaughter to the Lord.  I gave myself to the Lord but I was doing a lot of things in my own strength.  We end up watching the clock and forget the calendar.  We say where did the time go.
  3. Focus On What You Have Left, And Stop Fearing What You Have Lost – I have to make some lifestyle changes.  I can only do this by facing it like a challenge.  No more Red Bull.
  4. Walk Away From A Crisis Knowing Who And What Is Most Important In Your Life And Why They Are Important – Those people around the (death) bed are the people you need to be focusing on.  The smartest people in the room ask the best questions.  Who’s around your bed?
  5. Know What Needs To Change In Your Life And Take Steps Toward That Change – A crisis is a crisis.  Don’t work a job you hate.  Most heart attacks happen between 5 AM and 7 AM on Monday mornings.
  6. Take Practical Steps Before A Crisis Ever Occurs So Managing The Crisis Is More Decisive – When I die my decisions are all spelled out.  If you don’t have a will, you should be ashamed.  I knew the church would be fine.  You bragging on my staff is like bragging on my kids.  Make yourself indispensable by making yourself dispensable.
  7. When You’ve Made Peace WITH God, You Will Have The Peace OF God When You Need It Most – Don’t count on deathbed confessions.
  8. Never, Ever Waste Your Experiences – Don’t waste your grief.  Don’t waste your crisis.  Don’t waste your heartache.  Live your story right now how you want to tell it later.
  9. Live A Grace-Filled Life Everyday

***Writer’s Note – Now if that was not enough, the following are 41 additional quotes from his message along with an initial observation:

  1. Ike was welcomed back with a standing ovation.  What makes him such a unique and gifted leader is the attention he always puts on others.  He walked onto the stage with his granddaughter Addison and showed off her winning the 2nd grade Citizenship Award for her school.  He then talked about how wonderful his staff was during his absence.  When others would have embraced the love of their congregation Ike leveraged the opportunity by showing love to others.  Only Ike.
  2. “What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” – A.W. Tozer
  3. “I take no naps.  I sleep 4-to-5 hours every night.  I’ve always been wired that way.”
  4. “If you don’t think today’s important, try missing it.” – Zig Ziglar
  5. “On April 30th, I had a great day.  A fun day.  A relaxing day.”
  6. “I was driving home and felt really tired.”
  7. “I had none of the symptoms of people who had heart attacks.”
  8. “I read an article of women who had heart attacks having aching in their jaw and lower teeth.”
  9. “I said to my daughter, ‘I need Uncle Marlon (Longacre) to preach tomorrow.’  She said, ‘We’re going to the hospital aren’t we?'”
  10. “If I’d left to come to the church and watch the movie War Room I wouldn’t be here today.”
  11. “I heard the EMT say, ‘We’ve got some irregularities.'”
  12. “I heard her say, “Cath and stint.'”
  13. “I know I’m having a heart attack but I’m at peace.”
  14. “I’m lying in the back (of the ambulance), I’m hearing Matt Van Zandt (Piedmont’s worship leader) singing Good Good Father (in my head).”
  15. “I was as much at peace as a human being could be at peace.”
  16. “The EMT said, ‘Are you aware you are in a cardiac event?  I’ve never seen someone as calm as you are.”
  17. “She said, ‘We’re getting ready to light this puppy (ambulance siren) up!”
  18. “How many times I’ve prayed for a person in an ambulance.”
  19. “Cobb County has 740,000 residents and I was the only person in the cardiac unit on a Saturday night.”
  20. “Because of the grace of God I have no heart damage.”
  21. “Beds are better in the ICU.”
  22. “What I experienced was God’s grace.  I experienced a family that was alert (to my developing condition).”
  23. “God kept me on this earth because I have a purpose on this earth.”
  24. “I was going to preach the next day How To Have Peace Of Mind During The Daily Grind.”
  25. “You only redeem something if you have a purpose for something.”
  26. “God has amazing riches for us through His grace.”
  27. “The grace that saved me in the very same grace that sustains me.”
  28. “Once you’re saved you’re always saved.  That’s a good thing to remember in the back of an ambulance.”
  29. “I love my church and I love what you’re doing in the community.”
  30. “Grace is God’s love in action.”
  31. “Grace is God’s peace in the midst of adversity.”
  32. “You’re secured by grace.”
  33. “I’m strengthened by grace.  He (God) said to me, ‘Ike Reighard, My grace is sufficient for thee.'”
  34. “I’ve never been weaker in my life but The Anchor holds.  ‘My power is perfect in your weakness.'”
  35. “I have an audience of One but wasn’t good at it.  The Lord said, ‘Ike, are you ready to give yourself up?”
  36. “The difference between an average player and a great player is confidence.  We should live with confidence and like we’ve been there before.”
  37. “We all need mercy.”
  38. “Death is a calling from God.  The bond will be for all eternity.” – Mother Teresa
  39. “You matter to God.  You matter so much He sent His Son to die for you.”
  40. “I believe Jesus Christ was born, lived, and died just for me.”
  41. “The last years of my life will be a highlight, not a twilight.”
  42. “It’s good to be home today.”

It is good to have you home Ike.  Knowing you has been one of the highlights of my life.  You are deeply loved my friend.

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