by Tom Flaherty
“Even if I am poured out as an offering on the altar of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” —Philippians 2:17
Roger Olsen passed from this life Thursday morning, January 30, 2020, to be with Jesus.
He was a father to me — and really to anyone who knew him. I don’t know that I’ve ever met someone who was more concerned about the spiritual welfare of others and who thought nothing of sacrificing to help them in any way he could.
I was privileged to be with Roger and Sandra in the hospital the day before he died. I got to hear one last time from the heart of this man who has guided me through my entire ministry. He wanted to know how I was doing! He talked about his children and his grandchildren with tears in his eyes, so proud of who they are, and so concerned about everyone’s walk with Jesus.
He talked about Grace Church (where he was pastor for years in New Glarus, Wisconsin) and how happy he was with Pastor John Lewis and Don Wickstrum. He had words of encouragement for me and for City Church. I was able to assure him that even as his family was carrying on his legacy, so was I, one of his many spiritual sons.
Roger showed us how to love people. He always had a book or a CD/DVD to share and it was always a gift to me, or to the group that was meeting. Almost every time we talked he told me he was proud of me and that he loved me. Whenever I left Roger, I wanted to be a better pastor and a better Christian.
Roger modeled for us how to follow Jesus. He was always excited about the new thing God was doing and saw the grace of God wherever it appeared. In our monthly FCA meetings I would always look forward to what Roger would say because it was always insightful, yet clothed with the humility he unconsciously walked in.
I am sad for all of us but rejoice for my father and friend. He suffered for many years physically, yet stayed for us. He has now gone to his great reward; he finished his race strong. Help us, dear Lord, to do the same. Thank you, Jesus, for Roger.
Thank you, Roger, for loving me and believing in me. Thank you for pouring out your life, so that our faith would be stronger. We love you!
Tom Flaherty is pastor of City Church in Madison, Wisconsin.
Note: There will be a Celebration of Life honoring Pastor Roger Olsen, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, February 9th at City Church, 4909 East Buckeye Road, Madison, following a time of Visitation which begins at 2:00 p.m.