Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people. In the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord.(Psalm 116:15-19)
“We have a mandate not an option from God to be part of the solution bringing freedom to those in bondage and justice to the unjust”
A dear friend and brother, Tony Nassif has passed on to be with the LORD whom he served and loved.
What can we say about our gregarious, loving, brave friend?
How can we fill the gap in the wall, that he once stood in?
I pray that we who loved Tony can learn the real lessons of his life.
When I first met Tony he was a spirit-filled Christian businessman, full of the love and joy of the Lord. He was full of the knowledge of the Word of God, and also of church history, and of the writings of the early Fathers. Tony and I would get together and for many hours talk scripture, or Chrysostom or Simeon the new theologian or Cyril, or any of the other Ancient teachers of the church. Tony Loved God and He loved the people of God.
One day in the early 1980’s Tony asked us to pray for him, because the Spirit had told him to go to Russia, which at that time was the Soviet Union, a closed, Atheistic, Communistic nation. He obeyed the leading and somehow got into Moscow, where he toured St. Basil’s church. The Spirit had told him that He was to see how the Soviet Government preached the gospel, even though they didn’t want to.
When he went into St Basil’s, He saw a full fresco painting of the final judgment, with Christ Pantocrator (ruler of everything) on the throne, and sinners going left or right, either to Hell or heaven. The tour went from room to room, through the ancient church, each room covered with priceless frescos of the whole gospel. Millions tour St Basil’s every year. Tony told me on return, “That is how the Russian Government preaches the gospel, even against their will!”.
That was Tony’s faith. God speaks, He is alive, He guides ordinary people, this is one of the lessons of Tony’s life. Something Tony warned me about, after the Russia trip, and I have heard it since, was that the Spirit of Anti-Christ, which had left Russia so bankrupt, morally,spiritually and even physically, would soon leave Russia, and find a home here in America.
Tony was also a lover of all. He always had a word of encouragement, a ready smile, and a radiating godly kindness and joy. Tony is what happens when you combine greek Orthodoxy, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and Evangelical Christianity into one person.
One day when I as a Pastor was supervising the building of a small sanctuary for our church, Tony happened by. Nothing was built yet, only the perimeter of the ground was marked. I asked Tony to pray for us, so he went to his car and came back with a bottle of anointing oil. (Tony is one of the few people I know that never leaves home without his anointing oil).
“In the name of Jesus Christ, I anoint this site, to the glory of God.” he said and made a cross on the ground out of oil. Later that day in construction we had to take a transom and find the exact center of the proposed building. When the contractor dropped the plumb bob, it was directly over the crux of the cross Tony had made!
Tony could have just remained a comfortable, small businessman, living in Cedar Rapids, the town he grew up in and loved. But the same spirit of the LORD which warned him of the Spirit of Anti-Christ, led him into battle against it.
First Tony championed the unborn, calling out through speaking, writing, political activism and other channels, those in powerful places who compromised with abortion, and who actually nurtured the abomination.
This led Tony into the similar, dangerous task of calling out the modern slavery known as human trafficking. He spent his life, fortune and sacred honor organizing Preventing Abuse conferences, wherein he summoned politicians, police, parents of abducted children, those who work in the rescue of women and children to make people aware of the evil that is now all around us.
Slavery is more common now than at any other time in History, thanks to the pornographers, drug dealers, human traffickers and the politicians nd corrupt leaders who insure their existence. As a Christian Tony gave his life to resist this evil and to enlist the apathetic and unknowing into the resistance.
With courage and dignity Tony stood up to the powerful and corrupt, and championed real justice for the truly oppressed, but He did it in the name of Jesus, whom He loved. As a Christian Tony followed the heavenly vision, and as a Christian he put his life and living on the line, and as a Christian, he toiled, even when his body was breaking down.
We thank God for this servant, valiant for truth, a real warrior, and lover of Christ Jesus. Tony we will miss you, but I know we will see you soon.Maranatha!