20150518-untitled (8 of 9)“Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid? The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his hole with prey, and his den with ravin.”

These verses from the second chapter of Nahum struck a chord in me as I read them early this morning. The house was quiet. I was the only one awake. I began to think of three men; two young beings, and one who at 59 would be categorized as late-middle age. The two younger ones are my grandsons. The one pictured in this piece is Nathaniel, 18 years old, who in three weeks will graduate from high school. The other young one is Gentry, 17, who will graduate next year. The third is the late Samuel Gutierrez, who last Sunday morning in that mysterious way slipped off  his exasperating human cloak, tucked his arms through the sleeves, and settled into his eternal righteous garment.Sam Guiterrez was the associate pastor of The Anchor Church in San Diego, CA.

Lions. All lions.

20150518-untitled (6 of 9) Whelps. 20150518-untitled (1 of 9) I know my grandsons well. They are fine young men who love God and who have committed their lives to Him. I fear, though, they have little comprehension of the challenges and sorrows that life is about to heave at them. Despite their eagerness and their excellence, if one looks quickly and closely enough, a blink of tender baby may be glimpsed. A grey shadow of vulnerability flutters about the air where they stand.

They need old lions. Yes, they do. These boys of mine–and yours–are in need of mature, heavy, fierce old lions. Our daughters need them. Lions who will pace, and who will tear apart the charging, treacherous enemy, who will feed his whelps, and who will provide for his lioness.

I didn’t know Sam Gutierrez well, but I recognize that he was an old lion. Daily I have come to understand that my life would have been enriched had I been given the opportunity to call him friend. I know him from afar, from watching him preach over the internet, from reading the numerous accolades that have been published since his death, from hearing the words his pastor Jim Larson spoke as he tried to express to their church his barrenness, his sense of loss, his shock at the loss of this man, this exceptional man, this great man.

I know him from hearing the sermon he preached exactly two weeks before his death. Entitled The Compromise of Jehosophat, with stunning boldness he preached the necessity of upholding Apostolic, biblical principles. A masterpiece.

I know him from words my son Andrew tells me. “It’s interesting that he was a youth leader at his age,” I said to Andrew on the phone. “He was timeless, Mom. Timeless. Everyone loved him.”

Gentry was with Andrew and his wife as they visited in the hospital just hours before Brother Gutierrez died. The condition was grave as he struggled with death; blood pressure plunging, in and out of consciousness. However, when the three walked into the room, he opened wide his eyes, looked at my 17-year-old grandson, and said, “Hi, Gentry.”

An old lion. Standing before him was a whelp over which he must guard. Painfully. within the steel grip of death itself, he paced, and tore, and fed. Surely burned into the brain and soul of Gentry is the image of this remarkable man who fought for him, who made him safe. Who is now gone.

Lions. Old lions. We need you. Fathers, pastors, youth leaders, friends, mentors. We desperately need you. In homes around the world, in churches, in community centers, in schools, in congress . . .

“Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid? The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his hole with prey, and his den with ravin.”

20150518-untitled (9 of 9) We don’t know enough. We’re not strong enough. We’re too frail, too little, too inexperienced. We need old lions. The roads ahead are treacherous. We’re in danger. We need old lions . . .to fend for us . . .to show us the way.


Some of you who will read here will be friends of Sam Gutierrez. I would so appreciate it if you can take the time in the comment section to tell something of him. Additional old lions may come to the minds of others. Please tell us of them.

14 thoughts on “Three Lions I Know

  1. Sister Buxton, this is one of your most profound and touching blog posts. So very true. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  2. once again “Hot Tears” gouging my face with no shame! Tender hearts and raw emotion can feel the impact of a Blog so poetically written of the Lions. I have a very selfish personal loss of this man SamG , as he raised 2 special apostolic Modest examples to all girls and a wife the same excellence. What strength there was for girls from broken homes and no Dads to watch a 59 year old Youth Pastor that really impacted by ministry and family example! Oh my what am I gonna do without my Elisha? We Thankyou for this superb Blog written….

    1. I am so sorry, Brother Larson, for you and the saints of The Anchor over this tragic loss. The life Brother Gutierrez lived and the influence he had on so many people has touched me deeply. I am thankful that Andrew and his family were able to “rub shoulders” with such a man, and am believing that some of his fine qualities have been transferred to them.

      Thank you for reading and commenting here. Blessings always to you and Sister Larson.

  3. The glory of Heaven has been brightened by the anticipated arrival of Sam Gutierrez. He’s been married to my cousin, Dollie, for many years. I first met him as a young man – weren’t we both? – and have been impressed by his sincere heart and drive for ministers ever since.

    Sis Buxton, certainly this must be one of your top ten blogs. Thank you for putting words to your wisdom.

    1. Brother Cantu, your words of commendation are quite meaningful to me. Thank you. What a remarkable man your cousin married. What grief she and her daughters must be experiencing at this moment. Thankful, so thankful, we have God standing beside us in such dreadful days.

      Thank you for reading my work, and for the comments. I do appreciate it. My love to you and your dear family.

  4. Shirley, you have written a wonderful and powerful message. I love hearing your voice in it; seeing your handsome young “whelps” and the grace of their knowing, and loving, older lions. May they grow strong and be indeed those lions who protect, care for, guide others. And may God comfort all who knew and loved Sam Gutierrez.

  5. Carol, I am so thankful we met at Mt. Hermon several weeks ago, for I do enjoy our conversations. Thank you for reading here, and for your thoughtful and complimentary remarks.

    My love and blessings…….

  6. What great thoughts. I had the opportunity to listen to Brother Sam preach last year at Anchor in San Diego. His wife Dollie was very compassionate and warm after the service, when we were in a welcome time for visitors. In his talk that day, came across Brother Sam’s love for his own pastor who was not well at the time. Funny how things change, and we must be ready for those changes. Praise the Lord for men who love God, who love their families and serve their assemblies.

    1. Thank you Angie for reading here and for your comments. Although I do not know Dollie Gutierrez, everything I read and hear point to her being an exceptional Christian, as are her daughters. How encouraging to see an entire family so completely immersed in God’s kingdom.

      Brother Gutierrez’s loyalty to pastor Larson was stellar.


  7. Oh Mom, May God use your beautiful words in memory of Bro Gutierrez to awaken the slumbering lions among us. Thank you. My heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends…

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