I nicknamed him Pedro. I don’t think anyone else called him that, but I did. I loved calling him Pedro.
When we worked together at Cornerstone, I could hear him whistling or singing from 100 yards away as he approached the upstairs office. You always knew when Petey was coming.
I teased him mercilessly about being a Lakers’ fan. (I am NOT a Lakers fan). We both loved the NBA, and went to one game together when he got free tickets to see his friend Luke Ridnour play in Sac.
We played a lot of worship together, with Jen joining us. We even made a trip down to CC Montebello together. We led three worship services on a Sunday, and I taught three times. We were exhausted.
He treated me with the utmost respect. Even if/when he disagreed with me, he approached every discussion with extreme respect as he would offer an alternate idea. I learned a lot from Petey about vision and faith.
In some ways, we were brothers, comrades, peers. In other ways, it was like a father/son or mentor/mentee relationship. We both acknowledged the strangeness of the relationship which morphed back and forth depending upon what was happening or who needed guidance or feedback. I could go to him to share ideas and ask for guidance, and vice versa. In all of that, even when he was speaking as a peer, he showed me the utmost respect as his pastor and elder.
Petey had passion for God and for people. The scores of comments online only hours after his death attest to those facts. He touched many lives, and the comments will keep pouring in.
Petey served at Cornerstone 5 plus years. About three years into his time with us, I started leaning on him to realize that he had been called to lead a church someday. He kicked and fought against that idea, stating that he was happy at Cornerstone….but, he FINALLY realized that I was right. Plans were made, prayers were prayed, and steps of faith were taken.
Shortly before REFUGE church was launched, we met for one last talk. We both expressed that neither one of us wanted to separate. The relationship and friendship was too good. We both shed some tears that night, as we both realized that it was God’s will for Petey to move on, and that it was the right thing to do.
Finally, if admiration can be mixed with envy in any kind of sanctified manner, then that is what I often experienced with Petey.
Sometimes, as we discussed issues, he would say the most godly thing. His perspective and attitude was so far above mine sometimes. In those moments, I felt that I was in the presence of a very holy man. Not holiness that sprang forth from somberness, but from purity.
Petey was pure, and by just being himself, he showed me what a pure life was like. His holiness would make me feel a bit convicted and yet very encouraged at the same time. I felt that same strange mixture of emotions as I watched him love his wife, love his kids, love people, and love God.
Without trying to be inspiring, he was inspiring. He was a good friend, and a comrade in ministry, and I miss him.
Like many people reading this, I feel like I have been kicked in the stomach. There is a sadness that is felt in one’s bones. But there is also joy, knowing that Petey finished his race on this Earth, and has entered into the joy of his Lord.
Pedro, if you can read this, or hear me…..I love you. Jesus will take care of Jen and the kids and your mom, and the church…and we will help.
Enjoy being with Jesus.
Save me a seat near courtside.