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Hayseed Stephens, founder of Ness Energy, former quarterback for the New York Titans (Jets) goes home to be with the Lord.

He wore a white hat and cowboy boots and a smile bigger than the state of Texas. Harold S. Stephens, husband, father, grandfather, pastor, quarterback, cowboy and oil man.

He was a lover of men, of Israel and of God. He truly believed that the Word of God was true and he lived his life with everything riding on it. He lived his life that way. "Let it ride."

Imagine this. The oil of the Middle East was equally divided between the Muslim world and Israel. Hayseed dared to dream that dream. He found that dream in the Holy Scriptures and had the courage to place him into eternity and into a destiny that could change the geopolitical landscape. With bulldogged determination he fought to drill for oil near and under the Dead Sea. He used the Word of God as his guide.

Christopher Columbus found the truth in the scriptures and fought to see that truth realized. By holding to his belief he changed the world. While others were bringing gold back from the new world, Columbus brought back the tomato to the Italians, chocolate to the Swiss and potatoes to the Irish and the Russian. We are still being touched by the faith and courage of this one man. Columbus reminds me of Hayseed.

Hayseed and I shared steak at Morton's and pasta at Rigoletto's. When I told him that we were going to Little Italy, he told others that we were headed to "Lily's."

We shared a love for football and a love for God, but what makes my heart heavy today is that we shared an audacity and a sense of destiny that few could understand or appreciate.

He inspired me. He inspires me. And with His death, somehow I am challenged to do and be even more.

He spoke of kings and prime ministers and knew them as friends. His faith and his vision had brought him before great men. He spoke of the needy and the oppressed and worked diligently to right wrongs no matter how big the opposition and no matter what the cost.

The people who loved and knew him were called upon to grow and to live big lives. And every time that we were together, we prayed.

He was urgently aware that without God he could do nothing. He reminded every lawyer, banker, investor, partner and friend, "Take it one more time, they don't call me Hayseed for nothing."

With his self-effacing humor, he put everyone at ease, but if you stayed with him for any length of time you felt his purpose and his relentless energy and calling. Still, he knew that it was God that would perform the breakthrough and provide the victory.

He was well aware of his shortfalls and his weaknesses, but he would not let those cloud his eyes as he focused on the grandeur of his God.

The oil wells in the Dead Sea have yet to be tapped. Ness Energy has not realized the returns that Hayseed knew would come, but there is one thing that I know for sure. He did all that he was asked to do.

He paid every price required of him. He sacrificed and he gave and I pray that one day someone will say the same of me.

This cowboy stood tall in the saddle. He was at home with rabbis - and ambassadors from the kingdoms of Africa. A stereotypical redneck he was not. He talked of the God-kind of love and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ; his steely blue eyes ever communicated his love to you and to me.

Mary Jean, his wife of many years, said that "His last day was a God day." He prayed with his neighbor as they were faced with the loss of their father and their husband. He watched his grandsons play catch and he exchanged loving glances with Mary Jean as they shared a mutual love and respect.

And then his hand went to his heart and he fell to the lawn. Hayseed went to be with the Lord.

Have you ever felt truly privileged to have been befriended by someone? I have, and in memorial, I honor the life of Hayseed Stephens.

Copyright © Faith Exchange Fellowship
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Dan Stratton
Web site: Faith Exchange
Dan Stratton has been a member of the Wall Street community since 1981, first as a Yale-educated businessman with exceptional acumen, and today as a pastor and entrepreneur with a vision for using the Marketplace to unite the Body of Christ. Stratton’s oratorical style is straightforward, a coach in the half-time locker room, with the Bible as his game plan. Occasionally he lightens the mood by poking fun at himself and then showing the congregation his technique.

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