Family, friends and well-wishers will gather at The Loop Campus of Houston's First Baptist Church on Thursday morning to celebrate the life of beloved Christian apologist Nabeel Qureshi.
Qureshi died at the age of 34 on Saturday from late stage stomach cancer.
Houston's First Baptist church said in a statement that the apologist, who was also a medical doctor, spent a lot of time with the church family after moving to Houston for treatment in 2016.
"The Houston's First family had grown to love and respect Nabeel over the years as he faithfully and boldly shared the Gospel as a guest speaker at our church. When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2016, he and his family moved to Houston for treatment — enabling our church family to provide support, encouragement, and prayer for the Qureshis in person," the church said.
Reflecting on the sting of death Monday, Jill Carattini, managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries where Qureshi worked for four-and-a-half years, said no matter how prepared people try to be, it "never comes faintly."
She noted, however, that despite its sting believers continue to defy the weight of it with hope in Christ.
"We are the only creatures in this world who ceremoniously bury their dead, who speak words over bodies, over our friends and loved ones, and take them all the way to the grave. Why does death never cease to seem unnatural even despite the worldview we bring to the funeral? What is it about this spirit that will not stop, that refuses to be reconciled to loss and simply give death the last word? What is it that makes us cry out to someplace or someone beyond the self? 'If for this life only we have hoped in Christ,' writes one whose life, like Nabeel's, dramatically shifted after meeting Jesus, 'we are of all people most to be pitied,'" she added, referencing 1 Corinthians 15:19.
On social media Thursday morning, as fans of the apologist prepared to say goodbye, many referenced the impact of the life he lived.
"The news of his death jolted me. In all honesty, I hadn't been following his story closely. But my sister kept bringing up his name for prayer in church and so I gradually became more aware of what was transpiring at the end of his battle with cancer," she wrote.
"... We are a light to this dark world. Because we hold the light of truth. Nabeel held that light; he was not ashamed of the Gospel. And his light burned brightly, only for a brief hour--but it burned. And many were changed through his powerful, bold, unceasing witness," she said.
Others who knew Qureshi on deeper level like Ravi Zacharias, president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, noted in The Washington Post that Qureshi lived a life that was "passionately evangelistic."
"He was not just an evangelical; he was passionately evangelistic. He desired to cover the globe with that good news: that God's forgiveness was available to all. When he spoke, he held audiences captive," Zacharias explained.