A funeral service for Joe Moore, pastor of the Upper Room Christian Church in Compton, California, was held on Friday, following his shocking Oct. 24 murder outside his house of worship.
As Moore’s family remembered his life and legacy, remarkable details about his faith journey emerged, including the stunning spiritual transformation he went through decades ago after a near-death experience.
Erika D. Smith revealed in a Los Angeles Times piece this weekend that Moore was once addicted to crack cocaine in the 1980s and 1990s and found himself facing various troubles.
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All of that came to a halt, though, when Moore experienced a terrible, life-changing car accident — one that stopped his heart and left paramedics working to revive him.
As Smith explained, Moore ended up in the hospital for many days and had numerous surgeries following the crash. He healed, but was left with a lifelong limp.
But physical health wasn’t the only area in which he improved. Over time, Moore kicked his drug habit and returned to his Christian faith; he eventually became a pastor.
Moore’s family reflected on all of this as they gathered at his funeral Friday.
“There was a time that I didn’t even like to look at him! I’ll repeat — amen — there was a time that I didn’t even like to look at him!” Moore’s neice, Sandra Gladney, said of her late uncle.
But then Gladney told Smith that the accident led her uncle onto an inspirational path. Now, she looks favorably upon his legacy.
“That’s what made the change. Him and God had a conversation,” she said, explaining that Moore turned his experience around to help others. “He never had to go to a rehab. But he used it as a ministry. So he turned the negative into a positive.”
As Faithwire previously reported, Moore’s family has chosen forgiveness in the wake of his killing. While authorities believe he was targeted, no additional information has been given on the motive or on those responsible.
Daney Moore, daughter of Pastor Joe Moore, told the “Edifi With Billy Hallowell” podcast last month that her family is struggling to process her father’s killing, but are relying on one another to make it through this difficult time.
“It’s something we can’t process. It was so unexpected. It was so senseless,” she said. “My heart is broke.”
Despite the intense pain and anguish the Moores are feeling as police continue to investigate the murder, the family has said the pastor would have been the first to forgive those responsible.
“One thing my daddy did preach and teach on was forgiveness. He always lived by the motto, ‘What would Jesus do?’” she said. “He said, ‘Jesus forgave his enemies and we have to forgive ours.’ … We have to forgive people to be free.”
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