On a day long long ago a man said to his leader -Joshua 14.11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said.

Caleb, the speaker in this passage simply went out and conquered his mountain.

Men who conquer mountains are a rare breed. They are not the norm. Deep inside them something is different from other men. They are individuals. They don’t run in packs. They are self sufficient. They have amazing amounts of courage. They believe in themself completely. They are bold. They are daring. Their conquests are stark and can be seen by all because of the high mountain top vantage point.

There is something special about the image of a solitary man fighting and winning. Shamgar standing over 600 men in his pea patch with an ox goad in his tired cramped hand. Samson holding the bloody jawbone of an ass with piles of dead Philistines all around him. These images are rare because the men who achieved them are rare.

Mountain men had a rare trait of fearlessness. They possessed depth of endurance other men lacked. They were not timid, or uncertain or cowardly. For you see mountains thin men out and only the strong survive.

Bishop Walker was a mountain man in the spirit. He possessed all these traits and more.

To start a church from scratch is an incredibly hard thing to do. To bring that church to a success is even another level of hard. Bishop Walker did it not once but twice. He did it without fanfare or braggadocio. He quietly slayed his giants without bravado.

In 1985 he walked into this Coachella Valley and took on the modern day Anakims. Like Caleb he acknowledged there were great and fenced cities. Like Caleb his mindset was: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, and he did.

One writer said I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. ( the word here is mountain). With even a casual glance the majesty of a range of mountains stands out in a cloudless sky. The peaks seem to kiss the sky. The Rocky Mountains in America are beautiful but they do not compare with the Canadian Rockies. Same height but not as majestic. Why? Because the Canadian Rockies have no supporting hills around them. Standing at their foot you see all the 14,000 feet and it is breath taking.

The life of Bishop Walker is similar. He stands alone without supporting background. He is not great because of others. He stands alone in his greatness.

I was Western District Home Missions when he came. I called him each month like all the others who were starting churches. I sent whatever funds we had to send divided up among all the missionaries. Bishop Walker was different. In the kindest way you can imagine he’ll let me know he was not depending on my phone calls and my small offerings. If you will allow me to say it this way- he was saying I asked God for this mountain and he will give it to me. Even then among his peers he was head and shoulders above them all. He was confident- I never called and heard him whine or complain about how hard it was. I never heard him make one single excuse. I never heard him brag or boast. He calmly, methodically, bravely conquered his mountain. He asked for no help, he requested no awards or recognition. That’s why I think he was the spiritual mountain man. He conquered the giants, he routed the cities and built a Church and asked no one to help him but God. For three years I called him every month, 1985, 86, 87, he was always the same. He was too busy killing giants for banal conversations.

He was a pioneer, a builder, quiet, successful, comfortable in his own skin, he was an unheralded hero.

He was the kind of man mentioned in Hebrews Chapter 11.

32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

That was Bishop Walker. Today as we say goodby he joins an elite list of great solo spiritual heroes.

Mountains give a clearer view, when you stand on them they allow you to see farther. Strange and powerful things happen on mountains. It was on Mt Sinai the Ten Commandments were given. The 10 commandments are the bedrock of western civilization even to this moment. Jesus was transfigured on a mountain, He taught the multitudes on mountains, he was crucified on a mountain, and left this world from a mountain.

Men who live in the rare air of mountains become addicted to the solitary-ness. They learn to thrive in the clear visioned altitude. Some men never breathe mountain air in their entire life. They are busy with their friends, borrowing ideas and re-designing and recycling someone else’s plans because they live down on the crowded plains which also have crowed dreams and recycled ideas.

Bishop Walker learned Deuteronomy 11.11 that spiritual land is a land of hills and valleys, and he chose the higher ground.

Satan knows the high ground is the most valuable so Satan tries to capture the high places. Great men of God take this land back for the kingdom. Men like Gideon, and Jehu, and Paul Walker. Bishop Walker came to the Coachella Valley and fulfilled Deuteronomy 12.2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:

Lastly; mountains are unchanging. Valleys transcend over time. Crops are planted to feed the masses. Cities are built, empires and civilizations arise like the Sphinx in the desert. But the mountains are eternal. The Bible declares they are the everlasting hills.

In 1985 a modern day Caleb came to this valley and said to his great God, give me this mountain. Bishop Paul Walker liked to say “I did it my way.” There was and will not be anyone like him again. He and his brother Jack were unique men. Organizations and religious bodies did not ultimately build this church. It was Bishop Walker and his God who took this mountain.

From 1810 until 1870 America birthed a group of men who became known as “Mountain men”. Their names are American lore and legend. Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, and a few thousand others. It is estimated there were about 3,000 of these unique men. They were different. They asked no quarter and gave no quarter. They were an important part of our history. They opened up trails other people did not see and were afraid to pursue. We owe a debt to these solitary men who faced heat, cold, wild animals, and Native American tribes in countless battles and skirmishes.

By 1870 they were gone. Today they are only legend and memory. They were powerful men not to be trifled with. One man is noted to have hunted down and killed 800 grizzly bears by himself- a powerful feat. Probably few if any here today can even name him (Seth Kinman), but he was a mountain man. They were a different breed.

In my mind Bishop Walker was a spiritual mountain man. He fought battles that will never be mentioned or even known this side of glory. I doubt we will see his like again. Like the mountain men of American history these spiritual mountain men have vanished.

Here today we pay our last respects to one of, if not the last, of this magnificent breed.

Bishop Paul David Walker I honor you as a great man today, I’ll see you on the other side.

Rev 21.10 says And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

Bishop Walker has climbed and conquered his last mountain.