“My Father! My Father!” – a testimony to Grace

an excerpt from my portion of a personal tribute delivered at our Dad’s Memorial Worship Service

15 February 2013

Reading from the Word of God…

Psalm 103.1-5

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy Name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 16.5-11

O LORD, you are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; you maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance. I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices! My flesh also shall rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption.

You will show me the path of life;

in your presence is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

And, as much as our human hearts are breaking right now with our temporary separation from here, we wouldn’t begrudge him the fullness of joy and the pleasures of the Presence of his Lord Jesus Christ for anything in earth or Heaven.

LET’S PRAY AND COMMIT THIS SERVICE TO THE GLORY OF JESUS CHRIST…

On behalf of our Mom and our family, we want to thank you for gathering here with us today for what we are calling a MEMORIAL WORSHIP SERVICE.

We welcome you to the Presence of God – and to the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because God is here – and we are in His Holy Presence.

And, this is a Worship Service.

Our Dad charged us and gave us instructions years ago for how this service was to be conducted … and then reminded us again of those instructions repeatedly over the past few months.

Everything we will do here today – and the ways we will do it – will be not only according to his instructions, but HE CHARGED US TO GLORIFY GOD … MAGNIFY THE GRACE OF GOD … AND PREACH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST  IN EVERYTHING WE DO.

-______________________________-

He did, though, have some HUGE debts of personal gratitude that he wanted to express.

He told me to be sure to ‘make special mention’ of some of his personal friends whom he wants to know how much he loves you: Tommy and Becky Tincher & Gary and Louise Mabe … and his personal physicians who ministered to him physically: Dr Mitchell & Dr Abbott & Dr Duck … and we want to express our profound personal appreciation to: DAVIDSON COUNTY HOSPICE

 -______________________________-

OUR DAD’S LIFE WAS A TESTIMONY TO THE GRACE OF GOD GIVEN TO HIM…AND LIVED THROUGH HIM.

1 Corinthians 15.10 ~ BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD…I AM WHAT I AM! AND HIS GRACE TOWARD ME WAS NOT IN VAIN; BUT I LABORED MORE ABUNDANTLY THAN THEY ALL – YET NOT I, BUT THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH WAS WITH ME!

-______________________________-

So, as His personal testimony to the Grace of God, please take your copy of our Service Program and stand with us as we worship God by singing “AMAZING GRACE”

-______________________________-

2 Kings 2.12

“MY FATHER, MY FATHER,

THE CHARIOT OF ISRAEL AND THE HORSEMEN THEREOF!”

That was Elisha’s personal tribute to his father in the faith, Elijah, as he stood by the Jordan and watched him taken to Heaven by the fiery chariot and horses that God has sent to transport Elijah alive…to Heaven.

Elisha was acknowledging that the old prophet had been the real strength and might of the nation: ‘the true chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof”

Chariots were the fastest means of transportation in that day, and were also the strongest measures of a nation’s military strength, prowess, and protection.

Israel had scorned the old prophet – and had turned away from their True God.

So, Elisha was acknowledging that the old prophet had been the true measure of the nation’s strength – and now he had just witnessed him going away to Heaven.

Our Dad was an old prophet of God’s Grace and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

‘My father!  My father!’

Our Dad was not only our biological father, but he was also our spiritual father in the faith of Jesus Christ. 

He and Mom not only brought us, their children, into the physical world of human life – but they also led us into personal faith in Jesus Christ and into the eternal life of the Kingdom of God.

Our Dad was also a spiritual father in the faith to some of you, and a brother and companion in service to Jesus Christ to many of you.

And – to all of us – our Dad was a model…example…and pattern for us to follow and by whom to shape and live our lives.

Our Dad was not a man of impressive gifts and abilities, but he was a faithful servant of the gifts and abilities God did give him.  He may not have cut a wide swath during his life and ministry, but he did cut a good swath – and a clearly-marked swath.

Anywhere Dad was, and lived, and served, he impressed, impacted, and inspired everyone who knew him with his simplicity of faith and love for Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

Dad may not have been known for his outstanding talents – but he was known for his deep spiritual convictions, his Christ-like character, and his godly conduct and integrity.

-______________________________-

His life was a testimony to the Grace of God!

And from the time that God claimed him by His Grace…and called him to come and follow Him…and serve Him with the rest of his life – Dad faithfully answered and fulfilled that call.

The Holy Spirit convicted our Dad of his sins and brought him to faith in Jesus Christ in February of 1949 … exactly 64 years ago this very month.

Shortly thereafter…God called him by His Grace to preach Christ and his Gospel!

Dad founded and pastored the Goldfloss Baptist Church here in Winston-Salem from 1954 through 1957.

He answered God’s call to move us to Rainelle WV in 1957 and pastored the Little Sewell Baptist Church there for the next 9½ years – from ’57 until we returned to W-S in ’66.

Then he pastored the Hillcrest Baptist Church here in W-S for the next 42 years … until he transitioned from active pastoral ministry in 2008 – and Pastor Day succeeded him & assumed that ministry responsibility.

And – even after he transitioned from active pastoral ministry, he continued serving the Lord in the Gospel by ministering the Gospel in various churches over the next few years – until his physical health began to fail him.

For all of those 64 years – our Dad faithfully served Jesus Christ as “the chariot of Israel and its horsemen”!

-______________________________-

In the book of Galatians, chapter 1, the apostle Paul describes how the Gospel of Jesus Christ claimed his love and the rest of his life.

He relates his former life in sin – even though he was actively pursuing and excelling in empty religion – …then it pleased God [in Paul’s words] to ‘call me through His grace’ –and ‘to reveal His Son in me…that I might preach Him among the Gentiles.’

But when the word began getting around among the churches that ‘he who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith he once tried to destroy,’ Paul relates this testimony: “and they glorified God in me!”

We glorify the Grace of God in our Dad!

Dad had only one goal in life: ‘glorify God and enjoy Him forever!’

Or as Paul expressed it again in Philippians 1.20:

‘according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’

Our Dad glorified God in his life … he glorified God in his death … and, I assure you, he is glorifying God right now in the presence of Jesus Christ…in the fullness of joy and eternal life!

And he will glorify God forever!

And by the same Grace of God which he and Mom led us to confess and embrace – we shall join him shortly, and we will together …

‘sing and shout and dance about – and the Lamb will dry our tears!’

 Oh, yes, we will … sing and shout and dance about! 

And oh, yes, the Lamb will … dry our tears!

Our Dad would have one continuing prayer and hope for each one of you – and that is that you, too, will believe in the Lord Jesus Christ … and be there with us!

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