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As I begin today, I thank all of you who have shared your heart with us as we have struggled with the passing of Shane. I know how hard it is to say anything to someone who has lost a child – I have had to preach funeral sermons to parents who have lost their child, and it never seemed adequate. I now know what it feels like and how hollow it all seems. Words cannot comfort the bereaving, as much as listening to them and letting them share their stories and hurts with you. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ!(Galatians 6:2)

Many of you have shared how Shane has impacted your lives, and I have so grateful in hearing all of these things. He was a special man, and I am glad that God allowed me to rear up such a fine man. 

Through this I have learned and considered these things . . .  

GOD PLANNED AND SENT HIS SON, AND PART OF THE PLAN FROM ETERNITY WAS THAT HIS SON DIE FOR US. God who loves mankind immeasurably, sent his son to die to save us. I cannot know what God thought when Jesus took on human flesh, then as he lived in this sinful world. The Father, Son and Spirit planned this from before the beginning of time as per Ephesians 1:3-6 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.) Again in Ephesians 3:8-12 Paul stresses that “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” I stressed these passages to cause us all to think what it cost God to send his Son, and what it cost Jesus to come and die for us. How hard was it for God to turn his back on his own Son when he died on the cross (Mark 15:33-37)? As a father I would do all I could to save my son! How hard was it for Jesus to be separated from the Father? I cannot know nor grasp this – but I do know how I feel in the loss and separation from my son. It makes me appreciate God’s love that much more. 

GOD, WHO SENT HIS SON, KNOWS AND UNDERSTANDS THE PAIN AND HURT!  He knows (and that brings some comfort to me) and that reinforces the fact that he truly loves me and the whole human race more than we can ever imagine. How can I spurn that love? How can I not be willing to serve him who loves me so much?

PREPARE FOR TOMORROW, BUT LIVE TODAY REALIZING THAT YOU MAY BE DEAD BEFORE THE EVENING. We often think it is the older people who die, and this is true. The longer we live the closer we approach death. Yet, we also know newborn babes die; sick children die; teens die in auto accidents or overdoses; young men and women die in war . . . You get the point! NONE OF US KNOW WHEN WE SHALL DRAW OUR LAST BREATH! In James 4:13-16, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”   If you were to die today, where would you spend eternity? How prepared are you to be with God?

CONSIDER HOW FAST OUR CHILDREN GROW! One of the things I have enjoyed is working with him in the church, but also on odd jobs around his house and mine. I think about all of the times we shared together – family get-togethers, holidays . . . I remember performing his wedding ceremony, and the years Shane and Cynthia have spent together. I think about the birth of our grandchildren and having the opportunity to watch them grow. I remember Shane as a child, and saw him as a husband, father and Christian. 

Through all of the events of this last year Shane and I have had some long conversations about the way the world is going. He shared with me his concerns about what kind of world his children will grow up in, and what he could do to help them be Christians. I appreciated these conversations so much because we shared one another’s hearts and concern, and we spent time praying about them. It taught me that parents still need to teach, even when their children are out on their own. And we need to be praying for our children constantly, daily, hourly!
I CONSIDER HOW PRECIOUS TIME IS, AND HOW I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT I SPEND ALL THE TIME I CAN WITH MY WIFE, CHRIS AND BRANDON, AND THEIR FAMILIES, AS WELL AS WITH CYNTHIA AND THE KIDS. Like everyone we let the urgent take the place of the important. I, like so many, wish I had even more time with Shane. I will do my best to MAKE more time with my children and their wives, and I will MAKE time for my grandchildren. 

Brothers and sisters, why does it take something like this to cause us to think about the eternal? Am I striving to glorify God with my life and actions? Am I ready NOW? When was the last time you talked with your children (even if they are adults) about their relationship with God? What are you doing to help your grandchildren get to heaven?

Tomorrow may be too late!

Love, Tommy!

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