WEDDINGS & FUNERALS
Last Saturday my wife and I were at a wedding Today we are at a funeral. Nothing bring families together like weddings and funerals At a wedding we celebrate the decision of two individuals to die to their single, selfish, existence and become a couple At a Christian funeral we gather because the physical body of a person has died And this has to happen in order for them to receive a spiritual everlasting body And if we know the promises of God we can celebrate Because the Bible teaches that Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church – those who believe in him are the bride. When they meet in heaven there is a marriage feast.
My Dad was looking forward to that marriage feast. It is called the marriage banquet of the lamb. And I believe he is celebrating it now. That is why Christian weddings and funerals are both times of celebration
UNBELIEF AND THE STING OF DEATH
We are not like those who do not have a hope
We are not like those people who think this life is all there is
If this life is all that exists, then how miserable and tragic death is
But if this life is only a preparation for somthing more wonderful and beautiful
Then we can indeed take comfort and rejoice that a dear husband, father and friend is now receiving the reward he worked so hard for.
In 1 Cor 15, it talks of the sting of death being sin
And in John 16, Jesus said sin is not to believe in him.
So the sting of death comes because we do not believe the words and promises of Jesus.
But if we believe him then death has lost it sting.
The unbeliever can only enjoy what they see and feel
The only comfort in life for a humanist is human touch
So death is devastating
COMFORT AND GRATITUDE
But the Bible says, surely he (Christ) has born our griefs and carried our sorrows
Dad loved that verse. It comforted him and it comforts us.
Certainly, as a pioneer, restoring truth to the church he knew rejection and he also knew the pain of loss. But he believed that Christ took our pain so that we don’t have to hold onto it. And he helped many people to grasp that message and experience it’s power. We are thankful and honor him for that.
And before I share what I think my Father would want you to know today on this occassion, I want to two invite two friends, brothers, sons to share how Dad helped them.
One of them, Alex stands for the many people in different countries that Dad invested into as a counsellor and friend.
The second person Donay, stands for the voices of people who had just a brief but all the more significant encounter with Albert.
Testimonies of ALEX and DONAY below
THROUGH A GLASS DIMLY
Thank you so much guys, I said weddings and funerals bring families together and at weddings we often read Corinthians Ch 13
Love is patient and kind, it is not envious or proud, and so on …
It is actually a passage about spiritual gifts in the church, things that Albert believed in and practiced, like speaking in tongues or healing
And that passage concludes by saying that this life is like looking through a very bad pair of glasses, The image is not clear, it is dim or out of focus,
But the point of the passage is that one day after this life ends,
we will see God face to face.
So at this funeral today we are celebrating the fact that Dad, Albert now sees God face to face, without the need for glasses.
When my Dad was born, there were no vari-focal lenses or contact lenses
There were no computers, faxes, email or digital cameras. Technology has changed so much about how we communicate and share knowledge. For some people Google has replaced god. Goggle is everywhere and knows everything.
But is still, just a bad pair of glasses.
o matter how far we go with technology
No matter how much information we have.
It will all come to an end.
JUDGEMENT – 2 QUESTIONS
One day we will see God and see him clearly.
What happens then?
The Bible clearly indicates that after death we face judgement.
The first question will be, did we believe in Christ
and receive his forgiveness.
That will determine WHERE we spend eternity.
There is a heaven and a hell – and you can choose where to go
If you choose Christ – you can be in heaven with him forever
If you reject Christ, you will be rejected by his Father
and hell is the place of eternal rejection
You cannot enter the loving presence of God because you think are a good person
The smallest sin, the smallest amount of rebellion or pride is enough to pollute your life and make your spirit and soul unacceptable to God
That is why you have to use the days you are given in this life to
respond to the love of God, to accept his forgiveness
And learn to walk in relationship with him.
That is the only way that you can be accepted into heaven
The second question will be HOW you spend eternity?
Jesus said do not store your treasure on earth
But store your treasure in Heaven
In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats we see that we will also be judged according to what we did for the poor and needy family of God.
Did we invest just in ourselves, in jewellry, hobbies, clothes, holidays?
Or did we invest in the poor?
Did we clothe the naked, feed the hungry and visit those in prison?
Finally we will be judged on our faithfulness with the gifts and talents we have been given and that will determine what levels of responsibility we will have to rule and reign with Christ in the new heaven and new earth, which God will one day create.
Albert was always keen to explain the offer of salvation and of eternal life.
He was always humble in his own spending so he could be generous with others
And he was faithful in using the gifts he was given to lead people out of bondage.
Albert was not perfect
He knew that he needed the forgiveness of Christ
He was certain of the foundations of his faith
But as Donay shared he was always hungry to learn
And he never tired of serving
In this he was an example to us all.
What about you?
Do you know for certain that your sins are forgiven?
Have you chosen to die to yourself and live now for Christ?
Do you desire to know God in this life
and do long to see him when your time comes?
My father is now at the marriage of the lamb
You can be confident of being at that marriage feast
And it is very simple
We can talk to Jesus … and offer him our sins and accept his forgiveness today.
Forgiveness exercise and prayers
The night after Albert went to heaven I had two visions,…two pictures in front of me.
The first vision showed me a big church with a big crowd of people gathering united to honour a unique man of faith, a true lover of Jesus…(and myself standing in front of them).
And in the second vision I saw a huge gate in heaven. A shiny beautiful gate embedded in a godly atmosphere. And than I saw Albert walking towards it and his son Philip opening the gate and welcoming him in with a deep and lovely hug. The kind of hug, that only a son can give to his father.
…It made me smile…and cry.
It is still hard to really understand that he has joined heaven.
I can still hear and see;
his happy whistling sound, his shuffling/dancing around the kitchen …
his laughing at his own jokes, with a laughter that would affect me too – even when I did not understand the humour
…all this makes me still smile.
How can I honour a man with such an admirable life. A man with such a serving heart and love… for God, and for his family, friends and everyone he met however briefly. He loved them and gave everything that God would love to give them.
May I honour him with a story: 3 years ago a 82 year old man listened to God’s call and began to invest in a young guy he didn’t know…
…This guy was me …
It was at a church seminar called a “Get free day” when we were given a few pages with deep questions about our past. As a fresh christian, I felt the need to finally, be totally honest, so I answered all the questions and filled all the pages ((with all the mess I had in my life)). Once finished we had the opportunity to sit down with a counsellor and pray about these things.
…So, guess who was smiling at me once I was done?…
Yes, there he was. I remember his face like it was yesterday. Pure joy and a deep confidence; He knew something I didn’t know.
(just wanna say something like the phrase above. I felt his confidence in something I didn’t know – I didn’t know what Jesus could do in my life)..
We sat down and it took us more than half an hour to go through the first page. Honestly I felt quite hopeless,…but he actually leaned back on his chair, hold up his head and in his best British accent simply said…Yes,… Alexander,… we might have to work a bit longer, but we will let Jesus work through your life…and I’m going to help you.
I honestly didn’t know what he meant…, but just simply trusted him and the journey began.
The last years I’ve spent so many evenings with Albert and Elisabeth – my dream team, my beautiful gift.
Getting to know a man and a woman that invested their greatest part of life in serving the Lord – two persons that shared so much together in life. They raised a beautiful family and dedicated their heart, their finances, their time, their love in serving who ever was in need.
I was coming out of a selfish world and everything they were doing for me was incomprehensible for me.
So often, after hours of being together and dedicating time to me and my life I kept asking them how this would be possible?
Why would they do this…for me?
One of his favourites:
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
I began to realise that Jesus wanted to eat with me…And was worth his time. Because I was worth Albert’s time.
Albert showed and teached me how to accept the love of Christ, to accept the forgiveness, to discover the beauty of the gospel and to open this door.
I shared my deepest secrets, everything… and I was never judged for anything by him,…he simply loved me the way I am… unconditionally.
Thank you for this profound example, thank you for this gift, dear Albert.
I believe that I speak for many others around the world, and so I say that we are so thankful and honoured to have met you.
I’m thankful you shared your life, your wisdom, your smile and humour, your passion and your love ((with me – maybe not?)) with all of us.
I thank you for the example you’ve been in serving and loving Jesus and his Kingdom.
And I thank you so much to have inspired so many of us to go further and believe in the amazing love Jesus has for us, by being the example and living it day by day.
I’ll remember you special man,…you’ll always have a special place in my memories and heart. I love you.
Obwohl ich ihm nur kurz kannte, war Albert für mich und meine Frau ein grosses Vorbild im Glauben und ein Mann Gottes.
Im April und May dieses Jahr durfte ich an zwei Events teilnehmen wo ich Albert kennen lernen durfte.
Die Ministry- und Segnungs-Zeiten an der Revival Days Konferenz und an seiner Heilung unter der Oberfläche Seminar sind für mich Zeiten in denen ich Gottes Kraft sichtbarer als jemals zuvor erlebte. Mit was für einer lockeren und dennoch sicheren Art er die Kraft Gottes weitergab werde ich niemals vergessen.
Sein riesiges Vertrauen auf Gott, dass er wirken wird, hat mich tief beeindruckt und seine Art andere auf «seiner Welle» mitreiten zu lassen war für mich ein wunderbares Erlebnis. Und obwohl ich nur wenig Zeit mit ihm verbringen durfte, ist er zu einem Vorbild für mich geworden, wie ein Mann Gottes auch im hohen Alter niemals den guten Kampf aufhört zu kämpfen, wie es im Königreich Gottes keine «Pensionierung» gibt und wie einem die Liebe für Jesus niemals erkalten muss. Er hat den guten Kampf bis zuletzt gekämpft.
So fühle ich auf der einen Seite eine Trauer für euch und für die Welt, denn ein grosser Mann Gottes ist nicht mehr unter uns. Andererseits füllt es mein Herz mit Freude, dass er tapfer gekämpft, treu zu Gott gehalten, und den Lauf des Glaubens erfolgreich beendet hat. Ich freue mich für ihn, dass er nun nach Hause gehen kann und eine grosse Belohnung von seinem Herrn Jesus erhalten wird.
An den Revival Days, als ich ein wenig Elisabeth und Albert «beobachtet» habe, nachdem ich schon gesehen habe wie mächtig Gott sie gebraucht hat, und wie sehr sie von Gottes Kraft erfüllt sind habe ich folgendes in meiner Notizbuch geschrieben:
“What I learn from “old” Taylors:
Never stop receiving
Never stop learning
Never stop being hungry”
Beide sind für mich grosse Vorbilder, wie man den Lauf des Glaubens erfolgreich läuft und bis zum Schluss standhaft bleibt. Beide sind sie Wegbereiter für meinen Lauf. Und es zaubert ein Schmunzeln auf mein Gesicht, wenn ich mir vorstelle, wie Albert nun von der Seite ruft und mich anfeuert. «go Donay, go!» wie ich das in Hebräer 12,1 lesen kann:
«Da wir nun so viele Zeugen des Glaubens um uns haben, lasst uns alles ablegen, was uns in dem Wettkampf behindert, den wir begonnen haben»
Mögen meine Worte euch Trost geben und Mut machen. Elisabeth, du darfst wissen, dass du stolz auf deinen Mann sein kannst, und dass ihr beide grosse Vorbilder in meinem Leben geworden sind…
Gott segne euch.