Untitled Sermon (2)
Agnes Dell Funeral
Agnes Dell Funeral
Agnes W. Dell (née Cary), 95 of Elkton, MD, died January 14, 2018 at home surrounded by loved ones. Born June 3, 1922 in the Borough of Manhattan, New York City, “Terry” spent her formative years in a Catholic boarding school prior to moving in with an Aunt and Uncle at age 11. As a young adult, Terry worked as the secretary for a Real Estate office owned by an entrepreneur named John Dell. Terry and John were married July 17, 1941 and would soon thereafter move to Maryland – settling in Cecil County. In addition to handling the bookkeeping duties for each of John’s businesses, she was employed as a Chandler at the Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard.
Last week we looked at and talked about our Domestic duties which was how we pursue Christ socially—how to treat our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ whether we are living with them or taking care of them through hospitality or if they are in prison. Then we talked about how to love through remaining faithful to our spouses and that we are internally to be content with what we have.Just a great set of advice from the writer and its just a rapid fire bucketload of advice to give to this church.So those were the domestic duties of the Christian. This week we want to look at the divine duties of the Christ follower.
ESV7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
After John’s passing in 1975, she served with both the Union Hospital Auxiliary and Volunteer Boards. She assisted with the Food Pantry at North East United Methodist Church and also gave generously to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and multiple campaigns for the people of Appalachia. Anyone who knew her, also knew that her grandchildren and great grandchildren were her life. In addition, as an avid Birdwatcher, she took great care to ensure that any bird visiting her yard was well fed.
Mrs. Dell is survived by a son, Richard; his wife, Madge (née White); three grandchildren, Susan Holt (Jim Mooney), Mark Dell (Rachel), and Sharon Laird (Bob); nine great-grandchildren, Scott Holt, Kim Laird, Amanda Rea (John), Anna Holt, Emily Holt, Brianna Dell, Robbie Laird, Leighton Dell, Ethan Dell; an expected great-great-granddaughter; and her longtime friend, Marge Speer. In addition to husband, John, she was preceded in death by their infant son, John.
Remember your leaders. Those who lead in the church will hopefully have an influence on the people of the church. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians to imitate him.Leaders don’t have to just be people with a title. The leaders emerge as you live your lives for Jesus and everybody knows it. They have a great reputation, they know Scripture, they put their trust first in the Lord.The word says Imitate those people. Do the stuff they do. That is what disciple-ers do, that is what mentors do if you like a more modern word. Imitate them, consider the outcome of their life. Look what their lives produced.And at the end of the day we are impressed with how people lived, with how they were faithful. We don’t usually look at a casket and think man, they made so much money. Or, man, they were so important at their job.No, the focus is on relationships and how they lived their lives. That they were faithful. That other stuff is forgotten so quickly and what is truly important survives.But the fact remains that leaders die. This is the context with which the writer is speaking. Imitate them even though they may not be around anymore. Take their example and live it out.And then one of the most famous verses in the bible shows up. Those other leaders, imitate them, but remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!Isn’t that an awesome verse! Dwell on that for a smidge. Read that with new eyes this morning. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.That should be encouraging to you! He is unmoveable, He is unshakeable, we know what we get with Jesus because He never changes! Thats really what you are looking for in a God. A God that you know. Now He may surprise you, that’s okay, but He never changes.Thank God for that! Thanks be to God that he remains consistent! My feelings, my commitments come and go, aren’t you glad you aren’t God? God never changes. This is why we put our trust in Him, this is why we worship Him. He is unchanging and that is loving. That is loving. And it is hard to understand. So Jesus doesn’t change and that means that our faith remains strong in him. We are steadfast! We are called to be steadfast in Christ.1. Steadfast
ESVDo not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.
Today we are here to honor and to celebrate the person and the life of Terry Dell. I know her name was Agnes but her friends called her Terry and the rest of us called her Nanny.
When I conduct funeral services I usually have one of a few “go to” outlines that I use that have to do with how we measure a person’s life.
Most of the time I would need to find out as much as I could person who had passed just so that I can get enough information to put the service together.
For this service I didn’t need much information from my dad or from my siblings because there was never a time in my life where I did not have contact with my grandmother.
We live in an age of strange teachings. Let me define that; anything that isn’t biblical is a strange teaching. Now that seems like quite the sweeping statement but it isn’t as fanatical as it may sound.When you hear an idea or an opinion about God or about truth or even just the way things are, if you aren’t looking to the word of God to agree with that, it is a False Doctrines.This is where we really want to dig in a little bit.The bible is the source for what we know about God. And we cannot receive any information as truth about God or Jesus unless it is affirmed in the Bible.There are lots of myths or I will call strange doctrines that people believe that just aren’t true based on what the bible says.
I have never known anyone to say anything really negative about my grandmother. She was a lovely lady who had an incredible 95 years here on earth.
When someone dies they become an angel. That is not true. It sounds nice to say that God needed another angel in heaven and that is why someone died, but that is completely wrong. God doesn’t need any more angels, if He did, He could create them.
There are a few words that I want to use this morning to describe Nanny. Words that explain who she was, which will also explain the legacy that she left with those whose lives she touched.
Humans are distinct from angels, we are created in God’s image. As a matter of fact, angels look to us
First, she was Independent. If you knew Nanny, you knew that she could handle herself.
She actually knew independence from an early age. Her mother died when she was very young, probably 2-3 years old. I remember her telling me that she remembers seeing her mother in state and sitting with her and having a family member scoot her away into the next room.
ESVIt was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
The angels look to the relationship we have with God and wonder. They belong to the Lord but the are not like us. We actually have the Holy Spirit dwell within us. Angels don’t have the same relationship with God that we do. So that wold be a strange teaching. We do not become angels.Another example is the statement that many of us have said, I believe quite innocently: “God won’t give me more than I can handle”. Scripture does not say that. It does say in reference to sin, that God will provide a way out of sin, so that we don’t have to sin,but nowhere does the bible say that God won’t give you more than you can handle. On the contrary, the nature of our relationship with God seems to be quite the opposite. We are called to be broken vessels. Broken. We are told that we are being refined. That involves a total breakdown and dependance on God. No, God refines us to get us to a place where we will finally rely on His strength instead of our own. God will regularly give us more than we can handle so that we can learn to trust in Him and in Him only. And so we don’t need to eat special foods, or stay away from other particular foods to worship God. Our dependance on God relies on grace and not foods.Remember what Paul says when he says when I am weak, then I am strong. So these are examples of the strange teachings that we deal with even today. Let me reiterate, if there is a teaching that is contrary to what the Bible says, stay away from it. Even though you may like it, even though you may want that thing to be true, don’t follow any teaching that is not in the bible.So we remain steadfast in the true word of God. We also understand that even though we don’t need an altar our worship is 2. Sacred
She grew up in a Catholic boarding school because she didn’t have a mother and her father was a flight instructor for the navy and was stationed in Florida. So she didn’t get much time to spend with her dad.
Then, when she was 5 or so, her dad died in a training accident which left her all alone, with no parents.
ESVWe have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.
She lived at the boarding school until her mothers best friends took her in during the summers when school was out.
We do have an altar (in case they were worried). Remember that their whole relationship with God was centered on the altar.This altar probably refers to the fact that Jesus was the sacrifice for us. We don’t need the old ways. Again, for us today, we rely on the grace of God which hinges on the truth that Jesus died for us. His blood was shed for us, we are made holy because of that fact. We are made holy forever because of the sacrifice of Jesus. And his sacrifice follows with symbols that looked very much like the law. 3. Symbols
She had to learn to be independent even when her husband died when she was relatively young, around 53. She would spend the next 40 some years living by herself, taking care of herself and those around her. If you knew her you would know that she was fiercely independent.
ESVFor the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.
We won’t go into all of the nuances of how the sacrificial system worked. But after the blood of the animal was poured out or sprinkled, the body was taken outside to be burned. When Jesus was crucified, this was done outside of the city gates which follow along with the symbols of the old law.But the difference comes in our sharing with Christ’s suffering. 4. Sharing
She was also a woman who was brave. Nanny met her husband while working in a real estate office in NY city. She was a city girl who was swept off of her feet by the man who would become her husband and my grandfather, John.
ESVTherefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.
There must have been something special about this woman because when my grandfather married her there was a 20 year difference in their ages. Of course this created a stir but my grandmother didn’t seem to care what other people thought. She was brave. She said that she lost all of her friends due to the marriage.
The NIV says “bearing the disgrace He bore”There is a cost to our Christianity. Please don’t think that your walk with Christ is a steady even keeled vacation of blessings. No, when you surrender to Jesus there is a death. Your life is done as you know it. Yeah, it is wonderful in that you have an assurance of Heaven and of new life. But we cannot expect to not suffer because of the greatness that suffering produces.Now I know that no one really wants to suffer. But we must, as christians understand that when we suffer that this isn’t something strange or wrong in the life of the Christian. It may, it may if there is sin. But the Christian is to expect some suffering along the way. We need a clean break from our old life whatever that is.And the writer says, let us go outside the camp. You can look at the outside of the camp as a way to describe the reality that you are in or you are out. Are you with Jesus or are you not with Jesus.Because, listen, you can’t have both.Some people interpret these verses to mean that there were Jewish Christians who were trying to be both Jewish and Christian in their faith. They wanted to keep the status quo and not ruffle any feathers along the way.This happens to us doesn’t it? Especially if there are folks that we want to please and we keep one foot in the world and another foot in the Jesus camp.You sit in church and not and agree, you go to a bible study and learn all good stuff but then you go back to your regular 9-5 life and no one would even know about your faith. I am not trying to be hard on you but I want you to know the truth that you can’t have both!You can’t have both. I wish that I could inject that into your brains this morning. You cannot have Jesus when you need Jesus and something else when you want something else. It doesn’t work that way.Belonging to Jesus means that you cut your ties to your old self. You belong to Jesus now.That is one of the great symbols of baptism.
She was brave. She wasn’t afraid of the unknown. Nanny took what was given to her and she went with it. She and my grandfather moved from the big city to a little town in Maryland called North East. This would be a shock.
She told me once that until she moved to MD she never had to open a door for herself to get into where she lived, she always had a door man to open it for her.
This would be a new adventure for her. They bought a house on razor strap road and started fixing it up. The neighbors thought they were crazy because the first thing they did to the house was to put an indoor bathroom in it.
ESVWe were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
The neighbors couldn’t conceive fixing up parts of the house that you couldn’t see outside.
We died when we surrendered to Jesus. That may help you when it comes to your relationship with God and the temptations that you face. You don’t belong to you. You belong to Jesus! And because we belong to Jesus we are and we remain...5. Steady How many times have we not done something we knew we should have done? Maybe the Holy Spirit nudged you to bless someone else and you missed out on an opportunity to serve the Lord.Because that is what this is. Our relationship with God is really looking for opportunities to serve others. How often are you serving someone other than yourself? How often are you thinking of someone other than yourself? How often is your burden for someone other than yourself?And that is difficult. But we have to be steady in that we are always doing for others, that we sacrifice for God.And for our final word for this morning.6. SacrificeNow there are two aspects that we will talk about here this morning. Two different types of sacrifice.
So they had chickens for eggs and meat, they had goats for milk. They planted a huge garden and basically only had to go to the store for coffee and sugar.
She baked pies every day for her family. She and her husband had to learn how to survive living in the wilderness of North East.
She tells a story about how one day there was a fire in the yard and she was trying to put it out and then she would turn around and there would be another fire that she had to put out.
My grandfather was watching her and just laughing because apparently her dress was smoldering at the bottom and was starting all of these little fires.
After a couple of years they moved to wilmington and built a sub shop.
She was brave in that she had a husband who was adventurous. He was the kind of guy who enjoyed starting a business, building it up and then he would move onto the next thing.
They had a Restaurant called the White Tower. They had my father, Richard and after a short time they moved out west to Midland Texas where they lived for about 6 months.
Moved out west. 6 months
They came back to Md and built an ice cream shop the Bar H that sold milk shakes and was one of the only places to stop and get refreshment between Wilmington and Baltimore. (Ice Cream)
She was brave in that she overcame the difficulty that went with having another son who would die when he was only 7 months old. Such resilience she had.
My grandmother was always good with numbers. She was a very intelligent woman who said that at one point she would have liked to become a Dr.
She would function basically as the CFO of any company my grandfather had. Finally, he would become a builder and again, Nanny would take care of the bills.
She was brave.
Not only was she brave but she was wise. Nanny was that even keeled wise woman who never seemed to panic. She remained calm regardless of how she may have been feeling inside. Nothing seemed to bother her to where she would yell or say something stupid. I don’t think I ever heard her yell in all my life.
She might get a little excited over a political debate which rarely happened but if it did happen she was always prepared since she watched her Sunday political shows even up to her last days.
She was wise in the way she always cared about the house and if everything was working properly. She was wise about health. She read her physicians desk reference and would make suggestions to the Drs about the medications she needed.
She was the one who told me that that you should eat a meat, a starch and two green vegetables at dinner. One wasn’t enough and that you should always have a dessert.
She was wise.
She was also one who was giving. I think we have all experienced that. Her 3 grandchildren always experienced that giving. Every birthday there would be a card in the mail. Every Christmas a present under tree. This giving carried over and continued with her 9 great grandchildren.
She was so loving and she wanted to help out wherever she could, all the while instilling the importance of working hard, keeping your word and paying your debts.
She loved her community. She volunteered at the hospital, she volunteered at the church. I remember visiting someone at the hospital and seeing her volunteering at the desk.
You knew she loved you not just by her words but by her deeds.
She had some prominent loves in her life. Her family, Her political shows and her birds.
She had a tremendous friendship with our other grandparents. She and my Mom Mom were the best of friends.
Her family was her life. Her grandchildren, her great grandchildren. She loved them all and was so proud of them. She never stopped talking about them.
The last night that she was able to speak she told me that she was really glad that everyone was alright. She really seemed to be hanging on to make sure that everyone was alright and taken care of.
She loved that family. She also loved the birds! If you knew her you know how she felt about her birds. She would go out to the feeder every day, sometimes multiple times a day to take care of her birds. The only enemy’s that nanny had, I believe were the squirrels. She didn’t like when the squirrels ate the bird food.
But I learned everything I know about birds from her.
Finally she was strong. She was told that she had been diagnosed with mesothelioma and was told that she had 3 to 4 months to live. That turned into almost 4 years. Nanny seemed to hold on by sheer will power. Man, she was strong.
And you all know that. You know she was strong and hopefully the example that she gave us will help us in how we conduct our lives. That is what a legacy does that was what family does.
I am sure that she has made an impact on all of you because you are here today to honor her and to remember and I am sure that you have some stories that you like to share to honor her.
One of the things that my grandmother wanted me to share with you today was the assurance that she had with her faith. The hope that she had because of the fact that she surrendered her life to Jesus. Nanny had surrendered her life to Christ and she wanted you all to know about that here this afternoon.
And because of that she is now in Heaven, with the Lord and with those who went on before her.
The night that she passed away I remember thinking to myself that I never knew Nanny not to have pain. Pain from the accident she suffered as a young person and the arthritis, back pain, hip pain. Just so much pain that she never told anybody about. Pain that none of us could endure.
But now she is whole.
I remember that when I found out that she had this terminal illness I wanted to have a conversation with her so that I would be assured of where she stood when it came to a relationship with the Lord.
Because many of us may know about God, about Jesus but the important thing is that not only do we know about Him but that we must surrender our lives to Him and receive His Salvation.
I went and asked her, how do you know that you are a Christian?
She said that she thought she was until Connie Cohen came out to visit her one day and ask her about her relationship with the Lord.
He gave her some materials to read and she basically said that after understanding what Jesus did for her that she came to the realization that she never really gave her life to Jesus.
She thought that because she had grown up in the church, grew up in catholic school that she was fine, yet somehow she missed the good news of Jesus Christ.
Thankfully she understood that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That He came to earth to die for our sins, our offenses against God and that only through trusting in Him can we be saved.
God loves his people and he desires to have a relationship with His people. We are made in His image. We were created to serve God.
Here’s an illustration:
Imagine that I have in my hand a crisp new fifty-dollar bill. How much it is worth? "Fifty dollars," you might say. But is it really worth that much? It really only made out of a bit of paper and ink, items that are, by themselves, almost worthless. Yet we say it is worth fifty dollars.
What is it that makes a piece of paper and a little bit of ink worth fifty dollars? Of course, it’s the image printed on it. On the front is a picture of Ulysses S. Grant. On the back are the words, "In God We Trust." It’s worth fifty dollars because of the image stamped upon it and what that image represents.
Every man, woman, and child living on this earth bears the image of the Maker. This image gives us worth that is far beyond the value of the components of our physical bodies or our contributions to this life.
Rich, poor, healthy, or handicapped - the worth is the same to God the Creator. And that worth is great because we all bear His image.
It is that worth, and God’s tremendous love for us, that caused Him to send His only Son to this earth so long ago to die for us so that we might have life beyond this life.
All of us will come to this place, or one like it, again someday, only that time the memories and the service will be for us.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, said something really interesting at the time of the death of one of His good friends, a man named Lazarus: Jesus said,
"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die."
I encourage everyone here to investigate the claims and teachings of Jesus, and to make your peace with God through Him. I would certainly be honored to help anyone here with that process if you feel the need.
The final scripture that I would like to read comes from the 23rd Psalm written by David. This Psalm has comforted people for literally thousands of years and it Nanny wanted this to be read at this service today as it is one of her favorites. Lets stand together.
Let’s stand and read it together.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
Ask the family to come on up.
Old Rugged Cross.
ESV15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
One of them comes in verse 15 that talks about sacrifice of praise that is for God. We can offer a sacrifice of praise. Guess what? We don’t always WANT to praise God, or to praise His name. I don’t always want to Praise Him, but that is no excuse not to.Sometimes our worship is a sacrifice. And remember that a sacrifice costs something. It costs. Sometimes we have a bad attitude but we can chose to worship none-the-less. A sacrifice of praise. This is something that you can practice in your car, you can practice it in your home. You can practice it in the shower. Praise you Lord! Hallelujah Jesus! I praise you God! You are worthy to be praised! Praise you God almighty!A sacrifice of praise. There were praise sacrifices in the Old Testament.Our whole lives are meant to be worship pointed to God. Every area of our life can be directed to the Lord.
ESV1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
A living sacrifice in that our worship is alive. It lives! Everything that we do can be worship to God. Not just with our mouths but with our every day lives. This is the sacrifice of praise. And the next verse 16
ESV16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
When you do something for someone else out of love, that can be worshiping God by doing good for someone. That is a sacrifice to God. When you wonderful people serve here you are helping the church out, and thank you, we couldn’t do what we do without you.And I am trying to make eye contact with all of you who serve but that is pretty much everybody here. But when you serve you are worshiping God through your service. Your bodies are living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God. That is amazing.Keep that up, because the Lord is pleased with you when you serve Him. And remember that you are serving Him and that makes all the difference in the worldDon’t serve me, don’t serve the church. When you serve you are serving the Lord with the sacrifices of good deeds, and the word says that this is pleasing to God. How cool is that? Which of these “Divine Duties” speak to you this morning? Are you Steadfast in your beliefs? Do you understand that anything that goes against the word of God is something that needs to be turned from?Do you understand that we worship a sacred God? That there is an altar we go to remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross?Do you get that Jesus Christ was the fulfilment of those symbols of sacrifice for the Jewish nation before Jesus.Are you able to share in Christ’s suffering? Realizing that when we surrender everything to Jesus that we are sharing not only in His example through His life but also in His death? IS that tough for you? Are you steady in how you listen and obey when God calls you? What do you do when the Holy Spirit speaks to you? Do you make that call to someone who is hurting? Do you pick up that Bible and read it because something inside you prompts you to do that? Do you obey even when it is difficult?Will you sacrifice for the Lord? Will you give even when it hurts? Give of your time? Give of your talents and giftedness? Do you sacrifice maybe personal security or personal enjoyment?The life with Christ is filled with Sacrifices and with sharing and with steadiness. Where do you lack in some of these words? In some of these qualities? Is your worship less than what it could or what it should be? How does this change?It changes by walking outside the camp and making sure that we have chosen the one who can save us forever.Jesus said in
ESV28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
You see, we belong to Jesus. We don’t belong to self anymore. And some of us might look at that and be a little angry at that. But what you need to realize is that Jesus is all loving and knows exactly what is best for you and for me. He loves you so much, so much that He died for you. It is only right and good that we give our lives back to Him so that we can serve our King. Where are you this morning? Do you feel like you are lacking in your relationship to Him?Have you stepped outside of the city in to his camp? With both feet? Today is the day that you can release your life to Him.Give invitation