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Funeral Service for James O'Quinn

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Funeral Service for James O'Quinn

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Psalms 23:1-6 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth 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 thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

I. Intro

On behalf of the family I would like to thank you for the kindness that you have shown during this very difficult time. Thank you for the flowers and food, for the cards and calls, and especially for your presence and prayers. It is in times like these that we want so much to say the right thing and in some way bring comfort and encouragement. But without exception, we always feel that our vocabulary is never adequate enough. But there is a place that we can always turn to find the right word and the comfort that we need and that is the Word of God. Someone asked Billy Graham once, “What is your greatest surprise in life?” His reply was: “The brevity of life” Psalms 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” So today is not a day of mourning but a day of celebration. It’s not a day of regret but truly a day of rejoicing. Today we come to remember the life of James O’Quinn. You see James had a relationship that carried some wonderful promises found in John chapter 14:1-6. Let me read that portion of scripture to you. John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

II. The First Promise to Christians is that We Don’t have to fear Death

Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.”
We are troubled when we don’t know what is going to happen when we die, but Jesus has taken the fear out of death.
He has conquered the grave and death so there should be no fear in our eternal future.
Revelation 1:17-18 “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
Do you know what the good news is this morning? Death had no hold on Jesus, neither did it have a hold on James, nor does it have a hold on us.
Because Christ conquered death, there should be no fear for the Christian, because through Christ, we also conquer death.
We are also troubled when we view death as an end, and not a begenning.
2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
James life is not over, in fact, it has just begun.
James has shed the temporary for the eternal, the tarnished for the spotless, and the passing for the everlasting.
Yes, our earthly bodies die, because the curse of sin has tarnished all of mankind, but our heavenly bodies will endure forever.

III. The Second Promise is Jesus prepares a place in Heaven for all Believers

Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
A place with no more sorrow or crying.
Heaven is a place where the hurts and disappointment of this world have no more sting.
Where the frustrations of life are replaced with unspeakable joy.
Where the pains of life are not permitted, and the failures of life control us no longer.
A place with no more pain.
Heaven has no handicap parking places.
There are no pharmacies and no precriptions to fill.
Heaven doesn’t have hospitals, nursing homes, or rehabilitaion centers.
The days of aches and pains are over for James, the trips to the doctors have ceased, and all of his pain has ended.

IV. The Third Promise found in John 14 is Jesus personally receives us

Now, I want you to imagine this, the moment James took his first breath in Heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ was right there to welcome him with open arms.
The first image he saw was the Lord Jesus Christ.
And for James, he experienced a love that we cannot begin to understand.
A love that forgives every failure he had in his life.
A love that mends the hurts that only he knew.
A love that understood every feeling that he had.
It is an unconditional love that completely satisfies the longing of his soul.

V. The Last Promise is that there is only one way to enter

Jesus said to Thomas, “Thomas you say that you don’t know the way to Heaven, but you do, I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
More than anything, James understood this. He understood that without a relationship with Jesus, there was no hope of entering Heaven.
He understood that Christ came to take away the sin of the world, and that included his.
He believed in the greatest promise ever given in three simple steps.
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
James life revolved around this promise, and because of his relationship with the Savior, he is in a place that we can’t imagine and expereienceing love and joy incomprehensible.

VI. Conclusion

I know its James desire that each one of you have the same relationship he had with the Savior and many of you do. However, there might be some of you this morning that have never given thought to your eternal future, but this morning you are asking yourself where would I go if I were to leave this world? And I would like to take just a moment to share with you the promise that James had because I know James would want me to.

VII. Graveside Service

As one who faithfully served his country in the Air Force, today’s service is most fitting. I, along with all of you are most grateful for Bill Strickland’s service to our country. He and Barb were united in many aspects of their life, but they also shared a love for our country and both served faithfully in the Air Force, where they first met.
Some of the most comforting words of Scripture I know are:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth 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 thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth 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."
Bill Strickland believed all of these words of the psalmist, David. He felt loved by the Lord, led by the Lord and restored by the Lord. Indeed goodness and mercy followed him all the days of his life. Today we celebrate the truth, that, as a disciple and servant of Jesus Christ, he is indeed in the house of the Lord forever!
Bill was a most confident believer in heaven. He knew he had been given a new lease on life on many occasions. I know, because we talked about that often. He felt very strongly that God had given him a purpose in extending his life beyond the numerous threatening health concerns that he experienced.
So, he decided to tell everyone he could about Jesus. Every dialysis visit was an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus. Every waiting room and doctor visit and hospital stay was an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus. There was nothing shy about Bill. His love for the Lord just poured out of him.
Only heaven knows the lives that Bill impacted for the sake of Christ. And now he has experienced his reward.
I know that Bill will hear those glorious words of our Savior:
“Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things; Come and share your master’s happiness.”
Bill has been a faithful and dear servant to his family, his friends, and his Lord. Although Bill was a joyous soul in his life’s journey, he is now experiencing a happiness like he has never seen before!
I love to share my favorite Bible verse at every funeral. The prophet Isaiah wrote and it was echoed by Paul (1 Cor. 2:9) "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."
Bill liked to figure out how things worked, but heaven was a mystery to him. No longer! What he could not conceive here, he is gloriously experiencing now. As the apostle John said in Revelation: “No more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain, no more death.” These things are all passed away. He is now at peace.
As I conclude today, I must share one lasting legacy that Bill left on my life. There are just a few men who ever say to me, “I love you,” …and Bill was one of them. No conversation on the phone or in person ever ended without Bill saying: “Dave, I love you.” I can’t thank Bill enough for that tender gift that meant to me that our friendship was genuine and his encouragement was real.
To you, Barbara, that he loved so dearly and to his children and family that he adored, continue his legacy of faith and love until your dying breath and until you meet him in glory. He’ll be waiting, and until you see him again, just know he’ll be cheering you on from heaven anxious to talk with you and laugh with you again.
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