Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May 7, 2009

We have been deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of Larry Berry this week. Here are some of the remarks I have put together for his funeral

Two become one in marriage but in death one becomes half. How do you fill up that other half?

When you have loved and been loved by someone as loveable as Larry – his passing rips and enormous gap in your heart. How do you recover from that?

For answers to tough questions like that, I turn to the Bible. In John 14 we find Jesus preparing his disciples for the fact that He is going to be killed. He makes this famous statement – “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

Brad, how can I do that? How can I sit here in the wake of a devastating loss and not let my heart be troubled? That’s easy for you to say, but hard to do.

Let me assure you that, like many leaders today, Jesus doesn’t just throw out positive platitudes hoping to profit from a good sound bite. He says what He means and means what He says and has the power to back it up. In these few verses Jesus shows us how “keep your heart from being troubled”.


Monday afternoon I sat with Nina and we leafed through Larry’s Bible looking for favorite verses. One that he had highlighted was Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

I believe that was Larry’s way of saying, “Trust the Lord and you will be alright! I trusted Him – and trust me I am alright!”

If you can’t trust God Who can you trust? And if you can’t trust Him now, when can you trust Him? You can – if you will!

You don’t have to understand it why Larry was taken. You don’t have to like it. But you do in to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” - because if you don’t “your heart will be troubled”.

It is hard to TRUST and be TROUBLED at the same time!



Another verse that Larry had highlighted in this Bible was John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Larry trusted Jesus as His Savior. He would have a hard time understanding why you wouldn’t trust a love like God demonstrated when He sent His Son to die for your sins. And if you can trust Jesus to be your Savior, why wouldn’t you trust Him to be your strength and comfort at a time like this.

That raises another reason for trusting God – He understands what it is like to lose someone you love. He lost a Son. He knows the pain you bear right now.

You can’t TRUST Jesus and be troubled at the same time.



“In my Father’s house are many dwelling places….”

If you trust in God and if you trust in Jesus then you have to trust in Heaven because that is where they are! And by the way, that’s where Larry is, too.

Brad, how can you be sure that there is a Heaven? How do you know that is not just wishful thinking?

1) Because God believes in Heaven and He wants us there. That’s why He sent Jesus – to open Heaven for us. I trust God so I believe in Heaven.
2) Because I believe in God and God is eternal and He has to live somewhere – and wherever He lives is Heaven!
3) Because Jesus promises Heaven – He said He is going there to prepare a place for us.

He has been working on it for 2,000 years. If He created the universe in six days – think what He can do in 2,000 years!

So, if thinking about death troubles you trust in Heaven.

If thinking about death troubles you, prepare for Heaven by accepting Christ as you Savior. That is what Larry did and Heaven is his home!

Professional golfer Paul Azinger was diagnosed with cancer at age 33. He had just won a PGA championship and had ten tournament victories to his credit. He wrote, "A genuine feeling of fear came over me. I could die from cancer. Then another reality hit me even harder. I’m going to die eventually anyway, whether from cancer or something else. It’s just a question of when. Everything I had accomplished in golf became meaningless to me. All I wanted to do was live." Then he remembered something that Larry Moody, who teaches a Bible study on the tour, had said to him. "Paul, we’re not in the land of the living going to the land of the dying. We’re in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living."

Sunday night, Larry left this world of the dying and was promoted to the land of the living.


If Larry were here today he would say – Trust God!


If Larry were here today he would say – Trust Jesus!


If Larry were here today he would say – Trust Heaven!

"For the Christian Heaven is not just a destination - it is a motivation" (Warren Wiersbe)

It is even more of a motivation now that Larry has made it his destination!

May 6, 2009

Having been revived by the ministry of God's angel and 40 days removed from his fatigue-induced depression, Elijah arrived at Mt. Horeb - "the mountain of God".

Elijah went to hear from God. Where do you go to hear from God? How long since you've gone there?

"The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. The LORD Appears to Elijah And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."
When God spoke to Elijah He spoke in a whisper not in the mighty wind or the powerful earthquake. On Mt. Carmel, God showed up in a dramatic way. But at Mt. Horeb He spoke in a whisper.
If you are always looking for God in the dramatic or the spectacular, you will miss Him. God usually speaks softly to those who wait before Him. It is our responsibility to know His voice and listen.
God told Elijah two things: "You are not alone (7,000 other prophets) and I am not done with you (He gave him a new assignment)."
That's the good news God brings to us today, He is not done with us and He has not left us alone.
Will you get alone with Him today? Will you listen for His voice? Will you obey?