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Hello Great Family,

Tomorrow Oakwood is hosting the funeral for Kurt Graham.  I had many thoughts about our response when a believer dies.  Let me share some thoughts with you.

We must all reckon with death. Someday we will all confront our own end, but along the way, we will also witness beloved friends and family pass from this life. Death is a real enemy. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26).

I have watched people die in front of me. I have lost friends, young and old. Death is always ugly. Death always brings sorrow. And there is nothing wrong with grief in the face of death. Jesus himself wept over the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35). Death is unnatural to us. We were meant to live.

God is sovereign over our loved ones’ deaths, and he has purposes we may never understand (Deuteronomy 32:39; James 4:15), but we can cling to the truth that Jesus has prayed for his Father to bring his people home. When a Christian dies, the Father is granting to his Son a request that he first prayed nearly two thousand years ago on the night before he gave up his life for his people.

Yes, we have lost. We will never again share sweet fellowship with that brother or sister in this life. The magnitude of the loss often eludes our words. But the loss is never beyond Jesus’s words: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory.”

We certainly taste many joys in this life, but nothing can compare to the pure delight of unhindered fellowship with Jesus. We are destined for unspeakable joy in his presence.

When you lose a loved one in the Lord to the Lord, you have indeed lost — at least for now. But that brother or sister has gained, and so has Jesus (Philippians 1:20–23). We may shed enough tears to fill buckets. The death of a dear loved one in the Lord may present one of the greatest tests of our faith. But can we trust that our loved one is better off with the Beloved?  “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15), and it can be for us too when we cling to the hope that death will never win (1 Corinthians 15:54–55).

Pray for a good service on Saturday at 2pm.  Pray for anyone hearing the message that does not know Jesus to come to know God’s love.  Pray that we honor the life of our friend.

This Sunday at Oakwood…come enjoy s sermon from our own Elder Jeff Moore.  I’ll be speaking at Camp Barakel this weekend but traveling back and forth on Saturday for the funeral.  Please pray for safe driving conditions.

God Bless,
P.D. (Psalm 139)