No Reverse 
Saturday, November 13, 2010, 09:00 AM - Family, Sermon, Funeral, Podcast
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2 Corinthians 6:4-10

Go Forward as if you had no reverse. Sermon at Dick Ramsey's funeral service

(Recorded live so the sound quality is less than heavenly)

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Laura Edith Mills Funeral Message 
Saturday, October 30, 2010, 08:00 AM - Church, Sermon, Funeral, Podcast
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John 14:1-6

Make a place for others. Sermon at Edith Mills' funeral service

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Determined not Stubborn 
Friday, April 4, 2008, 12:37 PM - Funeral
This was the message preached at the Witness to Resurrection for Margie Stillwell today.

Margie was a strong determined woman. Do you know the difference between stubborn and determined? Stubborn won't be moved, Determined won't be stopped.

She had posted a copy of the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. In my mind the phrase Courage to Change the Things I can was highlighted, bolded and underlined in Margie's copy.

She had the courage to change things in politics. She was passionate about her work for the Democratic party and democracy in general working in the voting booth on election day. She had the courage to change the things she could during the war. She was Rosie the Riveter working at Goodyear. She was determined, even the Nazis weren't going to stop her from her goals.

Margie always sought connection. Her family remembers her being a person who make you laugh. Her proudest accomplishments were her marriage of 63 years…but she felt herself blessed more than victorious for she was thankful that after 63 years of marriage she was still in love with her husband. There is that difference between stubborn and determined again. Not just enduring a marriage, but actively loving your spouse.

When I visited her, she didn't talk about pains and health plans but about our shared connection to Pennsylvania and where my children were. She was always moving even when she needed a wheelchair she was at church dinners physically and connected to others emotionally. She continue to devour the newspaper and work through thoughtful books long after others in her situation would have stubbornly retreated to a small private world of memories and mourning. No slacking off for her! Determined to move forward in life and relationships with others both family and community.

Thinking about Margie and talking to her family I was reminded of our last scripture about the life of God's servant found in 2 Corinthians 6. This is from the Jerusalem Bible:

We do nothing that people might object to, so as not to bring discredit on our function as God's servants. Instead, we prove we are servants of God by great fortitude in times of suffering; in times of hardship and distress; when were flogged, or sent to prison, or mobbed; laboring, sleepless, starving. We prove we are God's servants by our purity, knowledge, patience and kindness; by a spirit of holiness, by a love free from pretense; by the word of truth and by the power of God; by being armed with the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and the left, prepared for honor or disgrace, for blame or for praise; taken for imposters while we are genuine; obscure yet famous; said to be dying and here we are alive; rumored to be executed before we are sentenced; thought most miserable and yet we are always rejoicing; taken for paupers through we make others rich, for people having nothing though we have everything. We are God's servants! 2 Corinthians 6:3-10

See the difference between stubborn and determined? God's servants like Margie are determined to live for love and others despite the challenges of the years or the risk of disappointment and loss. We are like that because God is like that with us. God is determined. He didn't stay in heaven waiting for us to come to our senses, he became one of us and came to us to love us. God is determined to love us. No matter the setbacks, the obstacles, the evil that comes, Jesus Christ means that God love will not be stopped. God does not slack off the right track of salvation for us all. Easter is the celebration of God's determination not to be stopped even by death. Today we affirm that death does not stop God's love. God is as close to Margie and Dewey now as he was when they were physically with us to bless our lives.

Ed, Bradley, Jenette family and friends I cannot take away the pain that you feel at Margie's passing. Even Jesus wept at the passing of his friend, Lazarus. Love and grief are two sides of the same coin. To erase the grief you feel I would have to erase the love that you have for Margie. You wouldn't want me to do that even if I could. I can tell you that Margie is now with God and Dewey in heaven. Don't let the grief of her passing erase the love you shared. Instead honor her and Christ by being determined to love. Never slack off connecting with people and your community. Live life motivated for good of others and society always being thankful for the love in your life and the passionate strong determined eternal love of God in Jesus Christ.

Copyright © 2008 J. Christy Ramsey. Advanced permission is given for non-profit, for-prophet use of the above at no charge as long as it is reproduced unedited with notices and copyright intact. Written copies are provided after they are preached as a courtesy for the personal, private use of the congregation of Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church, their families and friends to support the ministry of Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church and its pastor
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