Hi Church!
Do you have a favorite clock in your home, garage, workshop, or office?   I do.  It is the one that an old friend, Larry Hoard, made for me in his wood shop, many years ago.  It is not my favorite because it is extremely elegant, nor because it has a great design.  It is special because of who made it, what it’s made from, and what it says.  It is a real treasure to me. I have attached a picture of it for you to view.
Larry Hoard was a really sweet guy, and he had a special life story.  In short, in his early to mid-life he became a bad alcoholic, and as a result, he lost everything. He lost his business, his marriage, and his relationship with his children.  Very sad. But God.
In Larry’s desperate situation he reached out to God, and God delivered him.  God gave Larry a new lease on life, and he made the very most of it.  He married an amazing Christian woman named Faye, and he saw God restore much of what he had lost.  But, most importantly Larry became a voice for God’s work of grace in his life.
Larry was a good friend and co-laborer with me at the People’s Church where I pastored.   He was one of those men that you truly cherish. I was able to help him become a part of The Gideon’s ministry and some other ministries in our church and community.
Do you know where I met Larry?  At a funeral.  I was officiating at a funeral for someone Larry knew.  Larry was so moved by the message that he and Faye came to the church I pastored the very next week.   So fittingly, years later when Larry and Faye were getting up in age and decided to move closer to family, he gave me the clock as a gift of appreciation, and as a reminder of what God had done for him in time.  It also reminded me of how, where, and why we had met at that funeral home.
Larry made the clock from oak, one of the hardest and most durable woods.   And he glued a message on the front, Because He Lives.   Every time I look up at that clock I am reminded that because Jesus lives all the “chains” have lost their power, including death.  Larry is now in heaven, and his faith has become sight!
In our study of the letter written to the Church at Corinth, we have reached the 15th chapter.  It is by far the greatest and most detailed teaching on the subject of death.  The Corinthians were struggling with the idea that someone could come back from the dead. So while the theme is the resurrection of Christ from the dead, it teaches us about the reality of death, the cause of death, the necessity of death, and the death of death.
Over the next three weeks, we are going to study this amazing text and if we listen well, we will earn a Master’s Degree on the death of death. We will come to understand and appreciate the truth that death has no sting left.  Jesus defeated death and took the sting of death away!
Plan to join us at 9:30 am on Sunday as we learn and grow together.   And, this would be a great study to invite a friend to.   Most people have questions about death, the afterlife, and so on.   Ask God to give you the opportunity and courage to invite someone this week!
In God’s Good Grip,
Pastor Mike