Sample Religious Readings

Please feel free to use any of this material in your ceremony. Choose from either Readings or Non-Religious Readings, or include one of each. Create the Perfect Ceremony that you will cherish forever.

Prayer Celebrating Life

For the gift of a child, [NAME] whose innocence and laughter keep the world young, we rejoice and give thanks. May this new life, which we have accepted into our community of ideals and friendship, receive abundantly the blessings of health, love, knowledge, and wisdom, and in her/his turn give back richly to the common heritage that endures from generation to generation. And for the gift of parenthood made to [PARENT] and [PARENT] we also give our thanks. May they and all parents everywhere give their children security, freedom and love, and may they be blessed with much joy, much laughter and much patience in the divine task of nurture. AmenPrayer Celebrating Life (2)

Give us the spirit of the child. Give us the child who lives within - the child who trusts, the child who imagines, the child who sings, the child who receives without reservation, the child who gives without judgement. Give us a child's eyes, that we may receive the beauty and freshness of this day like a sunrise. Give us a child's ears, that we may hear the music of mythical times. Give us a child's heart, that we may be filled with wonder and delight. Give us a child's faith, that we may be cured of our cynicism. Give us the spirit of the child, who is not afraid to need, who is not afraid to love. Amen.Prayer Celebrating Life (3)

We are glad to share the joy of these parents [PARENT] and [PARENT]. With them we wonder at the miracle of life recreating itself. We promise to uphold them in the task of nurturing their child and dedicate ourselves to building a community in which the possibilities of their child's life may be fully realised. We speak their child's name [CHILD] honouring in him/her the rights and dignities of the human person.Prayer (4)

Heavenly Father, we praise you for this childs birth - surround him/her with your blessings that he/she may know your love, be protected from evil, and know your goodness all his/her days. May he/she learn to love all that is true, grow in wisdom and strength and, come through faith to the fullness of your Grace.

May God the Father of all bless these parents and godparents and give them grace to love and care for their child. May God give them wisdom, patience and faith, and help them to provide for this beloved childs needs.

Eternal Father, we thank you for the rich variety of the families you have created for us, and for the relationships which we see and enjoy within them. Help us to respect and learn from each other. We thank you too for love that binds the families that are here today, and ask your blessing on them.

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son shared at Nazareth the life of an earthly home, bless the home of this child, may it provide shelter, warmth and security to the family and to all those who visit.

All this we ask in Jesus's name, Amen.The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation But deliver us from evil, For thine is the kingdom, And the power, and the glory, Forever and ever. Amen Blessing The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Remember O God your child [CHILD] that as this child grows in knowledge of your truth, may he/she be led to acknowledge your truth in they life. And continue to bless O Lord the parents of this child, that they may be strengthened to keep the promises they have made, and so to live that their child may see in them what it is to live a good and sound life. Continue to bless all in this home and any who enter. AmenBlessing (2) The Lord bless you and watch over you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you, the Lord look kindly on you and give you peace. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always.Blessing (3) And now, to Him who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before Him; to the only wise God, our Saviour, be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen. At the Baptism

O God, our heavenly Father, grant that this child, as he/she grows in years, may also grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that by the restraining and renewing influence of the Holy Spirit he/she may ever be a true child of thine, serving thee faithfully all of his/her days.

So guide and uphold the parents of this child that by giving care, wise counsel, and holy example, they may lead him/her into that life of faith whose strength is righteousness and whose fruit is everlasting joy and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Benedicition

Honor thy parents, those that gave thee birth, and watched in tenderness thine earliest days, and trained thee up in youth, and loved in all. Honor, obey and love them; it shall fill their souls with holy joy, and shall bring down God's richest blessing on thee; and in days to come, thy children, it they're given, shall honor thee, and fill thy life with peace. {Author: Tyron Edwards}Benedicition (2)

Blessed are you, our God, ruler of the universe, maker of heaven and earth, keeper of sky and sea. In your goodness you give us the sign of water. At the beginning your spirit was at work, brooding over the waters of creation's birth, breaking the water with the word of power, bringing forth life in all its fullness.

Over and over again you have shown your grace to us as water cleansing the earth at the flood , parting for the exodus at the Red Sea, flowing from the rock in the wilderness. In Jesus you promised that all who thirst could come to the living water.

Therefore, eternal and present God, We bless you for the water with which you bless us. We pray that those who are given to the waters of life Will live in your grace. Send, O God, your Holy spirit upon us and upon this holy water, that all who are gathered under this sign, being one in Christ, may be nurtured By the bread of life. Now to God be given all glory, praise, honour And might. Blessed be God forever. Amen

Another Blessing

Remember O God your child [CHILD]that as he/she grows in knowledge of your truth, he/she may be led to acknowledge your truth in his life.

And continue to bless O Lord the parents of this child, that they may be strengthened to keep the promises they have made, and so to live that Patrick may see in them what it is to live a good and sound life.

Continue to bless all in this home and any who enter in. May their lives be full of peace and joy AmenMark's Gospel (Mark 10:13-15)

They brought children for Jesus to touch. The disciples rebuked them, but when Jesus saw them he was indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it." And he put his arms round them, and blessed them.1 John 3: 1-2

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God's children; and that is what we are. My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.

Funeral sermon

To Die Is Gain - Funeral sermon

Phil 1:21 – “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Intro.When I read this verse I can’t help but think of _______ .

When the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church at Phillipi, the circumstances of his life weren’t exactly ideal. He was in prison - under house arrest in Rome – chained to a Roman soldier as his guard. Paul was a prisoner and yet this entire letter shouts with triumph. It is filled with the words “joy” and “rejoicing”.

Right Christian experience is the outworking of the life and mind of Christ in our lives whatever our circumstances might be.

________ lived the last years of his life a prisoner in a body that was filled with sickness – yet he never complained. He seemed to show joy and to rejoice in his affliction.

To those who do not believe in God – Life on earth is the best there is. For the non Christian, it is only natural to strive for the world’s values. Money – Popularity – Power – Prestige.

For the Christian it is different. – “To die is gain”

What do we gain?

1. We Gain a better body – a glorified, immortalized, resurrected body.In this present body of clay we are subject to all the sorrows and tears that life is heir to. Age, sickness, and finally death are the inevitable end of this house made of the dust of the earth. But in death and the resurrection we gain a better body, one that can never grow old, know disease, suffer pain, and can never die. We gain a better body.

2. We Gain a better home.However the beauty and the embellishments of any house we may possess in this world, it is nothing compared with our mansion in the beautiful city of God. Look at the promise of out Lord in John 14:1-3.

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.2 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.3 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.

The longing of the Apostle Paul for his home in heaven is expressed in Phil 1:23>

“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”

3. We Gain a better inheritance.Our final reward is not here – it is in Heaven.

4. We Gain a better fellowship.All of us live in this world of a dissolving family circle. Mother is gone – Father is gone, or a child is gone, or our beloved grandparents are gone, or a close friend is gone. But the circle is unbroken in Heaven forever and ever. There is no death there, no sorrow or crying or pain, for these former things are passed away.

Jesus is there.

5. If “for me to live is Christ,” then to die is gain.If for me to live is money – then to die is loss.If for me to live is self – then to die is loss.If for me to live is ambition – then to die is loss.If for me to live is sin – then to die sis loss.

But if for me to live is Christ – to die is gain.

Revelation 21:1 thru 22:5.

(This is a sermon I preached several years ago. Some of it was gleaned from another author but I did not record the source. If you know the source, I will gladly give the credit.)

(Update - A sermon central member has told me that it is a sermon by the late WA Criswell - Thanks)



TEXT - Deut. 29:29 - "The secret things belong unto the Lordour God but those things which are revealed belong unto us."

Death is not an easy thing to accept. Even under the best ofcircumstances, death is a terrible thing. Nature has it’sseasons but death can come to anyone, at anytime, in anyplace. Turly we know not waht a day may bring forth.

We come here today with sorrow in our hearts and questions onour minds as to why these things happen. Can we really know?There are many unexplanable sorrows in life and we mustsimply leave these in the hands of God who know all things.

All of us are sorrowful here today but the Bible teaches usof 2 types of sorrow.

I Thess. 4:13 "But I would not have you to beignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep that yesorrow not even as others which have no hope"

Some here may have a sorrow with no hope beyond the gravewhile others have the sorrow of a friend that has gone on along journey and will be joining that friend shortly. TheChristian who dies and the believer who remains will one daymeet again. There is a glad reunion day.

________________ knew the Lord. He/she settled it at theCross ______ yrs. ago. (May personalize sermon here)

To comfort your hearts and ease the pain of loss, I want tomake 2 statements.

1st - ________________ did not die. God’s children do notdie. Jesus said it Himself in John 11:26, "Whosoever livethand believeth in me shall never die". 2 Cor.5:8 says,"absent from the body and present with the Lord". ___________did not die. He/she simply changed residents.

Like the old poem: I cannot think of them as deadWho walk with me no moreAlong the path of life I treadThey have but gone before.

Yes, Gone to Glory! ___________________ simply changedresidents from this world to the city of God. We are hereonly to bury the covering. ________________ is not here. Thishere is only the covering. The important part, the soul, thebeing that made _____________ went to be with the Lord. It islike when we receive a letter in the mail. We let thecovering drop to the side and read and keep the letter insidethat was important. God has left the outside here for awhilebut has taken _______________ to be with him.We are told that when those who serve in the ranks of theSalvation Army die they are listed, not under the heading of"deaths" but under the heading "promotions". Promoted toGlory!

Even now ______________ walks among the patriarches of theBible . He/she did not die. He/she simply fell asleep inJesus.

2nd - This may be a shocker but if my Bible is right and if Iunderstand anything of the glories of heaven, then I believethat it is safe to say that with only two exceptions ________would not want to come back into this world of sin, pain,trial, and sorrow.

The two exceptions are 1. Maybe to ease your sorrow2. Maybe to urge some loved one toturn to the Lord.

I was thinking _________________ has already seen the angelsfor the first time. He/she has heard the angelic choirs, seensights man has never seen, walked the streets of gold, talkedto the people of the Bible. But best of all, he/she has seenJesus.

Edward Guest lost his little daughter and wrote this poem.

IF THEY COULD WRITEWhat glorious news they’s have to tellIf only they could write todayThose who have gone afar to dwellWhere all the glorious spirits stay

In fancy then I set it downWhat Marjorie would pen for me"I’ve touched the hem of Jesus’ gownThe way they did in Galilee

And thinking thus, I am contentTo bear the loneliness and waitBecause I know her days are spentIn the company of heaven’s great

Let me change the 2nd verse ---- "in fancy then I set it downwhat _______________ would pen for me. I’ve touched the hemof Jesus’ gown the way they did in Galilee.

No --- I do not think that your loved one would want to comeback to the world.

NOW FOR ANOTHER QUESTION WE NEED TO ASK TODAY?Why did this happen?Nature has ita seasons but death has no season. It can cometo anyone, at anytime, at any place.Truly the Bible is seen to be true when it says "we know notwhat a day may bring forth" - Prov.27:1Why do our loved ones die? Can we know why? there are manyunexplanable sorrows in life and we must simply trust ourloving god who knows all things.There is much we do not know and even if we did, we wouldstill feel the sorrow and pain and loss. But God has reasonsfor all he allows and has a word of every heart and everyheartache.We do not know why a preacher’s wife dies on an operatingtable due to a mistake in blood type or why a little baby istaken before it draws its first breath.I Cor.13:12 says "For now we see through a glass darkly

In closing --- Remember the Bible teaches us that

1. death is not the end but the beginning2. death is not a loss but a gain3. death is not a defet but a victory

Jeseph Jennings when on the verge of that glorious world towhich ________________ has gone exclaimed "Beautiful! What amorning." His weeping wife, not seeing what he saw, said,"Shall I open the shutters to give you a better view?" "Oh",he said, "I have seen a great way beyond the shutters".

And we need to look beyond the shutters of this worldtoday and see Jesus. Let us look to Him as our comfort andas our Savior. Take His hand. In Matt. 14:12 speaking of thedeath of John the Baptist, it says "And his disciples cameand took up the body and buried it and went and told Jesus.Let us turn to Jesus this hour and tell Him. He cares.


HEAVENTEXT - Revelation 21 - 22

INTRO. - Let us look for a few moments this hour at twoof the more favorite chapters of the entire Bible. Thesetwo chapters have been blessed of God to lift up thediscouraged, to comfort the bereaved, to resisttemptation, to strengthen the dying, and to motivate thebeliever as much as any in the entire Bible. Let uslook at these chapters from a numerical standpoint.


That person is God! God, who made this world, lovedthis world, and sent his Son into this world, is incontrol. God, who allowed His Son to die for us is incontrol. God, who one day will send his Son back to thisworld and will judge this sinful world is the only onein control at the end. HE WILL BE VICTORIOUS. You and Ihad better make sure that we are on his side!


There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. We seeheaven in Rev. 21:1 and hell in Rev. 21:8. Today eachof us in on the road to one place or the other. We moveeach day closer to eternity and to the home of God orthe home of Satan. You can change your course. Theanswer is Jesus. See John 14:6


The Spirit of God calls us to come.The Bride of God, the church, calls us to come.The individual believer is commissioned to call us tocome.The thirsty are invited and whosoever will may come."Come" is God’s favorite word. It was given to Noah, tolittle children, and to the weary and heavy-laden.


Death seals our character and nature forever. You maychange in life but not after death. How important it isto get right with God in this life, while there is stilltime.

V. NOTICE THAT HEAVEN IS MENTIONED FIVE TIMES IN THESE 2CHAPTERS.Heaven reminds me of Elijah who was taken up in a fierychariot and in a whirlwind. Heaven makes me think ofJesus our Lord who went up into heaven and will returnin like manner. Heaven brings to mind Jacob who saw theladder ascend out of heaven with angels ascending anddescending up it. I think of the baptism of Jesus whenthe Holy spirit descended from heaven and the voice ofthe Father was heard. Heaven reminds me of Stephen whosaw heaven opened and Jesus standing at the right handof God.

VI. NOTICE SIX TITLES ARE GIVEN AS TO WHERE WE WILLDWELL IN HEAVENHeaven is called: The Holy City - 21:2 - separatedThe New Jerusalem - 21:2 - not oldThe Bride - 21:2,9 - related to groomThe Lamb’s Wife - 21:9 - the churchThat great City - 21:10 - importantThe Holy Jerusalem - 21:10 - not likeJerusalem seen in ch.11:8


These speak of perfect grace and perfect judgment.God’s love is an equal counterpart to God’s wrathbecause both are "to the uttermost" when manifest.God mercy and grace are as real as God’s judgment.


The Fearful - Those afraid to accept ChristThe Unbelieving - Those will not believe the Word of Godon matters of salvation, sin, judgmentThe Abominable - Those polluted, contaminated with evilMurderers - Those who kill people directly or indirectlyWhoremongers - Those who break God’s laws concerning sexSorcerers - Literally a dealer in drugs, witchcraftIdolaters - All who put or worship anything above GodAll Liars - Liars without remorse. Lying contradicts thevery character of God. I am the way...truth


Alpha and Omega - 21:6 - First and last letters in theHebrew alphabet. The "A and Z". Speaksof God’s wisdom and knowledge of all.The Beginning and the End - 21:6 - This speaks of timeand the eternity of God.The Lamb - 21:9,23, and 27 - This speaks of Calvary andthe sacrifice for sin.The Lord God - 22:5 - This speaks of God’s position inimportance.The first and the Last - 22:13 - This speaks of God’sorder of existence. Before all,God was. No cradle or tombJesus - 22:16 - This speaks of his humanity. Matt.1:21Root and Offspring of David - 22:16 - This speaks of hiskingship and O.T. lineageBright and Morning Star - 22:16 - This speaks of hisglory. Brightest star and justbefore dawn.The Lord Jesus Christ - 22:21 - Speaks of his Lordshipand divinity


No more sea - 21:1 - The sea reminds us of restlessness,storms, and separationNo more death - 21:4 - Death came because of sin. It isman’s worst and last enemy. See ICor. 15:26 No more funerals,cemeteries, obituariesNo more sorrow - 21:4 - All men have sorrow, even Jesushad his share while on earth.No more crying - 21:4 - This speaks of "sad" thingsNo more pain - 21:4 - This speaks of sickness andphysical troubles.No more temple - 21:22 - Temple was a place to worshipand meet with God. Heavenitself will be a temple.No more sun, moon, night - 21:23 and 22:5 - Isa.60:19No more darkness forever.Hell will be outer darkness

No more curse - 22:3 - The curse of Gen.3 is all thatseparates this world from beinglike the Garden of Eden with theonly exception being sinful man



Twelve gates, angels, tribes - 21:12Twelve foundations - 21:14 See Heb.11:16Twelve apostles - 21:14Twelve thousand furlongs - 21:16Twelve pearls - 21:21Twelve manner of fruit - 22:2What a City! Don’t miss it. Come to Jesus now.


Funerals For The Un-churched

Funerals For The Un-churched

Thoughts of Comfort

I would take nothing away from the grief you feel today. I would not say to you that everything is all right. Because it’s not and you know it. You hurt. And we know you will hurt for a long time. God made us so that we can have relationships with one another and when that relationship is lost we feel pain. You have lost a loved one - and it hurts.

Yet, I would like to speak a word of comfort today. It comes from John 14:1-6, where it says;

Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for 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 to Myself; that where I am there you may be also. And you know the way I am going. Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth and the life; no on comes to the Father, but through Me.

From this passage of scripture I find three thoughts of comfort.

The first is that peace is promised. Notice the words “Let not you heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me”. Yes, I know that today is a day of sadness - a day of grief, a day of mourning, yet even in the midst of this you can have peace. Why? Because we have faith - we believe. We believe that even in the midst of the storm - even in the valley of the shadow of death there can be a peace that pass all understanding - because we know that God is with us. The 23rd Psalm says that too, doesn’t it. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” He is here. He is present. Believe in Him - Trust in Him and God will grant you his perfect peace.

The second thought of comfort is that God has prepared a place for us. Did you notice that in John 14, it says; “I go to prepare a place for you.” The Bible tells us that in six days God created the heavens the earth,but just think, Jesus has been preparing a place for us for two thousand years. What a place that must be. The verse tells us that it is The Father’s house and that there are many rooms. A room for _____, a room for you - a room for me. Isn’t that a comforting thought? God has prepared a place for us.

The next thought of comfort is that God has prepared a way for us to get there. Everyone wants to go to heaven, some just don’t know the way. But Jesus tells us in John 14 that, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” We are all travelers on a road called life. There are many detours and many side streets. We don’t need to be confused - we don’t need to be lost. All we need to do is follow Jesus. He will show us the way - in fact He is the way. He will lead us and He will guide us. That’s comforting.

There is a song that we sing in church sometimes. It is based on John 14 it goes like this:

I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop,In that bright land where we’ll never grow old;And some day yonder; We’ll never more wonder,But walk the streets of purest gold.

Do you see the mansion? It’s just over the hilltop. The lights are on and the door is open. There’s a meal prepared. There are friends and there’s comfort.


Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven -

A time to give birth, and a time to die:A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.A time to tear down, and a time to build up.A time to weep, and a time to laugh;A time to mourn, and a time to dance.A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones;A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing;A time to search, and a time to give up as lost;A time to keep, and a time to throw away.A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together;A time to be silent, and a time to speak.A time to love, and a time to hate;A time for war, and a time for peace.

It is interesting that several thousand years ago Solomon penned these words that seem so appropriate for us today. “For everything there is a season. A time to be born and a time to die.” In an instant - in one short sentence the author has expressed how fragile life is. “There is a time to be born and a time to die.” It may that the most important question we can answer is: what time it is?

We know that we are creatures of time by the way we set our clocks and watches so that we will know what hour it is. We have schedules and appointments set by dates on a calendar. We know larger amounts of time by measuring the months and years. We also know the seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. But perhaps time should be measured in more than hours, or days or years.

We have already mentioned some dates here today. The date _____ was born. The date he/she died. And so we know that he/she lived _____ short years. We have a measurement of time. And some of us are sitting here thinking that he/she lived a full, long life while others are thinking the his/her life was cut short. But isn’t life more then a measurement of years or accomplishments?

Perhaps our lives should be measured by the relationships that we have with others. That is why you are here today - isn’t it? Because you knew _____. You are family, are friends and you have come to say goodby to someone you knew. That is important and I commend you for being here today.

But let me ask, what time is it for you today? The writer of Ecclesiastes has said, “There is time and season for every event under Heaven. There is a time weep and a time to mourn.” And I would say for you who are family and friends that today is a day of mourning. You have lost a love one - and it hurts. Please do not deny your feelings - grieve long and grieve full. For when you grieve healing takes place.

Today also I would say is a time of remembering. I have often told people that funerals are bitter sweet (because they are). They are bitter because you have lost a loved one - they are sweet because you have so many memories that you can share. I am thankful God has made us with the capacity to remember. Think of the good times, the funny times, the experiences and yes the bad times too and in your remembering you will celebrate the life of _______.

Today is also a day of comfort. It is a day of comfort because Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you. I go to prepare a place for you. And I will return to take you with me. If you believe in me.” Even in the midst of death - if we believe in Him, He will never leave us or forsake us. Isn’t that encouraging news? He who faced death himself - and conquered it - will never leave us. You see that is the “Easter” message. The tomb where they laid him is empty. There is no-one there. And the scripture tells us that if we believe in him we will be raised also. Isn’t that a thought of comfort.

And so I ask again. What time is it? It is a time of grieving - it is also a time or remembering and it can also be a time of comfort if we but trust in Jesus.


What Does the Christian Gain When They Die?

When we speak of funerals we usually don’t think of gaining anything do we? The word gain is usually not in our funeral vocabulary. Most of the time we speak of our loss – and that is what we concentrate on. People tell us how sorry they are for our loss. In fact when a person dies we say that they lost their life. We have a flood of emotions – sadness – grief – some times anger and regret. We have those emotions because we have lost something. We have lost fellowship with __________, and it hurts. We will not be able to sit and visit with ________ again in this life – and that hurts. There is pain when we loose a loved one. But did you know there is one verse in the Bible that uses the word gain when it speaks of death.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

When I read this verse I had to look up the word gain in the dictionary and find out the meaning of it. Do you know what I found? Gain means something is acquired – something is taken possession of – gain means to increase – get an advantage. It’s quite different then the way we normally look at death – isn’t it?

We do talk about gaining a little though don’t we? I’ve already heard family members say that _________ is in a better place. That is a statement of gain. If a person has the right relationship with Jesus when they die they gain several blessings. You see - Paul is writing as a Christian when he says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Jesus has promised a multitude of blessings to those who believe in Him when they die. No - not money or fame or fortune – but blessings unimaginable. Let me tell of at least four blessing that the Christian gains when they die.

Blessing #1: We Gain AN INCREDIBLE LIFE.In this present body we are subject to the joys and disappointments of life. We are subject to the growing process of life as well as the aging process. Sometimes we are healthy sometimes we get sick. Sometimes we feel pleasure sometimes we feel pain. Sometimes we are happy sometimes there is sorrow. When we get to heaven it will not be that way.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)

We will no long experience life as we once knew it. We will be different.

Blessing #2: We Gain AN ETERNAL LIFE.All of us live in a world where family relationships change. Mother is gone or Father is gone. Uncles and Aunts – Grandparents – they all grow older and die. But that does not happen in Heaven. There is no ageing process. There is no death. We live forever. Most of know John 3:16 – but how often do we really trust in the last phrase of that verse?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.John 3:16 (NKJV)

Blessing #3: We Gain A GLORIOUS HOME.No matter how beautiful and elaborate your home my be in this world it is nothing compared with the home God has prepared for us.

1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 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. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3 (NKJV)

Blessing #4: We Gain PERFECTION.How can I say this? Because the Bible teaches that we “Become Like Christ” when we go to heaven with Him and see Him face to face. What is Christ like? He is perfect.

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2 (NKJV)

We shall see Him in all of His perfection. We shall see Him in all of His glory. We shall become like Him.

We have come today because we have suffered loss and it hurts. But we also must also realize what ________ has gained. “Oh death where is thy sting, oh death where is the victory – for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”


Jesus Wept

The shortest verse in the Bible deals with the ultimate aspect of life. It deals with the subject of death. Only two words are found within that verse. Only two words which should penetrate our hearts. Those two words are: “Jesus wept.”

The situation is that Jesus went to a friend’s house and there he was confronted with the fact that his friend was dead. His response was simple. His response was natural. His response was human emotion. “Jesus wept.”

This puzzles me. I stand in wonder when I read that verse. For I must ask the question: “Why is the King of kings and the Lord of lords breaking down and crying at the moment”? He who holds the power of life in His hands still wept, He still cried, at the situation of death. Yet, though I ponder that question in my mind, the scripture still speaks plain; “Jesus wept.”

As I examine the story of the death of Lazarus in the Bible one answer to my question seems to be plain. Jesus wept for the family. For you see Lazarus, the friend of Jesus, had two sisters. And when Jesus came together with them he could see their pain and their suffering and the effects of losing a loved one in their tear filled eyes. And because of the sympathy and empathy which Jesus had, He was moved to share in the loss of the family members. He shared in the loss of the family. And so the scripture tells us that: “Jesus wept.” We who are friends of the family need to weep as well.

But perhaps Jesus cried not only for the family but perhaps he cried because he too had suffered a loss. For you see Lazarus was His friend. It is possible that Jesus had traveled with him, eaten with him, shared common interest, and had grown in a close friendship with him. But the friend of Jesus was now gone. And that relationship had been broken, Jesus felt the pain of losing a friend and, “Jesus wept.” We who are the friends of -------- --------- need to weep as well.

But there may be one other reason why Jesus cried. For Jesus knew that He Himself would soon face death. And he knew that there would be pain and sorrow among his own family and friends. For you see, death is a conclusion to our lives in this world. And each of us will face the reality of death eventually. It may be that many of us will be orphaned by death before our time comes. But the reality is that loved ones will be left behind. And the pain and sorrow at each of our deaths will be present. And so, “Jesus wept.”

But the story does not stop there, for the scriptures go on to tell us that Jesus went to the tomb of his friend Lazarus. And that there he found Lazarus dead and buried. But at that point the truth becomes evident. For at that point, the scriptures proclaim, that in Jesus there is the power of life. For Jesus spoke the words and Lazarus rose from the grave. And you see because of that event we too have hope. For if Jesus can raise his friend Lazarus from the grave He can raise us as well. And so it is proclaimed by Jesus when he says, “He who believes in me will not be disappointed.”

Yes, today is a day of weeping: for the family, for the loss of a friend, for the reality of death in our own lives but there will be a day of rejoicing for those who know Jesus Christ.

Funeral for Graveside Service

Funeral for Graveside Service

Memorial Services are in reality for the living and on such occasions they serve a three-fold service!

The First Purpose of a Memorial Service is to Remember the DeceasedA. Obituary Reading

The Second Purpose of a Memorial Service is to Comfort the Broken Hearted.

A. There is comfort in the memories of how __________ touched your life and made it different.B. There is comfort in remembering that death is not the end.C. There is comfort in knowing that you can see those who have a relationship with Christ again.D. Our greatest comfort is found in Christ.

“When sorrow comes, as come it must,in God man, must place his trust.There is no power of mortal speechThe anguish of his soul to reach.

No voice, however, sweet and low,can comfort Him or ease the blow.He cannot from his fellow mentake strength that will sustain him then.

With all that kindly hands will do,and all that love may offer too,He must believe throughout the testthat God has willed it for his best.

…. No words which we have the power to say can take the sting of grief away.

That power that marks the sparrow’s fallMust comfort and sustain us all.When sorrow comes, as come it must,in God man must place his trust.

… And only he may stand serenewho has faith on which to lean.”.[Edgar Guest. One place it can be found is Sofine’s Edgar Guest Collection -]

Jesus said, “come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”Jesus has promised through the writer of Hebrews, “I will never leave you ..nor forsake you.”And it is through a relationship with Christ that we are able to say as the Psalmist, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

The Third Purpose of a Memorial Service is to Prepare the Living.In reality we are not given a choice about whether to met death, or even when to meet death, only how to meet death. There is in the Gospel according to John a story recorded in the eleventh chapter that speaks to the situation we find ourselves in today. Here Martha and Mary’s beloved brother Lazarus has been sick and has died. Jesus’ words of comfort to this grieving family speaks to those whose hearts are heavy today.

Read (John 11:1, 17-27)“A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha…. (3) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Master, the one you love so very much is sick."… (17) When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. … (19) and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. (20) Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house. (21) Martha said, "Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. (22) Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you."(23) Jesus said, "Your brother will be raised up." (24) Martha replied, "I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time." (25) "You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, the Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. (26) And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?"(27) "Yes, Master.All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world." (The Message)There are a few simple things I want you to see with me about this passage this afternoon.

First, Jesus Addresses The World’s Greatest Problem - Death.Their Circumstances are particularly easy for us to understand. Lazarus who was sick has died. His sisters are devastated.Their friends surrounded them to offer comfort. “And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.” (NKJV) And I want to say that there is no time in a family’s life when there is a greater need for expressions of love and sympathy. With the cards, letters, flowers, food, phone calls and spoken words friends can let their love be known. Even time spent with the family at such a time is a silent but eloquent way of expressing love and sympathy.

Secondly, Jesus Shared The World’s Greatest News – There Is Life Beyond the Grave.(v. 25) “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live.”Jesus said, “I AM” - literally the words “I AM” are the words that God used to reveal his identity to Moses in the book of Exodus. When Moses asked for words to reassure the people that he was seeking to deliver from Egypt that he was truly sent from God, God’s answer was I want you to say, “I Am has sent you.” The words “I Am” means “the one who is, was and always will be.” It was a statement of deity and self existence of God.When Jesus Said, “I Am” it was his own reassurance that he was indeed God in the flesh. When Jesus said “I Am” the resurrection and the life, He is saying the he is the only way to resurrection and to eternal life.

Third, Jesus Presents The World’s Greatest Offer. (vv. 25b-26a) “…The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. (26) And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all."The same message is found in John 3:16 and John 14:6. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)Later in John 14:6, Jesus says, "…I am theway, the truth, and the life. No one comes to theFather except through Me.”Jesus promises eternal life to “whoeverbelieves” in him. The promise is limited only to those who will believe and receive it.But the result is that the dead shall live again.Finally, Jesus Asks Them The World’s Most Important Question. (v. 26b)Jesus now turns to the two sisters and ask them “the” most important question in the world. “Do you believe this?” I want you to note he did not ask her how she felt, he asked her if she believed!The Apostle Paul says of his own life and faith, “… I know whom I have believed and ampersuaded that He is able to keep what I havecommitted to Him until that Day.” (2 Tim. 1:12)It is a specific question, “Do you believethis?” The Lazarus’ sister in story affirmed that she did believe that Jesus was the Savior. The question remains, “ Do you believe in Him?”

Do you believe that Jesus is the Resurrection?Do you believe that Jesus is the way the truth and the life?Do you believe that Jesus is the way (the only way) to eternal life?

Why We Do Baby Dedications

Title: Why we do baby dedications.

Mark 10:13-16 The Message

“The people brought children to Jesus, hoping that He might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it. “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”Then gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.”

From time to time we get to do baby dedications and our scripture passage gives us 3 reasons why it is important to do them.

Reason #1 we do baby dedications is because baby dedications are biblical.

It’s important to know this because the disciples did not think so. In fact they strongly discouraged the people from bringing their children to Jesus. (Baby dedications are not of God!) Perhaps they thought that there were more important things for Jesus to do. Jesus certainly did not think so! He was irate at his disciples and let them know it. “Don’t push these children away. Don’t get between them and me.” We call anything that gets between us and Jesus non-biblical. Are baby dedications something that gets between us and Jesus? No! Not according to our scripture passage.

Reason #2 we do baby dedications is because baby dedications have a message to tell us.

“These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”

This message is not obscure or minor. This message is central to life in the kingdom of God. This message is also simple. It is so simple that even a child can understand and do it. The message that baby dedications tell us is this: unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.Jesus is not telling us that baby dedications save us. What he is telling us is that baby dedications show us how to be saved. We are saved through faith alone in Jesus. Another word for faith is trust. We are to become like little children and place our trust in Jesus alone for our salvation. Anything other than faith or trust in Jesus no matter how good it might be, serves only to push us away from the kingdom of God by coming between us and Jesus.

Reason #3 we do baby dedications is because baby dedications remind us that our children are most blessed when they are in the arms of God.

As parents we all want the very best for our children. We all have great hopes for them. What is the very best for our children? What is the greatest hope we can have for our children? Our passage tells us the answer. “The people brought children to Jesus, hoping that He might touch them”. This is the very best our children can receive. The touch of God! The very best thing a parent can do for their child is to help bring them to Jesus.

Baby Dedications

Baby Dedication:

The precedent for the ceremony of baby dedication may be found in the presentation of Samuel by his mother, Hannah, in I Samuel 1:28. Jesus considered the “little ones” infinitely precious, and he said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14).

The purpose of baby dedication is really to be found in the purpose of the parents. By bringing their children for dedication, parents signify their faith in God. They, also, indicate their desire that their children come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, and to serve the Lord all of their lives. The act of dedication will not make this young boy a Christian, but is only a starting point from which to teach him of Christ.

All the family please stand. You are the safety next that Joshua, Cody, and Mattyx will need. In times of trouble you can add just the strength and caring to this family to make the difference. You may spoil this boy, and even give him things his dad and mom cannot give them.

And, just because you are older in the Lord, teach this family to trust Jesus Christ in all their life decisions. If they learn now to put Him first and live according to His plan, their lives will be so much richer.

If you accept these challenges, answer: “With God’s help, we will.”

Rightly understood, the ceremony is one of dedication by the parents. The parents are pledging themselves to obey the command of Paul, “Provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nuture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). This ceremony is meaningless unless the parents dedicate themselves today, as well as their son to God.

To the father: Joshua, It is your responsibility to provide not only the material needs, but also the spiritual covering for your son. In the Bible a man was called the “priest of the home”, and at the Passover Feast he applied the blood covering to the doorposts of his home to protect his household.

In remembrance of this awesome spiritual role, I give you this red rose, which signifies the blood of Jesus Christ, our covering for sin. You will be called upon to correct, guide, and live a Christian example for Mattyx from this point on. You must protect him as his grows to a handsome young man, and then let him go – which is the hardest part of all. The safety and provision for these lives are in your hands – it is your responsibility.

If you will accept these challenges, answer, “With God’s help I will.”

To the mother: Cody, you will be the only Jesus Mattyx will see for many years. From the crib and in your arms he will look to you for love, security, and care. He should see only tenderness, gentleness, and a purity in life and love. In remembrance of your role, I give you this pure, white rose.

What you say, what you do, and what you teach must be a reflection of Jesus.

Cody, I also present you with these flower buds to represent Mattyx. If these buds were alive, and not silk, you would treat them with extreme care. So, you must treat Mattyx. Treat him gently, and he will grow in the sunshine of your love.

Cody, if you accept the responsibility of leading this little one, answer, “With God’s help, I will.”

Anoint the child and pray. Mattyx Austin-David Page, I dedicate you to the Lord. I pray His protection and blessings upon you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Pray over family.

I now lend this little life back to you. Raise him in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

Now turn and face the audience. Family and friends, may I present to you this day, Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Page and son, Mattyx Page. May God bless you all.

Recessional and receiving line.


IntroductionNormally we think of being a baby as a negative thing. Babies whine for what they want. They are selfish. They are impatient. They are demanding. They are messy. If I said that you were being like a baby you would most likely take it as an insult. However, Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:1-3 to be a baby! He uses the example of being a baby in a positive way. Read 1 Peter 2:1-3. Peter is telling us that we should desire spiritual food as much as babies desire physical food and let me tell you from experience, babies are extremely impatient when it comes to getting their food. They want it bad.

1. Want it bad (v2)Babies want their food and they want it now. They can’t wait one single moment. Once they realize that food is coming, you would think that they haven’t been feed since they were born. Both of my children would just freak out if they thought that they weren’t get feed quick enough. As soon as Karen would lay them on her lap to feed them, the food just couldn’t come quick enough. Peter says that you should crave, strongly desire, spiritual food as bad as a baby wants physical food. When Peter is talking about spiritual food, what do you think he is talking about? He is talking about the Word of God. Jesus when he was tempted, said, “You cannot live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes out of the mouth of God.” So, we should crave God’s Word. We should have a strong desire to study it and to learn everything we can about it. You should want it so bad that you can’t get enough of it. The craving should command your life. If you crave something, you work your life around getting it. If you crave chocolate, then you may give yourself extra time so that you can stop and get some or you may ask your parents to stop and get some. You work your life around meeting that craving. What this means is that if you crave spiritual food, then nothing else is as important in your life as getting spiritual food. Your priority is to get it and get it now, but why do you want it so bad? You want spiritual food so bad because it is the only way to grow spiritually. Read 1 Peter 2:2-3.

2. Experience spiritual growth (v2-3)Just as a baby grows stronger because he eats the food he is given, Christians grow stronger as they study and learn the Word of God. Christians experience spiritual growth when the Word of God is the priority of their life. As you study the Word of God and spend time trying to understand it, you become stronger and wiser spiritually. The more time you spend studying God’s Word the more you will understand it. Just as a baby develops and is able to do and understand things they once couldn’t do or understand, a Christian advances in growth the same way. When we become students of the Word of God, then we experience spiritual growth. We experience that the Lord is good and we like it and want more of it.This is why it is so important for each of us to spend time studying God’s Word. It is why we have small groups on Sunday nights. It is why we offer studies for you to download or to take home and do. We want you to grow up to be a healthy and strong Christian. What kind of parent doesn’t care if their baby eats or not? What king of parent doesn’t care if their child develops? We want you to eat and become healthy and strong, so we feed you God’s Word because it is able to make you a strong healthy Christian. You can taste and see that the Lord is good.

ConclusionSo be a baby! Desire God’s Word as bad as a baby wants food. Quick question – how do you feed a craving? You kill a craving by denying it – you feed a craving by doing it. You build a craving for God’s Word the more you are studying it and learning it. So, even tonight we are feeding your craving! If you say that you really don’t have a craving for it, then you just aren’t in it enough and you need more if it. Be a student of God’s Word so that you can experience spiritual growth and be a healthy, strong, and powerful follower of Christ.


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