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There are going to be things happen to you in this life that will make you cling to that eternal hope because there is no other. Wally and Barbara Rendel know that’s true. Wally is the minister at the Southern Acres Christian Church in Lexington and has been for over 20 years. But five years ago they got the phone call that every parent dreads. Late one night an Ohio State Trooper told them that their 21 year old daughter Jill was killed when the van that she was riding in with the rest of the girls basketball team from her college had overturned. Jill was vivacious, she was on the dean’s list, she was popular, even been selected by her student body as Homecoming Queen just several days before she was killed. She was a Daddy’s girl. I understand that a week before she died that she was home in Lexington and sat on her Dad’s lap for an hour just joking around. When Wally and Barbara received the tragic news that Jill had been killed they were devastated. But within minutes, because of his faith, this Dad through tears said, "The Queen has gone home to be with the King." Say what you will, there is something markedly different about the way mature Christians face death. Paul said, "We grieve, but not as those who have no hope."

The funeral for Jill Rendel was packed. Over a thousand people came. I understand that it was a funeral that was a little different for some. It was not a dirge of sadness but a celebration of Jill’s ultimate victory in Christ and our promise of life eternal. Toward the end of the service a young man sang a most moving song. It’s entitled, "I fell on my knees and cried Holy." The song says, "I dreamed of a city called glory, so bright and so fair. When I entered the gates I cried holy, the angels all met with me there. They carried me from mansion to mansion. Oh, the sights that I saw. Then I said, "I want to see Jesus, for He’s the one who died for all." The second time that he sang, "I want to see Jesus.." Wally and Barbara, who sat within reach of their daughter’s casket stood and raised their hands to heaven and at once all 1000 people who were there spontaneously stood with them, praising God. And then Wayne Smith a long time friend of Wally’s came to the front and closed the service with these words: "Life is too short and death too sure to spend them on trifle’s.” And then he read this poem which he said were Jill’s words to all of us.. ’Grieve not for me. Nor let one small tear fall. What you dream of, I can see and I’m telling you, it’s worth it all!" And immediately the entire congregation burst into applause. That’s possible for one reason and one reason only.. because we can believe the Risen Christ who said, "I am the resurrection and the Life. Because I live, you will live also."

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