Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: My mother, Juanita Shepherd, passed from this life on June 30, 2002. This message was given in her memory.


Ephesians 5:1-2 "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

INTRO.- Someone said, "It’s better not to have lived than to have lived and not loved."

If we do not learn to love people while we live, we have missed one of the greatest lessons of all.

Matt. 20:28 "For the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve..."

Jesus came for one reason and one reason only: He came for us! He came to save us, to serve us, to love us!


We need to love one another. We need to love our families, our friends, our fellow church members and love them all to the end!

This came home to me this last week even more in the death of my mother, Juanita Shepherd. Born November 28, 1919 and passed on to glory on June 30, 2002.

I knew that mom was sick and getting worse, but not one knew just how bad she was. Mom had Parkinson’s disease for 12 years and was in the last stages of that disease. She had many problems, but continued to fight and live as best she could. She loved life, but in the end basically her colon died and the poison spread through her bloodstream and killed her.

I loved mother very much and tried as best I could to demonstrate my love for her. As much as I loved her, she loved me more. She did far more for me than I ever did for her. Please allow me to share my appreciation and my mother’s last days.


- Thank you to the leaders of Mattoon Christian Church and to you members for allowing me to love my mother these last few years and especially, this last year. I made many trips, drove many miles to go see her and do things for her. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Bless you. Bless you. Bless you.

- Thank you to Gary and Brenda Edwards for taking off work to bring Elaine down to Joplin on Tuesday afternoon. Thank you for staying overnight, for attending mom’s memorial service and thank you to Brenda for taking care of my granddaughter so my daughter could sit with the family.

- Thank you to Mike Carter, Bill Fore, and Wayne Moran for taking off work and traveling over 800 miles in one day to attend my mother’s memorial service. Bless you.

- Thank you for the many thoughtful and sympathetic cards expressing your love.

- Thank you for the many encouraging words you have given me and the prayers you have offered for me and for my mother.

All these and more are acts of love. Don’t stop! Don’t stop performing these acts of love. That’s what love does. Love performs or it isn’t love.

ILL.- As someone said, "As song is not a song until you sing it. A bell is not a bell until you ring it. And love in your heart is not love until you give it away."

Please keep on giving it away!


For many years mom hired people to work in her home, to help her at home. Some were good and some were not-so-good.

Finally, on September 11, 2001, I had to put mom in the National Healthcare of Joplin, MO, after a week in the hospital. Mom was very week and needed 24-hour attention and care.

Some things were good at the nursing home and some were negative, but basically, mom got great care at the National Healthcare in Joplin. It’s one of the best nursing homes I’ve ever visited.

Mom loved the social things at that home: bingo, playing cards, going to Shoney’s for breakfast once a month, all kinds of special music programs, etc.

She loved 82 year-old Jeane at the piano who had been playing since she was four years-old. She loved Janiece Chevaz who came from Pittsburgh, KS, twice a month to sing. Janiece would sing all kinds of love songs, country songs and gospel songs.

Mom’s last week

I spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday with her and Thursday morning.

Tuesday noon it was dancing with Jeane at the piano. Mom was called by many of the workers/employees "the little dancing queen." Mom danced around the room with her walker. That day she danced with Della, the lady over the floors, etc. I also danced with mom. It was our last dance together.

Tuesday evening it was music with Janiece Chevaz and a little dancing again.

Wednesday morning it was breakfast and afterward mom was ready to go. She talked about wanting to go eat at Doud’s catfish restaurant in Neosho, MO, for her next birthday. I said, "Why don’t we go today?"

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