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Summary: A hard living, rough and tough Alaska man takes his life and is not a believer.

We are each entrusted with one life, formed by the hand of God the Father in our mother’s womb – surely God has his hand on us from the very first moments of life. Surely God knows all we do, all we think and, all we dream for. Surely God desires the best for us - You can see that, it is so obvious when you hold a brand new infant in your arms.

One life, one opportunity - one heart, one soul, one spirit.

What a precious gift we are given.

If Johnny was with us ths afternoon, I’m sure he would say to us:

“I’m sorry for the pain that I caused you. I’m sorry that I didn’t fully consider the consequences of my actions”, and further, I think Johnny would tell us, “This isn’t the way out. I should have waited, I should have sought out alternatives.”

Most of all, I think Johnny would say, “Thank you” for being here to remember the man he was and “thank you” for being here to support his family.

Friends, Family, we have gathered here in grief, acknowledging our human loss. We have gathered in our pain, hoping to find some sense of comfort. We have gathered in sorrow, struggling to find some sense of hope...and maybe we have gathered to consider, ‘why?’

Why?

That’s a question that we may not know in this life time.

Could I have done this? Could I have done that?

Maybe.

Perhaps.

But, you are not the one who decided Johnny’s fate.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians chapter 13,

“For now we see but a poor reflection

as in a mirror,

then we shall see face to face.

Now we know in part,

then we shall know fully,

even as we are fully known”

There will be a day, by the grace of God, when we will have an understanding of all of life. We will know why things happen. But right here, right now, we are at a loss.

Behind it all that has happened, behind every reason we can think of---I think Johnny was searching for a sense of peace in his life.

Aren’t we all?

That search for peace, can be difficult, more for some, than others.

I want to say upfront, that there is a myth that is floating around. And in this myth it is said that that if a person takes their own life, then they die condemned. In this myth it is said that a person who takes their own life committs the ulitmate sin.

Well ladies and gentleman, that just is not true, ands it certianly is not found anywhere in the pages of the bible. The manner of death is not what assures us of eternal life. The manner of death is not what give us life. What an absurd proposition!

It is not a matter of how we die, rather, it is a matter of the heart.

See, we are spiritual beings, and we live in a spiritual world. We are created to experience more than all this stuff that we do, day in and day out. We all are looking for something...Johnny was looking, you are looking, we all are looking - its human nature.

What we are all looking for is spiritual peace.

See, it is true that we are spirtual beings, and likewise it is true that we are eternal beings.

When the Scriptures speaks of eternal life:

It doesn’t speak as theory,

It doesn’t speak as – it might be,

It doesn’t speak as it might be imagined.

It speaks of reality.

In our First scripture the Apostle Paul in essence asks us,“Will you believe when I speak of spiritual things?” Let us not be ignotant: We live in a spiritual world.

St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians -

“We do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep

Or grieve like those who have no hope.

Those who have no hope - see this as the end,

darkness,

silence,

nothing to come....

But we who have been justified through faith,

we are offered peace,

we are offered hope.

In Romans Chapter 5 we are told -

“hope does not disappoint us

because God has poured his love into us

through the power of the Holy Spirit”

And so we are not to be ignorant,

Eternal life is very real..…

We who are Christains know, that through the power of the resurreted Jesus Christ there is life, and there is life eternal. It is not a myth, or a philospohy, or even somrthing that we hope will come to pass, no, eternal life through Jesus Christ is very much a reality.

Now, you are all here because you truely loved Johnny, and in a few minutes you will have a chance to stand up for your friend, stand up for your relative and remind us of the gift we have had in knowing Johnny. Now I have done a number of funerals for folks from Barrow, and I know you have no problem saying what is on your mind. Many of you knew Johnny very well, so, you may want to consider what you want to say…

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