Summary: This is the sermon I preached for my Dad's funeral
Heavenly Father – As we gather here, this afternoon, we ask that Your Holy Spirit help us to and guide us in worship. Replace our sorrow with Your joy. Let the words from our mouth, and the feelings of our hearts, offer praise and thanksgiving unto You for having the privilege and blessing of Jimmy Don Bolin in our lives. May this service glorify You, honor my dad, and comfort all who mourn with us this day. Holy God, we know from Your Word, that when two or more are gathered that Christ is with us. Jesus, please place Your hands in ours and help us to feel Your presence and Your peace. Reveal Yourself to us, so that all may leave here differently than from how we walked in. This we pray in Your Holy name… Amen!!!
Explain the blue yarn in the bulletins. Tie them on; ask people to pray for us and to thank God for those they had and have in their lives.
Friends, we have gathered here to praise God and to witness to our faith as we celebrate the life of Jimmy Don Bolin. We come together in our grief, acknowledging our human loss. Once again, I pray God may grant us grace - that in our pain- we find His comfort, in our sorrow- we feel His hope, in our death- we experience a Christ-like resurrection.
On behalf of the family, I thank you for being here today, for all who were at the viewing last night, and for the prayers that have been covering us through this difficult time.
I could share a multitude of stories about my life with Dad. We, each, could testify about different seasons in Dad’s life where we were personally touched and altered by the experience and/or the man. But rather than reminiscing on those things, I hope to honor dad, and glorify God, by sharing with you just a few characteristics of my earthly father and how they helped me to better understand our Heavenly Father.
1)Jimmy Don Bolin was a man who truly lived by a code. We have laughed and talked about this “cowboy code” he lived by. But to be honest, this code was realistically simplistic. Dad prided himself on being a man of his word. Jesus is recorded saying in... (Read Matt.5:33-37). Dad felt that a person’s worth could be measured by whether their word was their bond or not. He would often ask, " If a person’s word was no good, then what did that person truly have?" My dad believed that every human being needed to embrace this understanding; but even when others didn’t, it didn’t sway him from living his code. And I ask you who are present here today, isn’t that what God does? Isn’t God faithful to be who God is even when we are unfaithful to live by God’s code? By my dad being a man of his word, God used him as a visual reminder, a physical manifestation, for me, to the faithfulness of God.
The last few days have turned my world upside down. But because of the example my dad set, I know that I can still count on God’s Word and God’s promises. Nothing this world can throw at me, or at God, will ever cause God to falter! We know this is true for over 2000 years ago, humanity through the cruelest form of evil, evil that was intentional in effecting people physically, spiritually, and psychologically, known as Crucifixion, at God; and yet God never faltered. Rather, God did the unthinkable by responding to that evil with love! And because of this, we can know that the worst thing in life, death, is not the last thing! Today, I offer all here the comfort in knowing that God’s promises are extended to my dad. That horrific wreck he suffered was not the last thing he experienced! The last thing my dad experienced was his spirit being committed unto the hands of the living God!
2)Dad was a true servant. The Apostle Paul defines for us in ...(Phil. 2:3-4 READ). Every one of us here, family and friends, knew we could count on dad. He was our rock in times of uncertainty and an indestructible force for us when we were weak. My aunts, and my wife, are all much older than me; and yet when it last snowed - he called to tell them he was on his way to drive them to work. That was just one way that my dad exhibited servanthood. Another was through his intentional efforts of working harder not smarter. You see, the more my dad did for others, the more he grew in patience and wisdom. As dad expressed his love to us through his actions, God continued to reshape his heart. What dad taught me about God through his servanthood is this: if I want to grow in love of God and neighbor – I must serve another. For it is in service that one’s heart becomes pliable. If any of us is going to have a heart formed after God’s own heart, we must be willing to let our hearts become pliable by loving and serving each other.