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Summary: Life is short, filled with peril and troubles. But Jesus came that we may have life to the full. What is life to the full? It is a life live with and for Jesus.

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ONCE, WE WERE HERE (07) (Presented @ Epworth Only)

THE THEME FOR THIS MORNING’S MESSAGE IS “ONCE WE WERE HERE.” GOD PLANTED THE SEED FOR THIS MESSAGE DURING MY VISIT TO THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF OKLAHOMA IN 2003.

I HAD DISCOVERED A HISTORICAL MARKER AT THE VERY PLACE THE SANTA FE TRAIL CROSSED THE LAND.

I SAT AT THAT PLACE FOR NEARLY AN HOUR ONE DAY. THIS IS A SPARSELY POPULATED AREA AND IN THAT WHOLE TIME, JUST THREE OR FOUR CARS PAST BY. IT IS A QUIET PLACE WITH ONLY THE SOUNDS A GENTLE BREEZE AND BIRDS SINGING TO ONE ANOTHER. IT TRULY IS “OPEN RANGE” WITH FEW FENCES AND HOMES VISIBLE FROM THE ROADWAY. I COULD SEE FOR MILES IN ANY DIRECTION.

I BEGAN TO THINK ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HAD PASSED THE VERY SPOT AT WHICH I WAS SITTING. I WONDERED ABOUT THEIR HOPES, DREAMS, WHAT WAS THEIR CONCEPT OF GOD. HAS THAT REALLY CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? WHAT WAS THEIR SOURCE OF COMFORT? HOW MANY REALIZED THEIR DREAMS? HOW MANY PERISHED WHILE PURSUING THE DREAM?

GOD WAS REMINDING ME OF HOW LITTLE TIME WE HAVE HERE ON EARTH. HE REMINDED ME OF THE PRECIOUS THE GIFT OF TODAY, TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL, A LIFE PLEASING TO GOD. A LIFE FILLED WITH JESUS LIVING WITHIN US.

(THE WORDS OF ARLENE DAVIS) (“I never though I’d get this old this fast”)

THEY ARE ALL GONE NOW; THOSE WHO TRAVELED THE SANTA FE TRAIL. THERE IS LITTLE LEFT TO MARK THEIR PASSAGE. MOST OF THE NAMES ARE LOST OR FORGOTTEN. THEY CAME TO WORK, STRUGGLE AND MAKE THEIR LIFE. YES, THEY ARE GONE NOW, BUT ONCE, THEY WERE HERE.

WE BEGIN TODAY’S MESSAGE BY VIEWING THE FINAL SCENE FROM ONE OF MY FAVORITE STORIES. “THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS.”

HERE, CHINGACHGOOK, THE LAST MOHICAN, MORNS THE LOSS OF UNCAS, HIS SON AND ACKNOWLEDGES HIS OWN MORTALITY. WE SEE THE PAIN IN HIS EYES WHEN HE GAZES AT HIS “WHITE” SON. WE SEE A YOUNG WOMAN COME TO THE WHITE SON SYMBOLIZING THE BEGINNING OF THEIR LIFE TOGETHER. FINALLY, WE HERE CHINGACHGOOK SPEAK OF WHAT THE FUTURE ON EARTH HOLDS FOR EACH OF US.

LIFE IS SO FLEETING.

THREE SERVICES IN LAST TWO WEEKS…(Funerals) GREATEST GENERATION (is passing)

(EXPAND)

SO WHAT ARE WE TO DO WITH THIS LIFE WE ARE GIVEN?

Mt 22:34-40 34 WHEN THE PHARISEES HEARD THAT HE HAD SILENCED THE SADDUCEES, THEY GATHERED TOGETHER, 35 AND ONE OF THEM, A LAWYER, ASKED HIM A QUESTION TO TEST HIM. 36 “TEACHER, WHICH COMMANDMENT IN THE LAW IS THE GREATEST?” 37 HE SAID TO HIM, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 THIS IS THE GREATEST AND FIRST COMMANDMENT. 39 AND A SECOND IS LIKE IT: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.”

THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS…. (Friends who have made the final journey. Some way too early) MY HIGH SCHOOL FRIENDS (NANCY AND CRAIG, MY BUDDY) A SPOUSE, MY PARENTS, LAW ENFORCEMENT COMRADES…

Mt 6:19-21 19 “DO NOT STORE UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES ON EARTH, WHERE MOTH AND RUST CONSUME AND WHERE THIEVES BREAK IN AND STEAL; 20 BUT STORE UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES IN HEAVEN, WHERE NEITHER MOTH NOR RUST CONSUMES AND WHERE THIEVES DO NOT BREAK IN AND STEAL. 21 FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO.


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