Summary: Tombstones are one kind of a message people leave behind them when they die. What kind of a message will you leave? Student ministry. PowerPoint format.
[What is Your Destiny?]
Slide Text - Where are you going? What are you leaving behind?
Slide Graphic – Tombstone
Preface: Lights dim. One student dressed as the Grim Reaper enters from the back of the room and casts about for his victim. Finally, he chooses and “kills” another student. Lights on.
The Bible says “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27)
Have you ever been to a funeral service? Open casket? Was it one of those where they give a sermon, or one where people get up and talk about the person’s life? Which would you prefer for yourself? What do you think people would say about you? Who would be willing to stand up for you?
There was no death in the Garden of Eden. When man chose to go his own way (eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) rather than God’s way (the tree of life), we sinned. The word “Sin” comes from the same root word a schism and scissors, meaning to “cut off” or “separate.” We cut ourselves off from God – we died spiritually. At the same time, God instituted physical death. Why both? Weren’t we punished enough already? Actually, the Bible says that God instituted physical death because he loved us. If we lived forever, we would be cut off from him forever.
For we must needs die, and are as water spilt upon the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doeth God respect any person; yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him (2 Samuel 14:14)
• Many students your age die every year. Traffic accidents. Tornadoes. Cancer.
• What questions do you have about life and death?
• Have you ever thought about what it would be like to you if you died? What would happen? Tunnel of light? Out of body experience?
• What would you regret for eternity? Is there anything you can do now to change or diminish that regret?
• What would you be glad you had done? What would you be glad you had not done? Some temptation you resisted?
• What would people remember about you?
• What message would you want to leave behind on your tombstone?
[What Message Will You Leave Behind?]
Slide Graphic – Tombstone for Santa Clause, with child in front, crying
Slide Text (real tombstone inscriptions) –
Here lies an Atheist - All dressed up and no place to go.(Thurmont, Maryland)
She lived with her husband for 50 years and died in the confident hope of a better life. (Burlington, Vermont)
Here lies Ezekial Aikle Age 102: The Good Die Young. (East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia)
I would rather be here than in Texas (Colorado Springs)
People choose some interesting messages to leave behind. That last one is from a wife whose ex-husband lives in Texas.
Here beneath this stone we lie - Back to back my wife and I. And when the angels trump shall trill - If she gets up then I’ll lie still! (Barlinine Cemetery, Glasgow, Scotland)
Here Lies Jane Smith Wife of Thomas Smith, Marble Cutter: This Monument Erected By Her Husband As A Tribute To Her Memory. Monuments of this style are 250 Dollars. (Annapolis)
Sacred To The Remains of Jonathan Thompson - A Pious Christian and Affectionate Husband. His disconsolate widow continues to carry on His grocery business at the old stand on Main Street: Cheapest and best prices in town. (Harwichport)
What would you want your last message to the world to be? What kind of a statement will you be leaving behind?
[Alfred Nobel – “Merchant of Death”]
Slide text – photograph of Alfred Nobel, pictures of sticks of dynamite.
Nitroglycerine is an explosive liquid which was first made by Ascanio Sobrero in 1846 by treating glycerol with a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acid. The reaction which follows is highly exothermic, i.e. it generates heat and will result in an explosion of nitroglycerine, unless the mixture is cooled while the reaction is taking place. Liquid nitroglycerine is colorless if pure. It is soluble in alcohols but insoluble in water. Nitroglycerine is extremely sensitive to shock and in the early days, when impure nitroglycerine was used, it was very difficult to predict under which conditions nitroglycerine would explode.
Nobel was a chemist, and set up a factory to produce nitroglycerine with a consistent, dependable purity. He also invented blasting caps, to allow the liquid to be detonated reliably and from a distance. The liquid was still very dangerous. One day, his factory blew up, killing Nobel’s younger brother. The city elders were understandably reluctant to allow him to rebuild the factory in the middle of their town, so he set up his factory on a barge in the middle of the bay.