PODCAST: The Church and the Trajectory of Life, Part 1 (Preparing for the Inevitable Episode #75 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to Episode #75 of Preparing for the Inevitable – A Podcast on How to Handle Trouble, Suffering, Pain, and Death.

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast will help you get ready to face the inevitable unpleasant things that will happen in your life — things like trouble, suffering, sickness, and death — the death of people you love and your own death. Trouble, suffering, and death are common threads that run throughout all of humanity. They are inescapable. You will never meet a person who has not, is not, or will not experience these terrible things in life. Yet, we attempt to hide from these inevitabilities, to pretend they don’t exist or that they won’t happen to us. Our world is filled with news of people dying, children suffering, entire government systems and organizations enduring trouble and turmoil, but we tend to see these as things that only happen to “other people” and never to us. Trouble, suffering, and death come equally to all people, of all races, from every socio-economic status, of every religion, in every country of the world. It makes us all equal. This podcast will show you how to accept these realities of life, and not just cope, but face trouble, suffering, and death in your own life and in the world with confidence, courage, class, and most of all, with faith, hope, and charity.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:7: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

The featured quote for this episode is from C.S. Lewis. He said, “If we really believe what we say we believe — if we really think that home is elsewhere and that this life is a “wandering to find home”, why should we not look forward to the arrival. There are, aren’t there, only three things we can do about death: to desire it, to fear it, or to ignore it.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Church and the Trajectory of Life, Part 1” from the book, “The Art of Dying: Living Fully into the Life to Come” by Rob Moll.

“Our church doesn’t have enough funerals,” associate pastor John Stolzfus said in his annual All Saints’ Day sermon. In his suburban Mennonite congregation, members tend to move away from the area after they retire. They move into denominational retirement communities, or they head south to warmer climates. Sometimes, older members will continue to spend their summers in the Chicago area but winter somewhere in the Sun Belt. So, in his eight years as senior pastor Todd Friesen has performed just ten funerals. Other pastors he knows, who serve at churches to which members retire, perform on average one funeral a week.

Such a lack of funerals, Todd Friesen says, are a missed opportunity for spiritual formation. A funeral, he says, is like the North Star to a sailor. By comparing his or her position in the sea to that of the North Star in the sky, a navigator knows where the ship is and how to adjust its direction to get to the destination. At a funeral, “you get these coordinates” to position yourself in life says Friesen.

Though Friesen has performed fewer funerals than other pastors, he’s done enough to know how family and friends measure the life of the deceased. The two commandments of Christ, to love God and love your neighbor, are all we talk about at funerals. “No one’s going to ask what pay grade you had at your job, and was it an associate or assistant position. Nobody cares. It’s the love of God, and it’s the love of neighbor, and the way that this person helped me to connect with God and my neighbor that is or isn’t her legacy,” he says. Of course, right now we care, but that’s why funerals are so helpful on life’s journey. In contrast, at funerals we remember and celebrate when people helped us to know God ad be neighbors.

Funerals are opportunities to measure ourselves by the same stick we’re measuring others. “He was a good dad,” we say, “and a loving husband.” Or, “She took care of the people who worked for her, and she mentored other young women in church.” When we say that about another, we also ask the same questions of ourselves.

Funerals help us to measure our days. For me, this means looking at my place in the continuum of life. Approaching middle age, my life is not full of opportunity and potential in the way it was when I was twenty-five. With children, a mortgage and a career, my life is circumscribed in ways I sometimes find frustrating. But measuring my days teaches me that I still can make audacious plans for my life. I am refocused and reoriented.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at “The Church and the Trajectory of Life” in our next podcast.

Let’s Pray —

Dear friend, please understand that after you die, you will be ushered into one of two places to spend eternity, Heaven or Hell. Here’s how you can be sure that you will not go to hell and suffer eternal damnation forever and rather have a home in Heaven when you die. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Here’s how you can be saved from sin and hell and have a home in Heaven when you die in more detail.

1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.

2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”