There are two types of people-those who are currently suffering a tragedy and those who will someday be suffering a tragedy. My daughter Nina has lost her best friend, high school sweet heart and husband unexpectedly. She has 3 young children and really appreciates all of your prayers and love. Nick loved and cherished life; he was full of charisma, laughter, and wit. He was the first person to help someone who needed it. He would give you the shirt off his back.
We have all suffered the tragedy of the loss of Nick a wonderful wonderful man who was loved by all in his family, personal and business life. His passing is not just another death as he touched everyone in such a special way. His passing has changed our lives forever. He was not just a son-in-law to me he was my son. All my son-in-laws are my sons and daughter-in-laws my daughters.
I am so proud of my family and Nicks’ family and their friends all so strong and pulling together to help Nina my wonderful daughter!
I have not erased Nick’s name from my email, phone, etc. and never will. In the past week I have set a new record for punching things and swearing to myself. I’d punch the wall but Nick’s not here to help me fix it-I’m a lousy dry waller!
But let us rejoice today and celebrate Nick’s life and not be sad that’s what Nick would have wanted. Remember Nick is not suffering now only we are because of our losing him so young
Everybody in this room has their favorite Nick stories they could tell.
He was so funny. He would even scold me sometimes. A few years ago when we were moving into our home about half way through I got crabby and yelled at my wife for something and he nicely told me I shouldn’t do that. Those of you that know me know that even though I’m in sales and loud at times I’m basically pretty shy. When we were at family gatherings he would often say “You should go talk to so and so” and would sometimes add “they’re about your age” Yeah right-who wants to talk to old people? He could be so funny. He was crazy about Duluth Trading work pants and insisted I try them a few years ago. I thought they were too bulky so I only wore them once when I knew he was coming over. But this week I’ve been wearing them every day.
A week after we moved a few years ago Nick came over to help me with a few things. We got a good deal on our home because it needed quite a bit of fixing up and one of the things on my list was to put a drapery rod up over the kitchen sink window. An easy job but so many other things to do! My wife told Nick I didn’t put up the rod yet because I probably didn’t know how. So naturally he put it up. To this day she still says the same thing. We used to laugh about it all the time. Now we think of Nick every time we open and close the drapes.
Allow me to recite a poem my daughter Dani found by Henry Scott Holland
Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”
So the million dollar question is Why Does God allow Bad Things to Happen? Consider Isaiah 55:8-9
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Answers can be found in the Bible. But why should you believe The Bible? We are all given free will. God gave us free will so we could love. Robots can’t love. So you don’t have to believe The Bible if you don’t want to. You don’t have to believe that every word is directly inspired by God. It’s your choice. But let me give you some facts to consider.
The Bible consists of 66 books (39 O.T. & 27 N.T.)- 40 “authors” and took about 1,500 years to write. It by far the all time best selling book of all time. People in persecuted countries risk death by owning or even reading a few pages of it. It never contradicts itself and tells the same story from beginning to end. There are approximately 8,000 Greek manuscripts available to verify the N.T. KJV and all but 6 verses are verified as original scripture. More things written in The Bible are being verified every month by archeologists, astronomers and scientists. The complete genealogies listed in the Old Testament from Adam to Christ are being verified more with each passing year.
All the prophecies in The Bible total about 2,500 and about 2,000 have been fulfilled. 330 Old Testament Messianic prophecies have been fulfilled. The odds for all these prophecies having been fulfilled by chance without error is less than one in 102000 (that is 1 with 2,000 zeros written after it)! Not all prophecies in The Bible are Biblical some are secular and predicted hundreds and some over one thousand years or more before they happened. Daniel foretold the governments in order of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Cyrus is predicted to be the future King of Persia, Israel to Be Returned to Its Land A Second Time, the closing of the eastern gate of Jerusalem in 1543, Alexander the Great, The Doom of Edom in 636AD and Destruction of Jerusalem to name a few.
-ask yourself why does every culture all over the world no matter how old follow a 7 day week?
Read Isaiah 53-who do you think Isaiah is describing?
Micah 5:2 predicts Christ would be born in the tiny town of Bethlehem about 700 years before he was born. That would be like accurately predicting in the year 1317 the birth of a baby today.
Psalm 22 Predicts Christ’s crucifixion almost 1,000 years before it was invented as a form of brutal execution
The Dead Sea scrolls discovered in the late 1940’s have the exact same scriptures word for word as passages in the Old Testament and are dated at least 200 BC or earlier
The Gospels tell us the story of a man who had been blind his whole life who asked for sight. Christ gave him what he asked for but because he had always been blind he couldn’t process the images he was seeing so Christ touched his eyes and he then knew what he was looking at. The point is we now know that if the nerves from the retina have never been used the brain can’t process the images for several months. How did the writer know this over 2,000 years ago?
The explanation for bad things starts in Genesis where we learn the Earth was a perfect place to live but because they had free will Adam and Eve sinned and brought pain, suffering and death into the world.
If you want to place the blame for pain and suffering put it on satan not God.
Pain can be a part of God’s greater plan for us as if we let it it will mold us into something stronger each time. consider the value of steel:
A bar of steel is worth $5.
If made into horseshoes, it is worth $10.
If made into needles, it is worth $350.
If made into penknife blades, it is worth $32,000.
And if it is made into springs for watches, it is worth $250,000!
The 12 Apostles went around Europe, Asia and Africa preaching Jesus Christ’s shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection. By doing so they were imprisoned, scourged and beaten and all but one were eventually martyred most by Crucifixion. Ask yourself who would do this if it weren’t true? If they hadn’t seen it all with their own eyes?
It’s easy for folks to say Christ died on the Cross without thinking much about it but imagine the suffering He went through as He accepted the trillions of our sins passing through His body and soul. He was separated from God The Father and The Holy Spirit for the only time in eternity-imagine how lonely he must have felt. Brutally scourged with horrible sharp stones on the end of whips. The scourging was so awful in those days that about 50% of the condemned died from scourging before they were crucified. He was crowned with thorns, ridiculed and beaten. Now that’s unfair!
Nick is in Heaven today because he believed the following. Nick loved Walter Payton and Walter is in Heaven also because he believed the following.
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.
Christ paid for all your sins past, present and future.
 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
You can’t work your way to Heaven as we all sin every day. Sin can’t enter heaven. But if you swallow your pride and admit that you can’t save yourself Christ will present you to The Father as white as snow!
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Once you are saved you can’t lose it.
No one will stand in Heaven and say I deserve to be here!
I do know if Nick could come back what he would tell you to do
Be like Nick-go to heaven.
Be like Walter Payton-go to Heaven!