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Saturday, March 7, 2015

03072015 Funeral Sermon Terry Joe Martin

Sermon Audio

March 7, 2015
Victory Lane Celebration

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Heavenly Father, today we gather to mourn the death of Your child in Holy Baptism Terry.  The Words spoken at His Baptism were clear and unmistakable, of Your name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the promise of life and salvation offered to him.  We humbly ask You heavenly Father to comfort us as we mourn, surround us with Your love and compassion and enable us to hear Your Word and Your Name as the salve of the Gospel for each and every one of us.  For with Terry’s entrance into the church triumphant You have fulfilled Your promise to Him on the day of His baptism and we ask You to comfort and surround us with Your Love that You offer to all of mankind, but today especially to and for Terry’s family and friends gathered here to say goodbye.  AMEN.

Beep (Long), Beep (Long), Beep (Long).  When you hear a beep, for radio men or military pilots, the first thing they think of is Morse Code, specifically the letter “O”.  For most of us we think, “now what am I supposed to say” on the answering machine.  But for Terry’s family who gather here this morning to mourn, “Beep” is the sanitized version of what Terry would sometimes say that we can say in the church.  To say the very least Terry was ‘colorful’ in his language.  A man of few words, having a big heart and willing to help when needed, but Terry could scatter the salt with the best of them.  And that was exactly who Terry was and that is how he will lovingly be remembered by Deb, Tyler, Tarren and Talen and all of his family and friends.

As a good mechanic, Terry was particular, a pain and anal about lots of things.  His shop had to be set up just right with tools in one room and a garage ready to work in the other.  He believed in two drivers, the late Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon and the Rainbow colored DuPont 24.  Terry was a man who could solve problems of flowers in the yard when he thought nobody was looking.  To knowing what was missing from his tool box and bench and what needed returned and not being afraid to let you know.  He even had an extra box of electrical tape stashed away, but still reminded everyone who borrowed his that they better return it, even though he had lots of extra.  It didn’t matter if it was a wrench or socket that wasn’t returned, a phone call or message to colorfully encourage action in the morning or a dirty diaper that Terry couldn’t stand the smell of, Terry was one of a kind.  Terry was an original that when God made the mold it was put away in a special place, a place of honor.  Terry’s relationship was one that was unique with each of his kids and his wife, but all family relationships are special and unique and that is what his kids and grandkids will cherish as they grow up.

Ironically the relationship Terry had with God was just as unique.  Washed clean in the waters of Holy Baptism in Parks, Kansas, Terry Joe Martin received the gift of eternal life and salvation promised to him when he was presented to God.  It would be interesting to have been a fly on the wall when Terry stood at the Pearly gates.  Would he have brandished the same language and swagger?  Probably he would have, but he also may have toned back only a little, because it is heaven.  Although Terry’s vision of heaven would have been in the pits at Charlotte or Kansas Speedway.  But the reality for us today is that Terry with his entrance into heaven would have been reunited with His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for all eternity.  For on the day of Terry’s Baptism, God came down and claimed Terry in the Waters of Holy Baptism and made Terry a promise for when the checkered flags were waved on his last lap here on earth.

It wasn’t a promise to return the tool borrowed, or to inspire one to ‘get out of bed’.  Terry on the day of his baptism received the promise of eternal life.  That one day because of God’s love for Terry, and the forgiveness of sins offered by Jesus Christ, Terry would receive life eternal and today we come to witness the waving of the checkered flags, the celebration in the infield with the corks a flying and tops a popping of the fulfillment of the promise made by God and the celebration of God’s gift to Terry and one day for each of us.

Today we celebrate the gift of eternal life that Terry receives and is epitomized by a saying shared around the table on Wednesday at the very same home he shared with his wife Deb.  The saying “Do it right or don’t do it!”  That saying, “Do it right or don’t do it!” perfectly summarizes Terry’s life but also perfectly summarizes what Jesus Christ did for Terry on the Cross of Calvary.  When Jesus Christ came down from heaven and took on Human form, Jesus lived the mantra, “Do it right or don’t do it!”  For Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection not only was the right thing to do, it was the perfect thing to do.  Jesus Christ by His simple sacrifice offered Himself in order to set all of us free from the sin that binds us.  Our sin, is like the ‘salty’ character we sometimes experienced from Terry.  But just like salt on the skin of a cured ham, there is much more below the surface.  So to it was with Terry and especially Jesus Christ.

What was below the surface was what Terry’s family knew, loved and expected from him.  Whether it was the one time run in with the internet, that was caught on camera.  To the fun times at the Smokey catching fish, which Terry always bested everyone else no matter the prize.  Or not knowing what to do when a young man came and asked for his little girls hand in holy matrimony.  Terry a quiet man, a man of few words was speechless, but this was not always the case.  Terry always had to have the last word in every argument.  Even on his last day on his final lap, Terry had to have the last ‘word’ with his family before he would finally let go see the checkered flags waved and go be with God.

But today, we stand here because God has had the last word and brought Terry to Victory Lane.  And it is the words from scripture, both our Psalm and from Romans of the victory found in Jesus Christ.  God on Tuesday sent His Holy angels and lifted Terry up, and rescued him and brought him to heaven and fulfilled the promise of salvation God offered to him in his baptism.  God’s angels not only have guarded Terry, but bore him up in their hands and set him securely on high ready for the great celebration in the eternal victory lane.  God has rescued Terry from our earthly grasp and ushered him into eternal life for the greatest victory party in the greatest victory lane that human hands are unable to duplicate.

And now in response to Paul’s question, of “who will separate us from the love of Christ?”  Nothing will because of Jesus Christ love for Terry and God’s conquering of sin, death and the devil for Terry and for each and every one of us.  For nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  And God has had the last word of victory over Satan and death by ushering Terry into eternal life.

So we here today are witnesses, not only of God’s fulfillment of the promise of eternal life and salvation offered for Terry and each of us.  But specifically the return of what was first God’s, Terry.  

Today we celebrate not just the life, but the return not of a socket, a right angle drill, a wheel rim grinder or Terry’s favorite wrench.  What we find today as we come and celebrate Terry’s life is not a box of electrical tape, hidden tools so we wouldn’t borrow them, but a greater truth that has been hidden in plain sight.  A truth that on the outside we experienced through beep-beep-beep, but it covered the heart and the truth.  That Terry was God’s child who now we return to God in God’s Victory Lane.  For God first loved Terry and us and today we celebrate Terry’s entrance into the church triumphant, where he will continue to root for Jeff Gordon and in a strange and mysterious way remind us daily of his impact upon our lives, even when we hear the ‘beep-beep-beep’ of the answering machine.

For today God’s promises have been fulfilled and nothing, “not even death will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”, for Terry and one day for each of us.  May we be comforted by this truth and believe God’s promises offered for each and every one of us are the salve of the Gospel God offers through Jesus Christ for all of mankind, but especially Terry’s family and friends gathered here to say goodbye.  AMEN.

Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard our hearts and minds and comfort us today, because of what Jesus Christ did for Terry and each one of us!  AMEN! 

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