SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20110717: "Only One Life"

This page streams the audio-only sermon, when available, in downloadable SWF flash format.  It begins playing upon opening this page

Want a download or CD copy?  Read this.

The sermon outline is below, when available.

Only One Life


          Eight Days ago I observed my SEVENTIETH birthday. There was no fanfare, no trumpeted announcements; it was just another ordinary day. Lois and I observed the day with a quiet dinner at a favored restaurant with soft talk and ordinary weekend plans. I have dreaded the past two "decadal birthdays." Decades remind us of our mortality. Each one says to us,

"You may not make the next one. . ."

          My sister, Carol sent me the enclosed famous poem. The poem itself is sticky with nostalgia. My first encounter with the poem was in the summer of 1952. I was 12 years old and attending my first church camp. It was in an interesting place on the outskirts of Floydada, Texas. One of our camp handcraft projects was to paint a plaster cast plaque with the two-line refrain of the poem. Knowing my mother's propensity to save memorabilia, she probably has it tucked away somewhere.

          This sermon explores the truth of the poem,

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

            Only what's done for Christ will last."                           Author Unknown


The sermon has a strong evangelistic theme.



Pastor Phil  <><<








Only One Life


Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life's busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

          Only what's done for Christ will last."

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in 'that day' my Lord to meet,

          And stand before His Judgment seat;
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

          Only what's done for Christ will last."

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God's holy will to cleave;

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

          Only what's done for Christ will last."

Only one life, a few brief years,

          Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

          Only what's done for Christ will last."

When this bright world would tempt me sore,

          When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,

          Then help me Lord with joy to say;

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

          Only what's done for Christ will last."

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e'er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

          Only what's done for Christ will last."

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,

          Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

          Only what's done for Christ will last."

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say, "Thy will be done";
And when at last I'll hear the call, I know I'll say "'twas worth it all";
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

          Only what's done for Christ will last."           Author Unknown


July 17, 2011 - Sheepfold Ministries

Pastor Phil Roland

Only One Life


"My Seventieth birthday finds me in a melancholy mood as I reflect both the span and purpose of my life. Deep reflection is good for the soul."                                                                                                                                        Pastor Phil


My Little Sister, Carol sent this poem:

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

            Only what's done for Christ will last."                           Author Unknown


The First thing that "Only One Life" reminds us of is. . .


            A. Life Passes FLEETINGLY - James 4:14
            "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your

            life? It is even a vapor, (the morning fog) that appears for a little time and

            then vanishes away.

                        1. Job confesses fleeting time's quickness - Job 7:6

                        "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, And are spent without                            hope."

                        2. George Carlin's Quote

                        3. POEM:

                                    "Our vigor is fleeting

‌‌                                    Our best years are brief,

‌‌                                    Our youth passes quickly

‌‌                                    Time's ever our thief."

                        3. Put your Hand over your Heart and listen,

                             "Quick-Quick! Quick-Quick! Quick-Quick!"

                             a. Listen to a Sonogram of your beating heart

                                    b. "Om-pha! Om-pha! Om-pha! Om-pha!"

                        4. Average person will need 2.6 BILLION heartbeats

          B. Your Days are like Sand in an Hour-Glass

                        1. Life has no extra days, they are in God's Hands

                        2. David suggests we number our days in Psalm 90:12

                                "So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of


                                    a. Eighty Years figures to 29,200 Days

                                    b. Calculate your Days

                                    c. How are You doing with the time you have left?

                        3. MOSES Writes in The Psalms, Psalm 90:10

                        "The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of

                        strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and                                   sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away."

          C. Life offers No Second Chances, No Reincarnations

                        1. There are no Rebirths in Human Life

                        2. There are no Transmigrations into new bodies

ONLY ONE LIFE, cont. p.2


          D. I've officiated at more than 600 funeral services

                        1. NO ONE ever says, "Finally! I thought they'd NEVER die!"

                        2. I hear a lot of, "If Only's," and "I should haves"

                        3. Seldom are people prepared for life's shortness



"LORD, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I

may know how frail I am. 5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah
6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them. 7 "And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You."

            A. In our Seventh Decade of life there are Too many Final Good-Byes

                        1. Health-wise, we all walk on egg-shells

                        2. Struggle to Re-Claim what we are slowly Losing

                                    a. Mobility

                                    b. Eyesight

                                    c. Bodily Function

            B. Close friends get Sick and Die

                        1. Cannot control Life and we cannot control Death

                        2. Life itself is an intrinsically "Out-of-Control Affair"

            C. Need to find Hope as we age

                        1. Give up Despair and Depression

                        2. Give up Grief

                        3. Give up Hopelessness

                        4. Give up Self Centeredness

                        5. Give up Deception

            D. Apostle Paul struggled with "Thorn in the Flesh" - 2 Cor. 12:9,10     
            "And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made            perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my       infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take

            pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in

            distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

                        1. Potential to feel and walk in God's Strength

                        2. God's Strength through Human Weakness

                        3. Seldom are people prepared for life's shortness



"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,

            Only what's done for Christ will last."   

          A. Healthy "Why" Question, "Why am I here?"

                        1. For what purpose have I been born?

                        2. Am I achieving my purpose for being here?

            B. Here is a Healthy Secret for Life's Meaning and Purpose

                        1. Give yourself away!

                        2. Find someone who cannot pay you back / Pour out yourself

ONLY ONE LIFE, cont. p.3


            C. We are made in God's Image

                        1. If you cling to your life, you will Destroy it

                        2. We become our True Selves when we Give Ourselves Away

                   3. Abraham Lincoln Quote:

                        "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count.  It's the life                           in your years." 

            D. In Light of this reality, Do what Jesus Did

                        1. Hug a loved-One or Friend!

                        2. Encourage a loved-One or friend

                        3. TELL someone you Love or Appreciate them!

                        4. SHOW someone you care for theml

                        5. Some Overt Act of kindness...

                        6. SEND a pretty card, or write an encouraging letter...

                        7. Put your Eulogies into Words...

                                    a. Too many people give their apologies to corpses

                                    b. Do it now while People Live!


Human Life is Short

Human Life is Fragile

Human Life must have Meaning and Purpose

It's only Found is Jesus. . .

Have you found Him today and has He become Real in your life?







George Carlin's View on Aging

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!"  You're never thirty-six and a half.  You're four and a half, going on five!  That's the key.
You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back.  You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

"How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!"  You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . YOU BECOME 21.  YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there?  Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out.  There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling.  What's wrong?  What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40.  Whoa!  Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!!  You MAKE it to 60.  You didn't think you would!
So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime.  And it doesn't end there.  Into the 90's, you start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens.  If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again.  "I'm 100 and a half!"

May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height.  Let the doctors worry about them.  That is why you pay "them."

2. Keep only cheerful friends.  The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever.  Never let the brain idle.  "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."  And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud.  Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on.  The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves.  Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.  Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health:  If it is good, preserve it.  If it is unstable, improve it.  If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9 Don't take guilt trips.  Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.



I'll be happy when...

We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and we'll be more content when they are. After that, we're frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.


We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, when we are able to go on a nice vacation, or when we retire.


The truth is there's no better time to be happy than right now.

If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges.


It's best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.

Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with... and remember that time waits for no one.


So, stop waiting...

Until your car or home is paid off.

Until you get a new car or home.

Until your kids leave the house.

Until you go back to school.

Until you finish school.

Until you lose 10 lbs.

Until you gain 10 lbs.

Until you get married.

Until you get a divorce.

Until you have kids.

Until you retire.

Until summer..

Until spring.

Until winter.

Until fall.

Until you die.


There is no better time than right now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

So work like you don't need money,

Love like you've never been hurt,

And, dance like no one's watching.

If you want to brighten someone's day, pass this on to someone special.

I just did.