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Senior Pastor Phil Roland


Pastor Ray Scott


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          Last Tuesday, November 21st at 5 pm my cousin, Glenda Strosnider (83) passed away. She is safe in Jesus' Arms. She died with her trust squarely in Him for salvation. Glenda has always been my friend and the Sheepfold's friend. Glenda was my father's oldest sister's only child. Glenda and her husband Carl visited us in their motor home in 1999.
          Like all of us with Roland blood she loved to fish. I took her fishing on the Shenango Reservoir. She caught more fish than I did. It was a windy day on the lake. I struggled just to keep the boat in place. Glenda was delighted.
          When we started the Sheepfold in this location in January of 1992, she contributed the money to make the front porch. It has served us well these past 25 years. She also encouraged an elderly friend of hers to send mission money to the Sheepfold because of our commitment to help the poor. Glenda was an excellent lifelong friend. I shall surely miss her.
          I am baring my own soul concerning my grief over Glenda's passing. I notice my own reaction to the loss was to immediately beginning to grieve my own mortality. As long as we live and breathe on the planet we are aging. The alternative to aging isn't good. The hardest part of aging is saying too many final goodbyes in this life. For me is a time for grieving and letting go of the things we cannot change.
          Human life is transient. It can vanish as easily as the early morning fog at the first light of sunrise. Life begins with a joyful shout and ends with a sorrowful tear. Life and it's season of tears and holidays remind us of our losses in a single calendar period. This sermon is dedicated to those we've loved and said final goodbyes to. . .           Pastor Phil  <><<
November 26, 2017, Sheepfold Ministries
Pastor Phil Roland  <><<

ISAIAH 53:1-7

" Grief is felt most keenly at holidays.  Holidays mean time with the family, but for many that means an empty place at the holiday meals. Holidays with family gatherings force us to deal with those who are no longer with us. Unresolved grief has triggers everywhere. Our Comfort is in the Lord who promised us, "Because I live you will live also."                   Pastor Phil  <><<

General Information about Grief
        1. Mourning is a public act
          2. Grieving is a private act
          3. Women are more overt with tears and grief
          4. Men are more covert with their grief
          5. We have become a grief-avoidant nation
          6. Funerary Grieving Rituals are changing: they are swept                        under the rug and Mourning is ignored
          7. The snowball of unresolved grief at the mountaintop,                           will bury you at the bottom's avalanche
          8. Grief is love not wanting to let go 

Four Things Will Help You Heal from Holiday Grief. . .
               35 Jesus wept.
          A. Tears cleanse the soul
                    1. Catharsis - Emptying Out of Congested Emotion
                    2. Eg. A social worker lectured us during our Graduate Training.                                     She said that when she gets a migraine, she goes into the bath-                                   room and cries from her gut for 5 minutes. She washers her face                                  and her migraine disappears.
                    3. Eg. I vowed against tears after my father's death and did not                                        openheartedly cry for 17 years. In July just after my 31st birthday,                                the dam burst and my tears flowed. I cried openly and                                                    unashamedly for more than three weeks.
          B. Repressing tears denies our basic humanity
                    1. Substance Abuse and addictive behaviors repress tears
                    2. Eg. 25 years ago I ran telephone Yellow Page Ads offering                               information concerning substance Abuse Recovery.  A recovering                   alcoholic called me about his "Terrible Emotions." He was clean,                                     dry and sober for 3 weeks. I applauded him to still able to feel his                                     emotions again after all those years.
          C. Substance Abusers are often triggered by unresolved grief issues

1. They don't call it, Holiday Spirits for nothing
                    2. One drink is too many and a thousand is never enough
                    3. Repressing emotional pain w/alcohol leads to alcoholism

Four Things Will Help You Heal from Holiday Grief. . .
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

          A. Use your words to describe your tears - Luke 6:45b
            . . . For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth (a man) speaks.
                    1. Our words separate us from the animal kingdom
                    2. Animals cannot speak to process their grief
          B. Our Tears and our Words help us heal from the prison of grief
                    1. Stuffing / repressing grief will congest grief feelings
                    2. Avoidance will only contaminate all your life
          C. Specialty Groups can help to get your words out
                    1. Eulogies are simply words of blessing about the deceased
                    2. Memorials are good, but verbalizing grief is best

Four Things Will Help You Heal from Holiday Grief. . .
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.    Hebrews 10:24-25

          A. God has made us for one another - 1 John 4:7
                    7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who
              loves is born of God and knows God.
                    1. There are no loners in the Kingdom of God
                    2. Close relationships are the glue that binds us together
                    3. Loving one another is the core of discipleship - Prov. 27:17
                       17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
          B. Fellowship - Gr. Koin-o-nia - Acts 2:42
                    42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship,
               in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
                    1. There are no Bowie Bergdahls in God's Kingdom
                    2. We are comforted by Scripture Promises and God's people

Four Things Will Help You Heal from Holiday Grief. . .
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

          A. Only God heals the broken in heart - Psalm 147:3
                      3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
                    1. Ultimate healing from sorrow is a Spiritual Healing
                    2. We need God Himself to comfort our broken hearts
          B. We need a relationship with Jesus
                    1. Realize you cannot continue by yourself
                    2. Accept: You need Jesus as Companion, Friend and Guide
                    3. Invite Him, personally into your heart and life
          C. Receive Him into every part of your life - Matthew 11:28,29
                    28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you
                rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and
                lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy
                and My burden is light."


Psalm 30:5b
5. . . Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.






Isaiah 53:1-7
1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.



Do’s and Don’ts for Holiday Grief

  • Do, be gentle with yourself and protect yourself.
  • Don’t do more than you desire, and don’t do anything that           does not serve your grieving soul and your loss.
  • Do, allow time for the strong feelings that accompany grief.
  • Do, play your loved one's favorite holiday music.
  • Don’t keep feelings bottled up. If you have 500 tears to cry           don’t stop at 250.
  • Do, allow others to help. We all need help at certain times    in our lives.
  • Don’t ask if you can help or should help a friend in grief.           Just help. Find ways; invite them to group events,           family holiday dinners or just out for coffee.
  • Do, in grief, pay extra attention to the children. Children are           too often the forgotten grievers.
  • Don't get chummy with Coors Lite, Jack Daniels or           Chardonnay. Alcohol can seriously inhibit your ability           to grieve. Avoid anything that numbs your emotion.           Feeling is healing.
  • Do, watch the food. Be careful that food doesn't become           your holiday comfort.
  • Do, identify the people who will be able to help and support you emotionally during the holidays and identify who may cause you more stress.  Try to spend more time with the former group and less with the latter
  • Do, Tell someone(s) about your loved one. Eulogies are           tributes that stir the memory and the soul. Memories    of your loved ones can be a great comfort.
  • Do, be aware that losing a close loved one causes you to           visit your own mortality. Deal with it. Live in the           awareness that physical life is limited.
  • Do, Remember, it always hurts to love. Ask Jesus.

Matthew 12:37 (NKJV)
37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Luke 6:45 (NKJV)
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

1 John 1:3 (NKJV)
3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:4-5 (NKJV)
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.