God’s Word guides us through the abyss of death! We do not always know when death is coming our way. We do know this; death is often an unwelcome visitor! Jesus died and rose again! Jesus overcame death! With Jesus, death was not the end! And death is not the end for us! Sometimes death’s door opens suddenly without warning, while at other times, it slowly swings open and then we are in the presence of the Lord. The Apostle Paul said, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Rejoice, brothers and sisters in this truth. Death has been defeated! One day, and maybe not too far away, Jesus will come and receive us unto Himself. But while we wait for our Lord, death is real! Death has no reason for arrogance! Yes, Jesus was humbled to the point of death! But not for long! HE AROSE! Jesus’ victory is our victory. In John’s Revelation, we find these words of comfort and hope! Revelation 1:17-18 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the First and the Last: 18 I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. WOW, what a powerful word! Brothers and sisters, keep your eyes on Jesus! Read God’s Word and remember; through Jesus we have a most satisfying victory over death, hell and the grave! John 11:25-26 (KJV) Jesus said unto Martha, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?
HOMECOMING 2019 is just around the corner. Sunday, October 6th will be an historic day for Grace Church. With our Lord’s Great Commission in heart and mind, and following the Lord’s leading, we have birthed a sister church here in Greenville. Stephen and Bethani Bradley came to our leadership with their calling to plant a church in Greenville. We listened and prayed and then affirmed their calling and joined them in their holy endeavor. I’m glad we did! While still in the early stages, we need to come along side and minister to Harvest Baptist Church. HOMECOMING 2019 will include the Bradley family and their congregation. They will be our honored guests. We will be receiving a SPECIAL LOVE OFFERING for this body of believers. Plan to give cheerfully and generously. Let’s bless the Bradleys and Harvest Baptist Church. Pastor Stephen will be preaching and we will enjoy lunch together. Don’t miss it!!!
Thank you again for your kind words and comforting cards, emails and texts! Yesterday (Thursday) we received more cards from you! God’s people, the church, have encouraged us in so many ways! Your encouragement has strengthened us and made heaven more real than it was before Mom’s passing! Oh yes, I still have my moments, but they are much sweeter than I ever imagined they would be. Brothers and sisters, you are making a difference for Jesus sake! Lord, help me today, to do for someone else, what my church family has done for me!
See you Sunday!
Mike and Cheryl <><
Dear Grace Church Family and Friends!
Recently my Mother, Hollie Ruth Kelly went home to be with Jesus. As most of you know, Cheryl and I, and our family members took care of her at home for the last two years of her life. What a joy to know that Mom is at home in heaven with Jesus. As you might guess, as a pastor I either conduct or attend many memorial services. This one was different, it was my Mother. I am deeply grateful for the wonderful privilege I had to share at her service. I rejoice with certainty that she is with the Lord. She made it clear that she was ready to die, to live eternally in heaven. As I said at Mom’s service, death is not the end! I know that one day I will see Mom and Dad again. Pure joy sweeps over my soul, because I know whom I have believed and am sure that He is able to keep that which has been committed unto Him. There is a peace that accompanies the home going of those close to us. This peace rests in the work of Jesus on the cross. Without Jesus no one goes to heaven. Thankfully, knowing Jesus covers the great divide between heaven and hell. If you have are not saved, if you are not a believer, come to Jesus today. Is He speaking to you right now? If so, cry out to Him in repentance and faith and be saved today! Jesus was with Mom when she faced death. He longs to be with you when you face death. Truth Him now!!!
John 6:47 (KJV) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.
Cheryl and I have been overwhelmed by the cards, calls, emails, texts and by the many ways you have loved us over the past few days and weeks. Your kind words and prayers have sustained us. As I prepared to share the Gospel at Mom’s service, I was strengthened by your love and prayers. I know that God is real because He loved us through you. Having a church family, pastor friends, and believers in our family blessed us over and over again. We love you and will always remember how you cared for us in our time of loss and grief. As I left Wilmington Wednesday, I knew that things were forever changed. But one thing had not changed, your love for us! I could hardly wait to see my church family and to be with you again. That’s special!!!
I want to thank Pastor Jamin, Pastor Chuck and Vicki for their loving and thoughtful support. They cared for you in our absence. I appreciate so much their faithful friendship and ministry among us. Our deacons have also encouraged us with their prayers and support. With everything that has happened over the past two weeks, Cheryl and I are so thankful for you as our brothers and sisters in Christ.
God bless you… see you Sunday! You are loved!!!
Mike and Cheryl <><
Dear Praying Friends,
The Lord is good! He is our all sufficient Lord! He has graciously wrapped us up in His grace and mercy! Our family has been blessed daily by your outpouring of love and prayers. Thank you so much!!! My precious Mother entered the presence of her loving Lord just before noon on Tuesday. I am so thankful that in the Lord’s providence I was allowed to speak intimately with her before she left this world into her everlasting rest in the arms of Jesus. Cheryl and I both were able to speak softly to her before she left us. Early Tuesday morning I told Mom, “Today is a beautiful day to enter the presence of your wonderful Lord. Jesus is waiting to receive you Mom. I love you.” I had no idea that by midday she would be in the Lord’s presence!
1 Corinthians 15:54 (KJV) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Honestly, I am sad knowing that I will never see her again this side of heaven. At the same time, I rejoice because she showed me how a true believer dies. She went peacefully, as though she was at rest. If you could have seen her, I know that you would agree. She fought a good fight. She ate sparingly over the last two weeks. I knew that she was ready to meet Jesus. I hope that one day I can meet Jesus just as my Mother did!
Pray for Pastor Jamin and our church as they gather tomorrow morning. I deeply appreciate Jamin, Chuck and Vicki for their faithful work for the Lord. They have been a tremendous blessing to me and Cheryl. They have blessed me over and over again with their good work. I hope you can be with them tomorrow!
Mom’s (Hollie Ruth Kelly) Memorial Service is scheduled for Monday at 1:00PM at Andrews Mortuary on Market Street here in Wilmington. Visitation will begin at 1:00PM and end at 2:00PM. The service will begin at 2:00PM. Thank you again for your love and prayers!
In Christ Alone!
Mike and Cheryl <><
This has been a week filled with suspense! Hurricane Dorian was a formidable threat! But the Lord had other plans. Being from Wilmington, I have been through many hurricanes. Dorian was mild in comparison to others of the past. We did get some wind gusts and lots of rain. One of my friends said today, “And we needed the rain!” All in all, the Lord was good! At the same time, we should be praying for those that took the worst of Dorian! We should also be thankful for the Lord’s protection and safety!
Tomorrow I will continue my message from I John 3:1-3, entitled “Loved Like Never Before.” Think about that, “Loved Like Never Before.” Remember to keep these words in perspective. God’s love for His children and church are beyond our understanding. Surely, this side of heaven we will not fully understand His love for us! At the same time, think about the life giving and life changing power of God’s love. He loved us when we were totally and completely unable and unwilling to love Him! Ponder that thought! The fact is this; God’s love changes us in more ways than we can count! God’s love provides us with the supreme motivation to love Him and those around us. Our lives are meaningless and purposeless without the Lord and His love!
1 John 4:19 (KJV) We love Him, because He first loved us.
I am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Continue to pray for my Mother. She is resting now, Mom is ready to meet her Lord! The Lord has been gracious and merciful to her. We praise Him on Mom’s behalf! We love you! Thank you for loving us as you have! Pray for our services and bring a friend!
In Christ Alone!
Mike and Cheryl <><