Pastor's Blog - September 2011

Dad’s Defining Moments!


On August 6, 2011 our family laid to rest my dad, Winston G. Bess. Dad had suffered from cancer since June of 2008. He had asked if I would speak at his funeral service and it was my honour to say yes. Here is an excerpt of my remarks entitled “Dad’s Defining Moments.” 


Scripture Text: 2 Timothy 4:6-8   6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.


Philippians1:21  - For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain


When the Apostle Paul wrote these words no doubt for him he was facing some defining moments in his life;  moments that were about to change his direction!  That’s what Defining Moments are. They are those events or those series of events that happens in our lives that changes the course of our living.


Dad had many of those Defining Moments in his 68 years upon this earth. Dad was born April 28, 1943! That was indeed a defining moment for dad.  For the bible states in Genesis 2:7 'And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living Soul”  In 1943 dad became a living soul created in Love for a purpose by God the Father. July 18, 1964, at the age of 21, was another defining moment in dad’s life, for it was on that date in history that he married the love of his life, our mother! Mom and dad just celebrated 47 years of marriage together!

More defining moments were when dad became a Father and a Grandfather! However, I want to draw your attention to a defining moment in dad’s life, a moment in time that changed his History and His Future.  The date I remember so well because it was a defining moment, not only for our father, but also for our entire family.

I said earlier that on April 28, 1943 dad was born in the physical, but I am so proud to announce to you today that on March 25, 1979 our dad was born again spiritually! At the age of 36 dad experienced a spiritual birth. I am convinced that this was the most important defining moment in the life of our dad, Winston Bess!

The Bible states to us in John 3:3-7 concerning Nicodemus ... 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, how can a man be born when he is old? 5 Jesus answered, verily verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

March 25, 1979 was a defining moment for dad! A moment in time that prepared him for the life to come after this life, of which the bible calls Eternity!

I will never forget that night. Dad decided that he was going to church, something he did occasionally, and this night he took me along with him, I was 12 years of age at the time.  It was in that service that God began to deal with that Living Soul that God breathed into him the day he was born. His soul, by now, was marred by sin and tainted with iniquity, and needed to be restored back into a right relationship with God the Father.  The bible states that “all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” Further it states “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.” The convicting power of the Holy Spirit that night caused dad to settle the sin question in his life and who he was going to serve the rest of his days.  It was that instant in time that he had a defining Moment!  A life changing moment! 

As the Pastor began to give the invitation for salvation, and as the congregation began to sing; {I will never forget it as long as I live}   they were singing … “I am coming while the hand of God is on me I am coming while the spirit floods my soul, I am coming while the precious blood is flowing, I surrender and let Jesus have control” 


Our Dad,  at 36 years of age, left his pew and walked down to the altar, fell upon his knees, and made an open public confession of his sorrow for sin, and right there made matters right with the Lord. And right behind him, I too followed, at 12 years of age and we both shared the greatest Defining Moment of our lives, the New Birth!   It was life changing and it changed our entire household! You see friend, it is so important between the day that we were born and the day we die, to experience CHRIST!  Christ is our only hope for Heaven! He is our Salvation!


JESUS came into this world to bring us hope; Hope of Glory!  He came to die for the sins of the world, and it is through His shed blood that we can be forgiven. The good news of the Bible is that, when we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour, something supernatural takes place. The Bible says that we who weredead in our trespasses and sins” are now raised up to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”    This means that when we come to Christ our spiritual status changes. We who were spiritually dead and lost forever are now made alive. We who had sunk deep down in the muck and mire of sin are supernaturally lifted up and placed on the solid rock, Christ Jesus. We who were alienated or separated from God, because of sin, are now brought into a position of fellowship and communion with God.


The Bible also says that when we come to Christ for salvation, we are given Hope beyond this life! 1 Peter1:3  3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.


On March 25, 1979 Dad had experienced this Hope and God’s promised inheritance in his own Heart! What a glorious position that we can enjoy right here and right now. That was the position that Dad was enjoying throughout the last 32 years of his life! The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor 15:19-27 , 15 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.  27  For he hath put all things under his feet.


Christ was and continues to be the Conqueror of everything that went before him. Christ overcame death for you and I!  That was why the Apostle Paul could write in  1 Cor 15:55-57, 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Luke makes reference to JESUS as the “DAYSPRING FROM ON HIGH”; Dayspring means “The Dawning of a New Day”; That’s what happened for my Father on March 25, 1979. It gave him a new beginning in life, his past sin, shame, and guilt was removed, Jesus came into his heart and it changed his past, his future, his focus, and his destiny.  It was the dawning of a new day for Dad. And that is what happens in every life that experiences Jesus and salvation; it’s the Dawning of a New Day!


Thankfully dad’s defining moments did not end on the 6th floor of the Carbonear General Hospital! In the wee hours of Wednesday Morning August 3, 2011 Dad had another defining moment when God called him home!  After a long dark night of battle, his body ravished by cancer, weary, worn, and tired, he was ready! Ready for another defining moment! I believe the Apostle Paul’s words were dad’s last words.  2 Timothy 4:6-8 Paul wrote ...  6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course,  I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. Dad is absent from his body but he is present with the Lord.  The Grave is not the end for the child of God and it’s not the end for Dad. Dad will experience one more defining moment in the not to distant future; the Bible calls it The Resurrection!


Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:50-52   50 Now this I say, brethren that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.  51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.


Dad is with the Lord! If dad could stand to speak to you today, what would he say?  He’d say accept Jesus as your Savior.  Honour the invitation of Jesus to come to Him! Surrender your life to Him; dad would say don’t depend on yourselves, your good works, your baptism, but Confess your sin, repent of your sin, and let the Blood of Jesus cleanse you.  One of Dads favourite Hymns was -- “To God Be The Glory great things He has done, so loved he the world that He gave us His Son, who yielded His life an atonement for Sin, and opened the life gate that all may go in!" That’s what Jesus did for my Dad, and He can do the same for you!


God Bless you!