Tribute to Charles R. Ingerson

My dear friend, Summer Ellison is my guest writer today. This past year she lost her beloved grandpa. At his graveside service she gave the following message. It was a trying, stressful, and sorrowful time for Summer, but she could rejoice knowing her grandpa was with Jesus, enjoying all the blessings of Heaven. So, at his service she gave him the highest honor possible, she shared the Gospel with those present, and today she has agreed to share the message with us.

Charles R. Ingerson

June 3, 1929 to July 19, 2020

Graveside Funeral Address July 25, 2020

By Summer Ellison

Everyone here today would agree with me that Grandpa was a very special man, and that he was.  We all have countless precious memories of him and how he impacted our lives.  The legacy he left for us was his example of love.  He modeled love not by his words, but by his actions.  He demonstrated his love through his example of how he loved his wife, grandma.  This made such an impression on me.  Through this example, he also modeled the love of Christ, and therefore I would like to honor him by sharing the gospel with you.

The gospel is God’s plan to redeem His people to himself through the person of Jesus Christ, His Son.  You may be thinking, okay, that sounds a little churchy and I don’t really understand what that means.  That’s understandable, and I have a confession.  As a believer, God is so great and vast that I often have a hard time communicating the good news of the gospel because the gospel really is that!  GOOD NEWS! 

The gospel is, simply put, and in one word:  Jesus.  I struggle putting into words what this means because Jesus is so incredibly powerful in my life.  He has made the single greatest impact and impression on me, and I have felt no greater love and joy outside of him.  And yes, that includes the birth of my children.

All of us were created with an innate knowledge that there is something greater than ourselves.  That something greater is God himself.  God set eternity in our hearts.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  He knew we would want to run things our own way.  That was proven by Adam & Even in the garden of Eden, resulting in the fall of humankind.  We all seem to know and grasp that story and how it turned out.  We were not designed to be our own gods, but we sure try, don’t we?  We try to control every aspect of our lives and things inside our world.  But what we find is that the world is much greater than ourselves and no matter how hard we try; we fail at running our lives and cannot control the outcomes. 

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There are forces beyond our control; people, things, circumstances, all of which are fallen and imperfect like we are.  We are all corrupt.  Our thought process and understanding is not only faulty, but incomplete.  The only thing, or rather person, that can make us whole and complete is Jesus Christ himself. 

Jesus has always existed as part of the trinitarian God, God in three persons:  The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.  God is a holy and just God.  His standard for being in His presence, in a right relationship with Him, is to be like Him.  Blameless, righteous, holy, different.  It is so hard to wrap our minds around what this really means because we are NOT like Him, but we were created in His image.  God is good…all the time.  His holiness is good. His justice is good.  His wrath is good.  He knows the truth about each person and knows what is in his/her heart.  He alone can properly judge humankind. 

And herein lies is the problem.  There is no one who is good, not even one.  Romans 3:10-12 tells us “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”  And then again in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  This sounds harsh, but we know this to be true deep within ourselves.  How?  Have you ever made a mistake, or have you ever hurt someone else or spoke unkindly towards someone (whether it was on purpose or unintentional)?  Have you ever felt ashamed and not good enough?  That is because you and I are NOT God and we will never be God.  We do not and cannot ever make the mark or reach the bar, no matter how hard we try on our own.  Sin is anything we do apart from faith in God.  Think about that.  Anything we do apart from faith in God.  That is huge.  We are all familiar with the Ten Commandments, referred to as part of the Mosaic Law.  God created the law to bring to our attention sin and those things that separate ourselves from Him. 

He did not design and create us to be separate from Him, but to have relationship with Him and with each other.  Since he is a holy, just, and perfect God, the result of sin is death.  Death, through separation from our body and spirt, but also eternal separation from God.  Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Yes, there is hope!  He made a way for us!  While we did not seek Him, in His love he sought after us.  Jesus came to earth as a man, and lived the perfect, sinless life that we could not.  We learn from Philippians 2:6-8 that “Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  Jesus experienced pain, suffering and even death.  He took on all the punishment and wrath that we deserved for our sin.  He paid the price and stood in our place before the Almighty Judge and served our sentence.  Not only did He do this, but He conquered death.  The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (paraphrased)  “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve (disciples).  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time. Afterwards he appeared to James, then to all the apostles and lastly, he appeared to Paul.” 

He provided undeniable proof that he conquered death.  He ascended to heaven and now sits at the right hand of God LIVING and interceding on our behalf. 

God, in grace, gives us saving faith.  He enables us to believe and accept Him.  When we then surrender our way, to His way, we are seen by God through a new lens. We are seen through the covering of Jesus Christ himself.  God sees CHRIST in us!  Jesus lives in and through us by giving us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who enables us to live a life full of joy, hope, peace, faith, and love.  We know that we have a Savior who loves us enough to die for us and give us a new and abundant life because He gives us Himself.  This “salvation” is not just “get out of hell free card” or a “one-way ticket to Heaven”.  I cannot express enough that salvation is much MORE than this.  Salvation again, is Jesus Christ himself.  He gives us Himself in the here, and now, not in the distant eternity.  As we grow in love and relationship to Him, He shows us no greater love.  He provides all our needs.  He gives us living water and satisfies the deepest thirst within our souls.  He gives us life, abundant life!  When speaking to the woman at the well in John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her,  “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

This does not mean that our lives here on earth will be without pain and suffering.  In fact, Jesus says that in this world we will have tribulation, but he reminds us to take courage, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33).  Pain and suffering co-exists in this fallen world.  BUT we have the love of Christ, which is such a mystery.  As we get to know Him and love Him, He enables us to break free of the sin that entangles us and causes harm to ourselves and others, and He fills us with clean, living water that refreshes our souls.  We begin to have a peace that surpasses all understanding as we begin to live, and want to live for him, NOW.  He creates a hunger within us to know Him, and as we begin to get to know Him, we are satisfied with the spiritual food and drink that comes from Him alone.  The only way to experience this is to come, taste and see.  Drink the water that will never make you thirsty again.  To surrender to Christ and wave the white flag is to receive His great power to have the true and abundant life He intended for us all along!

May you be comforted to know that he is now in the presence of Jesus, surrounded by, and covered with the love of Christ.  This is where he is.

‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:21)

PASSING ON A LEGACY OF FAITH

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening (1 Peter 3:1-6).

It is never too early to start thinking about your legacy.

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What do you want to leave your children and the people who know you? I don’t mean physical things. I mean the things that count. The life and death things. As Christian women, we need to leave our children a legacy of faith.

Genesis 12 through 23 reveals how Sarah lived out her faith and how that translated in a legacy of faith for Isaac.

The Holy Spirit is very gracious in showing this incredible woman’s failings and lapses of faith as well as her successes, so that we don’t think, “Sarah was a superwoman! I can never be like her.” Sarah wasn’t a perfect woman, but her God was.

We all have our lapses of faith. But, like God was gracious to Abraham and Sarah, so he is to us. I think Sarah must have had many quiet repentant moments inside her tent that were wholly between her and God and not recorded for us. But what is recorded leaves us a picture of a faithful, holy woman. That is what Peter called her in 1 Peter 3:5.

Isaac, her son, must have heard the story of God speaking to Abraham and telling him to leave everything, pack up and hit the trail with God as his GPS. He heard how Sarah had downsized and followed his father. How she had gone from a well-supplied home to living in tents.

Isaac must have heard over and over again about her long wait for him. How God had promised and how He had delivered.

He saw her obedience to Abraham and perhaps heard how Abraham had asked her to say she was his sister when he felt threatened and how Sarah had obeyed at great risk to herself. Remember, Isaac did the same in Genesis 26.

She must have lived a fearless life before him knowing that God was able. Isaac was, besides Abraham, closes to his mother and knew her heart; that when the trials and afflictions of life came Sarah demonstrated the “incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).

Isaac must have been able to see God’s blessings upon his mother because her behavior was precious in the sight of God. And most of all he must have sat at her feet and heard her speak of God and her faith.

A good first step in leaving a faithful legacy would be to pattern ourselves after Sarah.

Peter said we are her daughters “if you do good and are not afraid with any terror” (1 Peter 3:6).

She shows us how to pass on a legacy of faith to our children and our family. Some of you have already raised your children and didn’t pass on a legacy of faith either because you didn’t know Jesus or because you just failed to do so.

It is not too late.

Study 1 Peter 3:1-5. See the different attributes of a “holy woman”. Ask God to create these in you. People will notice. Your children will notice.

So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:18).

SHINE IN THE DARKNESS

“In a fallen world, we must be willing to face the fact that however lovingly we preach the gospel, if a man rejects it he will be miserable. It is dark out there.”

― Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who Is There

We are seeing today darkness becoming increasingly darker.


Jesus laid it out:
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed (John 3: 19-20)

The light that came into the world is Jesus.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:4-5).

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Remember, dear Sister, when you deal with someone who doesn’t share your faith, the light they think they see is darkness and until they repent and believe it will stay so. Deal with them in mercy; tell them the truth.

Remember, dear Sister, ours is a light that can never be extinguished. Our light is from the eternal Son of God. Live like children of the light.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15).

Remember, dear Sister, only Jesus can dispel the darkness, but he has called us to be a flashlight in the world.

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Shine in the darkness!

Shine on!

You are loved.

FREE TO DANCE IN THE MUD

I just want to lie down in the mud.

That is what I wrote in my journal the other night. Not a very sanctified thought for a Christian.
My next thought was, “Where did that come from?” That came from bondage.

Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. What truth is that?

Jesus said he was the way, the truth, and the life.

Truth is Jesus.

Jesus is truth.

The Gospel is truth.

We are sinners by birth, because of our parents in Eden. They desired to be like God and questioned his goodness. That betrayal plunged us into a sinful, broken world where Adam’s posterity is born sinful and we delight to act out our sinful nature.

In the middle of all that mess, 2000 years ago, God sent his Son into our world as a man, like us, but sinless. He lived a life impossible for us, sinless, and then evil thought it had won and crucified him. While on the cross God the Father laid on his Son the sins of all his people, so that God’s wrath might be absorbed by God the Son.

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When Jesus, on the cross said, “It is finished.” It meant my sins and yours were paid for. And to show God was pleased and atonement was accomplished, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day as had been prophesied.

So, when the Holy Spirit gives us a new heart and a new spirit, he makes us a new creation. We become children of God, adopted into his family. Not based on anything good in us, but based solely on God’s good pleasure.

Now, he calls us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

With all your mind means learning everything you can about him. Jesus is calling us to theology – the study of God.

It seems these days, thinking is hard for us. It is hard to think in a whirlwind of noise and instant gratification. As Christians, Jesus calls us to come away with him to quiet and his word.

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In his word, led by his Spirit, we find true freedom in this life. The freedom to live free from guilt, shame, despair, disgrace, depression, deceit, and on and on; whatever keeps us bound in sin, Jesus came to set us free from all of that.

His only two commands are to love him with our all and to love our neighbor as our self.

He has given us everything we need to do that.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3).

So be free, the Truth has set us free.

Let me end by saying freedom doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want. If knowing the Creator of the universe who is our Rescuer, doesn’t lead to striving to be holy as he is holy, then something is dreadfully wrong. Jesus changes our “want to”. We want to be like the one we love with our all.

Freedom lies in the path of obedience to love.

This is what I remember when I feel like lying down in the mud. I preach the Gospel to myself.
I remind myself that I am free in Christ. Jesus bought my freedom for me.

Free people are happy people. They don’t lie down in the mud. They rejoice.

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So, instead of lying down I do a little jig in the middle of the mud.

Happy heart, happy feet!

MAMA’S MISSION

Hey Mama! Boy! Do I admire you! Compared to you I raised my kids in a quiet time in history. Of course, now, it is their kids causing most of the trouble. Let me clarify that. Not my grandkids, but other peoples’ grandkids.

Where the adult is made or lost is in the home — as a child. I know. I know. The perfect parents can raise a bad apple, and the worst of parents can raise a saint. I believe that has more to do with God than parenting skills.

God created us to be in families. Children need their mother and father. Nothing can take the place of a nurturing home life.

Mama, you already know this, but children are sponges and parrots. They hear and absorb everything their parents say and they mimic what their parents do.

Wow! Do you feel that weight of responsibility? You are a shaper, former, teacher, and the most important thing you will teach your child is the Gospel.

“It is at home where living in light of the gospel counts the most, but for too many this is where it matters the least.” – Pastor Juan Sanchaz

Alas, from the state of the Union and Church today, I am afraid, Pastor Juan is right. If you are the mama of a small child today you are probably raising Gen Z or if they are under 5 they haven’t been named yet.

You have a big job ahead of you. I want to encourage you, dear Christian Mama, God has placed you exactly where you are and given you the skills needed to raise that little rug-rat, or as Jonathan Edward called children, vipers. Vipers was a term of endearment. After all, he had eleven children. But, he was also describing their born into fallen state.

So, God has given you babies to raise into adulthood. Babies born sinners and in need of a Savior. Your job, dear Mama, is to raise them in the light of the Gospel of grace and leave the rest to God.

Here is the greatest encouragement I can leave you with, you can be absolutely sure you are not alone in this. Jesus said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. He knows exactly what you are going through and will go through.

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Jesus knows the path your little viper will follow to get to the foot of the cross.

Pray, model, preach (yes, preach) the Gospel to them and yourself, bestow grace, discipline, and love, love, love, them.

And lastly find a community of like-minded mothers. There is power in shared faith.

Heaven is looking on. Jesus is on the move.

You are loved!