In My Father’s House – Blessed Forever!
by Pastor Edwin Lehmann on July 25, 2022 in John 14:1-4
Christian Memorial Service for David Ballou
Tuesday, July 26, 2022 Text: John 14:1-4 22:2335
Theme: In My Father’s House – Blessed Forever!
One by one the Savior calls His family members to their heavenly home. One by one the Good Shepherd comes back for His sheep. He raises his voice; they listen; He knows them; they know Him; and they follow Him. He gives them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of His hand (Jn.10:27f). He takes them with Him to the place He has prepared. We call it heaven. The Savior on the night before He died, called it My Father’s House. He comes back for those who believed in Him, and they dwell with Him securely forever. What are they like?
On the obituary from the funeral home website was a picture of one of those sheep. It intrigued me. I had never seen a picture of Dave like that when he was young. He was a handsome dude. What did you see in Dave? I would like you to think of a word, just one word that best describes him to you. I’m going to ask his daughters. Kari, Kaci what word best describes your father to you?
I had a difficult time coming up with one word. In fact, I can’t. Because of our close relationship I might use words like impish, playful, serious, wise, funny, spiritual, close to the Savior (I know, that’s not one word), caring, faithful….
One of the remembrances I will have of Dave is when he would help with communion. He would have on his cowboy boots, black pants, a western style vest, a string tie, and he carried himself quite sharply. But it was not about him. It was about the Savior and the Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood that Dave was helping to distribute to the members. It was a high and holy moment for him. Such pictures like that of faith-filled friends in the Savior are great blessings to me, as a pastor, and to others.
You would not know this, but there are Christians in China right now who are praying for your family. Some were here 3 years ago when, Sharon, we visited your farm. They had never been at a place like that. Do you remember Grace chasing your turkeys? They loved visiting your place…the animals…the lettuce…. And when they heard that the Lord had taken Dave home to Himself, they began praying for you for peace for your loss and in gratitude that the Savior had allowed them such a happy visit with you. Those are good memories. They make my heart smile.
But in the last 3 years that robust man grew weaker, smaller, weary – yet always in good spirits when I saw him. He was tired at the end. It’s a reminder of what sin caused in all God’s creation. “There is no difference for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; and all creation groans as a result” (Ro.3:23; 8:22). If that were the last and only truth we had, what a sad life ours would be. We would have no hope and trembling would overtake us.
(I. A picture of hope & eternal blessing for the wearied traveler.)
But what is it that our Savior tells us: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled; trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions (literally, many dwelling places); if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back for you.” What a picture of hope and eternal blessing, especially for the weary traveler in life like Dave was at the end!
Think of the picture our Savior paints for us. As the weary traveler lies down to rest at the close of a long, busy day, he thinks fondly of home – the familiar faces, the friendly voices, the tender recollections of distant loved ones – all and more have inscribed their indelible picture upon the photo album of his heart. So it is that when evening comes after a long, hard day of travel, the weary wanderer lies down to rest, his thoughts stealing away from the busy world to the quiet of his home. That’s where his treasure is; that’s where his heart lies; that’s where he would rather be – home.
How comforting a thought for the weary Christian as he goes through the ravages which our disobedience to God and a fallen world have caused us. By faith in Christ Jesus who saved us from sin through His death on the cross, only by that faith all is not lost. Through His redeeming work we have a Father, a true heavenly Father who loves us so that he gave up His only begotten Son to be our Savior and bring us back to Him. That Father has a house, a heavenly home that will be the believer’s inheritance one day.
In that distant home lies the complete fulfillment of the Christian’s highest hopes. There dwells the Savior who through the shedding of His own blood has prepared a place for us. There dwell those who in faith have gone before us: Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, Paul, relatives and friends – those who have clung in steadfast faith to Christ Jesus. They’re not there because they were such good people, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is no one righteous in himself (Ro.3:10f). Dave would readily admit that. He was sinful too. But Christians are there only through Christ Jesus and by faith in Him. There, in the Father’s House – they are blessed forever!
What a thrill it is for them. They get to stand in the presence of God who loved, created, and saved them from the ravages that life in this fallen world brings. What hope and eternal blessing that is, especially for the weary traveler, like Dave must have been.
It’s because of this that the Savior now turns to us and says, “Let not your hearts be troubled,” stirred up by fear, sadness, doubt.
(II. A picture that calms our troubled hearts.)
Ah, dear friends, on an occasion like this when we remember the passing of a dear friend, there can be cause for great grief. We’ve lost someone close to us. But our Savior, knowing His sheep and knowing our tendency towards sad hearts, speaks for our comfort and hope as well. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust in me. In my Father’s House are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” It is there, where the Savior wished to calm our troubled hearts forever.
My friend, “the chemist, the farmer, the elder” through faith in Christ, knows what that means in all its fullness. Those who depart this life in faith in the Savior thrill to be in their Father’s House above. There is no other place they would want to be. There “they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple. He who sits on the throne spreads His tent over them. Never again will they hunger or thirst. Never again will the sun beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the lamb at the center of the throne is their Shepherd; He leads them to springs of living water. And God has wiped away every tear from their eyes” (Rv.7:15ff).
That’s not only a picture of hope and blessing for the weary traveler. It’s also a picture that will calm your troubled hearts. They are glad to be there; we are glad for them. And in faith we look forward to the time that the Savior shall call our names, one by one, and we shall join them at His side in our Father’s house above – blessed forever. God grant that to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Christian Funeral Service for David Ballou, Jr.
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
This brief order of worship is intended for the memorial service of one who has departed this life in the Christian faith. With the Word of God, the Christian Church comforts the bereaved family and friends and confesses its lasting hope in the resurrection of the dead in Christ. In Him, our Savior, we find joy in all times, even in the hour of sadness.
The Order of Service
Psalm 46: God Is Our Refuge and Strength
Hymn: “I’ll Fly Away” insert
Greeting and Prayer
Psalm 23: The Lord Is My Shepherd
Pastor: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. The apostle Paul writes to the Romans: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus gives us this comfort: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” Death has been swallowed up in victory! Thanks be to God!
Congr: He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor: When Christ, who is our life, appears,
Congr: Then we also will appear with Him in glory.
Pastor: We will be before the throne of God
Congr: And serve Him day and night in His temple.
Pastor: Never again will we hunger;
Congr: Never again will we thirst.
Pastor: For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be our Shepherd; He will lead us to springs of living water.
Congr: And God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
Pastor: Let us pray….
Isaiah 43:1-3 The Holy One of Israel, our Savior, is ever with us.
John 10:27-30 Safe forever in the hands of the Good Shepherd.
Hymn: “Amazing Grace” Hymnal #576
The Sermon: “In My Father’s House – Blessed Forever!” John 14:1-4
The Confession of Faith: The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary;
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell;
The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven and
Is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there He will come
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints;
The forgiveness of sins;
The resurrection of the body;
And the life everlasting. Amen.
Pastor: Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer
All: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hymn: “For All the Saints” st.1-3,7-8 880
The Organist: Jane Rips
The Preacher: Rev. Edwin Lehmann, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
After glorifying God for the saving mercies He has shown to His servant now fallen asleep in Jesus, we leave comforted and strengthened by God’s Word. In faith we press on, awaiting the time He gathers each believer in His arms to His heavenly home and reunites us with our loved ones who passed this life in Him.
A brief graveside service will follow this worship service at Prospect Cemetery on Prospect Road outside of Ozark. Thank you for coming today. May Christ be glorified in all that we say and do. And may He grant you safe travels on your way home.
They are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:15-17
David Gordon Ballou, Jr.
David Gordon Ballou, Jr., 81, entered the Church Triumphant, Sunday, July 17, 2022. He was born January 17, 1941, the son of David Gordon Ballou, Sr., and Dorothy (Rau) Ballou in Sibley, IA. He entered the Lord’s Kingdom of Grace through the waters of Holy Baptism in 1941 at the Methodist Church in Sibley, IA, and was confirmed in the Lutheran confession in 1966 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Spirit Lake, IA. In 1959 Dave graduated from Archer High School and pursued a degree in chemistry at Mankato State College in Minnesota.
On April 17, 1966, he was united in marriage to Sharon Ann Bahl at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Spirit Lake, IA. Our Lord blessed them with 56 years of happiness together and the gift of two daughter, Kari and Kaci. Sharon commented that their life was full of fun, laughing at so many things, even in the midst of life’s challenges. Truly, such a happy life is blessed in the Savior
Dave knew his Scriptures very well and sometimes “challenged” Pastor Lehmann in Bible class, challenged in a good, hearty, and constructive way, the way good friends challenge one another, even “needle” each other. Pastor would frequently wonder, “Now, what in the world is Dave thinking?” Then he would toss the spiritual ball back into Dave’s lap, and all would have a good chuckle over it. His lighthearted, but also most serious approach to the Word of God will be missed. God blessed this individual in his faith with humble wisdom and insight.
Dave and Sharon were members at Zion 19 years, having joined the congregation on December 21, 2003. Perhaps they considered it an early Christmas gift from God. But, as with all our members, it was truly God’s gift to us to have such faithful members here.
Dave served as chairman, secretary, and elder at Zion. At the time of his transfer to the Church Triumphant, he was still an elder, although during the last years of his illness, he was not able to function in that capacity. Still, when he and Sharon could make worship and Bible class, Dave would add his tidbits of wisdom that the Lord had given him over the years.
As we bid God-speed to our member, friend, and brother in the faith, we say “Farewell” only for a time, for we shall see him again, soon, above. Through his faith in Christ, the Lord has graciously taken Dave to the best place he could be, at the Savior’s side. God grant us all such a blessed life of faith and quiet rest at last. To God alone be the glory! Amen.