We had a wonderful homegoing celebration for Carlos Lalisan today. About 150 attended. Quite a few former Bethel members attended and it was good to see them all. Special music was fantastic: Bethel Christian Academy school choir, my son on the trombone, Renee Prophet solo, church choir sings Psalm 23 from our psalter, and Zion's Hill solo from Bob Knight (not the coach). We had five testimonies from two sons, one son-in-law, a young man friend of the family, and a fellow Sunday School member (Ed Schlimmer). I preached a message around Philippians 1:21. We sang two great congregational songs: When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder and Saved by Grace. We went to a very beautiful cemetery plot from which was an incredible view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a sunny day with speckled clouds, slight fresh breeze. I read 1 Corinthians 15:50-57. We sang Victory in Jesus and then prayed. Everyone there dropped a flower on the casket and went back to their cars. At the church building we ate a wonderful potluck lunch and people sat and talked and fellowshiped.
The night before, the visitation was unlike anything I had ever seen. People streamed in paying their respects to the family, but most of them stood around talking either in the funeral home or all around it. Last night and today, people freely cried and laughed and enjoyed thinking about their friend who had died. The whole thing went very, very well.
Paul sat in a Roman prison outside of which men were preaching the gospel out of contention and strife. Most people didn't survive Roman prisons. People that went in usually didn't come out alive. Whatever happened, Paul knew things would work out well. If he survived, his prison ministry was thriving, the gospel was being preached with or without the right motive. If he died, he would go to a better place to see Christ face-to-face. Really, death for Paul was a win-win situation. His preference: it was tough, but he desired to depart. For him to live was Christ, but to die was gain. Death is gain for the believer. Why? Better body, better home, better inheritance, better fellowship, and better destiny. To die is gain.