Today is filled with mixed emotions. I have the honor and the challenge of performing the funeral service tonight of a very good friend of mine, Chris Gainer. When he and Valerie got married almost 20 years ago, I was the guy performing the ceremony. Bonnie and I have walked them through so many different seasons of their lives throughout the past 20 years. He was a fellow motorcycle rider that joined us on many of the “Myer Boys Cycle Ride’s” which were weekend cycle trips that we did yearly for the past 10 years. Many of the pictures of him on his bike cannot be seen because there is a cloud of smoke billowing out from underneath his rear tire enveloping him and the bike. These smoke shows he would do at a moment’s notice, in some of the most awkward places, like under the canopy at the gas pumps right after he fueled up. His laughter was contagious and his one liners were famous for causing everyone around him to burst out laughing. He knew how to engage with people and was very creative, always doing something new to his bike.

I have hundreds of memories with him. He was involved in our families lives, especially my sons, as he was a great family friend. He was present for three of my sons “Coming into Manhood” ceremony because of the impact that he had on their lives. His tragic end came too soon at 40 years of age and he leaves behind a precious family that will miss their husband and dad terribly. He loved Jesus and at one point in time he and Val were small group leaders. His impact was felt by many of those around him. Everyone knew Gainer and his fun loving personality was an encouragement to all. It was said that there were people at his work place that would sign up for overtime because they wanted to work alongside of him because he made work fun. Isn’t that amazing?

As you think about your life today, keep things in perspective. Today, the things that are most important to those who knew him are the memories of laughter, fun, serious talks, encouragement, and impact that he has had on their lives. May you live your life today in a way that will impact others and make memories worth remembering. Gainer is with Jesus and the memories of his life will stay with us until we can join him around the throne.

1 Thess 4:13-14 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.