Archive for April, 2018

My Funeral Message for My Dear Brother Jimmy

For those who might be interested, here is a transcript of the sermon I preached at my brother Jimmy’s funeral.

Funeral Message for Jimmy Stallard
by Mike Stallard
Calvary Baptist Church, Smyrna, Georgia
March 16, 2018

Note: I preached this sermon from an outline except for the opening statement. I have written it here from memory the best I could trying to fill in the details and smoothing things over with a few additions. It was by far the hardest sermon I ever preached. But a young girl raised her hand at the end saying that she had prayed to receive Christ. I know Jimmy is happy about that right now. I am grateful for the large crowd that filled the church that day. The congregation ministered to my family more than they know.

They say that I look like Jimmy. Even my mannerisms and voice are like Jimmy’s. I’ll try not to spook you out. I wish I could be anywhere but here. I wish I did not have to do this message. If I could, I would give a kidney and a lung to my brother if only he could be the one standing here instead of me.

Death is obscene. It is a great enemy. Unless the Lord comes back, death will take us all down. BUT, death is a defeated enemy, a defeated foe because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. If you know Christ, you will hug Jimmy’s neck again. So many suggest that the Bible, Jesus, and Christianity are irrelevant for our modern times. They are wrong. At this moment, our faith is the most relevant in this cruel world.

Memories of Jimmy
Stephen, you did a good job of talking about your Dad. I’ll say a few words about Jimmy and then share some Scripture.

As the family was waiting to come in, my Mom reminded me of her Facebook post: “Mike and Jimmy are in a relationship with gravy and biscuits.”

When Jimmy and I were saved at West Huntsville Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, we began to notice a young girl named Eileen. We actually talked to each other about which one of us would ask her out for a date. After things were serious between Jimmy and Eileen (who became his wife), Jimmy and I concocted a humorous story to tell her which we used for a few years from time to time. We told her that Jimmy and I flipped a coin — and Jimmy lost!

I remember a time in Eufaula, Alabama along about the second grade. Jimmy and I played our guitars in front of a filled high-school gym in an elementary school program. Together we sang the old Burl Ives sad love song “A Little Bitty Tear Let Me Down.” The applause was so long that we did not get to do the second song we were scheduled to play and sing. Mom and Dad were proud of their boys that day.

I remember the Stallard Fantasy Baseball League from 1966 to 1970. Jimmy was the American League. I was the National League. We used Strato-Matic Baseball as Stephen mentioned. We played whiffle ball in the driveway and yard to do the league games. We kept meticulous and complete statistics. Hank Aaron led in homeruns in our league as he should have as we tried to make things realistic.

We also loved bowling. What many of you may not know is that Jimmy represented the state of Alabama in 1971 in a bowling for college scholarships in Washington, D. C. I was proud of him and bowling was one of the great joys of our youth.

But not all memories are good. The only person I ever had a fist fight with in the world was my brother Jimmy. One time – I think I was around 11 years old – I got so mad at him that I picked up a pencil to stab him. But in my haste and anger, I picked up the wrong end of the pencil! I stabbed him with the eraser. It did not have the desired effect. I was holding the lead end in my hand. When I stabbed Jimmy, it drove the lead end of the pencil into the palm of my hand. To this day, I have a lead coloration mark in the palm of my hand that reminds me of the dangers of arguing. It also reminds me of Jimmy. Read the rest of this entry »

When Prayers Change Quickly

On the way down to Atlanta from Philadelphia to see my brother Jimmy who was fighting stage 4 kidney cancer that had spread to his lungs, I was praying like I had the last several weeks. Lord, please work a miracle and save my brother from this horrible disease. Remove it from him and give him his ministry back. But when I got there to the hospice facility, I was confronted with Jimmy’s suffering. I was overwhelmed by his physical pain. Immediately, my prayer changed. Lord take him home and stop the suffering. He died about 24 hours later. I have cried more tears this past ten days than perhaps the rest of my adult life combined. It is not a sorrow with no hope. I will hug Jimmy’s neck again. But the power of the reality of physical suffering jerked me to speak to God in a different way even about the most important thing close to my heart at the time. Prayer can change quickly when confronted with reality even if the desires of your heart want to go in a different direction.

Memories of a Kind Heart

One memory I have of my brother Jimmy was in the first year after we came to Christ. We were 21 years old. A bunch of young men, including Jimmy and me, were playing tackle football in a field — something we probably should not have done. One young black man (I don’t remember his name but I’ll call him John) was with the rest of us young white men. In the game, John went down with a wrenched knee. Jimmy had been witnessing to him about Jesus and the gospel of eternal life. When John went down, Jimmy was the first one over to him to put John’s arm around Jimmy’s shoulders so John could be helped to a car. As I was standing there watching, I thought of the kind heart of my brother Jimmy. I believe Jimmy may have loved more deeply than me.

My Twin Brother Jimmy Goes Home

My brother Jimmy was born on October 13, 1953. That was five minutes after I was born. I watched my twin breathe his last breath on this earth around 10:45 am on Monday, March 12, 2018 after battling kidney cancer that had spread to his lungs. His entire family was gathered around him. Sunday and Monday (March 11-12) were probably the hardest days of my life. He was 64. For the first time, I have lived in this universe without him being an email, text, or phone call away.

I have posted memories of him in Facebook but will begin to copy them to my blog for those who do not access to those posts.  As of the original writing of this post, I am trying to keep myself together as I work on the funeral sermon I will preach on Friday, March 16. Jimmy was a great evangelist and a great brother. He is still alive in heaven and is no longer suffering as he was the last few weeks. I look forward to the time when Jesus will come and begin to make all things right.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4