One of society’s most celebrated writers was O. Henry. Readers enjoyed how he always had a little twist to his stories and how he was always interested in the lives of common people and their struggles. When William Sydney Porter (O. Henry’s real name) passed away, his last words to his nurse were: “Mary, pull up the shades. I don’t want to go home in the dark.” Who does? I don’t. I don’t think you do either. None of us wants to go home in the dark.

 

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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There is an old Irish folk song, “The Parting
Glass.” It is sung at the end of business at a typical Irish pub,
but it has a more symbolic meaning. There is a part of the song that
goes like this:

Since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I’ll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all.

What a way to go! To see death as rising softly.
To make your last wish a message of joy and peace to your comrades.
For Christians, it is the only way to go.

_______________
J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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A
preacher was trying to put some fear into his congregation, so in the middle
of a sermon he exclaimed, “Everybody in this congregation is going to die.
Instead of getting the reaction he expected, the preacher heard a man cackling
with laughter. The preacher stopped as he sternly inquired of the man, “Why
are you laughing?” “Because I’m not a member of this congregation,”
said the man.

 

_______________
J.
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,
OH.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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Several winters
ago an elderly couple was driving through the Sierra National Forest in a snowstorm.
Their car skidded off the road in an area that is seldom traveled. Jean and
Ken Chaney lived for the next 18 days in that car before they died. They kept
a diary. On the 18th day Jean Chaney wrote this last entry: ‘Dad went to the
Lord at 7:30 this evening, March 18. It was so peaceful I didn’t even know he
left. The last thing I heard him say was ‘Thank the Lord.’ I think I’ll be with
Him soon…bye. I love you.’

How can anyone
face death without fear? Only if one is absolutely sure of what is on the other
side of death. A man named Jesus conquered death and assures us that if we trust
in Him we too can share that victory. When one knows Him personally, death loses
all its terror.

 – Bill Bouknight, Christ United Methodist Church, Memphis, TN

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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Robert Kopp tells about the pastor who was waiting in line at the gas station just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant said, “I’m sorry for the wait, but it seems everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip.”

“I know what you mean,” the pastor said. “It’s the same in my business.”

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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Wild Bill Longley evidently lived up to his name. Longley, according to tales
of the Old West, killed 32 people. Recently his grave was dug to see if he was
really in the casket. Longley had been called the man who cheated death. Some
had speculated that the casket was filled with rocks. It wasn’t, and the body’s
DNA matched Longley’s descendents.

How did he become a legend? On one occasion Longley was hanged by vigilantes
who then started shooting at him. Instead of killing him, the bullets severed
the rope, and he escaped. On another occasion, a sheriff tried to hang him, but
made the rope too long and Wild Bill dropped to his feet on the ground. But he
didn’t cheat death in the end, and neither will we.

His body is in a casket and so will ours be someday. There is no way to cheat
death, but we can defeat it. Through Christ we can move from death to a larger
life.

___________________________
Illustration by J. Michael Shannon, Professor of Preaching, Cincinnati Bible
College & Seminary, Cincinnati, OH.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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Sarah Winchester inherited the fortune made by the Winchester rifle company.
Believing that the spirits of dead Indians were haunting her, she went to a
medium. She was told that she would not die until her house was finished. So
she employed a crew of carpenters.

They worked for 24 hours a day every day for 38 years on that house. There are
stairs that lead nowhere and doors that do not open in to anything. The house
is a marvelous hodgepodge of rooms and additions and cupolas, but she died
anyway, leaving her house unfinished. Most of us will die leaving much
unfinished. All of us will die, unless we live till Christ’s return

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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In “The Last Leaf,” O. Henry told a story of a woman in a New York
city apartment who has pneumonia. She is convinced that she will die. From her
window she can see a vine of ivy and she says that when the last leaf falls
from the ivy she will die. But the leaf does not fall off — and she lives.
After her recovery she learns that her artist neighbor has painted a leaf on
the wall facing her window. It is true that pessimism can shorten life and
optimism can lengthen life but eventually we all must die. Only God knows when.
Every Christian knows why.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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When Daniel Boone died they didn’t have to hunt to find a coffin for him. He
had one already. He had acquired it long before. It was made of cherry wood and
for years he’d kept it under his bed. Most of us would not like to have that
daily reminder of the certainty of death, but on occasion we do need to be
reminded that “it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the
judgment.”

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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We can certainly appreciate the dying words of Ethan Allen. The doctor said to
that hero of the American Revolution: “I fear the angels are waiting for
you.” Ethan Allen replied “Waiting are they? Well, let ’em
wait!”

Most of us are reluctant to die. We need feel no guilt over that. Even Jesus
was reluctant to die. We have all eternity to enjoy Heaven. It is not unnatural
that we’d want to stay here a little longer.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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We all know the song ‘Loch Lomond’ and many have seen that lovely lake in
Scotland. The songs says, “Me and my true love will never part again, on
the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond.” It’s not true, of course. Even in
the moment a couple is joined in marriage, we say in our wedding ceremony,
“till death do us part.” We join them only for “so long as you
both shall live.”

Since death is certain, it would be foolish not to prepare for it. Since life
is uncertain, it would be foolish to concentrate all our attention on it.

Two farmers were discussing a lifetime. One said he had inherited his farm. The
second said, “No, he only inherited it for his lifetime.” The first
responded, “Who’d want it any longer?”

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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