The following is the text to the Sermon Pastor Clint Hamilton Preached at my Resplendent Bride’s services in Glenwood & St. Louis. He did an excellent job of honoring her memory and proclaiming the good news of The Lord Jesus.
Good morning, my name is Clint Hamilton. I am the Pastor of Hope Church in St. Louis. I have known Danielle Olson since 2002. On July 9th 2011 she became Danielle Welcher. I had the privilege of performing the wedding ceremony. It is my honor to be with you this morning as we honor the life of Danielle Marie Lee Welcher. I bring you greetings from the community of Faith in St. Louis
I know that as I begin Evan and Diane & Kevin, Jordan and Mark Olson and their families would like to say thanks for how you have walked with them through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. What you have done to love and support these families is truly sacrificial. They say thank you for your service/ sacrifice/ cards, and beautiful flowers. These are expressions of love.
I want to begin with a story that I believe sets the tone for this service. On July 9th 2011 Danielle and Evan were married. 8 months later is February and we know what holiday comes in February: Valentines Day. So this being their first Valentines Day as a married couple Evan planned a special night; house decorated, he wanted to do it right.
God in His Providence brought a needy person into Evan’s path that day. It was a woman who was homeless. Evan’s surprise to his wife on their first Valentine’s Day was to share this special day with a homeless woman, and Danielle was okay with that.
The needs of others came first.
In the front of her Bible It reads, “I want to be a woman of Mercy and Grace.”
I believe she modeled those two Godly characteristics.
Jesus was full of Grace and Mercy.
Before I perform a funeral service for a person one of the first things I look for is their Bible. I look through it many times. It tells me about the person who owned it. This Bible is remarkable. It reveals her passion for Jesus.
Danielle wrote out Psalm 119:125
“I am your servant, give me understanding that I may know your testimonies.”
Danielle also wrote out Psalm 119:10
“With my whole heart; I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!”
In 2 of Danielle’s Bibles are hand written the words to Acts 20:24. I believe they were her life verses. Her Passion.
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I have received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the Gospel of the Grace of God.’
I would like to make 3 observations from this text as it relates to how Danielle lived this verse, her life verse.
1. Her life gave value to others: she treated people as if their lives were precious.
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself…”
She found value in serving others. She found value in giving. She wrote in her Bible, “Be a nobody trying to tell everybody about a somebody that can save anybody.”
Her life was not about her!
This was how she viewed her life in relation to others- she was modeling her life after Jesus- servant (Matthew 20:26).
Ephesians 5:1 “Be imitators of God as beloved children.”
Jesus came to serve and give His life as a ransom.
Her life was not precious to herself, but to others- even when it was difficult for her she still thought of others.
Tucked in Danielle’s Bible is a Church bulletin dated Oct. 6th 2013 from First Christian Church. It reads:
Praise and Prayer Requests
Danielle Welcher: Started Chemo and needs a bone marrow transplant.
Her handwritten notes say,
“Birthday Card for so and so”
“Thank you card for so and so”
“Get well card for so and so”
In her Bible were written over 13 names of people she was remembering in prayer.
In the midst of her chemo therapy she was encouraging others and praying for others.
One of my daughters was best friends with Danielle.
She had a lot of best friends.
That smile was huge and contagious!
The joy of the Lord was her strength. She brought joy to others.
2. She completed her journey.
“If only I may finish my course and the ministry that I have received from the Lord Jesus…” ~ she wanted to follow Jesu!
She wrote in her Bible:
“I commit who I am, and who I am to be, to you Lord.”
“I am willing to die, am I willing to live?”
“Lord give me a picture, a vision for my ministry/profession.”
Some journeys are longer than others. Though it was shorter than we desired, she ran her race and ministry and finished well.
Her life was full.
This woman’s passion for Jesus took her many places to serve Him.
At 8 years of age she heard a missionary at West Overland Bible Church and said, “That’s what I want to do -> be a missionary.”
Her life was never the same. There was a change of direction. Her course of ministry focused on Jesus.
It was while serving as a Child Evangelism Fellowship missionary that she learned how to speak about Jesus.
At Whispering Winds Camp she was the kind of camp counselor who gave kids hope.
She spent time working with poor kids through Kentucky Mountain Mission. I just returned from there. She was remembered.
Her time at Emmaus Bible College did 2 things:
1. Prepared her foundation- Bible.
2. Introduced her to Evan- She met this “Nerdy Kid” He pursued her the Godly way.
She completed her teaching degree at Missouri Baptist University and began her teaching ministry at North County Christian School- She taught about Jesus.
She traveled the World -> serving Jesus in The Republic Of South Sudan as a missionary teacher at Immanuel Christian School in Goli.
On July 9th, 2011 her ministry journey took a different direction as she became Danielle Welcher and came to serve here at First Christian Church as a Pastor’s wife- not an easy task. Especially for a new bride, in a new place, in the foreign land of Glenwood.
But she loved bering a Pastor’s wife.
She loved Jesus.
She loved Evan.
She loved serving and loved the people here: having a close bond with people.
Her journey, her course, her ministry brought her here to serve First Christian Church. She discipled youth, children, and girls.
She loved people.
Evan and His “Resplendent Bride” were partners serving Jesus.
By the way, did anyone else have to look up the “resplendent”?
The Testimony of Ephesians 5:32 is that the marriage relationship speaks to the mystery of Christ and the Church.
The way Evan and Danielle loved each other is a picture of Christ and the Church.
Both took their vows seriously- love: in good/bad -> sickness/health. Evan sacrificed by living at the hospital, and cared for her everyday for nearly 2 years.
Danielle completed her journey: faithful to the end!
3. She was a testimony of Grace.
“To testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
Danielle wrote in her Bible: “I wasn’t called to a place, I was called to Him.”
Her passion was Jesus!
She would testify that God is good. He saved her by His grace and she wanted to tell people about Jesus and His good news of Grace.
Where and how did she become a woman of Grace & Mercy?
No doubt the Spirit of God- but it was modeled to her by her parents.
I have known Kevin and Diane since 2002. They are servants of Grace and Mercy. Diane serves the youth. Kevin cares for Eddie, the shut in across the street. One generation will commend your works to another, psalm 145.
Kevin has struggled with brain tumors for many years. When Kevin first got sick Diane was homeschooling Danielle. Danielle asked what would happen if Kevin died. Diane said “We will grieve, but God will take care of us.” Danielle nodded and said “okay” and went back to her school work.
God will take care of us. He still will. This is true today.
Testify. To be a verbal/ living example of Grace.
She suffered malaria 11 times in South Sudan. She had her appendix removed in Uganda. She suffered. While sitting in Evan’s study I saw the calendar for Nov. 2013. I noticed in the midst of all the appointments the word “Radiation” 15x. Cancer invaded her body and radiation and chemo was used to try and stop it. Pain was part of her last 2 years.
But she did not complain. Was she sad? Of course she was at times. But she always modeled Grace.
Grace that comes through Redemption.
Our lives -> sinner to saints.
Our futures -> from death to delight (Psalm 16:11)
Our Bodies -> From corruption to incorruptible (1 Cor. 15:42) splendor.
Easter’s promise is that the curse of cancer does not win! The resurrection of Jesus demonstrates His victory over sin and cancer. 1 Cor. 15:57.
John 14:1-3 That where I am there you may also be.
2 Cor. 5:8 Absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord.
She is with Jesus. Those of us with faith in Jesus will join Him.
I thought and asked the Lord how to end this service. This is how. I want to end this memorial about Danielle Marie Lee Welcher by encouraging you to consider your life today with 4 choices or responses.
1. How do I process this grief in my heart?
I want to remind you that all of us suffer from Cancer. It is a cancer called sin. And it is deadly. “The wages of sin is death.”
The reality is we will all one day die, some sooner, some later, and you will stand before your creator and have to give an account of your life. Jesus is the cure for this cancer called sin. His death on the cross is our cure. 1 Peter 2:24
Turn to Jesus!
2. What path/road/ journey are you on? Is it your journey or are you doing what the Lord wants? Get back on track with what God wants from you.
3. Young people- Danielle modeled a life that was precious because it was other focused. It is okay to be a servant to others. Be counter cultural with how you live.
4. Be faithful to the end. Danielle was faithful to the end. We are still here so we have a great cause: to give people the love of God and to live for Him. We will grieve, mourn, and weep for Danielle. But we will also stay the course.
10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
~ 1 Peter 5:10