Lee R. Moore

April 23, 2014

We gather this afternoon to celebrate the life of Lee R. Moore. In doing so, we seek to express our thanks to God for his life and also draw upon the comfort that only He can give us.

The Bible says to us,

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High

will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

This I declare about the Lord:

He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;

he is my God, and I trust him. (Psalm 91)

This is our invitation and our challenge today: to rest in the shadow of the Almighty. At this time when loss seems so great, even when life seems so unfair, we can still find rest, peace, and strength in the shadow of the Almighty.

Jesus also made a promise to us. He said,

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. [1]

Jesus was talking to His followers. A few verses later he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except though me.”  The promise is that anyone who has a genuine trust in Christ will find that death is not the end. It is merely the end of the journey. Death for the believer means you have arrived at your destination. You are finally and forever, home.

It’s from this perspective that we want to remember today. Last Friday Lee Moore made it home. The journey was not easy but he made it. We will miss him but we cheer for him.

Let’s pray together,

Our Father, we seek to find you shadow today. We long for a place where we can find your rest and your comfort. Lord, help us to believe your promises and to find comfort, and maybe a little joy, in them. Help us also as we remember Lee. Help us to remember honestly and affectionately. We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

***

Lee R. Moore was born October 13, 1952 in St. Louis MO to Leroy and Janet Short Moore. Lee had a colorful life. He loved people. He was married and had children but that marriage went bad. He met Karen Fox one night and made a pretty bad first impression. He spilled beer all over the front of Karen’s brand new coat. He promised to get it cleaned (which he did) and told her he would need her phone number. That was the only opening he needed. At Karen’s Senior Prom the two of them danced to “Stairway to Heaven” and from that moment on it was their song. On August 7, 1976 he married Karen in Blandinsville. At the time Lee had three children. Lee and Karen had two additional children.

Lee was employed by Landis trucking. He loved to travel all over the country and see the beauty of the country. He loved the open road. Needless to say, he was gone much of the time. When he was home he played music and sang anywhere he could, He could fix most anything. He enjoyed riding his Harley and enjoyed talking on the CB radio.

Most of all, Lee loved his family. He wanted to be there for his kids and adored his Grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, Karen of Tennessee IL.

His mother, Janet and Don Gath of Modesto, California

2 Sons: Jason Moore of Wyoming Ohio, and Josh Moore, of Birch Tree MO.

Three Daughters: Christina and James Ellefritz of Burnside IL.,

Amanda Nicholas of Springfield OH

April Moore and Josh Mahan of Biggsville IL.

10 Grandchildren: Marina, Kayla, Chyanna, Emilee, Marissa, Debbie, Justine, J.J.

Bailey, and Joseph

One brother: Jim Gath of California

4 Sisters: Cecilia Palmer (California), Susan Gath (California), Theresa Waitzman, (California) and Donna Ferrera (Nevada)

His dog: Peanut

And the family cat: Casper

[Song]

Lee Moore was a guy who enjoyed life. He had a wonderful musical gift. He loved to play the guitar and had a great voice. He loved singing Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Elvis and even the Beatles. He is remembered for singing “Jackson”, “Pretty Woman”,  “Long-Haired Country Boy”, “Last Kiss”, “I Saw her Standing There” and many others.

Lee played and sang anywhere he had the opportunity. He could play the guitar right handed or he could turn it around and play it in essence upside down. He was a born entertainer. For some of those years Karen sang backup for him. Even when Lee was in the hospital, if he thought he had an audience he couldn’t help but go into “entertainer mode”.  He loved to see people smile and laugh. It brought him great joy to entertain others.

One of the highlights of Lee’s life was going to Nashville to record a song he wrote. The studio wouldn’t record the song because there was a swear word in it (times have changed haven’t they?). Lee however still had a great time in Nashville. People who knew Lee and his talent are convinced Lee could have done really well in Nashville if he had been given the chance.

Lee was a jokester. You always had to be on guard with him. He was known to twist the truth so that it always served his purpose. He was funny but . . . you couldn’t (or shouldn’t) always believe him.

Lee was generous . . . even to a fault. If there was someone in need he would help them even if it was at the expense of his own family. Lee had a big heart. He was nice to everyone, even to those who did not treat him the same way. I appreciated the years he volunteered to drive kids to camp for our church.

In the early years of his life Lee was a rascal, a charmer and had a problem controlling his drinking. Alcohol made him at times irresponsible and at other times would lead him to get mean and do things that hurt others. Through it all, Karen stayed faithful to her man. For the last 22 years Lee lived as a recovering alcoholic. Without the alcohol Lee was a wonderfully different man. It was almost as if he saw his family with new eyes. He saw his sobriety as a second chance to love his family.

He and Karen loved to ride motorcycles, go fishing and even camping. They enjoyed being together. Lee liked to help Karen around the house. The problem was that whenever Lee cut the lawn Karen had to do it over again. You see, Lee tended to go out and play on the riding lawnmower. Karen actually preferred to have the entire lawn mowed so that it looked nice. When it came to the garden Lee learned quickly that he had two jobs: first, to till the garden at the beginning of the season and second, to stay the heck out of the garden the rest of the year!

Lee could do most anything around the house. If he didn’t know how to do it, he could figure it out. The family liked to say he was a Jack of all trades but a master of none.

Lee loved his children greatly. When he was getting ready to walk Christina down the aisle Christina said to her dad “Don’t let me fall”. He looked at her and said with a full heart, “Baby Girl, I will never let you fall.”  He meant that. He wanted to be there for his kids, whatever they needed. His home was always open to them and so was his heart.

You had the sense that Lee saw his grandchildren as a second chance to love children the way they should be loved. He was aware that his drinking created some hard times for his children. He certainly loved his children and he was going to be sure that his grandchildren knew he loved them from the very start.

When Lee became sick he faced his cancer head on. He fought as much to spare his family as for himself. Just a few days before he died he was pushing himself. He walked down the hall of the hospital and was working on the stationary pedals. He was not going to give up without giving it everything he had. Lee continued to be gracious to every visitor and staff person. He wanted to show love to every family member . . . right up to the last. When he left the hospital to go home, members of the hospital staff cried. He wanted to die in his home and that is exactly what he was able to do.

Lee would be the first to tell you he was not perfect. He didn’t go to church very often but that had more to do with his discomfort with the church than it was his discomfort with the Lord. I know Karen always brought home a copy of each week’s message. Sometimes she would discuss it with Lee. I believe and hope he knew what it meant to have faith in Christ and in his own way, embraced Him. But like everything else, even in his faith, Lee was not “traditional”. Fortunately, that is not a requirement for Heaven.

April summed up the feelings of her family and many of Lee’s friends,

You left us today Daddy

You went home to God

No more pain you will have

No more suffering to be endured

Having you to love

Was the best gift

Anyone could ask for

Loved by so many

Hated by no one

Your talent was a gift

A voice so beautiful

Music played from the heart

Your love, so pure

Your knowledge so wise

Never a selfish need

Those who knew you

Never had a foul word

Know that you are loved

You left us today Daddy

But your spirit and love

Will forever be in our hearts

[Song]

In the Old Testament  book of Ecclesiastes we read what at first seem like strange words,

A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.

And the day you die is better than the day you are born.

Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.

After all, everyone dies—

so the living should take this to heart.

Sorrow is better than laughter,

for sadness has a refining influence on us.

A wise person thinks a lot about death,

while a fool thinks only about having a good time.

Solomon was known as a man of wisdom. He says the day we die is better than the day we were born. That seems odd doesn’t it? When we are born we are on the threshold of life. When we die, life is over. Or so people often think.

Solomon looked at things from God’s perspective. When we are born we begin a time of trouble, heartache, and begin to face various pains and struggles. When we die all of that comes to an end. In fact, the Bible reminds us that this life is really just a prelude to a life that begins when we die.

There are two possible outcomes when we die: we go to be with Christ or we are cast from His presence. Some people mistakenly think of this as a choice between spending eternity stuck in a church service that never ends and having a good time with your friends forever. That is not the right picture.

The right picture is that what we call Heaven is when we are more alive than we have ever been. We understand, we feel, we experience joy in wonderful ways. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. This means Heaven is where we get to experience everything that is good and wonderful in this life and so much more. We get to know God and experience His incredible love for us. That is Heaven. It is not about harps or choirs, clouds or boring church services. It is about joy and life.

Hell on the other hand is not an endless party. If we are cast from God’s presence, and everything good and perfect comes from God it means Hell is the absence of all that is joyful, satisfying, and rewarding. No laughter, no love, no friendships, no sense of belonging.

That hopefully raises a question: How do I make sure I’m headed to Heaven rather than Hell? Some mistakenly think that the way you get to Heaven is simply to die. Not everyone goes to Heaven. The way to eternal life is through Jesus. You and I can’t earn Heaven by being good. And I hope you are like me and are very grateful that is the case. The Bible tells us that Jesus came to earth to provide for us. The mess that is our lives can be traded for the perfection of His life. He died and faced Hell so we didn’t have to. When He rose from the dead it proved that His payment was satisfactory . . . the check cleared!

The Bible says, If we put our hope, confidence and trust in Jesus (rather than in ourselves) we will live even though we die. And I am hoping that this is exactly what Lee did.

This is why Solomon says going to funerals is better than going to parties. When you go to parties you live only for the moment. You don’t look past the “now”. You may say you are having a “good time” but you are actually being short-sighted. The reason it is better to go to a funeral (or a memorial service) is because it forces us to ask ultimate questions

  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Where are we headed?
  • What happens after we die?
  • If there is no life beyond the grave, is life really just a mad dash to nowhere? Is this all meaningless?

Solomon is not saying that grief and loss is good. It’s not. Loss is painful. Tears are normal. But times like this do pierce through our attempts to “not think about” death. We have to think about it. Because we will all face death some day. No one escapes.

So today is as good a day as any to take stock of your life. Where is your life heading? What destination will you face if you died today? Do you really think you could ever be “good enough” to earn Heaven? Stop hiding. Stop running. And open your heart and life to the love of Jesus. Let Him save you as only He can. Learn from this day. Allow this sadness to force you to face the future.

Second, this is a day to give thanks for Lee’s life. Let’s thank him for the music he brought to our lives. Let’s thank God for the smiles he brought to our faces. Let’s thank Him for the things we can learn from Lee’s life.

  • We all have a choice in life. We can make people smile or make them cry.
  • We can use what we have to gather mountains of stuff or we can invest what we have in the lives of others. One results in piles of garbage. The other leads to lives that are changed.
  • No one is beyond a new beginning.
  • Family is where love must start. He who does not love his family will find it hard to love anyone else.
  • Difficult times come into every life but during those times you can whine or you can bless the lives of those with whom you come into contact.
  • Music soothes the soul and lifts the spirit. A song in the heart will give us a better outlook on life.
  • You can do all kinds of things if you are willing to try.
  • Everyone will die. We can choose whether we will die with dignity or without it. Whether we will be afraid or whether we will trust.

Lee taught us some important things . . . don’t miss the lesson.

Finally, it is time to close ranks and draw strength from each other. Time is short and we must not waste it on pettiness. Encourage and comfort each other. Pray for one another. Be there for each other. It is not only a good thing to do . . . it is what Lee, I believe would do.

May God plant in our heart clear memories and genuine faith. May He fill us with His love and guide us by His grace.

Let’s pray together.

Lord we thank you for the life of Lee Moore. Thank you for the smiles, the laughter and the joy that came to us through him. Thank you for his love for his family and his ability to relate seemingly to anyone.

We ask you to draw this family together in your love and strength. Help them as they make difficult adjustments. Surround them with family and friends to love them.

ather, help us all to face the temporary nature of our lives here on earth. Help us to be right with You. Lead us to understanding and to your mercy and grace. We ask this all in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

[1] Jn 14:1–3.