(These are the notes I worked from for my address last night - 2/27/23 - at my older brother Danny's memorial. If you want to watch it on youtube you can find it here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vG5zEMG9mjw ).
Thank you to Tim M. Great word to us; Thanks for your ministry to our clan and this community.
Thank you to Jennifer & Phil for their song that unbeknownst to me was perfect for what Tim shared before and what I would share afterwards.
Jennifer you were the sister we Nash boys never had – especially to Danny. Bless you for being there so much for my mother in her last year and especially for Danny in his last year.
Candy – King Solomon in Proverbs 31:10 asked this rhetorical question, “An excellent wife, who can find, for her worth is far above jewels”. It takes a special kind of woman that truly only God can find that will marry a Nash man/boy and stick with him while God seeks to unravel him and make him into the man God always destined we Nash boys to be. Candy you have proven your excellent ness over and over throughout your 50 years of marriage and especially through this battle with Danny’s cancer. God bless you richly for it! And may He greatly comfort you in your loss.
Daughters – Keeley, Kassie and Kerri – There’s a passage in one of the gospels where towards the end it speaks of Jesus’s love for the 12 disciples He had chosen and walked with for the last three years or so, and it says “Jesus loved them to the end.” Keeley, Kassie and Kerri – you loved your daddy in word, tongue and in deed and truth right up until the last breath. You sacrificed your own families to be there for Danny and for Candy.
Billy – at least in King David’s case (six older siblings) and Joseph’s case (10 older siblings) – the youngest turned out to be the most pleasing to the Lord and the most used by God. Jesus said often, “the greatest among you shall be your servant”. In Dad’s last year, Mom’s last year, and now with Danny’s last year, you have served like none other. Several times various of us have said – “What in the world would we have done without Billy?” So in my last year of life you are going to have to move to CA!
Community for their support, prayers, food
God bless each of you for taking the time and making the effort to join us tonight. And may the Lord bless you for the way you loved on and cared for and prayed for my brother and his dear wife and family over this last year plus.
I have a few things I want to say about my big brother, Daniel Jonathan Nash. And I want to start off by saying, growing up was not easy for my brother. He was teased often about his red hair, and his long lanky frame, and while he laughed it off, we know it bothered him greatly. He was not amused by the jokes regarding his Burger King look alike when that commercial of the King of Burger King broke out. Academically Danny never felt he measured up. Reading was something he avoided for years. He felt for years that he was not as intelligent as many of those around him. Emotionally Danny experienced loss and tragedy and the grief that comes with that - early and often in his first 25 years of life. And I think one of the miracles of his life is how much he was able to function and serve others with the weight of grief that never really subsided. Financially in the first 25 years of his life, Danny struggled to find his way.
My brother had an insatiable longing, God given actually, for identity and value and security, and no matter how much he excelled in baseball and basketball, and no matter how much time he got with his ever widening circle of friends, that need was mostly unmet in his years in our home; and in the years after he left it. Even when he began to prosper financially in his years with Integon, that longing and emptiness was still there.
I believe that vacuum of identity and value and security and ultimate purpose that Danny had and that he battled with every day of his first 16 or 17 years is largely what postured him to so fully engage in the hippy drug counter culture of the 60’s and early 70’s.
Those were difficult days for my brother. The tension that was seemingly always present between him and Dad – especially seen in their arguments at the dinner table growing up did not lessen when Danny’s hair and beard grew ever longer, and his much loved music grew ever stranger and louder (to my Dad).
Some of you may be puzzled by my assertion that there was a deep unfilled vacuum in Danny’s life for meaning and purpose and value and identity. I mean we had intact loving parents, who provided every physical material need for us. Every summer they took us on a week or longer vacation usually to one of the Florida beaches; sometimes to the Mtns or Cherokee lake. They attended our ballgames. And played sports with us in the early years. They took us to church regularly.
Yes they did all of that and more. But here’s what God intended for every son and daughter to receive especially from their father - - and when they don’t receive this – no assortment of other stuff will suffice. I know of no other passage in scripture that is more foundational for God’s intention and plan for families than this one in Deuteronomy chapter 6:4-9
Vs. 4-6 – “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.”
Vs. 7 “You shall teach them (what’s “the them”? The “them” is this call to love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our might. Jesus would later call this the greatest of all commandments),
Vs. 7 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Vs. 8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
Vs. 9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
In other words Fathers, helping your sons and daughters and your grandchildren know and walk with this amazing God should be the obvious passion of your life. Every day, your prayers and your words and deeds should be devoted to this end.
Merely taking your children to church is a far cry from what God intended and revealed here – especially if hardly anyone in the said church is walking this principle out, which sadly I believe was the state of our church in Danny’s early years.
In all those years in the home neither he nor I ever saw Dad open a Bible. I’m sure he probably did open it at some point. But the only thing we ever really saw him read was the newspaper. Every night after Dad helped Mom clean up the kitchen (and kudos to him for that), he retired to the den where he watched TV and read the newspaper until bedtime. (An exception to this is ever so often he would have to scan through stacks of purchase orders from his work, while he still somehow watched T.V.). On the weekends if the weather permitted, we might do some yard work, wash a car, or even run off to a lake or the mtns with some or all of the clan. But if at home inside - that TV was like a magnet; and the newspaper of course had to be read every day. My brothers and I actually had a little ritual we would do where if our dad had the TV on and had his face hidden by the newspaper, we would walk by him to get our seat on the sofa and we would flip his newspaper with our fingers, at which he would growl at us, and go back to reading.
I asked Danny once, “Do you have a memory of Dad ever sitting down with you and having a heart to heart talk about knowing and walking with the Lord or staying pure in our lives or finding comfort and healing from Christ for the grief and sadness we sometimes experienced?” …. Neither of us have such a memory.
Sadly I think this situation was pretty epidemic in that season of South Knoxville’s history. Are we blaming Danny’s jumping full bore into the hippy drug culture of the 60’s and early 70’s on our parents? Definitely not. Danny, Billy and I are usually pretty quick to agree that we made our own choices in those days, and many of them were clearly not pleasing to the Lord and were out of our own rebellion. Regardless of whether Mom and Dad read their Bibles and prayed or ever talked to us about what it really means to have a daily relationship with the living risen Christ, we could read and there were Bibles around. We mostly ignored them and Him in our early years.
But this soul vacuum which can only by filled by God, is very real and very dangerous because it must be filled. It knows no neutral. Jesus spoke to this once when He said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Elsewhere Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The enemy of our souls knows this and has thousands of years of experience starting with Adam and Eve in deceiving us into trying to fill it with his cunningly devised destructive substitutes.
Someone summarized what the Bible teaches from the beginning to end about sin, which is basically living in independence from the God who made us for Himself in this way, “Sin costs more than you ever expected to pay And it stays longer than you ever expected it to stay.” That is – its consequences do.
But there is another thing the Bible speaks much of and that is the power of a seed planted. And the fact is – through Danny’s years growing up at South Knoxville Baptist and some involvement in Young Life in his high school years, some seeds had been planted in his heart.
I’ll never forget back in I believe the summer of 72 or 73 Bob Dukes was leading this ministry in Rhonda and Carleen Reed’s dad’s barn in South Knoxville. I think we called those weekly Sunday evening meetings “The Barn”.
The Jesus movement that had started in Southern California with scores of hippies turning to Christ had begun to impact our area. And Bob decided to put on an all day Jesus Festival on the hillside near the Barn. The night before he held an all night prayer meeting for the festival and I attended part of that. And we prayed for Danny and Candy to come to this festival, knowing the chances were slim that they actually would. But lo and behold they did! They didn’t turn to Christ then, but I think they saw there that Christ was not bound to a brick building and nor did some of the things that go on in these brick buildings necessarily accurately represent who He really is.
Speaking of Candy, after Danny moved out of our home and tried different things including a trip to WA state to fill the vacuum, he started a trend among the Nash boys of marrying up – way up! I think most of you know Candy and Danny celebrated 50 years of marriage a few weeks before he passed!
Some years after their marriage, Candy got pregnant with Keeley. And I clearly remember how Danny could not get over the miracle of Candy being pregnant with their first child and then when Keeley entered their world, he was beside himself in gratitude – knowing how unworthy he was of such. There’s a passage in Romans 2:4 that says, “…the kindness of God leads you to repentance”
Candy too of course was overjoyed at this gift from God, and so she began to talk to Danny about their need to go back to church, something which neither of them had done for many years for a variety of reasons.
But what was really going on here was Jesus Christ, the risen Savior and the great lover of the people He has created for Himself, had never taken His eyes off of Daniel Jonathan Nash. When Jesus sets His eyes and heart on someone which happens before they are even born, He doesn’t get distracted. Jesus doesn’t throw in the towel when they seem to ignore Him (or worse).
He has always been the Shepherd who leaves the 99 for the one lost sheep.
He’s always been like the woman who searched every corner of her house to find that one lost coin.
He’s always been like the father, who though his prodigal son had squandered his inheritance and a significant part of his life, and easily could have died a premature death, ……. when this son dared to return to his hometown in utter shame, not helped by the self righteous scorn of his own older brother, this father seeing him off in a distance ran to him and hugged him and threw a party like none other to celebrate the restoration of his son to his family.
Jesus is the lover of our souls who whispers in our ear day after day in spite of our foolishness and stupidity - - I love you; I’m here for you; I’m not who you think I am; I’m bigger than all the problems you have created for yourself. My grace is greater than all your sin! Return to Me; Come to Me!
Well as all of you know, Danny and Candy eventually came to know their Savior and found Him to be far more than they could have ever imagined. While our parents were never quite able to personally fulfill their role of sharing daily the things of Christ and how to know Him and walk with Him. For both Danny and Candy, Jesus Himself became their “Eternal Father” as the prophet Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah chapter 9. Jesus Himself began to fill that vacuum for identity and value and security and ultimate purpose. Out of which Danny began to learn what God the Father intended all along for fathers to impart to their children.
Anne and I have been driving Danny’s Honda Pilot since we arrived on Feb. 10th. And we discovered on one of those early days that Danny had a stack of Scripture verse cards in the console of his car, some that were bought; others that Danny intentionally had written in his own hand writing; and one of those passages was the one from Deuteronomy 6 we just read. A number of them had to do with God’s intentions and instructions for marriage and the family.
In God’s economy or restoration plan for we earthlings, every generation is to build on whatever advantages or resources their parents gave to them. Danny and Candy began to do that with their three little daughters.
Only problem is Danny discovered he had contracted from his hippy days both Hepatitus C and Cirrhosis of the liver. And he began to wonder if he would ever see any of his daughters marry and have children. He was very aware of both personal friends and a growing number of the rock stars he used to follow that had died early deaths as a result of their alcohol and drug abuse.
Well in that Isaiah 9 passage, Jesus is also called “Mighty God”. So one day Danny’s doctor invited Danny to join him and 2-3 other fellow Jesus lovers on their trip to Brownsville, Florida where God was doing some amazing things through the ministry of a church there. So Danny joined them, and one night while this evangelist was preaching to a huge crowd, he all of a sudden stopped preaching, left the podium and stage, walked down to the middle of the auditorium where Danny and his friends sat, walked over to Danny, layed His hand on his head, prayed over him and walked back and resumed his sermon. He had no idea who Danny was. But Mighty God had been waiting to show His power over sickness in Danny’s life. There were no lightning bolts, Danny wasn’t slain in the Spirit at least visibly, but God apparently healed him, and as you know he lived a fairly healthy life until close to his 70th year.
Well even though Danny forsook God for a number of years and worshipped the creation rather than the Creator for those years; and even though He sought identity and satisfaction and pleasure and comfort through means that could have prematurely ended his life like it did to so many in those days; His Savior and Shepherd restored him to health spiritually and physically; began to teach him how to be a husband and a father to his precious daughters, gave him a great career that allowed him to provide for people’s insurance needs, but also gave him the opportunity to introduce them to Jesus, the Eternal Father. And I’m just curious, might there be anyone here tonight either who Danny personally led to Christ, or who he helped turn back to Christ and begin to walk with Him? Would you mind standing up?
You know my brother in no way wanted to be exalted tonight.
He gave me very strict orders to tell his story for the sole purpose that Christ alone would be exalted for what He can do in and through a person like Daniel Jonathan Nash.
Danny’s great concern for tonight is that there might be some in the audience who are still wandering. Who for whatever reasons have resisted the only One who can truly forgive your sins and spread them as far as the east is from the west. He is the only One who can heal you of the father wounds that most people I talk to have. He is the only One who can cleanse you by His precious blood from all the gunk that tried to fill the vacuum in your soul. He is the only One who can remove your spiritual blindness and make you whole in mind, body, soul and spirit.
Pray for the lost
As I’ve been reading through email after email that Danny and I wrote to each other over the last 15 years, and reflecting on conversations we had - one thing is obvious: He knew there was much more that God had for him as a husband and father and grandfather and disciple of Jesus, and he longed to see God revive His church and bring it to full maturity in Christ.
My growing conviction is we will never walk in the fullness of Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our families until we allow the Holy Spirit to show us in scripture what He intended for father and child relationships, and then show us every instance in our growing up years where this was not walked out and what the consequences were. And then how to overcome those generational sin patterns, be healed of the fruit of them, and be equipped and anointed to walk in His will and way.
I find it very interesting and I submit to your discernment the last verse of the Old Testament, which is a prophecy from the prophet Malachi about what God is going to do in this regard before He returns - - “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:6
Pray for the church