Testimony of Ray Marchetti – 2007
Good morning. My name is Ray Marchetti. I am 47 years old and moved here to Dutchess County 15 years ago from lower Westchester. I am married 25 years and have three girls ages 23, 21 & 16.
As a child I would lie awake at night thinking if I would die there would be nothing afterwards, just darkness. That fear would grip me greatly.
As a young boy I was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith. When going to church, I would go through the motions not really caring or knowing what I was doing. I knew there was a God, and I had heard about Jesus, but I never put the two together.
As I got older and got married and had children, I would have my kids go to the CCD classes to further them along in the faith I wasn’t ever sure about or cared about. I knew nothing about what God said about sin. I lived my life the way I wanted just for me. I thought that to get to heaven, I just had to be good and that pretty much if you were, you were in.
On September 7, 1996, my friend Kevin, who was only 42, was killed in a car accident. He left behind 3 young boys and wife helpless. I was so mad at God. How could He take my friend from them and me? That is when I began to ask questions.
At this point I was going to a psychic so they could tell me where he was. But God had other plans. I have a Christian friend named Jimmy. He guided me to God’s word and shared with me that the answers are in God’s word. Since I had little understanding, I had a million questions. So every week he would sit down with me and try to answer my questions from God’s word.
Through years of reading God’s word I realized that I was a sinner, but I still only felt worldly sorrow. It was not until a few years ago when I was coming home from work I would listen to a radio show called The Way of the Master. They followed Jesus’ teaching and it showed me my sin was purely against God and God alone. The Ten Commandments1 revealed His perfect nature showing me how sinful I was. I learned that what I needed to do to be saved was repent and put my trust in the Savior, the Lord Jesus, and that I must be born again and die to self and live for Jesus. He paid my fine on the cross, so I was free to go out and spread the gospel. I felt that need to share it with everyone I met. Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
The Rest of Ray’s Story – 2012
Ray took his new faith in the Lord Jesus Christ very seriously. Being a fairly intense man, some people found his enthusiasm annoying, and his family thought he was a little crazy. But this did not deter Ray. He finally understood the great nature of the love of God that was proven when Jesus Christ died as the sacrificial payment for man’s sin while we were still sinners. Ray was well aware of his own sin in disobeying God, and so he understood the great value of being forgiven by the means of faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He began to truly love God for the first time in his life and that had its natural result in desiring to obey and serve Him. Ray wanted other people to also know the love and forgiveness of God and be assured of heaven and freed from condemnation to hell. That is why he spent so much of his time seeking to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. He even persuaded non-Christian friends and family to hand out tracts for him.
In the early morning hours of October 24, 2012, Ray left for work as he had done for over 30 years. He never made it. The world calls such traffic accidents tragic, and this one certainly was in many ways. It caused great grief to his family and friends. The loss of his presence in the community is distressing because he was so helpful to so many people. It is extremely sad that he did not get to see any of his daughters married and enjoy the plans he and his wife talked about for retirement. Yet, Ray was not afraid of death, for as he told many people, he was ready.
Ray’s hope, his confident assurance, was in the precious promises of God. That included being ushered into the presence of the Lord upon death, receiving a glorified resurrection body in the future, and that he would spend eternity in heaven. He wanted everyone he talked with or handed a tract to be there too.
If you do not have such a confident assurance for yourself, then ask the hard questions and seek the answers as Ray did. Don’t delay the quest, for you may not have tomorrow.
The resources on this website are there to help in your search for truth. These additional websites are also very helpful: Crucial Questions, Please Convince Me, Blue Letter Bible.org There are also many additional specific resources on our links page. The Sermon When Tragedy Strikes is a response to Ray’s death and answers the “Why?” questions
Funeral Message – October 27, 2012
On behalf of the Marchetti family, thank you for coming this morning to remember Ray and seek to comfort his family during this time of their grief. Death is a veil that separates us from the presence of those we love and so we grieve. Your being here today is a very practical way of showing you care, and that kindness is a comfort.
While Christians do grieve, they do not grieve like the world for we have a hope that transcends this life. Psalm 116:15 states: “Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones.” Death separates us from one another, but it does not separate those made righteous by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ from their Creator. He welcomes them into His presence upon departure from this life. We have a confidence assurance in the promises of our Lord that to be absent from the body is to be present with Him. I know this was Ray’s hope. As many of you can attest from your own conversations with him, he was ready at any time.
Our precious heavenly Father, we thank you for the wonderful promises of Your Word that enable us to have hope even this great time of grief and sorrow. We thank you for Your mercy and grace that offers salvation from sin to all who will turn from it and place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His promises. We take comfort that Ray did this many years ago so that we know according to Your promises he is now in your presence.
I thank you for the many that have come out today to remember Ray and show their care for Lina and the family. Bless them for that. Give us the ability to express our sorrow and our hope that we may be used of You to comfort one another.
Father, I ask that your Holy Spirit will use all that is done today to glorify yourself, both in sharing of stories about Ray and declaring the truths of Your word which he believed.Amen
Procession of the Casket
Scripture Reading: Psalm 23 (Robert Marchetti)
Special Music – It is Well with My Soul – Jonathan & David Harris< /p>
Memories of Ray
One of the reasons we have gathered here this morning is to remember Ray. (Someone can read Obituary or I read below)
He was born Raymond Mark Marchetti on November 6, 1960 in New Rochelle to Richard & Louise Marchetti. He was the third of four children – Linda, Richard Jr., Raymond, Robert.
He grew up in Pelham, NY meeting his wife, Lina Ricciardi, while in High School. After graduating and starting work, they married on September 18, 1982. God granted them three lovely daughters, Marissa, Kristen, and Cherylynn. The family moved to Wappinger in 1992.
Ray was a hard worker delivering bread and cake for a variety of companies as a member of the Teamsters Union for over 30 years. He loved drawing, working on his cars, outdoors and football. Ray was an active member of Grace Bible Church. He loved to read the Bible and was involved with prison ministries. Ray brought light, love and joy wherever he went and loved to laugh and have a good time. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
In addition to his immediate family and siblings and their families, Ray is survived by his parents, his wife’s parents, Anthony & Amelia Ricciardi, and his brother and sister-in-law, Vincent & Deanna Ricciardi and their family.
I personally have many wonderful memories of Ray beginning with the first time we met. He came here with his friend, Andy Csillag, because they wanted to be in a church that taught the Bible and was interested in reaching the community with the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ. They became the core of what is now a very active outreach committee.
Ray also had a great love for God’s word. By his own admission, he barely made it through High School, so learning how to study on his own and pay attention to grammar and context as well as learn background history was not easy for him. I had the personal joy of meeting with him for several months for personal discipleship and then had him as part of my weeknight Bible classes for 6 years. He was very faithful and became a good student of the Scriptures. He even developed a small library in his home. Wouldn’t his high school teachers be surprised!
What I will remember the most about Ray was his great love for people and enthusiasm for telling people about God’s love. At times we had to remind him to calm down for the more excited he got, the louder he got, and as big as he was, that could be scary to a stranger. He was a great inspiration and encouragement to me. It is a severe loss to no longer have him here. I count it as a great privilege to have been his pastor, and even more so, to have him as my friend.
Memories by Family
Deanna Ricciardi – Raymond’s Song
Coming home from work today, driving past your front door; I feel so empty deep inside knowing I can’t see you anymore. Why did God take you? Just thinking of you I say, Won’t someone help me, I just can’t get through another day. Seeking out and searching I really need to know, I’m going crazy thinking of you, wondering where did you go. No one told me it would be this way; I never had a friend die so young, no warning sign, no goodbye, just one day you’re gone. Who could help me, where can I go, I need peace in knowing you’re okay. Who will help me out, who can I turn to today?
Then I heard someone say, Ask God and He will show you the way. See, Heaven is the richest place, a place of love, a place of eternity. It was that moment life flashed before me, I remember when I was a little boy, my friend’s hamster goat away; I prayed that night that we would find him, and we did the very next day. Amazingly, we found him in the neighbor’s backyard; hard to believe he didn’t run too far.
It was like God was trying to tell me, look back and remember when; think of all the times I’ve answered your prayers. I’ll do it now like I did it then. Day by day me life started changing. Somehow I got that peace within, knowing my friend is with our Savior, and someday we will meet again. Still, life goes on, and so I see, it’s not all about me. It’s about the light that shines and the love you fee within. The peace in knowing Jesus’ Arms are the Arms we get held in.
Looking on to tomorrow, and living of the day; hoping, praying and spreading the Word of God’s Love in every way. No matter the situation we may find ourselves in, we can always count on that help from above. A Loving Father, A Giving Son, who paid the price. A Holy Spirit’s rays that penetrate deep within. If only we would accept this advice; Ask God, He will show us the way. I tell you, it made a difference in my life, and that’s is how I get through the day!
Everyone that knows Ray, knows that he can get a little excited. And when he gets excited the volume of his speech has been known to go up. One day when driving in my car with Ray, we were talking about outreach and as the conversation went on, Ray became more and more animated. Several times, as Ray was talking, I absentmindedly reached over to turn down the volume on the car radio. The funny thing was; the radio was not on. I do not know if Ray noticed that I was trying to turn down the volume on our conversation, or maybe he was too polite to say anything. Ray’s love for his fellow man, his concern for his fellow sinner, and his love for his God, did not have volume control.It was Ray’s fervent hope and prayer that someday, you too would have what he has today and will have for eternity; The love and joy found through his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Lord, thank you for giving us Ray.
; Thank you Lord, for blessing our time with him. We look forward, with confident assurance, to the day when we will be united with you Lord, and reunited with our friend Ray.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God [is] my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the LORD, [is] my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’
Ray and I over the last 9 years have spoken about just about everything, whether it be the time he tried out as an NFL kicker, or him having to cut the grass at the upstate house, or about our jobs, friends, family, and a zillion other things. One thing we did talk about a few times was what we’d like the other to say at our funeral. You’ve got the audience of so many friends and family, what do you this kind of opportunity to tell them?
Ray and I would go out, either on town days, or whatever, and we’d start talking to strangers about the gospel, and when you talk about eternity, the question eventually got to do you think you’re a good person? Are you good enough to get into heaven? A number of people have said what a good person Ray was. But if you told him that, he’d make sure you knew that wasn’t true. Often I’d hear him say that I’m a filthy rotten sinner! So when asking the question if someone was good enough, he definitely wasn’t looking down on them.
But Are you a good person? is a good question to start at. Think about it for second. Do you think you are a good person? Fortunately, the bible tells us what’s good and bad, so we’re not left to guess. Consider: how many lies have you told in your whole life? I found a statistic that puts it at a minimum of three per day. If you’re around my age, that works out to over 40,000, or if you put each one on a separate sheet of paper, it would reach roughly to the ceiling. So what do you call someone who lies so much? A liar. Have you ever stolen something, no matter of how much it was worth? This includes things like slacking at work, or cheating on your taxes? What do you call someone who has stolen? Ray would tell you that would be a thief. Have you ever used God’s name in a disrespectful way, like using it as a curse word instead of some other word with four letters? Ray would tell you that the bible calls that blasphemy.
Perhaps at this point, you’re thinking, Yikes, well, at least I didn’t kill anyone! Well I hope you didn’t. But have you ever hated anyone? The bible says that he who hates his brother is a murderer. I could go on with more, but you get the point: to summarize: if you’ve done these things, Ray would sum it by letting you know you admitted to be a lying, thieving, blaspheming murderer at heart.
Now the bible says that it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgment. How will you be judged on that day when *you* die? God’s court is not a civil court, where the good is weighed against the bad. God’s court is a criminal court; it’s used to determine guilt. If you’ve done the things I mentioned you’d be guilty. There are no plea bargains to be had, no deals to be struck, God has all the evidence already. God saw you do it. If you’re guilty, the bible makes it clear that eternal hell is the punishment. Even for little things like lies? Yup, the bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire.
Well this isn’t very cheerful news then is it? If I stopped here, it would be horrible news. But it’s not the whole story. This is where what God did is amazing. He knows we’re guilty, but he loved us so much that he gave his Son Jesus (God in human flesh) in our place. Let me explain. If you’re in criminal court, and the fine is $5M or jail, I don’t know about you, I ain’t got $5M, so it’d be jail for me. But if someone were to write a check for $5M on your behalf, you’d be free to go. It’s the same idea. We’re guilty, and deserve punishment, but Jesus Christ, who was born of the virgin Mary, and unlike us, he lived a perfect sinless life — no sins of his own to take care of. He was then crucified on the cross and died to pay for the punishment we deserved, he was buried, and on the third day rose again from the dead to prove that all he said about himself was true. This here is the exchange, Jesus took the punishment we deserve, so we don’t have to.
What’s the catch? How do we make this happen? The bible says that two things are required: repentance and faith. Repentance is acknowledging that you’ve done bad things and you’re sorry. Not sorry like the criminal who got caught, but sorry like when you’ve offended someone you love. It’s the I’m sorry and I never want to do that again. And faith is not just intellectually agreeing that these things are true, but trusting in these promises. The way you illustrate your trust in a parachute is by putting it on and jumping out the plane, it’s one thing to believe that the parachute will save you, it’s another thing to entrust your life to it.
Repentance and faith is the way God’s grace and mercy is given to you, and how your sins forgiven and how you get right with God. It’s not through prayers, or donations, or feeding starving people — all good things. But it’s not how you get right with God. As the verse on the his card says: For by grace (which is unmerited favor) you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Ray and I would be witnessing to someone and one thing he’d tell people is that you never know when your time is up. You might think you’ve got at least another twenty years but you may not make it home. You might not even make it back to your car. You’re only promised the air in your lungs, he’d say. And he’s right. He knew that we never knew when our time was up, so he was prepared, and worked hard so that others would be also.
Please think about these things. If you have any questions, please see Pastor Harris, or myself, or *someone* before you leave. And while we’re really sad that Ray is gone, we know that he’s with Jesus, and we don’t have to be sad *for* him. Where he is, there is no suffering, pain or tears.
One last thing: Ray is one of the most courageous people I’ve ever known. I’ve seen him scared to almost being sick, and still do what needed doing. So much more than me. Too many times I let fear close my mouth, but he was bold. He was an amazing man, and I’ll miss him so much. – Andy Csillag
Scripture Reading: Psalm 90 – Richard Marchetti, Sr.
Message – A Sinner Saved by Grace
Ray did number his days and present to God a heart of wisdom.
Another reason we have gathered together today is to find comfort. There is comfort in the kind expressions of sympathy that you give to one another – a gracious word, a tender hug, a warm handshake, a shared cry. It is good for you to be here for those reasons.
Yet, no amount of human sympathy can really comfort unless it points us to the only source of true comfort. Paul did this in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the L
ord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” Ray’s soul is with the Lord even now, and one day he will be given a resurrected body which will rise to meet the Lord in the air along with the believers that are still alive. There is great comfort in that truth.
Charles L. Wallis expressed this idea of need for a greater source of comfort in the Poem,
“When Sorrow Comes.”
When sorrow comes, as come it must,
In God a man must put his trust.
There is no power in mortal speech
The anguish of his soul to reach,
No voice, however sweet and low,
Can comfort him or ease the blow.
He cannot from his fellow men
Take strength that will sustain him then.
With all that kindly hands will do,
And all that love may offer, too,
He must believe throughout the test
That God has willed it for the best.
We who would be his friends are dumb;
Words from our lips but feebly come;
We feel, as we extend our hands,
That one power only understands
And truly knows the reason why
Such a loved one had to die.
We realize how helpless then
Are all the gifts of mortal men.
No words which we have power to say
Can take the sting of grief away.
That power which marks the sparrow’s fall
Must comfort and sustain us all.
When sorrow comes, as come it must,
In God a man must place his trust.
With all the strength which he may own,
He cannot meet the test alone,
And only he may stand serene
Who has a faith on which to lean.
Ray had that faith on which to lean, but it was not a faith that came to him easily. Growing up, Ray’s interest lie in sports, cars and work, and then after he was married, his wife, daughters and taking care of the yard were added to the mix. He grew up in Roman Catholicism, but by his own admission he did not care about it.
It was not until a tragic car accident in which his friend, Kevin, was killed, that Ray started searching for answers to the tough questions of life. It actually began with him being mad at God for taking his friend and leaving his widow with three young sons. That may be the way some feel today. We cannot on our own make any sense of Ray’s death other than we live in a very cruel world.
Ray eventually had a friend named Jimmy that began to guide him in God’s word. His study opened up even more questions which Jimmy would patiently try to answer from the Scriptures. It took awhile, but Ray came to understand the message of the Bible. Ephesians 2:8-9 became one of his favorite Scripture passages, but to understand those verses you have to start at the beginning of the chapter.
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”
The good news about God begins with bad news about us. Our disobedience of God places us under His wrath and condemnation. When Ray understood this, his life changed. He had previously thought that he could be good enough to make it into heaven on his own. It is common for people to think that as long as their good deeds out weigh their bad deeds, God will let them into heaven. But God does not judge on that basis. Any sinful deed condemns us and good deeds do not remove those consequences. Besides, as Isaiah 64:6 states, all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags before our holy God.
Good works can’t get you into heaven, so hope had to come from something else. The chapter continues in verse 4, But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
The solution was in the character of God Himself. Out His own character of love, mercy and grace, Jesus became a sinless man who would pay the price of sin by sacrificing Himself on the cross. Again, this was done not because of anything good or attractive in us, for God did this while we were still in our sin and rebellion against Him.
Verses 8 & 9 summarize these truths, and that is why they became some of Ray’s favorite verses. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” God withheld the punishment we deserved – eternal punishment. That is mercy. Then He extended to us blessing we do not deserve – eternal life. That is grace. The sole means of this grace being applied to your life is faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ on your behalf.
Verse 10 then explains the change and motivation that occurs in a Christians life. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” That is how Ray saw himself. A servant of God striving to walk in the good works God had prepared for him, not to earn God’s favor, but simply in gratitude for God’s favor already bestowed.
I hope you will take one of the pamphlets we prepared on Ray’s life that includes his story in his own words. It includes resources to help you in your own quest to know God and have the peace of being ready no matter when you depart from life on this earth. You can have assurance of knowing your sins are forgiven and you will be in heaven with the savior and all the saints, including Ray Marchetti
This final poem sums up well the hope of Christians in death
When I Am Gone
When I am gone, remember I’m with Jesus
Then do not mourn because I’ve passed away.
Life holds so many gri
efs and disappointments,
And will you cry because I did not stay?
‘Tis only for a spell we must be parted.
Not many years on earth to us are given.
And when my Savior tells me you are coming,
I’ll go with Him and welcome you to Heaven.
Grieve not because the eyes that looked upon you,
Shall never see your face on earth again.
Rejoice because they look upon the Savior-
Who gave His life to ransom sinful men.
Weep not because I walk no longer with you.
Remember, I am walking streets of gold.
Weep for yourselves – that you awhile must tarry,
Before the blessed Lord you may behold.
Hymn – #343 – Amazing Grace – Jonathan & David Harris
Our heavenly Father, we thank you for your great love demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ. The forgiveness of sin you offer to those who have faith in Him and the promise of eternal life with you. We thank you for Ray’s life, your mercy and grace to him in life. We ask your mercy and grace upon his family as they grieve. Comfort them with your presence and the truth of your promises. Draw them close to Yourself as they adjust to the changes in their lives. Make their memories of him sweet and motivating to also strive to know and live for you.
We now commend Ray’s spirit to You, almighty God, for you do not deal with us after our sins nor reward us according to our iniquities, but with mercy and grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And we commit his earthly remains to dust while looking forward to that day of the general resurrection when all those who have died in the Lord shall be raised to eternal glory and endless life of joy and peace with You through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations for ever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20)
Recession of Casket