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I once heard a humorous story about the Pope who was on a visit to America for a period of time. On his last day of the visit, he was delayed due to meetings and was unable to break away to catch a flight.
Since he couldn’t depend on his Pope Mobile, he phoned for a limousine. When the limousine arrived, the driver was joyfully surprised that it was the Pope who called for him. The driver became nervous and was beside himself. He proceeded to drive very slowly. The Pope became nervous and told him to hurry up. It did not make a bit of difference. The driver went slower; he wanted to keep the Pope in his limousine as long as he could. The Pope could not be delayed any longer so he asked to drive the limo himself. The Pope sped off and reached the speed of 85 miles an hour. The policeman who stopped him was shocked when he discovered the famous personality behind the wheel. He frantically phoned his police chief and said, “Chief, I have stopped a very important figure for speeding. I don’t know what to do?”
--“What do you mean? Give him a speeding ticket!”
--“Sir, in all honesty, I can’t.”
--“Why can’t you? The law is the law. Who is it anyway that you stopped? Is it the mayor?”
--“Is it the governor?”
--“Is it a congressman?”
--“Is it the president?”
--“Well, then, who is it?!”
--“I don’t know sir! All I know is that the Pope is driving him to the airport.”
Many years ago, a professor from Harvard University was speaking to a class on Columbus Day. He said that there were three profound things about Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America:
First, when he left Spain he didn’t know where he was going.
Second, when he arrived in the New World he didn’t know where he was.
Third, when he returned to Spain he didn’t know where he had been.
A voice from the back of the class added, ¡§Yeah, and he did it all on borrowed money!"
While on a trip to Switzerland, an America businessman was watching a Swiss clockmaker carving the case of an ornate cuckoo clock. As the businessman watched the clockmaker carve out the case, he was astounded at his slow rate of progress. The businessman finally said, “My good man, you’ll never make much money that way.” “Sir,” the clockmaker replied, “I’m not making money, I’m making cuckoo clocks.”
The following incident won the runner-up prize in the 1999 Darwin Awards:
A Vermont native, Ronald Demuth, found himself in a difficult position. While touring the Eagle’s Rock African Safari (Zoo) with a group of thespians from St. Petersburg, Russia, Mr. Demuth went overboard to show them one of America’s many marvels. He demonstrated the effectiveness of "Crazy Glue"... the hard way.
Apparently, Mr. Demuth wanted to demonstrate just how good the adhesive was, so he covered the palms of his hands with the adhesive, and jokingly placed them on the rear end of a passing rhino. The rhino, a resident of the zoo for the past thirteen years, was not initially startled as it has been part of the petting exhibit since its arrival as a baby.
However, once it became aware of its being involuntarily stuck to Mr. Demuth, it began to panic and ran around the petting area wildly making Mr. Demuth an unintended passenger.
"Sally [the rhino] hasn’t been feeling well lately. She had been very constipated. We had just given her a laxative and some depressants to relax her bowels, when Mr. Demuth played his juvenile prank," said James Douglass, caretaker. During Sally’s tirade two fences were destroyed, a shed wall was gored, and a number of small animals escaped. Also, during the stampede, three pygmy goats and one duck were stomped to death.
As for Demuth, it took a team of medics and zoo caretakers’ to remove his hands from her buttocks. First, the animal had to be captured and calmed down. However, during this process the laxatives began to take hold and Mr. Demuth was repeatedly showered with over 30 gallons of rhino diarrhea.
"It was tricky. We had to calm her down, while at the same time shield our faces from being pelted with rhino dung. I guess you could say that Mr. Demuth was into it up to his neck. Once she was under control, we had three people with shovels working to keep an air passage open for Mr. Demuth. We were able to tranquilize her and apply a solvent to remove his hands from her rear," said Douglass. "I ...
Mrs. Monroe lives in Darlington, Maryland. She’s the mother of 8 children. And except for a few interesting experiences, she’s just like any other mother across America. One experience was so unique that John Haggai put it in his book: “How to Win Over Worry.”
She came home one afternoon from the grocery store and walked into her home and everything looked pretty much the same, though it was a little bit quieter than usual. She looked into the middle of the living room and 5 of her darlings were sitting around in a circle, exceedingly quiet, doing something, with something in the middle of a circle. So she put down the sacks of groceries and walked over closely and looked and saw that they were playing with 5 of the cutest skunks you can imagine.
She was instantly terrified and she said, “Run children, run! Each child grabbed a skunk and ran, in 5 different directions. She was beside herself and screamed louder, more frantically, with great gusto. It so scared the children that each one squeezed his skunk! As the writer put it, “Skunks don’t like to be squeezed!”
John Haggai, in Swindoll, Oxcart, p. 207
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
Brian La Croix
#3 – We Get a New Family
November 4, 2007
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT USED IN MY MESSAGES IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
We’ve been looking at different benefits or blessings of following Christ – living for Him, and not just giving Him lip-service.
One of the things that’s easy for preachers to do is to continually call for a commitment of some kind. And I’m going to be doing that today as well.
But I’d really like to spend most of the time talking about how awesome the family of God is and why it’s a blessing to be part of it.
We: I think all of us, whether it’s obvious to us or not, long to belong. We want to be part of something that is living and active, and that makes feel like we’re a vital part of that.
Families are the ideal place for all of that. That’s part of the way God designed families. Successful families are made up of people who are made to feel like they belong and that their contributions to the family, no matter how small, are appreciated and valuable.
When you put your faith in Christ, you become a member of the family of God. The heavenly Father becomes your Father. You’re adopted into His family as His child. And that’s no small thing, let me tell you.
John 1:12-13 –
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
You gain a heavenly Father, and you gain a heavenly brother as well.
Hebrews 2:11 –
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
And not only do you gain a heavenly Father and a heavenly Brother, you also gain a great and wonderful family comprised of millions and millions of people who have joined that family as well, and who want only the best for you as you become part of it as well.
This church is part of that awesome family, and it’s my desire that this part of the family becomes all it can be to love and support the family of God in our area.
God: The passage that I want to deal with today goes a bit more into what being part of the family of God is all about.
Ephesians 2:19-22 –
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
[Thanks to Jim Drake for the following outline points (SermonCentral.com)]
This passage gives us three things that each member of the family of God shares with one another:
1. The family shares a common foundation (vv. 19-20).
It says here in verses 19-20 that God’s household is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and even that foundation is built on the cornerstone of Christ.
Without Christ, the whole thing crumbles. It exists because of Christ and survives because of Him.
You don’t get into without Him.
God’s family is built on Christ – He is the one who sets everything in the right direction.
Unfortunately, sometimes some of the “bricks” seem to think they need to go in a different direction, and the wall can look kinda funny.
And if it goes too far, that whole portion of the building can collapse – because they’re no longer building on the foundation but on their own shaky strength.
So we need to be careful that everything we do in life is based and built on the foundation of Christ and His Word.
Then we can count on the blessings of God in and through His family.
The second thing we have in common is that…
2. The family shares a common design (vv. 21).
Verse 21 tells us that in Christ the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple to the Lord.
This doesn’t happen by accident. It happens by design.
All of us are different – we have different gifts, talents, different temperaments, different financial situations, different jobs, different clothing styles…
But for some reason God saw fit to take all that and make it work for His grand design to make us a temple of God.
You’re all familiar with Lego’s right? Have any of you ever been to Legoland at the Mall of America?
It’s a place where kids and adults who haven’t grown up can go and just put stuff together. You can’t take them home, but you can just play.
If a person was inclined to do so, they could spend hours and hours there, just making stuff.
They’ve got these huge Lego creations there. Dinosaurs, space ships, and all kinds of stuff. It’s really awesome, especially when you take the time to really look at what it took to make those things.
You know the amazing thing – it takes legos of all shapes, sizes, and colors. And you know what? When they’re put together just the right way, something cool comes out of it.
Think for a moment about what you could build with only one kind of Lego: basically you could build a really big brick – because that’s what Legos are – bricks.
“Hey check out my brick! Whaddya think of that?” “Wow. Just like mine – only smaller.”
But the family of God isn’t like a single Lego brick. It takes a whole lot more than that to make the kind of family that God has in mind.
And it’s not like He just said, “Well, this is all I’ve got to work with, so I’ll just make the best of it and hope it doesn’t fall apart.
He designed us this way. He designed us to fit perfectly into His plan as a family that will glorify Him, with all our differences in mind.
I know what you’re thinking: you mean my weirdo brother-in-law, too? Yup. If he’s a believer in Jesus. I know – it doesn’t seem possible, but with God, even that is possible, folks.
God has designed His family to be built up in a way that brings Him glory. One of the benefits of being part of that family is that we get to be part of that wonderful design.
THE QUITTERS CLUB
One of the largest organizations in America is the Quitters Club. The reason you’ve never heard of the Quitters Club is because they never meet–the members quit coming. There are no dues–the members quit paying them.
The Quitters Club is comprised of people who faced a tough job, a tough marriage, a tough sickness, or a tough failure–and they quit. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. But the going gets tough, the quitters get going...away. What we need in America and in the church are people who will exhibit good, old-fashioned “sticktoitiveness.” That’s probably not even a word, but it needs to be!
SOURCE: Dr. David O. Dykes in "P.U.S.H. – Pray Until Something Happens!" on www.sermoncentral.com.
When it comes to life’s circumstances and what goes on each day, how do you respond with gratitude, grit, or grouch? And is your response determined by your circumstance or by your character?
I have come up with a quiz to assess your response. Let’s start with question 1: You are in the 10 item, cash only line at Vons with your 2 cans of green beans and 1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup with a fresh $20 bill from your ATM machine in your hand. The person in front of you has 15 items and a checkbook in their back pocket. How do you respond?
A. Gratitude for the Green Bean Bake your family will enjoy.
B. Grit your teeth and wonder if the guy ahead of you failed math or reading.
C. Yell at the cashier, “Checkout Line Violation -- 15 items! 15 items!”
Question 2: You receive a letter from the IRS, stating you will soon be receiving a $1,000 refund on your tax return, how do you respond?
A. Gratitude to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
B. Grit your teeth about the other $10,000 you paid in taxes last year.
C. Rip the letter to shreds while demanding more.
Question 3: You receive a letter from the IRS, stating you will be audited. How do you respond?
A. Gratitude to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
B. Clench the phone and call your accountant.
C. Write the Union Tribune an angry letter about tax oppression in the USA.
Question 4: You are driving your daughter to school, and as you drop her off, the car in front of you decides to just park there, trapping you in the school parking lot. How do you respond?
A. You look out the window and give thanks for this time to stop and smell the roses and car fumes.
B. Grab the steering wheel tighter as steam comes out of your ears.
C. Honk your horn continuously until you sound out “move your car” in Morse code.
Question 5: You are watching your football team play on Sunday, and they win by a touchdown in a close game. How do you respond?
A. Stand up and start singing “San Diego Super Chargers”!
B. Wring your hands over the game next week.
C. Call a sports radio stat...
I remember standing before the congregation at Inverness Scotland. I announced the subject of my sermon. Today I will be preaching on marriage. I could see smiles and hear laughter coming from the congregation. I do not like to be laughed at, but I suppose on this day I should have expected it.
In response to the laughter, I told them, “I know what you are thinking. You are standing before us ready to speak about marriage and you yourself were married only eight days back in America. Now you have come to Scotland on your honeymoon and are speaking on marriage? Come back after you have been married ten or eleven years and then we will listen to what you have to say about marriage.”
In all fairness to the people who were laughing that day, there is a different dynamic to marriage now, than I experienced eight days following my wedding. A fourth standard child in school, a four month old puppy, and a child expected in two weeks all bring new challenges that a newly married husband does not face.
However, it is now eleven years since that day in Scotland when I spoke on marriage, just eight days after my wedding. A lot has changed in those eleven years, but my message on marriage, and the thoughts I want to share now, are basically as it was eleven years ago on the honeymoon. Why? Because the message is based on what the Bible says about marriage and that does not change.
If I’m lost in one of the great wildernesses of America, I don’t want Donald Trump to be my guide — give me Survivorman! Give me Grizzly Adams! Give me someone who can get me home. In the jungle of life, I know only one unfailing guide.