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Irene Pepperberg, a visiting professor of animal behavior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is teaching a parrot how to surf the Internet. "Parrots are very social creatures," she says,
but people who own them "leave them alone eight or nine hours a day." She says that leads to boredom and stress, and that leads to behavioral problems. She is developing special bird-enabled software, "InterPet Explorer", to make it easier for the animals to find sites of interest, such as those showing wildlife and music, or perhaps even chat rooms populated only by animals.
-That’s all I need - my dog, Snuggles, coming up to me and saying “Dad, can you punch in the credit card number. I found some rawhide chew bones on the Internet that will help me reduce stress and boredom”. Or, “Can we take a walk. I met a bull dog in an internet chat room and he just lives right down the street.”
-But stress and boredom have led to behavioral problems in humans as well. Satan has geared modern technology to offer internet sites and videos and DVDs that fit with his perfect plan of offering alternatives to God’s peace and love and joy. Satan’s plan is to get all men entangled in some form of pornography.
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.
BUMPER STICKER WAS SEEN THAT TOLD THE STORY OF HUMANS TRYING TO CONTROL LIFE -
"EAT RIGHT, LIVE RIGHT, STILL DIE"
We went to Disneyland a few weeks ago and stood in line together for the 3-D movie, “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience.” I promised my son there was nothing in there that could hurt him when we walked in to sit down, because he was afraid of the dark and unfamiliar theater.
When we sat down, I noticed some round, metal grids on both sides of every chair in front of us… and I figured they must just be little surround sound speakers. Even I was curious about what to expect before the movie began.
An announcer asked everyone to put on the 3-D glasses and the movie made everyone feel as if we had been shrunken along with the whole audience. The problem was that Thomas was starting to believe that what he saw through those glasses was real, instead of believing what I had told him: that it was just a movie, and that nothing would hurt him. But as soon as the movie began, he was immersed in the illusion and started to believe he was really in danger, even though I assured him there was nothing to worry about.
Then, in the middle of the movie, they let out hundreds of rats and mice into the audience… Just a visual effect, right? That’s what I thought until I actually felt them brushing past my legs! That’s what surprised me most… I could feel those mice from the movie. I could feel the wet spray when the giant dog sneezed at the audience. The unpredictable effects were pretty convincing, which I realized even more so when I looked over at my son, legs up, cringing in his seat…
Those little metal grids weren’t surround sound speakers at all. They were pressurized air nozzles that blew on your legs to make you feel the mic...
WHO ARE THOSE MASKED MEN?
Some of you would have no idea of who I am talking about when I speak of the LONE RANGER. He is way before your time and he doesn't fit into our culture anymore. Pity. He had a strict moral code and even the actor, Clayton Moore, was a great ROLE MODEL for children.
Actually, the Lone Ranger was rarely alone. He hung around with his Indian sidekick Tonto). He rode a WHITE STALLION (I never liked the white stallion as much as Zorro's Tornado. I guess I liked the black look. I still wear black, but without the cape and mask. They seem to suit Antonio Banderas better).
Anyway, the Lone Ranger would be introduced each episode with the tune of the WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE (then Robin Hood got in on the act and used the same theme music). Towards the end of each episode, as the Lone Ranger galloped away towards the sunset, he would shout to his stallion "Hi-yo, Silver, away!" No-one ever asked what "HI-YO" meant or why he said it, but this was inevitably followed by someone asking "Who was that masked man, anyway?"
And that's the question I find myself asking when I get to Genesis 18. Abraham meets with 3 men with SECRET IDENTITIES. He doesn't even ask them who they are? All we know is that they are more powerful than either Zorro or the Lone Ranger and their theme tune would more appropriately be HANDEL'S MESSIAH.
Genesis 18:1-2 (NLT) mysteriously speaks of 3 men who visit Abraham. WHO ARE THESE MASKED MEN? (OK, so they are not wearing literal masks but they're real identities are masked from us. Who are they?) I know that One of them is the Lord Himself in human form from later on in the passage, but WHY THREE? The Lord and two angels? The Lord and two prophets? The Trinity in human form? Did the Lord need witnesses concerning the promises He was about to make with Abraham and then the judgment He inflicted on Sodom?
This is all a bit weird and Abraham starts to act even more weird, bowing down, washing their feet, feeding them and waiting on them like a servant before he even asks them who they are and what they are doing here. Even then he doesn't ask the questions I am dying to ask. He had to be interested, surely?
The visitors seem more interested in asking the questions and after Abraham waits on them like a servant and provides a barbeque lunch, they ignore him and ask about his wife, calling her by name (Genesis 18:9). How did they know Abraham's wife was Sarah? And why are they so interested in his wife anyway?
Then comes the bombshell!
In Genesis 18:10 one of them says, "I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!" Now this is a nice positive word to leave with a couple to encourage them when they have been trying to have a child, but it's a bit cruel to say to a couple who are BEYOND CHILD BEARING AGE and have always wanted children of their own. They don't know Abraham's wife. SHE IS 90 YEARS OLD! Abraham himself is certainly no spring chicken!
"Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. ... she laughed silently to herself..." (Genesis 18:12). I mentioned this story to some women in their 90's the other day (I work in an aged care facility) and THEY LAUGHED TOO!
In 2006 CBS News reported on a 62-year-old woman, Janise Wulf, who "gave birth to a healthy 6-pound, 9-ounce baby boy, becoming one of the oldest women in the world to successfully bear a child." CBS didn't mention Sarah.
In Genesis 18:14 the Lord says, "IS ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD?"
The answer to that question is "NO." It is the most important question in the Bible in a way. It needed to be answered by Sarah as she took a step of faith in believing God. It's a more important question than "WHO WERE THOSE MASKED MEN, ANYWAY?" or "How did they hear Sarah laugh? Why did they eat a meal if they are angels?" and all the other questions I have about that passage. When it all comes down to it, the really important thing I need to decide about the Lord is whether He is TOTALLY ABLE to direct my life or not. When I get that right then I have acknowledged that Jesus Christ is Lord of my life.
There was bright student in school who had a problem pronouncing the word "Electricity", for it would always roll out of his mouth as "ElectriKITTY". Now his sympathetic, empathetic class teacher with an intention to help, wanted matters to be set right with proper training at his ward's home itself. So the teacher went to his pupil's home and explained the issue to the composed, well-educated, highly-placed (in society) dad who after a patient hearing sighed "You see that is not my son's fault, it is beyond his capaKITTY to pronounce the word electriKITTY properly".
Just as the teacher was recoiling from a shock, in walked the erudite grandfather who had overheard the conversation from a nearby room " Sir", the grey gent pleaded "Please do not make publiKITTY, about this problem running in our family for generations".
We smile. Are only speech "impairments" inherited from our parents? Is not the deep down sin problem also "transmitted" which all began in the Garden of Eden, when our first parents sank their teeth into the forbidden? No wonder the Scripture says "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" Was not the Saviour sent specifically for performing the much-needed "heart --transplantation" operation (Ezekiel 36:26)?
Proverbs compares fools to dogs. We're all like fools, like dogs sometimes, aren't we? But to become God's friend, you don’t have to go to the human equivalent of dog obedience school, but instead he loves you right now even though you do messes all over the place. All you have to do to become his friend is admit you’ve made a mess (that is sin) and ask him to come and clean it up so you can start again with Jesus your Saviour, Lord and friend.
When Jesus comes into your life, he impacts it in so many amazing ways. He comes as your Saviour, which means wipes away all the mess or sin from our life so we can be with him in heaven when we die. As our Lord he is our loving leader ready to direct us through life. And as our friend, Jesus is always there ready to listen and pay attention to us.
For those of you who think that by cutting down on the messes you do, or by running away and keeping yourself busy playing with others will do – it won’t. The bible says that one day we will all be judged for our life. And that there is no way we can make up for all the mess we have done in the past. Our only hope is to be restored back into relationship with God, that is what happens by becoming a Christian.
A woman was trying to raise her daughter as a Christian. However, she was getting very little support from her husband who thought Christianity was ridiculous. In fact, he often tried to undermine her efforts.
One Sunday, the mother and her daughter were coming home from worship and the daughter was excited about learning about creation. Her mother went over the story with her and added some details that weren’t covered in junior church. God created Adam. Then God created Eve. And it was pretty exciting to think that God had done all this and that both of them were created by God in God’s image.
The daughter got home and with grand excitement told her father all that she learned. When she was finished, he said, “Honey, I know you are very excited about this but I need to tell that what the church is teaching is just a story. There may be some lessons to be learned about being a good person. But it is a story that is just not supported by science.” So he told her about evolution and how humans were descendents from apes. The little girls took it all in with a somber face and said that she understood. “I know that you...
SIX-YEAR-OLD WITH WEIRD NAME REFUSED BIRTH CERTIFICATE
MOSCOW, February 18 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow authorities have refused to issue a birth certificate to a six-year-old boy, whose parents named him BOCh RVF 26062002, a records chief told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
Registration officials refused to register the boy’s name, which translates into a Russian acronym for Biological Human Object of the Voronin-Frolov Genus (DoB) June 6, 2002, to "protect the boy’s own interests." The parents have insisted on registering the name.
"This case has been reviewed by several judicial agencies; however, the parents have been denied the right to register the child with that name," Tatyana Ushakova said. "This was done to protect the interests of the boy. His parents need to think about the boy and how he can live with a name like that and not think about their own ambitions."
Ushakova said that there is no legislation in Russia against giving children odd names. She also said that the parents referred their case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg; however, the complaint was turned down.
In 2008, a number of other odd names were registered in Russia, including the English equivalent of North, Dolphin, Wind, and Moon. However, in 2005 the names Leaf Salad, Aviation Dispatcher, Russia, Privatization, Cool, Viagra and Simply a Hero were registered.
However, the Russian names are somewhat tame compared to New Zealand, where last year a family court judge made a nine-year-old girl a ward of the court in order to change her name from Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.
The judge Rob Murfitt said at the time, "The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child’s parents have shown in choosing this name. It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily."
Murfitt gave a list of names that registrars had refused to register, including Sex Fruit, Keenan Got Lucy and Fish and Chips. However the names Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence somehow got through."
Sermon Central Staff
HONEY ALL THE WAY DOWN
In one of his famous escapades, Winnie the Pooh, this lovable toy bear, tries to trap an elephant--or, as he pronounces it, a heffalump.
So Pooh digs a hole to catch the heffalump, and decides to bait the trap with some of his own favorite food: honey. But of course, it is very hard for Winnie the Pooh to part with honey, and he just can't bear to leave a whole jar of it in the trap, so he starts to eat some of it himself...excusing himself with the thought that it's important to make sure it really is honey, all the way down. It wouldn't do to have anything else, perhaps cheese or something, at the bottom. And so of course, by the time Winnie the Pooh is finally sure that it was honey all the way down the jar is empty!
For Pooh, what matters is what the jar really contains, all the way down. If it's only got honey at the top, but something quite different underneath, then what's the point?
And this is what lies at the heart of what Jesus says about the Pharisees and their purity laws. What's the point of keeping all the purity laws if underneath one is not the kind of person God always had in mind?
What sort of person did God always have in mind? A person who was pure, not just on the surface, but all the way down to the very depths of the personality. And Jesus is saying that the purity laws of what is "clean" and what is "unclean" miss the point entirely. What God is offering through Jesus Christ and a personal relationship with Him is a cure for the deep-level impurity we all suffer from. Being right with God has nothing to do with trying to follow a bunch of external laws. That will only make you a hypocrite and you will eventually fall into a pit. Jesus Himself is the only remedy for the wickedness and uncleanness that infects us all.
And Jesus, as the Remedy, needs to be applied to the disease, deep down inside each of our human personalities, so that we can be changed from the inside out!
(From a sermon by Kenneth Sauer, "Jesus Heads to East Ridge," 8/10/2011)