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Several years ago the Peanuts comic strip had Lucy and Charlie Brown practicing football. Lucy would hold the ball for Charlie’s placekicking and then Charlie would kick the ball. But every time Lucy had ever held the ball for Charlie, he would approach the ball and kick with all his might. At the precise moment of the point of no return, Lucy would pick up the ball and Charlie would kick and his momentum unchecked by the ball, which was not there to kick, would cause him to fall flat on his back. This strip opened with Lucy holding the ball, but Charlie Brown would not kick the ball. Lucy begged him to kick the ball. But Charlie Brown said, "Every time I try to kick the ball you remove it and I fall on my back." They went back and forth for the longest time and finally Lucy broke down in tears and admitted, "Charlie Brown I have been so terrible to you over the years, picking up the football like I have. I have played so many cruel tricks on you, but I’ve seen the error of my ways! I’ve seen the hurt look in your eyes when I’ve deceived you. I’ve been wrong, so wrong. Won’t you give a poor penitent girl another chance?" Charlie Brown was moved by her display of grief and responded to her, "Of course, I’ll give you another chance." He stepped back as she held the ball, and he ran. At the last moment, Lucy picked up the ball and Charlie Brown fell flat on his back. Lucy’s last words were, "Recognizing your faults and actually changing your ways are two different things, Charlie Brown!"
Are you going to change your ways as of today?
ILL: This is an alleged New Year’s letter written from a church member to the pastor.
You often stress attendance at worship as being very important for a Christian, but I think a person has a right to miss now and then. I think every person ought to be excused for the following reasons and the number of times indicated.
Christmas Holidays (the Sunday before & after) 2
New Years (the party lasted too long) 1
Easter (get away for the holidays) 2
July 4th (national holidays) 1
Labor Day (need to get away) 2
Memorial Day (visit hometown folk) 1
School closing (kids need a break) 1
School reopens (one last fling) 1
Family reunions (mine & wife’s) 3
Sleep late (stayed up too long Saturday night) 9
Deaths in family 2
Anniversary (second honeymoon) 1
Sickness (one per family member) 5
Business trip (a must) 1
Vacation (three to four weeks) 6
Bad weather (ice, snow, rain, clouds) 2
Ball games 2
Unexpected company (can’t walk out) 2
Time changes (spring & fall) 2
Special on TV (superbowl, etc) 3
Pastor, that leaves two Sundays per year. So, you can count on us to be in church on the 4th Sunday in February and the 3rd Sunday in August unless we are providentially hindered.
A Faithful Member
So many people in relationships try to change the other person. Reminds me of the young fiancť who, after learning that her husband to be didnít believe like she did, cried to her mother saying, ďMom, what should I do? How can I change his thinking? He says he doesnít believe in hell?Ē The Mother said, ďHoney, thatís alright, you marry him and both of us will make him believe in hell.Ē
THE EVOLUTION OF MOTHERS
Being a parent changes everything. But being a parent also changes with each baby. Here are some of the ways having a second and third child is different from having the first.
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your doctor
confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.
Preparing for the Birth
1st baby: You practice your breathing
2nd baby: You donít bother practicing because you remember that last
time, breathing didnít do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your 8th
1st baby: You pre-wash your newbornís clothes, color-coordinate them,
and fold them neatly in the babyís little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes
are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, canít they?
1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper, a frown--you pick
up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your
3rd baby: You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.
1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the babyís bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.
1st baby: You change your babyís diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every 2 to 3 hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to
complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.
1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
Charlie Brown and Lucy and Linus are lying on the ground, looking up into the sky. Lucy says, "If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations. What do you think you see, Linus?" Linus responds, "Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean. And that cloud looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen. I can see the Apostle Paul standing here to one side."
Lucy congratulates him, "Uh huh, thatís very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?" Charlie Brown replies, "Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind."
What do you see when you look into the skies? The psalmist looked into the heavens and he saw ... God. He said, "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands" (19:1).
A book that has changed my life is Whatís So Amazing About Grace? In it the author, Philip Yancey quotes Mark Twain. Apparently Twain used to say he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did, so he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic; soon there was not a living thing left.
In this area it might be Baptist, Pentecostal and Catholic. But you know, itís hard enough sometimes for a Wesleyan, a Wesleyan and a Wesleyan to get along.
Sermon Central Staff
CAN'T WIN FOR LOSING
A man named Fred inherited a huge land grant, but the will provided that he could choose land in either Chile or Brazil. He chose Brazil. Unhappily, if he had chosen Chile, he would have received his inheritance in land on which they had recently discovered uranium, gold and silver. But he chose Brazil.
When he arrived in Brazil he had to choose between receiving his inheritance in a coffee plantation or land with Brazil nut trees. He chose the nut trees, and immediately the bottom fell out of the nut market, but coffee futures went up two dollars a pound. The government took control of the nut farm for back taxes, and Fred was left destitute.
Fred pawned his Rolex watch for the money he needed to fly either to New York or Boston. He chose Boston. When the plane for New York taxied up, he noticed it was a brand new super Concorde with red carpets. After several hours delay, the plane for Boston arrived. It was a 1928 twin engine plane held together with bailing wire, and it was filled with cigar smokers and unattended crying babies.
Over the mountains one of the engines fell off, and Fred, frightened by his earlier bad choices and fearing for his life, asked for two parachutes. He jumped. As he fell through the air, he tried to make up his mind which ripcord to pull. He pulled the cord on the left, but nothing happened. He pulled the cord on his right, but it broke.
In desperation the poor fellow cried out, "St. Francis, save me!" A great hand from heaven reached down, seized him by the wrist, and left him dangling in mid-air. Then a gentle but inquisitive voice asked, "St. Francis, Xavier or St. Francis of Assisi?"
(Source: Dick Meyer, An Anchor in a Sea of Change, Faith@Work, Spring 2000, p.23; www.PreachingToday.com)
The poor guy couldnít win for losing, but thatís life sometimes. Life is risky, because itís full of choices where we donít always know the outcome.
Itís the same with choosing to follow Christ. There is great risk involved, because we donít always know how people are going to respond to that choice. Some may appreciate the choice because of the changes it brings into our lives. But others may very well reject us for choosing to follow Jesus, because they resent those very changes.
(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Take A Risk, 11/5/2009)
Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one-hundred thousand, and one- hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six-hundred thousand dollars to the Church.
He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastorís office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, "This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six-hundred thousand dollars. You°¶ve got to do something...
SENDING THE VERY BEST
Someone has composed the following list of "Cards You'll Never See at Hallmark":
"Looking back over the years that we've been together, I can't help but wonder....
What was I thinking?!"
"I've always wanted to have someone to hold, someone to love....
After having met you, I've changed my mind."
"As the days go by, I think of how lucky I am....
that you're not here to ruin it for me."
"As you grow older, Mom, I think of all the gifts you've given me.....
Like the need for therapy."
"You look great for your age....
"When we were together, you always said you'd die for me....
Now that we've broken up, I think it's time you kept your promise."
"We have been friends for a very long time....
What do you say we call it quits?"
"I'm so miserable without you....
It's almost like you're here."
"You are such a good friend that if we were on a sinking ship and there was only one life jacket....
I'd miss you heaps and think of you often."
Somehow those cards truly don't seem very appropriate for a card company that advertises with the slogan, "When you care enough to send the very best." Greeting card companies certainly have made it easy for us to let our friends and relatives know that we care about them.
The apostle Paul didn't have the benefit of going into a card store, but many of the words he wrote to congregations and individuals are filled with sentiment and worded in such a way that perhaps they should be used in greeting cards. Listen to these words written to the Christians in Philippi:
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always with every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy....it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart....For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:3-4,7,8).
Warren Wiersbe outlines this section with these phrases: "I have you in my mind", "I have you in my heart" and "I have you in my prayers." That sums up well the affection that Paul had for those brethren.
Is there someone that you care greatly about? Send them a card. Better yet, drop them a line of your own creation and let them know that they are on your mind, in your heart and in your prayers today. Only do it, though, if you care enough to send the "very best."
A. Todd Coget
A young Christian went to his local church usually, but one weekend attended a small town church.
He came home and his wife asked him how it was.
"Well," said the young man, "It was good. They did something different however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs."
"Hymns," said his wife, "what are those?"
"Oh, theyíre okay. Theyíre sort of like regular songs, only different," said the young man.
"Well, whatís the difference? Asked his wife.
The young man said, "Well itís like this: If I were to say to you, ĎMartha, the cows are in the corn,í well that would be a regular song. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you: ĎOh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry. Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth. Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by, To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth. For the way of the animals who can explain? There in their heads is no shadow of sense, Harkenest they in Godís sun or his rain Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced. Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebelious delight, Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed. Then goaded by minions of darkness and night They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed. So look to that bright shining day by and by, Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn. Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry, and I no longer see those foul cows in the corn. AMEN!
"Then, if I were to do only verses one, two, and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn."