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MATTHEW HENRY SAID, “When Christ died He left a will in which He gave His soul to His Father, His body to Joseph of Arimathea, His clothes to the soldiers, and His mother to John. But to His disciples, who had left all to follow Him, He left not silver or gold, but something far better—His PEACE!
YOU’RE THE BEST
My mother said to me, "If you become a soldier you’ll be a general; if you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope." Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
SOURCE: Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist. Citation: Celebrating Mother: A Book of Appreciation. Edited by Glorya Hale and Carol Kelly-Gangi. MetroBooks, 2002. pg. 63.
But sometimes I think the church has forgotten how to celebrate How to party Maybe it is because we have forgotten what Jesus has done for us. Or maybe because the stories the Bible have gotten old and we haven’t been around any new believers to remind us of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. That reminds me of what happened to a tribe in the jungles of East Asia, when missionaries showed them the Jesus film. It was a big deal when I was in Seminary and one of my friends was a missionary telling me about all that was going on with the Jesus Film. The movie was being shown as an evangelistic tool to people all over—in the desert, and in the jungles Not only had some of these people never heard of Jesus, they had never seen a motion picture. And on that one unforgettable evening, they saw it all—the gospel in their own language, visible and real. Imagine again how it felt to see this good man Jesus, who healed the sick and was adored by children, held without trial and beaten by jeering soldiers. As these East Asians watched this, the people came unglued. They stood up and began to shout at the cruel men on the screen, demanding that this outrage stop. When nothing happened, they attacked the missionary running the projector. Perhaps he was responsible for this injustice He was forced to stop the film and explain that the story wasn’t over yet, that there was more. So they settled back onto the ground, holding their emotions in tenuous check. Then came the crucifixion. Again, the people could not hold back. They began to weep and wail with such loud grief that once again the film had to be stopped. The missionary again tried to calm them, explaining that the story still wasn’t over, that there was more. So they composed themselves and sat down to see what happened next. Then came the resurrection. Pandemonium broke out this time, but for a different reason. The gathering had spontaneously erupted into a party. The noise now was of jubilation, and it was deafening. The people were dancing and slapping each other on the back. The Christ is risen, indeed Again the missionary had to shut off the projector. But this time he didn’t tell them to calm down and wait for what was next. All that was supposed to happen—in the story and in their lives—was happening. SOURCE: Ben Patterson, "Resurrection and Pandemonium," LeadershipJournal.net 4-13-04
THE PERFECT MATCH- COMMUNION MEDITATION
From Daily Encounter comes this story by a Chaplain Robinson:
“In 1949, my father had just returned from the war. On every highway you could see soldiers in uniform hitchhiking home to their families. The thrill of the reunion with his family was soon overshadowed by my grandmother’s illness. There was a problem with her kidneys. The doctors told my father that she needed a blood transfusion immediately or she would not live through the night.
Grandmother’s blood type was AB negative, a very rare type. In those days there were no blood banks like there are today. No one in the family had that type blood and the hospital had not been able to find anyone with that rare type. The Doctor gave our family little hope. My Dad decided to head home for a little while to change clothes and then return for the inevitable good-byes.
As my father was driving home he passed a soldier in uniform hitchhiking. Deep in grief, my father was not going to stop. But something compelled him to pull over. The soldier climbed in but my father never spoke. He just continued driving down the road toward home. The soldier could tell my father was upset as a tear ran down his cheek.
The soldier asked about the tear. My father began telling the stranger that his mother was going to die because the hospital couldn’t find anyone who could donate AB negative blood. My father explained that he was just heading home to change clothes. That is when he noticed the soldier’s open hand holding dog tags that read AB negative. The soldier told my father to turn the car around and head back to the hospital.
My grandmother lived until 1996, 47 more years. To this day my family doesn’t know the name of that sol...
Sermon Central Staff
CHRYSOSTOM ON ECCLESIASTES
Eutropius had fallen into disgrace. As the highest-ranking official in the Byzantine Empire (late fourth century), he served as the closest adviser to the emperor Arcadius, then ruling in Constantinople. But Eutropius abused his imperial power and aroused the anger of the empress Eudoxia, who orchestrated a campaign against him that resulted in a sentence of death.
Desperate to save his life, Eutropius slipped away from the palace and ran to the Hagia Sophia, where he clung to the altar and claimed sanctuary. Soon an angry mob of soldiers surrounded the great church, denouncing Eutropius and demanding his execution. Eventually, the crowds dispersed, but the next day was Sunday, and so they returned the following morning to see whether the pastor would give in to their demands for the execution of Eutropius.
The pastor was John Chrysostom, the famous preacher who served as the Bishop of Constantinople. As he mounted his pulpit, Chrysostom could see a church crowded with worshipers and thrill-seekers. They, in turn, could see Eutropius groveling at the altar. The great man had become a pitiable spectacle, with his teeth chattering and hopeless terror in his eyes.
The dramatic sermon Chrysostom preached that day may have been the finest he ever preached. For his text Chrysostom took Ecclesiastes 1:2 ("Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity"), and for his primary illustration he used the decline and fall of Eutropius.
Here was a man, Chrysostom noted, who had lost everything--position, wealth, freedom, safety. Only days before, he had been the second most powerful man in the world. But it was all vanity, as events had proven, for now Eutropius had become "more wretched than a chained convict, more pitiable than a menial slave, more indigent than a beggar wasting away with hunger." "Though I should try my very best," Chrysostom said, "I could never convey to you in words the agony he must be suffering, from hour to hour expecting to be butchered."
Chrysostom did not stop there, however. His purpose was not to condemn Eutropius but to save him, and also to give his listeners the gospel. To that end, he challenged his listeners to recognize the vanity of their own existence. Whether rich or poor, one day they would all have to leave their possessions behind. They too would face a day of judgment--the judgment of a holy God. Their only hope then would be the hope that they should offer to Eutropius now--mercy at the table of Christ.
The sermon must have hit its mark, for as Chrysostom came to a close, he could see tears of pity streaming down people's faces. Eutropius was spared--a life saved by the preaching of Ecclesiastes.
Because Ecclesiastes is the Word of the living God, it can have the same impact in our lives today. Ecclesiastes teaches us that there is more to life than what we can see with our eyes. Ecclesiastes warns us to live our lives in light of eternity. Ecclesiastes teaches us how to live a meaningful life.
(From a sermon by Freddy Fritz, Introduction to Ecclesiastes, 7/11/2010)
As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev’s widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev’s wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest. There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.
Gary Thomas, Christianity Today, October 3, 1994, p. 26.
Soldiers in Your Cup
A sweet little boy surprised his grandmother one morning and brought her a cup of coffee. He made it himself and was so proud. He anxiously waited to hear the verdict on the quality of the coffee. The grandmother had never in her life had such a bad cup of coffee, and as she forced down the last sip she noticed three of those little green army guys in the bottom of the cup.
She asked, "Honey, why would three little green army guys be in the bottom of my cup?"
Her grandson replied, "You know Grandma, it's like on TV: 'The best part of waking up is soldiers (Folgers) in your cup."
(Source: from a sermon by Johnny Creasong, "The Gift of Grandparenting" 7/16/08)
A GOOD CUP OF COFFEE
This little grandmother was surprised by her 7 year old grandson one morning. He had made her coffee. She drank what was the worst cup of coffee in her life. When she got to the bottom there were three of those little green army men in the cup. She said, "Honey, what are the army men doing in my coffee?" Her grandson said, "Grandma, it says on TV, ’The best part of waking u...
“It is my first public declaration that a thing which looks to be unreasonable and seems to be unprofitable, being commanded by God, is law, is law to me. If my Master had told me to pick up six stones and lay them in a row I would do it, without demanding of him, ‘What good will it do?’ Cui bono? Is no fit question for soldiers of Jesus. The very simplicity and apparent uselessness of the ordinance should make the believer say, ‘Therefore I do it because it becomes the better test to me of my obedience to my Master.’” When you tell your servant to do something, and he cannot comprehend it, if he turns round and says, “Please, sir, what for?” you are quite clear that he hardly understands the relation between master and servant. So when God tells me to do a thing, if I say, “What for?” I cannot have taken the place which Faith ought to occupy, which is that of simple obedience to whatever the Lord hath said. Baptism is commanded, and Faith obeys because it is commanded, and thus takes her proper place.
During the American Civil War fought between the years 1861 - 1865, over
600,000 soldiers from the South died, but a heartfelt prayer that survived
was the Prayer of the Unknown Confederate Soldier, a soldier¡¦s unrequited but
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey...
I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity that I might do better things...
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty that I might be wise...
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God...
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things...
I got nothing that I asked for- but everything I hoped for,
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men, most richly blessed.