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For me, my belief in God was reaffirmed recently by something I would not have expected. While I was in England I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral. Worshiping in that great cathedral your eyes are drawn to the great dome. It is actually three domes, one on top of the other, with the highest and smallest dome having windows, making you think they are the very windows of heaven. I stood there in that great place, surrounded by exquisite art and architecture, and said to my friend: “This building makes me believe in God.” I think he was somewhat taken back by my statement that a physical, man-made building could make me believe in God. But I said, “What else could inspire such a sense of transcendence and create a feeling of otherworldliness — a world of unspeakable beauty and holy purpose?” These glorious monuments to God are all over England and Europe — countries which were strongly influenced by the Christian faith. “Name me one monument to the devil which has been built in his honor,” I said to my friend. “I can’t think of one.”
But then I began to think. Actually, I have seen a monument to the devil. It exists in a country I visited a few years before, whose national religion is Voodoo, or devil worship — the country of Haiti. We drove by it on our way to the mission station in Cape Haitian. It is the center for Voodoo worship — a large mud hole where chickens are strangled and their blood poured into the pool. Rumors are that there are even secret rites where human sacrifices are offered to the devil, and their blood becomes a part of the mud as well. There are unspeakable acts of evil performed there. Worshipers come to cover themselves with the mud of that cursed place. So there I stood thinking about one country whose religion worships Jesus Christ, and another country whose religion is devil worship. The monument to Jesus Christ was an exquisite cathedral, and the monument to the devil was a mud hole. One was transcendent in its themes and beauty, and the other was vile and ugly. One inspired noble thoughts and holy lives, the other aroused perverse thoughts and evil acts. One was elevating and the other degrading. One made you look up and the other made you look down.
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO DIVINITY SCHOOL each years has what is called ’BAPTIST DAY’. On this day each one is to bring a lunch to an outdoor picnic area and the school invites one of the popular lecturers to speak at the theological education center. One year DR. PAUL TILLICH came and spent 2 1/2 hours attempting to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was a lie. He quoted liberal books and scholars to prove his point and then asked for questions.
A older man near the back of the auditorium spoke, ’Dr. Tillich(took apple out and began to eat) Crunch, crunch….I have a simple question….munch munch….I haven’t read any of those books you talk about….crunch crunch….I can’t recite the Scriptures in Greek….munch munch…I don’t know anything about Neibuhr and Heidegger….crunch..crunch…(he held up the core of his eaten apple) All I want to know is, ’This apple I just ate, was it bitter or sweet?’
Dr. Tillich paused and then responded, ’I cannot possibly answer that question, I haven’t tasted your apple sir’….The old man dropped the apple core into his sack and said, ’Neither have you tasted my Jesus’. The audience of over 1,000 erupted into applause and cheers to which Dr. Tillech left the platform.
A little boy just got saved and sat on a bench next to old man who looked upset. The little boy said to the man, "Sir, do you need to get saved?"
The man startled said abruptly, "I’ll tell you I’ve been a Deacon in this church for over 30 years and Chairman of Deacons for 15 years."
The little boy responded, "Sir , it don’t matter what you done, Jesus loves you and He’ll still save you!"
My wife and I recently saw a television show on The History Channel titled, “The Man Who Predicted 911.” We were both moved by this hour presentation and its focus on one man by the name of Rick Rescorla. Long before September 11th, Rick Rescorla, the 62-year-old head of security at the Morgan Stanley Bank, developed an evacuation plan for the bank. The bank’s offices were situated high up in the South Tower at the World Trade Center. Rescorla was convinced that Osama Bin Laden would use jet planes to try and destroy the World Trade Center. The plan and its preparation were hugely unpopular with the Morgan Stanley staff, many of whom thought Rescorla was mad.
On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 hit World Trade Center Tower 1 at 8:46 am. Rick Rescorla ignored building officials’ advice to stay put and began the orderly evacuation of Morgan Stanley’s 2,800 employees on 20 floors of World Trade Center Tower 2, and 1,000 employees in WTC 5. Rescorla reminded everyone to "be proud to be an American ... everyone will be talking about you tomorrow", and sang God Bless America and other songs over his bullhorn to help evacuees stay calm as they left the building. Rescorla had most of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 employees as well as people working on other floors of WTC 2 safely out of the buildings by the time United Airlines Flight 175 hit WTC 2 at 9:07 a.m.
After having reached safety, Rescorla returned to the building to rescue others still inside. He was last seen heading up the stairs of the tenth floor of the collapsing WTC 2. His remains were not recovered. As a result of Rescorla’s actions, only 6 of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 WTC employees were killed on September 11th, 2001, including Rick and three of his deputies who followed him back into the building.
The remainder of this very moving broadcast focused on Morgan Stanley Bank employees who now in tears were praising and acknowledging Rick Rescorla for saving their lives from total destruction that day. Many felt so guilty and apologetic they had thought Rick foolish to keep preaching and standing for what he believed would happen if they were not ready. Those interviewed said they would never forget Rick Rescorla. He was their hero.
Mr. Rescorla left behind a widow, Susan Rescorla, and two children that day. Since 911, a memorial stone was erected in Rick’s hometown of Hayle, Cornwall, to commemorate his life and the sacrifice he made to save others.
James 5:19-20 says, “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” As sinners saved by grace, we must have a “Rick Rescorla Attitude.” He was convinced people entrusted to his care would perish if his plan of escape were ignored. Rick Rescorla stayed the course even when unpopular and ridiculed because he believed what he was doing would save lives.
Sadly, many Christians today have a “Cain Attitude” when it comes to rescuing the perishing and having a consistent witness. Unlike Rick Rescorla, they say by their actions: “I am not my brother’s keeper.” How this must grieve the heart of Almighty God who has left us here as His Beloved Children to sh...
Most Christians believe the Virgin Birth is true. According to George Barna, 85% of those surveyed believe that Jesus Christ was born to a virgin. He also found that even 75% of the people who do not embrace Jesus as their Savior believe that he was born to a virgin. (Fresh Illustrations, http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
In Streams of Living Water, Richard Foster told of Billy Graham preaching at Cambridge in 1955. For three nights he tried to make his preaching academic and enlightened, but with no effect. Graham finally realized that presenting the intellectual side of faith was not his gift and began preaching the simple message of Jesus rescuing us from our problem with sin. Foster wrote, "The results were astonishing: hundreds of sophisticated students responded to this clear presentation of the gospel. It was a lesson in clarity and simplicity that he never forgot."
You probably do not remember the name Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin nor should you. But during his day he was as powerful a man as there was on earth. A Russian Communist leader he took part in the Bolshevik Revolution 1917, was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda (which by the way means truth), and was a full member of the Politburo. His works on economics and political science are still read today. There is a story told about a journey he took from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a huge assembly on the subject of atheism. Addressing the crowd he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity hurling insult, argument, and proof against it.
An hour later he was finished. He looked out at what seemed to be the smoldering ashes of men’s faith. "Are there any questions?" Bukharin demanded. Deafening silence filled the auditorium but then one man approached the platform and mounted the lectern standing near the communist leader. He surveyed the crowd first to the left then to the right. Finally he shouted the ancient greeting known well in the Russian Orthodox Church: "CHRIST IS RISEN!" En masse the crowd arose as one man and the response came crashing like the sound of thunder: "HE IS RISEN INDEED!"
I say to you this morning: CHRIST IS RISEN! (congregational response should
be: HE IS RISEN INDEED!). I am convinced! I have faith that Christ was dead
and he was buried. That I believe. But, this too I accept as true: He rose
from the dead and will come again in glory
JESUS- NOT HATE BUT HOPE
It’s a little name.
A small word.
Say this little name in public, however, in a way other than an obscenity, and stand back and watch the fireworks.
This little name is like a tiny detonator that triggers a nuclear warhead.
You can say "God," and you won’t get a squeak.
You can say "Our Father/Mother in Heaven," and few will flinch.
You can say "Great Spirit," and people will nod in approval.
You can say "Allah" and you will be deemed tolerant.
But say "Jesus" and just wait for the sonic boom.
Articles will appear in the paper. Reprimands will be posted from the home office. Suits will be threatened by the civil liberties block.
So don’t say Jesus.
Jesus is divisive, and now is a time for unity.
Jesus is an extremist, and that must mean right wing.
Jesus is exclusive, so His name amounts to hate speech.
Keep His name to yourself. Cloister it in your church. Lock it in your prayer closet. Close it between the covers of your Bible. But for God’s sake, don’t voice it in the public square!
It’s immodest. It’s immoral. It’s unloving.
Only one problem.
Jesus is God.
Only one problem.
Jesus alone brings salvation.
Only one problem.
All other gods are nothing.
So speak Hi...
Mary Farwell of Green Castle Missouri, told of the time she was listening to her 5 year old son, Matthew, as he worked on his Speak and Spell™ computer. He was concentrating intensely, typing in words for the computer to say back to him.
Matthew punched in the word “God.” To his surprise, the computer said, “Word not found.” He tried again with the same reply. Staring at the computer in disgust he declared: “Jesus is not going to like this!”
In 1957, Lieutenant David Steeves walked out of the California Sierras 54 days after his Air Force trainer jet had disappeared. He related an unbelievable tale of how he had lived in a snowy wilderness after parachuting from his disabled plane. By the time he showed up alive, he had already been declared officially dead. When further search failed to turn up the wreckage, a hoax was suspected and Steeves was forced to resign under a cloud of doubt. His story was confirmed, however, more than 20 years later when a troop of Boy Scouts discovered the wreckage of his plane.
Another “survival story” from centuries ago is still controversial. A man by the name of Jesus Christ walked out of the wilderness making claims a lot of people found difficult to believe. he was later executed and pronounced dead. But 3 days later, He showed up alive. And there have been skeptics ever since.
But consider the facts of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. His integrity is well-founded.
▸ Prophets foretold His coming.
▸ Miracles supported His deity.
▸ Eyewitnesses verified His resurrection.
▸ And today the Holy Spirit confirms that Jesus is alive to anyone who is seeking to know the truth.
Yes, you can believe it! Do you? THE RESURRECTION IS A FACT OF HISTORY
THAT DEMANDS A RESPONSE OF FAITH