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Illustration results for celebration

Contributed By:
Gordon Curley
 
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MOODY'S SERVANT'S HEART

A large group of European pastors came to one of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conferences in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Following the European custom of the time, each guest put his shoes outside his room to be cleaned by the hall servants overnight. But of course this was America and there were no hall servants.

Walking the dormitory halls that night, Moody saw the shoes and determined not to embarrass his brothers. He mentioned the need to some ministerial students who were there, but met with only silence or pious excuses. Moody returned to the dorm, gathered up the shoes, and, alone in his room, the world’s only famous evangelist began to clean and polish the shoes. Only the unexpected arrival of a friend in the midst of the work revealed the secret.

When the foreign visitors opened their doors the next morning, their shoes were shined. They never know by whom. Moody told no one, but his friend told a few people, and during the rest of the conference, different men volunteered to shine the shoes in secret. Perhaps the episode is a vital insight into why God used D. L. Moody as He did. He was a man with a servant’s heart and that was the basis of his true greatness.

[Gary Inrig, A Call to Excellence, (Victor Books, a division of SP Publ., Wheaton, Ill; 1985), p. 98]

 
Contributed By:
Mark Hensley
 
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John Bisagno former Pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church tells the story of his coming there to candidate for the position of pastor many years ago. He said that as he entered the auditorium it was dimly lit, with just a few people huddled together. They were singing some old slow funeral type song that was depressing.

Later that day he took a walk in downtown Houston and came upon a jewelry store. It was some sort of grand opening and there were bright lights and a greeter at the door to welcome you in with a smile. Inside there was a celebration going on. There were refreshments and people having a good time talking and laughing with each other. They welcomed him and offered him some punch. He said that after attending both the church and the jewelry store, if the jewelry store had offered an invitation, he would have joined the jewelry store!

 
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Across Nicaragua, graffiti plastered houses, walls, and public buildings. The most prevalent campaign slogan everywhere was: “Daniel 5:25.” Intended to be a simple instruction on how to vote, it literally meant, “Vote for Daniel Ortega, the 5th position on the ballot, on the 25th day of September.”

But Christians in Nicaragua saw a hidden meaning that only God, the author of humor, could orchestrate. For Daniel 5:25 in the Bible reads, “God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.: Christians wondered if Daniel Ortega had unwittingly proclaimed the prophecy against his own rule. The church waited, hoping the prophecy would bring an end, not only to the economic and social destruction of Mr. Ortega’s communist reign, but also an end to the oppression of the church.

That was 1989. Under the communist Sandanistas, Nicaragua, once the bread basket of Central America and a net exporter of food, had become a food importer and had dropped to an economic level second only to that of Haiti in this hemisphere. It was a nation where communist spies were sent into churches to seek out anti-Sandinistas, a nation nearly devoid of foreign missionaries, and a country where the celebration of Christmas and Easter was outlawed by the communist government. Yet, for the first time in two generations there was guarded hope in the humid tropical air because Nicaragua had scheduled its first free election.

Nicaraguans faced their second free national elections Oct. 20. International observers were there again to see that the elections went forward as planned, but in the run-up to the elections, an air of uncertainty—with incumbent President Violeta Chamorro stepping down and Mr. Ortega’s entry into the race—remained.

Even the most pessimistic political soothsayer did not predict the extent of Mr. Ortega’s 1989 loss. He received less than 20 percent of the popular vote, a thunderous victory for Mrs. Chamorro and the 14-party UNO coalition.

Greg Dabel in Managua, World, October 27, 1996, Vol. 11, No. 23, pp. 20-21

 
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History records for us an interesting footnote. It was during the dark winter of 1864. At Petersburg, Virginia, the Confederate army of Robert E. Lee faced the Union divisions of General Ulysses S. Grant. The war was now three and a half years old and the glorious charge had long since given way to the muck and mud of trench warfare. Late one evening one of Lee’s generals, Major General George Pickett, received word that his wife had given birth to a beautiful baby boy. Up and down the line the Southerners began building huge bonfires in celebration of the event. These fires did not go unnoticed in the Northern camps and soon a nervous Grant sent out a reconnaissance patrol to see what was going on. The scouts returned with the message that Pickett had had a son and these were celebratory fires. It so happened that Grant and Pickett had been contemporaries at West Point and knew one another well, so to honor the occasion Grant, too, ordered that bonfires should be built.



What a peculiar night it was. For miles on both sides of the lines fires burned. No shots fired. No yelling back and forth. No war fought. Only light, celebrating the birth of a child. But it didn’t last forever. Soon the fires burned down and once again the darkness took over. The darkness of the night and the darkness of war.



The good news of Chris...

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Contributed By:
Ken Henson
 
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MANY MEN OF SCIENCE, TOO FEW MEN OF GOD

In 1948, at an Armistice Celebration, (Armistice was the declaration of peace at the end of World War I) it was declared on November 11 at 11.00 am. So 11, 11 at 11. They did that symbolically because they felt that they were at the eleventh hour. They actually felt if the war continued, the whole world would be destroyed by it. Over 20 million people were killed in World War I. It was the bloodiest, most destructive war in history up until that time. So they declared an Armistice. Even till today some celebrate that.

Omar Bradley, one of the Generals in World War II went to World War I and he remembered it as a young man. He served in the army in the US, became a General. He actually led one of the largest armies in history during World War II. He spoke at an Armistice Day in Boston, Massachusetts in 1948. He said,

"With the monstrous weapons man already has, humanity is in danger of being trapped in this world by its moral adolescents. Our knowledge of science has clearly outstripped our capacity to control it. We have many men of science; too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Man is stumbling blindly through a spiritual darkness while toying with the precarious secrets of life and death. The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.

This is our twentieth century's claim to distinction and to progress."

In the middle of 20th century, he makes this commentary and I think that history has borne his testimony to be true. After he made this speech, we had the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the whole group of other wars in the world. We do not know how to make peace.

If we are going to move into the twenty first century in confidence, if we want to give hope to our children and next generation, it must come through our commitment to our being in Christ and seeing character developed in ourselves, so that His light can shine in this very dark world.

 
Contributed By:
Paul Fritz
 
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Self-righteous service comes through human effort. True service comes from a relationship with the divine Other deep inside.
Self-righteous service is impressed with the "big deal." True service finds it almost impossible to distinguish the small from the large service.
Self-righteous service requires external rewards. True service rests contented in hiddenness.
Self-righteous service is highly concerned about results. True service is free of the need to calculate results.
Self-righteous service picks and chooses whom to serve. True service is indiscriminate in its ministry.
Self-righteous service is affected by moods and whims. True service ministers simply and faithfully because there is a need.
Self-righteous service is temporary. True service is a life-style.
Self-righteous service is without sensitivity. It insists on meeting the need even when to do so would be destructive. True service can withhold the service as freely as perform it.
Self-righteous service fractures community. True service, on the other hand, builds community.

Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, "The Discipline of Service

 
Contributed By:
Matthew Kratz
 
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Can This Be Christmas?
What's all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and curry?
Why all the lights--the Christmas trees?
The jolly "fat man," tell me please!

Why, don't you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!

So this is Christmas, do you say?
But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?

No. He's not here--you'll find Him where
Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.

But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,
Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, "Come in to stay."

In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning
For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.

But not a tear of grief or sorrow
For Him so poor He had to borrow
A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.

I'm tired of all this empty celebration,
Of feasting, drinking, recreation;
I'll go instead to Calvary.

And there I'll kneel with those who know
The meaning of that manger low,
And find the Christ--this Christmas.

I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.

In endless bliss we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,
And worship Christ--not Christmas!

(Source: M.R. DeHaan, M.D., Founder, Radio Bible Class found in Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.)

 
Contributed By:
Kenneth Squires
 
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2. Gary Thomas, a friend of Rick Warren, noticed that many Christians were stuck in a worship rut. He raised the question, “Since God has intentionally made us all different, why should everyone be expected to love (worship) God the same way?”(1) Gary has discovered that for 2,000 years Christians have used many different paths to enjoy intimacy with God. In his book Sacred Pathways, Gary identifies nine ways that people draw near to God:
· Naturalists love God best when they are outdoors.
· Sensates love God best when all their senses are engaged.
· Traditionalists love God best when they are able to stick close to ritual, symbols, and familiarity.
· Ascetics love God best in solitude and simplicity.
· Activists love God best when they are battling injustice and evil.
· Caregivers love God best through caring for those who hurt.
· Enthusiasts love God best by experiencing celebration.
· Contemplatives love God best through adoration and meditation.
· Intellectuals love God...

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Contributed By:
Sermon Central Staff
 
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CHRISTMAS PREACHES A FAITH

A 2001 newspaper article explained that the president celebrated many faiths during the holidays – not only Christmas, but also presiding over a Jewish Hanukkah celebration and commemorating the end of Ramadan in a Washington mosque. Ari Fleischer, presidential spokesman, said, "The purpose is not to preach a particular faith. The purpose is to celebrate faith itself."

Christianity offers something different. Christmas preaches a very particular faith, because it is God’s specific fulfillment of a very precise promise.

(From a sermon by Glenn Durham, The First Promise – The Enduring Hope, 6/7/2010)

 
Contributed By:
Chris Appleby
 
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a recent poll by the Barna Research Group in America found that only 37% of adults thought the birth of Jesus is the most important aspect of Christmas. 44% of the respondents said family time is the most important part of the Christmas celebration. 3% said presents or parties were the most important part of Christmas. The same percentage said the best thing about Christmas was getting a paid holiday. And that’s in America, what you might have thought was the most Christian country in the world!

 
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