Illustration results for clues
One Sunday morning an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were very worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn out old hat and an equally worn out bible. The Church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and accessories. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled at his appearance and did not attempt to hide it. The preacher gave a long sermon about Hellfire and brimstone and a stern lecture on how much money the church needed to do God’s work. As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. "Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what He thinks would be appropriate attire for worship." The old cowboy assured the preacher he would. The next Sunday, he showed up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored. The preacher approached the man and said, "I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church." "I did," replied the old cowboy. "If you spoke to God, what did he tell you the proper attire should be for worshiping in here?" asked the preacher. "Well, sir, God told me that He didn’t have a clue what I should wear. He says He’s never been in this church”
In a 1995 survey by Barna Research Group, it was discovered that non-Christians have no clue what Christians mean when some they use some of the phrases Christians often take for granted. 63% of non-Christians don’t know what Christians mean when they talk about the Gospel. 75% of non-Christians don’t know what John 3:16 is. Add to the phrases like "a broken heart", "I’ve been convicted", and "get into the Word, which non-Christians would hear quite differently. The problem for unbelievers is they hear the unspoken message from Christians, "If you don’t understand the holy lingo, you don’t belong to the holy huddle." However, 40% of Christians don’t know what the Gospel means, and 53% don’t know John 3:16.
: Some clues that a church is living, vital and active are: Live churches have many people who bring their Bibles and use them; dead churches do not. Live churches are filled with praise and sounds of joy and thanksgiving;dead churches are apathetic and lifeless. --Roy B. Zuck, The Speaker’s Quote Book, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997)
Indian Jones and the Last Crusade is one of my favorite movies—it’s great entertainment but it packs a powerful punch of a message about finding happiness and joy [Show the clip toward the end of the movie when Elsa has fallen to her death grasping for the grail and then Indiana nearly dies as he reaches for the Holy Grail even as his father is trying to save him.]
Indiana Jones is grasping for the Holy Grail even as he is about to plunge to his death. His father implores him, “Indiana, let it go.” All too often it is not what we lack that inhibits us from experiencing abundant life: what keeps us from experiencing life abundant is the stuff of earth that we do not want to let go of or to lose. Jesus said that he came to give life, and give it abundantly. If that is the case, then...
Just out in this past Thursday’s USATODAY website (May 30,2002) – “Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the war against terrorism following weeks of revelations about missed clues and warnings of likely future attacks. Only four in 10 Americans believe the United States and its allies are winning the war against terrorism, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll. In January, when headlines focused on military successes on the battlefield in Afghanistan, two-thirds of those polled felt the nation was winning the war. The number has declined steadily since. Now, 35% say neither side is winning the war, and 15% say the terrorists are winning.” Wave after wave of reports of new terrorist threats, perhaps biological terrorism, nuclear arms at the hands of terrorist, and terrorist attack alerts/warnings I believe is wearing down on the nerves of the people.
I believe in the same way many Christians today too are sensing that they are not winning the battle against the enemy of our souls. Just like the Al Qeada terrorists, the devil’s demons appears hard to root out, and when they do strike, many Christians fall or fall far away from God’s purposes, just as we hear soldiers die or mistakes happen such as the “friendly fire” incident that caused Canadian lives. As a result, there is a sense of pessimism among many defeated Christians. Defeated perhaps by cares of this world, defeated by pressures that seem out of control, defeated by … If Jesus is victorious, as many claim, where then is that victory? Where then is the joy?
Brian La Croix
Listen to this quote from Ray Stedman –
“….notice that a major point of this parable is to give us a clue to the way that the enemy works most successfully. It is by imitation, by counterfeit. How simple it would be if evil people would only look evil. Wouldn’t that help a lot? If hypocrites would only snarl and growl a little bit it would help so much. But they always look so pleasant. They always talk so sweetly. They are such nice people, and that is why we go along with their ideas. We cannot believe that such nice people could be so far wrong. And, unless we use the Word of God to evaluate their teachings, we can be deceived by the niceness of people who are imitation, counterfeit apostles, as the Word of God calls them.” (From the sermon, THE CASE OF THE MYSTERIOUS HARVEST, by Ray C. Stedman)
Sermon Central Staff
Men don't always say what they mean.
When a man says "IT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG TO EXPLAIN."
He means: "I have no idea how it works."
When a man says "TAKE A BREAK, HONEY. YOU ARE WORKING TOO HARD."
He means: "I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."
When a man says "THAT'S INTERESTING, DEAR."
He means: "Are you still talking?"
When a man says: "IT'S A GUY THING."
He means: "There is no rational thought pattern connected with this, and you have no chance at all of making it logical."
When a man says "CAN I HELP WITH DINNER?"
He means: "Why isn't it ready yet?"
When a man says "OH, DON'T FUSS, I JUST CUT MYSELF. IT'S NO BIG DEAL."
He means: "I have probably severed a limb, but I will bleed to death before I admit I'm hurt, so get over here and help me!"
When a man says "I CAN'T FIND IT."
He means: "It didn't fall into my outstretched hand, so I'm completely clueless."
When a man says "I HEARD YOU."
He means: "I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said and I am hoping desperately that I can fake it well enough so that you'll not spend the next 3 days yelling at me."
When a man says "YOU LOOK TERRIFIC!"
He means: "Oh please don't try on one more outfit, we're late and I'm starving."
When a man says "I'M NOT LOST. I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE."
He means: "No one will ever see us alive again."
When a man says "I don't think I can go today."
He means: "Shopping is NOT a sport, and no, I am never going to think of it that way."
When a man says, "I DON'T REMEMBER SAYING THAT."
It's because he means: "Anything I may have said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all past comments become null and void after 7 days."
When a man says, "THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT."
He means: "If something I said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, I meant the other one."
(From a sermon by Jim McCutchen, More Men Like Moses' Daddy!, 6/17/2010)
THE CHANCE OF FULFILLED PROPHECHY
The Old Testament contains over 300 references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus. What chance did Jesus or any other man have of fulfilling these prophecies? The mathematical laws of probability can give us a clue.
In his book Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Josh McDowell mentions the work of the mathematician, Peter Stoner, on just eight of the 300 prophecies: "We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in ten (to the seventeenth power). That would be one in 100,000,000, 000,000,000.
In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that we take ten (seventeenth power) silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he w...
HOW TO GET KICKED OUT OF CHURCH ON CHRISTMAS EVE
Christmas Eve 1990. I came this close to being physically thrown out of church.
We were new to town and we heard that a certain church in town had a fantastic Christmas Eve service. So, we went with some friends, about ten of us total, to this church in downtown Princeton, New Jersey. The church was packed and we were looking forward to a wonderful night.
Our first clue that something was a little off was when the usher gave us the night’s bulletin and warned us that there would be absolutely no talking before, during or after the service.
Huh, we thought.
We were chided several times by an usher to quit whispering, and this was before the service started.
Just before the service started, an associate pastor came out and requested that those in the congregation please refrain from singing, for the paid professional choir found it difficult to perform with unprofessional singing.
I am not making this up.
Well, the service started with the hymn "O Come All Ye Faithful". Who can resist singing "O Come All Ye Faithful"? The now familiar usher appeared and hushed our unprofessional row right up. He was quite menacing.
The second hymn was "Hark The Herald Angels Sing". I have to admit, the choir was quite good, but unlike the rest of the congregation our row couldn’t resist singing and we jumped in on the second verse. Immediately our usher was upon us, this time giving us our final warning. "One more time, and you are out", he quietly scolded us.
It was miserable. This usher would stroll by our pew every few minutes and give us a piercing glare. Christmas hymn, after Christmas hymn, and we couldn’t sing a word. We were like prisoners in our pew. Did we really sing that poorly? Finally, the service was ending, our candles were lit and the hymn "Silent Night" was just beginning. Well, I ask you, who can resist singing "Silent Night" on Christmas Eve? It is irresistible.
Soon a heavy hand fell upon my shoulder, "You have to leave, son, you're singing again." It was our ever vigilant usher. I didn't move. Again, I heard, "You have to leave, son, you're singing again." At this point we were on the last verse of "Silent Night" and in unified Christmas Eve defiance, our whole row started to sing. We sang the hymn with ever increasing gusto. Would the usher make a scene? Would we be physically dragged out of church for our clearly unprofessional singing? Would we be banned from Christmas Eve Service forever?
Perhaps it dawned on the usher that this was Christmas Eve. Perhaps the usher's bark was worse than his bite, or perhaps the joy of Christmas came upon the usher that at that very moment, I'll never know – but our usher relented and returned to his post.
We finished the hymn, extinguished our candles, and headed for the door, where we were met by the usher who had pestered us all evening, he shook our hands and exclaimed, "Merry Christmas, please join us for Sunday Service this next week."
We went to the church across the street the next Sunday.
In closing I remember a time when I was walking in a town and saw a young lady that was to say the least intoxicated. She was having a serious problem walking, let alone know where she was going, or have a clue of how to get there. I carefully avoided her, as I was embarrassed at the thought of even having anything to do with her. As I walked on I noticed that everyone else showed the same contempt and repulsive attitude that I did.
All of a sudden a grungy looking older man with dirty clothes and at least a five day old beard came limping up to her. He certainly would be considered by most people something less than desirable company. In a tone of voice and street language that only she could understand he asked, “Whare do you’s lives doll?” She mumbled and stammered something about a location that only he could understand. In his garbled raspy voice he replied, “I knows just where that is I’ll sees you home”. As the two stumbled away it came to me that I had just witnessed the love of Jesus that I had no idea how to show. My eyes filled with tears of shame and regret I sat on a bus stop bench on next street corner. I sat there in shame that I had turned my back on a hurting and lost human being that needed my help. As the tears streamed down my cheeks I asked God to forgive me for being so self-centered, self-righteous, and selfish. Who was I to think I was better than her?