Illustration results for Confusion
Max Lucado (Angels were Silent)
Describes how in a similar way we cry out for something to cut through the clutter of life, turning to faith and religion to give us simplicity, instead finding things just as complicated:
Enter, religion. We Christians have a solution for the confusion don’t we? “Leave the cluttered world of humanity,” we invite, “and enter the sane, safe garden of religion.”
Let’s be honest.
Instead of a “sane, safe garden,” how about a “wild and woolly sideshow”? It shouldn’t be the case, but when you step back and look at how religion must appear to the unreligious, well, the picture of an amusement park comes to mind.
Flashing lights of ceremony and pomp. Roller-coaster thrills of emotion. Loud music. Strange people. Funny clothes.
Like barkers on a midway preachers persuade: “Step right up to the Church of Heavenly Hope of High Angels and Happy Hearts ….”
• “Over here, madam; that church is too tough on folks like you. Try us, we teach salvation by sanctification which leads to purification and stabilization. That is unless you prefer the track of predestination which offers …”
• “Your attention, please sir. Try our premillennial, non-charismatic, Calvinistic Creed service on for size … you won’t be disappointed.”
A safe garden of serenity? No wonder a lady said to me once, “I’d like to try Jesus, if I could just get past the religion.”
He goes on to tell a favorite story of his where this simplicity was found:
Once a bishop who was traveling by ship to visit a church across the ocean. While en route, the ship stopped at an island for a day. He went for a walk on a beach. He came upon three fishermen mending their nets.
Curious about their trade he asked them some questions. Curious about his ecclesiastical robes, they asked him some questions. When they found out he was a Christian leader, they got excited. “We Christians!” they said, proudly pointing to one another.
The bishop was impressed but cautious. Did they know the Lord’s Prayer? They had never heard of it.
“What do you say, then, when you pray?”
“We pray, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us.’ ”
The bishop was appalled at the primitive nature of the prayer. “That will not do.” So he spent the day teaching them the Lord’s Prayer. The fishermen were poor but willing learners. And before the bishop sailed away the next day, they could recite the prayer with no mistakes.
The bishop was proud.
On the return trip the bishop’s ship drew near the island again. When the island came into view the bishop came to the deck and recalled with pleasure the men he had taught and resolved to go see them again. As he was thinking a light appeared on the horizon near the island. It seemed to be getting nearer. As the bishop gazed in wonder he realized the three fishermen were walking toward him on the water. Soon all the passengers and crew were on the deck to see the sight.
When they were within speaking distance, the fisherman cried out, “Bishop, we come hurry to meet you.”
“What is it you want?” asked the stunned bishop.
“We are so sorry. We forget lovely prayer. We say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name …’ and then we forget. Please tell us prayer again.”
The bishop was humbled. “Go back to your homes, my friends, and when you pray say, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us.’ ”
Those three fisher men had encountered that you don’t have to be too complicated in your faith, you don’t have to get it all right.
Instead, they had hearts that were focused and strengthened by simple trust in God.
The two men in our story in Luke—like so many of us searching for strength and security and sense in a complicated and confounding world—ended up finding their answer in a remarkable man that cut through all of their confusion.
AN EXTREME CASE Here is an extreme case of a human being so convicted of doing right that he helped criminals.
The father of the famous German philosopher, Emanuel Kant, was and old man and was traveling on a perilous journey through the forests of Poland. On his way the encountered a band of robbers who demanded his valuables, finally asking, ˇ°Have you given all? They only let him go when he replied, ˇ°All.ˇ± When safely out of sight his hand touched something hard in the hem of his robe. It was his gold, sew there for safety. He had forgotten it in his fear and confusion. He hurried back and confessed to the robbers that he had not told them the truth. They did not take his gold, but gave it back to him along with his purse, his prayer book and then helped him on his mount. They asked his blessing as he rode away.
ROY RIEGELS: DON'T GIVE UP
On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played the University of California in the Rose Bowl. A UC player named Roy Riegels, who was their center, recovered a fumble for California and in the confusion of evading some of the Georgia Tech tacklers, started running sixty-five yards… in the wrong direction. Just before Riegels was about to score for Georgia Tech one of his own teammates tackled him landing on the one yard line.
As half-time came to an end everyone but Riegels got up to leave the locker room. He didn’t budge. Reportedly he said to his coach, "Coach, I can’t do it. I’ve ruined you, I’ve ruined myself, I’ve ruined the University of California. I couldn’t face that crowd to save my life." To which the coach replied, "Roy, get up and go back out there — the game is only half over."
(Sources: Dr. Reed Lessing. © 2010 by Creative Communications for the Parish. creativecommunications.com; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Riegels)
If you were the coach of that team, what would you have done? Benched him for poor play or to collect himself? Or would you have kept him in the game reminding him that the game was only half over?
If you have been Riegels, what would you have done? Decided to stay in the locker room and give up? Reject the coach’s words as mere platitudes? Or would you believe him and get up and go play the second half? (Which he did with distinction, losing to Tech 8 to 7.)
Riegels went on to serve our nation during World War 2 in the Army Air Corp, owned his own company, coached football at the High School level and also coached Cal at one point. He died in 1993 at the age of 84.
Would he have accomplished any of these things if he would have given up that day?
THE EMPTY GIFT
"I was enjoying 1st grade to the fullest until one day in December when the little girl behind me set "it" on her desk. It was the tiniest Christmas present imaginable, less than an inch on each side with white glossy paper tied up with a sliver of red cellophane. Immediately I was captivated. I had never seen anything so exquisite. Day after day the tiny gift caught my eye, and my active imagination tried to guess what miniature treasure might be inside. It had to be something wondrous beyond description.
I longed for that object with all the power a 5-year-old can muster. Finally, I became convinced that it should be mine. I deserved it because I desired it. Since I rode an early bus to school, it was a simple matter to slip into the empty classroom one morning. My hands eagerly tore open the tiny present. Inside I found - nothing.
Staring at the destruction in my hand, anticipation dissolved into disappointment and confusion. Gradually my stunned mind grasped the fact that the little package had been nothing more than a hollow decoration. I sat at my desk with the empty paper and an empty feeling, sickened by the knowledge of my guilt.
Little did I know that morning that this scene would repeat itself many times in my life. As I grew up the world enticed me wi...
AT CHRISTMAS ALL ROADS LEAD HOME
Marjorie Holmes writes, "At Christmas, all roads lead home. The filled planes, the packed trains and overflowing buses all speak eloquently of a single destination: home. Despite the crowding and the crushing, the delays, the confusion, we clutch our bright packages and beam our anticipation. We are like birds driven by an instinct we only faintly understand--the hunger to be (home)."
She then remembers a Christmas during the Great Depression when her Dad was out of work and the rest of her siblings were scattered across the country and unable to return home for Christmas. But then just days before, each sibling conspired with the others to make it home no matter what to surprise their parents. When she arrived at the door, she writes, "I'll never forget (my mother's) eyes or the feel of her arms around me." The next morning she was awakened by the sleigh bells hanging on the front door as her siblings each arrived. "Together. (We realized) it was the best Christmas gift we could give one another."
Many years later, her husband had to travel to Florida to perform a vital surgery which would separate them for Christmas. They had agreed that this would be the way it is for Christmas this year but then at the last minute, Marjorie and her daughter hopped a train and headed to Florida. On the way, she saw a sailor in his uniform with his sea bag on his shoulders and she knew here was another so immutably driven to "Come home." And then she writes, "There must be some deep psychological reason why we turn so instinctively toward home at this special time. Perhaps we are acting out the ancient story of a man and a woman and a coming child, plodding along with their donkey toward their destination. It was necessary for Joseph to go home...The Child who was born on that first Christmas grew up to be a man, Jesus. He healed many people, taught us many important things. But the message that has left the most lasting impression and given the most hope and comfort is this: that we do have a home to go to...a place where every day will be Christmas, with everybody there. At home."
Sermon Central Staff
POSITION VERSUS DISCIPLESHIP
C. Gene Wilkes, in his book Jesus on Leadership, says, "Confusion arises when you equate higher 'positions' with leadership . . . As long as 'position' is honored above discipleship -- being a follower -- church leaders will honor the ambitious over the obedient." We often tend to think that those who appear promising, or who say they will go, are the ones who are great in God's kingdom and His service. Keep in mind, however, that even though someone may seem incredible and obedient, it doesn't mean they really are, for appearance can be deceiving.
An individual might say they have great faith in God, but when it all boils down do we see the evidence? James 2:17 and 19 says, "Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead . . . You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble!" Just believing in God is not enough to exhibit your obedience, because even the demons believe in Him, and we know they don't serve the Lord. Proclaiming to others, or even telling the Lord, that you have great faith in Him and are willing to serve Him doesn't make you faithful. An individual is not faithful until they actually go as commanded. The late Rich Mullins said, "Faith without works is about as useless as a screen-door on a submarine."
(From a sermon by Damian Phillips, Faith Seen in Action, 8/20/2012)
A father’s two daughters were begging him for permission to see the latest movie, which happened to be rated "R," with their friends. When he denied their request, their pleading only intensified. "It’s only rated R because it has just a little bad language and just a few scenes that are bad," they reasoned.
Later that night, the father baked some brownies for his daughters. They dug in and commented on how much they enjoyed them. "You like them, huh?" he responded. "Oh yes. They’re great," answered his daughters. "That’s interesting because I used a new recipe," he said, matter of factly.
"Oh yeah? What is it?" they asked.
"Well, I’ve always heard that, if you add a little dash of dog droppings to the brownies that it gives them a distinct taste that people love," he answered, straight-faced.
The daughters immediately stopped chewing and their faces transformed from enthusiastic smiles to panicked looks of confusion. "You’re kidding!" cried one as she spat her brownie out on her plate. "What in the world are you thinking?" complained the other.
The father explained that he would never serve such a dish because even just a small amount of some things is completely unacceptable. He went on to explain that God views sin in much the same way. It doesn’t matter how little it is, it still is so distasteful that God cannot look upon it.
The girls agreed with their father that rated "R" movies were not for them.
Christmas was not celebrated during the 1st 2 centuries after Christ’s life on earth. In AD 245, when a group of scholars attempted to pinpoint the exact date of Christ’s birth, a church council denounced the endeavor, declaring it wrong to celebrate the birthday of Christ "as though he were a King Pharaoh." In spite of official disapproval, various attempts were made to pinpoint the nativity, resulting in a confusion of dates. Among the earliest: January 1st, 6th, March 25th, and May 20th. By the middle of the 4th century, December 25th was associated as the birthday of Christ. Pope Julius formally named December 25th as the day for Christmas in AD 349.
December 25th was widely celebrated day in the Roman world. On that date, citizens observed the Natalis Solis Invicti (the Birthday of the unconquerable Sun) in honor of the Sun god, Mithras. The festival took place just after the winter solstace of the Julian calendar. Many modern Christmas customs, such as decorating a house with greenery, exchanging gifts and enjoying festive meals, originated with this pagan celebration. Scholars believe that pope Julius selected December 25th as the date of the nativity in order to win followers of Mithras as well as giving Christians an opportunity to honor Christ on his birth date.
In 17th century England, puritans objected to Christian celebrations because they had no clear biblical basis. As a result, in 1643, the parliament outlawed Christmas, Easter, and other Christian holidays. However, December 25th was so popular as a festive day, that by 1660, the citizens reclaimed it. Their neglect of the religious aspects of December 25th resulted in a growing secularization of the holiday.
The Christmas tree tradition was started in Germany in the late 15th century. At that time a popular play depicted the expulsion of Adam Eve from Eden, by a fir tree hung with apples. Soon trees were placed in the homes of Christians who interpreted it as a sym...
A WW2 story tells of how some soldiers brought the body of a dead friend to a French Cemetary. The priest asked if the dead man had been a catholic, but they did not know. The priest said that the man could not be buried in the graveyard. They men took their friend and buried him outside the cemetery fence. The next day they came back to see if the grave was all right, and to their astonishment they could not find it. They were about to leave in confusion when the priest came out. He told them that he had been so troubled about the event that he arose early in the morning and moved the graveyard fence to include the grave of the soldier who had died.
Did you hear about the college student who was taking the course in ornithology, which is a study of birds?
This class in ornithology had the reputation of being the most difficult class in the whole curriculum. And the professor was an extremely difficult professor. Everybody feared him. But it was a required course, & every student had to take it.
As the course began, the professor announced there would be a test in 40 days & it would compose a large portion of the grade. So you had to do well on that test. Everybody studied. They took copious notes. They made sure they understood everything the professor said.
On the 40th day the students filed into the lecture hall with sweaty palms, extremely nervous. On the stage was a table with 5 cages on it. Each cage had a cover & beneath the cover they could see the feet & spindly legs of a bird.
At the sound of the bell, the professor addressed the students, “Here’s the test. You can see there are 5 birds & they’re all covered except for their feet & legs. You must tell me the identity of each of those 5 birds by looking only at their feet & legs.”
Everyone had studied long & hard, but no one had anticipated such a test. And they were all sweating, trying to remember something, anything, that could help them pass the test.
Finally, one student stood up & said, “This is ridiculous. This is the craziest test I have every seen, & you’re the worst professor in this whole school.” He said, “I quit. I‘m out of here. I’m not going to take this test.” And he turned & walked toward the door.
“Just a minute young man.” said the professor. “Who are you? I demand your name right now.” The young man stopped, took a long look at the professor, & then pulling up both of his pant legs said, “You tell me."