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Contributed By:
Paul Carlson
 
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A Nation of Bible Illiterates

George Barna wrote The State of the Church in 2002. Barna conducted a survey of self-pronounced Christians and here’s what he found about their knowledge of the Bible. These are Christians.

• 48% could not name the four Gospels.
• 52% cannot identify more than two or three of Jesus’ disciples.
• 60% of American Christians can’t name even five of the 10 Commandments.
• 61% of American Christians think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
• 71% of American Christians think “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
George Barna said, "Americans revere the Bible, but by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates."

Just as the people in this Barna poll are woefully biblical illiterate, Christians are far too ignorant of the Word of God. No wonder 21st century Christians are failing to finish their marathon race. No wonder Christians by the thousands are falling prey to the false teachers of our day. They are being feed junk food and don’t feed themselves on the Word of God. They are desperately in need of a solid diet of good food, Scripture. We need to get into "spiritual shape"!

 
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SOMEDAY SOON

You just know that some things are going to happen sooner or later.
That’s the way it was with Michael Parfit, a writer for Smithsonian magazine. For a feature article on the mighty Mississippi River, Parfit rode in a twelve-foot rubber dinghy down the Mississippi from Memphis, Tennessee, to the Gulf of Mexico.
Parfit learned of the incredible power of this giant river. The Mississippi gathers its water from 41 percent of the continental U.S., catching water from Montana to New York. Half a trillion tons of water flow down the Mississippi every year, carrying downstream sixty-three thousand tons of soil a day.
A river this big is a threat to the surrounding countryside. That’s why engineers have built levees to pinch the mighty giant and keep it from flooding the farmland and towns nearby. The levees on the lower Mississippi stand, on average, twenty-five feet high and run 2,203 miles on both sides of the main river and its tributaries.
"As the wall was built over the years," writes Parfit, " people came to live under its protection. They tore down the forest and planted cotton, and the floodplain of the Mississippi became the expanse of farmland known as the Mississippi Delta."
More than eight million people live in the Delta. But at what risk? Parfit flew in a plane over the Mississippi Delta and saw plainly the river’s tracks on the land, where it once had flooded the delta.
"The levee…cages the giant, or appears to," writes Parfit. "And no one but birds and an occasional light-plane pilot notices the long sweep of the river’s indelible script. What the river has written in the mud again and again is simple: ’Someday soon.’ "
Someday soon will come another flood. That’s what Parfit warned in February of 1993. Someday soon will come another devastating flood like the ones in 1882, 1927, and 1973.
"People in this valley get a sense everything is totally controlled," one engineer told Parfit. "That’s a false sense of security. We haven’t seen anything yet in this valley as to what this river can do. We’re not in control of anything."
"The river," wrote Parfit in February 1993, "moves brown swift, unpredictable, enormous, always murmuring ’Someday soon…’"
In February 1993 when his article was published, Parfit could not have imagined how right he would be. Only months after the publication of the article, in the summer in 1993, came one of the worst floods of the history of the Mississippi.
God’s Word warns that someday soon, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, Christ will return to the earth, bringing the terrible wrath of God on all who have not prepared their lives for His coming. Nothing can stop Him. The wise person gets ready.

SOURCE: Jack Voss, Crossroads Christian Center, Collinsville, OK. God’s Secret(A Study On The Book Of Acts).

 
Contributed By:
David DeWitt
 
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I simply argue that the cross be raised again
at the center of the market place
as well as the steeple of the church,
I am recovering the claim that
Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles
but on a cross between two thieves;
on a town garbage heap;
at a crossroad of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title
in Hebrew and in latin and in Greek...
and at the kind of place where cynics talk smut,
and thieves curse and soldiers gamble.
Because that is where He died, and that is what He died about
and that is where Christ’s followers ought to be,
and what church people ought to be about
George MacLeod

 
Contributed By:
SermonCentral 
 
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NO GREATER LOVE

It was February 1941, Auschwitz, Poland. Maximilian Kolbe
was a Franciscan priest put in the infamous death camp for helping Jews escape Nazi terrorism.
Months went by and in desperation an escape took place. The camp rule was enforced. Ten people would be rounded up randomly and herded into a cell where they would die of starvation and exposure as a lesson against future escape attempts.
Names were called. A Polish Jew Frandishek Gasovnachek was called. He cried, "Wait, I have a wife and children!" Kolbe stepped forward and said, "I will take his place."
Kolbe was marched into the cell with nine others where he managed to live until August 14.
This story was chronicled on an NBC news special several years ago. Gasovnachek, by this time 82, was shown telling this story while tears streamed down his cheeks. A mobile camera followed him around his little white house to a marble monument carefully tended with flowers. The inscription read:
IN MEMORY OF MAXIMILIAN KOLBE

HE DIED IN MY PLACE.
Every day Gaso...

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Contributed By:
Mark Brunner
 
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Author Irving Stone has spent a lifetime studying greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo and Vincent van Gogh. Stone was once asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of these exceptional people. He said, “I write about people who sometime in their life. . . have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished . . . and they go to work. They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.” (Crossroads, Issue No. 7, p. 18.)

 
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In the movie Alice in Wonderland, Alice came to an icy fork in the road. Panic stung her as she stood frozen by indecision. She lifted her eyes toward heaven, looking for guidance. Her eyes did not find God, only the Cheshire cat leering at her from his perch in the tree above. "Which way should I go?" blurted Alice. ’That depends, . . . ."said the cat, fixing a strange smile on the confused girl. "On what?" Alice managed to reply. "On your destination. Where are you going?" queried the Cat. "I don’t know, . . . " stammered Alice. "Then," said the cat, with a grin spreading wider, "it doesn’t matter." Many of us feel like Alice in Wonderland, we stand at some crossroads in our life and don’t know which road to take. The difference between us and Alice however is that we DO know where we are going.

 
Contributed By:
Bill Prater
 
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Bette Nesmith had a good secretarial job in a Dallas bank when she ran across a problem that interested her. Her thought was, there must be a better way to correct typewriter errors? Having had some art experience, she knew that artists who worked in oils just painted over their errors. So she began to think that maybe that would work for her too. So she concocted a fluid to paint over her typing errors.

Before long, all the secretaries in her building were using what she then called "MistakeOut." She attempted to sell the product idea to marketing agencies and various companies (including IBM), but they all turned her down.

However, secretaries continued to like her product, so Bette Nesmith’s kitchen became her first manufacturing facility and she started selling it on her own.

When she eventually sold the enterprise, the tiny white bottles were earning $3.5 million annually on sales of $38 million. The buyer was the Gillette Company and the sale price was $47.5 million.

Crossroads, Issue No. 7, pp. 3-4.

 
Contributed By:
John Hamby
 
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YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO!

“One day, when Vice-President Calvin Coolidge was presiding over the Senate, one senator angrily told another to go “straight to hell.” The offended Senator complained to Coolidge as presiding officer, and Coolidge looked up from the book he had been leafing through while listening to the debate and wittily replied. ...

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Contributed By:
Terry Laughlin
 
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Which Way, O Lord?

"This is what the Lord says; 'Stand at the crossroads and look... ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'" Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV)

The way many people attempt to determine the will of God would make a great new television series entitled, "That's Unbelievable!"

A woman with a lifetime dream of going to the Holy Land was trying to determine the will of God on this matter. Before going to bed one night, she read the tour pamphlet and noticed in the plans that they would be traveling on a 747 jet. She tossed back and forth that night and laid awake for hours wondering what God would have her do. Rolling over in the morning, she noticed that her beside clock read 7:47. Her answer! She became convinced that this was God's answer to her and it was His will for her to make that trip. "That's Unbelievable!"

You cannot readily determine the will of God for your life outside of having your heart opened through prayer, the study of God's Word and obedience to it. And, if you are outside the will of God, you will find yourself without peace in your life.

When the prophet Jeremiah spoke the words quoted above, Jerusalem was being threatened with total destruction. Like today, the warning signs were all around the people. God in His great love was sounding the danger alarm so that they would turn from their wicked ways and be saved. But in Jeremiah 6: 10, we read that "The word of the Lord [was] offensive to them; they [found] no pleasure in it." So, the siege works were being built outside their walls and utter ruin lay ahead.

Has the Word of the Lord been offensive to you? Do you find no pleasure in it? Are you suffering from the devastating effects of your own bad choices, divorce or sexual sin? Are your hopes and dreams dead? Perhaps you are bound up by addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or pornography and can't break away. Are financial pressures, wayward children or broken relationships weighing heavily on your soul? Is your life under siege? Are you standing at the crossroads today? The Lord is saying to you "Look... ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your soul."
Where is the "good way" to be found? The prophet Isaiah tells us to "Seek ye out the book of the Lord." The apostle Paul teaches that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness."

If there is not a joy in your heart when you read the Word of God or there is no draw to read the Bible at all, then you have not found the Christ of the Bible or you're simply not walking in obedience to God's Son. For He is the Word made flesh. (John 1: 14) You are not truly asking "Which way, O Lord?" You are telling Him how you are going to live and demanding that He bless it. That is the sin which keeps you from living the abundant life promised in Christ.

If you are seeking peace in your life and rest for your soul today, you are standing at the CrossRoads...and all signs are pointing to Jesus!

 
Contributed By:
Michael Gardner
 
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Two men were flying to Orlando from California and met on an airplane. After exchanging pleasantries, conversation turned to the needs of their community.

One of them was a pastor who shared his vision for a soup kitchen just starting up in downtown Orlando. He also told of local churches that had been helping people with finances, pantry items and clothing and expressed his concern that ministry might die if they didn’t find the support they needed.

The other man was a local restaurateur. He shared his heart with the pastor and told of a time when he was hungry and someone helped him. He was reminded of the promise he made to God to someday repay this act of kindness. Each man was at crossroads in his life, 30,000 feet in the air.

Within a few weeks, a ministry called Daily Bread was organized and sponsored with food from one of Orlando’s most prestigious restaurants. Churches supplied volunteers. A staff was funded to help organize this task. And, lives were touched ... one meal at a time. Within nine years, more than 900,000 meals were served by Daily Bread. Thirty years later the lives of millions of people are changed forever because of what God did 30,000 feet in the air.

The two men on the airplane were Dr. Howard Chadwick, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando and the restaurateur Champ Williams, owner of Skyline Restaurants, the largest restaurant chain in central Florida.

Dr. Chadwick built one of the great urban churches in America in downtown Orlando with that kind of vision. He also was my childhood pastor.

He confirmed me at Central Presbyterian Church in Kansas City. That day he whispered a word from Scripture in my ear that changed my life forever. It was Matthew 5:16. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

As Paul wrote in his letters, we are to live in such a way that we give God all the glory, so we can say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Dr. Chadwick is now old. He is in his 90’s – the age I hope to sometime be. He gave his life in a way that mattered. He was not ashamed of the gospel

You and I have to choose how we live. Do we live for ourselves, seeking every way we can to build our economic and life security? Or do we live for him?

If you are going to live for something, live for something that matters more than money. More than fame. More than security. Live in such a way that you can say “I am not ashamed of the Gospel!”

 
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