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Sermon Central Staff
When DAVE THOMAS died in early 2002, he left behind more than just thousands of Wendy’s restaurants. He also left a legacy of being a practical, hard-working man who was respected for his down-to-earth values.
Among the pieces of good advice that have outlived the smiling entrepreneur is his view of what Christians should be doing with their lives. Thomas, who as a youngster was influenced for Christ by his grandmother, said that believers should be "roll-up-your-shirt sleeves" Christians.
In his book Well Done, Thomas said, "Roll-up-your-shirtsleeves Christians see Christianity as faith and action. They still make the time to talk with God through prayer, study Scripture with devotion, be super-active in their church and take their ministry to others to spread the Good Word." He went onto say they are "anonymous people who are doing good for Christ may be doing even more good than all the well-known Christians in the world."
That statement has more meat in it than a Wendy’s triple burger. Thomas knew ab out hard work in the restaurant business; and he knew it is vital in the spiritual world also.
Let’s Roll-up-our-shirt sleeves, there is plenty to do.
(Source: Dave Branon, Our Daily Bread. From a sermon by Dennis Davidson, Authentic Faith Works, 10/26/2009)
ROBERT LEWIS WAS GEORGE WASHINGTON’S PRIVATE SECRETARY. DURING THE FIRST PART OF THE PRESIDENCY, HE SAID THAT HE ACCIDENTALLY WITNESSED WASHINGTON’S PRIVATE DEVOTIONS, BOTH MORNING AND EVENING. HE SAW HIM IN A KNEELING POSTURE, WITH AN OPEN BIBLE BEFORE HIM; AND HE SAID THAT HE BELIEVED SUCH WAS HIS DAILY PRACTICE. HIS CUSTOM WAS TO GO TO HIS LIBRARY AT 4 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING FOR DEVOTIONS.
Too Easily Pleased! (07.06.05--Joy Every Day--Ecclesiastes 9:7-10)
I was happy with things the way they were. Why should I go to any great length to make them any better when, as it were, I was contented with how my car looked and drove? This was my response about a year ago when my wife approached me with an idea. “Why don’t you have some of the dents in your car fixed and, while you’re at it, get it painted as well.”
I had driven the old Corvair for years and paid little attention to the several sizeable dents in its fenders. And, for that matter, paid only slight attention to its faded paint. In some places on the car the undercoating was showing through. I simply had gotten used to the way it looked. And, since the car was fun to drive, dents and paint withstanding, I was content? Why did I need any more joy than I already had. Was it really worth the cost to make substantial changes in a vehicle that I already loved? Nonetheless, after the conversation had come up more than once, I began to look at the car through different eyes. Perhaps my wife was right. Perhaps the old Corvair could use a facelift and a complete paint makeover. Perhaps when all was said and done, the joy that I had driving the car everyday could actually be enhanced if I put a bit more effort into keeping it looking good. Perhaps?
C. S. Lewis writes: “Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (C.S. Lewis.)
Sometimes we as Christians find ourselves making “mud pies” of our lives and finding contentment in the doing when all along God has fore-ordained that there was something better and far more joyful than this level of minimal contentment that we might find in just going about our daily lives, coping with things as they come along. Coping, day-in and day-out, becomes habitual after a time. Like my old Corvair, we sort of get used to a level of joy that seems good enough for the present time. Besides, making significant changes in a life that is already “self-programmed” to be sufficient can often mean a lot of extra work. When we take stock of many of the things in this life that we feel are “joy-givers”, we might find that many of them pale in comparison to the joy that devotion to Christian living could bring us if only we were inclined to take some of the dents out of our spiritual lives and, perhaps, give them a fresh new coat of paint.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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This Passing Day!
# John Stafford tells about an old well that stood outside the front door of their family farm house in New Hampshire. The water from the well was remarkably pure and cold. No matter how hot the summer or how severe the drought, the well was always a source of refreshment and joy. The faithful old well was a big part of his memories of summer vacations at the farmhouse.
The years passed and eventually the farmhouse was modernized. Wiring brought electric lights, and indoor plumbing brought hot and cold running water. The old well was no longer needed, so it was sealed for use in possible future emergencies.
One summer day, years later, John Stafford had a desire for cold, pure water. He unsealed the well and lowered a bucket for a nostalgic taste of the delightful refreshment he remembered. He was shocked to discover that the well that once had survived the severest droughts was bone dry! He asked local residents why their well had gone dry. He learned that wells of that sort were fed by hundreds of tiny underground rivulets which seep a steady flow of water. As long as the water is drawn out of the well, new water will flow in through the rivulets, keeping them open for more...
A survey of hundreds of pastors has allowed us to compile a preliminary list of measurable quality factors in the life of a congregation in ranking order. The twelve factors are:
1. Bible knowledge. Church members are increasing in their grasp of the teachings of the Bible. They can integrate this with a theological system that enables them to apply the Bible’s teachings to their life situation.
2. Personal devotions. Members spend time daily in prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and other personal spiritual exercises.
3. Worship. Members regularly participate in the worship services scheduled by the church.
4. Witnessing. Members regularly attempt to share their faith in Jesus Christ with unbelievers.
5. Lay ministry. The lay people of the church are engaged in such ministries as teaching and discipling. In some cases this happens through consciously discovering, developing, and using their spiritual gifts.
6. Missions. The church actively supports missions, organizing and sustaining a strong program for recruiting, sending, and financing home and foreign missionaries.
7. Giving. Members give an appropriate portion of their income to the local church and/or to other Christian causes.
8. Fellowship. Members are growing in their personal relationships with each other through regular participation in church fellowship groups of one kind or another.
9. Distinctive life-style. Members generally manifest their faith in Christ by living a life-style clearly and noticeable distinct from that of non-Christians in the same community.
10. Attitude toward religion. Church members regard their involvement in the church primarily as a service to God rather than a means to fulfill personal needs.
11. Social service. Members are serving others outside the congregation. This includes direct personal involvement with the poor and needy, or in programs designed to help the needy.
12. Social justice. Either through the congregation as a whole or through specialized Christian agencies, members are striving to make changes in sociopolitical structures that will contribute to a more moral and just society.
C. Peter Wagner, Leading Your Church to Growth, Regal Books, 1984, pp. 25-27.
Men who have in the past exerted the greatest influence for good in the world had, as a rule, pious mothers. The mother of George Washington, the man in whose principles we glory today, made it a practice each morning to spend an hour in prayer, devotion, and Bible study before attempting to conduct morning worship with her family.
The life of Abraham Lincoln, it is well known, was shaped to a large degree by his godly mother. When she was on her death bed, when Lincoln was but 12 years of age, he promised his mother that he would never use alcohol or tobacco. She had observed the influence of these narcotics upon others. That promise was never broken. Had it not been for the life of Lincoln’s mother the world might never have heard of the man to whom it shows great respect even today.
The lives of John and Charles Wesley stand forth as monuments of a mother’s influence. Although the mother of 18 children, she found time for daily secret prayer and Bible study. She was the teacher of her children. Speaking of John Wesley, the “Encyclopedia Britannica” (eleventh edition, Vol. 28, p. 527) says: “He was the fifteenth child. . . His mother’s training laid the foundation of his character, and under her instruction the children made remarkable progre...
THAT LITTLE KHAKI-COVERED BOOK
We Thought We Heard The Angels Sing, written by Lieutenant James Whittaker who was one of seven men whose plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean on October 21, 1942. Their leader was the famous Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, and these seven men found themselves stranded on three rafts with no water and only four oranges.
Tying their boats together, they drifted day after day without food or water, sometimes delirious, tortured by the relentless sun, and constantly encircled by the dorsal fins of sharks. It seemed impossible for them to survive, but one of the men, Private Johnny Bartek, was a dedicated Christian who always carried a little New Testament with him so that he could have his daily devotions. It was a pocket-sized with a zipper arrangement that made it waterproof.
There, in the middle of the Pacific, Bartek had his devotions. It wasn’t very private and the other six men wanted to know what he was doing. When he explained to them about his daily Bible reading and prayer, they asked him why they couldn’t all share in that.
And so the men started having their daily devotions and they started at the beginning of the book, in the Gospel of Matthew. Soon they came to 6:31-34. It immediately became their hope, inspiration, and prayer: What shall we eat? What shall we drink? —Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
As the men read those verses day after day, a remarkable series of miracles started happening. Just when they were near starvation, for example, a bird landed on Rickenbacker’s head and they would grab it, carve it up for food, and use its innards for fishing bait. Just when they were near death by thirst, a cloud would drift over and fill their raft with water...