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I’ll never forget reading the economist Robert Heilbroner’s walk-through of what it would take to transform the average American home into the typical dwelling of the majority of the world’s inhabitants. We would have to begin by invading the house of our imaginary American family to strip it of its furniture. Everything goes: beds, chairs, tables, TV, lamps. All that can be left for the family is a few old blankets, a kitchen table, and a wooden chair. When it comes to clothing, each member of the family may keep his oldest suit or dress and one shirt or blouse. The head of the family gets a pair of shoes, but not the wife or children.
Then comes the kitchen.
All the appliances would have to come out, and the cabinets would have to be emptied. All that can stay is a box of matches, a small bag of flour, and some sugar and salt. A few moldy potatoes, already in the garbage can, have to be taken back out, for they will provide much of that night’s meal. We can add a handful of onions and a dish of dried beans, but that’s all. Everything else goes: meat, fresh vegetables, canned goods, any crackers or candy. All gone.
But not only do we have to strip the house this way, but we also have to dismantle th bathroom, shut off the running water, and take out all electric wires. Next, we take away the house itself. The family must move into the toolshed. Everything related to communication goes too. No more newspapers, magazines, books – not that they are missed, since we must also take away the family’s literacy. Instead, all that can be left is one small radio. Then government services are removed. No more mail delivery, no more fire department. There is a school, but it is three miles away and consists of only two classrooms. There can’t be any hospitals or doctors nearby. The nearest clinic will be ten miles away and tended by no more than a midwife. It can be reached by bicycle, provided that the family has a bicycle, which is unlikely.
Finally, we come to money.
The family can only be allowed a cash hoard of five dollars. That is only allowed to prevent the main breadwinner of the family from experiencing the tragedy that came upon one poor laborer who went blind because he could not raise the $3.94 that he mistakenly thought he needed to receive admission to a hospital where he could have been cured.
James Emery White, You Can Experience an Authentic Life (Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000), 150-152
The children of a well-to-do family decided to give their father as a birthday present a book containing their family’s history. They commissioned a professional biographer to write the book, carefully cautioning him about the family’s “black sheep”—their Uncle George had been executed in the electric chair for murder, and they felt that it would be best if the biographer left Uncle George out of the book.
“No need to do that,” said the biographer. “I can report the situation in such a way that there will be no embarrassment to your father or to you. I’ll merely write that Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution. He was attached to his position by the strongest ties, and his death came as a real shock.”
There was once a Governor of Pennsylvania who was known as a hard man when it came to offering pardons to people on death row. He had never granted a stay of execution and had never pardoned anyone. One day, a woman came to his office and was able to persuade the secretary to let her in to see the governor. She pleaded with the Governor to allow her son, who was scheduled to die in the electric chair later that same week, a pardon. She explained that he was a good boy and didn’t mean to hurt anybody. He was all that she had and she couldn’t bear to live life without him, even if he remained in prison. The Governor was firm. He denied her request, but she continued her pleading. Eventually, the Governor conceded. He said to the woman, “I will go see your son today. We’ll see what happens.” The woman was overjoyed and, after praising the Governor and thanking him for his kindness, hurriedly exited his office and went home. The Governor scheduled a visit with the young man, although this was most unheard of—governors never met with felons. At the meeting inside the prison interview room, the Governor sat directly across from the boy. The boy stared hard and cold over the right shoulder of the Governor, not making any eye contact or offering a handshake or welcome of any kind. The Governor spoke, “Son, do you feel any remorse for the crime you’ve committed?” The young man continued his cold stare off into the corner of the room and remained silent. “Young man, are you sorry for what you’ve done? Will you just say you’re sorry.” Silence. The Governor positioned himself so that the young man would look him in the eyes, but the man averted his eyes further away from him. The Governor looked hard at the boy for what seemed an eternity, neither saying a word. Finally, the Governor pushed his chair back across the cold concrete floor and then stood. Without saying a word, the Governor turned and was escorted from the dark interview room. About 30 seconds after the Governor had left, the boy, as if he had been shot with a b.b. gun, leaped from his chair and ran towards the steel door where the Governor had just exited. He began banging on the door, yelling, “I want to see the Governor! I want to see the Governor!” A guard rushed to the door to see what was the matter, “What’s wrong with you, boy?” “I want to see the Governor!” the boy replied. “I’m sorry, boy, the Governor’s gone.” He had blown his only chance for being pardoned from the electric chair. Will you blow what may be your last chance to speak to the Governor? All He wants you to do is repent and accept Him as Lord and Savior. He’ll take the punishment for you.
Nicky Cruz was the leader of the toughest gang in New York City.
His Satanist parents abused him brutally, so he grew up a hardened man void of love and full of hate.
“I wanted to do to others what my mother did to me,” Nicky says. “I used to feel good when I hurt some people.”
But privately, he didn’t feel good.
“Privately. When I was alone, loneliness became like a seductive woman that crawled inside my chest and [ate] me. I was there twisting and fighting; I felt so lost.”
Only two people saw the desperate condition of Nicky’s heart. One was a psychologist.
“He told me about five times. ‘There’s a dark side in your life that nobody can penetrate. Nicky, you are walking straight to jail, the electric chair, and hell. There’s no hope.’”
The other was a pastor named David Wilkerson. He risked his life to tell Nicky there was hope.
“I heard his voice: ‘God has the power to change your life.’ I started cursing loud,” says Nicky. “I spit in his face, and I hit him. I told him, ‘I don’t believe in what you say and you get out of here.’”
Nicky never expected what he heard Wilkerson say next.
Wilkerson replied, “You could cut me up into a 1000 pieces and lay them in the street. Every piece will still love you.”
Nicky says, “It did damage. Good [damage] in my brain and in my heart. I began to question, and for two weeks I could not sleep thinking about love.”
Nicky and his gang showed up at one of Wilkerson’s rallies. One by one, they gave their lives to Christ. It was the crucifixion –...
Suppose you committed a brutal murder and were arrested for it. You were sent to jail, but you had no money to afford a lawyer so one was appointed for you. You found out he’s the best there is. Your trial comes. The evidence is overwhelming, you’re convicted and sentenced to death. Then something bizarre happens. Your lawyer stands and approaches the bench. He tells the judge that even though you’re guilty, he would like to take your place in the electric chair. What would you think about that lawyer? Perplexed, amazed, grateful?
That’s exactly what Jesus Christ has already done for you and me. Every one of us has sinned against God. The penalty for sin is death. Jesus comes along as our Counselor/Advocate and takes our place on the cross! As God’s children, Jesus defends us to the death!
Several years ago our International Mission Board reported the story of a former Muslim from South Asia who has suffered for the Lord. They changed his name to Lamak for security reasons. He was born into a wealthy and powerful Muslim family, but Lamak turned his life over to Jesus, while he was working in Singapore.
*When he went home 4 years later, Lamak took the risk of sharing Jesus with his family. His father-in-law was so enraged he had Lamak strapped to a chair, and used live electric wires to force him to renounce Jesus. But this young man refused to deny Christ.
*Today he has scars on his arms from the torture, but he uses these scars to share his testimony with other people. They ask Lamak about his scars, and he tells them about Jesus!
*Lamak has also worked with our short-term missions workers. At the time of the story, he had helped plant 32 churches and had baptized 500 Muslim believers. (7)
*Lamak is a giant-killer. He is taking a bold stand for Jesus Christ. And that’s what we should do, starting right here at home, especially when we think about the other scars, the scars we will see one day in Heaven, the scars that Jesus carries because He died for us.
(IMB Lottie Moon illustrations - 2004)
Menelik was the king of Ethiopia from 1899 to 1913. He heard about a new device that could be used for dealing with hardened criminals, so he ordered one. When his new electric chair arrived he was severely disappointed that it wouldn’t work. It seems that Ethiopia would not have electricity for many more years. But Menelik was determined not to waste such an elaborate purchase -- he turned the thing into a throne.  1. Clifton Fadman, Gen Ed., The Little Brown Book of Anecdotes, (Boston; Little, Brown & Co, 1985), 396
Imagine with me for a moment…
Pretend that a man from South America is speaking here. His name is Jose Samblanco, and having just arrived, he proclaims the good news to us that a Peruvian peasant by the name of Carlos Hernandez was electrocuted on the electric chair for your sins.
He has even written a hymn. The words go like this:
Carlos was there
On that horrible chair
They tied him down with bolts
And then zapped him with 40,000 volts
It was for you he fried
It was for you our savior died
Despite the fact that his hair
caught on fire,
this one is God’s Messiah.
The wisdom of the world has been refuted
because Carlos was electrocuted
He is my savior and my lamp,
because he absorbed every deadly amp
Now I know that God does care,
’cause he sent Carlos Hernandez
to the electric chair
He has also written other hymns like, "In the chair of Carlos I Glory" and "When I cling to that old rugged electric chair". Now imagine if people caught on to this religion and they started wearing gold electric chairs on their necklace or if they put chairs on top of building. What if the Red Cross changed their named to the Red Chair. Prior to a big race, athletes, instead of making the sign of the...
Two Gun Crowley
On May 7, 1931 the most sensational manhunt in New York City came to a climax. After a two week search “Two gun Crowley- the killer who didn’t smoke or drink was trapped in his girlfriends apartment. 150 policeman laid siege to the apartment. The chopped holes in the roof to smoke out the cop killer with tear gas. 10,000 people watched as he fired back at the police from behind an overstuffed chair.
When he was finally captured the police commissioner declared that he was the most dangerous criminal in the history of New York who will kill at the drop of a feather. But how did Crowley regard himself. We know from the letter he wrote while in the apartment under bullet fire. “TO whom it may concern, “Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one-one that would do nobody any harm”
He was being chased because a police man came up to a car where he and his girl were necking and asked for his license. With a word he drew his gun and shot the police man.
When he was sentenced to death in the electric chair, did he say, “This is what I get for killing people”. No he said, “This is what I get for defending myself.”
(From Dale Carnegie Win Friends and Influence People)
A tragic event that occurred in the spring of 1931 when nine young black men were pulled off an Alabama freight train and accused of raping two young white women.
A fight had broken out between blacks and whites in which, the whites were thrown off the train; the surprise was that two southern women Victoria Price and Ruby Bates were also on the train, they had also been down to Chattanooga to look for work.
Rather than be arrested and put in jail they cried rape.
The nine young men called “the Scottsboro boys”, were quickly tried and sentenced to the electric chair.
News of their convictions spread, forcing an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
New York attorney Sam Leibowitz traveled to Alabama in 1933 during segregation to defend the nine black men—setting in motion a legal battle that ultimately changed the lives of everyone involved.
When Sam Leibowitz lost his case Judge James Edwin Horton overturned the decision of the jury which resulted in the ruination of his career; he was never elected to the bench again-ever.
He never regretted his decision.