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Contributed By:
Mark Bauer
 
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God can be trusted.
Our prayers will not go unheeded.

It’s like a little girl
who crawled up into her father’s lap
while was reading the newspaper.
She told him how much she wanted him to build her a doll house.
She didn’t climb down till her daddy had promised to do just that,
although he was somewhat distracted and agreed
mostly because he wanted to be allowed to continue to read his paper.

He forgot about his promise until he walked into her room one evening
and saw all her dolls and doll furniture were packed to move into the new dollhouse.
When he asked her about it,
she simply told him
that she knew he would be building it
(even though has hadn’t yet begun!)
because he had promised that he would.
That was goo enough for her.

I don’t know of a better definition of faith.
God has promised to heed our prayers.
They will not go unanswered.

 
Contributed By:
Fred Sigle
 
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On an ICY winter’s night two weeks before Christmas, 1987, a PREACHER was impatiently waiting at the O’Hare Airport in Chicago. All FLIGHTS has been CANCELED due to FOG and FREEZING RAIN. The TERMINAL was in BEDLAM. Thousands of people were CLUSTERED at the TICKET COUNTERS demanding projected DEPARTURE times. Others were sitting silently FUMING at the DELAY of their FLIGHTS. Children were CRYING, the PA SYSTEM was BLARING, and the DEFEATED were BELLYING UP to the BAR. The PREACHER was TENSE and APPREHENSIVE. He was on his way back HOME to Texas after holding a week-long REVIVAL.

Sitting directly across from him was a middle-aged Hispanic woman with a child CRADLED in her ARMS. She was LAUGHING! The preacher thought to himself, "The world is COLLAPSING, thousands are STRANDED, O’Hare is a shrieking SNAKE PIT, and this woman is LAUGHING." She started PLAYING with the CHILD making GOO-GOO sounds, and then LAUGH some more.

She looked up and caught the preacher staring,
"Ma’am," the preacher said, "every other person here TONIGHT is RATTLED and MISERABLE. Would you mind telling my why you’re so HAPPY?" "Why sure," she said in BROKEN ENGLISH. "Christmas is COMING and that BABY Jesus„oHe makes me LAUGH."

The PREACHER, who was with the non-instrumental Church of Christ, the same fellowship I grew up in, commented in a SERMON that he had been so DESENSITIZED by Christmas, teaching and preaching how WRONG it is to CELEBRATE Christmas as the BIRTH of Christ, that he had forgotten the JOY of KNOWING that Jesus came into this WORLD as a REAL PERSON with PHYSICAL and EMOTIONAL needs and not merely as a SACRIFICE on a TREE. He said that he had taken LIFE much too SERIOUS!

 
Contributed By:
Charles Wallis
 
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What is God worth? Theses are lyrics from the popular song "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls.

“And I´d give up forever to touch you...You´re the closest to heaven that I´ll ever be.”

Some people will give up eternity for something temporary like money, a relationship, or sin. What are we willing to give up God for?

 
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"YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A JESUS."

It is truly heartwarming to know that millions of people around the world believe in Santa. Sure, most are under four feet tall, but still it’s amazing that so many believe in the big guy in the red suit. Consider the following:

Around the globe, today, live approximately two billion children (persons under 18). Santa doesn’t visit all of them, of course. Subtracting the number of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist children reduces Santa’s Christmas Eve workload to 15 percent of the total, or 378 million children (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, and presuming that there is at least one good child in each home, Santa must visit about 108 million homes.

Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. That means that at each household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, and get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh, and get on to the next house.

For the purposes of our calculations, we will assume that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false). We’re talking about a trip of 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. To cover that ground in 31 hours, Santa’s sleigh moves at 650 miles per second--3,000 times the speed of sound. By comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh must carry over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. In air, even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with a mere eight or nine of them—Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).
Six hundred thousand tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance—this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.
Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 miles per second in .001 seconds, would be subje...

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Sermon Central Staff
 
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THE CASE OF MARGARET AULT

In his book, The Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight shares the moving story of Margaret Ault. When Margaret was just about to complete her Ph.D. at Duke, something unexpected -- but quite welcomed -- happened: she fell in love. She went on a date with a man named Hyung Goo Kim, and the proverbial sparks flew. But almost as quickly as the sparks became a fire, they were doused with water. Hyung Goo informed Margaret that he was HIV positive. Needless to say, Margaret was devastated. In her own words, "I'd just met someone I liked, and we were definitely not going to live happily ever after. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut by the biggest boot in the world."

Still, she and Hyung Goo were married. In his book McKnight asks the question many of us would ask: "Why would anyone invite into the core of their being so much pain?" He then goes on to share that the answer unfolds in the rest of Margaret and Hyung Goo's story. He writes:

"When Margaret was in graduate school at Duke, she and Hyung Goo loved to walk in the Duke gardens, and so knowledgeable did they become of its plants that they 'supervised construction' of a new project. They walked through each part of the garden routinely and had names for some of the ducks. In their last spring together, the garden seemed especially beautiful [to them]."

Hyung Goo died in the fall and Margaret returned to the gardens in the spring where a memorial garden of roses was being constructed in his honor. In her book, Sing Me to Heaven, Margaret reflects on the days she returned to the gardens. She writes:

"Where peonies were promised, there were only the dead stumps of last year's stalks; where day lilies were promised, there were unprepossessing tufts of foliage; where hostas were promised, there was nothing at all. And yet I know what lushness lay below the surface; those beds that were so brown and empty and, to the unknowing eye, so unpromising, would be full to bursting in a matter of months.

Then she asks, "Is the whole world like this? Is this what it might be like to live in expectation, real expectation, of the resurrection? Was not Hyung Goo's and my life together like this? Empty and sere, and yet a seedbed of fullness and life for both of us. He died, and I was widowed; yet in his dying, we both were made alive." (Scot McKnight, The Jesus Creed, Paraclete Press, 2005, pp. 286-288)

How did Margaret find such hope in the midst of her pain? Well, she refused to focus on the deadness around her. Instead, she focused on the promise of life.

You see, God's promises are like seeds planted in a "brown and empty" world. To the unbeliever, what seems so barren will one day be busting with life and beauty and joy. So don't give up on God, ever, even in the midst of your pain. Instead, Pray in faith, because you are forgiven. Persevere with hope, because God is faithful.

(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Converted Church, 12/23/2010)

 
Contributed By:
Matthew  Rogers
 
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There is something very human about pain.

A few years ago Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage starred in the movie “City of Angels,” the story of a heavenly creature who wants to try an earthly existence – After watching a screening for the film, the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls went back to his hotel room and wrote a moving song that included this lyric: “You bleed just to know you’re alive.” (From the song, "Iris.")

 
Contributed By:
Don Hawks
 
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WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH YOUR LIFE

In the recent movie, "About Schmidt" 66-year-old Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) has retired from his job as an insurance actuary. He is miserable, and after his wife (June Squibb) suddenly dies, he is also lost. He travels the country in his RV hoping to stop his daughter’s (Hope Davis) marriage and to find purpose to his life. Throughout the movie he writes his personal thoughts to a 6-year-old African child, Ndugu, that he sponsors for $22 a month.

As Warren is traveling back home in his R.V., he begins contemplating the meaninglessness of his life. (He shares he thoughts in letters to his 6 year old foster child).

Voice Over -

"I know we’re all pretty small in the big scheme of things. I suppose the most you can hope for is to make some kind of difference. But what kind of difference have I made? What in the world is better because of me?"

He briefly explains how he failed in trying to stop his daughter from marrying a loser. Then he says, "I’m weak, and I’m a failure. There’s just no getting around it."

He arrives home and picks up a stack of mail. The voice over continues: "Relatively soon I will die. Maybe twenty years. Maybe tomorrow. It doesn’t matter. Once I am dead and everybody who knew me dies too, it will be as though I never existed. What difference has my life made to anyone? None that I can think of. None at all. Hope things are fine with you. Yours truly, Warren Schmidt."

He sees an international envelope and opens it. The voice over changes to the voice of Sister Nadie Guchier (pronounced Goo-chee-ay).

"Dear Mr. Warren Schmidt. My name is Sister Nadie Guchier of the Order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. I work in a small village near the town of Enbaya in Tanzania. One of the children I care for is little Ndugu Emu - the boy you sponsor. Ndugu is a very intelligent boy and very loving. He is an orphan. Recently he needed medical attention for an infection of the eye, but he is better now. He loves to eat melon, and he loves to paint. Ndugu and I wanted you to know he receives all your letters. He hopes you are happy in your life and healthy. He thinks of you everyday, and he wants very much your happiness. Ndugu is only six years old and canno...

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NO WONDER PEOPLE DON’T BELIEVE (IN SANTA, THAT IS)

In his book, “Still More Hot Illustrations for Youth”, Wayne Rice says this:

It is truly heartwarming to know that millions of people around the world believe in Santa. Sure, most are under four feet tall, but still it’s amazing that so many believe in the big guy in the red suit. Consider the following:
Around the globe, today, live approximately two billion children. Santa doesn’t visit all of them, of course. Subtracting the number of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist children reduces Santa’s Christmas Eve workload to 15 percent of the total, or 378 million.

At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, and presuming there is at least 1 good child in each home, Santa must visit about 108 million homes.

Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth - assuming he travels east to west.

This works out to 967.7 visits per second.
That means that at each household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh…and get on to the next house.

For the purposes of our calculations, we will assume that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth. We’re talking about a trip of about ¾ of a mile between each household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles… not counting bathroom stops or breaks.

To cover that ground in 31 hours, Santa’s sleigh moves at 650 miles per second—3,000 times the speed of sound. By comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second… and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (2 pounds) the sleigh must carry over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself.

On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. In air, even granting that the “flying” reindeer could pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with a mere eight or nine of them—Santa would need 360,000 of them.
This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons.
600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance—this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth’s atmosphere.

The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 qui...

Continue reading with a Free PRO Subscription...

 
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