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WHAT WILL YOUR HERITAGE BE?
An investigation into the famed 18th
century revival preacher Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) showed that, of the 1,394
known descendants of Jonathan Edwards, 100 became preachers and missionaries,
100 lawyers, 80 public officials, 75 army and navy officers, 65 college
professors, 60 physicians, 60 prominent authors, 30 judges, 13 college
presidents, 3 United States senators, and one a vice-president of the United
Another man of that era, Max Jukes, had 310 descendants who died as paupers,
150 criminals, 100 were drunkards, 7 were murderers, and more than half of
the women were prostitutes.
GOD COMES FIRST
If you’ve never been, I suggest you go sometime to Jamestown, VA. It is one of the earliest English-speaking settlements in the new world, & it has been carefully restored so that we can see what life was like 350 years ago.
At Jamestown, you’ll discover many interesting things about our country. You’ll learn that when this settlement was first established, most of the people built rather humble huts for their families. But right in the middle of Jamestown they erected an imposing church building as a testimony to all who came, that the people of Jamestown put God first.
They had 2-hour worship services every day of the week, & attendance was mandatory. If you didn’t show up for the daily service, your day’s ration of food would not be given you. Their reasoning was, if you were too sick to go to church, you were too sick to eat.
They had a 5-hour service on Sunday, & you were expected to be there all 5 hours. If you missed church for 3 weeks, they would put you in stocks for 6 weeks out on the church lawn. The stocks are still there for all to see.
Maybe they went a bit too far. But it seems to me the lesson which comes through loud & clear is that in this original settlement, the people wanted to communicate clearly that God came first.
SOURCE: Melvin Newland in "To Reclaim Our Heritage" on SermonCentral.com. http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=32974
WHAT DEFINES YOU?
Alex Gibney's documentary on the life of "Gonzo" Hunter S. Thompson suggests that Thompson, "who committed suicide in 2005, survives to some degree in the popular imagination because of his self-burnished reputation for excess." (A.O. Scott, "Beyond Fear and Loathing", The New York Times, July 4, 2008)
In life and in death, Hunter Thompson was and is defined by his excesses.
We may be defined by many things. Some of us are defined by our ethnic heritage as reflected in continued traditions, the way we cook and eat, even our accents define us. Some of us are defined by our appearance. Some are defined by strengths and others by their weaknesses. We may be defined by our work. Sometimes we are defined by our spouses or our children. Here at church, Bonnie is defined as Pastor Monty's wife... at her work, I am defined as Bonnie's husband.
I once knew a man who drove a bull wagon... he was a livestock hauler and he drove a cattle truck. He always wore a big floppy, rawhide, cowboy hat. It looked hot and heavy. I did not think it particularly flattering. One day I asked him why he always wore his rawhide hat and he said, "Because people know me by my hat." His hat defined who he was.
Sometimes Christians are defined by noble demonstrations of Christ-like behavior, and sometimes we are known for our failures... This may come as a huge shock to you but there is something you need to know.
(from a sermon by Monty Newton, "Desiring Good and Doing Bad" 7/4/08, SermonCentral.com)
GENERATION TO GENERATION
A little girl called out, "Mommy, you know that vase china cabinet, the one that’s been handed down from generation to generation?"
Yes, dear, I know which one you mean, what about it?
"Well, Mommy, I’m sorry, but this generation just dropped it!"
Now some earthly possessions have sentimental value, and to break them is great loss, but how much more tragic it would be for a new generation to "drop it" spiritually - to fail to pass along the Godly heritage they have received! That would be an eternal loss.
In Deuteronomy 6:1-3, Moses gave the Israelites instructions before they entered the promised land. The purpose was, in Moses words, "that you may fear the Lord Your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I commanded you, you and your sons and grandsons, all the days of your Life". God’s laws were to be observed from generation to generation. Moses therefore told the people "You shall teach ...
Imagine two country clubs. The first has a strict set of rules and only allows in people who have earned their membership. They have to accomplish something, obtain superior wisdom, or fulfill a long list of demands and requirements to qualify for entry. Despite their best efforts, lots of people just won’t make the grade and will be excluded. In effect, this is what other religious systems are like.
But the second country club throws its doors wide open and says, "Anybody who wants membership is invited inside. Rich or poor, black or white, regardless of your ethnic heritage or where you live, we would love to include you. Entry is based not on your qualification but only on accepting this invitation. So we’ll leave the matter up to you. You decide. But remember, we will never turn you away if you seek admittance." That’s what Christianity is like.
Which country club is being snobbish? Christians aren’t being exclusive; they’re being inclusive. They’re not being haughty; they’re being egalitarian.
Lee Strobel, God’s Outrageous Claims, pp. 192-193
Despite its Christian heritage, the United States leads every other nation in the industrialized world in the percentage of single-parent families (23%), abortion rate (22.9 per 1,000 women aged 15-44), sexually transmitted diseases (syphillis rate is 6.3 per 100,000 and gonorrhea rate is 149.5 per 100,000), teenage birth rate (42 per 1,000 girls aged 15-19), use of illegal drugs by students (44.9 % using in 1998), and the size of the prison population (327 per 100,000). Our rate of child poverty (20%) is likewise abysmal.
Source: "Lost in America" by Tom Clegg and Warren Bird
"Let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain."
OF ROYAL LINEAGE
People will pay big bucks to be royal.
A scrap book that once belonged to Britain’s Queen Victoria is now up for auction, and the current high bid is £53,400 (101,117.42 dollars).
One of the bidders is hoping to prove royal heritage through a hair that belonged to Victoria contained in the memoriabilia.
But, to be of regal birth, one doesn’t need to be descended from the great kings and queens of history. One only needs to believe in Jesus Christ. Galations 3:26-29 says "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, mal...
The Eternal Kiss! (06.08.05--Family--Gen. 27:33-37)
The most powerful institution on earth! No, it’s not the United State Congress or the Supreme Court for that matter. And it isn’t the Presidency, the World Court or the United Nations. Although such institutions are singularly powerful and no one individual would ever wish to come up against any of them alone, there is no man-made institution more powerful than the first institution created and the one that has remained with us for the longest––the family.
When God created the family He did so with purpose and plan. This was not to be an institution that would last for some time; it would be an institution that would last for all time. Able to withstand the mightiest pressures of economics, politics and society, like a cedar planted on Lebanon’s hills, it had to be enduring, a bulwark of strength and a bastion of security. God had a plan when he blessed Adam and Eve with children and that plan did not include failure.
What is it that empowers the institution of the family and perpetuates it? Is it something more than a divine idea? Is there a tangible force within it that both confirms and enables it?
At age 16 Andor Foldes was already a skilled pianist, but he was experiencing a troubled year. In the midst of the young Hungarian’s personal struggles, one of the most renowned pianists of the day came to Budapest. Emil von Sauer was famous not only for his abilities; he was also the last surviving pupil of the great Franz Liszt. Von Sauer requested that Foldes play for him. Foldes obliged with some of the most difficult works of Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. When he finished, von Sauer walked over to him and kissed him on the forehead. “My son,” he said, “when I was your age I became a student of Liszt. He kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying, ‘Take good care of this kiss––it comes from Beethoven, who gave it to me after hearing me play.’ I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage, but now I feel you deserve it.” (Source Unknown.)
When the patriarch Isaac bestowed his blessing, his “kiss” upon his son Jacob, it was not a mere act of emotion or of pride. Isaac was passing along something of value, of importance and great power. He was serving as a conduit through which the Eternal Kiss, divinely planted on the forehead of our first parents, has passed down from generation to generation. This tangible evidence of God’s love, possessing a power that has never been or ever will be equaled upon this earth, dwells within my family and yours. As parents we possess an awesome weapon, one that no institution on earth can equal. We possess the power of the “Eternal Kiss.” Now, it is our job to make sure that the power planted within us by our parents is passed on to our children. It all began with a kiss and so it continues with you and I. A simple kiss.
Peter Drucker says; "Americans today go to church for reasons very different from those of two generations ago. Then attendance was steered by heritage, habit, and social status, now it is an act of commitment, and therefore meaningful. It is no longer an act of conformity, and therefore meaningless. People need community, yes, and they need responsibility. They need the feeling that they contribute." (The Atlantic Monthly 5/97)