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Bishop Lalachan Abraham
NAPOLEON ON JESUS
The emperor and conqueror of nations, Napoleon Bonaparte, rightly recognized the absolute uniqueness of Jesus, & expressed it in these words: "I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the World there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius?--Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His Empire upon Love, and at this hour millions of men would die for Him."
The greatest command in the law is the secret to destroying racism and that is to love God with all your heart. Then love your neighbor to the same degree that you love yourself.
ANGELS OF RECONCILIATION
With his life in disarray, Steven Lavaggi sat on his bedroom’s wooden floor, and began searching his Bible for answers. His wife had just left him to marry a writer for The Rolling Stone Magazine. Ten days later, Steven discovered his son was stricken with Juvenile Diabetes. Then he lost his graphic art business. Unemployed, abandoned, and worrying about his son, Lavaggi turned to God’s Word.
As Steven read, he skipped over the black letters, only wanting to read the words of Jesus. The Risen Christ emerged from the pages. Lavaggi gave his life to Jesus. As a new Christian, he clung to Psalm 91:11: "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."
Out of his brokenness, came a passion to create a message of hope. He discovered his passion was to minister through fine art. He moved to California, to influence the people who influence the world--Hollywood. He is doing just that.
The response to his work is overwhelming. Inspired by the Psalmist’s words he painted an angel. When a friend encouraged him to make the image three dimensional, he collaborated with a sculptor, and together they cast the angel.
While speaking to a crowd of 3500 natives in Soweto, South Africa, Lavaggi held a 20" sculpture of a black angel above his head. When he did, the crowd erupted with enthusiasm. A man on the stage told him that just a few days before, a preacher had declared that God would soon send an international artist who would express the love of God to their culture by doing something like "painting Angels in black!" When Lavaggi heard this, he grabbed a 20" white angel, held it above his head and said, "these angels were created to be like brothers and sisters, even as we are supposed to be." Those sculptures became known as, "The Angels of Reconciliation."
Today, he is known as the artist of Hope. It propelled him into creating an incredible series of spirit-inspired paintings, sculptures, figurines, and prints. Steven’s message would not exist without his passion! Through his passion, today he is touching and changing the world fopr Jesus Christ.
Sermon Central Staff
I like the way songwriter and worship leader, Brian Doerksen, puts it. He says, "Becoming a worshipper means becoming a warrior... And by toning that down...we have sent men and women away from the church in droves. It's time to call them back," Doerksen says, "as worshiping warriors." That is as "warriors who are surrendered to God, warriors who know that their authority comes because they are under authority, warriors willing to wait even when everyone else is rushing ahead, or [warriors willing to] act decisively...in obedience" to their commanding officer, Jesus Christ, even when everybody else is lagging behind in disobedience.
(Brian Doerksen, Make Love, David C. Cook, 2009. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Take a Risk, 5/25/2012)
GARBED AS A PEASANT
Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish theologian, told a story about a certain kingdom wherein there was a handsome prince, searching for a woman worthy enough to be his wife and become queen of the land. One day while running an errand for his father he passed through a poor village. As he glanced out the window of his carriage, his eyes fell on a beautiful peasant maiden. During ensuing days, he often passed by the young lady and soon fell in love with her by sight. But he had a problem. How could he seek her hand?
He could command her to marry him, but the prince wanted someone who would marry him out of love, not coercion. He could show up at her door in his splendid uniform in a gold carriage drawn by six horses, attendants in tow, and bearing a chest of jewels and gold coins. But then how would he know if she really love him or if she was just overawed and overwhelmed with his splendor? Finally he came up with another solution.
He stripped off his royal robes, put on common dress, moved into the village, and got to know her without revealing his identity. As he lived among the people, the prince and the maiden became friends, shared each other’s interests, and talked about their concerns. By and by the young lady grew to love him for who he was and because he first loved h...
Sermon Central Staff
WHO NEEDS THE CHURCH?
Mark Driscoll stated this about the importance of the church in a person’s life and how he discovered that truth:
"Occasionally, I would drop in to church out of guilt, but always walked away feeling as if I’d just wasted an hour with an ex-girlfriend ... simultaneously. I continued reading the Bible and kept seeing that the New Testament was written by pastors of churches to churches about church life. And, I was convicted that there is no such thing as a personal isolated relationship with Jesus apart from His often ugly bride, the Church. Acknowledging my disinterest in the Church as little more than arrogant judging, I decided to seek out a church where I could obey the Scriptures commands to go to church (Hebrews 10:25), place myself under the authority of pastors (Hebrews 13:17), use my abilities to build up the church (1 Corinthians 14:12), partake of communion in a church (1 Corinthians 11:17-34), and give my tithe to a church (2 Corinthians 8-9). I was finally starting to realize Jesus died not just for me, but for His church, which I was a part of by His death and resurrection (Acts 20:28). I then had to decide where to go, which was a frightening prospect..."(The Relevant Church, page 23).
(From a sermon by Michael, McCartney, Who Needs the Church? 6/20/2012)
“It is my first public declaration that a thing which looks to be unreasonable and seems to be unprofitable, being commanded by God, is law, is law to me. If my Master had told me to pick up six stones and lay them in a row I would do it, without demanding of him, ‘What good will it do?’ Cui bono? Is no fit question for soldiers of Jesus. The very simplicity and apparent uselessness of the ordinance should make the believer say, ‘Therefore I do it because it becomes the better test to me of my obedience to my Master.’” When you tell your servant to do something, and he cannot comprehend it, if he turns round and says, “Please, sir, what for?” you are quite clear that he hardly understands the relation between master and servant. So when God tells me to do a thing, if I say, “What for?” I cannot have taken the place which Faith ought to occupy, which is that of simple obedience to whatever the Lord hath said. Baptism is commanded, and Faith obeys because it is commanded, and thus takes her proper place.
When we vote we demonstrate our beliefs by the way we vote. Some people demonstrate by joining political organizations, others by writing letters to government leaders or editorial pages for the local newspaper. Some people demonstrate by picketing, whether it’s an abortion clinic or a casino. Some people get violent and extreme in the way they demonstrate. Consider some of the tactics of the organization PETA--People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals--to actually storm laboratories and release the lab rats or to douse a person wearing a fur coat with a bucket full of red paint. People demonstrate so the world will know what they stand for, what’s truly important to them, what they’re passionate about.
Jesus Christ gave his followers very specific instructions on how to demonstrate their Christian faith. On the night of his betrayal, Jesus Christ took on the role of a servant and washed his followers’ feet, something that was countercultural, something that Peter nearly refused to have done because it went so against the grain of their culture. Then Jesus said these words: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this will all people know that you are my followers, if you love one another” (John 13:34-36).
A BETTER VOW
Eric Snyder, Minister of the Farwell Church of Christ tells this story:
I recently did a wedding. During the wedding rehearsal, the groom pulled me aside and made me an offer.
He said "Look, I’ll give you $100 if you’ll change the wedding vows. When you get to me and the part where I’m to promise to ’love, honor and obey,’ I’d appreciate it if you’d just leave that part out." He gave me a $100 bill and walked away.
The day of the wedding the bride and groom were in front of me and we were to that part of the ceremony where the vows are exchanged. When it came time for the groom’s vows, I looked at the young man and said "Will you promise to bow down before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall
The groom gulped and looked...
Monty Robbins tours the country demonstrating an interesting technique in breaking in horses which have never been ridden. He explains to his audience that through a series of words, hand signals, and eye contact he will communicate with the horse and ultimately gain the trust of the horse. The traditional way of breaking a horse is to weight the horse down for hours and sometime even days until the will of the horse is broken. This "language" he uses gains the trust of the horse as he and the horse are reconciled together. He will demonstrate his technique by telling his audience that he will reconcile with a horse which has never been ridden, saddle, and ride the horse within 30 minutes. And he does so every time. Once he has ridden the horse he will ask the crowd, sometimes of 2,000 or more people, to begin screaming, stomping, and making loud noise at his command. The crowd will do as he says causing the horse to panic and run wild. As the horse runs wild he will once again "communicate" with the horse and the horse will come over by his side and Monty will get on the calm horse while all of the noise is going on. Monty explains that this is because he has reconciled with the horse and gained the trust of the horse. The world and Satan weights and breaks you down with sin, guilt, and death. Yet, the voice of the cross says that the weight of sin and the pressure of the world has been overcome. When Jesus was lifted up, Satan was cast down.
Alexander the Great and a small company of soldiers approached a strongly fortified walled city. Alexander, standing outside the walls, raised his voice and demanded to see the king. when the king arrived, Alexander insisted that the king surrender the city and its inhabitants to Alexander and his little band of fighting men. The king laughed, “Why should I surrender to you? You can’t do us any harm!” But Alexander offered to give the king a demonstration. He ordered his men to line up single file and start marching. He marched them straight toward a sheer cliff. The townspeople gathered on the wall and watched in shocked silence as, one by one, Alexander’s soldiers marched without hesitation right off the cliff to their deaths! After ten soldiers died, Alexander ordered the rest of the men to return to his side. The townspeople and the king immediately surrendered to Alexander the Great. They realized that if a few men were actually willing to commit suicide at the command of this dynamic leader, then nothing could stop his eventual victory.
Are you willing to be as obedient to the ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ, as those soldiers were to Alexander? Are you as dedicated and committed? Think how much power Christ could have in our area with just a portion of such commitment.
Edited from Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice. Copyright1994 by Youth Specialties, Inc.