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Steve Brown, a popular radio bible teacher, says that one morning after a Church service a lady came up to him and said, "I wanted to meet you because I have listened to your sermons on the radio and they have turned my life around. I didn’t know the Lord, and my whole life has been changed because of your messages. I just wanted to meet you," she continued and I also wanted you to meet a friend of mine too." And then she turned back from her friend and said to Steve, "I’m sorry, what was your name again?" She had forgotten his name! And we might say, "If those sermons had changed her life how could she had forgotten who gave them?" The point is of course that she hadn’t forgotten where they had come from. And Steve Brown said, "I was thrilled! She was simply remembering the message and not the human messenger. It was the Word of God that was being honored!" And that is a humble servant.
THE WEAK WILL SHAME THE WISE
We have to come to the realization that life is much more than brokenness. According to God’s word, we are vessels of honor which contain the power and glory of the Christ. I, too, have had a problem with such thinking throughout the years. How can I, a vessel of honor for God, be fractured and imperfect?
But then I recall biblical characters such as King David. Truly he was a vessel of honor. He was a man after God’s own heart. He embodied the tenacity and fortitude to lift honorable praise and adoration to his fortress and shelter, God. But yet I can also recall that even David had his failures and his times of disgrace. He, too, was known for his immorality in the forms of adultery, conspiracy, murder and concealment of the facts. Even so, God still used David for his glory and honor by allowing him to pen such beautiful words as the Psalms. Beyond that, after seeking forgiveness and repenting openly, God permitted him to continue as Israel’s greatest leader of all times.
Then there was Moses, a mighty man of valor. A man that took great thought towards his leadership capabilities and the responsibility he had as a caretaker. So overwhelmed with his job that he, too, overstep his bounds and crossed the line. Through a moment of anger he slew the life of a fellow human being and then ran to hide from his crime. Yet, God saw fit, after years of softening his heart in the fields of shepherding, to call him forth as a powerful deliverer of his own people, Israel.
Even during that journey from Egypt to Canaan, along with those he was leading, was disobedient to a gracious God and still had to suffer a few consequences for those choices. Yet, God never left them helpless and alone.
There is also the Saul who thought that he was confident he was doing God justice by persecuting the early church and its leadership; sometimes even leading to stoning to the death those who called themselves “Christians,” followers of the Christ. He felt warranted to do such inhumane mistreatment by God’s mandate to sustain his cases of harassment against these so called “perverters of the Law of God.”
But once blinded by the light of the Christ on the road to Damascus and a definite change of heart, Saul became Paul, one of the greatest apostles of all times. He was encouraged to found numerous churches throughout Asia Minor and credited for such, even in Spain. He also was granted the right to author several letters that made their way into the canon of writings that now make up the New Testament.
And we certainly can’t overlook the ladies either. Mary Magdalene, even though her life apparently started out on the wrong foot and she most likely had chosen a questionable livelihood, she still became one of the most prominent disciples of Jesus. She was so thankful for his life-giving and life-changing teachings, that she relinquished her past and became a new person in and through him. And then she finally was privileged to be one of the first evangelists that early Easter morning after speaking to her Lord in the garden.
Listen carefully again to a portion of our text for today: “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen.”
Yes God has always used worn, broken clay vessels for his honor and glory and still does. God has not changed, he still takes what we given him, our imperfections and flaws and remakes us into useful earthen pots that contain the precious gospel on the Christ. He then grants you and me the tenacity and fortitude to lift honorable praise and adoration to his fortress and shelter, God. He has given to us the call to be deliverers of those bound in the chains of sinfulness through the use of the message of salvation entrusted to us. In His fullest of intentions, God also wants you and me to be great messengers of the faith, telling all those about us of the justifying acts of God through his own Son, Jesus, the Christ. He has privileged us with the ability to become evangelists beginning in our own homes, families and neighborhoods, sharing the Good News that Jesus is alive and well and that he still wants to be their and our friend, no matter where we may have come from or what kind of life we have lived.
Remember, God is still using our foolish lives to discredit those who are pretentious and haughty. He has selected those who think of themselves ineffectual and inadequate to amaze those who believe they are immovable and invincible. He elects to use those the world often classifies as infamous and unlovable.
From a leadership seminar given by Dale Galloway:
A bunch of fleas were hanging out on a blanket, just jumping up & down having a blast. And then someone came up and put a jar over them… Not knowing what happened they still keep jumping BUT after hitting their heads a few times – they got the message and stopped jumping so high. Though they still jumped they stopped an inch from the top of the jar… After an hour the person removed the jar lid…BUT the fleas never knew the difference, because they had fixed into their minds an imaginary ceiling… Though they could now jump higher they never did because of the imaginary barrier that they had placed in their own minds…
Listen - We need to remember that as a church of Christ the lid is off… we need to think big!
In Bill Gates’ new book Business @ The Speed of Thought, he lays out 11 rules that students do not learn in high school or college, but should.
He argues that our feel-good, politically correct teachings have created a generation of kids with no concept of reality who are set up for failure in the real world.
RULE 1 - Life is not fair; get used to it.
RULE 2 - The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
RULE 3 - You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone, until you earn both a high school and college degree.
RULE 4 - If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure.
RULE 5- Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping, they called it opportunity.
RULE 6 - If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
RULE 7 - Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills; cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try "delousing"
the clothes in your own room.
RULE 8 - Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they wil...
The importance of really living the Christian life is illustrated in the life of the famous author Mark Twain. Church leaders were largely to blame for his becoming hostile to the Bible and the Christian faith. As he grew up, he knew elders and deacons who owned slaves and abused them. He heard men using foul language and saw them practice dishonesty during the week after speaking piously in church on Sunday. He listened to ministers use the Bible to justify slavery. Although he saw genuine love for the Lord Jesus in some people, including his mother and his wife, he was so disturbed by the bad teaching and poor example of church leaders, that he became bitter toward the things of God.
"A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something."
"Nobody ever got into any trouble listening. That's about the safest thing that one can do in life. If you listen to people and you pay attention to them, then you're bound to learn."
Traits characteristic of the stress-prone:
1. Plans day unrealistically
2. First to arrive, last to leave
3. Always in a hurry
4. Makes no plan for relaxation
5. Feels guilty about doing anything other than work
6. Sees unforeseen problem as a setback or disaster
7. Is always thinking about several other things when working
8. Feels need to be recognized and overextends because of this
What to do:
1. Recognize aggravating aspects of your job and accept them rather than fight them. Wisdom to discern what can and cannot be changed, attempt to change the first and accept the second.
2. Identify your emotional needs and find ways to meet them.
Sainthood emerges when you can listen to someone's tale of woe and not respond with a description of your own.
"No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while, youll see why."