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Michael McCartney
 
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"I'M NOT A CHRISTIAN, SO..."

You need to know what is going on in the head of a non-saved or pre-saved person.

* "I'm not a Christian, so ... I really don't understand this religious stuff. I did try and read bits of the Bible when I was at school, but found it hard to understand. I never went to church or Sunday School or anything.
* "I'm not a Christian, so ...It really bugs me to see Christians claiming that they know it all.
* "I'm not a Christian, so ...I doubt they have much fun anyway, because they are living by a load of rules.
* "I'm not a Christian, so ...Well, some do. Mandy in the Accounts Department goes to church, but she can't keep her hands off men. Ever."

* "I'm not a Christian, so ...Of course, I do try to live by my own rules too. Well, most of the time. I still feel bad about what happened with Sam though."

* "I'm not a Christian, so ...There is one church in town that give out leaflets in the street. They are so badly produced though -- just lots of text and Bible verses. I never read them properly. There's an invitation to their church services at the end -- but I would never dare to go to a church by myself, even if I wanted to. I'd feel like a fish out of water."

* "I'm not a Christian, so ...Church services sometimes come on the TV too. I always switch channels, they seem so old-fashioned and preachy. One time though, I came across a Christian program that was looking at the Christian messages hidden in recent Hollywood film releases. Now, that WAS interesting, and it made sense to me. (I try to get to the movies every two or three weeks.) Another time, there was a story about Christians starting an AIDS hospice in our country. Those people really impressed me."

* "I'm not a Christian, so ...Not that I actually know any Christians at all. Otherwise I could perhaps find out more, and ask some real questions. If they'd try and give straight answers, and not just preach at me."

* "I'm not a Christian, so ...Well, if their beliefs work for them, that's great. Of course, I do read my horoscope when I remember to. I always try to avoid things that it warns against. And Charlie gave me some healing crystals -- I keep them by my bed, and they really seem to make me feel calmer sometimes. Buddhism sounds fun, actually. There are evening classes at the local college. Carlos and Miriam have been going. They say it is really good -- there is no pressure to join anything, the classes are friendly and interactive, and already they feel that their lives are changing for the better."

* "I'm not a Christian, so ...Not that I need God, or religion or stuff. Though it would be nice to know where I am going. To feel more grounded. Have a purpose. And I wish I could cope with stress better than I do. Or even find someone I could talk to about the things that worry me. My job is not safe anymore. I can't face all that job-loss stuff again -- it's happened twice before. Specially with my loans to repay. And I'm just hoping that dad's medical tests won't show anything bad. Specially now he has left mum and is living alone."

* "I'm not a Christian, so ...And even deal with that thing which happened when I was a child -- what that man did to me in the toilets. I never told anyone, not even my mother. It still makes me feel guilty. I manage to blank it out most of the time. I'm sure it contributed to my last relationship breakup. Life is a bit lonely just now."

* "I'm not a Christian, so ...Of course, I always try to escape from the week's stress on Friday night. Me and a few mates. It seems to help, somehow. But there's always Monday again."

(Source: InternetEvangelismDay.com)

 
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J. OSWALD SANDERS ON LONELINESS

J. Oswald Sanders once pointed out: "The round of pleasure or the amassing of wealth are [often] but vain attempts to escape from the persistent ache. The millionaire is usually a lonely man and the comedian is often more unhappy than his audience."

In his book, "Facing Loneliness," Sanders goes on to emphasize that being successful often fails to produce satisfaction. Then he refers to Henry Martyn, a distinguished scholar, as an example of what he is talking about. Martyn, a Cambridge University student, was honored at only 20 years of age for his achievements in mathematics. In fact, he was given the highest recognition possible in that field. And yet he felt an emptiness inside. He said that instead of finding fulfillment in his achievements, he had "only grasped a shadow."

After evaluating his life's goals, Martyn sailed to India as a missionary at the age of 24. When he arrived, he prayed, "Lord, let me burn out for You!" In the next 7 years that preceded his death, he translated the New Testament into three difficult Eastern languages!" He died at age 31!

(From a sermon by Davon Huss, Understanding the Law, 5/9/2011)

 
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TRUE UNITY

Unity is not simply an intellectual exercise. We can believe the same things, recite the same creeds, belong to the same denomination, but that does not mean we have unity.

In his book Soul Talk, Larry Crabb writes:

"Which is worse? A church program to build community that doesn’t get off the ground or one person sitting every Sunday in the back of the church who remains unknown? A Sunday school class that once drew hundreds but has now dwindled to thirty or a Sunday school teacher whose sense of failure is never explored by a caring friend? A family torn apart by the father’s drinking, his wife’s frustration, and their third grader’s learning disabilities or a self-hating dad, a terrified mom, and a lonely little boy, three human beings whose beauty and value no one ever discovers? A national campaign that fails to gain steam for the pro-life movement or a single woman on her way home from an abortion clinic in the backseat of a taxi, a woman whose soul no one ever touches?"

We may notice the unknown pew sitter, we wonder how the teacher of the now small class feels, we worry over each member of the torn-up family, and we feel for the guilt and pain of a woman who has ended her baby’s life. But we do what’s easier. We design programs, we brainstorm ways to build attendance, and in our outrage over divorce statistics and abortion numbers we fight for family values.
These are all good things, but we don’t TALK to the pew sitter; we don’t ASK the teacher how he’s feeling; we don’t INVITE the dad to play golf, the woman to lunch, or the little boy to play with our children; we don’t let the aborting woman know we CARE about her soul.

That response to hurting people, I would label disunity. Disunity is not just fighting over personal preferences. It’s not just leaving the church because someone hurt your feelings. It’s not just gossip that tears down other members of the body. It’s leaving needs unmet. It’s failing to love people the way God would have us love. Unity is lived out in caring concern for others.

(From a sermon by Bret Toman, Unity For the Glory of God, 1/3/2011)

 
Contributed By:
Matthew  Rogers
 
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WHAT TO DO WITH LONELINESS

Lee Strobel writes: People today will admit any problem - drugs, divorce, alcoholism - "but there’s one admission that people are loath to make, whether they’re a star on television or someone who fixes televisions in a repair shop. It’s just too embarrassing. It penetrates too deeply to the core of who they are." People don’t want to admit that they are (sometimes) lonely. "Loneliness is such a humiliating malady that it ought to have its own politically correct euphemism: ’relationally challenged.’ Or its own telethon. Anything to make it safer to conf...

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Contributed By:
Troy Borst
 
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ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
1. Materialism
2. Pride
3. Self-centeredness
4. Laziness
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
6. Envy
7. Gluttony
8. Lying

Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).

 
Contributed By:
Brian Mavis
 
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A THIRD GRADERS EXPLANATION OF GOD
Written by Danny Dutton, age 8, from Chula Vista, California, for his third grade homework assignment to "Explain God."

One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way, He doesn’t have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because He hears everything there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off. God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting His time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.

Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren’t any who come to our church. Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind like His Father and He told His Father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said OK.

His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn’t have to go out on the road anymore, He could stay in heaven. So He did. And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary only more important. You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to hear you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the times.

You should always go to Church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God. Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong! And, besides, the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared in the dark or when you can’t swim very good and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids. But you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases.

And that’s why I believe in God."

 
Contributed By:
Wade  Hughes, Sr
 
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An old lady spent much of her summer setting and swinging in the old swing hanging on her front porch. Her husband had been dead several years and she had withdrawn from all but the closest family. Her lonely time grew and grew??
One spring day, the old lady went out in the garage and dug the old roto-tiller out from under the rusty tub that covered the engine. Seems the old lady had found a big bag of seeds that was a vine that would bear bright red flowers. The old lady loved bright red things. She made a decision, get out of the swing and grow beautiful flowers to enjoy.
With great excitement,she pulled real hard on the rope, and with great effort she finally got the old roto-tiller to run.
There was a wall of concrete blocks between her and the neighbors driveway. The blocks were laid...a block and a space, or a gap...then another block and a space all the way down the driveway,....all the way to the garage.
With great effort the old lady plowed betwen the driveway and the wall. She blistered her hands, her back hurt, but the jarring roto-tiller finished the task.
With feelings of accomplishment and pride, she got down on her knees and planted all the seeds in several rows along the wall.
The rains came, the Lord blessed the little seeds and the sun shine warmed the ground. One day the little old lady saw the heads of the plant break forth, and the vines grew and grew ....until the vines completely covered the wall. The vines so grew that the wall could not be seen. She would set daily in the swing and watch the progress of the vine. This was great joy to the old lady.
Beautiful vines ....but no flowers, zero. da nada, nothing. Where are all my bright red flowers?? One day after much dissapointment and great thought the lady decided...I planted those vines for flowers, bright red flowers and there are none. I am going to cut those dumb empty vines down and burn them.
She went down the drive way into the garage and got the rusty old hoe, sharpened the edge and started chopping the vines down.
About the third vine was chopped down and she grinned ear to ear. The neighbor pulling into his drive way, skidded to a halt and jumped out of his car and ran over to her .
He said, "What on earth are you doing?? I know this is your property and that is your vine, and you can do as you chose. But, why are you cutting down this vine??"
The old lady explained to the kind neighbor, "I planted this not for the vine but for the bright red flowers, and there are none. After all my sweat and blisters and watering, not one flower. I am cutting this down because there are no red flowers and that is why I planted them!!!"
Without one word the neighbor took the feeble old lady by the hand and lead her to the other side of the wall. And on his side of the fence, there were over a million of the brightest red flowers you ever saw, between every block were many of the brillant blossoms.

 
Contributed By:
Christian Cheong
 
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Whoever Takes the Son
Many years ago, there was a very wealthy man who shared a passion for art collecting with his son. They had priceless works adorning the walls of their family estate.
One day, the nation was at war and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His son had died. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with sadness. The joy of the season had vanished with the death of his son.
On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. He opened the door and a soldier, with a large package in his hands greeted him, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.”
The soldier mentioned that he was an artist and then gave the old man the package. It was a portrait of the man’s son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man hung the portrait over the fireplace, pushing aside millions of dollars worth of art.
His task completed, the old man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces of art for which museums around the world clamoured.
Half a year later, the old man died. The art world waited with anticipation for the upcoming auction. According to the will of the old man, all the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the day he had received the greatest gift.
The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled that day.
The auction began with a painting that was not on anyone’s museum list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100?” No one spoke. Finally someone said, “Who cares about that painting. It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s move on to the good stuff.”
The auctioneer responded, “No, we have to sell this one first. Now, who will take the son?” Finally, a neighbour of the old man offered $50 dollars....

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Contributed By:
Michael McCartney
 
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THANK YOU, DAD

Thank you Dad,
for giving us a very special gift.
Its the most important gift of all,
That only love can give.
You read us the Bible at bedtime
and taught us how to pray.
You made sure we made it to church every Sunday.
And even though
we acted like we didn’t hear a thing,
When I’m in church today,
I hear an old familiar ring.
I’ve learned alot through all these years,
through the good times and the bad.
I want you to know,
I thank God every night for you Dad.
I can’t imagine
how it would be to live life day by day...
Not knowing God, not knowing love,
not knowing how to pray.
It would be so cold, so lonely,
so sad a life I know.
And it’s all because of you, Dad.
God’s love - we’ve been shown.
So Dad we want to thank you
on this very special day.
Because of you - we now know
the true meaning of Father’s Day.
~By Terri Lewis~

 
Contributed By:
Steven Dow
 
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Franklin Roosevelt’s closest adviser during much of his presidency was a man named Harry Hopkins. During World War II, when his influence with Roosevelt was at its peak, Hopkins held no official Cabinet position. Moreover, Hopkin’s closeness to Roosevelt caused many to regard him as a shadowy, sinister figure. As a result he was a major political liability to the President. A political foe once asked Roosevelt, “Why do you keep Hopkins so close to you? You surely realize that people distrust him and resent his influence.” Roosevelt replied, “Someday you may well be sitting here where I am now as President of the United States. And when you are, you’ll be looking at that door over there and knowing that practically everybody who walks through it wants something out of you. You’ll learn what a lonely job this is, and you’ll discover the need for somebody like Harry Hopkins, who asks for nothing except to serve you.” Winston Churchill rated Hopkins as one of the half-dozen most powerful men in the world in the early 1940’s. And the sole source of Hopkins’ power was his willingness to serve.” (Discipleship Journal, Issue 39, 1987, p. 5)

 
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