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Dr. Larry  Petton
 
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SERMON BLOOPER!!!

One of our youth pastors was leaving to go to another church on the same day my wife and I returned from a mission trip to France to encourage our missionaries there. As we closed the service, I brought my wife on the stage on live tv and illustrated how French churches "greet one another with a holy kiss" as they come to church and as they leave. We kissed each other on the side of the face and the people smiled and said, "Awwwww." Then, I closed the service by having our youth pastor and his wife stand at the front of the church for our people to come by and give them a farewell hug. What I meant to say was, "Come through the line and give them more than a hug, but be like the French churches and give them a holy kiss farewell!"

What I said was totally different and very embarrassing. I shockingly said on live tv, "Now, church family, our youth pastor and his wife are at the front. Why donít you come by and give them a FRENCH KISS!"

I could have died.

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

 
Contributed By:
Mark Brunner
 
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ďAunt Bessieís Pickled Beets!Ē 2 Corinthians 7:2-13 Key verse(s): 10:ďGodly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.Ē

The worst part of doing wrong is being found out. Weíve all been caught doing wrong in life; especially when we reflect back on our childhoods. And there are many things about doing wrong that are hurtful. First and foremost is the pain and suffering that we bring to others in our wrong-doing. This is the impact of wrong-doing that reverberates. Wrong has a way of broadcasting and spreading out, making a little mistake into a much bigger one. Take a lie for example. What started out as a fib can easily become the initiator of all manner of hurt, none of which was our intention in the first place. Certainly the effect of our wrong-doing on others is preeminent in our concern for doing right. But, there are other consequences attached to our wrongful behavior; not the least of which is the regret that becomes our lot when we are discovered in our sins.

I really hate the feeling of regret. There is simply something grinding and gnawing about it. Regret has a way of packaging itself so that it stays fresh for a very long time. Just when you think that you have put it away for good in some safe place where it can slowly but surely dissipate into the farthest and deepest reaches of your consciousness, some little reminder of the deed that spawned the regret in the first place creeps into your life. And thatís when regret pops up. Itís the jar of Aunt Bessieís pickled beets that you pushed to the back of the fruit cellar shelf in hopes that in the darkness it could be forgotten that, despite the accumulation of years of dust and perhaps a little rust around the rim, stares back at you fresh and beckoning to be opened. Unless you empty the contents and wash the jar, Aunt Bessieís face will always be popping up in the cellar no matter how many times you push it to the back of the shelf. You canít live with regret no matter how hard you try. It will never be tamed or transformed because, like pickled beets, regret always tastes and looks the same. You canít ďsaltĒ it or tincture it to make it more palatable. Pickled beets will always taste pickled.

ďIn 1904 William Borden, heir to the Borden Dairy Estate, graduated from a Chicago high school a millionaire. His parents gave him a trip around the world. Traveling through Asia, the Middle East and Europe gave Borden a burden for the worldís hurting people. Writing home, he said, ĎIím going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.í When he made this decision, he wrote in the back of his Bible two words: No Reserves. Turning down high paying job offers after graduation from Yale University, he entered two more words in his Bible: No Retreats. Completing studies at Princeton Seminary, Borden sailed for China to work with Muslims, stopping first at Egypt for some preparation. While there he was stricken with cerebral meningitis and died within a month. A waste, you say! Not in Godís plan. In his Bible underneath the words No Reserves and No Retreats, he had written the words No Regrets. (Daily Bread, December 31, 1988.)

There is only one way to deal with regret. You need to remove it from your life completely. Aunt Bessieís pickled beets are always going to be there unless, of course, you eat them, wash the jar and return it with thanks to Aunt Bessie. Regrets donít go away unless you decide in the first place that there is simply no room for them among the provisions in your heart. You may not like pickled beets but one thing you can be sure of, the beets marinated in that pickling solution are suspended in a state of freshness that will preserve them for a very long time. It is not likely that they will self-destruct any time soon requiring you to dispose of them with a clean conscience. No, Aunt Bessie pickled them for a reason. She wanted them preserved as a memorial to her garden and she had every intention of insuring that their survival would even exceed herís. You might as well eat them and get it over with.

 
Contributed By:
Dave Clark
 
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TREAT EACH OTHER LIKE THE ANSWER TO A PRAYER

I can still see one of the great provokers in my life. I met her on a work trip to Kentucky. Our youth group was working on a womanís house, but it wasnít very much fun. We hated where we were. Porches and front yards littered with old cars, sofas and garbage. We hated it and we began to make fun of the way those people lived and we began to act like a group who would rather be doing something else. We picked on each other. We argued, we made sarcastic jabs every chance we got. In other words we acted just like the older people in our church when they lost sight of who they were.

Eventually the woman who owned the house we were working on came out with tears streaming down her face. She sat us down in the grass in front the house and she stood there, shaking her stubby finger at us and speaking through the few teeth she had left. I mean to tell you she laid into us like Iíve never seen before or since. She railed at us, "Whatís wrong with you kids? Donít you know? Donít you know Iíve been praying for a long time for someone to show up and help me? Donít you know how badly my kids need to have bedrooms and a bathroom that works? Iíve been praying for a long time. Donít you know you are the answer to my prayers? Why donít you treat each other like the answer to prayer?"

From that moment on, everything changed. Instead of obligation, the work became true mission. Instead of tearing each other down, we built each other up. It was amazing. When someone tells you that you are the answer to a prayer, everything changes. It provokes you.

I came here today to tell you that you are the answer to prayer.

 
Contributed By:
David  Yarbrough
 
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EVERYTHING I NEED

ďI have everything I need for joy!Ē Robert Reed said.
His hands are twisted and his feet are useless. He canít bathe himself. He canít feed himself. He canít brush his teeth, comb his hair, or put on his underwear. Strips of Velcro hold his shirts together. His speech drags like a worn out audiocassette.
Robert has cerebral palsy.

The disease keeps him from driving a car, riding a bike, and going for a walk. But it didnít keep him from graduating from high school or attending Abilene Christian University, from which he graduate with a degree in Latin. Having cerebral palsy didnít keep him from teaching at St. Louis Junior College or from venturing overseas on five mission trips.

And Robertís disease didnít prevent him from becoming a missionary in Portugal.

He moved to Lisbon, alone, in 1972. There he rented a hotel room and began studying Portuguese. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him after the rush hour and a tutor who would instruct him in the language.

Then he stationed himself daily in a park, where he distributed brochures about Christ. Within six years he led seventy people to the Lord, one of whom became his wife, Rosa.

I heard Robert speak recently. I watched other men carry him in his wheelchair onto the platform. I watched them lay a Bible in his lap. I watched h...

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Bruce Wilkinson, the author of the extremely popular, Prayer of Jabez, tells about an experience of his that illustrates this truth.

I was taking a coffee break during a family conference in Kentucky when Will walked up and stood beside my chair. He was about nine. He asked if I wanted to donate to a missions project.
ďWhat would the money be used for?Ē I asked.
Will held out a radio. ďThis radio runs by sun power,Ē he said proudly. ďItís for people who live in the jungles. People can listen to this radio to learn things and hear about Jesus.Ē
I decided on the spot to make Will an offer. ďTell you what,Ē I said, ďIíll give to your project, but I have a rule that says you have to give money first.Ē On one of his donation cards, I wrote out my proposal:
Will,
If you give one to five dollars,
Iíll double what you give.
If you give six to ten dollars,
Iíll triple what you give.
If you give eleven to twenty dollars,
Iíll give four times what you give.
I signed my name and Will read the card. By the time he was finished, his eyes were as big as saucers. Then suddenly his face fell, and he stared at the floor.
ďDonít you like my idea?Ē I asked.
ďYeah,Ē he said, shuffling his feet.
ďWell, what are you going to do?Ē
ďNothing.Ē
ďNothing?Ē
ďI canít,Ē he said. ďI already gave everything I had.Ē
I felt a pang in my heart. ďYou mean you put all your money in your own fund drive?Ē I asked.
He nodded.
ďSo you canít buy any more snacks for the rest of the conference?Ē
He nodded again.
At that moment I knew what I needed to do. ďActually Will,Ē I began, ďI also have a rule that if you give everything you have, I will give everything I have, too.Ē
As it happened, Iíd just been to a bank to withdraw a considerable amount of cash for my trip. I reached under the table for my briefcase, pulled out a bank envelope of bills, and handed it to Will.
Iím not sure who was more surprised Ė Will or me. Now both of us had eyes as big as saucers, but we were both grinning happily.
My experience with Will has come to illustrate a truth for me about giving thatís so surprising it hardly sounds possible: Whatever I give to God on earth He will more than give back to me in heaven.

Bruce Wilkinson and David Kopp, A Life God Rewards: Why Everything You Do Today Matters Forever (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Pub., 2002), 76-78.

 
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YOU BE THE JUDGE?
"A money belt is one thing you just canít do without," my
friend told me. íMake sure you take travelersí checks with you
and maybe a few twenties, and tuck them in your money belt
before you leave. And donít ... DONíT go pawing through your
money when youíre out on the street. You just canít trust
anyone."

Soon after that conversation, I found myself sitting
sandwiched between two people on a commuter bus. I had just
arrived in Manila, Philippines, for a two-week missions trip,
and this was my first bus ride. So far, thereíd been no
problems, but as we neared our destination, I began looking
for dollar bills to pay the driver. Thatís when I realized --
I didnít have any cash handy. It was all in my belt.

The bus was now pulling up to the curb. Everyone rose, and I
figured in the confusion Iíd slip out my money belt long
enough to get what I needed. Counting the change, I swayed
forward with the press, and then slipped my shirt back over
the belt. That wasnít so dangerous, after all, I thought.

Then I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning around, I saw a kid
probably no older than sixteen in tattered clothes staring at
me with wide eyes. I wondered what he wanted ó- until I looked
down at what he was offering me: a wad of $100 bills. I hadnít
been as careful with my money as I thought!

According to UNICEF, the average annual income for an American
family is $34,260; in the Philippines, itís *$1,040. This teen
was handing me several months of a grown manís wages. And they
told me not to trust anyone!
*http://www.unicef.org/statis/Country_1Page138.html

YOU BE THE JUDGE?
"A money belt is one thing you just canít do without," my
friend told me. íMake sure you take travelersí checks with you
and maybe a few twenties, and tuck them in your money belt
before you leave. And donít ... DONíT go pawing through your
money when youíre out on the street. You just canít trust
anyone."

Soon after that conversation, I found myself sitting
sandwiched between two people on a commuter bus. I had just
arrived in Manila, Philippines, for a two-week missions trip,
and this was my first bus ride. So far, thereíd been no
problems, but as we neared our destination, I began looking
for dollar bills to pay the driver. Thatís when I realized --
I didnít have any cash handy. It was all in my belt.

The bus was now pulling up to the curb. Everyone rose, and I
figured in the confusion Iíd slip out my money belt long
enough to get what I needed. Counting the change, I swayed
forward with the press, and then slipped my shirt back over
the belt. That wasnít so dangerous, after all, I thought.

Then I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning around, I saw a kid
probably no older than sixteen in tattered clothes staring at
me with wide eyes. I wondered what he wanted ó- until I looked
down at what he was offering me: a wad of $100 bills. I hadnít
been as careful with my money as I thought!

According to UNICEF, the average annual income for an American
family is $34,260; in the Philippines, itís *$1,040. This teen
was handing me several months of a grown manís wages. And they
told me not to trust anyone!
*http://www.unicef.org/statis/Country_1Page138.html

By Steve Gertz
Online Editorial Coordinator

To respond to this newsletter, e-mail:
Connection@ChristianityToday.com

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check archives for better url--get permission! http://ChristianityToday.com/newsletter/connection/archives.html

 
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Sermon Central Staff
 
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VICTOR OR VICTIM--THE CASE OF ROBERT REED

If ever there was a person who could have offered Jesus an excuse, Robert Reed would be that person. His hands are twisted and His feet are useless. He canít bathe himself. He canít feed himself. He canít brush his teeth, comb his hair or put on his clothes by himself. His shirts are held together by velcro. He has cerebral palsy. This disease keeps him from driving a car, riding a bike and just going for a walk. But it didnít keep him from graduating from high school and then from college with a degree in Latin. It didnít keep him from eventually teaching at the college level. And it didnít keep him from going on 5 overseas mission trips. And it didnít keep him from becoming a missionary to the country of Portugal. He moved there, rented a hotel room and began to study Portuguese. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him after the crowd was gone and he found someone who would tutor him in the language there. Then he stationed himself daily in a park where he gave out brochures about Jesus. Within 6 years he led 70 people to the Lord. Why? Because he chose not to offer any excuses. In kindness I would ask you, whatís your excuse today?

Have you been crippled from the past? If so, do you want to hold on to it? Itís the choice of being a victor or a victim.

(From a sermon by David Henderson, "A Lame Excuse," 1/5/2011)

 
Contributed By:
David  Yarbrough
 
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British Airways 2069 left Heathrowís London Airport everything seemed to be going quite well at first. Six hours into the flight some of the passengers were asleep, some of the reading lights were on, everyone was comfortably settled in when suddenly everyone was jarred awake by a violent dip of the airplane. They heard a scuffle up near the front and in the cockpit their was a lot of chaos. Then about as suddenly as the plan dipped it had leaved out and seemed to have recovered. The problem was that a 27 year old deranged and suicidal man had rushed into the cockpit and momentarily gained control of the plane. When the pilots jumped on him they were able to pull him away from the controls for just a moment and then he began to punch them and pull the and even began to bite them. He regained control of the airplane and locked himself onto the controls and leaned forward and pushed the 747 into a deep and violent plunge. At this point everyone in the cabin was absolutely chaotic, people were yelling and screaming people were praying out loud, people writing notes to their loved ones. They were certain they were doomed as this 747 plunged toward the ground. Earlier that day a man by the name of Clark Bineham had gone to Londonís Heathrow and tried to get on his flight from London to Uganda but was bumped due to bad weather and got on flight 2069 going from London to Kenya. They were going to fly him from Uganda to Kenya with apologies and to make up for it they put him in first class. Clark said it was the first time he had ever flown in first class and they put him two sets from the cockpit. Clark was on his way to a short-term missions trip, he was a preacher from South Carolina and he was going to preach to a couple thousand teenagers who were assembled for a rally in Uganda. The preacher that God had redirected to this flight happened to also be six foot seven and a former athlete from Clemson. He was huge and in the prime of his life. He says in the report that he saw a very short flight attendant going to assist in the cockpit and about that time he says he realized it was his calling to get involved. He unleashed himself from his seat belt and dove into the fray in the cockpit were everyone was fighting and this madman was clenched to the controls of the plane. And this six foot seven preacher popped that guy out of the cockpit like a bad tooth. He literally threw him on the floor between the first couple of rows and jumped on him and with the help of his preaching partner subdued this man and had him quickly tied up by his hands. The plane in this deep descent was then regained ...

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Contributed By:
Jim Kane
 
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Pastor Brenda Snedden tells the story of trying to rid a mouse in her bedroom with the contents of a fire extinguisher. White powder goes everywhere in the bedroom but the mouse survives the attack.
Her husband finally arrives home and walks into the bedroom with a look of shock on his face. She orders him to kill the mouse. He grabs a machete that he got from a mission trip and prepares to do battle.
She scolds him for his selection because she does not want a mess. He of course, as she relates, looks around incredulously at the mess already made. Well, he ends up using the machete to shoo the mouse out of the bedroom through the patio door in the bedroom.
The point that Brenda was illustrating was about how we over use power to solve a problem and the result is a mess that takes hours, days, weeks, months, and even years to clean up. Such residue often comes as the result of words spoken in anger, fear, anxiety, exhaustion, and even hate. And fellowship is severely damaged.

 
Contributed By:
Jeff Simms
 
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Henry Blackaby tells a story in his book called ďThe Man God UsesĒ
about his son Tom. Tom was called to lead a youth Bible study in a small
town. Over time, God added more responsibility as a student council member
and then as student council president. Soon, he was called to a two year
mission trip to Norway to lead youth. Eventually, he became a leader in his
national convention and led the convention in work done with worship and
discipleship. God blessed him with more because he was faithful

 
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