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70% of American adults identify family or family members as their most significant connection. 33% gave their entire nuclear family this status while 22% conferred it up on their spouse and 17% their children. 29% of American adults say their church is their most significant group affiliation. 18% say this about people they work with, 14% friends that regularly get together, 12% a hobby club or social group and 7% people in their neighborhood. People 25 or younger listed friends as their most critical network while church ranked 5th. In contrast, adults over 25 ranked church as their key social group, followed by their work relationships. 74% of evangelicals said their church was their main social network.
(Barna Update 3/17/08)
75% of Americans identify colleagues from their church as the most important group or network in their life.
(Foster Letter 3/25/08)
Sermon Central Staff
AUSSIE COMMON SENSE
Common sense is taking into consideration all the realities you see in front of you and coming to a right conclusion.
After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, British scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 200 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 150 years ago.
Not to be outdone by the British, in the weeks that followed, an American archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story was published in the New York Times: "American archaeologists, finding traces of 250-year-old copper wire and they concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network 100 years earlier than the British."
One week later, the state’s Dept of Minerals and Energy in Western Australia, reported the following: "After digging as deep as 30 feet in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, Jack Lucknow, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Jack has therefore concluded that 250 years ago, Australia had already gone wireless."
(From a sermon by John Perry, The unusual gift of common sense, 1/22/2011)
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE?
Behavioral scientists have discovered that we usually see things that we are prepared to see. This is all centered in a network of nerve cells called the "Reticular Activating System." Everybody has this system.
The "Reticular Activating System." works like this: Once something has been brought to our attention, and we have been prepared to see it, we’ll see it virtually everywhere we go.
For example, you decide to buy a new car. You make up your mind that you are going to buy a certain brand, a certain body style, and a certain color. Now, you’ll see those cars everywhere. You’ll see them on the roads, in TV advertisements, in newspapers and magazines. They’re everywhere.
Now what has happened? They were always there, but the moment you were prepared to see them, your Reticular Activating System kicked in, and suddenly you saw them everywhere.
It happens in other areas of life, too. We see what we are prepared to see. If we are prepared to see doom & gloom this...
In 1849 a wagon train was traveling through Death Valley to follow the gold rush into California. As this particular wagon train trudged through Death Valley, the hottest place in California, they looked ahead and saw a sheet of water they all believed was Owen’s Lake. But it was just a mirage created by the intense heat, and the harder their pressed on to make it to the water, the more frustrated they became. The foundation for many people’s spiritual journey is no more real than that mirage. Some people base their entire spiritual lives on illusions whether it’s the psychic friends network or astrology, whether it’s some strange teacher like David Koresh or some new claim to have special insight into the future .
I MUST NOT HATE
In October of 2001, on the ABC network morning show, Diane Sawyer interviewed the sister-in-law of Osamma Bin Laden. She has been estranged from one of Bin Laden’s 23 brothers, Yeslam, and is seeking a divorce. For 27 years she put up with abuse – and she wants out!
Diane Sawyer asked Carmen Bin Laden, Do you hate Osamma Bin Laden? Her response was a classic picture of the Christian response to anger, hatred, and the evil actions of terrorism. She said, Hate him? No I cannot hate Osamma Bin Laden. He hates, and look at what he does. I must not hate.
Just how bad is it out there? And what really are we up against? Well, let me share with you some of the information I gleaned from 17 pages of fairly up to date statistics. [SLIDE 4] I learned first of all that sex is the #1 topic searched on the internet. Now I wasn’t really surprised to learn that---but the number of pornographic sites did surprise me. [SLIDE 5] I found that in 1998 there were 14 million pornographic websites. Five years later that number had grown to 260 million. The next year that number jumped from 260 to 372 million. If that rate of growth continues through the end of this year---when 2007 comes to an end there will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 million pornographic websites out there. And we’ve got a whole generation coming up---many to be married soon who have been gathering strange, unholy and unhealthy ideas about sex from the net---incredibly sad is that the [SLIDE 6] largest consumers of internet pornography are young people in the 12-17 year age bracket. [SLIDE 7] Folks 2.5 BILLION pornographic emails are sent everyday over the web. And while many people operate under the assumption that porn is a guy problem---the truth is [SLIDE 8] there are growing numbers of both men and women who are becoming addicted to internet porn. I don’t know about you [SLIDE 9] but it makes me wonder ---what’s next?
Besides the internet sexual immorality is being promoted via the adult movie industry. [SLIDE 10] Here in America we’re producing 11,000 new porn films every year and Americans are renting 800 million adult videos & DVDs annually. [SLIDE 11] HALF of all hotel guests watch pornographic movies. [SLIDE 12] And PORN accounts for 70% of the in-room revenue raised by hotels. ARE YOU BEGINNING TO GET THE PICTURE? [SLIDE 13] Cable networks provide pay per view services for those who don’t feel like they have to sneak off to a hotel to watch adult programming. [SLIDE 14] It wasn’t all that long ago that MTV launched a new channel---the LOGO channel which has been designed to appeal to and promote the homosexual lifestyle. [SLIDE 15] And in America the number of couples cohabitating went from about ½ million in 1960 to over 5 million by the year 2000. I’m not sure what that number is today. By the way I’ve got to say this about cohabitating---besides the fact it’s a sin---society has sold us a totally lame idea. Here’s what I’m talking about [SLIDE 16] in our culture people often speak of cohabitating---that is living together before marriage—in terms of a test drive. They say ---well now you wouldn’t go out and buy a car without taking it for a test drive first, would you? So doesn’t it just make sense to have a trial run before you commit to marriage?” [SLIDE 17] Now the idea of taking the relationship for a test run sounds pretty good when you think in terms of being the driver…but that’s where the analogy breaks down. [SLIDE 18] The idea of the test drive doesn’t sound so good when you think of yourself as the car. Get real. Cars don’t have feelings. They don’t have a soul---so if you take them back after a test spin---they feel nothing. But dumping people because you decided to look for a different model—that’s a whole different matter.
And while we’ve talked touched on the topics or internet pornography, the adult movie industry, homosexuality and cohabitation--- there’s so much more going on--- [SLIDE 19] there’s printed porn---STDs/AIDS…900 numbers…adult bookstores, strip joints, night clubs, prostitution and on and on we could go. But let me tell you what really concerns me most in all of this---it’s the indifference of so many Christians---the lack of voices speaking out against this tidal wave of immorality---even worse than the lack of voices are those voices of agreement. Believe it or not---[SLIDE 20] studies show that half of the people in our nation who call themselves Christians don’t see a problem with couples living together. [SLIDE 21] 39% think there’s nothing wrong with sexual fantasizing. [SLIDE 22] Incredibly more than 1/3 of today’s church going women have intentionally visited pornographic websites. [SLIDE 23] And get this ½ of church going men struggle with pornography.
And here in this seventh commandment, [SLIDE 24] the commandment where God says “You shall not commit adultery” is a clear call for God’s people in every generation to maintain sexual purity.
In my secular vocation I am a computer project manager for the Duke University School of Medicine. I primarily develop web based, “anywhere” access “web-top” applications that people use throughout the medical school. One of the most beautiful and liberating aspects of my job is that although I have an office in 0159 Purple Zone of the South Hospital, I do not have to be there to work. Since all of my applications and databases are Internet based, as long as I can access an internet connection, I can program and develop my systems. I can work from home; I can work from many of the coffee shops and bookstores that offer wireless internet access. Since I travel a lot for my job, as I am on the road in other parts of the country, as long as I have a high speed internet connection I can access my office network, my database systems, my applications, securely, safely and productively no matter where I am.
Brothers and sisters you and I have to realize a great importance of my worship life, and that fact is that in the same way that I can open my laptop and connect onto a high speed network to do my secular business, I can also open my heart and connect onto a high speed...
Game show veteran Wink Martindale is back, hosting “Debt” on the Lifetime cable network beginning next week. Contestants arrive with between $6,000 and $10,000 in debt—from credit cards, student loans and car loans—and try to head into the black by answering pop-culture questions. Instead of taking home TV’s or bedroom sets, players get a chance to win up to twice what they owe. “The reason contestants are in debt in the first place is that people have already gone out and bought these prizes,” says Martindale. What about the folks who pay their bills on time? “Buy the time-share you’ve always wanted and then come see us,” suggests senior producer Andrew Golder. “Or just enjoy the drama of watching others trying to escape the pit you were smart enough to avoid.”
U.S.News & World Report, June 3, 1996, p. 13.
Bob Harris, weatherman for NY TV station WPIX-TV and the nationally syndicated independent Network news, had to weather a public storm of his own making in 1979. Though he had studied math, physics and geology at three colleges, he left school without a degree but with a strong desire to be a media weatherman.
He phoned WCBS-TV, introducing himself as a Ph.D. in geophysics from Columbia U. The phony degree got him in the door. After a two-month tryout, he was hired as an off-camera forecaster for WCBS. For the next decade his career flourished. He became widely known as “Dr. Bob.” He was also hired by the New York Times as a consulting meteorologist. The same year both the Long Island Railroad and then Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn hired him. Forty years of age and living his childhood dream, he found himself in public disgrace and national humiliation when an anonymous letter prompted WCBS management to investigate his academic credentials. Both the station and the New York Times fire him.
His story got attention across the land. He was on the Today Show, the Tomorrow Show, and in People Weekly, among others. He thought he’d lose his home and never work in the media again. Several days later the Long Island Railroad and Bowie Kuhn announced they would not fire him. Then WNEW-TV gave him a job. He admits it was a dreadful mistake on his part and doubtless played a role in his divorce. “I took a shortcut that turned out to be the long way around, and one day the bill came due. I will be sorry as long as I am alive.”
Nancy Shulins, Journal News, Nyack, NY