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Illustration results for renewal

Contributed By:
Bruce Ball
 
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PRAYER AND THE MOTORCYCLE

There was a woman at work when she received a phone call that her daughter was very sick with a fever. She left work and stopped by the pharmacy to get some medication for her daughter.

She returned to her car to find that she had locked the keys inside the car when she went into the pharmacy and was now unable to get into her car to drive home.

She didn’t know what to do and started to panic, so she called home and told the baby sitter what had happened and that she did not know what to do. The baby sitter told her to find a coat hanger and see if that would open the door.

The woman looked around and found an old rusty coat hanger that had been thrown down on the ground, possibly by someone else who also had locked their keys in their car. Then she looked at the hanger and said, "I don’t know how to use this." So she bowed her head and asked God to send her some help.

In so doing, she obeyed the command to never stop praying. Do you think God would reward her for that?

Within five minutes a motorcycle roared up and pulled into the parking space next to her car. A rough, dirty-looking biker got off and saw her situation. He asked if he could help her. The woman thought, "This is what you sent to help me, God?"

She finally told him yes, as she needed to hurry and get home to her sick daughter. He walked over to the car, and in less than one minute the car was opened. She hugged the man and through her tears she said, "Thank you so much! You are such a nice man."

The man replied; "No, I’m not, Lady. I just got out of prison for car theft." The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out to God, "You even sent me a professional."

 
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The pastor stood before the congregation and said "I have bad news, I have good
news, and I have more bad news." The congregation got quiet. "The bad news
is: the church needs a new roof!" the pastor said. The congregation groaned.
"The good news is: we have enough money for the new roof." A sigh of relief
was heard rippling through the gathered group.
"The bad new is: it’s still in your pockets"

 
Contributed By:
MELVIN NEWLAND
 
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Bill McCartney retired as the head coach of the Colorado football team several years ago. His reason for retirement was not because he was unsuccessful as a coach. His teams had won the national championship. They had been in the top 10 many times.
McCartney said that he was retiring because he wanted to reevaluate his priorities. He said, “I’m leaving coaching, & I’m going to take a whole year to re-evaluate my priorities. Is God first? Is my family second? Is my work third?”
And when that year was over, Bill McCartney had dedicated his life & talents to Christ, & threw his efforts into founding the great men’s renewal gatherings that we know today as “Promise Keepers.”

 
Contributed By:
Kenneth Henes
 
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Joseph Ton was pastor of Second Baptist Church, Oradea, Rumania, until he was exiled by the Rumanian government in 1981. In Pastoral Renewal, he writes of his experience:
"Years ago I ran away from my country to study theology at Oxford. In 1972, when I was ready to go back to Rumania, I discussed my plans with some fellow students. They pointed out that I might be arrested at the border. One student asked, ’Jospeh, what chances do you have of successfully implementing your plans?’"
He asked God about it, and God brought to mind Matthew 10:16 -- "I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves" -- and seemed to say, "Tell me, what chance does a sheep surrounded by wolves have of surviving five minutes, let alone of converting the wolves? Joseph, that’s how I send you: totally defenseless and without a reasonable hope of success. If you are willing to go like that, go. If you are not willing to be in that position, don’t go."
Ton writes: "After our return, as I preached uninhibitedly, harassment and arrests came. One day during interrogation an officer threatened to kill me. Then I said, ’Sir, your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying. Sir, you know my sermons are all over the country on tapes now. If you kill me, I will be sprinkling them with my blood. Whoever listens to them after that will say, "I’d better listen. This man sealed it with his blood." They will speak ten times louder than b...

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Contributed By:
Chad Wright
 
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Tags: Baptism (add tag)
 
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In Eastern lands, people used public baths and got dressed again; as they walked in the dusty streets, their feet became dirty. On arriving home, they did not need another bath; they needed only to wash their feet. When the Jewish priests were ordained, they were washed all over (Ex. 29:4), which pictures our once-for-all cleansing; but God also provided the laver (Ex. 30:17–21) for them to use in the daily washing of their hands and feet.
Application: So it is with the believer. When we are saved, we are washed all over. Paul put it this way, “[God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5–6). At Baptism, we were thoroughly washed and robed in Christ’s righteousness. When we confess our daily sins to the Lord, we have our feet washed and our “walk” is cleansed. Christ’s Spirit washes His church with Baptismal water through the Word (Eph. 5:25–26). As we daily read the Word and confess our sins, the Spirit cleanses our souls and guides us. It is this daily cleansing of the Spirit that keeps the believer in communion with Christ.

 
Contributed By:
K. Edward "Ed" Skidmore
 
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"MY SUPREME WEAPON IS DYING."

Joseph Ton was pastor of Second Baptist Church, Oradea, Romania, until he was exiled by the Romanian government in 1981. In Pastoral Renewal, he writes of his experience:

"Years ago I ran away from my country to study theology at Oxford. In 1972, when I was ready to go back to Romania, I discussed my plans with some fellow students. They pointed out that I might be arrested at the border. One student asked, 'Joseph, what chances do you have of successfully implementing your plans?'"

He asked God about it, and God brought to mind Matthew 10:16 -- "I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves" -- and seemed to say, "Tell me, what chance does a sheep surrounded by wolves have of surviving five minutes, let alone of converting the wolves? Joseph, that’s how I send you: totally defenseless and without a reasonable hope of success. If you are willing to go like that, go. If you are not willing to be in that position, don’t go."

Ton writes: "After our return, as I preached uninhibitedly, harassment and arrests came. One day during interrogation an officer threatened to kill me. Then I said, 'Sir, your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying. Sir, you know my sermons are all over the country on tapes now. If you kill me, I will be sprinkling them with my blood. Whoever listens to them after that will say, "I’d better listen. This man sealed it with his blood." They will speak ten times louder than before. So, go on and kill me. I win the supreme victory then.'"

The officer sent him home. "That gave me pause. For years I was a Christian who was cautious because I wanted to survive. I had accepted all the restrictions the authorities put on me because I wanted to live. Now I wanted to die, and they wouldn’t oblige. Now I could do whatever I wanted in Romania. For years I wanted to save my life, and I was losing it. Now that I wanted to lose it, I was winning it."

 
Contributed By:
Sermon Central Staff
 
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How James Montgomery Boice Faced Faced Death from Cancer

On May 7, 2000, Dr. Boice stood in this pulpit for the last time to speak about his cancer that would take his life in a month. Here is an excerpt:

"If I were to reflect on what goes on theologically here, there are two things I would stress. One is the sovereignty of God. That’s not novel. We have talked about the sovereignty of God here forever. God is in charge. When things like this come into our lives, they are not accidental. It’s not as if God somehow forgot what was going on, and something bad slipped by. It’s not the answer that Harold Kushner gave in his book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. God does everything according to his will. We’ve always said that.

"But what I’ve been impressed with mostly is something in addition to that. It’s possible, isn’t it, to conceive of God as sovereign and yet indifferent? God’s in charge, but he doesn’t care. But it’s not that. God is not only the one who is in charge; God is also good. Everything he does is good. And what Romans 12:1-2 says is that we have the opportunity by the renewal of our minds—that is, how we think about these things—actually to prove what God’s will is. And then it says, 'His good, pleasing, and perfect will.' Is that good, pleasing, and perfect to God? Yes, of course, but the point of it is that it’s good, pleasing, and perfect to us. If God does something in your life, would you change it? If you’d change it, you’d make it worse. It wouldn’t be as good. So that’s the way we want to accept it and move forward, and who knows what God will do?

"So that’s the way we want to accept it and move forward." James Boice could accept what was happening because he knew the faith and he had the knowledge of the Son of God. And this church, as much as we might have struggled with our loss, could accept what was happening because we have been grounded in the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. We know that God is sovereign. We know that God is good. We need only look to Jesus Christ to know that. And it is from that gospel truth that we are able to renew our minds and renew our hearts, whatever comes our way.

(From a sermon by D. Marion Clark, Attaining Maturity, 11/12/2010)

 
Contributed By:
Paul Redwine
 
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Toad baked some cookies. “These cookies smell very good,” said Toad. He ate one. “And they taste even better,” he said. Toad ran to Frog’s house. “Frog, Frog,” cried Toad, “taste these cookies that I have made.” Frog ate one of the cookies, “These are the best cookies I have ever eaten!” said Frog. Frog and Toad ate many cookies, one after another. “You know, Toad,” said Frog, with his mouth full, “I think we should stop eating. We will soon be sick.” “You are right,” said Toad. “Let us eat one last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one last cookie. There were many cookies left in the bowl. “Frog,” said Toad, “let us eat one very last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one very last cookie. “We must stop eating!” cried Toad as he ate another. “Yes,” said Frog, reaching for a cookie, “we need willpower.” “What is willpower?” asked Toad. “Willpower is trying hard not to do something you really want to do,” said Frog. “You mean like trying hard not to eat all these cookies?” asked Toad. “Right,” said Frog. Frog put the cookies in a box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” “ But we can open the box,” said Toad. “That is true,” said Grog. Frog tied some string around the box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” “ But we can cut the string and open the box.” said Toad. “That is true,” said Frog. Frog got a ladder. He put the box up on a high shelf. “There,” said Frog. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” “ But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box,” said Toad. “That is true,” said Fr...

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A few years ago my mom began feeding the birds on a regular basis in our backyard. At first, some of the birds were greedy. They weren’t sure if there would be enough food to go around. The starlings were especially mean, which doesn’t surprise anyone familiar with birds. They would attack the robins, cardinals, and sparrows that came to get a taste. This situation continued for several months until one day there was a noticeable change in the bird’s behavior.

After years of regular feeding from the unlimited supply, the birds appeared to be less greedy with the food. Now they were feeding at their leisure—realizing there would be more food when their current supply was finished. Then, last month, something even more remarkable happened. After all these months of hording, greed, and then cautiously enjoying, the birds began to demonstrate a nobler characteristic. They began calling for one another at mealtime.

Today, when the seed is spread for the birds, one will call for the others to share what they’ve discovered. The greed is less frequent. The jealous pecking is rare. The trees seem fuller these days with the joy of satisfaction from birds that have learned to share. The music of multiple species fills the air. Now they know the supply is unlimited. And as far as their appetite is concerned, it’s inexhaustible.

Just this morning, I noticed a sparrow feeding right beside a starling. Miracles never cease.

Why can’t this happen in the church?

God’s grace is inexhaustible and we ought to be calling other sinners to the fount where we’ve found refreshment and renewal.

Charles K. Grant

 
Contributed By:
Richard Jones
 
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Many years ago, executives of the Time-Life publishing organization discovered that the company’s profit margin had shrunk to an alarmingly low level. Consequently, they began an intensive effort to try to cut costs.

Efficiency experts suggested that substantial savings could be effected in the renewal department. There were 350 people working full time sending heartbreaking pleas to readers whose subscriptions were about to expire.

(For example, "Will you dare face your children without "Time" magazine on your coffee table?")

In any case, enormous quantities of these letters were being prepared manually. It was calculated that if a machine could be found to replace the manual labor, millions of dollars in overhead would be saved. In time, IBM came to the rescue with an enormous computer, delivered to Time-Life in a blaze of klieg lights and fanfare. Then the New system was installed.

The name of each subscriber was put on a separate little plate and run through the vast machine. Whenever a nameplate came along that was within six weeks of expiration, a series of dots and dashes at the top of the tab triggered an electronic impulse that caused it to drop into a slot. The name was then affixed to one of the "heartbreaking" letters which was then folded, stuffed into an envelope, labeled, stamped, and dropped down a chute to the basement where a United States Branch Post Office was set up--all without a single human hand touching the operation.

The system worked flawlessly for a while, until that fateful, hot, humid, sticky day in New York City when one of the nameplates stuck in the machine. A few days later a lone sheepherder in Montana received 12,634 tear jerking letters asking him to subscribe to "Life" magazine.

The sheepherder, who hadn’t received a letter in years, took his knife, carefully slit open one of the mailbags and began reading his mail. Three weeks later, red-eyed, weary and up to his hips in 12,634 opened pieces of mail, he made out a check for $6.00, filled out a subscription coupon and sent it to the President of Time-Life personally, with the following note:

"I give up!"

That’s a story to remember, when you begin to wonder about the limit of God’s mercy. You don’t have to plead or beg for it. You don’t have to ask Him 12,634 or 1,000 or 100 times for it. You don’t have to ask him even once for it. God’s mercy is always there, always being offered, always present to you. God has already said,

"I give up: I love you; I forgive you.”

 
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