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So if the kingdom of heaven is so valuable, why doesnít everybody do everything they can to be a part of it? I think itís because value is often in the eye of the beholder. What has value and what doesnít is really up to personal interpretation. What some people think are valuable have no value at all to others. Several years ago I used to heat our house with wood. Every fall I would go out and cut wood with my friend Roger Raether and Bob Bosma. I never liked cutting wood because it was a lot of back breaking work but I liked the price. It was free except for the labor so we would take a Saturday here and there in the fall to cut wood and pile it up for the winter. In addition to cutting wood I used to get the wood scraps from a store called ďThe Wooden Bird.Ē They make beautiful hand carved bird decoys and animal decoys out of wood. Every decoy costs from 50 to 250 bucks and they are really nice decorative pieces to put on the mantle. Their shop used to be right here in St. Boni so every couple of weeks I would stop in and pick up their leftover wood scraps to burn in my wood burner. Right before Thanksgiving I stopped in to pick up a load of scraps. I walked in the front door and told them I was there to pick up the wood. The man wheeled out two bins like usual to the loading doors and helped me load them in the truck. Usually the wood was just chunks of pine but this time they looked like decoys. I asked him if he was sure that he was giving me the right wood because they were unpainted decoys. I noticed that they had a few cracks in them so I figured they were throwing them away because of the cracks. The man insisted that I had the right stuff and waved me goodbye. I took my load of wood and promised that I would bring his carts back as soon as I got the chance. He told me there was no hurry and I could even bring them back after Thanksgiving. I went home and unloaded the decoys in a big pile in the basement. The wood burner was low so I grabbed a handful of decoys and threw them in the furnace. That dry pine burned nice and hot so I threw in a few more to ward of the cold. Then I went back to work. After work I went home and reloaded the furnace with decoys and had just enough time to bring back the carts before they closed for the long weekend. When I pulled up in my truck two men ran out of the building and demanded that I bring back the decoys. I asked why and with urgency in his voice he told me that I had taken their entire inventory of Christmas decoys worth tens of thousands of dollars by mistake. He went on and on about calling the police and trying to find my vehicle and driving around for the past three hours in a complete panic because I had taken their entire Christmas inventory of decoys worth thousands of dollars by mistake. I pointed at the guy who gave them to me and he just gave me the deer in the headlights look and walked back into the building. Then the manager said do you still have them because they are incredibly valuable. Each decoy had taken them over a week to make and they needed to get them back. Rather stunned I told them that I had burned a few of them but would bring the rest back. Then I went home and carefully loaded a few hundred decoys back into the bins and brought them back to the Wooden Bird. Value is often in the eye of the beholder. The decoys had no value to me other than a little heat. But to the Wooden bird, the decoys were worth tens of thousands of dollars.

 
Contributed By:
Clark Tanner
 
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Tags: Holiness (add tag)
 
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Christians, we have no right to look down our noses with disdain on unsaved people. We can and should be offended at sin, but not personally offended Ė offended for God and His holiness. But if we can get it in our heads and in our hearts that when we were dead He gave us life, when we were unknowing He gave us faith, when we were enemies He came all the way down to us to make peace, then we must realize that in ourselves we are no higher and no better than the vilest of sinners and it is Godís grace and mercy alone that has separated us from the rest.
- c.e.t

 
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Timothy Smith
 
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Maybe when you were at camp or in the boy or girl scouts you sang... "One dark night when we were all in bed, old lady OíLeary lit a lantern in her shed. And when the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and said, "Itíll be a hot time in the ole town tonight." And weíd yell, "Fire-Fire-Fire." It wasnít til years later that I learned that the song was based on fact. It may not have been a cow but the great fire of Chicago began at 8:30pm, Oct. 8, 1871 by a small blaze in the barn of Patrick and Catherine OíLeary. It left over 80,000 people homeless, 17,500 buildings were destroyed and 300 people killed. What damage from such a small start. And you can carelessly speak a word thatís like a spark- and you have no idea of the ultimate damage that can be caused by your words. Thatís why James writes in vs:6- ďThe tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a personís entire life on fire with flames that come from hell itself.Ē

 
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Scott Sharpes
 
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Robert Fulghum in It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It, tells a story involving his daughter, Molly. One day, as Fulghum was ready to leave for work, Molly handed him two brown paper sacks. In one was his lunch. What was in the other was a mystery. When Fulghum asked Molly what was in the mystery bag, she said, "Just some stuffótake it with you." At lunch time, Fulghum tore open the mystery bag, Dumping the contents onto his desk. The contents
consisted of: two hair ribbons, three small stones, a plastic dinosaur, a pencil stub, a tiny seashell, two animal crackers, a marble, a used
lipstick, a small doll, two chocolate kisses, and thirteen pennies.

Later in the day, when Fulghum was cleaning off his desk before going home, he wiped the contents of Mollyís bag into the waste basket. As he said, "There wasnít anything in there I needed." That evening Molly asked where her bag was. He told her he had left it at his office, and asked, "why?" Molly said, "Those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really likeóI thought you might like to play with them, but now I want them back.

You didnít lose the bag did you, Daddy?"

"Those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really like." To Fulghum the hair ribbons, small stones, pencil stub, a used lipstick and all the rest did not seem like much. To Molly, they were her most priceless treasures. The things she loved the most. But Fulghum did not have the sight to see their true value.

Long ago some shepherds left their fields and made their way to a stable. When they looked into the manger they saw a very ordinary baby wrapped in swaddling cloths. Whether the baby was sleeping, ...

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Todd Leupold
 
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J. Vernon McGee once pointed out:

"Martha believed in a resurrection. But listen, it makes less demand upon faith to believe that in a future day we shall receive glorified bodies than it does to rest now on the assuracne that they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. It is easier to believe that the Lord is coming and the dead will be raised than it is to believe that tomorrow I can live for God. It is so easy to comfort people who are mourning and say, 'Well, you'll see your loved ones someday.' That doesn't take much faith. It takes a lot of faith to say, 'I have just lost my loved one, but I am comforted with the assurance that God is with me and He does all things well.' You see, although Martha knew from the Old Testament that there would be a resurrection from the dead, she didn't believe that Jesus could help her now."

(Source: Thru The Bible, Vol. IV, pg. 439).

 
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Sermon Central Staff
 
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Tags: Satan (add tag)
 
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CAPTURE AND CONTROL

Craig Larson talks about being at a lunch party on a warm, Chicago day in early September with a dozen of his fellow workers. The windows were left open, and soon a bee found its way in. After buzzing around for a while, it landed on some food on the table. Then someone took an empty bottle of sparkling grape juice and put the mouth of the bottle near the bee. Without a moment's hesitation, the bee flew to the mouth of the bottle and climbed inside the narrow opening. Immediately, Larson's colleague put the cap on the bottle and screwed it shut. The bee spent the rest of the party drinking at the bottom of the bottle, and as far as anyone knew, the bee was never released.

The people at that table were not concerned about the bee. Their purpose was not to make sure it enjoyed itself and had a good time. No! Their only concern was capture and control.

That's the way it is with Satan. He is not concerned about us. His purpose is not to make sure we have a good time. No! He despises us, and his only concern is capture and control.

(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Pitfalls of Leadership, 7/29/2010)

 
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Fr Mund Cargill Thompson
 
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MOTHERS LIVE FOR OTHERS

We've got all sorts of people here this morning. One thing we have got a lot of is mothers. Some of you, your children are long grown up. But you have the experience of having been a mother. So? Well, every mother lives her life for another. And that is what the church is meant to be like. As former Archbishop of Cantabury William Temple put it, "The Church is the only society that exists solely for the benefit of it's non-members." Or as Jesus put it "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you"

Every Mother lives her life for another. Those of you who have been mothers - for the love of your child you have been through the excruciating pain of labour. For the love of your child you had yoru sleep broken as you wake to feed your baby and change her nappy. For the love of your child, you have massively reduced your social life - think how much more you used to go out before you had your child than you did when your child was young. For the love of your child, you structured our entire day around things like School drop off and School pick up times. And on top of all the practical things you did for your child, you spent your time constantly thinking about what would be best for her or him. Every mother lives her life for another.

Now, not all of us in this church are mothers. I, for example, have never been a mother. And of course there are other forms of self sacrifice too. But the mothers here are an inspiration to the rest of us. Every mother exists not for her own benefit but for the benefit of her children. We need to put that into practice in a different context. Every mother exists not for her own benefit but for the benefit of her children. We need to learn more and more to exist not for our own benefit but for the benefit of our non-members.

Of course - it's easy to romanticise being a mother. Frequently you will have thought "I don't want to do this", "I don't want to do that", "Do I have to?" - especially when it comes to having your sleep broken in the middle of the night. "Do I have to?" Yet for love of your child, you got out of bed, comforted her, fed her and changed her nappy. For love of your child you did not what you wanted but what was best for her. As a church too, there will frequently be times for each one of us when we say "I don't want to do this", "I don't want to do that", "Do I have to?" yet, if as parents we can do things we don't want because we love our child, then as Christians, for love of God and love of those who haven't yet come to faith, we will do not what we want but what is best for them.

 
Contributed By:
Paul Fritz
 
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FAITHFUL FOR A PROMISE

A promise from God is a statement we can depend on with absolute confidence. Here are 12 promises for the Christian to claim.

Godís presence -- "I will never leave thee" (Heb. 13:5)

Godís protection -- "I am thy shield" (Gen. 15:1)

Godís power -- "I will strengthen thee" (Isa. 41:10)

Godís provision -- "I will help thee" (Isa. 41:10)

Godís leading -- "And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them" (John 10:4)

Godís purposes -- "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil" (Jer. 20:11)

Godís rest -- "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28)

Godís cleansing -- "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9)

Godís goodness -- "No good thing will He withhold from them that work uprightly" (Psalm 84:11) ...

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Contributed By:
Josh Hunt
 
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WE NEED TO SLOW DOWN

A study by the US National Commission on Sleep Disorders blamed half of all traffic accidents on tiredness. Put that together with our penchant for speeding, and the result is carnage on the roads. Annual traffic fatalities now stand at 1.3 million worldwide, more than double the figure for 1990. Though better safety norms have cut the death toll in developed countries, the UN predicts that traffic will be the third leading cause of death in the world by 2020. Even now, more than forty thousand people die and 1.6 million are injured on European roads every year.

(Honore, Carl (2009-04-14). In Praise of Slowness (Kindle Locations 137-141). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.)

 
Contributed By:
Donnie  Martin
 
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DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PRAY

I heard a story of a ship that was sinking in the middle of a storm, and the captain called out to the crew and said, "Does anyone here know how to pray?"

One man stepped forward and said, "Yes sir, I know how to pray."

The captain said, "Wonderful, you pray while the rest of us put on life jackets--we're one short."

Author unknown. Taken from pastorlife.com.

 
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