Illustration results for Set Apart
I’m Sarah, I’m sixteen;
Last night I failed.
I prayed for more strength,
So why did I yield?
He said he loved me,
Brought me flowers and all;
Then he took me upstairs
And caused me to fall.
I feel so ashamed,
So dirty inside.
He’s taken my heart;
Now I want to go hide.
I let down my parents,
And they trusted me so.
Can God forgive me?
I need to know.
If I had it to do
All over again,
I think I would run
To a close, loving friend.
The pain hurts so bad;
I want you to know,
So you won’t give in.
You’ll know when to go!
Yes, God can forgive!
It says it right here;
Jesus died for my sins,
So I never need fear.
My past is all cleansed;
I’m whiter than snow.
Yet my sin is still sin;
Consequences don’t go.
Today I start over,
My purity new!
I’m God’s little girl,
Straight through and through!
Abstain - yes, I must!
By God’s grace and power,
I’ll stay close to Him,
Hour by hour.
Hiding His Word
Deep in my heart;
When faced with temptation,
Next time I’ll be smart.
I know from now on
I’m determined to wait;
God has a man
Designed as my mate.
When that time comes,
And I know he’s the one;
The day I’ll be married -
Now that’ll be fun!
But until then,
To the Lord will I cling;
At just the right time,
My husband, He’ll bring.
I’m trusting Him now
With all of my soul.
The Lord holds my future;
That’s all I must know!
What’s the main idea?
On his many caravan rides along the trading route between
Syria and Arabia, a merchant named Muhammad observed people of
all kinds of faiths. He became increasingly concerned that
people were straying from ethical and moral responsibility. In
A.D. 610, when Muhammad was 40 years old, the angel Gabriel
allegedly commanded him to become a prophet, calling people
back to the truth. The foundation of Islam was laid.
Islam is the second-largest religion in the world (after
Christianity), claiming one billion followers, called Muslims.
The religion hangs on the phrase, "There is no god but Allah
and Muhammad is his prophet." Allah (Arabic for "God") is
alone to be worshiped. So it’s a big mistake to think Muslims
view Muhammad the same way Christians view Jesus. Muhammad was
not a deity to be worshiped, but the last and greatest
prophet -- someone who brought a perfect message from God.
Muslims aren’t concerned as much about the right beliefs as
they are about the right actions. In "submitting to the will
of God" (that’s the meaning of the word "Islam"), they stick
to the Five Pillars, a set of important requirements that
includes regular charity, praying five times a day, and making
at least one hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca (Islam’s holy city).
In addition to this, most Muslims devoutly refrain from
alcohol, drugs, gambling, and certain foods such as pork. The
Qur’an (or Koran), which Muslims believe is the written
recollection of the visions Muhammad received, is the most
important text, although our Old and New Testaments are also
significant in Islam.
ANY COMMON GROUND?
Christians and Muslims share a lot of similar beliefs. For
instance, Moses, Jacob, and David are influential in both
faiths. And Muslims have enormous respect for Jesus, seeing
him as the second-greatest prophet. Muslims also believe in
Jesus’ virgin birth and his miracles, even saying he’s the
WHAT SETS US APART?
Muslims don’t believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and
they consider the Christian claim of Jesus’ divinity
blasphemous. In Islam, Muhammad is the greatest and most
authentic prophet. While they think highly of the Bible,
Muslims think the Qur’an is the true Word of God. Most
significantly, the Christian concept of grace is completely
absent in Islam. Allah is relatively cold and removed, and the
principles of right and wrong, do’s and don’ts, form the
foundation of the faith.
Dr. James Lewis, Associate Professor of World Religions at
Wheaton College and Campus Life.
June 26, 2002
Brian La Croix
#3 – We Get a New Family
November 4, 2007
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT USED IN MY MESSAGES IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
We’ve been looking at different benefits or blessings of following Christ – living for Him, and not just giving Him lip-service.
One of the things that’s easy for preachers to do is to continually call for a commitment of some kind. And I’m going to be doing that today as well.
But I’d really like to spend most of the time talking about how awesome the family of God is and why it’s a blessing to be part of it.
We: I think all of us, whether it’s obvious to us or not, long to belong. We want to be part of something that is living and active, and that makes feel like we’re a vital part of that.
Families are the ideal place for all of that. That’s part of the way God designed families. Successful families are made up of people who are made to feel like they belong and that their contributions to the family, no matter how small, are appreciated and valuable.
When you put your faith in Christ, you become a member of the family of God. The heavenly Father becomes your Father. You’re adopted into His family as His child. And that’s no small thing, let me tell you.
John 1:12-13 –
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
You gain a heavenly Father, and you gain a heavenly brother as well.
Hebrews 2:11 –
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
And not only do you gain a heavenly Father and a heavenly Brother, you also gain a great and wonderful family comprised of millions and millions of people who have joined that family as well, and who want only the best for you as you become part of it as well.
This church is part of that awesome family, and it’s my desire that this part of the family becomes all it can be to love and support the family of God in our area.
God: The passage that I want to deal with today goes a bit more into what being part of the family of God is all about.
Ephesians 2:19-22 –
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
[Thanks to Jim Drake for the following outline points (SermonCentral.com)]
This passage gives us three things that each member of the family of God shares with one another:
1. The family shares a common foundation (vv. 19-20).
It says here in verses 19-20 that God’s household is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and even that foundation is built on the cornerstone of Christ.
Without Christ, the whole thing crumbles. It exists because of Christ and survives because of Him.
You don’t get into without Him.
God’s family is built on Christ – He is the one who sets everything in the right direction.
Unfortunately, sometimes some of the “bricks” seem to think they need to go in a different direction, and the wall can look kinda funny.
And if it goes too far, that whole portion of the building can collapse – because they’re no longer building on the foundation but on their own shaky strength.
So we need to be careful that everything we do in life is based and built on the foundation of Christ and His Word.
Then we can count on the blessings of God in and through His family.
The second thing we have in common is that…
2. The family shares a common design (vv. 21).
Verse 21 tells us that in Christ the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple to the Lord.
This doesn’t happen by accident. It happens by design.
All of us are different – we have different gifts, talents, different temperaments, different financial situations, different jobs, different clothing styles…
But for some reason God saw fit to take all that and make it work for His grand design to make us a temple of God.
You’re all familiar with Lego’s right? Have any of you ever been to Legoland at the Mall of America?
It’s a place where kids and adults who haven’t grown up can go and just put stuff together. You can’t take them home, but you can just play.
If a person was inclined to do so, they could spend hours and hours there, just making stuff.
They’ve got these huge Lego creations there. Dinosaurs, space ships, and all kinds of stuff. It’s really awesome, especially when you take the time to really look at what it took to make those things.
You know the amazing thing – it takes legos of all shapes, sizes, and colors. And you know what? When they’re put together just the right way, something cool comes out of it.
Think for a moment about what you could build with only one kind of Lego: basically you could build a really big brick – because that’s what Legos are – bricks.
“Hey check out my brick! Whaddya think of that?” “Wow. Just like mine – only smaller.”
But the family of God isn’t like a single Lego brick. It takes a whole lot more than that to make the kind of family that God has in mind.
And it’s not like He just said, “Well, this is all I’ve got to work with, so I’ll just make the best of it and hope it doesn’t fall apart.
He designed us this way. He designed us to fit perfectly into His plan as a family that will glorify Him, with all our differences in mind.
I know what you’re thinking: you mean my weirdo brother-in-law, too? Yup. If he’s a believer in Jesus. I know – it doesn’t seem possible, but with God, even that is possible, folks.
God has designed His family to be built up in a way that brings Him glory. One of the benefits of being part of that family is that we get to be part of that wonderful design.
Story: At a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity.
Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God took human form in Jesus. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.”
Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.
Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, arm full of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what’s all this rumpus about?”
Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We’re debating what’s unique about Christianity.”
“Oh, that’s easy,” answered Lewis. “It’s grace.”
The room fell silent.
Lewis continued that Christianity uniquely claims God’s love comes free of charge, no strings attached. No other religion makes that claim.
After a moment someone commented that Lewis had a point, Buddhists, for example, follow an eight-fold path to enlightenment. It’s not a free ride.
Hindus believe in karma, that your actions continually affect the way the world will treat you; that there is nothing that comes to you not set in motion by your actions.
Someone else observed the Jewish code of the law implies God has requ...
“Artesian Forgiveness!” Matthew 5: 43-48 Key verse(s): 46 “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?”
Here at Beech Springs one of the things that sets these few acres apart is the artesian well that highlights our front yard. Beneath the spreading branches of the ever present beech trees which surround it, the spring is free-flowing year-round. When the original owner of the property had the well drilled several decades ago, he had know idea that, when the aquifer was pierced some one hundred or so feet below, he would create a free-flowing artesian spring. But that is precisely what happened. Since the flow could not be capped, a shallow basin was installed to catch the well-head flow with a drain that would take the water underground to Your Creek some fifty or so yards away.
As is so often the case with wells of this type, there is always the ever present danger of a clog in the drain pipe which flows underneath our house. Should that happen, the water has no place to go but overflow the basin and drain into the driveway. Over the years we have become accustomed to these blockages. Whether it is leaves, sand, or the buildup of beech nut husks, something always seems to get into the pipe and dam up the flow. Even though it can be a bother (especially in the winter) to be confronted with water in the driveway, one thing always strikes me when I resort to plunger and hose in an effort to blast through the subterranean clog. The well just keeps chugging away. Despite the fact that the precious water slowly seeps away into the gravel of our driveway, there is always more where that comes from. With a little help from a plunger and hose, the creek inevitably resumes its drink while the driveway awaits for another opportunity. There is always plenty of water for the creek to greedily consume and the spring never seems unwilling to forgive the consumption even when it is worthlessly poured out upon the driveway. It just keeps giving despite the taking.
And so it is with forgiving. I recall the story of Abraham Lincoln when he was running for president of the United States. Lincoln had many enemies but none more virulent than Edwin Stanton. Stanton went around the country calling Lincoln a fool, a buffoon and a , “tall, lanky, ignorant man.” When Lincoln was finally elected president, he did not forget about Mr. Stanton. When the time came for him to choose his cabinet, Lincoln decided that the best man for the job of Secretary of War was Edwin Stanton. With that choice many of Lincoln’s advisors raised a hue and a cry. They told him: “Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done, and is trying to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Do you know that, Mr. Lincoln? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?” After listening to their harangue, Lincoln arose and made this rather perfunctory statement: “Oh yeah. I know about it; I read about it; I’ve heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job.” Stanton accepted the nomination and soon became a very good secretary of war. Although throughout the early years of that service their friendship was never more than cordial, he gradually learned to appreciate, even admire the president. When Lincoln was assassinated in April of 1865, Stanton was deeply grieved. The man who had once hated Lincoln more than any man, had learned, through Lincoln’s grace and kindnesses, what true friendship was all about. At the president’s funeral Stanton delivered a very different kind of oratory than that which he had become so famous for but five years prior. After a moving and salutary address he made this now famous statement: “Now he belongs to the ages.” Because of Lincoln’s free-flowing and never-ending willingness to forgive and forget, he had turned a bitter enemy into a devoted friend.
Lincoln understood the concept of, what might be called, artesian forgiveness. No matter how much you pour out you must never expect it to return to you. You just need to be a free-flowing source of precious life-giving forgiveness. If you stop to examine where that forgiveness is going or find yourself focusing on how often that forgiveness is not returned but is simply soaked away without recompense, you might as well be a mud puddle whose worth is spent when the sun has dried its substance and turned it into a hardened patch of common dirt. Martin Luther wrote, “A Christian should have a well which cannot be dried up or exhausted, even if his charity is poured out like water into sand.” (Sermon on the fourth Sunday after Trinity, 1533. W.A. 37.101.) Christians like you and I must never be compared to mud puddles. That is the worth of the world and the amount of forgiveness an unbeliever might contain. It is never the source of our forgiving balm. We need to love without condition and forgive without the hope that what we give will be given back in full measure. We must never grow weary of doing good for our Savior has never grown weary of us.
"If it weren't for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all."
“… the assertion [that human brings were made in the image of God] confirms the genuineness of each man’s freedom. Experience tells us that we are free, in the sense that we make real choices between alternatives and could have chosen differently, and theology agrees. Self-determining freedom of choice is what sets God and his rational creatures apart from, say, birds and bees, as moral beings.
Your Father Loves You by James Packer, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, page for February 23.
As a young doctor in India, Paul Brand had made the groundbreaking medical discovery that leprosy does its damage merely by destroying nerve endings. People who lose pain sensation can inadvertently damage themselves by simple actions as gripping a splintered rake or wearing tight shoes. Pressure sores form, infection sets in and no pain signals alert them to tend to the wounded area.
Paul Brand knew what he was talking bout. “Most people view pain as an enemy. Yet, as my leprosy patients prove, pain forces us to pay attention to threats against our bodies. Without it, heart attacks, strokes, ruptured appendixes, and stomach ulcers would all occur without any warning. Who would ever visit a doctor apart from pain’s warnings? Virtually every reponse of our bodies that we view...
John Knox constantly carried the burden for his land. Night after night he prayed on the wooden floor of his hideout refuge from Queen Mary. When his wife pleaded with him to get some sleep, he answered, “How can I sleep when my land is not saved?” Payne reports that often Knox would pray all night in agonizing tones, “Lord, give me Scotland or I die!” God shook Scotland; God gave him Scotland.
5) In April 19, 1742, David Brainerd, missionary to American Indians, wrote in his diary: “I set apart this day for fasting and prayer to prepare me for the ministry. In the forenoon, I felt a power of intercession for immortal souls. In the afternoon, God enabled me so to agonize in prayer that I was quite wet with sweat, though in the shade and the cool wind. My soul was drawn out very much for the world: I gasped for multitudes of souls. I think I had more enlargement for sinners than for the children of God, though I felt as if I could spend my life in cries for both.”
6) John Hyde was called the Apostle of Intercession of India. He often cried out, “Father, give me these souls or I die!” He alternated in agony of intercession and joyous praise, receiving tremendous answers to prayer and by the end of his missionary service was averaging more than four souls a day, largely won through prayer.
“Don’t Give Pain the Short Shrift!” Luke 13:10-17 Key verse(s): 16:“‘Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’.”
Many things in this life get short shrift. Perhaps its the lot of the underdog or simply because some things are more glamorous than others. I am not sure. But one thing I know, a level playing field is not often a given in this life. Take for example money. Some have much while others have little. Whether it be clothing, houses, life styles or whatever else blesses mankind, you will find it difficult to discover a level playing field when it comes to who’s got what and how much. Yet, we live in a society that has made “leveling the playing field” one of its foremost goals. If this were not the case, why would government be trying so hard and spending so much on behalf of those who “have not” all the while requiring from those who have that much more?
Fairness, as a principle, seems to be a quality of governing and living that both liberals and conservatives alike are able to embrace. Without fairness there would be no system of justice, no way of, well, leveling the playing field. We have woven fairness into almost everything we do; almost to the point of distraction. Obsessed with the principle which once was a guiding and now is driving, we scour every crack and crevice of society in search of inherent unfairness in an effort to strike it down, and self-righteously eliminate it. In fact, in that process we have turned fairness around and made it the very thing which separates and not brings together. In order to make some who feel mistreated better we penalize those believed to be the cause for the “unlevel playing field” in order to ameliorate the issue. In that amelioration we grate, chafe and grind at the very grain of society until, as a stout tree finally cracks under the application of a wedge, what had stood for centuries is suddenly laid out broken, naked and “transformed” for other “better” use. In an effort to equalize we do far more to destabilize and unbalance. The drive to be fair often ends up in a crusade which does little more than to deepen old wounds and drive apart those who might have come together naturally. Leveling the playing field often leads to the creation of canyon of spite and discord separating one sideline from the other.
The old adage the “life isn’t fair, so deal with it” is perhaps a better guide to unanimity and peace than “life isn’t fair, make it so!” As Christians this ought to be very apparent to each of us. In a perfected state all things would be equal and there would be no need to standards of fairness. Those things would come naturally and without effort. It is sin that grants unfairness so liberally throughout this life. Is this then how a Christian should deal with the issue of pain in his life? “Life isn’t fair, so deal with it?” Perhaps, if pain were a commodity like money, clothing or an automobile. But pain is no mere commodity upon which we can chant this adage and go our way. Pain happens but pain is not chance. Pain, I am afraid, has gotten indeed gotten pretty short shrift when all is said and done. “Author Phil Yancey writes: “I have never read a poem extolling the virtues of pain, nor seen a statue erected in its honor, nor heard a hymn dedicated to it. Pain is usually defined as ‘unpleasantness.’ Christians don’t really know how to interpret pain. If you pinned them against the wall, in a dark, secret moment, many Christians would probably admit that pain was God’s one mistake. He really should have worked a little harder and invented a better way of coping with the world’s dangers. I am convinced that pain gets a bad press. Perhaps we should see statues, hymns, and poems to pain. Why do I think that? Because up close, under a microscope, the pain network is seen in a entirely different light. It is perhaps the paragon of creative genius.” (Philip Yancey, Where Is God When It Hurts?)
Have we given pain short shrift? When you think about it we really have, haven’t we? It really is something that deserves a fair shake, a leveler playing field. For, unlike wealth and other possessions, pain truly merits attention when it comes to judging matters fairly. We ought to pay far more attention to how we value and embrace pain than whether or not this one has gotten that trinket or that one this bauble. There is no doubt that the lack of pain is a blessing. Nonetheless, the presence of pain is certainly a blessing of no value. It is truly a remarkable concept that only a God like our God could have conceived. A woman “bound” with pain for eighteen years is suddenly released from it. Think then–how could the release have been such a blessing unless the pain had made that release so necessary? The pain that crushed our Savior on the cross was the necessary “blessing” that engaged the bliss of eternity for every Christian. So, don’t give pain the short shrift. When you think about it, only through pain will we ever find the peace we all long for.