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"PLEASE COME BACK"

Max Lucado tells us about a girl named Christina. She lives in a small dusty village in Brazil. She’s bored. She feels like her strict parents have cheated her out of the joys of life. She longs for the excitement of the big city of Rio.

One morning her mother Maria finds Christina’s bed empty. Maria knew immediately where her daughter had gone. So she quickly throws some clothes in a bag, gathers up all her money, and heads for the bus station.

On her way, the mom enters one of those photograph booths in a local drug store and takes pictures of herself. She puts the pictures in her purse and takes the next bus to Rio de Janeiro.

She puts up pictures of herself all over town. But she can’t find her daughter. The weary mother gets back on the bus and weeps all the way home.

Months later, Christina slowly walks down the hotel stairs. She’s already worn down by life. Her young face is tired. Her brown eyes no longer dance with youth but speak of pain and fear.

A thousand times over she longed to go back home. She remembered the warm secure feeling of love and acceptance she had experience back with her mum in their little village. But she thought it was too late to turn back.

As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes notice a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back were these words: "Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home." And she did.

Christine’s mom pulled out all the stops to get her child to come back home, and this is exactly what God is doing for His children. It’s not His will for anyone here in this room to perish. "Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come back to Jesus."

(From a sermon by Maarc Axelrod, Crazy About His Kids, 2/9/2011)

 
Contributed By:
Jeffrey Sturdivant
 
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IT DEPENDS WHOSE HANDS IT’S IN
A basketball in my hands is worth about $19
A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is
worth about $33 million
It depends whose hands it’s in

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6
A baseball in Mark McGuire’s hands is worth $19 million
It depends whose hands it’s in

A tennis racket is useless in my hands
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras’ hands
is a Wimbledon Championship
It depends whose hands it’s in

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal
A rod in Moses’ hands will part the mighty sea
It depends whose hands it’s in

A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy
A sling shot in David’s hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it’s in

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands
is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God’s
hands will feed thousands It depends whose hands it’s in

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse
Nails in Jesus Christ’s hands will produce
salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it’s in

As you see now it depends whose hands it’s in.
So put your concerns, your worries, your fears,
your hopes, your dreams, your families and
your relationships in God’s hands because

It depends whose hands it’s in.(Author Unknown)

 
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SOWING THE SEED: A COMPARISON

In the 13th Century, Nicolo Polo (father of Marco Polo) was visiting the court of the grandson of Ghengis Khan - Kublai Khan.

Kublai Khan was the Emperor of China and he had never met Europeans before. He was delighted to meet this visitor from Venice AND he was strongly impressed by the religious faith of this man; therefore, he sent a letter back to Europe urging that some educated men be dispatched to instruct his people in the teachings of Christianity.
But, because of political upheaval and infighting that was taking place in Europe, there was a long delay in anybody coming. In the end, only 2 representatives of Christianity were sent and even they lost heart soon and turned back.
Because of the failure of the church of that day, Kublai Khan turned instead to Buddhism and that has been the predominant religion in the area from that day to this.

By contrast, just last Sunday, we baptized a father and son into Christ – Bill & Isaac. Bill was not the most promising of candidates for salvation. Most people pictured him more as the stony or weedy soil. He’s lived a hard life and had held God at bay for a number of years. His wife had faithfully planted seeds in his life, as have others in this congregation. But until last Sunday it seemed fruitless. But now he’s surrendered to Christ, and tonight he’s bearing fruit.
In Bill’s neighborhood, there have been a number of boys that Bill had created a “paintball” club for. But once Bill gave himself to Christ, he wanted to give Christ to these young boys he’d been working with. Three of them are being baptized tonight, and more may be turning to Christ in the near future.

SOURCE: Jeff Strite in "You Can’t Reap them All" on www.sermoncentral.com

 
Contributed By:
Greg Yount
 
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Neil Orchard was talking with a farmer about his soy bean and corn crops. Rain had
been abundant, and the results were evident. So his comment surprised him: "My crops are
especially vulnerable. Even a short drought could have a devastating effect."
"Why?" Orchard asked.
He explained that while we see the frequent rains as a benefit, during that time the
plants are not required to push roots deeper in search of water. The roots remain near the
surface. A drought would find the plants unprepared and quickly kill them.
Some Christians receive abundant "rains" of worship, fellowship, and teaching. Yet when stress enters th...

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Contributed By:
Ross Cochrane
 
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TWO MEN, TWO SOILS

Two of the men have impacted my life. Both of them died of cancer. For many years one of these men allowed his CIRCUMSTANCES to harden him towards those in his family and towards God.

I thought my dad was about as far away from God as he could be. He seemed to be represented by footpath in the parable of the sower that Jesus relates in Matthew 13:4,19. Jesus speaks of HARD soil, defensive, closed and bitter towards God.

The other man also had cancer. Before he died, Bill (not his real name) said to me, "I'm an atheist and I intend to stay that way!" INTENTIONALLY RESISTANT to considering that the message of Christ might have had any relevance. He was also like the footpath in the parable but it seems to me that he had allowed the cancer to be like a PNEUMATIC SOIL COMPACTER and His heart had set like concrete.

My Dad also got CANCER and it was clear that he was going to die. I think he could have responded to God in one of 2 ways. He could have allowed the cancer to harden his heart even further towards God like Bill, the atheist. Instead he allowed the cancer to be a like a PNEUMATIC JACKHAMMER. Yes, it shook him up but it also broke up the hard places of his heart and enabled God to get through to him. Everyone of us has that choice.

In Matthew 13:19 Jesus says, "The seed that fell on the FOOTPATH represents those who HEAR the message about the Kingdom and DON'T UNDERSTAND it. Then the evil one comes and SNATCHES AWAY the seed that was planted in their hearts."

Jesus says His message is planted in their hearts but there's an AUTHORITY issue here. Two KINGDOMS in conflict. What King Jesus wants to GIVE, Satan wants to STEAL. The "message about the Kingdom" speaks of the RULERSHIP of Christ. The degree that things grow in my life is determined by who has AUTHORITY over my ears and my heart.

Acts 28:27 (NLT) says "For the hearts of these people are hardened, ... so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to Me and let Me heal them.'"

 
Contributed By:
Rob Morton
 
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There were three guys talking in the pub. Two of them are talking about the amount of control they have over their wives, while the third remains quiet.
After a while one of the first two turns to the third and says, "Well, what about you, what sort of control do you have over your wife?"
The third fellow says "I’ll tell you. Just the other night my wife came to me on her hands and knees."
The first two guys were amazed. "What happened then?" they asked.
"She said, ’get out from under the bed and fight like a man’."

 
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We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.

— Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador

 
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Dru Ashwell
 
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BY THE SEEDS YOU PLANT

"Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."...

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A LITTLE MORE

An interesting article appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It was an interview of six top executives, all of them making six-figure salaries. That means that they made somewhere between $100,000 and $1 million a year.

Now you are probably thinking , “If I made even $100,000 a year, I’d be in great shape. No worries, and no problems.”

But in the interview each was asked, “What is your greatest fear?” Each answered pretty much the same, using different words. Their greatest fear was that they would not have enough. When they were asked, “How much is enough?” they always answered, “a little more.”

SOURCE: Pastor Steve Dow in "The Parable of the Sower" on www.sermoncentral.com


 
Contributed By:
Ross Cochrane
 
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"MAYBE IF YOU LISTENED..."

In the middle of an argument, my Mum would say something like this - "Maybe if you LISTENED for a change, you would understand what I am trying to tell you!" So often I am not so much listening but simply waiting for the other person to finish so that I can get across my point of view. Not really a very teachable position to be in.

In Matthew 13 Jesus says "LISTEN!" with even greater authority than my Mum, and that's saying something. He addresses this problem of how different people are responding to Him. I can get caught up in all the arguments, but the real issue is to do with LISTENING. MAYBE IF I LISTENED... He is obviously about to mention something important, but as I read, it doesn't seem all that significant. Just a simple story. The question is "Am I going to miss what He is trying to tell me because of my preconceived ideas about Him or my own points of view?"

 
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