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USING THE RESOURCES YOU HAVE
At 12:55 pm the mayday call crackled through the speakers at the Flight Service Station on Alaskaís Kenai Peninsula. The desperate pilot of a Piper A22, a small single-engine plane, was reporting that he had run out of fuel and was preparing to ditch the aircraft in the waters of Cook Inlet.
On board were four people, two adults and two young girls, ages 11 and 12. They had departed two hours earlier from Port Alsworth, a small community on the south shore of Lake Clark, bound for Soldotna, a distance of about 150 miles. Under normal conditions it would been a routine flight; however, the combination of fierce headwinds and a failure to top off the fuel tank had created a lethal situation.
Upon hearing the planeís tail number, the air traffic controller realized that his own daughter was one of the young passengers aboard the plane. In desperation himself, he did everything possible to assist the pilot; but suddenly the transmission was cut off. The plane had crashed into the icy waters. Four helicopters operating nearby began searching the area within minutes of the emergency call, but they found no evidence of the plane and no survivors. The aircraft had been traveling without water survival gear, leaving its four passengers with even less of a chance to make it through the ordeal. Fiercely cold Cook Inlet, with its unpredictable glacial currents, is considered among the most dangerous waters in the world. It can claim a life in minutes, and that day it claimed four.
Kirk adds these thoughts to the story: For reasons we will never know, the pilot of that doomed aircraft chose not to use the resources that were at his disposal. He did not have enough fuel. He did not have the proper survival equipment. Perhaps he had not taken the time to get the dayís weather report. Whatever the case, he did not use the resources that were available; and in this instance the consequences were fatal.
I wonder how many other people have died needlessly like these four people did? Why, because someone did not manage and or use the resources they had at their disposal. Ė I also wonder how many have died without Jesus -- spiritually speaking from others being poor stewards of the resources God has placed them in charge of.
Nowery states, "The stewardship of resources is a serious business; and Godís will is that we give it serious attention. This demands that we have the right perspective on our resources, and that is possible only if we have the right focus on our source."
(Story from Kirk Nowery: ďThe Stewardship of Life,Ē Page 118. From a sermon by Michael McCartney, 12 dollars a changed life, 6/20/2012)
BLACKABY: WHAT DOES A CALLING LOOK LIKE?
Henry Blackaby shares from his book "The Power of the Call" pages 10-14 a clear picture of what one looks like who is called by God into pastoral ministry:
1. The pastor is chosen
2. He is chosen by God
3. He is chosen by God to be His servant
4. He is chosen by God to shepherd His people
5. He recognizes that Godís people are His inheritance, that they are Godís ďspecial treasureĒ (Exodus 19:5-6).
6. He has integrity of heart.
7. He recognizes that his assignment will require ďskillfulness of his handsĒ (hard work, consistent with his heart).
8. God calls his servants to be stewards (Acts 20:28-31)
9. God calls his servants to be spiritual leaders
a. You cannot do Kingdom work with the worldís methods.
10. The people are your ministry not the means you use to fulfill your ministry.
i. Barton states, ďUltimately, any exercise in extravagant stewardship involves risk. In the Parable of the Talents, the bottom line for the wicked and unfaithful steward was that he was risk averse. This steward let his flesh, feelings, and unhealthy fears immobilize him (Matthew 25:24-25). Multiplying resources requires letting go.
STEWARD OF THE LIGHT
In the nineteenth century, lighthouses on the U.S. coasts were tended by lighthouse keepers and their families. If a man who tended the light took ill or became disabled, often the work was picked up by his wife or children. Such was the case of Hosea Lewis.
Having become, in 1853, the keeper of the light on Lime Rock Island at Newport, Rhode Island, Lewis suffered a stroke four years later, at which time his teenage daughter Ida assumed responsibility for the light. Each day included cleaning the reflectors, trimming the wick, and filling the oil reservoir at sunset and midnight, along with providing for her fatherís care.
With long and demanding tasks, Ida was unable to continue her schooling, but daily delivered her siblings to class, whatever the weather, by rowing the 500 yards to the mainland. In the mid-1800s, it was unusual to see a woman maneuvering a boat, but Ida became well-skilled and well-known for handling the heavy craft.
The teenager gained a measure of fame at age sixteen when she rescued four young men after their boat capsized. She rowed to their aid, hearing their screams as they clung to their overturned craft. On March 29, 1869, Ida saved two drowning servicemen from nearby Fort Adams. Public knowledge of Idaís courage spread as far as Washington, inspiring President Ulysses S. Grant to visit Ida at Newport later that year. Ida rescued another two soldiers in 1881, for which she was awarded the U.S. Lifesaving Serviceís highest medal.
In early February of that year the two soldiers were crossing from Newport to Lime Rock Island on foot when the ice gave way. Ida, the lighthouse keeper, came running with a rope. Ignoring peril to herself from weak and rotten ice, she pulled one, then the other to safety. All told, Ida Lewis persona...
Average church(Gallup) 17% say they tithe but only 3% actually do. 40% will give nothing in a year. 91% say they make more money than they ever have in their life. 71% of pastors believe that church members have changed from stewards into consumers.
Many years ago there was an emperor who was so fond of new clothes that he spent all of his money on them. He did not give himself any concern about his army; he cared nothing about the theater or for driving about in the woods, except for the sake of showing himself off in his new clothes. he had a costume for every hour in the day, and just as they say of a King or an Emperor, "He is in his council chambers," they said of him, "The emperor is in his dressing room."
One day 2 strangers came into to town, they were con men who passed themselves off as master weavers. And they said that they knew how to make the most exquisite clothes. Not only were the colors and patterns uncommonly beautiful, but the clothes were made of stuff that had a peculiar property -- that of being invisible to every person who was unfit for the office he held or who was exceptionally stupid.
"Those must be valuable clothes" thought the emperor, "By wearing them I should be able to discover which of the men in my empire are fit for office... And I will be able to distinguish the wise from the fools. So the emperor paid the 2 scoundrels a handsome sum of money in advance, as they required. Now the 2 men pocketed the money and pretended to be weaving.
As time passed the emperor was getting anxious about his new clothes -- but as he reflected that the clothes reveled those who were unfit or stupid, he wasn’t sure that he wanted to go. So he sent his top aide. Well of course when this aide went to where these men were busy about their weaving, he saw nothing, but not wanting to be judged unfit or stupid -- he said "Oh, it is most elegant and beautiful, what a fine pattern and what fine colors. I will certainly tell the emperor how pleased I am with these fine cloths.
As time passed the emperor sent more aides all of who brought back the same reports.....Finally the day came and the emperor with the help of his stewards after taking off his old clothes, pretended to put on and button his new outfit....
And as he marched down the streets, his attendants were behind him acting as though they were carrying his long train and everyone in the streets was shouting, "What beautiful clothes, how splendid...." though in fact they saw nothing, but they didn’t want to be judged as being unfit or stupid. Until that is, a little child said, "But he has nothing on..."
A passenger on an ocean liner was enduring a rough Atlantic crossing. As he leaned over the rail, his face a shade of green, a steward came along and tried to encourage him: "Donít be discouraged, sir! No oneís ever died of seasickness yet!"
The nauseous passenger looked up at the steward with horror and said, "Donít say that! Itís only the hope of dying thatís kept me alive this long!"
(From a sermon by Jimmy Chapman, "WHAT SHOULD I DO IN THE MIDST OF A STORM" 2/12/2009)
This is the beginning of Lent. Most people are looking for things to give up for Lent. It you havenít made up your mind maybe these will help.
GIVE UP grumbling! Instead, "In everything give
criticism is OK, but "moaning, groaning, and
complaining" are not Christian
GIVE UP 10 to 15 minutes in bed! Instead, use
that time in prayer, Bible
study and personal devotion.
GIVE UP looking at other peopleís worst points.
Instead concentrate on their
best points. We all have faults. It is a lot
easier to have people overlook
our shortcomings when we overlook theirs first.
GIVE UP speaking unkindly. Instead, let your
speech be generous and
understanding. It costs so little to say
something kind and uplifting. Why
not check that sharp tongue at the door?
GIVE UP your hatred of anyone or anything!
Instead, learn the discipline of
love. "Love covers a multitude of sins."
GIVE UP your worries and anxieties! Instead,
trust God with them. Anxiety is
spending emotional energy on something we can do
nothing about: like
tomorrow! Live today and let Godís grace be
GIVE UP TV one evening a week! Instead, visit
some lonely or sick person.
There are those who are isolated by illness or
age. Why isolate yourself in
front of the "tube?" Give someone a precious
gift: your time!
GIVE UP bu...
SOMETIMES WE NEED A STEWARD
If you ever get to Venice, one of the places to see is Saint Mark's Square, the spot Napoleon called "the drawing room of Europe." But if you go there, make sure your belly is covered up. Itís not that there's exactly a dress code, but there is an expectation of decorum. At any given time there can be thousands of people in this famous square which is surrounded by great architecture and sites of historic importance. But some people just donít get it, and they arenít above wandering onto the square bare-chested or with their midriff exposed. Some carelessly drop litter and others try to set out picnic lunches on the square. Still others treat the nearby Grand Canal as if it were a beach.
So recently, in addition to posting signs naming the prohibitions, they have started employing a squad of women as stewards of the square to make sure tourists are not taking unwarranted liberties and pay due respect to the historic property. These stewards wear special T-shirts to identify their role and they try to do their work in a friendly way. They speak several languages so as to deal with foreign tourists. Most visitors who are corrected by a steward respond positively. However, when tourists turn aggressive, the women are able to call in police backup who can hand out fines ranging from 25 to 500 Euros. Actually, the stewards arenít there to stop people from enjoying themselves, but to remind them of the importance of conducting themselves in a way that recognizes the specialness of the place.
Our reason for discussing all this is not to lament the state of our dress or manners, but to illustrate the idea that there are times and places where we need a steward to direct us in how to be in the square of life. That can be hard to hear in our individualist, donít-fence-me-in society, but it's true nonetheless. And that brings us to our reading from Romans, where the apostle Paul contrasts what he calls life in the flesh with life in the Spirit. Romans 8:1-11.
No magnet draws Christians from around the world with more frequency and satisfaction than the Church of The Holy Sepulcher. Located in the Christian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, no trip to the Holy City is complete without a visit to the traditional sight of the place of our Saviorís crucifixion. A mixture of Crusader and Byzantine styles filled with religious trappings, it sits as one of the sad wonders of conflicted modern living.
The church is stewarded by a number of Christian sects, which maintain the shrine on a daily basis. Because of the notorious jurisdictional infighting, for years these groups have not been able to agree on who should keep the keys, when to open and close the shrine, and who should serve the pilgrimsí needs. Guess who controls the entry to one of the holiest of Christian shrines? A family that is not even Christian. A Muslim family comes daily and opens and closes the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Christian, letís remove all obstructions of conflicted life and provide an open heaven for our prayers. He wants to give us the keys to the Kingdom if, like the writer of Hebrews says, we will learn to, ďMake every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy.Ē (Heb. 12:14NIV)