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Sermon Central Staff
USING THE RESOURCES YOU HAVE
At 12:55 pm the mayday call crackled through the speakers at the Flight Service Station on Alaska’s 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 plane’s 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 day’s 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. – 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 God’s 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: “The Stewardship of Life,” Page 118. From a sermon by Michael McCartney, 12 dollars a changed life, 6/20/2012)
The story is told of a terrible traffic accident. Police officers were called to the scene and when they arrived they found a husband, wife, and 2 children lying unconscious in the car. They pulled them from the car, and as they waited for the paramedics to arrive they noticed a monkey in the car also. Seeing that the monkey was the only witness to the accident who was conscious, the officers decided to question him about the accident. Turning to the monkey they asked, “What was the dad doing at the time of the accident?” The monkey motioned, indicating that the dad had been drinking. The officers next asked what the mother had been doing at the time of the accident. The monkey took his finger and shook it angrily at the unconscious man. The officers then asked what the children had been doing. The monkey this time indicated by hand gestures that the children had been fighting in the back seat. The officers said, “Well, no wonder there was an accident with all of that going on in the car.” As they turned to leave, almost as a parting thought they asked, “By the way, what were you doing at the time of the accident?” To which the monkey signed that he had been the one driving.
My friends, I am afraid that there are many churches today headed for trouble. There are many churches heading for an accident because they do not understand God’s design for the church. They do not understand God’s call for leadership, and as a result they have allowed the noisiest moneys in the group to run the church. My friends, noise does not equal leadership.
The story is about a man by the name of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. So, he went down to the local army surplus store and bought forty-five used weather balloons.
That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled used weather balloons. He took with him, something to drink, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky--smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Because he was too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, and forced the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon.
Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions:
"Were you scared? "Yes."
"Would you do it again? "No.
"Why did you do it?" "Because you can’t just sit there."
A young pilot had just passed the point of no return when the weather changed for the worse. Visibility dropped to a matter of feet as fog descended to the earth. Putting total trust in the cockpit instruments was a new experience to him, for the ink was still wet on the certificate verifying that he was qualified for instrument flying.
The landing worried him the most. His destination was a crowded metropolitan airport he wasn’t familiar with. In a few minutes he would be in radio contact with the tower. Until then, he was alone with his thoughts. His instructor had practically forced him to memorize the rulebook. He didn’t care for it at the time, but now he was thankful.
Finally he heard the voice of the air traffic controller. “I’m going to put you on a holding pattern,” the controller radioed. Great! thought the pilot. However, he knew that his safe landing was in the hands of this person. He had to draw upon his previous instructions and training, and trust the voice of an air traffic controller he couldn’t see. Aware that this was no time for pride, he informed the controller, “This is not a seasoned pro up here. I would appreciate any help you could give me.”
“You’ve got it!” he heard back.
For the next 45 minutes, the controller gently guided the pilot through the blinding fog. As course and altitude corrections came periodically, the young pilot realized the controller was guiding him around obstacles and away from potential collisions. With the words of the rulebook firmly placed in his min...
The phone rang. Dad put down his garden tools, wiped the sweat from his face and rushed into the house to grab the phone before its final ring. With his mind on his Saturday morning chores, he didn’t notice the sliding glass patio door was closed.
Mom found him in a pool of blood with glass chards laying beside him. Frantically, Mom called 911. The dispatcher couldn’t send any help, it seems that my parent’s address was on the wrong side of an arbitrary bureaucratic line. Mom would have to call someone else.
Afraid there wasn’t enough time to make another phone call, Mom managed to get Dad in the front seat of the car to take him to the hospital herself. Instead of getting on the freeway and driving to downtown Ft. Worth, she took a side street to a hospital that was closer.
Traffic was heavy. Blood was pouring into the floorboard of the car. Time slowed down. Dad was bleeding to death. Mom was desperate.
My Dad was dying and Mom felt helpless. Traffic was at a standstill. Mom saw the looks on the driver’s faces as they pointed to the bleeding man, her husband in the car next to them. She honked the horn, but no one pulled over to let her by. No one offered to help. At that moment she would have done anything to get Dad the help he needed. It was surreal. The strong man who had always provided for her and always protected her was wilting away before her very eyes. He needed help. She had to get him some help.
I can only imagine my Mom’s relief as she turned into the entry way of the emergency room at the hospital. Attendants put Dad on a Gurney and wheeled him in. I was a freshman in college when this all happened. I can still remember the tremor in my Mother’s voice when she called to tell me about it.
Dad was pretty beat up. His face was scarred and the glass had cut a major blood vessel in his leg. In the early hours, it looked like he would live, but the doctors weren’t sure if they could save Dad’s leg.
Dad was confined to a wheel chair when he went home, but he kept serving the Lord. Each week, some men from the church would help him get up on stage and he would preach his sermon. One Sunday, he forgot about his leg and walked to the pulpit, stood and began preaching. The congregation gasped. God healed him. He never used the wheelchair again.
Dad doesn’t talk about his healing much. While acknowledging the fact that God performed a miracle in his life, saved his leg and healed his body, he prefers to talk about a greater miracle. The day God saved his soul and made him a new man.
Agony claws my mind. I am a statistic. When I first got here, I felt very much alone. I was overwhelmed by grief, and I expected to find sympathy. I found no sympathy. I saw only thousands of others whose bodies were as badly mangled as mine. I was given a number and places in a category. This was called "Traffic Fatalities."
The day I died was an ordinary school day. How I wish I had taken the bus! But I was too cool for the bus. I remember how I wheeled the car out of Mom. "Special Favor," I pleaded. "All the kids drive." When the 2:50 pm bell rang, I threw books into the locker. Free until tomorrow morning! I ran to the parking lot, excited at the thought of driving a car and being my own boss.
It doesn’t matter how the accident happened, I was goofing off – going too fast, and taking crazy chances. But I was enjoying my freedom and having fun. The last thing I remember was passing an old lady who seemed to be going awfully slow. I heard a crash and felt a terrific jolt. Glass and steel everywhere. My whole body seemed to be turning inside out. I heard myself scream.
Suddenly, I awakened. It was very quiet. A police officer was standing over me. I saw a doctor. My body was mangled. I was saturated with blood. And pieces of jagged glass were sticking out all over. Strange that I could not feel anything. HEY! I cried. Don’t put that sheet over my head. I can’t be dead. I’m only 17. I’ve got a date tonight. I’m supposed to have a wonderful life ahead of me. I haven’t lived yet. I can’t be dead.
Later I was placed in a drawer. My folks came to identify my body. Why did they have to see my like this? Why did I have to look at mom’s eyes when she faced the most terrible ordeal of her life? Dad suddenly looked very old. He told the man in charge, "Yes – That is our son."
The funeral was weird. I saw all my relatives and friends walk toward the casket. They looked at me with the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen. Some of my buddies were crying. And a few girls touched my hand as they walked away.
Please – somebody – wake me up! Get me out of here. I can’t bear to see Mom and Dad in such pain. My grandparents are so weak from grief they can berily walk. My brother and sister are like zombies. They move like robots. In a daze. Everybody. No one can believe this. I can’t believe it either. I’M SO UN-PREPARED TO BE DEAD.
Please don’t bury me. I’m not dead. I have a lot of living to do. I want to laugh and play again. I want to sing and run once again. Please don’t put me in the ground. I promise if you give me just one more chance God, I’ll be the most careful driver in the whole world. All I want is one more chance. Please God, I’m only 17.
Written By: John Berrio
God’s design is for a man and woman to enter into a permanent, intimate relationship with one another. A relationship like Eddie and Mary enjoy. Let me read you a letter that Eddie wrote to Ann Landers:
Dear Ann Landers:
On Aug. 14, 1945, the war ended in the South Pacific. That was the day I met the most beautiful and wonderful woman in the world-my wife. There was a celebration downtown, and I was kissing whoever came along. Then, I kissed Mary. That kiss was special, and I immediately put her name and phone number on a handy piece of paper-a policeman’s traffic ticket, which I put in my wallet.
One day, as I lounged in my barracks, I opened my wallet, and out fell that ticket with Mary’s name on it. I wrote her a letter and the rest is history.
We have been married for 50 years and have three daughters and six grandchildren. Now, my Mary, my beautiful rose, is wilting. She has Alzheimer’s disease, and I am helpless to do anything about it. There are no letters to write, no courtship to win her love, only wonderful memories. I hold her hand, serve her breakfast in bed, hug her and try to hold on. How long this rose will continue to bloom only God knows.
Seeing this disease rob me of this wonderful person is hard, but I am grateful that I have always told Mary how much I loved her. I will never abandon her. She will be with me always until "death do us part."
Pursued by the Atoning Love
One evening a woman was driving home when she noticed a huge truck behind her that was driving uncomfortably close. She stepped on the gas to gain some distance from the truck, but when she sped up the truck did too. The faster she drove, the faster drove the truck.
Now scared, she exited the freeway. But the truck stayed with her. The woman then turned up a main street, hoping to lose her pursuer in traffic. But the truck ran a red light and continued the chase.
Reaching the point of panic, the woman whipped her car into a service station and bolted out of her auto screaming for help. The truck driver sprang from his truck and ran toward her car. Yanking the back door open, the driver pulled out a man hidden in the backseat.
The woman was running from the wrong person. From his high vantage point, the truck driver had spotted a would-be rapist in the woman’s car. The chase was not his effort to harm her but to save her even at the co...
I love the story of the grumbling motorist. "What am I supposed to do with this?" grumbled the motorist, as the police clerk handed him a receipt for his traffic ticket.
"Keep it," the clerk said, "When you get four of them, you get a bicycle."
THE IF/THEN OF EASTER
It’s Easter time. Time to eat all the candy and marshmallow eggs. Time to pig out. There’s gotta be a nicer word for pig out. A euphemism, as it were. Hey, try to think up a nicer word for euphemism. And while you’re at it, think up a shorter word for abbreviation. And a synonym for Thesaurus.
And why is it that doctors call what they do "practice"?
Why is it that to stop Microsoft Windows, you have to click on "Start"? Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons? Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker? Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour? Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food? Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections? Why don’t you ever see the headline, "Psychic Wins Lottery"? Why are there Braille labels at drive-up ATMs? Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together? Why can’t women put on mascara with their mouths closed?
And why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ such a big deal?
I mean, there’s gotta be an if/then relationship. If Jesus rose from the dead ... then what? We deal with if/then statements every day. For example, Chris Baker said at one point in his life, "If I go to medical school, then I can be a doctor." Columbus said, "If the world is round, then I can get to the East by sailing west." Enrico Fermi said, "If we can just split the atom, then it’s gonna produce a whole lot of energy." Bill Gates said, "If I copied the Apple-Macintosh desktop, then people would like Microsoft Windows more." Keith Hoerig said, "If I learn to play the bass guitar, then I can get hot chicks."
So ... what’s the big if/then statement for the resurrection? If Jesus rose from the dead ... then what? What are the implications? Does it affect my life more than the fact that I live in 2002 “A.D.”? If Jesus Christ rose from the dead, then does that affect what time I get up in the morning?
If Jesus rose from the dead, then does it affect my situation at school or what’s going to happen at work tomorrow? If Jesus rose from the dead, then does it affect what T. Rex will do to Interstate 25, and what kind of season the Broncos will have this year?
SOURCE: Mike Sares in "The If/Thens of Easter" on www.sermoncentral.com