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THANKFUL PEOPLE ARE HAPPY PEOPLE
I read a news story once of a woman who was getting ready to jump off a 44 story building in New York City.
Witnesses said that she did not look like the type of person who would do such a thing. She was very distinguished and well dressed.
All the attempts made by the police to get the woman off the ledge had failed.
One of the officers asked if he could call his pastor in to see if he could help. When the pastor arrived, he asked permission to go to the ledge and talk to the woman.
As the pastor neared the edge the woman screamed, "Don't come any closer or I'll jump!"
The pastor took a step back and then said, "I am sorry that you believe no one loves you."
This got the woman's attention and it got the attention of the police. That was something that you don't usually say to a person who is threatening suicide.
The woman took a step towards the pastor and said, "My grandchildren love me and so does my children. My whole family loves me! I have 8 wonderful grandchildren and they love me."
The pastor took a step towards the woman and said, "Well then, you must be very poor, maybe that is why you want to take your own life."
The woman who was a little overweight said, "Do I look like I go without any meals? We live in a very nice apartment. I'm not poor."
The pastor took another step closer to her and was now 3 feet from her when he asked, "Then why do you want to kill yourself? I don't understand."
The woman thought for a moment and then said, "You know, I don't really remember."
The story ends with the pastor and the woman walking towards the elevator as she shows him pictures of her grandchildren. Eventually this woman becomes a volunteer on the city's suicide hotline, helping others choose life.
What did the pastor do to help this woman?
He helped her get her eyes off herself and onto the many ways that God had blessed her.
She learned a valuable lesson that day. She learned that thankful people are happy people.
If you don't learn anything else today, I hope you learn this valuable lesson. Thankful people are happy people.
(From a sermon by Greg Carr, Thankful People are _______ People, 12/23/2010)
MOODY'S SERVANT'S HEART
A large group of European pastors came to one of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conferences in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Following the European custom of the time, each guest put his shoes outside his room to be cleaned by the hall servants overnight. But of course this was America and there were no hall servants.
Walking the dormitory halls that night, Moody saw the shoes and determined not to embarrass his brothers. He mentioned the need to some ministerial students who were there, but met with only silence or pious excuses. Moody returned to the dorm, gathered up the shoes, and, alone in his room, the world’s only famous evangelist began to clean and polish the shoes. Only the unexpected arrival of a friend in the midst of the work revealed the secret.
When the foreign visitors opened their doors the next morning, their shoes were shined. They never know by whom. Moody told no one, but his friend told a few people, and during the rest of the conference, different men volunteered to shine the shoes in secret. Perhaps the episode is a vital insight into why God used D. L. Moody as He did. He was a man with a servant’s heart and that was the basis of his true greatness.
[Gary Inrig, A Call to Excellence, (Victor Books, a division of SP Publ., Wheaton, Ill; 1985), p. 98]
CLOSING STORY: “On Courage”
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named
Liza who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a
blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and
had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her
little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate
for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, ‘Yes, I’ll do it if it will save Liza.’
“As the transfusion progressed, he lay in a bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing
the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the
doctor and asked with a trembling voice, ‘Will I start to die right away?’
“Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give her all his blood.
(Chicken Soup for the Soul)
This story so beautifully illustrates for us the extravagant love of God.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13).
1 Corinthians 13:1-13:8
CYMBALA'S EASTER STORY
Jim Cymbala preaches at a church in the slums of New York. He tells the following story: It was Easter Sunday and I was so tired at the end of the day that I just went to the edge of the platform, pulled down my tie and sat down and draped my feet over the edge. It was a wonderful service with many people coming forward. The counselors were talking with these people.
As I was sitting there I looked up the middle aisle, and there in about the third row was a man who looked about fifty, disheveled, filthy. He looked up at me rather sheepishly, as if saying, “Could I talk to you?”
We have homeless people coming in all the time, asking for money or whatever. So as I sat there, I said to myself, though I am ashamed of it, “What a way to end a Sunday. I’ve had such a good time, preaching and ministering, and here’s a fellow probably wanting some money for more wine.”
He walked up. When he got within about five feet of me, I smelled a horrible smell like I’d never smelled in my life. It was so awful that when he got close, I would inhale by looking away, and then I’d talk to him, and then look away to inhale, because I couldn’t inhale facing him. I asked him, “What’s your name?”
“How long have you been on the street?”
“How old are you?”
“Thirty-two.” He looked fifty--hair matted; front teeth missing; wino; eyes slightly glazed.
“Where did you sleep last night, David?”
I keep in my back pocket a money clip that also holds some credit cards. I fumbled to pick one out thinking; I’ll give him some money. I won’t even get a volunteer. They are all busy talking with others. Usually we don’t give money to people. We take them to get something to eat.
I took the money out. David pushed his finger in front of me. He said, “I don’t want your money. I want this Jesus, the One you were talking about, because I’m not going to make it. I’m going to die on the street.”
I completely forgot about David, and I started to weep for myself. I was going to give a couple of dollars to someone God had sent to me. See how easy it is? I could make the excuse I was tired. There is no excuse. I was not seeing him the way God sees him. I was not feeling what God feels.
But oh, did that change! David just stood there. He didn’t know what was happening. I pleaded with God, “God, forgive me! Forgive me! Please forgive me. I am so sorry to represent You this way. I’m so sorry. Here I am with my message and my points, and You send somebody and I am not ready for it. Oh, God!”
Something came over me. Suddenly I started to weep deeper, and David began to weep. He fell against my chest as I was sitting there. He fell against my white shirt and tie, and I put my arms around him, and there we wept on each other. The smell of His person became a beautiful aroma. Here is what I thought the Lord made real to me: If you don’t love this smell, I...
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POSSUMS AND THE GRAVE
I have heard that possums are smart animals. You wouldn’t think so because you hardly ever see one except when it’s dead on the road. There’s a joke that goes, “why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the possum that it could be done!”
But possums, it turns out, are smart. They won’t enter a hole if there’s just one set of tracks going into it. They know there’s something in there. But if there are two sets of tracks. The possum will enter and not be afraid.
The message of Easter is that we can enter the grave - we don’t have to fear death because there are tracks leading out of the tomb. Paul preached the proclamation of Easter: "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
This is the message that we need to hear this Easter. Jesus is risen!
R. Darrel Davis
Richard Roney is Chief of Chaplain Services at the VA Medical Center in Marion, Illinois. He reminds pastors they aren’t the only ones who hear excuses about not attending church; as a hospital chaplain, he’s heard more than his share:
"It’s snowing outside. I never attend church in bad weather." (The chapel was on another floor in the same building!)
One lady commented, quite seriously, "I’m usually always sick on Sunday morning."
"The nurse doesn’t want me out of bed," one patient told a volunteer. But as the volunteer began to leave, the same patient asked, "If you’re going near the smoking room, could you give me a push?"
A favorite was the patient who said, "When I sing, I get nauseated.”
The latest statistics clearly show that Christians in America are not doing a good job of resisting the devil. In fact, it appears that we are embracing the devil, or discounting that the devil even exists. The truly sad fact as we will see is that Christians in America think and behave no differently from anyone else. Here are some examples taken from a 1997 OmniPoll survey:
Donated any money to a non-profit organization in the past month:
47% Christians 48% Non-Christians
Have been divorced:
27% Christians 23% Non-Christians
Volunteered time to help at a non-profit organization in past week:
29% Christians 27% Non-Christians
Bought a lottery ticket in the past week:
23% Christians 27% Non-Christians
Gave money to a homeless person or poor person in the past year:
24% Christians 34% Non-Christians
THE DEFINITION OF BARBECUING
It’s the only type of cooking a "real man" will do. When a man volunteers to do the ’BBQ’ the following chain of events is put into motion:
1) The woman goes to the store.
2) The woman fixes the salad, vegetables, and dessert.
3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray
along with the necessary cooking utensils, and takes it to the
man, who is lounging beside the grill.
4) The man places the meat on the grill.
5) The woman goes inside to set the table and check the vegetables.
6) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning.
7) The man takes the meat off the grill and hands it to the woman.
8) The woman prepares the plates and brings them to the table.
9) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
10) Everyone praises the man and thanks him for his...
THE FALSE FOUNDATIONS IN THE KINSEY REPORT
Almost 50 years ago, Alfred Kinsey, a quiet Midwestern Zoology professor, published the 1st of 2 volumes that would shake American culture to its foundations. His 1948 book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male - like its 1953 sequel, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female - claimed to report the findings of a massive survey of American sexual behavior.
And what findings they were! In dry, scientific language, Kinsey declared that many traditionally forbidden sexual activities were commonplace: About 1/2 of all married men and one in 4 married women had had extramarital sex; 69% of men had been with prostitutes; 10 % of men had been homosexual for at 3 years; 40 to 50% of boys raised on farms had had sexual contact with animals.
What’s more, Kinsey claimed many of these practices could be beneficial. Premarital sex helped women "adjust" to marriage. Boys may develop "affectional relations" with their animal sexual partners.
The public - then sexually conservative by today’s standards - might not have accepted such information from just anyone. But Kinsey was a scientist and, impressed by the wonders of modern technology, Americans had grown to respect science deeply. And because Kinsey’s was a scientific study, says historian John D’Emilio of the University of N. Carolina at Greensboro, "The press had permission to write about the subject in a way it wouldn’t have before."
American culture shifted under the impact. The old sexual rules, supposedly hypocritical, began weakening. "If you discover that the desires you’ve been repressing are being acted out by millions," says historian Paul Robinson of Stanford University, "you are less inclined to repress them." Newsweek characterized that effect as "If it’s OK with Kinsey, it’s OK with me."
Today, in good measure because of Alfred Kinsey, we live in a different world. But were the things he said true?
In December 1995, nearly 50 years after Kinsey’s 1st report, the Indiana institute that Kinsey founded to carry on his work acknowledged that certain data had been misrepresented. Kinsey had written that 9 observers - some technically trained" - had found that children as young as 5 months were capable of multiple orgasm and, when "uninhibited," were "aggressive in seeking" sex. The truth, the Kinsey Institute now said, was that those data were supplied by a single observer - a pedophile who claimed to have sex with 317 boys....
In fact, many of Kinsey’ findings were based on flawed methods. And some are outright false. Nevertheless, prominent scholars who know this continue to promote Kinsey’s work....
When Kinsey took a sexual history, he was far more likely to "find" sexual activity than were his own colleagues - reporting 2 to 3 times as much premarital intercourse and 4 times as much homosexuality as they did. Says historian James Reed of Rutgers University, "Kinsey was a man who very much wanted to find sexual activity."
Even more troubling was Kinsey’s collection of child pornography. According to a 1981 letter from Kinsey colleague Paul Gebhard to researcher Judith Reisman, Kinsey obtained photos and film of children engaged in sexual acts from adults who had had sex with them. Kinsey never notified law enforcement of the existence of any of these pedophiles.
Kinsey claimed to be a neutral scientist who had no agenda. He wrote in his 1st volume that he aimed for "scientific fact completely divorced from questions of moral value and social custom." His claim was false. "Kinsey had views, and they’re in his books," says sociologist John Gagnon, a former president of the International Academy of Sex Research, who joined the institute after its founder’s death in 1956. Kinsey believed that sex was a simple, biological reaction to stimuli with no moral, spiritual or psychological dimension. Only "inhibitions" imposed by society, he claimed prevented everyone from enjoying equally a variety of "outlets."
"It is not so difficult," Kinsey wrote in his 2nd report, "to explain why a human animal does a particular thing sexually. It is more difficult to explain why each and every individual is not involved in every type of sexual activity." In his declared opinion, there was no moral difference between one sexual outlet and any other.
It is not surprising, then, that the Kinsey Reports contain graphic description of young children under prolonged sexual stimulation by a pedophile including the children’s screams and struggles to get away. Yet Kinsey concluded that the children "derive definite pleasure from the situation."
The survey respondents on whom Kinsey based his conclusions were grossly unrepresentative of the general population. About 75% of his male respondents volunteered to take part, for instance. Using Kinsey’s data, psychologist Lewis M. Terman of Stanford University reported that such volunteers are anywhere from 2 to 4 times more active sexually than nonvolunteers.
Kinsey’s sample also included prison inmates. Pomeroy wrote that by 1946, the team had taken sexual histories from 1400 convicted sex offenders. Kinsey never revealed how many he included in his total sample of 5300 males; he did acknowledge that his 1st volume included "several thousand" male prostitutes.
THE FALSE FOUNDATIONS IN THE KINSEY REPORT by Rachel Wildavsky in R.Digest 4/97 p. 59 ff.
I sat down with our senior high kids awhile ago to discuss our plans for youth activities for this year. I expected to get some ideas of fun things to do, lets go bowling and to laserquest and whitewater rafting yadda yadda yadda… You know what they decided? They asked me to find two Friday night events each month – half of all the things we would do – where they could go and do volunteer things for others, like preparing and serving meals at the Mustard Seed Street Church. And that is what they come to Awhile ago I phoned to invite some kids to the Mustard Seed Street church to prepare and serve a meal to street people. Normally, if kids can’t come bowling or to something fun, they’re like “sorry, can’t make it.” But this time, I had a group of kids who couldn’t come and they were like “AWWW Sick I Can’t come That really makes me mad…” I had one senior high student who couldn’t come and was so mad she said “That’s it, I can’t come so I’m sending some money to pay for the meal.” She sent me an envelope, and I thought “this is probably $20 or so, that is great – it’ll really help pay for the meal.” I opened the envelope from this grade ten student – there was $60 in it. That’s a lot of money for me, let alone for a grade 10 student Another student came with us, and asked me how we were going to pay for these meals. I told him about this one student’s contribution, and said we’d do some fundraisers to pay for the rest. That Sunday that other student handed me an envelope, and said it was to help pay for some of the meals we were doing for these street people. I tossed it on my desk, again expecting $20-$40. I opened it the next day to deal with it – there was $250. From a grade 10 student. I talked to them later – I said “that’s an awful lot of money – are you sure?” “Yes, absolutely.” “Where did you get that much money?” Do you know what the response was? He said, “I’ve been saving up for a snowboard, but those people need to eat way more than I need a snowboard.”