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DRY WOOD: There is a difference between a dead saint and a dry saint. A dead saint is like a statue that never moves and eventually the pigeons will land on it and build their nest. But a dry saint is like dry wood, easily kindled. Dry wood just seems to catch on fire faster. Even though they have dry prayers and dry worship all it takes is for someone to strike the match of motivation and watch them kindle fast.
Sermon Central Staff
J. I. PACKER ON THE GOAL OF THEOLOGY
'And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent' (John 17:3)
The well known Christian author, Jim Packer, lectures in systematic theology at Regent's College in Vancouver. One of his former students says that Packer started every class by saying, 'Arise, friends, let us sing the Doxology!' After singing and a word of prayer, he would then say to his students, 'The goal of theology, friends, is doxology'.
From a sermon by Mark Armstrong, Trinity and Creation, 6/24/2010
WHO FLATTERS THE KING
Francois Fenelon was the court clergy for King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century. One Sunday when the king and his attendants arrived at the chapel for the regular service, no one else was there but the preacher. King Louis demanded, "What does this mean?"
Fenelon replied, "I had published that you would not come to church today, in order that your Majesty might see who serves God in truth and who flatters the king."
PRAYER'S BEST POSITION
Three ministers were talking about prayer in general and the appropriate and effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background.
One minister shared that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on your knees. The third suggested that they both had it wrong--the only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face.
By this time the phone man couldn’t stay ...
Jim Cymbala began at the Brooklyn Tabernacle as an ill-equipped, under-educated, time-strapped preacher who led a second congregation in New Jersey. The Brooklyn church had no money to pay him, a ramshackle building, and barely enough attendance to bother with weekly meetings.
Today, the Tabernacle hosts around 6,000 spirit-filled worshipers. The difference came when Jim, in a moment of desperation, set aside his planned message and called the church to pray. The weekly prayer meeting, not the Sunday worship, became the focal point of the Brooklyn Tabernacle.
Jim’s belief that "God can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need him" (p. 19) guides his work. It is Prayer, not preaching that brings Revival.
Last year about this time our Tennessee Titans were involved in a heart wrenching defeat in the Super Bowl. All season they had fought back from deficits to win and it appeared as though they were going to pull off another comeback victory over the Rams. Unfortunately they came up about a yard and a half short.
The next evening when the team returned to Nashville they were bused to Adelphia Coliseum where more than 45,000 fans had gathered to greet and honor their team.
People painted their faces. They put on their Titan hats and jerseys. They screamed wildly as the team exited the bus and players were introduced.
When that tribute to the Titans team was over not one fan walked away saying, “That event was a dud. That did nothing for me.”
The event was a great success, not because of the performance, the team didn’t play. It wasn’t their speeches, because few of the players are great public speakers. It was a great success because people understood the purpose. The purpose wasn’t to please the fans. The purpose of the event was to honor the team and show how much they were appreciated.
That is what worship is about. Not about pleasing you and me, but expressing our appreciation and love to our Lord and Savior.
Charles Spurgeon said, We need our God; He is to be had for the seeking; and He will not deny Himself to any one of us if we personally seek His face.
The Unbaptized Arm
Ivan the Great was the tsar of all of Russia during the Fifteenth Century. He brought together the warring tribes into one vast empire--the Soviet Union. As a fighting man he was courageous. As a general he was brilliant. He drove out the Tartars and established peace across the nation.
However, Ivan was so busy waging his campaigns that he did not have a family. His friends and advisers were quite concerned. They reminded him that there was no heir to the throne, and should anything happen to him the union would shatter into chaos. "You must take a wife who can bear you a son." The busy soldier statesman said to them that he did not have the time to search for a bride, but if they would find a suitable one, he would marry her.
The counselors and advisers searched the capitals of Europe to find an appropriate wife for the great tsar. And find her, they did. They reported to Ivan of the beautiful dark eyed daughter of the King of Greece. She was young, brilliant, and charming. He agreed to marry her sight unseen.
The King of Greece was delighted. It would align Greece in a favorable way with the emerging giant of the north. But there had to be one condition, "He cannot marry my daughter unless he becomes a member of the Greek Orthodox Church." Ivan’s response, "I will do it!"
So, a priest was dispatched to Moscow to instruct Ivan in Orthodox doctrine. Ivan was a quick student and learned the catechism in record time. Arrangements were concluded, and the tsar made his way to Athens accompanied by 500 of his crack troops--his personal palace guard.
He was to be baptized into the Orthodox church by immersion, as was the custom of the Eastern Church. His soldiers, ever loyal, asked to be baptized also. The Patriarch of the Church assigned 500 priests to give the soldiers a one-on-one catechism crash course. The soldiers, all 500 of them, were to be immersed in one mass baptism. Crowds gathered from all over Greece.
What a sight that must have been, 500 priests and 500 soldiers, a thousand people, walking into the blue Mediterranean. The priests were dressed in black robes and tall black hats, the official dress of the Orthodox Church. The soldiers wore their battle uniforms with of all their regalia--ribbons of valor, medals of courage. and their weapons of battle.
Suddenly, there was a problem. The Church prohibited professional soldiers from being members; they w...
Why do I give?
The first thing that popped into my head was that I don’t want to be a free loader. I know that it costs money to run a church. On average it takes 40 square foot of building space per person that attends church. Multiply that times $100.00 to $150.00 a foot to build and it doesn’t take me long to figure out that someone had to pay $16,000.00 to $20,000.00 just to provide a place for my family to worship today. The church pays commercial rates for utilities and high interest on our building loans. Literature costs money, landscaping costs money, salaries cost money--everything costs money. I’m just not the kind of person that wants to get something for nothing. I want to pay my way.
A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it ’was too crowded.’ "I can’t go to Sunday School," she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday School class. The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.
Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and the parents called for the kindhearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting which read, "This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School."
For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.
But the story does not end there! A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands of dollars. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for 57 cents.
Church members made large subscriptions. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00 - a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.
That caring Pastor was named Russell H. Conwell. He became the founder of what is now known as Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The little girl was named Hattie May Wiatt who died in 1886.
In a sermon on December 1, 1912, which honored Hattie Dr Conwell reminded his congregation of the impact of that 57 cents –“ think of this large church,” he wrote, “think of the membership added to it – over 5600 – since that time. Think of the institutions this church founded. Think of the Samaritan Hospital and the thousands of sick people that have been cured there, and the thousands of poor that are ministered to every year. Think of how in that Wiatt house (by which 54 cents of that 57 cents was used in the first payment) were begun the very first classes of the Temple College.”
If God can do that with 57 cents think what He can do with $5.70, $57.00, $570.00, and even $5700.00. When we use the tool of treasure, of money, that God has provided us, and give, we don’t give it to programs or buildings we give it to a cause – the cause of God.