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Sermon Central Staff
One day Hudson Taylor was traveling on a Chinese junk from Shanghai to Ningpo. He had been witnessing to a man named Peter who rejected the gospel but was under deep conviction. In the course of events, Peter fell overboard, but no one made any effort to save him. Taylor sprang to the mast, let down the sail, and jumped overboard in hopes of finding his friend. But no one on board joined Taylor in his frantic search. Taylor saw a fishing boat nearby and yelled to them to help, but they wouldn't do it without money. Finally, after bartering for every penny that Taylor had, the fishermen stopped their fishing and began to look for Peter. In less than a minute of dragging their net, they found him, but it was too late. They were too busy fishing to care about saving a drowning man.
We can easily condemn the selfish indifference of those fishermen, but by indicting them, we may condemn ourselves. Are we too busy with our jobs and other activities to take the time to rescue those who are perishing without Christ?
(Kenneth Cole, The Crucial Message. From a sermon by Gerald Flury, Why Are You Standing Around? 8/16/2012)
Robert Tuttle says, “The Holy Spirit takes the initiative in the drama of rescue” if we let God go before us in our evangelistic efforts.
John Williams III
There is a classic story about procrastination and it goes like this. An American eagle was flying high over the Niagara River on a cold and wintry day. He saw a dead bullock (young bull) floating down river. He thought to himself, "What a great feast!" He landed and sank his talons deep into the carcass and began to feed on it. He thoroughly enjoyed the feast and was unwilling to let it go. He thought that he had plenty of time to withdraw. He continued to eat. He decided that he would let go at the last minute. Not long after that he was approaching the falls. He tried to fly away. However, he was in for a rude awakening when he found that his feet were frozen to the carcass. In the end, he fell with the carcass. (Paraphrased: Chaplain Forest D. Davies. Biblical Prisoners. Duluth: Priory Books, 1988, pp. 1-2).
A LIGHT NAMED AL
On the morning of September 11, Jeannie Braca switched on the television to check the weather report, only to hear that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center.
Jeannie’s husband, Al, worked as a corporate bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald. His office was on the 105th floor of Tower One.
Al had survived the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and had even helped a woman with asthma escape from the building.
Jeannie knew that Al would do the same thing this time, “I knew he would stop to help and minister to people,” she said, “but I never thought for a minute that he wouldn’t be coming home!”
A week later, like so many others who were in that building, Al’s body was found in the rubble. Al’s wife, Jeannie, and his son Christopher were devastated!
Then the reports began to trickle in from friends and acquaintances. Some people on the 105th floor had made a last call or sent a final e-mail to loved ones saying that a man was leading people in prayer.
A few referred to Al by name.
Al’s family learned that Al had indeed been ministering to people during the attack! When Al realized that they were all trapped in the building and would not be able to escape, Al shared the gospel with a group of 50 co-workers and led them in prayer.
This news came as no surprise to Al’s wife, Jeannie.
For years, she and Al had been praying for the salvation of these men and women. According to Jeannie, Al hated his job and couldn’t stand the environment. It was a world so out of touch with his Christian values, but he wouldn’t quit.
Al was convinced that God wanted him to stay there, to be a light in the darkness, and although Al would not have put it this way, to be a hero!
Al was not ashamed of Christ and Christ’s words…and he paid the price of taking up his cross daily. Al shared his faith with his co-workers….many of whom sarcastically nicknamed him “The Rev.”
And on that fateful day…on September 11, in the midst of the chaos, Al’s co-workers looked to him—-and...
Who has ever heard of Harriet Tubman before? Her story is an exciting one. She was a runaway slave who was able to get to the north with the help of some sympathetic people both white and black. She was so thankful for the help that she had received that she decided to risk her own life to become a conductor on the famous Underground Railroad. Although she could neither read nor write and was rather frail, she was bold in her efforts to assist escaped slaves in getting safely beyond the Mason Dixon line. In her many years of service, she made nineteen trips and freed over 300 former slaves, including several of her own family members.
As Christians, we are in a similar situation as Mrs. Tubman. We too have escaped a slavery of sorts. We have escaped the slavery of sin. We no longer are headed on the highway to hell but because of Jesus’ death on the cross we too have hitched a ride on the Freedom Train. A train headed for our heavenly home. Is that it though? Is that where the similarity ends? Or is there more?
A missionary in Africa was once asked if he really liked what he was doing. His response was shocking. "Do I like this work?" he said. "No. My wife and I do not like dirt. We have reasonably refined sensibilities. We do not like crawling into vile huts through goat refuse...But is a man to do nothing for Christ he does not like? God pity him, if not. Liking or disliking has nothing to do with it. We have orders to ’Go," and we go. Love constrains us."
Two shoe salesman were sent to Africa. One sent a telegram home that said: “Get me home, nobody here wears shoes.” The other salesman’s telegram said: “Send me all of the shoes you can, nobody here wears shoes.”
James Hudson Taylor in challenging English students during his time to be involved in China mission work, used to tell of the story about Peter, his Chinese convert and disciple. On one of their sea journeys, Peter (who do not know how to swim) fell from the side of the boat. Fortunately, there were fishermen nearby, just a grab away from where Peter fell. Taylor shouted at the fishermen and asked them to help his friend, “Hey, help my friend, he is drowning.” However, the fishermen did not bother to do his call for help because they were busy loading their catch from the net to their boat. Taylor continued to yell, “Stop what you are doing, and help my friend. He is just a grab away.” But the fishermen continued on their work until the last fish was loaded to the boat. Then they jumped and got Peter out of water. They tried to revive him, but to no avail. Peter died of drowning. He could have been saved because he was just a grab away from the fishermen. Then, he asked the students/church members what they thought of about the Chinese...
Pastor Bruce D. Weaver and his wife drove in their car to pick up their son from Vacation Bible School. The sky was growing dark and there was a storm watch in effect, but no rain was falling yet. The theme for their upcoming Vacation Bible School had to do with Noah’s ark and the flood, so he joked with some of the adult leaders about going to great lengths this year with special effects. By the time he arrived home with his wife and son, the wind was blowing fiercely and lightning bolts were coming down all around them. They hurried inside the house and began to shut windows. Within a few moments they were without electrical power. They tucked their son into bed, trying not to betray their concern regarding the severe weather conditions outside. Suddenly the telephone rang. It was their neighbor informing them that a "tornado warning" had been issued for their area. That meant a funnel cloud actually had been sighted somewhere near. Weaver asked him why the siren in their small town was not sounding. The neighbor said that the siren could not be sounded because of a power outage. He further explained that he had heard on his police scanner instructions for everyone who could hear the scanner to call their neighbors to inform them of the "tornado warning." Weaver was thankful for his concern and he was also thankful that the funnel cloud sighted damaged neither his family nor anyone else in their area.
Later that evening, Pastor Weaver thought about his neighbor’s concern for his safety and he reflected upon his own concern, or lack there of, for his neighbors. But it is all the more important to inform neighbors that a "code red" has been issued by God, because in due time Jesus Christ will return.
Sermon Central Staff
WHO NEEDS YOUR HELP?
Of the 2,000 passengers on the Titanic, 1517 were lost. At the time the Titanic went down, another ship, the California was only 30 miles away. The Titanic’s operator frantically sent out SOS repeatedly; but the wireless set on the California was closed because there was only one operator aboard and he had gone to bed. Help was available but the California sailed on its way totally unaware of the tragedy.
Are there those near you who could use your help? You have been appointed by Christ to go reach out. If not now, when? If not you, who?
(From a sermon by Gaither Bailey, Is Your Name Written In Heaven? 7/1/2010)