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A few years ago, the World Press Review carried a quotation from the National Concord of Lagos, Nigeria. That paper reported that twenty-six lakes have been found beneath the Sahara desert. The American space shuttle “Columbia” determined by echoes it received that there are miles and miles of underground rivers beneath that arid land. It is sad to think of the people who are starving because those hidden resources have not yet been tapped. (#291)
A musician and an instrument unite to produce sounds which neither would produce without the other. We are living instruments fashioned by the divine Instrument Maker with greater sophistication than any man-made instrument, having our own creativity. Like an instrument maker with his cherished instrument, our Maker longs to blend his ability with ours to produce unique sounds to bless the world.
Isn’t it strange that princes and kings
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings
And common people like you and me
Are builders for eternity?
Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, a book of rules;
And each must make ‘ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone. (#465)
What are we doing with the tools God has given us?
Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ tells this story of a famous oil field called Yates Pool:
During the depression this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch.
With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy.
Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract.
At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day.
And Mr. Yates owned it all.
The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief.
A multimillionaire living in poverty.
Dr. Bruce Emmert
God has given us all a sweet spot—in fact, Paul says that God has given us the gift of a sweet spot so that we could serve God and produce the maximum result and maximum satisfaction both for God and for us. Mark McGwire said, “When I feel the ball hit right on the sweet spot, a home run is just around the corner.” I believe that when we serve Jesus from our spiritual sweet spot, a spiritual home run is just around the corner. Paul calls that we have a sweet spot, a spiritual gift—a special talent or ability that God has supernaturally given us so that we can produce the maximum result in making a world of difference in our community and around the globe and experience the maximum satisfaction.
A. Todd Coget
["Mr. Holland’s Opus": Leaving a Legacy, Citation: Mr. Holland’s Opus, (Hollywood Pictures, 1995), rated PG, written by Patrick Sheane Duncan, directed by Stephen Herek; submitted by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois]
Mr. Holland’s Opus is a movie about a frustrated composer in Portland, Oregon, who takes a job as a high school band teacher in the 1960s.
Although diverted from his lifelong goal of achieving critical fame as a classical musician, Glenn Holland (played by Richard Dreyfuss) believes his school job is only temporary.
At first he maintains his determination to write an opus or a concerto by composing at his piano after putting in a full day with his students.
But, as family demands increase (including discovery that his infant son is deaf) and the pressures of his job multiply, Mr. Holland recognizes that his dream of leaving a lasting musical legacy is merely a dream.
At the end of the movie we find an aged Mr. Holland fighting in vain to keep his job.
The board has decided to reduce the operating budget by cutting the music and drama program.
No longer a reluctant band teacher, Mr. Holland believes in what he does and passionately defends the role of the arts in public education.
What began as a career detour became a 35-year mission, pouring his heart into the lives of young people.
Mr. Holland returns to his classroom to retrieve his belongings a few days after school has let out for summer vacation.
He has taught his final class.
With regret and sorrow, he fills a box with artifacts that represent the tools of his trade and memories of many meaningful classes.
His wife and son arrive to give him a hand.
As they leave the room and walk down the hall, Mr. Holland hears some noise in the auditorium.
Because school is out, he opens the door to see what the commotion is.
To his amazement he sees a capacity audience of former students and teaching colleagues and a banner that reads "Goodbye, Mr. Holland."
Those in attendance greet Mr. Holland with a standing ovation while a band (consisting of past and present members) plays songs they learned at his hand.
His wife, who was in on the surprise reception, approaches the podium and makes small talk until the master of ceremonies, the governor of Oregon, arrives.
The governor is none other than a student Mr. Holland helped to believe in herself his first year of teaching.
As she addresses the room of well-wishers, she speaks for the hundreds who fill the auditorium:
"Mr. Holland had a profound influence in my life (on a lot of lives, I know), and yet I get the feeling that he considers a great part of his life misspent.
Rumor had it he was always working on this symphony of his, and this was going to make him famous and rich (probably both).
But Mr. Holland isn’t rich and he isn’t famous.
At least not outside our little town.
So it might be easy for him to think himself a failure, but he’d be wrong.
Because I think he’s achieved a success far beyond riches and fame."
Looking at her former teacher the governor gestures with a sweeping hand and continues, "Look around you.
There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each one of us is a better person because of you.
We are your symphony, Mr. Holland.
We are the melodies and the notes of your opus.
And we are the music of your life."
John Williams III
At one time, there was a young man who was a friend to many with musical abilities and talents. It was unfortunate that he was not musically talented as they were. You would think the story ended there, but it did not. This young man had a talent that was somewhat hidden from his peers and even himself. Then, one day, he harnessed his whittling skills to the challenge of building a violin like the ones that his friends would play. When he built his first violin, he showed it to his friends who played his violin. They were astonished and told him to go and show his violin to the best musicians of his day. The best musicians of his day agreed with the younger violinists when they said that his violin was the best quality sounding violin that they had ever heard. The violins made by that person over three hundred years ago in Cremona, Italy are still among the best sounding violins today. Who was this person? His name was Antonio Stradivari. His violins are called Stradivarian violins. (paraphrased: Paul E. Holdcraft. 101 Snappy Sermon Starters. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1951, pp. 84-85).
Wade Hughes, Sr
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF PLAYING FOOTBALL?
Well, of course, we would say winning. But there is a clearer point than winning, it is scoring points. We might score 6
points in a touchdown, three points in a field goal, two points in a safety, or one point in a point after the touch down.
WHAT IF I TOLD YOU OF A MAN THAT PLAYED FOOTBALL 23 YEARS, 15 YEARS IN THE NFL,
FOUR YEARS IN COLLEGE, AND FOUR YEARS IN HIGH SCHOOL AND HE NEVER SCORED A TOUCH DOWN
OR MADE A POINT?
He never even scored one point? THIS MAN WOULD HAVE TO BE A FAILURE WOULDN’T HE?
Well, let’s look at this? This man never made a touch down, but he played in 245 games in his career.
Why start a man that can’t score? He made 1,032 tackles, pretty impressive?
He blocked 86 passes. He made 19 fumble recoveries, but still no touch downs?
He made 3 interceptions, but no touchdowns?
While in a football game everything centers on the football and the goal line, but there is more to the game than that.
THE MAN’S NAME IS ED "TOO TALL" JONES!
Ed "Too Tall" Jones is in the Football Ha...
1587 --- 1st child born in the American colonies, on August 18th, on what is now Roanoke Island, North Carolina.
1797 --- 1st parachute jump. Dropped from about 6,500 ft. over Monceau Park in Paris in a 23-ft.-diameter parachute made of white canvas with a basket attached (Oct. 22).
Charles Blondin (Jean Francois Gravelet)
1859 --- 1st person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope
1873 --- committed the world’s first train robbery on July 21. (Adair, Iowa)
1874 --- 1st US President born west of the Mississippi
1892 --- 1st immigrant to pass through Ellis Island. She was 15 years old and from County Cork, Ireland
1903 --- set the 1st land speed record in car racing. Set at Daytona Beach, his speed was 68.18 mph.
Arthur R. Eldred
1912 --- 1st boy to reach the rank of Eagle Scout -- the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America program. He was of Oceanside, NY.
Dolly, the lamb
1996 --- 1st cloned mammal.
Bob Russell who preaches in Louisville was raised on a farm in Pennsylvania and he tells the story of his first youth minister who was a city-boy. Now his youth group was made up mostly of kids from the farm so they didn’t think they would have much in common with this city slicker and so weren’t much ready to listen to him. The entire youth group was at Bob’s one Saturday and it came time to milk the cows. This youth minister said, "Can I go down to the barn with you and see what is all about?" Bob said, "Sure," and Harry Orn, the new minister, headed with the others to the barn. What the youth group didn’t know was that Harry had worked each summer on his grandfather’s dairy farm. Well, Harry watched the milking for a little bit and then sheepishly said, "Could I try that?" Bob said, they welcomed the idea because they knew that it would be good for a laugh. So he sat down tentatively on the stool and he grabbed the cow in the appropriate place and 2 or 3 of the boys leaned way over to get a good laugh when this city slicker couldn’t get any milk out of the cow. And Bob says, "he suddenly turned that cow’s spicket right up at us and squirted us right across the face." Everybody thought it was hilarious. And you know what? He was an instant hit. Well, Bob says, maybe not instant, it took a couple of minutes, but Harry Orn was able to fit right in with the kids and had a great ministry. Listen, God can use any talent that you have, even milking cows.