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A PEACEMAKING CHURCH
I can tell this story because one neighbor has died and the other neighbor no longer lives across the street from our church. Our neighbors endured the disruption of their lives as we built on to our church. I'm sure that contributed to their lack of patience with us. We put our dumpster next to the parsonage. We didn't want it on Rock Creek. It was believed that it would attract others continually filling it up, and it was not the first thing that we wanted people to see when they look at our church. One neighbor had a different point of view. He didn't like coming out of his front door and looking across the street at a dumpster. He wanted to know what we were going to do.
All the neighbors and some men from our church and myself met at the dumpster. This man was angry. After he'd let off some steam I asked where he recommended we put the dumpster. You know that was a dangerous question. What he wanted was to put it out front on the corner of our property. I said to the group let's go look at what he's talking about. I did not want to do this.
I walked with the neighbors and listened to their complaints. When we got out front the man began explaining why it was a good spot. I was thinking of why it was not a good spot. But Music Minister Jim Garling, who'd followed behind and heard the man complain from one end of the property to the other, looked at me and said, "Ed, this will be OK. We can make it work." As you can see to this day, that's exactly what we did.
There are shields inside the covers of the outside lights on the west side because the woman who lived across the street at that time complained that the lights were so bright that it lit up her living room and kitchen. We didn't have to do any of that. But we're Christians. We are people of peace. Those were minor actions to do good for our neighbors in order to live at peace with them.
Peacemakers release tension; they don't intensify it. Peacemakers seek solutions and find no delight in arguments. Peacemakers calm the waters; they don't trouble them. Peacemakers work hard to keep an offense from occurring. And if it has occurred, they strive for resolution. Peacemakers lower their voice rather than raise their voice. Peacemakers generate light not heat.
(From a sermon by Ed Sasnett, Like a Good Neighbor, 7/29/2011)
"Isaac’s Storm" is a very interesting book about the hurricane that wiped out Galveston in 1900. One of the main plot lines of the book is about how everyone was convinced that a hurricane could never strike Galveston, even as one approached. The author vividly describes how as the streets began to flood people went about their business as if nothing was wrong. Children played in the water, men gathered for breakfast at the local diner, and no one fled from the storm that was about to strike.
Some didn’t worry because Issac Cline, the national weather service officer in Galveston, assured them it would not be a severe storm. Other’s simply believed that Galveston was invincible. Some thought that since they had never seen a hurricane strike Galveston one never would. So for a number of reasons, people assured themselves nothing bad would happen. And as a result over 6,000 people died one September day in 1900.
Today we can see storm clouds forming on the horizon. There is a moral and spiritual decline that continues to erode our national life. The warning signs are there for us to see--the signs that Jesus is coming soon. They beckon us to return to the Lord and seek refuge in Him. How will history look back on what we did as the storm approached?
SOURCE: Steve Hanchet. Citation: "Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History," by Erik Larson and Isaac Monroe Cline. Vintage Books; ISBN: 0375708278; (July 11, 2000).
The boss of a big company needed to call one of his employees about an urgent problem with one of the main computers. He dialled the employees home telephone number and was greeted with a child’s whispered, "Hello?"
Feeling put out at the inconvenience of having to talk to a youngster, the boss asked, "Is your Daddy home?" "Yes," whispered the small voice. "May I talk with him?" the man asked. To the surprise of the boss, the small voice whispered, "No."
Wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, "Is your Mommy there?" "Yes," came the answer. "May I talk with her?" Again, the small voice whispered, "No."
Knowing that it was not likely that a young child would be left home alone, the boss decided he would just leave a message with the person who should be there watching over the child. "Is there any one there besides you?" the boss asked the child. "Yes," whispered the child, "a policeman."
Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee’s home, the boss asked, "May I speak with the policeman?" "No, he is busy," whispered the child. "Busy doing what?" asked the boss. "Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman," came the whispered answer.
Growing concerned and even worried as he heard what sounded like a helicopter through the ear piece on the phone, the boss asked, "What is that noise?" "A hello-copper," answered the whispering voice. "What is going on there?" asked the boss, now alarmed. In an awed whispering voice, the child answered, "The search team just landed the hello-copper!"
Alarmed, concerned and more than just a little frustrated, the boss asked, "Why are they there?"
Still whispering, the young voice replied (along with a muffled giggle), "They are looking for me!"
I heard about a rich man who was determined to take his wealth with him. He told his wife to get all his money together, put it in a sack, and then hang the sack from the rafters in the attic. He said, "When my spirit is caught up to heaven, I’ll grab the sack on my way." Well he eventually died, and the woman raced to the attic, on...
C. Cs. Lewis "The Chronicles of Narnia"
"Are you not thirsty?" said the lion. "I’m dying of thirst," said Jill. "Then drink," said the lion. "May I- could I- would you mind going away while I do?" said Jill. The lion answered this only by a look and very low growl. As Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic. "Will you promise not to- do anything to me, if I do come?" said Jill. "I make no such promise," said the lion. Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer the lion. "Do you eat girls?" she said. "I have swallowed up, consumed girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it. "I daren’t come and drink," said Jill. "Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion. "Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then." The lion said, "There is no other stream."
This old world is full of those who are thirsty. Yes, if we go to the stream we will be devoured, consumed by the fire of the Holy Spirit, but I would rather be on fire now, consumed now, than forever on fire and never burned out.
Jesus infuriated the Jewish leaders because He claimed to be the “stone which the builders rejected.” This is a reference to the building of Solomon’s Temple. It took 30,000 workmen over seven years to complete the temple. According to I Kings 6 all the stones were quarried far away from the building site, so there was no sound of hammering heard there. Jewish tradition says one day the building superintendent saw an unusual stone being delivered. Because it was cut in an odd shape, he thought it was flawed. He had it rolled away into the Kidron Valley where it lay untouched and unnoticed. Years later, the builder sent word to the quarry that he was ready for the main corner stone. The quarry master came and reported, “Why, I had that stone delivered years ago. When they began to search they discovered the discarded stone in the valley was the main cornerstone. It was covered with debris and moss. It took many men working hard to raise the massive stone out of the valley. When they raised it and set it, it fit perfectly! The chief cornerstone was the very rock they rejected.
Do you remember the Lord’s Prayer? Twenty-five percent of Christ’s fifty words have to do with deliverance from evil. What did he say? Matthew 6:13, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I challenge you to make that petition before God. I challenge you to say, “From this day forward, I am going to adopt this keep me from evil attitude with the Lord.”
THINKING ON HELL- COMMUNION MEDITATION
Maybe you’ve seen the famous sculpture "The Thinker." The statue was originally created in 1880 as part of Auguste Rodin’s larger work 'The Gates of Hell', an ornamental door for a proposed Palace of Decorative Arts.
What is the thinker thinking about? According to the artist "the Thinker" is sitting in mute amazement as he contemplates lost people in hell.
When we come around the Lord's Table, we become "Thinkers" also. We contemplate the Body of Jesus that was broken for us and the blood that He shed for our forgiveness. We remember that "...Having now been justified by His blood...
John Williams III
Someone anonymous once poignantly said something very profound about Jesus: "I am far within the mark when I say that all armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of mankind on this earth as powerfully as that One Solitary Life". (Massey Mott Heltzel. The Invincible Christ. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1952, p. 10). This statement tells us about the ageless authority of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
HE KEPT CALLING
In 1975, my aunt Marsha McCarthy divorced Ralph McCarthy. Marsha left Southern California and followed her parents to Joplin, Missouri.
She was employed as the Secretary at College Heights Christian Church and raised three children on her own. The stress was overwhelming at times. Marsha was in and out of the hospital regularly for stress related problems. But Ralph kept calling. Marsha wasn’t interested.
Well, he continued to call…for twenty-nine years. In the summer of 1999, Ralph flew out to see Marsha…face to face to close the deal. Would you believe, that when Ralph proposed to Marsha, she said yes.
October 9, 1999 Ralph and Marsha Lynn McCarthy were remarried. Ralph just kept calling.
Ralph just retired from his law practice in Carmel, CA. He built a retirement home in Palm Springs with a guest house and pool. The guest house is larger that Marsha’s home on North Jackson in Joplin. Ralph just kept calling.
Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
Can you hear him calling?
Source: Scott Mathews, Adventure Christian Church, Rocklin, CA.