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Sermon Central Staff
WHEN TO SAVE A DROWNING MAN
Watchman Nee tells the story of his stay in China with twenty other Christians. The bathing accommodations were inadequate in the home where they were lodging, so they went for a daily dip in the river.
On one occasion, one of the men got a cramp in his leg and began sinking fast. Mr. Nee motioned to one of the other men, who was an excellent swimmer, about the drowning man. To his astonishment, however, the man did not move. He just stood there and watched the drowning man.
Mr. Nee was agitated, but the swimmer was calm and collected. Meanwhile, the voice of the drowning man grew fainter and more desperate. Mr. Nee hated the swimmer who just stood and watched on the shore when he could have jumped into the river and rescued the drowning man. As the drowning man went under for what looked like the last time, the swimmer was there in a moment, and both were soon safely on shore.
After the rescue, Mr. Nee chewed out the swimmer, accusing him of loving his life too much and being selfish. The response of the swimmer revealed, however, he knew what he was doing. He told Watchman that if he had gone too soon, the drowning man would have put a death grip on him and they would have both drowned in the river, and he was right. He told Mr. Nee that a drowning man cannot be saved until he is utterly exhausted and ceases to make the slightest effort to save himself.
Such is the case with our salvation. When we stop trying to save ourselves, then the Lord can step in and save us when we yield to Him. When you see the struggle that is a sign that you’re sensitive to sin and that is where God can help you.
(From a sermon by Daniel Darling, The Monster Inside - Saying No To Yourself, 2/1/2011)
Sermon Central Staff
WHO SAVED ME?
During a terrible storm at sea that threatened every moment to carry the ship to the bottom, one of the ship’s crew was doing something on the deck when a great sea struck the ship and went fairly over the deck, striking this man with great force, disabling him and carrying him into the mad waters.
Although he was a good swimmer, he was so disabled that he could only keep above water. They saw him lifting up his imploring hands through the white foam, signifying his desire for help. But the Captain said, "Don’t lower a boat, for no small boat can live in this sea, in this terrific storm. We cannot save the man. The most we can do is to save the ship."
The vessel was bearing farther and farther from the helpless man. Once more they saw his imploring hands come up among the white caps further off, which moved all hearts that witnessed it. Still the Captain said a small boat must not be lowered, as it could not live a moment among these wild billows.
But one man who was an expert swimmer, was so moved by the imploring signals of the drowning man, that he threw off his loose garments, saying: "I will save that man, or die with him."
So plunging into the surging deep, he struggled so bravely with the mad waters, that he reached the poor man just as his strength had gone; he had given up and was filling with water, and sinking down unconscious. He grasped him, and strange to tell, he brought him so near the ship that a small boat was lowered, and both men were taken up and laid down upon the deck. The one that had been swept overboard, entirely unconscious and his deliverer nearly so. Appliances were used and both were brought to consciousness.
As soon as the rescued man opened his eyes and found he was not in the ocean, his first words were: "Who saved me?"
He was pointed to his deliverer still lying on the deck in his wet clothes. He crept to his deliverer, and putting his arms around his feet, and in the most tender and heart moving tone of voice cried out: "I’m your servant, I’m your servant." He felt that he could never do enough for him.
Let me ask all who read this incident, would you not put your arms about the bleeding feet of your great Deliverer and say from a full heart: "Jesus, I’m your servant, I’m your servant. Ask anything of me, Jesus, and I will do it the best I can."
(From a sermon by Jimmy Haile, My Father’s Business, 9/29/2011)
Gladyce, a widow, attended church faithfully every Sunday. She would get there about 20 minutes early to sit and pray. This was her ritual. Just her and Jesus. She had been doing this for years. Then one Sunday a new family sat behind her. This was disturbing. She said, “Oh, well, they’re visitors and they may not be back next week anyway.” She thought she could put up with the small feet kicking at her back and the toy cars being driven on the top of her pew and loud whispers for lifesavers and trips to the bathroom that interrupted her prayer for one Sunday. Much to her dismay, one week turned into two and two into a month and she realized that they were here to stay. She weighed her options. She could change pews, but “no, that was where she and her husband had always worshiped.” She wasn’t willing to give up her pew. She could turn around and glare at them. She could pray at home for 20 minutes. One Sunday before worship was really bad. “Church was for quiet meditation and reflection,” she thought. She looked at the parents and the squirming children. She realized that the parents looked tired. “Perhaps I should just let them be,” she thought. Instead of yelling, she managed a small smile. The next Sunday she took lifesavers and offered them. The next Sunday she asked their names. She found out the oldest liked horses, the youngest liked cars and the middle one liked books. The next Sunday she was disappointed that they weren’t there. It didn’t seem like church without the tap of little feet at her back. Next week she invited the family over for Sunday Brunch and from there on a fast friendship grew.
SAVED FROM OUR RUBBLE OF SIN- COMMUNION MEDITATION
The September 11, 2002 issues of TIME magazine has a touching article about 31-year old Genelle Guzman. Genelle was the last of just four people caught in the debris of the Twin Towers to be found alive.
After the planes hit the World Trade Center, Genelle was descending a stair case from the 64th floor of the North Tower. Steel beams weakend to their breaking point. Solid concrete was pulverized. But somehow her body found an air pocket.
Her right leg was pinned under heavy concrete pillars. Her head was caught between stacks of wreckage. But somehow she was still alive.
For twenty-seven hours Guzman lay trapped and seriously injured.
In recent months before the attacks Genelle had started attending the church called Brooklyn Tabernacle, and wanted to get her life turned around. So while she was stuck in the rubble, she started to pray. She’d trail off into sleep – wake up and pray some more.
Shortly after noon on Wednesday the 12th, she heard voices. So she screamed as loud as she could, “I’m here! HEY, I’M RIGHT HERE!” A rescue worker responded, "Do you see the light?" She did not. She took a piece of concrete and banged it against a broken stairway overhead—probably the same structure that had saved her life. The searchers find the noise.
Genelle wedged her hand through a crack in the wall, and felt someone grab it. She heard a voice say, "I’ve got you," and Genelle Guzman said, "OH GOD, THANK YOU.”
It took 20 long minutes, and then she was saved.
In many ways, Genelle Guzman represents the plight of all people. We are buried under an enormous mess of sp...
Bishop Lalachan Abraham
SO THE BLIND COULD SEE
There was a blind girl who hated herself just because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend.
One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her and then she could see everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, "Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?"
The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her saying:
"Just take care of my eyes, dear."
Sermon Central Staff
THE LION AND THE DOG
D.L. Moody one time saw a man beat his dog at a zoo one time because he was mad at him. He had made a bet and boasted about him being so obedient and when he tried to get the dog to so something he wanted, it wouldn’t do it and he lost his bet. He got so mad at that dog and just beat him and beat him and beat him mercilessly.
Finally, after he was wounded and bleeding and whimpering, he threw him in the lion's cage so that the lion would eat him. And that poor whimpering, beaten, pitiful dog, standing shaking on his legs was in the presence of that great lion. And that lion came over to that dog and sniffed him and then he begin to lick that little dog and the dog laid down and the lion laid down there just keeping him warm and licking his wounds. And the man, after a little while felt sorry for the dog and told the man to let him have his dog back. And the person in charge of the lion cage who had seen him beat that dog said, "Fine, you can have your dog back. But you're going to have to go in there and get him yourself!"
And that's the way it is with me and you – we were…
By sins and sin, and now the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus, has taken us in and has healed our wounds and now protects us from the enemy that once enslaved us!
(From a sermon by Ricky Nelms, The Power To Become, 7/22/2010)
Dead Poets Society is, I think, one of the best films of all time. In his first lesson with
his senior class, the rather eccentric but very inspiring English teacher John Keating,
played by Robin Williams, takes the boys into the foyer outside the classroom where
he asks one lad by the name of Pitts (a rather unfortunate name, Keating muses) to
read out a poem. In an uncertain voice, Pitts reads,
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a-flying
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying."
’Carpe deum’, Keating says to them, ’Seize the day’. Every single one of us is just
food for worms. You may be destined for great things, but you need to take the
opportunity now. Then he leads his class up to the cabinet on the side of the foyer,
filed with old, black and white photos of old boys . What do all these boys, your
illustrious predecessors, have in common?, asks Keating. They’re all fertilising
daffodils. They’re all dead. They were boys with high expectations, high ideals, just
like you. They felt they were invincible, thought that the world was their oyster, just
like you. But did they manage to fulfil even a tiny bit of their potential? Keating
gathers his charges close around the cabinet, telling them to listen to the legacy the
old boys have for them. He whispers from behind them, imitating the ghosts of the
past. "Carpe deum. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."
This teacher, while he might have been inspiring, while he might have been
funny, had all his priorities out of order. He thought that success in this life was the
most important thing to pursue. He thought that everything ended when we all
became "food for worms", when we all began a new job as daffodil fertilisers. Yet,
despite his problems, one part of John Keating’s message echoes the thoughts of Paul
in 2 Corinthians 6. Seize the day, says Keating, make your lives extraordinary. Seize
the day, says Paul, be reconciled to God.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO!
“One day, when Vice-President Calvin Coolidge was presiding over the Senate, one senator angrily told another to go “straight to hell.” The offended Senator complained to Coolidge as presiding officer, and Coolidge looked up from the book he had been leafing through while listening to the debate and wittily replied. ...
NO MATTER WHAT
A number of years ago, there was a newspaper account of a speech given by the president of a well-known university to a group of influential businessmen and civic leaders. The president told of a recent experience which he, his audience, and the newspaper reporter found humorous.
The president was shopping during the Christmas season and happened to pass by a Salvation Army volunteer, standing by a "donation kettle" and ringing a bell. As he paused to make a donation, the woman volunteer asked this educator: "Sir, are you saved?" when he replied that he supposed he was, she was not satisfied. So she pursued the matter further: "I mean, have you ever given your full life to the Lord?"
At this point, the president told his audience, he thought he should enlighten this persistent woman concerning his identity: "I am the president of such and such university, and as such, I am also president of its school of theology." The lady considered his response for a moment, and then replied, "It doesn’t matter wherever you’ve been, or whatever you are, you can still be saved."
And the same is true of each one of us…
We can have new life.
SOURCE: Paul Decker in "Double Delivery" on www.sermoncentral.com. http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=45810
A group of men were carrying on a friendly conversation. One of them remarked that he had learned to be especially careful about small things. “Would you believe,” he said, “that a little thing like a pair of socks changed the entire course of my life?”
“I can hardly believe that,” replied another man. “Well, it’s true! Once I planned to take a trip with some of my friends on a canal boat, but two days before we intended to leave, I injured my foot while chopping wood. It was only a small cut, but the blue dye in the homemade socks I wore poisoned the wound, and I was compelled to stay at home. While my friends were on their journey, a powerful preacher came to our town to hold revival meetings. Since I didn’t have anything else to do, I decided to attend. The message touched me deeply, and as a result, I surrendered my heart to the Lord. New desires and purposes took hold of me. I determined also to seek an education, for I trusted that this would enable me to life more usefully for the Lord.”
The man who made these comments was a former President of the United States — James A. Garfield! *