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Contributed By:
Dana Chau
 
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Some of you might be familiar with the song, "Cat’s in the Cradle": (A father retracing the growing up of his son)

My child arrived just the other day;
He came to the world in the usual way,
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay,
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talkin’ ’fore I knew it and as he grew,
He said, "I’m gonna be like you, Dad.
You know I’m gonna be like you."

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little Boy Blue and the man in the moon.
"When you comin’ home, Dad?"
"I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then;
You know we’ll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on, let’s play.
Can you teach me to throw?"
I said, "No, not today,
I got a lot to do."
He said, "That’s okay."
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed.
It said, "I’m gonna be like him, yeah,
You know I’m gonna be like him...."

And he came from college just the other day;
So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?"
"What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later, can I have them please?"

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away.
I called him up just the other day,
I said, "I’d like to see you, if you don’t mind."
He said, "I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time.
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu,
But it’s sure nice talkin’ to you, Dad,
It’s been nice talkin’ to you."

And as I hung up the phone
It occurred to me,
He’d grown up just like me,
My boy was just like me.

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little Boy Blue and the man in the moon,
"When you coming home, Son?’
"I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad.
We’re gonna have a good time then."

Workaholism is destructive to the family and to personal health. (I’m preaching at myself.) If we find ourselves constantly working unusually long hours, pause and ask ourselves, "Why?" Am I doing this because I want to get a promotion and make a name for myself? Am I doing this because I want to achieve a certain level of wealth? Am I doing this because I want to satisfy a certain pleasure or to fill an emptiness? Was one of my parents a workaholic?

 
Contributed By:
Steven Chapman
 
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It’s a lesson that this familiar song from 20 years ago taught us.

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot
Wouldn’t it be nice to get away?
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same
You wanna go where everybody knows your name
You wanna go where people know people are all the same
You wanna go where everybody knows your name

The tragedy of this song is that it took a Boston pub to preach the need for connection in loving community to the church. Out of that Boston bar we learned that people need a place to be vulnerable and authentic, a place they could be themselves with all of their rough edges and blemishes, yet still find support and encouragement.

 
Contributed By:
Paul Wallace
 
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In the movie Saving Private Ryan, a group of Army Rangers receive a mission to go deep into enemy territory to save Private Ryan. They hit skirmish after skirmish, and some of them are killed along the way. They finally get to where Private Ryan is holed up, and they say, “Come with us. We’re here to save you.” He says, “I’m not going. I have to stay here because there’s a big battle coming up, and I’m not going to abandon my fellow soldiers.”

What do the Rangers do? They all stay and fight, and almost everyone dies except Private Ryan. At the end, one of the main characters—played by Tom Hanks—is sitting on the ground. He’s been shot and he’s dying. But the battle has been won.

Private Ryan leans over to him, and Tom Hanks whispers, “Earn this.” But it’s very unlikely that any Ranger would say, “Earn this.” Why? Because the Ranger motto for the past two hundred years has been “I chose this.” In other words, I volunteered for this. So, if Tom Hanks was really a Ranger, he would have said, “I chose this. You don’t have to earn this. I give up my life for you. That’s my job.”

And so, when you look at the cross and see Jesus hanging there, what you don’t hear is “Earn this.” What He says is “I chose this. You don’t have to pay anything for it” (adapted from Perfect Illustrations for Every Topic and Occasion; citation: Tom Allen, Preaching Today #200).

 
Contributed By:
Richard Tow
 
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How many seen classic movie “Shanendoah” starring Jimmy Stewart?

It is about a farmer and his family during Civil War. Outstanding movie! There is one scene where they are praying at dinner table. Jimmy Stewart is father and all sons are sitting with him at dinner table.

This is the way the father prays:

“Lord, we planted this seed, we watered the plants, we picked the food and we cooked it,we did it all ourselves, we worked dog bone hard for this,But, we thank you just the same. Amen”

How many would say that farmer’s perception of how he got so blessed was just a little bit distorted?

By the end of the m...

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Contributed By:
Sermon Central Staff
 
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SIMON BIRCH: A PURPOSE IN LIFE

How many of you remember a movie by the name of Simon Birch that came out in 1998?

It tells the story of a twelve-year-old boy named Simon Birch who, despite his physical disabilities, believes that God has a plan for his life. "Simon was born tiny and with an abnormally small heart. He was expected to die within the first twenty-four hours of his life. He surprises everyone, though, when he lives to be an adolescent.

"A disappointment to his parents and the target of many childhood pranks because of his miniature size and odd-sounding voice, Simon has every reason to question his self-worth and purpose for living. But he embraces his condition and believes that God will use him in a unique, possibly even heroic, way.

"Joe, Simon's best friend, doesn't believe in God, and he is not the only one who doubts that God has a plan for Simon. Simon's schoolmates mock him relentlessly, believing his assertions to be one more indication of his strangeness. On one occasion his Sunday school teacher hurriedly tries to hush him so he won't 'frighten' the other children with his musings.

"The small town's forlorn minister also doubts that God could have a plan for small Simon Birch. In a poignant conversation between Simon and the minister, Simon asks, 'Does God have a plan for us?'

"The minister hesitantly replies, 'I'd like to think he does.'

"Simon enthusiastically says, 'Me too. I think God made me the way I am for a reason.'

"The minister coolly states, 'I'm glad that, um, that your faith, uh, helps you deal with your, um, you know, your condition.'

"'That's not what I mean,' Simon states. 'I think I'm God's instrument. He's going to use me to carry out his plan.'

"Dumbfounded by Simon's confidence, the pastor says, 'It's wonderful to have faith, son, but let's not overdo it.' With that he waves for Simon to leave, shakes his head in disbelief, and whispers with an air of cynicism, 'God's instrument.'

"A short time later Simon is riding with his classmates in a school bus traveling down an icy road. Suddenly the bus driver veers to avoid a deer, loses control, and the bus plunges into an icy lake. Everyone in the front of the upright bus quickly evacuates out the door, but Simon and a handful of other students in the back of the bus are trapped as the bus begins to sink.

"Simon takes charge. He opens a window and commands his classmates to climb out. Last of all, Simon escapes through the window.

"In the hospital following the accident, Joe assures Simon that all the kids are all right. Simon asks, 'Did you see how the children listened to me because of the way I looked?'

"Joe, with tears in his eyes, replies, 'Yeah.'

"With satisfaction, Simon says, 'That window was just my size.'

"'Extra small,' Joe utters with a smile.

"A few seconds later, Simon dies, knowing that God used him. But what Simon doesn't know before he dies is that because of his unwavering faith, his friend Joe now believes in God.

"Some twenty years later, standing at Simon's gravestone, Joe says, 'I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice, not because of his voice or because he was the smallest person I ever met... but because he is the reason I believe in God. What faith I have, I owe to Simon Birch -- it is Simon who made me a believer'"

(Craig Brian Larson & Andre Zahn, Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2003), 160-161. From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Sunday -- "Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem" 8/13/2010)

 
Contributed By:
Ken Pell
 
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WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY?

Some of you are familiar with the name, Morgan Spurlock. He produced the documentary "Super-Size Me." He has produced another lesser-known production titled "What Would Jesus Buy?" Please note: I am not recommending the movie it is a bit distasteful but it makes a good point. The movie follows a fictional minister named "Reverend Billy" and the "The Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir."

He is travelling the nation warning the masses of a pending "Shopocalypse." He was arrested in Times Square for preaching a two-word sermon "Stop Shopping!!!!" Starbucks has a permanent restraining order issued against him.

The review of this movie says this: "Religion aside for a moment, there's a terrible addiction that has swept across this country, and it's one of the nation's best kept secrets. Mostly everyone will tell you that it's a really bad thing, but nobody can seem to stop doing it. And it doesn't come cheap, nearly sixty percent of us are in long term debt because of it. No, we're not talking booze, drugs or overeating. It's shopping. And over 15 million Americans may in fact be addicted to it."

Spurlocks' intention is to inspire real reflection when it comes to exactly what this consumerized holiday season is all about. Reverend Billy and entourage put out a wakeup call to mall junkies everywhere, exorcising the demons from assorted cash registers and credit cards as he urges consumers to return to a more authentic relationship with Christmas.

If you want joy in your Christmas I'd recommend you heed the sermon of Reverend Billy and seek "a more authentic Christmas." I recommend you look to the only One who can bring joy to your world.

Maybe we could start my filtering our Christmas through Jesus' two core values and making them our core values.

Mark 12:29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

 
Contributed By:
Paul Kallan
 
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I would like to bring in here the story of the film “Chocolate” directed by Lasse Hallström [Heinrich Jacob, Der Prediger und Katechet, 6/2002. pages. 849-851]. A small, sleepy, and quiet french city. The inhabitants are lower-middle class, strictly moralistic, tied to tradtion, scrupulous and totally unfree internally and externally. No one dares to be different. Everyone goes to church. The mayor runs the city within the framework of rigid rules. He even corrects the Sunday sermons of the parish priest.

A young mother with her little daughter moves into this city and opens a chocolate shop at the time of Lent. She makes delicious chocolates of different types, which once tasted, no one could resist. This lady is energetic, charming, goal-oriented, sensitive and empathetic. She knows well to sell her chocolates. And she captivates the attention of the entire city.

This shop, the lady and the chocolates disturb the people, that too, at a time of fasting. People, starting with someone daring, begin to buy the chocolates. The established, ordered and the regulated life of the city is disturbed. The chocolate shop becomes the meeting point of the people of the city. There is encounter, conversation, friendship, joy and laughter. But there is also opposition. The lady is even threatened in order to leave the city. But the openness and the trust of the people for the joy and hope she brought into their lives overcome all opposition. And we see the mayor himself quietly climbing a tree to have a look at the chocolates in the shop-window. Finally all come to the shop, mayor and the priest alike. And the priest was ever after free to preach the sermons he prepared.

This story has a deeper symbolic meaning. This lady and the medium of chocolate stand for healing and happiness, for transformation and rebirth, for resurrection and for salvation. Everything in the city changes. There is a new life, a new city and a new world for the people. There begin to show up all the signs of a truly christian community: accepting others, open for friendship with strangers, giving and taking, a communicative relationship with one another and gratitude as a response to the gift of life and togetherness.

 
Contributed By:
Michael McCartney
 
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Note: I do not show this clip to discredit those individuals who are genuine and are sent by God to go around the world and hold revival meetings.

Illustration: From the Movie clip from “Leap of Faith”

Clip: The one were they put their show of deception on for the first time. He tells them stories of lies to deceive the people in giving him more money. His whole plan is to get the people hyped so as to buy into his lies literally. The whole scene shows that a false prophet can put on a show saying the right things but in essence delivering a message of lies and degrading the Gospel of truth.

The movie is about a preacher named Nightingale who is a con man out to take a small town for everything they got as he puts on a show of deception. He is not a man of God but claims he is as he preaches with flair. He fakes miracles’, words of knowledge and other signs from God. He uses and misuses the people of this small town trying to drain them dry of their money. But an amazing thing happens God actually shows up and does a miracle for a young boy. This rocks the fake prophet and he gives up his life of deception and as he is leaving the world of deception God does another miracle by sending the nee...

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Contributed By:
Brice Early
 
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Charlie Browns Christmas--The clip is when Linus and Charlie brown are standing by the cement wall and Charlie Brown talks about how Christmas causes him to be depressed and how he doesn’t look forward to it. The draw is that not everyone looks forward to Christmas and the holidays. When the world preaches that Christmas is family, not everyone has a family. When Walmart advertises it is important to be home for the holidays, not everyone has a home to go to. Many have lost a spouse, friend, child, been through a crisis, divorce, or whatever that does not bring feelings of joy and anticipation at this time of the year. This clip introduces a humorous and family friendly tie to this point. Approximately 1 minuite long.

 
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Lord of the Rings. You can see throughout the movie there are tonnes of stuff that you can use for the purpose of preaching. Sam was a friend of Froto that never left his side. Even through the toughest times, he would never leave, and he stayed with him until the end. Until the ring was destroyed.

 
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