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A few years ago there was a TV show called Early Edition. The main character in this program would receive a paper every day that showed what was going to happen the next day. He would then set out to correct the bad things before they happened. Through a series of events in which he often put himself in harms way he would accomplish his destiny.
If we as Christians new something bad was going to happen to someone we would try to prevent it – wouldn’t we? We know hell is real and certain for everyone who doesn’t know Jesus, so let’s gather in and pray for God to motivate us like the rich man to share the truth.
Revelation vs. Lord of the Rings
Many, many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, say they find the Book of the Revelation ‘uncomfortable’. They find much of the imagery disturbing, and are put off by the concept of God’s judgement on the world. Yet in recent days millions of people have flocked to the cinema to see the film ‘Lord of the Rings’, in which state of the art special effects are used to bring to life J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Many of the images in the film are also quite frightening, but that does not seem to put people off.
Indeed much of the message of both books is the same, of an on-going war between the forces of good and evil. In both cases too evil is ultimately defeated, and destroyed, whilst the forces of good prevail. The difference of course is that ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is fiction, and will never come true, whilst the really disturbing thought for people about the Book of the Revelation is that it just might.
Revelation 1: 1 – 3; Revelation 4:1; Revelation 20: 18 - 20
Superman fought a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way. Christians fight a battle for truth, justice and God’s way. The ancient words of Amos will never go out of date: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE HIM
In the classic "Twilight Zone" episode from 1960, "The Howling Man," an American on a walking trip through central Europe gets caught in a raging storm. Staggering through the blinding rain, he chances upon an imposing medieval castle. It is a hermitage for a brotherhood of monks. The reclusive monks reluctantly take him in.
Later that night, the American discovers a cell with a man locked inside. An ancient wooden staff bolts the door. The prisoner claims he’s being held captive by the "insane" head monk, Brother Jerome. He pleads for the American to release him.
The prisoner’s kindly face and gentle voice win him over. The American confronts Brother Jerome, who declares that the prisoner is actually none other than Satan, "the father of lies," held captive by the Staff of Truth, the one barrier he cannot pass.
This incredible claim convinces the American that Jerome is indeed mad. As soon as he gets the chance, he releases the prisoner—who immediately transforms into a hideous, horned demon and vanishes in a puff of smoke!
The stunned American i...
Sermon Central Staff
THE PARENT TRAP: THE JOY OF HAVING A DAD
Anyone ever seen the original The Parent Trap with Hayley Mills done in 1961? Have you seen the remake from 1998? In the remake Lindsay Lohan plays the twins and Dennis Quaid is the father. If you know the story then you’ll remember that identical twins, separated at birth by their parent’s divorce meet 11 years later at camp and change places. They want to meet the parent they’ve never had.
As Annie James, Lindsay flies home to her father who doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. Their conversation goes like this.
She runs to embrace him with a big smile, saying, "Dad! Finally!" The father tells her he missed her and a lot had been happening. Annie responds, "A lot’s been happening to me too, Dad. I mean, I feel I’m practically a new woman!"
In the car Quaid notices she can’t stop looking at him and asks, "What? Did I cut myself shaving?"
Annie answers, "No. It’s just seeing you for the first time. I mean, you know, in so long."
As they drive Annie discusses the camp, ending almost every sentence with "Dad". He asks, "Why do you keep saying ’Dad’ at the end of every sentence?"
Annie answers, "I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was doing it, Dad. Sorry, Dad." They both laugh. "Do you want to know why I keep saying ’Dad’? The truth?"
The father says, "Because you missed your old man so much, right?"
"Exactly. It’s because in my whole life—I mean, you know, for the past eight weeks—I was never able to say the word ’Dad’. Never. Not once. And if you ask me, a dad is an irreplaceable person in a girl’s life. Think about it. There’s a whole day devoted to celebrating fathers. Just imagine someone’s life without a father. Never buying a Father’s Day card. Never sitting on their father’s lap. Or being able to say ’Hi, Dad,’ or, ’What’s up, Dad?’ or, ’Catch you later, Dad.’ I mean, a baby’s first words are always ’Dada,’ aren’t they?"
The father asks, "Let me see if I get this. You missed being able to call me ’Dad’?"
Annie answers, "Yeah, I really have, Dad."
(Source: The Parent Trap 1998 Disney, IMDb.com. From a sermon by Charles Wilkerson, Who’s Your Daddy, 11/10/2009)
There used to be a show on cable television called, "Tales from the Darkside." The title sounds a little more sinister than the series really was, because I’m not one to watch scary movies and such. It was more like the old show, "The Twilight Zone." In one episode, there was an old man who lived with his son and their family, and he loved living there. Early in the episode, the man had a heart attack and died. But he enjoyed being with his family so much, he wouldn’t admit it. He went on living there until he began to decay and decompose. You can imagine what the smell must have been like for the family! [Well, folks, that is what happens to us when we refuse to die to sin. We STINK to God!] OR [You might not want to admit the truth in your life, but sooner or later, the truth will be revealed.]
If some of you are like me, you’ve been waiting with a bit of anticipation for the final segment of J.R.R. Tolkiens, The Lord of the Rings, to be released to movie theatres some time in the near future. If you’ve been following the story on the screen or reading it from the pages of a book, you’ve been introduced to a rather unique character by the name of Gollum, who once possessed a ring forged by the evil Sardon, and now in the possession of Frodo Baggins, who knows that it ultimately must be destroyed in order to spare the world untold evil and destruction. The trouble is the ring has a history of driving those who possess it raving mad, a truth beginning to show itself in Frodo, but clearly witnessed in Gollum who appears totally consumed with the ring, calling it, as others owners have, “His precious.”
It’s really quite despicable to see a creature so absolutely driven and obsessed with something so evil. Perhaps it’s even more troubling when we recognize that this is us, every time our sinful human nature brings us to speak with a sharp and bitter tongue or act out our hateful or lustful desires which we’ve concluded to be more “precious” than the will of our God.
But I want you to keep that image of total consumption, of whole-hearted attention, of obsession in mind. Keep it there because as much as humanity is caught-up in sin, as negatively consumed and driven as Gollum was towards that symbol of evil; our God is positively consumed with us. In God’s eyes our lives are to be treated with the utmost care, so that even our deaths are a precious thing. “Precious in your sight, O Lord, is the death of your saints.”
Our God is not consumed with personal gain, but with ours. He’s not consumed with His own well-being, but with ours. He’s totally wrapped up in the troubles that confront us, death being the culmination of them all. He’s completely devoted to pouring out its remedy. Our life and that which threatens to destroy it completely in hell has our Lord’s whole-hearted attention. It’s His precious.
Even if you never saw the movie “A Few Good Men,” you’re probably familiar with one scene.
Tom Cruise plays a military lawyer and is interrogating tough-guy Jack Nicholson.
Cruise is getting nowhere and finally yells, “I WANT THE TRUTH!”
And Jack Nicholson shouts back. “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"
Truth is difficult stuff. Sometimes it’s hard to handle.
OUR TONGUES GET US INTO TROUBLE
The classic movie, "A Christmas Story," is a nostalgic look at growing up in Gary, Indiana, through the eyes of a boy named Ralphy. One scene depicts a school recess in the middle of winter. Two boys surrounded by their classmates argue whether a person’s tongue will stick to a metal pole in below-freezing weather.
Eventually one of the boys succumbs to the infamous "triple-dog dare." Hesitantly he sticks his tongue out and touches it to the school flagpole.
Sure enough, it gets stuck. The recess bell rings. Everyone runs into the school building, everyone except the hapless victim. When the teacher finally looks out the window, she sees the boy writhing in pain, his tongue frozen to the flagpole.
While few of us have been in that predicament, we all know what it’s like to have our tongues get us in trouble. When we suffer the pain that eventually recoils upon everyone who speaks boastful words, lying words, bitter and cruel words, hypocritical or doubting words, we learn the truth of the proverb, "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles." (Prov. 21:23)
— M. Castillo, Whitewater, Kansas, quoted in Leadership, p. 49 — (10,000 Sermon Illustrations)
WHEN PRAYER STIRS UP A CAN OF WORMS
Some of the questions addressed in the TV show called "CAN OF WORMS" are "Is porn a normal, healthy part of adult life?" 52% of Austalians said "No!" "Is marriage necessary anymore?" 78% of Australians said "Yes!" and 68% said that gay people also have a right to marry.
Three guests, a studio audience and people from all over the world find out what Australia really thinks, especially controversial subjects such as political correctness and personal values. "Do Australians swear too much? Is the burqa out of place in Australia? Is it OK to spy on your kids online?" Each question is designed to open up a CAN OF WORMS. No absolute values. No right or wrong answers.
To open a can of worms means "to inadvertently create a host of new problems while trying to solve one." The idea is that once you open a can of worms it is impossible to stop them from trying to escape.
Way back in Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve sinned they OPENED A CAN OF WORMS. Their actions released a host of IRREVERSIBLE PROBLEMS and COMPLICATIONS into the world that only God could resolve. As long as the "can" remained sealed through obedience to God, there was no harm, but once it was opened it set off a chain reaction of events with totally unexpected and complex consequences that irrevocably changed our world. It's called SIN.
Just because God answers my prayers doesn't mean I won't experience difficulties or that I won't feel out of my depth. Everytime I pray, something in the spiritual atmosphere of this world is STIRRED UP as God intervenes to deal with the CAN OF WORMS created by our sin.
Will I try to adjust the plans of God in my life? Prayer releases the promises of God, but am I really willing for God to answer the deepest prayers of my life when I don't know WHERE IT WILL LEAD? Who knows what could happen? UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES that only He can foresee, IRREVOCABLE PROBLEMS and COMPLICATIONS that only He can resolve? A MINE FIELD to navigate where only He can lead?
The believing line of descendents from Abraham carry the promises of the Covenant. The Messiah Jesus will come from this line, and in fulfilling this promise the world will be IRREVOCABLY CHANGED. A battle begins, and is waged in the hearts of men and women to this very day.
Romans 8:28 (NLT) assures me "that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them." When prayer stirs up a can of worms, I am unable to deal with it, BUT GOD CAN. He can sort out the mess.
Somehow only the Lord Jesus Christ can deal with the consequences of my sin, no matter how complicated, twisted and out of control things have become. It may mean He does things a little differently to our expectations and it may cut across our cultural norms and look totally upside down to us, but He knows what He is doing. He is the only WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE (John 14:6). The invitation is always to TRUST in Him.