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Contributed By:
Frank Gallagher
 
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If anyone here ever watches the TV show Seinfeld, you know that Jerry’s next door neighbor, Kramer, is very much at home in Jerry’s apartment. He probably spends more time there than in his own apartment. He has his own set of keys, and lets himself in whenever he wants. He eats whatever is in the refrigerator, and takes anything else he wants from Jerry’s apartment, usually returning it broken or not at all.

In a way, that’s the way Jesus wants us to feel about His Word, the Bible. He wants us to spend a lot of time there, and has given us His Holy Spirit as the key. God wants us to be "at home" in His Word, to be ourselves there, and to make use of all that it has to offer. The blessings in the Scriptures are ours to take freely without having to repay. So my second point is that Jesus wants us to use His Word as our home.

 
Contributed By:
Tony Miano
 
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The movie industry has made some pretty creative attempts at explaining conflict with god. For those of you that remember the movie “Caddyshack,” there is a scene toward the end of the movie in which a golfing enthusiast priest is playing the round of his life. As he makes his way around the links, the weather turns.

The movie depicts the scene as a battle between this priest in search of nirvana through a golf game and a insensitive and spiteful god that would thwart the priest’s quest for that perfect game. The scene ends with the priest defiantly raising his putter to the violent heavens and being struck down by a well-placed bolt of lighting.

I’m sure many of you have seen the movie “Forrest Gump.” Well, there is a scene in this movie about man’s conflict with god as well. In this movie, the character “Lt. Dan,” who lost both of his legs in a battle in a Vietnamese jungle, and was saved by none other than Forrest Gump, decides its time to have it out with god.

Forrest, by this time, is trying to make it on his own as a shrimp boat captain. Lt. Dan joins Forrest as his first mate. The two men manage only to salvage tires, license plates, and toilet seats from the ocean’s bottom. After several failed attempts, Lt. Dan asks Forrest, “Where’s this god of yours?”

As soon as Lt. Dan asked the question, god arrived in the form of a destructive hurricane. As the storm rages, we find Lt. Dan strapped to the top of the mast, next to an American flag, shaking his fist at god, daring god to try to destroy the boat, and cursing like a sailor. When the storm subsides, Lt. Dan and Forrest’s boat was the only one still afloat. Since no one else could harvest the shrimp, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company became a multi-million dollar industry. A few minutes later in the movie we find Lt. Dan at peace with the world. He had met god face to face, so the filmmaker would have us believe, and won.

Let me share with you one last example, one that I saw recently. The scene is found in the season finale of the popular television show “The West Wing.” President Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen, faces his major conflict with god.

The scene finds President Bartlett alone in the National Cathedral following the funeral of his secretary and long-time friend. The President orders his chief of staff to tell the Secret Service agents outside to secure the perimeter so he won’t be disturbed. After a moment or two of silence, Bartlett does battle with god.

Bartlett begins to curse god for, as he saw it, causing his friend to die in a car accident. He curses god and blames him for the other tragedies that have occurred up to this point, during his presidency. He defiantly lights a cigarette, takes a few puffs, and then tosses the cigarette to the floor, crushing it under his shoe as he gives god a dirty look.

The producers of the show set the scene the way they did in order to try to get the audience to feel sorry for Sheen’s character and respect his independence and defiance of god. It certainly didn’t work for me. In fact, I was so offended by the scene; I doubt I’ll watch the show again.

In all likelihood, and I think I’m on safe ground with this assumption, the producers of the shows I just described have spent little time studying James’ letter. From what we see often times in the media, conflict with god is portrayed as something god desires and causes.

More often than not, we find man as the hero in the conflict and god being the weak, unknowable force. In the media, when man comes to terms with god, it is more often than not due to man’s strength and god’s capitulation, not as a result of man’s submission to God’s will. Hollywood does not see conflict with God the same way James does, or the way we should.

If you go on-line and read the transcript of this portion of this morning’s message, you will see that when I describe these various scenes, I use a little “g” when I make mention of God. The reason is simple. In depicting man’s conflict with God, Hollywood shows quite brazenly that they have no idea who the God of the Bible is.

This morning, as we study God’s Word, we’re going to see what conflict with God looks like from God’s perspective, not man’s.

 
Contributed By:
James May
 
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I remember a few years ago, that the Disney Channel presented a movie called “Flight of the Navigator”. It was a Sci-Fi movie where a young boy is abducted by an alien spacecraft. It seems that this spacecraft was piloted by a computer generated being that consisted only of one long mechanical arm with a large eye at the end of it. This spacecraft had somehow been damaged and needed some place to store its memory banks before it lost all of its star maps. The alien had attempted to fill the mind of the captive boy with all of the information contained in its computer systems but found out that the information was “leaking” from the boys mind as fast as they could put it in.

I believe that this is the same problem that we have in our own minds this very morning! We come to church, sit before the preacher, or even study the Word of God in our own study time and then we find that we can’t remember most of what we read or heard because our mind had a pinhole in it that let all the information leak out!

 
Contributed By:
Timothy Smith
 
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Phil Connors is a self-centered weather reporter who is experiencing one heck of a day. In fact, he’s reliving this one day over and over again, the same day repeating itself it’s - Groundhog day. Every day is exactly the same in the way it unfolds. Phil knows everything that’s going to happen before it happens. Each day is predictable but also another opportunity for Phil to change. Finally, he comes to care for the people he once disdained. Because he knows exactly what is going to happen he begins helping them in ways that only he knows they need. What he learns is that his divine-like intervention can be a thankless job.

{Video Clip - Groundhog Day - Start: Chp. 23: 01:21:54 - End: Chp.24: 01:23:30 = 1:36}

Most of us are like Phil. We ex...

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Contributed By:
Brent Bond
 
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MULTIMEDIA: Walking Across Egypt: The Casket (00:01:02)
Wingclips.com
END CUE: movie title then fades to black

For those who have had to make funeral arrangements, the business of it can seem cold – as in the video clip, Walking Across Egypt. While many funeral directors and cemetery developers are honorable and helpful, there are those who exploit the vulnerability of grieving families.

 
Contributed By:
Glenn Durham
 
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Last week, as part of their study of WWII, we watched, The Longest Day, a classic film with dozens of famous actors, including John Wayne.

Much of the action centers on the allies efforts to take Omaha Beach. The Germans had every tactical advantage and hundreds of men were killed by machine gun fire. Eventually, however, cigar-chomping General Robert Mitchum develops a plan for success. A large concrete wall protecting a valley will be destroyed by dynamite and the men will pour through this one area and take control.

As he prepares his men to implement this plan, Mitchum gives a great speech, the culmination of which is: “I don’t care if you are injured; I do not want to know if you are hurt. There is only one condition for remaining on the beach and not following my orders—if you are already dead.”

And sure enough, after the bomb rips away the barrier, Mitchum stands and gives the signal, and troops pour through by the tens of thousands, overrunning the German defenses.

But some men did not rise from the sand and charge. Why not? Because they were dead. And why did tens of thousands get up and risk their lives for the cause? Because they heard the voice of the General. The General did not make them alive; but those who were alive, heard and attacked.

In John 6, Jesus explains (without embarrassment or uncertainty) the doctrine of election: “All that the Father gives me will c...

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