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I used the famous Gene Kelly scene from Singing in the Rain as an illustration of Romans 5:17. The Sermon title was Singing in the Reign. Kelly’s dance was full of the child-like love we can feel and experience in knowing that God has freely given us His abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness. Kelly’s exhuberant joy is dampened by the appearance of the policeman - an apt illustration of moving from grace and the free gift back into legalism!

 
Contributed By:
Alan Perkins
 
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[Clip: "Everybody Loves Raymond," excerpted from episode 119, "Talk To Your Daughter". Note: this episode is one of four included in a "For Your Consideration" DVD/VHS package that was prepared for the 2002 Emmy voters. You might find it on ebay.]

Deborah: Ally just doesn’t want to know how we get here; she wants to know why we’re here. Why God put us on earth. She’s waiting for Ray to answer her.

Frank: What’s wrong with you - it’s simple.

Raymond: Oh, okay - we’re going to learn the meaning of life from a guy who wants threw his show at a swan.

Frank: That’s called protecting your sandwich. Listen to me. Here’s what life is - you’re born, you go to school, you go to work, you die. That’s it, that’s all, canoli Marie.

Raymond: We’re not talking about what we do while we here, dad.

Robert: Yeah, the big question is why we’re here in the first place.

Marie: I think Ally is too young to be worrying about things like this.

Deborah: No, I’m proud of her. I love it that she’s such an independent thinker.

Raymond: If she’s so independent, why can’t she figure this out herself?

Deborah: Ray, just get up there and tell her that God put us on earth to help each other. It’s simple, it’s direct, it’s a good way for her to live her life.

Raymond: What are you talking about? That doesn’t answer anything? What - are you telling me that God says, "mmm, let’s see - what should I put there?"

Robert: That’s your God?

Raymond: Yeah.

Robert: No way. It’s got to be deeper and cool..."Hello, I’m God."

Marie: Keep going Raymond. I think you’re a wonderful God.

Raymond: Thank you. So what did God say? Hey, "I’m going to put some humans on earth, so they can help each other." Or, "I can just skip humans altogether and go hit a bucket of balls."

Marie: Oh, I know. It’s all in the Bible.

Robert: Ever think about space? What is it? Is it really endless? I mean if you had a spaceship, could you go flying and flying into space forever?

Frank: Why don’t you give it a shot?

Robert: No, I’m not kidding around here. How could space go on forever? And if it doesn’t, what’s at the end?

Marie: Stop it, Robert. You’ll give yourself a tummy ache.

Robert: What about the beginning of time? What was it before that? Before time - nothing? What is nothing? How could there be nothing? This doesn’t it bother anybody else?

Marie: Now everybody, listen to me. In the Bible, it says here "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Okay, okay, okay. It might take me a minute.

Deborah: A minute, more, Marie. Scholars have spent their entire life trying to answer this question. You’re not just going to flip through the Bible and find the meaning of life.

Marie: "Oh, ye of little faith" - that’s in here somewhere, too.

Robert: Did you know the fruit fly only lives one day?

Raymond: Ah, are you okay there?

Robert: One day. What’s his meaning of life? Maybe there’s no meaning of life for anyone of us. Am I any different than the fruit fly?

Frank: The "fruit" part’s the same.

Deborah: Robert, the fruit fly doesn’t question why he’s here - that’s what makes us different. I don’t know, maybe that’s kind of the meaning of life. Never knowing the answer, but always wondering about it.

Raymond: So God made us smart enough to know that there’s an answer, but not smart enough to figure it out?

Robert: Come on!!

[End]

 
Contributed By:
Davon Huss
 
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Are You Being Served? was a British sitcom that ran from 1972 to 1985. It was set in the very old-fashioned Grace Brothers department store, owned by Mr. Grace. The program deals with the working life of the staff of the Ladies’ and Gent’s outfitting departments. Captain Peacock is in overall charge on the floor and Mr. Rumbold is the Manager. Gents’ Outfitting is staffed by Mr. Grainger, the flamboyant Mr. Humphries and Mr. Lucas. Ladies’ Outfitting is staffed by witty, plump and multi colored haired Mrs. Slocomb and the typical blonde character Miss Brahms. This sitcom is a humorous look at the workings of a department store. The title comes from the idea that when customers come into Grace Brothers they are asked, “Are you being served?”
When it comes to Christianity are you the one asking, “Are you being served?” Or are you the one to whom the question is asked. Christians should be like these characters in the department store and ask “Are you being served?” Many times Christians believe that they are the customers. As Christians we are not the customers, we are the service workers.
Many ask, "Where can I get the best deal" instead of where can I serve? We are the Mr. Humphries and Mrs. Slocomb’s to the world.
Yes, from time to time, we need to be served but this should not be our mindset. Our first instict as Christians should be to serve not to be served. Jesus said(Mark 10:45 NIV) For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

 
Contributed By:
Jim Luthy
 
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Consider the experience of young Daniel in the movie, “The Karate Kid.” Daniel finds himself a little out of place when he and his mother move from New Jersey to California. When a group of tough guys beat him up, he enlists the help of Mr. Miyagi, an elderly Japanese gardener from his apartment complex, to teach him karate for self-defense. Mr. Miyagi agrees to teach Daniel and takes him out to his home. Instead of jumping in to the lessons, Daniel is put to work painting a fence, waxing Mr. Miyagi’s car, and sanding the floors. Daniel is growing quite frustrated with his experience, much like some of you who are frustrated with your life experiences. He thought he was supposed to be doing something else.

What Daniel didn’t know is that Mr. Miyagi was teaching him all along. The movements from the chores he was doing were the basics of karate. When Mr. Miyagi demonstrated that he was actually teaching the young student all along, Daniel was amazed and put his trust in him. From that day on, Daniel put his faith in Mr. Miyagi to teach him karate and much more.

In the same way that...

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Contributed By:
Joel Pankow
 
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Jackie Chan movie. This man is very innovative in the way that he makes fight scenes. Instead of just using normal karate chops and the like, he will use common every day items and create unbelievable fight scenes with them. In one scene, he fights off dozens of men with a common every day step ladder. I suppose some would be unimpressed with his action scenes. But when I saw that, I couldn’t believe how he orchestrated the action. In a sense, that’s what’s so amazing about God! But a hundred times more! He creates salvation through the birth of a boy - something that we see every day. He decides to save the world and bring life - through all things - an instrument of death - a cross! You would expect God - a powerful God - to use power to save the world. You would expect God to try and impress us with powerful miracles to convert us. But instead, He uses weakness! He uses the staff of His Word! With this simple tool - words - God converts us! He gets us to put our hands over our mouths - crawl on our knees before Him - and turn in fear to HIM for forgiveness. When we see God take us out of this sinful world and plant us into HIS kingdom - it brings us out of our dens of self righteousness and into the light of his SON! That’s exciting! If that doesn’t at least bring some joy to your heart - you’d best pinch yourself - because you must be dead!

 
Contributed By:
Dan Erickson
 
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In 1981 the movie, Chariots of Fire, won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This Hollywood film told the true story of a devout Christian, Eric Liddell, in a very positive way. I want to just show you a clip of the film. Eric has decided he must forfeit his chance to run in the 200 meter dash at the 1924 Paris Olympics because the qualifying meet will be held on Sunday. His coach, and some others, try to convince him to change his mind.......wow! It is great to see someone who is willing to hold to his convictions no matter what it costs. Yet, think about the stand that Eric is taking. He won’t participate in the race, simply because it is on Sunday. He believes that to run on Sunday violates the Biblical command, the 4th of the Ten Commandments...to keep the Sabbath day holy.

Many of us in this room probably would not agree with Eric’s position. We would have said, "Eric, lighten up a little. Is this really the mountain you want to die defending? It is just one race. There will be plenty of time to go to church before or after the meet. Your decision not to run may keep you from witnessing to others about Christ." Today most Christians see Sunday as just the day we happen to meet for church. Many feel there is really nothing special about the day and going to church on Saturday night or Wednesday evening is just as good. Who is right? Eric Liddell, and other Christians who have been zealous in their efforts to observe the Sabbath, or the many Christians today who have no qualms about playing, shopping, or working on Sunday? How important is the Sabbath?

 
Contributed By:
Michael McCartney
 
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McCartney’s Video Illustration: From The movie “The Great Escape” preview of the movie. The movie is about Allied soldiers who planned and executed “The Great Escape” from a German Prisoner of War camp in WWII. The movie focuses on how determined these soldiers were to escape from their present condition of bondage. These men planned their escape carefully. They worked hard and sacrificed to execute their escape plan. This plan was designed to set over 200 prisoners of war free. The escape was successful but many of the ones who got freed were recaptured by the Germans. The good news is though there were those who made it home to their land of freedom.

Spiritual Point: These men knew the risk for breaking out of their prisoner of war camp. They knew that to execute the escape would require sacrifice and hard work. They knew that if the Germans caught them as they dug tunnels or forged documents that the result would be severe punishment. But they did it any way so that they could be free. So they planned the route to freedom and executed it with their sacrificial lives. The big day came and many were freed temporally. The officers who escaped were executed and the others returned to face severe punishment but the truth was some of them made it.

There are many who are prisoners today in the current spiritual war fro the world. The warring powers are the powers of good and evil. One power wants us to yield to our sinful evil desires and the other wants us to resist the sinful way of this corrupt world. The one who resists and takes the route to freedom will be freed for all eternity. The other one who allows themselves to stay in captivity to this world will have no life and no future.

 
Contributed By:
Darren McCormick
 
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Let’s look at a video clip that really drives this point home… [VIDEO CLIP]
{From the movie “Facing the Giants” --scene where player does the “death crawl” the length of the field. Available online.}

I don’t know about you, but when the coach put the blindfold on because he didn’t want his player to give up before giving his all, I couldn’t help but think of the scripture which says “we walk by faith and not by sight.”

I’m sure you noticed how the boys on the sidelines went from joking around and casual on-looking to being fully engaged and watching closely what their friend was doing on the field. And you can go ahead and admit it too---didn’t you find yourself suddenly intensely involved in what was happening on the screen? Here’s something you can be sure of---just as those other players were watching their teammate on the field---people are watching us. You can mark it down and count on it. Skeptics and unbelievers are watching us. The spiritually curious are watching us. Other believers are watching us.
[BACK TO BLANK SLIDE # 20]
And we need so much to understand that how we endure hardship can greatly impact those around us positively or negatively. We need to realize that how we handle hardship can either significantly increase our tragically reduce our witness to the non-Christians around us. In fact I believe that that’s one of the reasons God allows bad things to happen to Christians. God knows that when Christians endure hardship well, others notice and t...

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Contributed By:
Pat Cook
 
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Courage shows up in different ways. The movie, “You’ve Got Mail”, is a romantic comedy centered around a big bookstore shutting down a little book store. There’s a conversation that happens over lunch between an older lady named Berdie, who works at the smaller store, and Kathleen, the younger owner of the store, whose mother owned it before her.

Berdie says, “Closing the store is the brave thing to do.”

Kathleen appreciates the comment but says, “You are such a liar, but thank you.”

Berdie, taken aback, says, “You are daring to imagine that you could have a different life. Oh, I know it doesn’t feel like that now. You feel like a big fat failure, but you’re not. You are marching into the unknown armed with nothing. Have a sandwich.”

Sometimes courage means letting go of what you’ve always had.

 
Contributed By:
Michael Gardner
 
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What chain letters, many multi-level marketers and pyramid schemes have in common is this. They appeal to greed. It is the theology of Wall Street. In that film, Michael Douglas’ character, Gordon Gecko delivers this speech,
“…greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit… …and greed -- you mark my words -- will not only save (this company), but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”

The problem is, though that philosophy is popular, and even pervasive, it is fundamentally false. Greed leads to incredible evil. “Wall Street” was prophetic.

Ivan Boesky, David Brace and Faith Metro Church in Wichita, ENRON, EXXON, AIG, WORLDCOM, HALLIBURTON, MORGAN STANLEY - you fill in the names of the companies and individuals who have been indicted.

On the other side of the theological equation is the Gospel, as practiced by Jesus and circulated in a different kind of chain letter by the Apostle Paul.

Two thirds of the New Testament comes from him, from his Missionary Journeys and his, for lack of a better phrase, “Letters and Papers from prison.” His letters, which we count as Biblical truth, circulated from prison. They changed the world and the people in it. He wrote to places like Philippi, Corinth, Thessalonica, Ephesus, and Rome. I have been there.
“Pray for me,” he wrote from prison, “so that when I speak, I may make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.”
And he did make the Gospel known, sometimes at great cost. He was imprisoned multiple times for his witness to Christ -- in Jerusalem, Caesarea Philippi, in Rome, under house arrest and then again in Rome at his death.

 
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