Illustration results for 1 thessalonians 1
What if your science professor announces that your first experiment will involve studying the properties of acids. She places a 500 ML Pyrex beaker containing clear liquid on the lab table and says, "This is sulfuric acid." In response to her explanation, imagine your lab partner, Jim blurts out, "I don’t believe this is sulfuric acid. It looks like water to me." Jim, you discover, is so sincere about his belief that the Pyrex beaker contains water, that he decides to drink it. What will happen to Jim? Despite his sincerity, Jim’s belief that the beaker contained water did not change the nature of its contents. He may believe with all of his heart that the beaker only contains water but the acid will still kill him. One may be sincere and yet sincerly wrong.
FAITH AND WORKS
There was once a Scotsman who rowed people across a river. On one oar he had carved the word 'faith' and on the other oar he had carved the word 'works'. One day as he was rowing, one of the passengers noticed the carvings and asked him about them. The Scotsman did not reply but pulled in the oar marked 'works' and started to row with only one oar. The boat went round in circles. He then pulled in the oar marked 'faith' and started to row only with the 'works' oar. The boat again went round in circles, but this time in the opposite direction. He then rowed with both oars and reached the other bank safely.
Before his passenger got off the boat he said, 'A Christian must row his life using both oars, faith and works. Only then will he reach heaven's shore.'
True faith influences the heart and life so that we obey God and serve others. The Thessalonians were acting out their faith in works of compassion and mercy. Here Paul is probably referring to their fearless preaching of the gospel in the midst of persecution.
(Source: Shenton, T. (2006). Opening up 1 Thessalonians (15--16). Leominster: Day One Publications.)
Ernest Hemmingway was once asked to write a story in just six words. He wrote a sad one ...
"For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn."
The world's shortest story inspired writer Larry Smith who wondered what memoirs people might be able to concoct in just six words. So he began a website which, to date, has received 30,000 contributions, the best of which have been published in a book.
The results are sad, funny, inspiring ...
"Revenge is living well without you."
"Was father. Boys died. Still sad."
"Story of my life: Unintended consequences."
"Clever with numbers. Not with men."
"Met young. Got married. Still infatuated."
"Raised by lunatics. Still in recovery."
"Stole wife. Lost friends. Now happy."
"Work in progress. Come back later."
"Father died. Mother ineffectual. Succeeded anyway."
"Escaped from past to live present."
"Not quite what I was planning."
"I was born. Some assembly required."
"People lie. Keep trying to believe."
"Started off normal. Things went awry."
"Macular denegration. Didn't see that coming."
SLOW AND STEADY
The power of the Holy Spirit is not just for salvation, but transformation, a process that might be slow and gradual. The difference might look like this:
You can take ten gallons of gasoline and release a tremendous amount of power and energy by just dropping a lighted match into it. It makes a dramatic onetime impact. But there is another way to release the energy in that gasoline. Place it in the fuel tank of a new Honda, designed to get 30 miles to the gallon. The high tech engine will use that ten gallons of gasoline to take a person 300 miles or more.
Explosions may be spectacular, but the sustained, controlled burn has staying power. You don’t want to be a flash in the pan, you want to make...
Sermon Central Staff
APPRECIATION: BETTER THAN A PAYCHECK
You don't have to teach people to complain, criticize, or be selfish. We're naturals at it. But we do have to learn to express appreciation. People need to be appreciated.
A businessman went downtown to his office one morning, a couple of hours earlier than usual. He had some things he wanted to do before the employees came to work. No one was there when he arrived except old Tom, the custodian of the building. Old Tom was a faithful employee of many years service to the company. When the boss walked into his office there was old Tom emptying the ashtrays, dusting the furniture, and tidying up the place.
When the boss noticed him going about his routine, he said, "Tom, you know, as I look around this place, I can't help thinking what an asset you have been to our organization for all these years. You have kept this place clean and cheerful for our employees and our customers to enjoy."
"Tom," he said, "You are an important member of this organization and I want you to know that I appreciate you and all you have done."
Old Tom said "Thank you, boss," and walked out of the room with his dust cloth in his hand.
A few minutes passed and the boss had settled down to work at his desk--and then the door to his office opened and in came Tom. His eyes were moist--there was a tear on his cheek. The boss could not understand. He said, "What is wrong, Tom, did I say something to offend you?"
Tom said, "No boss, you didn't offend me, but I have something I want to tell you."
"Boss," he said, "You know that I have worked right here in this place for seventeen years--twelve of those years I have worked for you--and this morning is the first time anyone ever told me that they appreciated anything I do."
He said, "Boss, I just wanted you to know that I appreciate what you said to me this morning more than I have ever appreciated my paycheck that you sign for me. I just wanted to tell you." He then turned and walked out of the room
(Mike Rothenberger, Dale Carnegie & Assoc. From a sermon by Ed Sasnett, Friends, 8/11/2011)
LABOR PROMPTED BY LOVE
Bernard Newman tells how once he stayed in a Bulgarian peasant’s house. All the time he was there the daughter was stitching away at a dress. He said to her, "Don’t you ever get tired of that eternal sewing?"
"Oh no!" she said. "You see, this is my wedding dress." Work done for love always has a glory.
(Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT).)
2 Samuel 12:1-12:15
1 Thessalonians 1:1-1:10
Can you imagine what it was like for the church in Smyrna as they watched their beloved and aged pastor burn at the stake? Polycarp was his name. he was a disciple of Jesus’ disciple, the Apostle John. One could tell it immediately because he possessed the same tenderness and compassion as his mentor.
Polycarp was Bishop of the church at Smyrna (present day Turkey). Persecution broke out in Smyrna and many Christians were fed to the wild beasts in the arena. The godless and bloodthirsty crowd called for the carcass of the leader – Polycarp.
The authorities sent a search party to find him. He had been taken into hiding for some Christians but the Romans tortured two young believers until they finally disclosed his location. When the authorities arrival was announced there was still time to whisk Polycarp away but he refused to go saying, “God’s will be done.”
In one of the most touching instances of Christian grace imaginable Polycarp welcome his captors as if they were friends. He talked with them and insisted they eat a meal. Ha made only one request before being taken away – he asked for one hour to pray. The Roman soldiers listened to his prayer. Their hearts melted and they gave him 2 hours to pray. They had second thoughts as well and were overheard asking each other why they were sent to arrest him?
Other authorities also experienced a warmed heart when Polycarp arrived. The Proconsul tried to find a way to release him too. “curse God and I will let you go!” he pleaded.
Polycarp’s reply was: “For eighty-six years I have served him. He has never done me wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King was has saved me?”
The Proconsul again looked for a way out. “The do this old man, just swear by the spirit of the emperor and that will be sufficient.’
Polycarp’s reply was: “If you imagine for a moment that I would do that, then I think you pretend that you don’t know who I am. Hear it plainly. I am a Christian.”
More entreaties by the Proconsul
Polycarp stood firm.
The proconsul threatened with the wild beasts.
Polycarp’s reply was: “Bring them forth. I would...
HE’S FORGOTTEN- COMMUNION MEDITATION
She was crazy. Everyone knew it because she had the habit of talking to herself in public and it was known that she believed she even talked to Jesus - and Jesus talked back to her. A new preacher came to town and, hearing of the crazy woman, thought that he might be able to make her face reality.
One day, as he saw her walking down the street he spoke to her and eventually got around to asking, "I hear you talk to Jesus."
"Yes," she replied. "Jesus and I talk for just hours and hours."
"Would you do me a favor?" the minister began. "Could you ask Him something for me?"
"Why of course," the old woman responded.
"Would you ask Jesus what the last sin was that I confessed to Him?"
"Certainly," she replied.
The next day, the preacher saw the crazy woman just down the street and so he approached her asked, "Well, did you talk to Jesus last night?"
"Why, I surely did," she squealed.
"What did He say was the...