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a recent poll by the Barna Research Group in America found that only 37% of adults thought the birth of Jesus is the most important aspect of Christmas. 44% of the respondents said family time is the most important part of the Christmas celebration. 3% said presents or parties were the most important part of Christmas. The same percentage said the best thing about Christmas was getting a paid holiday. And that’s in America, what you might have thought was the most Christian country in the world!
Three military recruiters showed up to address high school seniors. Each recruiter - representing the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps - was to have fifteen minutes. The Army and Navy recruiters got carried away, so when it came time for the Marine to speak, he had just two minutes. He walked up and stood utterly silent for a full sixty seconds, half of his time. Then he said this: "I doubt whether there are two or three of you in this room who could even cut it in the Marine Corps. But I want to see those two or three immediately in the dining hall when we are dismissed." He turned smartly and sat down. When he arrived in the dining hall, those students interested in the Marines were a mob. The recruiter knew that commitment comes from appealing to the heroic dimension in every heart.
Author Irving Stone has spent a lifetime studying greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo and Vincent van Gogh. Stone was once asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of these exceptional people. He said, “I write about people who sometime in their life. . . have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished . . . and they go to work. They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.” (Crossroads, Issue No. 7, p. 18.)
Garibaldi had an incredibly committed volunteer army. He would appeal for recruits in these terms: “I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions; I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart and not with his lips only, follow me!”
Jesus invites you to discipleship. But He lets you know up front that it is a commitment that will cost you something. It’s...
Sermon Central Staff
YOU CAN MAKE HIM DRINK
Howard Hendricks, one of my professors at Dallas Theological Seminary, sometimes talked about his days when he was a student at the same seminary. In one of those stories, he tells about the time he was invited to preach in west Texas. "You've all heard of Nowhere? Well," Hendricks says, "this was 25 miles beyond that." The teeming crowds were gathering -- all 17 of them, but Hendricks preached with all the fervor and passion of his heart. When he got through, a tall Texan came up to him and said, "You were wrong."
"Well, sir," Hendricks said. "I've been wrong on many occasions. Give me the information."
The Texan replied, "In your sermon you made a moronic statement. You said you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. And that ain't true, 'cause you can feed him salt."
(Howard Hendricks, "Beyond the Bottom Line," Preaching Today, Tape No.101. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Living Stones, 5/19/2011)
AN AUTHENTIC VOICE
The world is waiting to hear an authentic voice, a voice from God--not an echo of what others are doing and saying, but an authentic voice. — A. W. Tozer
Sermon Central Staff
BRETT FAVRE'S PERSEVERANCE
The man, the myth, the legend was born in a tiny rural Mississippi town called Kiln, population 2,040. As a grandson of a Choctaw Indian, he played strong safety, kicker, punter, and quarterback for his high school team that passed less than five times a game. Favre received one and only one scholarship offer to attend Southern Mississippi, who thought he would make a great defensive back. Few people knew that he would be destined for greatness.
Now the year is 2008, and arguably the greatest quarterback of all time is still throwing the pigskin at the age of 38. He has earned the NFL's iron man equivalent by playing in a record of 275 consecutive games. He owns every record in history including: most touchdown passes, most passing yards, most wins by a quarterback, most pass completions, most pass attempts, most MVP awards, most career games with three or more touchdowns, the unusual record of most wins by a quarterback when the temperature falls under 32 degrees, and many others.
There are some unusual instances that only the die hard fans know. Twice, he voluntarily took a pay decreases in order to funnel more money to his offensive lineman. In college, Favre was in a near fatal car accident resulting in the loss of 30 inches of his small intestine, but he still played well enough to lead a come from behind win against Alabama. He played while still suffering from the emotional loss of losing his brother-in-law in a four wheeler accident. And when his own father passed away, he played perhaps the greatest game of his life in front of a Monday Night audience against the Raiders. In baseball terms, he is the equivalent of Babe Ruth, Pete Rose, Cy Young, and Cal Ripken all rolled into one because of the records he holds.
In the sport of football, Brett Favre perseveres. But what about us? And what about our faith? In 2 Timothy 4:7-8, the author Paul now getting up in age takes a brief moment to reflect back on his life. In speaking in entire life long consummation, he explains "I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! Finally, the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day--and not to me only , but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing."
(From a sermon by Tom Papez, We Need to Persevere Like Brett Favre, 5/22/2012)
The year was 1980, Bill Brodherst who hadn’t ran in any race since his high school days decided to begin training for a marathon known as the Pepsi Challenge 10k in Omaha Nebraska. Sending in his application, he wasn’t sure they would accept him as a participant, but soon the approval came back and he was a designated part of the running pack. His major reason for wanting to be in this race was that Bill Rodgers, a nationally known runner was also competing in the challenge and Brodherst wanted to be able to tell others that he had run in a race beside the great Bill Rodgers.
The reason that Brodherst had not run in races since his high school days was that he had been cruelly struck down in the prime of his life with an aneurysm that caused doctors to question if he would ever walk, let alone run. But with determination that only a few may ever understand, Mr. Brodherst continually took on the impossible and met the challenge. Eventually he did learn to walk... but always with a need to drag on foot behind him as he progressed. His running was not much different. One foot ahead, drag the other up... one foot ahead, drag the other up.
At the beginning of the race Brodherst joined the other runners and as the gun went off, the hundreds of competitors trotted off and Bill slowly followed. For a while he could still see them in the distance, and then the crowds cheered him on for a while. Eventually, he heard the sounds of their feet... coming back towards him and towards the finish line. Then the crowds gradually disappeared, and Bill Brodherst ran on alone towards the halfway point. When he reached he found that everyone had left, assuming their were no other runners. But Brodherst doggedly half ran, half dragged himself to the marker and placed his hands on it so that there would be no question that he had reached that destination.
Turning and making his way back toward the final marker he found that he was the forgotten man: the police stayed with him for a while but then they had to leave to return to their duties. Children came out to taunt and imitate him as he painfully made his way on. The markers that had laid out the course had been taken down. But Brodherst trudged on to the goal. Finally, it was in sight... although the crowds had disappeared and all that was left was the line that had painted on the street. Bill Brodherst struggled on with no one to watch his victory over his personal ...
Bill Broadhurst was a great runner and he entered a 10k race in Omahu, a race that Bill Rodgers would win in less than 30 minutes.
Bill Broadhurst had a handicap, he was paralyzed on his entire left side from an aneurism early in life. But he still loved to run and for him to be in the same race as his hero Bill Rodgers was the greatest thing he could imagine.
The banners had been taken down, the traffic had begun to flow on the roads, there was nothing left that would tell you that a race had been run.
Except one man Bill Broadhurst who was still running the race. 2 hours ago Bill Rodgers had finished the race and now Bill Broadhurst was nearing the place where the finish line was. A couple of kids on bikes road beside him and said "hey mister are you still running the race, it’s been over for hours, someone’s already finished first and won, why don’t you quit, the race is over!"
Broadhurst replied, "I can’t, I have to make it to my hero at the end of the line". And he kept on running.
As he approached the place where he knew the finish line would be, Bill Rodgers and about 30 people stepped out from an alley and they placed a banner up and strung a ribbon across the road. And Bill Broadhurst stumbled across the finish line. And there stood his hero , Bill Rodgers who took off the ribbon form his neck and placed it around the neck of Broadhurst, and he said, "you a winner because you neve...