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THE RED BARON AND TEMPTATION
Manfred, Freiherr von Richthofen was a famous German First World War fighter pilot.
He was better known as the Red Baron because he flew a distinctive a red Fokker aircraft.
He shot down more combat planes than any one else on either side in the first World war
His known kill tally was 80.
On 21st April 1918, he began chasing a Canadian plane - that was trying to escape the battle over the Mor-lan-court Ridge, near the river Somme.
As the Red Baron pursued his prey, he strayed behind Allied lines.
He dived too low into the enemy lines
And he also he missed a Canadian pilot (Arthur) "Roy" Brown coming up on his tail to help his comrade.
We will never know whether it was a shot from the ground - or a shot from Brown that killed Richthofen.
But what we do know is that the "Red Baron" came to his end because he made the mistake of pursuing that Allied 'plane "too long, too far, and too low into enemy territory" (as one report so succinctly put it)
And many committed Christians have been shot down because they have followed temptation for too long, too far, and too low into enemy territory.
And as with Richthofen -- they are then caught unawares and then have to deal with the conseqences.
Sermon Central Staff
WHEN DOES THE SIZE OF A HOUSE BECOME SINFUL?
Several years ago, Millard Fuller of Habitat for Humanity addressed the National Press Club on public radio, on which he recalled a workshop he conducted at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with 200 pastors in attendance. The assembled pastors quickly pointed toward greed and selfishness as the reason the church never had enough money to accomplish its mission in the world.
Millard then asked this seemingly innocent question: "Is it possible for a person to build a house so large that it's sinful in the eyes of God? Raise your hand if you think so."
All 200 pastors raised their hands.
"Okay," said Millard, "then can you tell me at exactly what size, the precise square footage, a certain house becomes sinful to occupy?"
Silence from the pastors. You could have heard a pin drop.
Finally, a small, quiet voice spoke up from the back of the room: "When it is bigger than mine."
(Frank G. Honeycutt, Preaching to Skeptics and Seekers. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Treasure's Trap, 9/18/2010)
An inner city church had an annual student recognition day. Normally, students would share about their educational experiences and then the pastor would get up and offer a few closing words. One year, the pastor’s words were a bit alarming. He stood up in front of all the young graduates and proud parents and said, "Children, you’re going to die! You may not think you’re going to die, but you’re going to die! One of these days they’re going to take you out to the cemetery, drop you in a hole, throw some dirt on your face, and go back to the church to eat potato salad …
When you were born, you alone were crying, and everybody else was happy. The important question I want to ask is this: When you die are you alone going to be happy, leaving everybody else crying? The answer depends on whether you live to get titles or testimonies. Will they list your degrees and awards, or will they tell about what you meant to their lives? Will you leave behind a newspaper column telling people how important you were, or will you leave behind crying people who give their testimonies about how they’ve lost the best friend they ever had? Will they talk about all the boards you sat on and things you owned, or will they talk about all the money you gave away that made a difference in this world?
"There’s nothing wrong with titles. Titles are good things to have. But if it ever comes down to a choice between a title or a testimony, go for the testimony …"
"Pharaoh may have had the title, but Moses had the testimony!
Nebuchadnezzar may have had the title, but Daniel had the testimony!
Queen Jezebel may have had the title, but Elijah had the testimony!
Pilate may have had the title, but my Jesus had the testimony!
And then he asked a single question: "What will it be for your life?"
James Emery White, You Can Experience a Purposeful Life, 86-88
I want to tell you about a practicing Christian, a public figure who lives out his faith in Jesus Christ. Here is a behind-the-scenes story.
There was a lot of excitement in watching the Indianapolis Colts, led by Head Coach Tony Dungy, win their trip to the Super Bowl this past January.
A TV sports interviewer asked the coach how great it was to be one of the first “African-American” head coaches to take his team to a Super Bowl. Coach Dungy responded immediately with: “Yes, that’s good, but what is really great and awesome, is how God worked this out for us; it’s just amazing how He made this all come together!”
Right after the Colts went on to win the Super Bowl in Feb., a true story originally posted on the Colts website was circulated by email. It’s an article from the previous year, Feb., 2006, about a talk Dungy gave at a breakfast held in Detroit by Athletes in Action on the eve of Super Bowl XL.
During that appearance Dungy talked publicly for the first time about the suicide of his son James.
Let me relate to you this very touching story about this great man, and the essence of his purpose in life.
DETROIT, Mich. - They were there for breakfast, and they were there to cheer New York Jets running back Curtis Martin.
And it was Martin who received the Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award Saturday morning, but the hundreds who gathered in fourth-floor ballroom at the Marriott Renaissance in Detroit, Mich., on the morning before Super Bowl XL were clearly touched by the featured speaker.
That speaker was the Colts Head Coach, Tony Dungy.
Two hours into the breakfast, emcee Brent Jones introduced Dungy, who was welcomed with a lengthy standing ovation. Dungy thanked the crowd, shared an anecdote about Martin, then told the crowd he was going to speak for about 15 minutes.
“It’s great to be here,” Dungy told the crowd, then adding with a laugh, “I just wish I wasn’t here in this capacity so many times of being just that close to being in the game and just being an invited speaker.
“My goal is to have our team here one day and have a couple of tables with all of our guys here. Because we have a special group of young men, a great group of Christian guys. It’d be wonderful to have them here so you could see their hearts and what they’re all about. It hasn’t quite happened yet, but we’re still hoping one day it will.”
He told them he was going to talk about lessons he had learned from his three sons. The crowd fell silent. Then Dungy spoke.
And although this was a breakfast - and although at many such events speakers speak over the clinking of glasses and murmurs from semi-interested listeners - for most of the 15 minutes the room was silent except for Dungy’s voice.
He spoke of his middle son, Eric, who he said shares his competitiveness and who is focused on sports “to where it’s almost a problem.” He spoke of his youngest son, Jordan, who has a rare congenital condition, which causes him not to feel pain.
“He feels things, but he doesn’t get the sensation of pain,” Dungy said. The lessons learned from Jordan, Tony Dungy said, are many.
“That sounds like it’s good at the beginning, but I promise you it’s not,” Dungy said. “We’ve learned a lot about pain in the last five years we’ve had Jordan. We’ve learned some hurts are really necessary for kids. Pain is necessary for kids to find out the difference between what’s good and what’s harmful.”
Jordan, Dungy said, loves cookies. “Cookies are good,” Dungy said, “but in Jordan’s mind, if they’re good out on the plate, they’re even better in the oven. He will go right in the oven when my wife’s not looking, reach in, take the rack out, take the pan out, burn his hands and eat the cookies and burn his tongue and never feel it. He doesn’t know that’s bad for him.”
Jordan, Dungy said, “has no fear of anything, so we constantly have to watch him.” The lesson learned, Dungy said, is simple. “You get the question all the time, ‘Why does the Lord allow pain in your life? Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is a God of love, why does he allow these hurtful things to happen?”“
Dungy said. “We’ve learned that a lot of times because of that pain, that little temporary pain, you learn what’s harmful. You learn to fear the right things.
“Pain sometimes lets us know we have a condition that needs to be healed. Pain inside sometimes lets us know that spiritually we’re not quite right and we need to be healed and that God will send that healing agent right to the spot. “Sometimes, pain is the only way that will turn us as kids back to the Father.”
Finally, he spoke of James. James Dungy, Tony Dungy’s oldest son, died three days before Christmas 2005. As he did while delivering James’ eulogy in December, Dungy on Saturday spoke of him eloquently and steadily, speaking of lessons learned and of the positives taken from experience.
“It was tough, and it was very, very painful, but as painful as it was, there were some good things that came out of it,” Dungy said.
Dungy spoke at the funeral of regretting not hugging James the last time he saw him, on Thanksgiving of last year. “I met a guy the next day after the funeral,” Dungy said. “He said, ‘I was there. I heard you talking. I took off work today. I called my son. I told him I was taking him to the movies. We’re going to spend some time and go to dinner.’ That was a real, real blessing to me.”
Dungy said he has gotten many letters since James’ death relaying similar messages. “People heard what I said and said, ‘Hey, you brought me a little closer to my son,’ or, ‘You brought me a little closer to my daughter,”“ Dungy said. “That is a tremendous blessing.”
Dungy also said some of James’ ...
Sermon Central Staff
MATH TESTS THROUGH THE DECADES
* 1960s test: "A logger cuts and sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of that amount. What is his profit?"
* 1970s new-math test: "A logger exchanges a set (L) of lumber for a set (M) of money. The cardinality of Set M is 100. The Set C of production costs contains 20 fewer points. What is the cardinality of Set P of profits?"
* 1980s "dumbed down" version: "A logger cuts and sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost is $80, his profit is $20. Find and circle the number 20."
* 1990s politically correct version: "An unenlightened logger cuts down a beautiful stand of 100 trees in order to make a $20 profit. Write an essay explaining how you feel about this as a way to make money."
(Reader's Digest. From a sermon by Glenn Durham, A Biblical Balance Sheet, 8/17/2010)
While Secretary of State during the Regan presidency, George Shultz kept a large globe in his office. When newly appointed ambassadors had an interview with him and when ambassadors returning from their posts for their first visit with him were leaving his office, Shultz would test them. He would say, "You have to go over the globe and prove to me that you can identify your country." They would go over, spin the globe, and put their finger on the country to which sent--unerringly. When Shultz’s old friend and former Senate majority leader Mike Mansfield was appointed ambassador to Japan, even he was put to the test. This time, however, Ambassador Mansfield spun the globe and put his hand on the United States. He said: "That’s my country." On June 27, 1993, Shultz related this to Brian Lamb on C-Span’s "Booknotes." Said the secretary: "I’ve told that story, subsequently, to all the ambassadors going out. ’Never forget you’re over there in that country, but your country is the United States. You’re there to represent us. Take care of our interests and never forget it, and you’re representing the best country in the world.’ "
We must never forget where our home and our allegiance is – Heaven. Daniel worked in a land that was hostile to the faith he held. His bosses were some of the most powerful, most ruthless, and egotistical kings in all ancient hi...
Character matters in our lives. Philosopher Herbert Spencer wrote, “Not education but character is man’s greatest need and man’s greatest safeguard.” Chuck Swindoll wrote, “Character is the moral, ethical, and spiritual undergirding that rests on truth, that reinforces a life in stressful times, and resists all temptations to compromise.” That is the kind of character God wants to develop. Why? Because our ...