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WE'LL STAY OUT OF THE WAY
The Call to Worship had just been pronounced starting Easter Sunday Morning service in an East Texas church. The choir started its processional, singing "Up from the Grave He Arose" as they marched in perfect step down the center aisle to the front of the church.
The last lady was wearing shoes with very slender heels. Without a thought for her fancy heels, she marched toward the grating that covered that hot air register in the middle of the aisle. Suddenly the heel of one shoe sank into the hole in the register grate.
In a flash she realized her predicament. Not wishing to hold up the whole processional, without missing a step, she slipped her foot out of her shoe and continued marching down the aisle.
There wasn’t a hitch. The processional moved with clock-like precision. The first man after her spotted the situation and without losing a step, reached down and pulled up her shoe, but the entire grate came with it! Surprised, but still singing, the man kept on going down the aisle, holding in his hand the grate with the shoe attached.
Everything still moved like clockwork. Still in tune and still in step, the next man in line stepped into the open register and disappeared from sight. The service took on a special meaning that Sunday, for just as the choir ended with "Allelujah! Christ arose!" a voice was heard under the church shouting, "I hope all of you are out of the way ’cause I’m coming out now!"
The little girl closest to the aisle shouted, "Come on, Jesus! We’ll stay out of the way."
“There is more joy in Jesus in 24 hours than there is in the world in
days. I have tried them both.”
R. A. Torrey
I heard of one Pastor who spoke up and said, ‘Bro. Brown would you please stand and lead us in a word of criticism’.
PRAYER'S BEST POSITION
Three ministers were talking about prayer in general and the appropriate and effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background.
One minister shared that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on your knees. The third suggested that they both had it wrong--the only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face.
By this time the phone man couldn’t stay ...
Sermon Central Staff
ERICKSON'S THOUGHTS ON GOD THE FATHER
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent' (John 17:3)
Dr. Packer's devotional approach to theology is evident from his choice of textbook which is Millard Erickson's 'Christian Theology'. Here's an excerpt:
Because God is a person, our relationship with him has a dimension of warmth and understanding. God is not a bureau or a department, a machine or a computer that automatically supplies the needs of people. He is a knowing, loving, good Father. He can be approached. He can be spoken to, and he in turn speaks
(Christian Theology, 296. From a sermon by Mark Armstrong, Trinity and Creaton, 6/24/2010)
Sermon Central Staff
THE STATUE THAT LIES
In the book, "The Day America Told the Truth," 91% of Americans admit to lying regularly. 86% of Americans routinely lie to their parents. 75% admit to lying to their friends. 73% admit lying to their siblings. And 75% admit lying to their spouse.
None of this is new news to anyone--we live in a society where just about everyone considers it normal to lie. In fact, I've found that one of the more difficult things to accomplish in discipling new adult believers is to get them to abandon lying as a normal acceptable way of life. Before coming to Christ most people embrace lying as a necessary survival skill in today's world. And I think that everyone knows this. We all know that just about everyone lies. So as a result our nation has developed a healthy sense of skepticism. No one accepts anything at face value. If it sounds too good to be true--it probably is. And when promises are made to us, we're told not to get our hopes up because we will likely be disappointed.
On the screen there is a statue you will see if you visit Harvard. After you get over the thrill of saying, "You can't pahk your cah in Hahvahd Yahd," about 30 bazillion times, tourists love to walk through the Yahd and have pictures of themselves taken with the statue of John Harvard whose foot you are supposed to rub for good luck. The statue stands right in front of University Hall. What many people don't know, however, is that it's really "the statue of three lies."
The inscription beneath the statue reads John Harvard, Founder, 1638. Not of word of it is true. Despite what the plaque on the statue says, Harvard didn't actually found Harvard. The college--it was a college back then--was founded in 1636, not in 1638, by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in what was then the village of Newtowne and later became Cambridge. John Harvard was a benefactor for the college and it was named for him in 1639 after he donated his library to the school. Even worse, that's not actually John Harvard sitting there. There were no pictures or images of him. So in 1844, the sculptor, Daniel Chester French, randomly chose a student as his model and dressed him in seventeenth-century garb. French did give the statue skinny legs, because that was one symptom of tuberculosis, which Harvard had. So in spite of what the inscription claims, John Harvard was not the founder of Harvard, the university was not founded in 1638 and the statue's likeness is not even of its namesake! All this in front of Harvard's University Hall where the motto is ironically, "Veritas"--truth. Things are not always what they seem.
Like the Harvard motto, the Bible also claims the title "Truth." But unlike the statue of John Harvard, the Bible does not give us a false impression of who God is.
(From a sermon by Tim Vamosi, Total Authority" Sword of the Spirit -- Part Two, 1/4/2011)
Sermon Central Staff
CHARACTER AND WITNESS
John Bunyan said of Christians: "When all their garments are white the world will count them His," and the skeptical German poet Heinrich Heine said to Christians, "You show me your redeemed life and I might be inclined to believe in your Redeemer."
The authentic life that speaks the gospel with a spirit of loving sacrifice will be eminently convincing.
(From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, Hope that Stands in the Storm, 9/16/2011)
Have you ever wondered what makes the difference between a spotlight and a laser beam?
How can a medium-powered laser burn through steel in a matter of seconds, while the most powerful spotlight can only make it warm?
Both may have the same electrical power requirements.
The difference is unity.
A laser can be simply described as a medium of excited molecules with mirrors at each end.
Some of the excited molecules naturally decay into a less excited state.
In the decay process they release a photon, a particle of light.
It is here that the unique process of the laser begins.
The photon moves along and “tickles” another molecule, inviting another photon to join him on his journey.
Then these two photons “tickle” two more molecules and invite two more photons to join the parade.
Soon there is a huge army of photons marching in step with each other.
It is this unity that gives the laser its power.
A spotlight may have just as man...
In one of his first attempts to run for political office Lincoln was given $200 by the Whig Party to cover his election expenses. He won the election and then promptly returned all the money he had not spent on the election, $199.25. He explained, that he had traveled on his own horse, and stayed at the homes of his friends. He said, "My only outlay was 75 cents for a barrel of cider which some farm hands insisted that I treat them to." Lincoln illustrated Jesus teachings in the Sermon on the Mount when He said let your yes be yes & your no, no. (Reader’s Digest, February, 1959, P 252)
Unfinished Flower Beds! (09.19.05--Grace Walks!--John 17:17)
When we purchased Beech Springs years ago, we arrived in a valley that was purposed by trees, trees and more trees. There was little lawn because the trees shaded it out. The trees fenced in the house and driveway so that there was scant room or resource with which to do much in the way of landscaping. That was to my liking, however. There would be little need for tiller, spade and wheelbarrow here. I could focus on making wood and the necessary improvements that were needed inside the house. Puttering with flower beds and the like was so tedious and, as opposed to making wood and other tasks like it, were slow in demonstrating any visible progress. That is, of course, until the elms in the immediate area began to succumb to disease. Suddenly spaces were opened; spaces that beckoned my wife and pled, “Plant a sunflower here or nestle a poppy there!” It wasn’t long that a Mantis tiller and a wheelbarrow appeared on my gift list.
I have often thought how like those flower beds you and I are as we daily walk in grace. It takes work to get us ready for growth in grace. And, sometimes, the results aren’t so immediately visible. But, over time, the work and effort pay off. The flowers bloom and fade and come back again the next year that much more brilliant and bountiful.
Phillips Brooks, . . . was a very busy pastor, yet he always seemed relaxed and unburdened, willing to take time for anyone in need. Shortly before he died, someone asked him the secret of his strength and serenity. In a heartfelt response, Brooks credited his still-growing relationship with Christ. He responded, “The more I have thought it over, the more sure it has seemed to me that these last years have had a peace and fullness which there did not used to be. It is a deeper knowledge and truer love of Christ. . . . I cannot tell you how personal this grows to me. He is here. He knows me and I know Him. It is the most real thing in the world. And every day makes it more real. And one wonders with delight what it will grow to as the years go on.” (Our Daily Bread, October 14, 1994)
God promises to “sanctify” us “by the truth” (John 17:17) in our daily walk with Him. That is, He will make us holy, set apart and cleansed through Christ Jesus. He doesn’t tell us that it is a work completed overnight, however. It is something that is ongoing like my wife tending those flower beds. As the faithful gardener He digs, weeds, tills and transplants in the gardens of our hearts. Then, when day is done, we are known to Him perfectly as we continue to grow in our knowledge of Him. It won’t happen overnight nor should it. Some of the best Flower beds are those which are never completed.