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Illustration: At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like the president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn’t really know Him. But later on when I recognized this Higher Power, It seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t know just when it was that he suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since—life with my Higher Power, that is. God makes life exciting! But when He took the lead, it was all I could do to hang on! He knew delightful paths, up mountains and through rocky places—and at breakneck speeds. Even though it looked like madness, he said, “Pedal!” I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. When I’d say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, God’s and mine. And we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and our burden became light. At first I did not trust Him in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it. But He knows bike secrets—knows how to make it lean to take sharp corners, dodge large rocks, and speed through scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places. I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant Companion. And when I’m sure I just can’t do any more, He just smiles and says, “Pedal!”
James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 247-248.
The crowds cheered and waved their hands. Many stood upon their tip-toes hoping to catch a glimpse of their deliverer as he processed by. "He's the one! echoed throughout the streets. Many praised his name with hands and fists held high. Was it true? Had "the one" finally come some as some truly dreamed? Many hoped; and many believed. Many perceived he was a new kind of leader who was sent to set the captives free.
Still, others scoffed and snarled; they simply refused to believe. "Look how the whole world has fallen for him!" they clamored like gongs ringing loudly in the ears. Still, what could they do, but shout even louder against "the one." They stridently decried, "He's nothing but a heretic. He is not 'the one' who will bring the light and deliver us from our prolonged fright."
Okay, let me ask you. Who's "this one" of whom I speak? Many of you might answer, "Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ the King." And while your answer most certainly could be right; "the one" I spoke of was not Jesus, God's only begotten Son. Instead, the one in this story was elected two years ago, millions of whom thought would lead this nation into the dawn's morning light.
In the spring of 1940, war between England and Germany was beginning to wage in the Atlantic. The allied fleets of America and England were still abiding by a disarmament treaty that limited the size of warships. But the Germans were building ships of gigantic proportions. One such ship, the largest ever built up to that time, was the German battleship Bismarck.
The Bismarck displaced 42,800 tons making it 22% larger than the most powerful ships of the allied fleets. It had eight 15” guns and some 80 smaller guns, most of which were antiaircraft. It could reach speeds of 31 knots. Its armor was so thick that no existing British torpedo could penetrate its hull. If the British did not hunt down the great battleship, she had the potential to single-handedly destroy the British fleet at the loss of countless lives.
On May 21st, of 1940, two Spitfire reconnaissance planes stumbled upon the great warship as they searched a Norwegian fiord. Because of poor weather and other problems, it was several days before the British would have a crack at sinking the Bismarck.
With some of the oldest biplanes still in service, and torpedoes that were, for all intents and purposes, obsolete, the British Navy attacked the Bismarck. One of the planes, with both men wounded and 175 holes in the plane from the Bismarck antiaircraft guns, made it back to the British aircraft carrier. Several of the other planes in the squadron were badly damaged.
The pilots reported with excitement that they were sure at least one of the torpedoes found its mark. The mighty Bismarck had taken a torpedo in the rudder. She was dead in the water, only able to maneuver in circles like a wounded fish. Once the British neutralized the battlewagon’s rudder, they had control of the entire ship. And on May 27th, the British navy converged on the Bismarck’s position and sunk her.
Hitler’s plan was to use the Bismarck to create a wake of destruction across the Atlantic, to bring the European fleets to their knees in submission and humiliation. Had the rudder not been damaged, it would have steered the great ship into battle after lopsided battle, destroying everything in its path.
A.M. Hunter says, “’Remembering,’ in the biblical idiom, is not to entertain a pallid idea of a past event in one’s mind, but to make the event present again so that it controls the will and becomes potent in our lives for good or ill” (quoted in David Garland, The NIV Application Commentary: Mark, p. 534). The Communion is a means of participating with Jesus in his death and resurrection now. “Jesus, I’m with you. I’m standing ...
Simon Peter’s House
The first find is the very house in which Jesus stayed, taught and healed the mother-in-law. Yes, Simon Peter’s house has been located, identified by etchings of crosses and over one hundred graffiti in five ancient languages scattered over upon the foundation stones and remaining wall structures. The house has been dated to the time of Jesus by coins found within. Fishhooks were found under the pavement. A large room had been forged in the middle of the house, which had been plastered several times over, a sign of frequent use, undoubtedly as a gathering place. The walls were too weak to support a tile roof; tree branches, palm fronds and mud were used instead, reminiscent of Mark 2:1-5, the story of letting the paralyzed man down through the roof. Peter’s living room in Capernaum, right beside the seashore, is the earliest church ever found; Jesus himself was the pastor. This is indeed sensational.
Sermon Central Staff
A PARABLE OF PARABLES
The content of belief is important: Jonathan Whitfield was preaching to coal miners in England. He asked one man, "What do you believe?"
"Well, I believe the same as the church."
"And what does the church believe?"
"Well, they believe the same as me." Seeing he was getting nowhere, Whitfield said, "And what is it that you both believe?"
"Well, I suppose the same thing."
Theological belief is sometimes a murky matter. A candidate for ordination as a minister was asked, "What part of the Bible do you like best?"
He said: "I like the New Testament best."
Then he was asked, "What Book in the New Testament is your favorite?"
He answered, "The Book of the Parables, Sir."
They then asked him to relate one of the parables to the committee. And a bit uncertain, he began...
"Once upon a time a man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves; and the thorns grew up and choked the man. And he went on and met the Queen of Sheba, and she gave that man, Sir, a thousand talents of silver, and a hundred changes of raiment.
"And he got in his chariot and drove furiously and, as he was driving along under a big tree, his hair got caught in a limb and left him hanging here! And he hung there many days and many nights. The ravens brought him food to eat and water to drink.
"And one night while he was hanging there asleep, his wife Delilah came along and cut off his hair, and he fell on stony ground. And it began to rain, and rained forty days and forty nights. And he hid himself in a cave.
"Later he went on and met a man who said, 'Come in and take supper with me.' But he said, 'I can't come in, for I have married a wife.' And the man went out into the highways and hedges and compelled him to come in!
He then came to Jerusalem, and saw Queen Jezebel sitting high and lifted up in a window of the wall. When she saw him she laughed, and he said, 'Throw her down out of there,' and they threw her down. And he said 'Throw her down again,' and they threw her down seventy-times-seven. And the fragments which they picked up filled twelve baskets full! NOW, whose wife will she be in the day of the Judgment?"
The story didn't say what the committee decided, but I have hope.
(From a sermon by Bobby Scobey, If the Church Became Unchristian # 4 - Behavior More Important Than Belief, 6/22/2010)
Tomorrow’s Trivia! (02.24.06--Do Not Worry!--Luke 22:24)
An average person’s anxiety is focused on: 40% -- things that will never happen, 30% -- things about the past that can’t be changed, 12% -- things about criticism by others, mostly untrue, 10% -- about health, which gets worse with stress, 8% -- about real problems that will be faced.
So, if only about 8% of all the issues in our lives really turn out to be something, why is it that we spend so much time in worry and stress about all the rest? If we sat down and evaluated the following day everything that we were concerned about for that day on the day prior, it would, ultimately, result in an exercise of shame and embarrassment. Literally, we would look like fools because of our foolishness. What had appeared to us to be of great importance 24 hours earlier, for the most part, has resulted in the trivial, matters without consequence.
I love this story. J. Arthur Rank, an English executive, decided to do all his worrying on one day each week. He chose Wednesdays. When anything happened that gave him anxiety and annoyed his ulcer, he would write it down and put it in his “worry box” and forget about it until the next Wednesday. The interesting thing was that, on the following Wednesday when he opened his worry box, he found that most of the things that had disturbed him the past six days were already settled. It would have been useless to have worried about them in the first place. (Source Unknown.)
Sure, there are important things going on in life that we do need to pay attention to. It’s just that if we spend nearly all of our time worrying about the inconsequential, we won’t have time to focus on things of consequence. When we are so wrapped up in ourselves, so concerned for the little things that affect us everyday, we have the tendency to miss what IS really important. ...
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Jesus saw what was coming by way of the cross...Jesus saw the beating of the Roman whip with the metal attached to the ends that would rip the skin from the victims back.
Beaten beyond recognition and could barely see to carry an old wooden cross to die on.
That night before: He saw that same blood that would run down His arm and drip off his elbow as the nails were driven into His hands.
That night before: He saw that same blood dripping off His toes and down to the foot of the cross as nails were driving into His feet.
The night before: He saw that same blood as a crown of thorns was placed on His head and that same blood ran down His forehead onto His eyebrows and down onto His eyelashes and into His eyes and blared His vision.
The blood might have blared His human vision but, Jesus was God in the flesh.
The night before: He saw that blood as salvation to who so eve...