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Sermon Central Staff
ATTITUDE NOT APTITUDE
Jesus' message here is that everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve. Dave Stone says that "service is the language of grace."
One day a couple of church members were out distributing loaves of bread in a low-income housing complex. They came to an apartment where they heard arguing through the door, but they decided to knock anyway. A man opened the door and asked what they wanted. One of the visitors said, "We don't want anything. We just wondered if you know anyone who could use some loaves of bread?"
"Why are you doing that?" the man asked.
"Just to let people know that God loves them."
"What did you just say?" the man asked, rather anxiously.
"We're just handing out loaves of bread to let people know that God loves them."
The man stared and said, "I can't believe this. We just buried our three-week-old son yesterday, and now here you are at our door."
The visitors offered to pray with them, and the couple accepted their offer. As they were leaving, and the door was being closed, they heard the husband say to his wife, "See, honey? I told you God cares. We thought he wasn't paying attention to us, but he sent those people here to make sure we knew."
Too many people make excuses as to why they can't serve. Can you bake a cake? Can you cook some food item? Can you cut someone's grass? Can you call people and give them an encouraging word? Can you do housework? Can you do handy work? Can you donate anything of value? Can you stop along your way and give a smile? Can you take an interest in someone else's life?
The big thing is that you have to be ready to serve. You have to open your eyes and your ears to the needs of others. 1 Pet. 4:10 -- "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
(From a sermon by Michael Luke, The Demonstration Factor, 5/5/2011)
Or would you be more like the woman who was bitten by a rabid dog, and it looked like she was going to die from rabies. The doctor told her to put her final affairs in order. So the woman took pen and paper, and began writing furiously. In fact she wrote and wrote and wrote. Finally the doctor said, "That sure is a long will you’re making." She snorted, "Will, nothing! I’m making a list of all the people I’m going to bite!"
Leadership Magazine carried a story about 4 young men, Bible College students, who were renting a house together. One Saturday morning someone knocked on their door. And when they opened it, there stood this bedraggled-looking old man. His eyes were kind of marbleized, & he had a silvery stub of whiskers on his face.
His clothes were ragged & torn. His shoes didn’t match. In fact, they were both for the same foot. And he carried a wicker basket full of unappealing vegetables that he was trying to sell. The boys felt sorry for him & bought some of his vegetables just to help him out. Then he went on his way.
But from that time on, every Saturday he appeared at their door with his basket of vegetables. As the boys got to know him a little bit better, they began inviting him in to visit a while before continuing on his rounds.
They soon discovered that his eyes looked marbleized, not because of drugs or alcohol, but because of cataracts. They learned that he lived just down the street in an old shack. They also found out that he could play the harmonica, & that he loved to play Christian hymns, & that he really loved God.
So every Saturday they would invite him in, & he would play his harmonica & they would sing Christian hymns together. They became good friends, & the boys began trying to figure out ways to help him.
One Saturday morning, the story says, right in the middle of all their singing & praising, he suddenly said to them, "God is so good!" And they all agreed, "Yes, God is so good." He went on, "You know why he is so good?" They said, "Why?" He said, "Because yesterday, when I got up & opened my door, there were boxes full of clothes & shoes & coats & gloves. Yes, God is so good!" And the boys smiled at each other & chimed in, "Yes, God is so good."
He went on, "You know why He is so good?" They answered, "You already told us why. What more?" He said, "Because I found a family who could use those things, & I gave them all away."
2. Gary Thomas, a friend of Rick Warren, noticed that many Christians were stuck in a worship rut. He raised the question, “Since God has intentionally made us all different, why should everyone be expected to love (worship) God the same way?”(1) Gary has discovered that for 2,000 years Christians have used many different paths to enjoy intimacy with God. In his book Sacred Pathways, Gary identifies nine ways that people draw near to God:
· Naturalists love God best when they are outdoors.
· Sensates love God best when all their senses are engaged.
· Traditionalists love God best when they are able to stick close to ritual, symbols, and familiarity.
· Ascetics love God best in solitude and simplicity.
· Activists love God best when they are battling injustice and evil.
· Caregivers love God best through caring for those who hurt.
· Enthusiasts love God best by experiencing celebration.
· Contemplatives love God best through adoration and meditation.
· Intellectuals love God...
Sermon Central Staff
"In an article in Campus Life a young nurse writes of her pilgrimage in learning to see in a patient the image of God beneath a very 'distressing disguise.'
"Eileen was one of her first patients, a person who was totally helpless. 'A cerebral aneurysm (broken blood vessels in the brain) had left her with no conscious control over her body,' the nurse writes. As near as the doctors could tell Eileen was totally unconscious, unable to feel pain and unaware of anything going on around her. It was the job of the hospital staff to turn her every hour to prevent bedsores and to feed her twice a day 'what looked like a thin mush through a stomach tube.' Caring for her was a thankless task. 'When it's this bad,' an older student nurse told her, 'you have to detach yourself emotionally from the whole situation...' As a result, more and more she came to be treated as a thing, a vegetable...
"But the young student nurse decided that she could not treat this person like the others had treated her. She talked to Eileen, sang to her, encouraged her, and even brought her little gifts. One day when things were especially difficult and it would have been easy for the young nurse to take out her frustrations on the patient, she was especially kind. It was Thanksgiving Day and the nurse said to the patient, 'I was in a cruddy mood this morning, Eileen, because it was supposed to be my day off. But now that I'm here, I'm glad. I wouldn't have wanted to miss seeing you on Thanksgiving. Do you know this is Thanksgiving?'
"Just then the telephone rang, and as the nurse turned to answer it, she looked quickly back at Eileen. 'Suddenly,' she writes, Eileen was 'looking at me... crying. Big damp circles stained her pillow, and she was shaking all over.
"That was the only human emotion that Eileen ever showed any of them, but it was enough to change the whole attitude of the hospital staff toward her. Not long afterward, Eileen died. The young nurse closes her story, saying, 'I keep thinking about her... It occurred to me that I owe her an awful lot. Except for Eileen, I might never have known what it's like to give my self to someone who can't give back'" (Rebecca Manley Pippert, Stories from the Heart (Multnomah Books: Sisters, Oregon, 1996), 31-32).
What have you been confronted with that seems impossible to overcome? How are you allowing God to use you to meet the needs of others through the divine resources he has?
(From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Are We Manufacturers or Distributors? 8/12/2010)
FRANKL AND THE MEANING OF LIFE
When Jewish psychiatrist Viktor Frankl was arrested by the Nazis in World War II and put in Auschwitz, the infamous death camp, he was stripped of everything: property, family, possessions, and a manuscript he had spent years researching and writing on finding meaning in life. The manuscript had been sewn into the lining of his coat.
"Now it seemed as if nothing and no one would survive me; neither a physical nor a spiritual child of my own," Frankl wrote. "I found myself confronted with the question of whether under such circumstances my life was ultimately void of any meaning."
A few days later, the Nazis forced the prisoners to give up what little clothing they still wore. "I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn-out rags of an inmate who had been sent to the gas chamber," said Frankl. "Instead of the many pages of my manuscript, I found in the pocket of the newly acquired coat a single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, which contained the Jewish prayer 'Shema Yisrael' (Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one God. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.)
"How should I have interpreted such a 'coincidence' other than as a challenge to 'live' my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper?"
Frankl later reflected on his ordeal in Man's Search for Meaning, saying, "There is nothing in the world that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions, as the knowledge that there is meaning in one's life.... He who has a 'why' to live for can bear almost any 'how.' "
[Based on Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning (Pocket, 1997). Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (241). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.]
Conference after conference is held to discuss the destruction of the Earth’s environment and to solve the poverty of two thirds of the world’s population but very little gets done when the talking is over. Isn’t it essentially a problem of selfishness, greed and exploitation? Desmond Tutu, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, said famously, “When missionaries came to South Africa, they had the Bible and we (the Africans) had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land!”
The great Alliance preacher and renowned Christian author, A. W. Tozer, makes this observation:
“Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will be judged not by how much I have done but by how much I could have done!... In God’s sight, my giving is measured not by how much I have given but how much I have left after I made my gift… Not by its size is my gift judged, but by how much of me there is in it. No man gives at all unt...
Since the Bible and the Ten Commandments have been taken out of our schools in the last 40+ years, we now have epidemic problems with teen pregnancy and Sexual diseases; epidemic drug and alcoholic problems, and violence in our schools to such an extent that we have never seen in the history of our Nation. SOMETHING HAPPENED IN AMERICA IN 1962: a. When our Courts ruled completely opposite to the Religious Principles our nation had been founded upon in 1962, our society has went into a moral freefall. b. Before 1962 Unwed births to girls ages 10 to 14 were steady and relatively rare. After 1962, the graph shows an increase of 325% ..... c. Sexually-transmitted Diseases to High School students were relatively rare before 1962. Since then STD’s are at epidemic proportions in our kids. d. Violent Crime since 1962 has shot up 995% e. In 1950’s a survey of teachers showed the biggest problem in schools was chewing gum and shooting spit wads. Can you believe it? f. Peter Marshall stated the following about the condition of our nation: i. He sites other indicators which point to the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of Americans: 1. There are two million Americans in prison the largest ever. 2. There are forty five million with Genital Herpes in this country. 3. There are 900,000 cases of HIV Aids in this country. 4. In Americans 10 and older 30% are carrying a sexually transmitted disease. 5. But even these indicators are not as bad as the next one he shared. He noted that 50% of Born Again believers in America do not believe in Absolute truth or in absolute principles of right and wrong. g. The Divorce rate in America since 1962 has steadily risen 111% to where America is leading the World now in divorce. h. The SAT Test as a standard measurement of education achievement for our children was began in 1926 and later standardized in 1941 as the same test we have had up until recently when it had to be ’dumbed down’. The SAT rates were steady up until 1962. Since God and prayer were kicked out of our schools in 1962 and the children were taught they evolved from mud and slime, the SAT scores declined 18 years in a row Unprecedented For the first time in history, the student’s scores were 80 points less then the previous generation of their parents Just recently our ’Educators’ from the NEA had the SAT dumbed down the test because boys and girls in America were scoring so poorly 2. This little bit of analysis shows that taking God out of our lives will cause a moral free for all in society and in the end it will destroy America and its people. The founding fathers knew this and they warned us not to believe the lies of the enemy but to follow the truth a. Here are a series of quotes from the Founding Fathers warning us not to forsake the Bible and its teachings these quotes are form the same website above and from lectures by Peter Marshall on Restoring America: “The very men who WROTE the Constitution admit that this nation and its Judicial System was founded upon the Bible and the Ten Commandments. It was done intentionally to preserve this nation from collapse.” i. James Madison - (4th President of the United States and known as the ’Father of the Constitution’) "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." ii. John Jay was the first Chief Justice of our Supreme Court and one of the 3 top men in the formation of our Constitution. He said Americans should ’select and prefer Christians as their rulers" When is the last time you heard a Supreme Court Judge say that? iii. To show that this nation was built on the Bible and Christian Principles, listen to what Patrick Henry, that patriot and Founding Father of our country said: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not be religionists but by Christians....not on religions but ton the Gospel of Jesus Christ." iv. Listen to what our first President, George Washington, said, "It is impossible to rightly govern....without God and the Bible." v. "Can the Liberties of a Nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God." - Thomas Jefferson vi. "The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time." - Thomas Jefferson vii. "Suppose a Nation is some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited....What a Utopia What a Paradise would this Nation be" - John Adams 3. 52 of the 55 Framers of the Constitution were members of the Orthodox Established Churches in the Colonies. A Secularized United States without any reference to God and the Bible whatsoever was the farthest thing from the minds of these men. 4. In New England - 1777 - Because of the War, Bibles from England were cut off. Patrick Allison, Chaplain of Congress, placed before the Body a petition praying for immediate relief. A special Congressional Committee ordered 20,000 Bibles which were imported from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different parts of the States of the Union. a. These Bibles were to be given to students in school so they could learn using the Bible. 5. The University of Houston was commissioned to do a 10 year study on the Founding Fathers and their writings to see their intentions and if they intended America to be founded on Christian Principles and the Bible or complete separation from religion. They surveyed over 15,000 documents of the Founding Fathers during that 10 year period. They found 3,154 direct quotes from the Founding Fathers themselves. 34% of those direct quotes were from the Bible itself 60% were from men who were directly influenced by the Bible. One example was Blackstone, whose law books were considered the basis upon our Supreme Court and Judiciary System were built, and were the Law Books of Reference for about almost 120 years. Blackstone quoted so many Bible verses in his law books that a law student named FINNEY was saved and became a great evangelist......from reading Blackstone’s Law books So they found that 94 % of the quotes of the founding fathers were either directly or indirectly from the Bible
Nathan Robertson, Jr.
The late Dr. Boice had some interesting thoughts as to why God’s justice is offensive.
In human affairs we rightly value justice and the "wrath" of the judicial system, for they protect us. If by chance we ourselves run afoul of the law, there is always the chance that we can cop a plea, escape on a technicality or plead guilty to some lesser offense and be excused for it. But we cannot do that with God. With him we deal not with the imperfections of human justice but with the perfections of divine justice. We deal with the one to whom not only actions but also thoughts and intentions are visible. Who can escape such justice? Who can stand before such an unwielding judge? No one. Sensing this truth we therefore resent God’s justice and deny its reality in every way we can.