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ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).
At a convention with their wives, two businessmen who had been roommates in college crossed paths. They sat in the lobby all night talking. They knew they would be in trouble with their wives. The next day they happened to see each other. "What did your wife think?"
"I walked in the door and my wife got historical."
"Don’t you mean hysterical?"
"No, historical. She told me everything I ever did wrong."
BECAUSE GOD WANTED IT
Near the Tower of London there stands an ancient parish church called "All Hallows". Just inside the wall enclosing the graveyard at All Hallows there is a large sign, placed so that tourists leaving the Tower may read it. The sign at "All Hallows" cites a bit of history and then raises a pointed question: "Jesus Christ has been worshipped in this building for 600 years, on this site for 1100 years, and in Britain for 1300 years. Donít you think itís time you got started?"
That sign points to the amazing persistence of the church of Jesus Christ; and it also suggests the reason why, after storms and splits, war and famine, mistakes and malfeasance, misjudgments and maladjustment, there is still such a thing as the church. Some of the secret has to do with the commitments of countless believers, of course; but most of the secret lies in the intention of God for the church. The church has lasted simply because God has wanted it to last. Thatís all. Thatís the bottom line. The church has lasted; and the church will continue because God has intended it to.
A Sunday School teacher told her class of 2nd graders the story found in Luke 16 of the Rich man and Lazarus. How that when they were here upon the earth the rich man had everything that money could buy and poor Lazarus had to beg for mere crumbs. But when they died, the rich man due to his selfishness went to a place of horrible torment while Lazarus went to a place of paradise. In conclusion, the teacher asked her students the question: "Now, which man would you rather be, Lazarus or the ...
A young fellow wanted to be a star journalist but lived in a small town (not much possibility). One day the dam upstream broke and the town was flooded. He got in a rowboat and headed out to look for a story. Finding a lady sitting on her rooftop, he tied up the boat and told her what he was after. (They both watched as various items floated by).
She says, "Now there's a story." But as he surveyed the sight he said, "No, that's not a story." Finally he watches a hat float by and then turn 180 degrees, go back upstream a ways, do another 180 degree turn, and go back down stream again.
The fellow says, "Now there's a story. I have never seen a hat do that before!"
"Oh no, that's not a story the lady said. "That's my husband Hayford. He said that he was going to mow the lawn come hell or high water!"
Jesus In an Age of Higher Learning
Simon Peter answered, ďLord you are the Messianic parousia, the pre-existent Logos, the eschatological anticipation of the cosmos, the epistemological problem of the ages, the Christological manifestation, and the antitheses of the Adamic quandary.
I Cor. 1:18-19 (Cottonpatch Translation)
As the scriptures say, I will tear to bits the dissertations of the PhDs I will pull the rug out from under those who have all of the answers. Then what becomes of the bright boys and what does this do to the eggheads? Where does the worldly-wise wind up? So while the church people are always demanding some miraculous display and the scientist are looking for intellectual answers we go right ahead proclaiming Jesus Christ.
Then Jesus answered and said to him, ďWho?Ē
French author, Guy de Maupassant was one of the greatest writers of short stories the world has ever known. Within ten years he rose from relative obscurity to fame. Just what he thought he’d always wanted. His material possessions showed a life of affluence…a yacht in the Mediterranean, a large house on the Norman coast, a luxurious apartment in Paris. It was said of him that “Critics praised him, men admired him and women worshipped him.” He had all the trappings of what the world would call the “fulfilled dream life.” Yet at the height of his fame he went insane, brought on by what those close to him called a “Promiscuous lifestyle.” On New Years Day in 1892, he tried to cut his own throat with a letter-opener, and lived out the last few weeks of his life in a private asylum on the French Riviera. He died at the age of forty-two, but before he went insane he prophetically wrote what was to be his epitaph. Guy de Maupassant wrote, “I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.”
WHATíS UP WITH JESUS?
Renowned theologian Karl Barth was lecturing to a group of students at Princeton when a student asked him, "Sir, donít you think that God has revealed himself in other religions and not only in Christianity?" With a modest thunder he stunned the crowd, replying, "No, God has not revealed himself in any religion, including Christianity. He has revealed himself in his Son."
The first council of the Christian church, held in 325 B.C after persecution ended, was called the Council of Nicaea. The top agenda was to resolve disagreements over the nature of Jesus in relationship to the Father. The most provocative and popular of these new teachings was Arianism, as promoted and represented by Arius (c. AD 250-336), who taught that Jesus was not one with the Father, and that he was not fully, although almost, divine in nature. Merely two of over 300 attendees sided with Arius. Subsequently, a no...
Sermon Central Staff
PRIDE AND GREED SPOIL RELATIONSHIPS
Are you so focused on your career, your raise and your ambitions for the future that you fail to realize the gift of relationships that God has given you today? The second rule is that people come before possessions and positions. Otherwise, you might find yourself getting near the end of the game and you find that you have no one to share it with.
John Ortberg tells the story in his book, "When the Game Is Over, It All Goes back in the Box." Armand Hammer was the President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum for many years. He was a giant of capitalism and a confidant of world leaders. He was a towering figure on the world scene.
But after his death, the true picture of this man became clear. He got his start laundering money for the Soviets. After he made his money, he paid authors to write fictitious autobiographies of his life to impress other people. When he was a young man almost ready to graduate from medical school, he performed an abortion and almost killed the woman. His father took the blame for this and spent two years in prison, and the son never spoke up and said he did it. He neglected his own son and never acknowledged the daughter he conceived out of wedlock. He had no friends in his company where he freely fired his executives. When his brother died, he sued his brotherís estate for $667,000 of the $700,000 estate, keeping the money from his brotherís wife who was in a nursing home and his brotherís children. When he died, his own son did not attend the funeral, and the only people who carried his casket were those who were paid to take care of him in his home.
So hereís the question, did he win or lose at the game of life?
(From a sermon by Tim Smith, Game Over: When It All Goes Back in the Box, 10/19/2009)
The New York Giants were just a handful of days from the Week 16 game against the New York Jets, with the Giants stuck at 7-7 and their season fast slipping away. Losers of four of their previous five games, it seemed as if the Giants were destined to finish second or even third in the NFC East. But then...
Giant Paul Gonzalez took the stand at the teamís weekly chapel service and, before roughly two dozen players and coaches, began to challenge the players on and off the field where their motivation laid.
Gonzalez, a teacher in Union City, N.J., has spoken to the team several other times, but on this occasion he challenged the players spiritually and hit them with their responsibilities as husbands and fathers. But what surprisingly stuck was his challenge to them not just off the field but on it as well. When Gonzalez asked those gathered if they were "all in," his two words resonated in a way he didnít see coming.
A spiritual challenge would ignite a Super Bowl run and make believers of this Giants team in the rest of the NFL.
"I really had no idea; I was just glad I could hopefully encourage them on that night in December.
"It really exemplifies that when individuals join together and totally commit themselves to a common goal amazing results are possible and people will take notice--which I think is exactly what they are doing against all the odds. They are looking 'All In.'"
Giants chaplain George McGovern said that chapel attendance usually hovers in the mid-20s and that there has been no rush of new converts to fill the pews since Gonzalezís service and the teamís improbable playoff push. But the challenge from the pulpit clearly spurred something in the way the Giants played.
Before the Jets game in his pregame speech, Giants defensive end Justin Tuck co-signed what Gonzalez said to the team, using the "All In" phrase in his speech. The Giants beat the Jets on Christmas Eve and the "All In" tag was used publicly by Tuck in his postgame remarks.
The next week, 80,000 white towels filled MetLife Stadium with Gonzalezís words emblazoned on each one. The Giants won again with the crowd waving the "All In" towels as the players left the field, having clinched the division.
"The phrase can be applied in many ways and some players carried it over to their professional lives and determined to be 'All In' when it comes to competing on the field. "The phrase has taken on a more immediate meaning and is now centered on the playersí efforts on the field and among each other. But for those men who were at chapel that night, the echo still reminds them of the initial application."
It was a winning bet by Gonzalez, who said he felt "led by God" to deliver this particular chapel message to the team. Towards the end of the 20-minute service, he handed those in attendance a poker chip to tie together the "All In" mantra firmly.
"I gave them a poker chip, and silver sharpies, which they each took one. I then asked them to initial one side, and think about what God is calling them to be íAll Iní about. Maybe it is being íAll Iní as a man of God, father, or brother, or teammate, or all of those," Gonzalez said. "I let them keep the chip and challenged them to put it in a place they could remember it, to remind themselves that they are 'All In.'"
And if prayers are answered for those in Giants blue, some of those players will keep that chip next to a Super Bowl ring.