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"When there is a hill to climb, don't think that waiting will make it any smaller."
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.”
Four men used to meet together each week in Memphis. One man was a service station owner, one man was a salesman for a wholesale appliance company, one man was assistant treasurer of a large corporation, and one man was a teacher. These men shared with each other their longings, desires, and plans. They decided to set goals and to share these with each other. The service station owner set a goal to be making $50,000 a year within five years. The wholesale appliance salesman set a goal to be making $25,000 a year within the next five years. The teacher set a goal to be teaching in one of the greatest educational institutions in America within five years. The assistant treasurer said he was going to do the best he could, but he was not going to set a specific goal. Within five years the service station owner was making in excess of $50,000 a year. Today he worth over one million dollars. Within four years the wholesale appliance salesman was making $25,000 a year. Today he is a wealthy man. In two years and ten months the teacher was offered the best teaching job in his field in the United States. The assistant treasurer is still working at his same job in the circumstances that he was in the day the goals were set. Aim determines direction. When you aim a pistol toward a target, how you aim determines the direction the bullet will go. The conscious and sub-conscious goals you have for your life have brought about the situation in which you find yourself today. A goal you set, an aim you determine with your intellect and emotions is one of the most powerful forces in the world.
Too many times people want glory just for themselves.
Sometimes football players score a touchdown and do a dance wanting everyone to applaud them and their greatness.
Sometimes baseball players hit a homerun and prance around the bases. They want the crowds to worship and adore them.
If we want to stay on the right road, we need to seek to glorify God with our lives.
I was looking at the full moon a while back. S...
Sermon Central Staff
A SERVANT, NOT A CELEBRITY
Colonel James Irving is a former astronaut who is part of the crew that made a successful moonwalk. He experienced the thrill connected with leaving this planet and seeing it shrink in size. He watched earth rise one day and thought how privileged he was to be a member of that unique crew. Then he began to realize the route back home and how many would consider him as a superstar, for sure an international celebrity. But he was humbled by the awesome goodness of God and he made this observation. "As I was returning to earth I realized I was a servant, not a celebrity. So I'm here as God's servant on planet Earth to share what I've experienced that others might know the glory of God."
(From a sermon by Larry Moyer, What Does God Say about the Sanctity of Life? 1/5/2011)
Lieutenant Andrew Moffatt
JAMES AND JOHN TALKING
This is how I imagine it was before Salome approached Jesus about one of the boys being at either side of him in his kingdom. Remember these two disciples were the "sons of thunder."
James: What do you reckon Iím sure that he'll be King soon and I want to sit on my throne at his right hand!
John: You can't sit there!
James: Why not?
John: Because thatís where Iíll be sitting!
James: That's what you think; I tell you what I'll arm wrestle you for it! I'll arm wrestle you for it!
John: Youíre on then!
Their Mum: Ohi cut that out, now what's all this about boys?
James and John together: He said he was going to sit at Jesus right hand when he becomes king.
Their Mum: For crying out loud! One of you can sit at his right and the other at his left, if youíll just zip it for five minutes we'll go ask him who is going to be sitting where. Once he's made up his mind I donít want to hear another word and thatís final.
Sermon Central Staff
GETTING YOUR HANDS DIRTY: GRANDMA'S APRON
There are all sorts of "questionably clean" things that spread love and give meaning to our lives. Does anyone this morning remember a grandma or great-grandma swathed in a big all-enveloping apron? Not some perky little decorative thing worn on Christmas. Not some manly "barbecue guy" butcher's cloth with questionable sayings stenciled on it. But the kind of apron that went over the shoulder, had two big pockets, some rick-rack trim, and was soft and faded from a hundred washings.
Aprons were there to protect Grandma's dress. But they protected far more than that. The big old apron protected Grandma's hands as she pulled hot dishes for her family from the oven. The big old apron helped her bring in wood to keep the stove stoked. The big old apron protected eggs carried into the kitchen and baby chicks carried back to their nests. The big old apron dried tears from the faces of little ones and wiped at the sweating brows of working men and women. The big old apron brought in peas and beans and tomatoes from the garden and brought up carrots and potatoes, apples and onions, from the cellar. A big flapping apron signaled time for dinner to all, while a big wrapped around apron offered a frightened child a quiet shelter from all. The big old apron could get the wax out of dirty ears and wipe the dust off a tabletop.
And of course Grandma and her big old apron knew all about the power of spit. No child could sport a smudged up face as long as Grandma had her big old apron to spit-shine them up. Grandma's big old apron was always, ten minutes after she put it on, certifiably dirty. And just like Jesus' miraculous mud pies, all those Grandma's dirty aprons were spreading love, not germs.
You don't have to be a Grandma and you don't have to actually wear an apron to find a way to transform the ordinary, everyday things of life into extraordinary expressions of Christ-empowered love. However, you might have to get your hands dirty.
(From a sermon by Richard Jumper, Getting Dirty For Lent, 4/13/2011)
THE REAL DEAL?
Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Person asked a young accountant who was fresh out of school, "What starting salary were you thinking about?" The Accountant said, "In the neighborhood of 100,000 a year, depending on the benefits package."
The interviewer said, "Well, what would you say to a package of 5 weeks vacation, full medical and dental, Company Retirement Fund to 50% of salary, Executive Share Option Scheme, Profit Related Pay and a company car leased every 2 years - say, a 5 series BMW?"
The Accountant sat up stra...
ďOur Chains--His Slavery!Ē Matthew 20: 20-28 Key verse(s): 28: ď. . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.Ē
ďJust sign here on the dotted line here Mr. Brunner and we will be done.Ē As I lifted my hand, grip on pen, ready to put my signature to the document, I hesitated for a split second. Once my signature was on that document, I had made a commitment not only to the guarantor but also to my family. My promissory meant more than just the ink that made up my signature. It meant that the fine print as well as the not so fine print were now obligating me. Had I read everything as carefully as I should have? What if I were making a mistake? Perhaps I should have thought this through a little bit more than I did? These and many other thoughts cruised through my head as my hand slowly dropped to the signature blank. As I signed my name and handed the pen to my wife, I had mixed feelings. We needed a new car and we did shop around. The interest rate was good and we had purchased from this dealer before. Nevertheless, when it comes to signing my name to anything, there is always that slight twinge of regret that accompanies the excitement of the purchase and the receipt of the new. It was that feeling of being servant to someone or something else that always bothered me a bit.
Being a servant to someone or something isnít a bad thing. The fact is, most of the time, it is a pretty good and honorable thing. I serve my family, my church, my political party, my employer and numerous other organizations and causes. But, there are times when serving, being subjugated or subordinated to someone or something, is not comfortable. Serving the interest on a loan is one of those times. It seems that it is something that, on the surface, isnít so bad. But, when you have the chance to sit and analyze it a bit, it becomes apparent pretty quick that for all the good the loan has done you, it has extracted a good degree of unpleasant servitude from you. For the duration of that loan, you have become bondservant to the bank and, on a monthly basis, you are reminded of that by the rattling chains of another interest payment due.
So it is with sin and our enslavement to that sin. We try hard to escape but it seems we always find ourselves committed to another payment, another debt owed due to the fact that we had signed on the dotted line and committed to a lifetime of sin in absentia when Adam first decided to bit the apple. The more we try to free ourselves from that debt, the more we find ourselves servant to it. The interest of sin compounds before our eyes and we are quickly transformed from an embattled state to a succumbing reality. Sin rules--we donít. And another payment is coming due.
When we get to heaven, there will be no contest to see who was the most deserving of Godís grace because no one deserves it.
There will only be one contest in heaven. When we look back and see what we were before, when we see the pit from which he rescued us, when we recall how confused we were, when we remember how God reached out and hired us into His family, and how he held us in his hand, and when we see Jesus who loved us and gave himself for us, the only contest will be to see which of us will sing the loudest:
ďAmazing grace, h...