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"I TITHE--HE'LL FIND ME."
Two men have ended up marooned on an island in the South Pacific. You can fill in the blanks as to how they got there.
So they are on the clichéic deserted island, one palm tree, nothing to see but the ocean. One guy is in a complete panic, pacing back and forth, ranting about how they are going to die, hungry and alone, that nobody will stumble on them until they are nothing but bones. The other guy is sitting under the tree snoozing.
Finally the first man can't stand it anymore and he demands "What's wrong with you, don't you understand the situation?"
To which the reply came "Sure I do, we are stranded on this island hundreds of miles from anywhere"
"Well aren't you worried?"
"Nope" came the reply "I make $10,000.00 a week."
The first guy was at a complete loss, "What does that have to do with anything, you have no access to the money and no place to spend it if you did."
To which the second guy replied "No you don't understand, I make $10,000.00 a week and I tithe, my pastor will find me."
James Hunter in his book “The Servant” presents a powerful picture of what it really means to be a leader/servant. He shares: leadership is ultimately rooted in our will. Not forcing our will on others, but demonstrating our will to serve.
There is a big difference between leading through power and leading through authority.
Many people can simply force people to do what they want because they have the power to make them. However, few people like to be forced to do anything. Eventually such “power driven leadership” destroys relationships.
On the other hand, some have the ability to lead through authority. Authority is different than power. Power is something you have and force on people. Authority is something you gain – it’s given to you by the people you lead.
How does one gain authority from those they lead? Only through service and sacrifice. When people see that you have their best interests at heart, when they see you are willing to sacrifice and serve them they will be willing to follow. That’s servant leadership, that’s authority.
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!”
Hypocrisy can be illusrated by the way we clean house when company is coming - We shove our junk in the closet, stuff it under the bed, etc. where it can’t be seen. Out of sight it doesn’t exist at least to our guests. That is not a horrible way to clean house, but it is terrible way to deal with the spiritual junk i...
Roshelle Deas Roberson
THE OAK ISLAND TREASURE
Oak Island is a tiny island off the coast of Nova Scotia in eastern Canada. One day in 1795 three teenage boys from the mainland rowed to the secluded area to see what they could find. They found something that changed their lives as well as the lives of many others. The youths began the longest and costliest treasure hunt in history.
One of the first things the boys noticed on the island was an old oak tree with a sawed off branch. From the branch hung a ship's tackle block with a hook. And below that was a circular depression in the ground. It was there that the youths began to dig a thirteen foot wide hole.
At ten feet down their shovels struck something hard; it was a platform of oak logs. At twenty feet there was another layer of oak logs and at thirty feet it was the same. The boys sensed that the treasure was beyond their reach and decided to return after they obtained a title to the land and some financial backing.
Backed by a syndicate they returned in 1804. At every ten feet they dug they were stopped by oak platforms. At ninety-five feet they were stopped by water. They came back a year later to dig a shaft parallel to the pit. They tried to burrow to the treasure but this new hole filled with water also. The syndicate folded.
But the men didn't go away empty-handed. When they dug down ninety feet they found a one foot by three foot flat stone. Strange hieroglyphics were etched on it that no one could decipher. It is now lost.
For awhile the island was given a rest. Then in 1849 another syndicate arrived. At ninety-eight feet they drilled into the pit and hit oak planks and something underneath it. When the drill came up bits of gold clung to it. Then once again water filled the hole.
At a nearby cove the men found a manmade tunnel that connected to the pit at 110 feet below ground. The water in it rose and fell with the tide. They plugged the tunnel by building a rocky dam that kept out the sea.
The syndicate decided to build another shaft, twenty-five feet from the pit, to a depth of 118 feet. They planned to come at the gold from below. They tunneled across towards the pit, they were close to getting the treasure when suddenly, the bottom fell out of the treasure chamber and the valuables fell into a dark empty space. To the superstitious it gave credence to the myth that the more your dig at treasure, the more it will sink. On top of this, the dam they built was swept away by high tide. The company went bankrupt.
Almost continually over the years treasure seekers dug for the gold. In 1894 another syndicate tried their luck. The side tunnel to the sea was dynamited and blocked. The company poured money in. The pit poured more water in and the pit won.
In 1939 a second tunnel was discovered at the cove near the first one. It linked with the pit at 150 feet below the surface. And at 180 feet down an underground stream was discovered. But the gold could not be found.
Who's treasure is it? Captain Kidd is given the credit for burying it. Around 1930, in Sussex England, a retired lawyer named Hubert Palmer found three charts in secret compartments of a bureau and chest that were once owned by Captain Kidd. One map showed an island that resembled Oak Island. Others said that it resembled and island in the China Sea. R.A. Skelton, a British map expert, confirmed the maps as authentic as well as Captain Kidd's hand writing.
Men are still digging for the treasure. In August 1971, a group of treasure hunters lowered a remote controlled underwater camera into the pit. At the bottom, 230 feet, it showed what looked like three chests, a human corpse and a severed hand.
RELATIONSHIPS INSIDE AND OUT
If I saw our relationship (with his wife) as a bunch of rules I had to keep, I would quickly become bitter and miserable. I would likely rebel and break the rules when she wasn’t paying attention. But I am passionately in love with my wife and that translates into a desire to please her. So I find that cleaning my closet, putting the lid down on the toilet, or other such extravagant acts aren’t cumbersome but actually quite satisfying. When the relationship on the inside is right, the outside will follow.
Kyle Idleman, "Not a Fan" (p. 78)
FANS OF JESUS
Fans of Jesus sooner or later find themselves exhausted. Fans grow tired or trying to maintain an outer appearance that doesn’t match an inner passion. They find themselves weary of trying to keep all the rules in hopes of somehow earning God’s favor.
Kyle Idleman, "Not a Fan" (p. 81)
THE HYPOCRISY OF ROBERT COURTNEY
Before his arrest, Robert Courtney served as a deacon at Northland Cathedral, an Assembly of God Church in Kansas City. In 1990, Courtney began purchasing pharmaceuticals on the gray market and using them to fill prescriptions at his pharmacy. In time, he began diluting prescriptions to increase profits. Both practices were illegal.
In 1998, an Eli Lilly sales representative noticed a discrepancy between the amount of the cancer drug Gemzar Courtney bought and the amount he sold. Lilly initiated an internal investigation but found no evidence of illegality and closed the investigation without further action.
In 2001, the Eli Lilly sales representative mentioned the matter to a nurse who worked for an oncologist in Courtney’s building and was also one of Courtney’s customers. The oncologist had medication supplied by Courtney tested. When the results showed the prescriptions were diluted, the oncologist notified authorities.
According to law enforcement estimates, from 1990 to 2001, Courtney diluted 98,000 prescriptions, which were given to 4,200 patients. Courtney is reported to have diluted 72 different kinds of drugs. In August 2001, two months before his arrest, Courtney held total assets worth $18.7 million.
In 2002, Courtney pleaded guilty to 20 federal counts of tampering and adulterating the chemotherapy drugs Taxol and Gemzar. He also acknowledged that he and his corporation, Courtney Pharmacy Inc., had weakened drugs, conspired to traffic in stolen drugs and caused the ...
A CONFIDENT FAITH
Jesus indicted the Pharisees saying: "All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers" (Matthew 23:2, 3). The rules they made for others were much stricter than the ones they made for themselves. That is often the case with religious men.
D. R. Dungan, in his book, HERMENEUTICS, observed: "I knew a man who had a hobby on marriage. He was of the opinion that no man could marry twice without being a polygamist--in heaven, if not on the earth. His wife might die, but that had nothing to do with it; if he married again he would be guilty of polygamy. You could not talk with him five minutes without having his hobby brought out and made to canter in your presence.
"But his wife died, and in less than a year from that time his theology changed on that point. Almost anything that men want to do, they can find some text of Scripture that will sound like giving it support. And it is exceedingly difficult to make any man see that he has been preaching that which is not true. He has posed before the people on the subject, and is not willing to incur the humiliation of saying, 'I was wrong, and my opponents were right.'" A man’s wishes sometimes blind him to the truth.
Why do men draw such varied conclusions from the Scriptures? I think the answer is found in their approach to Bible study. Some people go to the Bible to dis¬cover what God has revealed on a particular subject, while others go to the book in search of proof for what they want to believe. Conclusions should not be formed and then Scriptures sought to validate them. We should look to the Scriptures and form our conclusions based on what is revealed in them.
Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Paul admonished, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). It is only when we do this that we can have confidence in our faith!
Sermon Central Staff
GRANT VS. CUSTER
There is a story of two Civil War Generals: George A. Custer and Ulysses S. Grant. Both graduated from West Point--Gen. Grant, being the oldest, graduated in the 1840's and Gen. Custer in 1861. Grant fought in several wars and was a field General in every sense of the word. In 1865, he was the one who forced Robert E. Lee to surrender to the north.
At the surrendering ceremony, Grant wore a mud-splattered uniform of a private, with general shoulder pads sewed on. He was the picture of a man who was a worker and had just finished a job. He said he took no glory in the surrender of a fellow general. Gen. Grant was a humble man and an excellent leader.
When Gen. Custer graduated West Point, he went from 2nd Lieutenant to Brigadier General in less than two years. When he assumed command of his brigade in 1863, he wore a black velveteen uniform with gold braid from the elbows to the cuffs of his sleeves, and a golden feather in the hatband of his dress hat. He was known to have the brashest of attitudes and a personality that one newspaper columnist of the time described as "the personality of a childish upstart."
Gen. Grant listened to his advisers and led his troops into victory, winning nearly every battle he fought. Gen. Custer led his troops into a deathly defeat at the Battle of Little Big Horn. He had been given advice to detour and go to another front, but the general "knew best" and rejected the advice of his second in command. He ordered a full attack. The only living survivor of that brigade was one horse.
Custer dressed to impress, Grant dressed for work. Custer wanted to be noticed. Grant wanted to win. I wonder, if they had both been sitting at the dinner in the days of Jesus parable, which one would have quickly taken the seat of high honor and which one would have gladly taken the seat of less honor? Like my father said to me, "A great man is always willing to live in the shadows of his success." And of course, which general had the greatest success ...