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THE ODYSSEY: PROTECTION AGAINST TEMPTATION
According to Greek mythology, sirens (sea nymphs) inhabited certain Mediterranean coastal areas. As ships passed by, the sirens sang such enchanting songs that the sailors, drawn by the music, would jump overboard and drown.
Odysseus was on a ship that had to pass that way. Aware of the powerful allurement of those songs, he ordered that he be bound with ropes to the mast and that the crewmen's ears be sealed with wax to block out the tantalizing music of the sirens. Having taken such precautions, Odysseus and the rest of the crew were able to sail past without yielding to the lure of the sea nymphs.
As Christians, we should be prepared to resist any temptations to evil. We must hate sin and be so serious about not giving in to its allurements that we are determined to deny our desire to participate in it.
Are there recurring sins in your life that have been defeating you? Drastic measures must be taken. You must keep away from any enticements that you know would play into your weakness. The best protection against temptation is to heed the warning Paul gave to Timothy: "Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness" (2 Timothy 2:22). That was good counsel then; it's still good today.
Sermon Central Staff
A PEACEMAKING CHURCH
I can tell this story because one neighbor has died and the other neighbor no longer lives across the street from our church. Our neighbors endured the disruption of their lives as we built on to our church. I'm sure that contributed to their lack of patience with us. We put our dumpster next to the parsonage. We didn't want it on Rock Creek. It was believed that it would attract others continually filling it up, and it was not the first thing that we wanted people to see when they look at our church. One neighbor had a different point of view. He didn't like coming out of his front door and looking across the street at a dumpster. He wanted to know what we were going to do.
All the neighbors and some men from our church and myself met at the dumpster. This man was angry. After he'd let off some steam I asked where he recommended we put the dumpster. You know that was a dangerous question. What he wanted was to put it out front on the corner of our property. I said to the group let's go look at what he's talking about. I did not want to do this.
I walked with the neighbors and listened to their complaints. When we got out front the man began explaining why it was a good spot. I was thinking of why it was not a good spot. But Music Minister Jim Garling, who'd followed behind and heard the man complain from one end of the property to the other, looked at me and said, "Ed, this will be OK. We can make it work." As you can see to this day, that's exactly what we did.
There are shields inside the covers of the outside lights on the west side because the woman who lived across the street at that time complained that the lights were so bright that it lit up her living room and kitchen. We didn't have to do any of that. But we're Christians. We are people of peace. Those were minor actions to do good for our neighbors in order to live at peace with them.
Peacemakers release tension; they don't intensify it. Peacemakers seek solutions and find no delight in arguments. Peacemakers calm the waters; they don't trouble them. Peacemakers work hard to keep an offense from occurring. And if it has occurred, they strive for resolution. Peacemakers lower their voice rather than raise their voice. Peacemakers generate light not heat.
(From a sermon by Ed Sasnett, Like a Good Neighbor, 7/29/2011)
SAVING GRIZZLY ADAMS
Rick Stacy, Pastor in Okemos, Michigan tells a story about Ken Bailey.
Ken was a laborer on the Alaska Pipeline back in the mid 70’s. He worked up in the icy cold for a year and came back with $30,000. That was a lot of money 30 years ago! He blew it all in a month.
He went back and in six months made another $18,000. He came home again and this time he decided to visit church.
The first Sunday he walked through the doors and sat in the back seat I had two thoughts - 1) He looked just like Grizzly Adams - beard and all and 2) Here was a man that would never become a Christian.
I preached the message and gave an invitation. The instant the music began Ken came rushing down the aisle. I thought he was going to crush me! Tears came down his face as he gave his life to Jesus.
The next Sunday he came back to services and I didn’t recognize him -he was dressed in a 3 piece suit and no beard! When I asked what caused him to shave and dress up he said, "Jesus changed me on the inside and I want people to know it - so I changed the outside."
SOURCE: Rick Stacy, Meridian Christian Church, Okemos, Michigan.
On April 28, 1999, just eight days after the Columbine shooting, shock rock singer Marilyn Manson was scheduled to perform a concert in Iowa City, Iowa. And since Manson’s music
was prominent in the lives of Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, there was a lot of emotion surrounding his concert. Mark Forstrom, a local Youth Minister in the area wrote about what happened.
He wrote, "The police, the media, and the community began to prepare for angry protests and ugly brawling between Christians and Marilyn Manson supporters."
Suddenly, something totally unexpected happened. Emerging thru the vehicle of e-mail, another local movement suddenly sprang to life— that the only way to truly change our moral climate is to soften hard hearts. (The hearts of Manson fans have been hardened by
their perception that Christians are mean-spirited, hateful, and judgmental.) Thus, the idea was birthed to unravel that stereotype by encouraging Christians to show the pure LOVE of Christ to these fans in tangible ways.
Concert day finally arrived, and tension filled the community. The media geared up for an ugly battle between Manson fans and the Christian opposition.
Instead, what they observed here was an amazing testament to the power of and love of Christ! Scores of Christians from churches all over Linn County and as far away as Des Moines (2 hours away) converged on the sidewalks outside the Five Seasons Center, to do
two POSITIVE things: pray, and to show unmistakable love. It was a sight to behold.
~ Groups conducted "prayer walks" around the arena.
~ People prayed in huddles on the sidewalk.
~ Churches around the city held special prayer eetings.
As for showing LOVE to the fans,
~ One church purchased 100 pizzas, which were freely given away to the fans in line and bystanders.
~ Cookies and over 1,200 cans of soda were purchased or donated and distributed.
~ Someone made turkey & cheese sandwiches and gave them away.
~ One pastor asked Manson fans who passed by how he could pray for them--about 20 shared specific things & were prayed for on the spot.
~ After the concert, about $200 in cash (collected mostly by a local youth group) was given out to pay for parking in the parking ramp.
The Christians involved said, "We’re Christians and we’d like to show you God’s love by paying for your parking tonight." The
immediate results of this love in action were phenomenal:
~ People continually asked, "Why are you doing this?" and then listened to the answer. ~ Two "live" radio reporters (one inside the stadium and one outside) discussed--on the air--how preferable it was to be outside with the generous Christians.
~ At least 3 people gave their lives to Christ through the loving care of the Christians.
~ At least one other fan that we know of chose...
Too many Christians are not serving. When you ask them to do something they say, "Well, uh, sorry, but that is not my spiritual gift." Trouble is they seem to think they have no spiritual gift because they say that about everything. Brethren, I tell you the truth in Christ that are no such gifts as pew warming and sermon or music listenin’!! All of the spiritual gifts are proactive. You will be doing something. If you tell me that you are sold out to the Lord and not doing anything I will try not to be rude and call you a liar, but I will have to ask you to explain your definition of consecration to me.
Origin of Taps -
“Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land. During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach, the captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.
When the captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.
The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status.
His request was only partially granted. The captain had asked if he could have a group of army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral. The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they did say he could have one musician play.
The captain chose a bugler, and he asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth’s uniform. This wish was granted, The haunting melody we now know as “Taps,” used at military funerals, was born.
Source: Pulpit Helps (July 2001) article written by:
Diane O. Sides
Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO
No people in history have had as many opportunities to hear the truth about God, to learn how salvation can be found by turning to Jesus Christ, than those who live in this country at the end of the 20th Century. Do you realize there are 450,000 churches in the United States. In fact, 24% of protestant congre-gations in the world are in this country. There are 600 religious radio stations, the vast majority run by evangelical Christians, who daily broadcast the message of Jesus Christ to people across the land. Christian TV, Christian publishing, Christian music recording, all communicate the Bible’s message. God has given us so many chances. But, there are so many folks who continue to reject the truth.
DO YOU REMEMBER "DO OVERS?"
They were part of the "Good Ole" Days. I know, Let’s play a little game… Everyone stand up. Now sit down when you can’t remember what I mention next…
How many of you remember…
90’s – Beanie Babies; Teenie Beanies; Grunge; and the phrase CHA-CHING!!!
80’s – PacMan; the Rubic’s cube; Leg Warmers; the Fraggles TV show.
70’s – 8 track Tapes; platform shoes; and leisure suits.
60’s – LP’s; Troll dolls; and the first lava lamps!
50’s – Wax coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside, Hula-hoops, and putting peanuts in your ten-cent 7 oz glass coke bottle before you drank it.
40’s – Party lines on your telephones; and Big Band Music.
All of us can remember the good ole days
When you could happily catch fireflies for an entire evening.
When money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly."
And it wasn’t odd to have two or three "best" friends.
When being old referred to anyone over 20 years of age.
When the net on a tennis court was the perfect height to play volleyball – with no real rules.
Remember when the worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was "cooties."
How it was magic when dad would "remove" his thumb.
Remember when you were finally tall enough to ride the "big people" ...
: It was the first day of basketball practice at Wingate High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Coach handed a ball to each player.
“Boys,” he said, “I want you to practice shooting from the spots you might expect to be in during the game.”
One of the boys (who was pretty much there as a substitute for the star players - in fact he was substitute #12) immediately sat down on the bench and began shoot the ball toward the basket from there.
APPLY: You might say that boy didn’t expect to get to play much. And I suppose he was just trying to get a laugh out of his teammates. But, there are some people who sit the bench, because that’s where they’ve gotten used to being. They never strive to much more than that - because they don’t believe in themselves enough to put in the extra effort and practice to change their status. And because of that: they’re always going to sit the bench.
It’s as if we’ve made Christianity into a spectator sport. We just sit back in church and listen to the music, and the sermons and never really get involved in the game. We need some Christians today to get off the sidelines and get on the front lines. There is a special position that God has for all those who are in Christ, but we will never discover it as long as we watch safely from the sideline. We need to put action to our faith and get involved in the spiritual battle that is taking place all around us.
A preacher in the Midwest tells about a young couple in his church who boasted to all their friends & neighbors that they were flying to New York City. They were only going to be able to spend one day there, but the highlight of their trip would be to go & see the Broadway play, “My Fair Lady.” They were so proud of this, & everyone was really impressed because no one else in that small town had ever been to a play on Broadway.
The day came, & when they arrived in New York they took a taxi to the theatre where “My Fair Lady” was playing. To their dismay, they found that the play was sold out for the night.
They thought, “What do we do now? Everybody knows that we came to see ‘My Fair Lady.’ We don’t dare tell them that we didn’t.” So they found a couple of ticket stubs on the sidewalk & picked them up. They bought a program that described the various acts of the play. They went home singing “I Could Have Danced all Night.” And they told everybody that they had gone to see “My Fair Lady.”
The preacher said, “That’s right. They had the ticket stubs. They had the program. They had been to the theatre. They knew the music. But the trouble is, they didn’t see the performance.”
Then he added, “A lot of Christians are like that. We come to church. We have the bulletin. We know the songs. We know what to say & what to do. The problem is that many of us have never really made Jesus the Lord of our lives.”