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SUSAN BOYLE: BEAUTY ON THE INSIDE
When Susan Boyle stepped out on the stage of "Britain’s Got Talent," people laughed at her...like the scoffers in this Psalm. They made fun of her because her outward appearance wasn’t the glitz and glamour they’d come to expect. Members of the audience could be seen rolling their eyes.
But when she began to sing, her voice was like that of the angels. People’s initial attitudes about her were changed. She had an amazing voice that was perfection to their ears. The rolling eyes changed to looks of shock at the incredible talent this woman had to offer.
The resounding applause proved she had what it took to be a star.
But her talent was on the inside.
God looks at what we’re all about; by what’s on the inside.
God doesn’t care if we have lustrous hair that shines or dingy grey, or no hair at all. God loves us just the way we are.
God doesn’t care if our eye lashes are long and full of volume.
God loves us just the way we are.
God doesn’t care if we own a limousine and driver to go with it or if we walk to church or take the bus.
God loves us just the way we are with the resources we have on the inside. And our biggest resource is our heart. It’s a heart that has a right relationship with God. It’s a heart that desires to live by God’s standards, not human beings. That is where true happiness is found.
It’s no secret formula that comes in a bottle or that you have to purchase in an exclusive limited time TV offer. No! The price has already been paid for you to be in a right relationship with God. Jesus Christ paid the price...with His life...for you! Amen!
There was a king who had all his world could afford. The thing he loved most, however, was to laugh.
Once while being entertained a jester came along wishing to join in the festival of activities and also wishing to perform for him. His opportunity came and he put the best comical show together he had ever done and the king never laughed so hard.
Once the activity was all over the king wanted to hire this jester to be his personal jester. Once hired the king in humor handed him a small stick and said, "You are the most foolish man alive. When you find someone more foolish than you, then you give them this stick," and the king laughed hartily.
After many years had passed by the king lay sick on his death bed ready to go at any moment. He called for his jester, for he wanted to laugh one more time before he died. When the jester was through he asked to speak to the king personally.
Once alone with the king the jester asked, "king where are you going?" The king responded, "on a far journey." The jester asked again, "and how do you plan to get there?" Again the king responded, "I don’t know." Then the jester pulled the stick from his back pocket and handed it to the king. The king was stunned and asked why he had given him the stick. The jester replied, "King today I have found a more foolish man than I. For you see, I only trifled with the things of life, but you have trifled with things of eternity!"
A twelve year old boy became a christian during a revival. The next week at school his friends questioned him about the experience. "Did you see a vision?" asked one friend. "Did you hear God speak?" asked another. The youngster answered no to all these questions. "Well, how did you know you were saved?" they asked. The boy searched for an answer and finally he said, "It’s like when you catch a fish, you cant see the fish, or hear the fish; you just feel him tugging on you line. I just felt God tugging on my heart."
Charles E. Fuller once announced that he would be speaking the following Sunday on “Heaven.” During that week, a beautiful letter was received from an old man who was very ill. The following is part of his letter:
“Next Sunday you are to talk about Heaven. I am interested in that land, because I have held a clear title to a bit of property there for over fifty-five years. I did not buy it. It was given to me without money and without price. But the donor purchased it for me at tremendous sacrifice. I am not holding it for speculation since the title is not transferable. It is not a vacant lot. For more than half a century I have been sending materials out of which the greatest architect and builder of the universe has been building a home for me which will never need to be remodeled or repaired because it will suit me perfectly, individually, and will never grow old.
Termites can never undermine its foundations for they rest on the rock of ages. Fire cannot destroy it. Floods cannot wash it away. No locks or bolts will ever be placed upon its doors, for no vicious person can ever enter that land where my dwelling stands. It is now almost completed and ready for me to enter in and abide in peace eternally, without fear of ev...
John Williams III
“Many years ago a man conned his way into the orchestra of the emperor of China although he could not play a note. Whenever the group practiced or performed, he would hold his flute against his lips, pretending to play but not making a sound. He received a modest salary and enjoyed a comfortable living Then one day the emperor requested a solo from each musician. The flutist got nervous. There wasn’t enough time to learn the instrument. He pretended to be sick, but the royal physician wasn’t fooled. On the day of his performance, the impostor took poison and killed himself. The explanation of his suicide led to a phrase that found its way into the English language: “He refused to face the music”. (As cited by Max Lucado’s Just Like Jesus. Nashville: Word Publishing, 1998, pp. 110-11, from the following source: Paul Lee Tan. The Encyclopedia Of 7700 Illustrations. Rockville, Md.: Assurance Publishers, 1979, pp. 562-63).
HE KEPT CALLING
In 1975, my aunt Marsha McCarthy divorced Ralph McCarthy. Marsha left Southern California and followed her parents to Joplin, Missouri.
She was employed as the Secretary at College Heights Christian Church and raised three children on her own. The stress was overwhelming at times. Marsha was in and out of the hospital regularly for stress related problems. But Ralph kept calling. Marsha wasn’t interested.
Well, he continued to call…for twenty-nine years. In the summer of 1999, Ralph flew out to see Marsha…face to face to close the deal. Would you believe, that when Ralph proposed to Marsha, she said yes.
October 9, 1999 Ralph and Marsha Lynn McCarthy were remarried. Ralph just kept calling.
Ralph just retired from his law practice in Carmel, CA. He built a retirement home in Palm Springs with a guest house and pool. The guest house is larger that Marsha’s home on North Jackson in Joplin. Ralph just kept calling.
Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
Can you hear him calling?
Source: Scott Mathews, Adventure Christian Church, Rocklin, CA.
In the Christian reader, Ramon Williams writes that on April 28, 1996,
a gunman walked into a crowded cafe in Port Arthur, Australia, and started
shooting. Tony Kistan, a Salvation Army soldier from Sydney, and his wife
Sarah were in the restaurant when the bullets began to fly. Courageously
Tony stepped in front of his wife to shield her from the gunfire, and he was
one of the first to fall. Thirty-four victims eventually died in the incident,
including Tony Kistan. As he lay dying in his wife’s arms, he spoke his last
words, “I’m going to be with the Lord.”
Those final words of faith were quoted by the Australian media and
carried to the world. “At a press conference,” writes Williams, “Tony’s son
Nesan, 24, explained why his father held this assurance and described his
father’s dedication to the gospel. Hardened journalists and photographers
were seen wiping away tears from their eyes. In life, Tony had been a man
who witnessed for his Lord to strangers and friends alike, and now in death,
he had witnessed to others through his simple last statement.”
I want to tell you about a practicing Christian, a public figure who lives out his faith in Jesus Christ. Here is a behind-the-scenes story.
There was a lot of excitement in watching the Indianapolis Colts, led by Head Coach Tony Dungy, win their trip to the Super Bowl this past January.
A TV sports interviewer asked the coach how great it was to be one of the first “African-American” head coaches to take his team to a Super Bowl. Coach Dungy responded immediately with: “Yes, that’s good, but what is really great and awesome, is how God worked this out for us; it’s just amazing how He made this all come together!”
Right after the Colts went on to win the Super Bowl in Feb., a true story originally posted on the Colts website was circulated by email. It’s an article from the previous year, Feb., 2006, about a talk Dungy gave at a breakfast held in Detroit by Athletes in Action on the eve of Super Bowl XL.
During that appearance Dungy talked publicly for the first time about the suicide of his son James.
Let me relate to you this very touching story about this great man, and the essence of his purpose in life.
DETROIT, Mich. - They were there for breakfast, and they were there to cheer New York Jets running back Curtis Martin.
And it was Martin who received the Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award Saturday morning, but the hundreds who gathered in fourth-floor ballroom at the Marriott Renaissance in Detroit, Mich., on the morning before Super Bowl XL were clearly touched by the featured speaker.
That speaker was the Colts Head Coach, Tony Dungy.
Two hours into the breakfast, emcee Brent Jones introduced Dungy, who was welcomed with a lengthy standing ovation. Dungy thanked the crowd, shared an anecdote about Martin, then told the crowd he was going to speak for about 15 minutes.
“It’s great to be here,” Dungy told the crowd, then adding with a laugh, “I just wish I wasn’t here in this capacity so many times of being just that close to being in the game and just being an invited speaker.
“My goal is to have our team here one day and have a couple of tables with all of our guys here. Because we have a special group of young men, a great group of Christian guys. It’d be wonderful to have them here so you could see their hearts and what they’re all about. It hasn’t quite happened yet, but we’re still hoping one day it will.”
He told them he was going to talk about lessons he had learned from his three sons. The crowd fell silent. Then Dungy spoke.
And although this was a breakfast - and although at many such events speakers speak over the clinking of glasses and murmurs from semi-interested listeners - for most of the 15 minutes the room was silent except for Dungy’s voice.
He spoke of his middle son, Eric, who he said shares his competitiveness and who is focused on sports “to where it’s almost a problem.” He spoke of his youngest son, Jordan, who has a rare congenital condition, which causes him not to feel pain.
“He feels things, but he doesn’t get the sensation of pain,” Dungy said. The lessons learned from Jordan, Tony Dungy said, are many.
“That sounds like it’s good at the beginning, but I promise you it’s not,” Dungy said. “We’ve learned a lot about pain in the last five years we’ve had Jordan. We’ve learned some hurts are really necessary for kids. Pain is necessary for kids to find out the difference between what’s good and what’s harmful.”
Jordan, Dungy said, loves cookies. “Cookies are good,” Dungy said, “but in Jordan’s mind, if they’re good out on the plate, they’re even better in the oven. He will go right in the oven when my wife’s not looking, reach in, take the rack out, take the pan out, burn his hands and eat the cookies and burn his tongue and never feel it. He doesn’t know that’s bad for him.”
Jordan, Dungy said, “has no fear of anything, so we constantly have to watch him.” The lesson learned, Dungy said, is simple. “You get the question all the time, ‘Why does the Lord allow pain in your life? Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is a God of love, why does he allow these hurtful things to happen?”“
Dungy said. “We’ve learned that a lot of times because of that pain, that little temporary pain, you learn what’s harmful. You learn to fear the right things.
“Pain sometimes lets us know we have a condition that needs to be healed. Pain inside sometimes lets us know that spiritually we’re not quite right and we need to be healed and that God will send that healing agent right to the spot. “Sometimes, pain is the only way that will turn us as kids back to the Father.”
Finally, he spoke of James. James Dungy, Tony Dungy’s oldest son, died three days before Christmas 2005. As he did while delivering James’ eulogy in December, Dungy on Saturday spoke of him eloquently and steadily, speaking of lessons learned and of the positives taken from experience.
“It was tough, and it was very, very painful, but as painful as it was, there were some good things that came out of it,” Dungy said.
Dungy spoke at the funeral of regretting not hugging James the last time he saw him, on Thanksgiving of last year. “I met a guy the next day after the funeral,” Dungy said. “He said, ‘I was there. I heard you talking. I took off work today. I called my son. I told him I was taking him to the movies. We’re going to spend some time and go to dinner.’ That was a real, real blessing to me.”
Dungy said he has gotten many letters since James’ death relaying similar messages. “People heard what I said and said, ‘Hey, you brought me a little closer to my son,’ or, ‘You brought me a little closer to my daughter,”“ Dungy said. “That is a tremendous blessing.”
Dungy also said some of James’ ...
Sermon Central Staff
"One word stands out from all others as the key to knowing God, to having His peace and assurance in your life--it is obedience." (Eric Liddell)
Elisabeth Elliot tells the story of when she and her brother Tom were small children. Their mother would let Tom play with paper bags that she had saved as long as he put them away afterwards. One day she walked into the kitchen to find them strewn all over the floor.
Tom was in another room at the piano with his father singing hymns. When their mother called him to the kitchen to tidy up, he protested, "But Mum, I want to sing Jesus loves me this I know."
His father, seated next to him, backed up the boys' mother by saying: "It's no good singing God's praise if you're disobedient. To obey is better than sacrifice."
(From a sermon by Gordon Curley, In his father's footsteps, 11/18/2010)
An elderly man said to H.A. Ironside, "I will not go on unless I know I’m saved, or else know it’s hopeless to seek to be sure of it. I want a definite witness, something I can’t be mistaken about!" Ironside replied, "Suppose you had a vision of an angel who told you your sins were forgiven. Would that be enough to rest on?" "Yes, I think it would. An angel should be right." Ironside continued, "But suppose on your deathbed Satan came and said, ’I was that angel, transformed to deceive you.’ What would you say?" The man was speechless. Ironside then told him that God has given us something more dependable than the voice of an angel. He has given His Son, who died for our sins, and He has testified in His own Word that if we trust Him all our sins are gone. Ironside read I John 5:13, "You may know that you have eternal life." Then he said, "Is that not enough to rest on? It is a letter from heaven expressly to you." God’s Spirit used that to bring assurance to the man’s heart.
H. A. Ironside.