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Contributed By:
Davon Huss
 
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MAN IN A HURRY

On the Andy Griffith Show episode "Man in a Hurry"- Malcolm tucker is a wealthy businessman from Charlotte. One Sunday he happens to have car trouble a couple of miles outside of Mayberry. Malcolm walks the rest of the way to town and meets Andy coming out of Sunday morning worship.

Andy offers to assist Malcolm but warns that it is nearly impossible to get anything done on a Sunday in Mayberry. Malcolm begins to lose patience when Wally, the filling station owner, refuses to fix his car because it is his policy not to work on Sunday. Furthermore, Malcolm is dumbfounded when he learns that he can't even use the telephone because the elderly Mindelbright sisters use the party line to visit on Sunday afternoons, since they are unable to get around very well.

Back at the Taylor house, things don't get much better for Malcolm. He explodes into a tirade, screaming that the citizens of Mayberry are living in another world--that this is the twentieth century, and while the whole world is living in a desperate space age, the town of Mayberry shuts down because two old ladies' feet fall asleep.

Out on the front porch Malcolm actually begins to relax as Barney and Andy sing the old spiritual "Church in the Wildwood." But this calm is short lived when Gomer informs Malcolm that his cousin Goober has offered to fix the car. Later, when Gomer returns with the car, Malcolm is surprised that there is no charge for the repair since it was just a clogged fuel line. Goober actually considered it an honor to work on such a fine machine.

As Mr. Tucker prepares to leave, he stops and contemplates the events of the afternoon as well as his return to the activities of his hectic life. Malcolm realizes that the very characteristics of Mayberry life that initially frustrated him so much are, in fact, the priorities he needs to establish in his own life. He decides to put his business on hold and stay the night in Mayberry.

I think the reason the episode is so popular is that we can all see ourselves in Malcolm Tucker. We can all get caught up in our daily activities to the extent that we are blinded to everything else going on around us, and when things don't go our way, we explode! One man said, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." The next time that something unexpected or bad happens (not if but when), may our trials make us stronger in our faith.

 
Contributed By:
Vera Hughes
 
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John 5:1-7 (Impotent man)
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.

Man had been this way 38 years. Jesus asks strange question ‘do you want to be healed?’

‘Of course I do, you’d say.

What was response?

Excuses – v.7

Feeling sorry for self won’t help.

God responds to faith, not tears.

Jesus didn’t allow the man room for self-pity.

His confidence was in angels and bubbles, not in God.

This man needed to stand up on the inside first before he stood up on the outside.

The man was in self pity; self pity feeds on itself and God can’t help you.

Do you really want to be made whole? Then have confidence in God.

Don’t dwell on past failures or defeats. Dwell – meditate on God’s grace and mercy.

Don’t wait for someone also to rescue you.

 
Contributed By:
Kenneth Henes
 
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A few years ago the Birmingham, Alabama, paper had a headline on the sports page: "The Most Exciting Moment Of My Life." It showed a picture of Jack Nicklaus writing out a $5,000 check for charity. As a matter of fact, it was second $5,000 check that day. It happened because of a game of golf he lost.
A man by the name of Charley Boswell lives in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1937, he was the captain of the Alabama football team that played in the 1938 Rose Bowl. In World War II he was a captain in the infantry. He stepped on a land mine and blew his eyes out. Charley Boswell is stone cold blind! But for nine holes of golf he can shoot par golf. He hits a ball he can’t even see. The caddy rattles the pin in the cup, and the noise tells him where to putt. How does he do that? He said, "Holding mental pictures."
Jack Nicklaus went to Birmingham to help raise money for a Boys’ Ranch and gave $5,000. They had a banquet to honor Nicklaus for helping the fund-raiser and for his $5,000 check. Halfway through the meal, Charley Boswell stood at a table in the back of the room. "Mr. Nicklaus, they tell me you play a little golf." There was silence. "Yes, I’ve been known to play a round or two." "So do I, and I think I can beat you! I’ll play you nine holes of golf. If you can beat me, I’ll give $5,000 to the Boys’ Club. And, if I beat you, you give another $5,000. And to make the contest fun, exciting, and fair, you choose the course where we play, and I’ll choose the time we play -- day or night."
Guess what time Charley chose? Night, of course. The Birmingham paper had a full length picture of Nicklaus writing out his second $5,000 check. The headline said "The Most Exciting Moment Of My Life." Someone asked him about that headline. Why had he made that statement? "You have won every trophy, award, honor, accolade. Why would this be so exciting?" Nicklaus replied "I met a person today who refuses to let fear control his life."

 
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JUST TO BE NOTICED

Every spring, hundreds of Hollywood “stars” gather for the Academy Awards. Very few “slip in the back door:” instead, they make an entrance. They walk down the long red carpet, smiling at the cameras and waving to the people in the stands (who, by the way, all had to apply and go through extensive background checks), showing off their clothing (and undoubtedly a bit more), chatting with the reporters. Some will go to great, great lengths just to be noticed.

Contrast that with Jesus: to the man healed of leprosy in Matt. 8, He said: “See that you don’t tell anyone.” To the two blind men He healed in Matt. 9, He, “warned them sternly, ‘See that no one knows about this.’” And in Mark 1, a demon possessed man in Capernaum yelled out “I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”, to which Jesus replied “Be quiet!”

Jesus often chose not to be in the limelight. In fact, most of Jesus ministry happened outside of the capital city of Jerusalem, away from the big pomp and ceremony of the Temple, in small towns and villages along the way.

Until today. Until the e...

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Contributed By:
Bruce Howell
 
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“Dr. Garl Restored My Sight!”

There was this soft-spoken man who was a commuter on the Long Island Railroad—on the five o’clock local. Every evening, after the train had left the subway, he would begin a journey through the car from front to back. At each seat he would stop and say, “Excuse me. But if any of your friends are blind, tell them to consult Dr. Garl. He restored my sight.”

Why don’t we have that same courage and conviction and boldness?

 
Contributed By:
Ken Pell
 
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TURN A BLIND EYE

We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29)

Have you turned a blind eye to God’s Word?

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase "turn a blind eye," which means to ignore undesirable information. The saying comes from a 19th century British naval battle. On April 2, 1801, during the Battle of Copenhagen, the British fleet was attacking the combined navies of Denmark and Norway. Three British ships ran aground, so the admiral, Hyde Parker, decided that the fire of battle was "too hot to oppose." So Admiral Parker sent an order, through signal flags, that the younger admiral Horatio Nelson should "Discontinue Action" and withdraw.

When Nelson heard his own signalman relay the order, he pretended not to hear him. Mesmerized by the thrill of battle, Nelson had no intention of obeying the order. He turned to his captain and said, "This day may be the last for us at any moment," even as a Danish cannonball struck his ship’s mainmast, scattering splinters all around him. This was typical of Nelson’s stubborn and aggressive approach to war. In fact, he’d already lost sight in his right eye in a previous battle. So, when pressed again to respond to Parker’s order, Nelson told his flag captain Thomas Foley, "You know, Foley, I only have one eye—I have the right to be blind sometimes," and then Nelson held up his telescope to his good eye and said, "I really do not see the signal!"

Sometimes we are all like Nelson, with one good eye and one blind eye, and when an order comes through from God, we cover the good eye. As a result, we willfully ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit.

(Source: Christopher Hibbert, Nelson: A Personal History (Basic Books, 1994), pp. 260-261)

 
Contributed By:
Terry Blankenship
 
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OBITUARIES
Jeruselem 33 AD

Calvary
Jesus Christ, 33, of Nazareth died Friday on Mount Calvary, also known as Golgotha, the place of the skull. Betrayed by Judas, Jesus was crucified by the Romans, by order of the Ruler Pontius Pilate. The causes of death were extreme exhaustion, severe torture, and loss of blood.

Jesus Christ, a descendant of Abraham was a member of the house of David. He was the Son of the late Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth, and Mary, His devoted Mother. Jesus was born in a stable in the city of Bethlehem, Judea. He is survived by His mother Mary, His faithful Apostles, numerous disciples, and many other followers.

Jesus was self educated and spent most of his adult life working as a Teacher. Jesus also occasionally worked as a Medical Doctor and it is reported that he healed many patients. Up until the time of His death, Jesus was teaching and sharing the Good News, healing the sick, touching the lonely, feeding the hungry and helping the poor.

Jesus was most noted for telling parables about His father’s Kingdom and performing miracles, such as feeding over 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, and healing a man who was born blind. On the day before His death, He held a Last Supper celebrating the Passover Feast, at which He foretold His death.

The Body was quickly buried in a stone grave, which was donated by Joseph of Arimathea, a loyal friend of the family. By order of Pontius Pilate, a boulder was rolled in front of the tomb. Roman soldiers were put on guard.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that everyone try to live as Jesus did. Donations may be sent to anyone in need.

*****
I had this illustration sent to me this week by several well-meaning church members. As I previewed the item, it hit me the number of inaccuracies listed in the illustration that most people over-looked. Let’s consider several of them.

First of all, "The causes of death were extreme exhaustion, severe torture, and loss of blood," is wrong. It was my sin and your sin which caused His death. He willing gave His life for us that we might have a relationship with Him.

Then, "He was the Son of the late Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth," is also incorrect! He was not the son of Joseph but is the Son of God. He is Immanuel, God with us!

Third, "He is survived...by His faithful Apostles," is just wrong! They all abandoned Him. They were anything BUT faithful! So much for Peter’s never forsaking Him!

Fourth, "On the day before His death, He held a Last Supper celebrating the Passover Feast, at which He foretold His death," is incorrect. He had been telling His disciples for a year that He would die by the hands of the religious Jews and secular Romans. He was telling them this long before the final Passover meal.

Fifth, "The Body was quickly buried in a stone grave, which was donated by Joseph of Arimathea, a loyal friend of the family. By order of Pontius Pilate, a boulder was rolled in front of the tomb. Roman soldiers were put on guard," gives the impression His life was over! That was it! Life was finished. So, where is the resurrection? This implies He was simply a man who left us a wonderful legacy!

Then we discover the phrase, "In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that everyone try to live as Jesus did," makes it appear that it is our good works which get us into heaven. Friends, it can’t be done! It is impossible because Jesus was holy, righteous and without sin. Can’t say the same about us!

But the one which is so obvious is, "OBITUARIES." There can never be an obituary for one who is still alive! Jesus died and rose again to give us real life in Him! He now sits at the right hand of the Father! Even if the obit had been written on the crucifixion day, the paper would have had to run a retraction on Monday!

 
Contributed By:
Bruce Howell
 
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Illus.: “I Can’t Change Jesus”

Bill Irwin, a man who is blind, has a talking computer he uses to study the Bible. He’s had a few chuckles over some of the pronunciations. "For a long time," Bill says, "the computer pronounced Holy Bible as ’holly bibble’ until I figured out how to modify it." But there was one thing Bill couldn’t change. The computer uses the Spanish pronunciation for Jesus Christ--HEYsus Krist. "The programmer is Hispanic," Bill told me with a smile, "and he made sure that HEYsus Krist cannot be altered."

I like that. It reminds me that among the things in life that can be changed to suit my taste, one remains tamper-resistant--I can’t change Jesus.
When life is unsettled, I gain great comfort from the Bible’s affirmation that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8). But the statement is also a stern rebuke to my tendency to try to modify t...

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Contributed By:
Todd Leupold
 
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Sooner or later, it seems that at least once in their life with God, every Christian gets infected with the virus of "false maturity." It's a weird virus in that it's symptoms are often easily seen and felt by others, but invisible and unfelt by the infected one!

Once infected, the poor soul suddenly experiences a profound shift in the perception of reality in which he/she believes that full maturity is automatically attained by said individual simply being a Christian "x" years, going to church or listening to messages of various preachers "x" times a week, proven accomplishment in their career, an ability to find a Scripture reference in under 30 seconds, exceeding a certain number of marks & highlights in their personal Bible, and/or simply by obviously not being as immature or sinful as that person next to them.

As I mentioned before, I was saved my sophomore year in college. Somewhere, sometime in the few months after I graduated I picked up this virus. At first, I thought it was a special gift from God. Eventually, I learned it was a curse from my old nature. By the time I had been a truly-saved Christian less than two years, I had become a leader in campus ministry, led other students to the Lord, taught Bible Studies, was used as a special speaker, invited to debates, co-hosted a Christian radio program with a loyal following of saved & unsaved, etc.

When God first called me to vocational ministry, I had to be dragged into it as I felt I was too young in the faith. But then I went to a specialized training for youth ministry and found myself being praised for being bolder, understanding theology, giving good counsel much more so than most others -- most of whom had been Christians since children and raised in Bible churches. Then I took my first position as an Associate Pastor -- Youth.

My first week I got baptized & became a church member for the first time anywhere. It was a small, troubled church in a very small, very dysfunctional and very rural community in MN. The Sr. Pastor was clinically depressed and about as energetic & inspiring as Eeyore. He was also a good & godly man, but few ever realized it. Within six months I was told that I should be the Sr. Pastor. Within 14 mos. I got 'infected' & started to believe it might be so -- blind to my own faults & sin.

Before my two-year Anniversary, the Holy Spirit cured me & showed me that I really was still just a juvenile who had MUCH to learn. The next day I resigned. Many of the deacons & congregates tried to get me to stay. But God had already made it clear I had much I needed to learn from Him & others before I could further fulfill my call.

What is your story? Who are you allowing to be your spiritual teachers?

 
Contributed By:
Paul Dietz
 
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THE WEAK WILL SHAME THE WISE

We have to come to the realization that life is much more than brokenness. According to God’s word, we are vessels of honor which contain the power and glory of the Christ. I, too, have had a problem with such thinking throughout the years. How can I, a vessel of honor for God, be fractured and imperfect?

But then I recall biblical characters such as King David. Truly he was a vessel of honor. He was a man after God’s own heart. He embodied the tenacity and fortitude to lift honorable praise and adoration to his fortress and shelter, God. But yet I can also recall that even David had his failures and his times of disgrace. He, too, was known for his immorality in the forms of adultery, conspiracy, murder and concealment of the facts. Even so, God still used David for his glory and honor by allowing him to pen such beautiful words as the Psalms. Beyond that, after seeking forgiveness and repenting openly, God permitted him to continue as Israel’s greatest leader of all times.

Then there was Moses, a mighty man of valor. A man that took great thought towards his leadership capabilities and the responsibility he had as a caretaker. So overwhelmed with his job that he, too, overstep his bounds and crossed the line. Through a moment of anger he slew the life of a fellow human being and then ran to hide from his crime. Yet, God saw fit, after years of softening his heart in the fields of shepherding, to call him forth as a powerful deliverer of his own people, Israel.

Even during that journey from Egypt to Canaan, along with those he was leading, was disobedient to a gracious God and still had to suffer a few consequences for those choices. Yet, God never left them helpless and alone.

There is also the Saul who thought that he was confident he was doing God justice by persecuting the early church and its leadership; sometimes even leading to stoning to the death those who called themselves “Christians,” followers of the Christ. He felt warranted to do such inhumane mistreatment by God’s mandate to sustain his cases of harassment against these so called “perverters of the Law of God.”

But once blinded by the light of the Christ on the road to Damascus and a definite change of heart, Saul became Paul, one of the greatest apostles of all times. He was encouraged to found numerous churches throughout Asia Minor and credited for such, even in Spain. He also was granted the right to author several letters that made their way into the canon of writings that now make up the New Testament.
And we certainly can’t overlook the ladies either. Mary Magdalene, even though her life apparently started out on the wrong foot and she most likely had chosen a questionable livelihood, she still became one of the most prominent disciples of Jesus. She was so thankful for his life-giving and life-changing teachings, that she relinquished her past and became a new person in and through him. And then she finally was privileged to be one of the first evangelists that early Easter morning after speaking to her Lord in the garden.

Listen carefully again to a portion of our text for today: “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen.”

Yes God has always used worn, broken clay vessels for his honor and glory and still does. God has not changed, he still takes what we given him, our imperfections and flaws and remakes us into useful earthen pots that contain the precious gospel on the Christ. He then grants you and me the tenacity and fortitude to lift honorable praise and adoration to his fortress and shelter, God. He has given to us the call to be deliverers of those bound in the chains of sinfulness through the use of the message of salvation entrusted to us. In His fullest of intentions, God also wants you and me to be great messengers of the faith, telling all those about us of the justifying acts of God through his own Son, Jesus, the Christ. He has privileged us with the ability to become evangelists beginning in our own homes, families and neighborhoods, sharing the Good News that Jesus is alive and well and that he still wants to be their and our friend, no matter where we may have come from or what kind of life we have lived.

Remember, God is still using our foolish lives to discredit those who are pretentious and haughty. He has selected those who think of themselves ineffectual and inadequate to amaze those who believe they are immovable and invincible. He elects to use those the world often classifies as infamous and unlovable.

 
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