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Sermon Central Staff
WHO SAVED ME?
During a terrible storm at sea that threatened every moment to carry the ship to the bottom, one of the ship’s crew was doing something on the deck when a great sea struck the ship and went fairly over the deck, striking this man with great force, disabling him and carrying him into the mad waters.
Although he was a good swimmer, he was so disabled that he could only keep above water. They saw him lifting up his imploring hands through the white foam, signifying his desire for help. But the Captain said, "Don’t lower a boat, for no small boat can live in this sea, in this terrific storm. We cannot save the man. The most we can do is to save the ship."
The vessel was bearing farther and farther from the helpless man. Once more they saw his imploring hands come up among the white caps further off, which moved all hearts that witnessed it. Still the Captain said a small boat must not be lowered, as it could not live a moment among these wild billows.
But one man who was an expert swimmer, was so moved by the imploring signals of the drowning man, that he threw off his loose garments, saying: "I will save that man, or die with him."
So plunging into the surging deep, he struggled so bravely with the mad waters, that he reached the poor man just as his strength had gone; he had given up and was filling with water, and sinking down unconscious. He grasped him, and strange to tell, he brought him so near the ship that a small boat was lowered, and both men were taken up and laid down upon the deck. The one that had been swept overboard, entirely unconscious and his deliverer nearly so. Appliances were used and both were brought to consciousness.
As soon as the rescued man opened his eyes and found he was not in the ocean, his first words were: "Who saved me?"
He was pointed to his deliverer still lying on the deck in his wet clothes. He crept to his deliverer, and putting his arms around his feet, and in the most tender and heart moving tone of voice cried out: "I’m your servant, I’m your servant." He felt that he could never do enough for him.
Let me ask all who read this incident, would you not put your arms about the bleeding feet of your great Deliverer and say from a full heart: "Jesus, I’m your servant, I’m your servant. Ask anything of me, Jesus, and I will do it the best I can."
(From a sermon by Jimmy Haile, My Father’s Business, 9/29/2011)
HUMILITY: THE BALLOON GAME
Robert Roberts writes about a fourth grade class in which the teacher introduced a game called "balloon stomp." A balloon was tied to every child's leg, and the object of the game was to pop everyone else's balloon while protecting one's own. The last person with an intact balloon would win.
The fourth graders in Roberts' story entered into the spirit of the game with vigor. Balloons were relentlessly targeted and destroyed. A few of the children clung to the sidelines like wallflowers at a middle school dance, but their balloons were doomed just the same. The entire battle was over in a matter of seconds, leaving only one balloon inflated. Its owner was, of course, the most disliked kid in the class. It's hard to really win at a game like balloon stomp. In order to complete your mission, you have to be pushy, rude and offensive.
Roberts goes on to write that a second class was introduced to the same game. Only this time it was a class of mentally handicapped children. They were given the same explanation as the first class, and the signal to begin was given. But the game proceeded very differently. Perhaps the instructions were given too quickly for children with learning disabilities to grasp them. The one idea that got through was that the balloons were supposed to be popped. So it was the balloons, not the other players, that were viewed as enemies. Instead of fighting each other, they began helping each other pop balloons. One little girl knelt down and held her balloon carefully in place, like a holder for a field goal kicker. A little boy stomped it flat. Then he knelt down and held his balloon for her. It went on like this for several minutes until all the balloons were vanquished, and everybody cheered. Everybody won.
Who got the game right, and who got the game wrong? In our world, we tend to think of another person's success as one less opportunity for us to succeed. There can only be one top dog, one top banana, one big kahuna. If we ever find ourselves in that enviable position, we will fight like mad to maintain our hold on it. A lot of companies fail to enjoy prolonged success because the people in charge have this "balloon stomp" mentality. In the church, the rules change. Jesus Christ gets top billing. We're just here to serve his purposes, and we do that most effectively by elevating others and humbling ourselves.
I sat down with our senior high kids awhile ago to discuss our plans for youth activities for this year. I expected to get some ideas of fun things to do, lets go bowling and to laserquest and whitewater rafting yadda yadda yadda… You know what they decided? They asked me to find two Friday night events each month – half of all the things we would do – where they could go and do volunteer things for others, like preparing and serving meals at the Mustard Seed Street Church. And that is what they come to Awhile ago I phoned to invite some kids to the Mustard Seed Street church to prepare and serve a meal to street people. Normally, if kids can’t come bowling or to something fun, they’re like “sorry, can’t make it.” But this time, I had a group of kids who couldn’t come and they were like “AWWW Sick I Can’t come That really makes me mad…” I had one senior high student who couldn’t come and was so mad she said “That’s it, I can’t come so I’m sending some money to pay for the meal.” She sent me an envelope, and I thought “this is probably $20 or so, that is great – it’ll really help pay for the meal.” I opened the envelope from this grade ten student – there was $60 in it. That’s a lot of money for me, let alone for a grade 10 student Another student came with us, and asked me how we were going to pay for these meals. I told him about this one student’s contribution, and said we’d do some fundraisers to pay for the rest. That Sunday that other student handed me an envelope, and said it was to help pay for some of the meals we were doing for these street people. I tossed it on my desk, again expecting $20-$40. I opened it the next day to deal with it – there was $250. From a grade 10 student. I talked to them later – I said “that’s an awful lot of money – are you sure?” “Yes, absolutely.” “Where did you get that much money?” Do you know what the response was? He said, “I’ve been saving up for a snowboard, but those people need to eat way more than I need a snowboard.”
My wife and I recently saw a television show on The History Channel titled, “The Man Who Predicted 911.” We were both moved by this hour presentation and its focus on one man by the name of Rick Rescorla. Long before September 11th, Rick Rescorla, the 62-year-old head of security at the Morgan Stanley Bank, developed an evacuation plan for the bank. The bank’s offices were situated high up in the South Tower at the World Trade Center. Rescorla was convinced that Osama Bin Laden would use jet planes to try and destroy the World Trade Center. The plan and its preparation were hugely unpopular with the Morgan Stanley staff, many of whom thought Rescorla was mad.
On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 hit World Trade Center Tower 1 at 8:46 am. Rick Rescorla ignored building officials’ advice to stay put and began the orderly evacuation of Morgan Stanley’s 2,800 employees on 20 floors of World Trade Center Tower 2, and 1,000 employees in WTC 5. Rescorla reminded everyone to "be proud to be an American ... everyone will be talking about you tomorrow", and sang God Bless America and other songs over his bullhorn to help evacuees stay calm as they left the building. Rescorla had most of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 employees as well as people working on other floors of WTC 2 safely out of the buildings by the time United Airlines Flight 175 hit WTC 2 at 9:07 a.m.
After having reached safety, Rescorla returned to the building to rescue others still inside. He was last seen heading up the stairs of the tenth floor of the collapsing WTC 2. His remains were not recovered. As a result of Rescorla’s actions, only 6 of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 WTC employees were killed on September 11th, 2001, including Rick and three of his deputies who followed him back into the building.
The remainder of this very moving broadcast focused on Morgan Stanley Bank employees who now in tears were praising and acknowledging Rick Rescorla for saving their lives from total destruction that day. Many felt so guilty and apologetic they had thought Rick foolish to keep preaching and standing for what he believed would happen if they were not ready. Those interviewed said they would never forget Rick Rescorla. He was their hero.
Mr. Rescorla left behind a widow, Susan Rescorla, and two children that day. Since 911, a memorial stone was erected in Rick’s hometown of Hayle, Cornwall, to commemorate his life and the sacrifice he made to save others.
James 5:19-20 says, “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” As sinners saved by grace, we must have a “Rick Rescorla Attitude.” He was convinced people entrusted to his care would perish if his plan of escape were ignored. Rick Rescorla stayed the course even when unpopular and ridiculed because he believed what he was doing would save lives.
Sadly, many Christians today have a “Cain Attitude” when it comes to rescuing the perishing and having a consistent witness. Unlike Rick Rescorla, they say by their actions: “I am not my brother’s keeper.” How this must grieve the heart of Almighty God who has left us here as His Beloved Children to sh...
Sermon Central Staff
HOW TO GIVE THANKS IN THE MIDST OF LOSS
When you've lost something or someone precious, it is easy to forget that "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away." He doesn't owe us a reason.
John Claypool was a pastor in Louisville, Kentucky many years ago. He and his wife lost their daughter, Laura Lou, to leukemia. He later explained his loss by telling a story from his childhood.
During WWII his family didn't own a washing machine, and since gas was rationed, they couldn't afford to drive to a laundry. Keeping their clothes clean became a challenge. John's neighbor went into the service and his wife moved in with her family. They offered to let John's family use their Bendix wringer washer while they were gone. They reasoned it would be better for it to be used than to sit rusting on the porch.
John helped with the family's laundry, and he said he developed a fondness for that old green Bendix. When the war ended his neighbors returned, and they reclaimed their washing machine. Over the course of the war, young John had actually forgotten the machine was loaned to them, so when the neighbors removed it, John was upset and angry that they would take his washing machine. His mother sat him down and said, "John, you must remember that the washing machine never belonged to us in the first place. That we ever got to use it at all was a gift. So, instead of being mad at it being taken away, let us use this as an occasion to be thankful that we ever had it at all."
John Claypool would say years later he struggled with the death of eight-year-old Laura Lou, until he remembered that old green Bendix. He wrote: "When I remember that Laura Lou was a gift, pure and simple, something I neither earned nor deserved nor had a right to; and when I remember that the appropriate response to a gift, even when it is taken away, is gratitude, then I am better able to try and thank God that I was ever given her in the first place." (Steps of a Fellow Struggler)
That's exactly how Job felt. He knew every good thing in his life had come from God, and God had the right to take anything away. That's the kind of attitude that will keep you from becoming bitter when you face loss.
(From a sermon by Fred Markes, Praise God, 8/30/2011)
Sermon Central Staff
THE LION AND THE DOG
D.L. Moody one time saw a man beat his dog at a zoo one time because he was mad at him. He had made a bet and boasted about him being so obedient and when he tried to get the dog to so something he wanted, it wouldn’t do it and he lost his bet. He got so mad at that dog and just beat him and beat him and beat him mercilessly.
Finally, after he was wounded and bleeding and whimpering, he threw him in the lion's cage so that the lion would eat him. And that poor whimpering, beaten, pitiful dog, standing shaking on his legs was in the presence of that great lion. And that lion came over to that dog and sniffed him and then he begin to lick that little dog and the dog laid down and the lion laid down there just keeping him warm and licking his wounds. And the man, after a little while felt sorry for the dog and told the man to let him have his dog back. And the person in charge of the lion cage who had seen him beat that dog said, "Fine, you can have your dog back. But you're going to have to go in there and get him yourself!"
And that's the way it is with me and you – we were…
By sins and sin, and now the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus, has taken us in and has healed our wounds and now protects us from the enemy that once enslaved us!
(From a sermon by Ricky Nelms, The Power To Become, 7/22/2010)
I think one of the area we need to work on the most is expressing that love to our kids. I believe that most Dad’s love their children but for some reason it seems to be hard for us to express it. David had that problem. After Absolom murdered Amnon he fled the country and lived in exile for 3 years. David was mad about the murder to be sure but the Bible says that David still loved Absalom. In fact it says in 2 Sam. 13:39, "David, now reconciled to Amnon’s death, longed to be reunited with his son Absalom." (LB) But as much as he wanted Absalom to come back he never told him that. He never sent word saying, "Your forgiven, I understand your anger, I’ve done horrible things too. Come back, let’s make a fresh start." He just left him in exile. Finally, some of David’s advisors convinced David to let him come back to the city. And David said, "He may go to his own quarters,” the king ordered, “but he must never come here. I refuse to see him." Pride- for 2 years Absolom lived in the city and everyone grew to love Absolom but David wouldn’t see him. Finally, after 5 years David said, "Okay, I’ll see him." But by that time the resentment was so deep that Absolom revolted against his Dad and tried to take the throne away from him. Absolom and David’s forces fought against each other and finally there is a concluding battle in the woods of Ephraim and as Absolom is trying to escape, his long hair catches in an Oak tree and he can’t get free himself. And Joab David’s captain finds the young man and takes three javelin’s and plunges them into Absolom’s heart. And one of the most pitiful scenes in the Bible is played out in 2 Sam. 18. David waits news for the battle but each time a messenger comes he cares not about how the battle is progressing but he keeps asking, "Is the young man Absolom safe?" Finally, a runner tells him that his son is dead. And the Bible says in one of the saddest verses: “The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to his room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, ‘O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I could have died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.”(NLT) How tragic. But now it’s too late. If you love your child, express it. Tell them. Touch them with a hug or embrace.
Charles Smith was a Jehovah’s Witness, working his way up in the organization for 37 years. Outside one of their meetings, he noticed someone with a sign that simply said, “1 John 5:13.” He decided he would read it later.
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (KJV)
The verse was shocking to him. He tried reading it again to be sure he had not misread it the first time. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know... that ye may know... that ye may know that ye have eternal life...”
Watchtower theology does not allow them to know they have eternal life. Charles Smith was shocked and confused. After 37 years of working his way up in the organization, he did not know he had eternal life. He did not even know he could know. He took the rather unusual step (unusual for Jehovah’s Witnesses) of reading the verse in context. Much of 1 John 5 was contrary to his JW teachings. When he asked questions about it, what did his superiors tell him? “Don’t worry about it.”
Charles could not stop worrying about it. He struggled with this chapter for a year before deciding he had t...
It’s like the guy you may have seen, that acts like a gentleman, sweet and loving, taking a lady out to a nice dinner, and a romantic evening, only so he can get “something” out of the deal. Instead of doing all these things out of the sincerity of his heart, he’s really just putting out some money so he can get what he wants. And he gets mad and throws a temper - an often times destructive temper resulting in violence - because he didn’t get what he wanted. He’s trying to pay for “services rendered” - last time I checked that’s called prostitution.
This is gonna be a tough question, but are we trying to prostitute our worship, our prayer, our time in fellowship, our participation in church, or even our tithes and offerings - paying for services with our time, our talents, and our treasures- just to get something back?
One day and employer was having an unusually bad day at the office. As a result he yelled at one of his employees, which made the employee mad. When the employee arrived home, he made an ugly comment to his wife. In turn, She yelled at their 10-year old son. The son ran outside and kicked the dog. Which made the dog mad, so he bit the boss who had come by to apologize for yelling at his employee. Usually our negative comments or hurtful words have a way of coming back and biting us, so Remember "If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all."