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Contributed By:
John Shearhart
 
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Why do we have such a hard time quitting sin?

a. We enjoy sin
God, make me good, but not yet.

-St. Augustine.

b. There is much to do
When a person becomes a Christian, he usually undergoes some radical life changes, especially if he has had an immoral background. Through the first steps of spiritual growth and self-denial, he gets rid of the large, obvious sins. But sad to say, many believers stop there. They don’t go on to eliminate the little sins that clutter the landscape of their lives.
Gordon MacDonald, in his book Ordering Your Private World, told of an experience in his own life that illustrates this truth. "Some years ago, when Gail and I bought the old abandoned New Hampshire farm we now call Peace Ledge, we found the site where we wished to build our country home strewn with rocks and boulders. It was going to take a lot of hard work to clear it all out....The first phase of the clearing process was easy. The big boulders went fast. And when they were gone, we began to see that there were a lot of smaller rocks that had to go too. But when we had cleared the site of the boulders and the rocks, we noticed all of the stones and pebbles we had not seen before. This was much harder, more tedious work. But we stuck to it, and there came the day when the soil was ready for planting grass."

- Our Daily Bread.

 
Contributed By:
A. Todd Coget
 
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Many Christians have been infected with the most virulent virus of modern American life, what sociologist Robert Bellah calls "radical individualism."
They concentrate on personal obedience to Christ as if all that matters is "Jesus and me," but in doing so, miss the point altogether.
For Christianity is not a solitary belief system.
Any genuine resurgence of Christianity, as history demonstrates, depends on a reawakening and renewal of that which is the essence of the faith—that is, the people of God, the new society, the body of Christ, which is made manifest in the world—the church.

[Harm of Radical Individualism, Citation: Chuck Colson, The Body (Word, 1992), p.32]

 
Contributed By:
Roger Nelmes
 
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On Trial for Sharing the Gospel
17 and 18 years old, Pakistan, 1997
(p27-28)

Anila met Perveen at school. As their friendship grew, Anila gave Perveen a Bible and taught her Christian songs. Perveen quickly learned Christian songs and began to teach them to her younger sister when her parents wern’t home. Perveen’s parents soon learned of the songs. Being strict Muslims, they were not happy about them. But rather than confronting Perveen right away, they had her younger sister try to find out where she was getting this Christian influence.
Anila eventually invited Perveen to a Good Friday service. When the young Muslim herd the Gospel presentation, she immediately accepted Jesus. Perveen became very excited about her relationship with Jesus and saw great changes take place in her life. She read her Bible and praised God boldly. Anila knew that, before long, her friend would encounter opposition from her family.
Perveen’s parents were furious when they learned of her conversion. They had previously arranged for her to marry a Muslim man. When Perveen again refused, she ran away.
When Perveen’s parents could not find her, they accused Anila and her pastor of kidnapping her. They had Anila arrested. Anila was slapped and beaten in front of her parents for over nine hours. Finally she was taken to prison.
Anila’s pastor and his family were taken to prison on the following day. Anila and her pastor experienced horrible tortures in jail. She was whipped sixteen times (five times would make a normal man pass out). When they were released, Anila could not sit for two months, and her pastor could barely walk from the bruises on his hips and thighs.
Perveen was later found by her family. In Muslim nations, children are often severely beaten for converting to Christianity. Others are killed by their own parents or siblings for apostasy, converting to another faith.
To restore the honor of his family, Perveen’s brother stabbed her to death. He then turned himself in to the local authorities. As is not uncommon in such situations, he was eventually released without incident.
Anila was then arrested on charges of kidnapping.
She was imprisoned, then released on bail a little more than a month later. She and her family went into hiding, as their lives were threatened by radical Muslims.

Jesus Freaks, dc Talk & The Voice of the Martyrs
Albury Publishing, Tulsa Oklahoma, ©1999

 
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LEAVE IT UP ALL YEAR LONG

Not too many years ago newspapers carried the story of Al Johnson, a Kansas man who repented, who came to faith in Jesus Christ. What made his story so remarkable was not his conversion, but the fact that as a result of his newfound faith in Christ, he confessed to a bank robbery he had participated in when he was nineteen years old. Because the statute of limitations on the case had run out, Johnson could not be prosecuted for the offense. But because of his complete and total change of heart, he not only confessed his crime, he voluntarily repaid his share of the stolen money! That’s repentance – radical reconstruction of the heart.

Of all the decorations you have, this one is the most important of them all. It’s invisible, because it first takes place in your heart. The Holy Spirit changes you through the Word, and through baptism. It’s visible, because you become empowered to show your repentance in your...

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SermonCentral Staff
 
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CLARION CALL OF ONE

The actions of a few are often a clarion call to courage. It requires radical sacrifice and radical commitment to accomplish these things. All that it takes is for one man to refuse to surrender!

Anyone who is familiar with Winston Churchill understands that he was such a man who refused to give in to surrender. His first statement as Prime Minister to the House of Commons on May 13, 1940 was this: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."

Three weeks later after the capture of Dunkirk, Churchill rallied his nation with these words:

"We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

Five months later, reporting on the war situation to the House of Commons, Churchill said,

"Death and sorrow will be the companions of our journey; hardship our garment; constancy and valor our only shield. We must be united, we must be undaunted, we must be inflexible."

In a unique speech to the London County Council, July 14, 1941, he referred to a "comradeship of suffering, or endurance" and told Hitler and his Nazi forces: "We will have no truce or parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst-—and we will do our best." And later, "We shall never turn from our purpose, however somber the road, however grievous the cost."

He stirred the boys of Harrow School that same year on October 29:

"Do not let us speak of darker days; let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days: these are great days-—the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race."

He pressed, motivated, and drove his countrymen to a victory over the German armies that bombed and harassed them in World War II. One man can make a difference!

(From a sermon by Philip Harrelson, "What the King Desires" 1/30/2009)

 
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RADICAL REVIVAL

Dr. J. Edwin Orr states, "I am convinced that more work for God could be done in six months of revival than in sixty years of any other kind of effort." If we as a church begin doing the work we are appointed with a touch of the radical, we will see more done in six months of revival than in sixty years of any of our painstaking effort! We must ensure our methods are practical, and the most practical method is that of the Evangelist; God has always used evangelists, that is, men who are especially anointed and dedicated leaders in great revivals.

John R. Rice says, "God had an Elijah for Mount Carmel. He had a Jonah for Nineveh. The Lord Jesus Himself was the evangelist at Sychar in Samaria." Evangelists are not only called to give a gospel message to the unsaved, but, according to the Scripture they are "for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, in order to see the increase, and edification of the church" (Eph. 4:12-16).

Let’s get back to that method that has been time honored and tested, and see cities stirred once more with the message of the practicality and simplicity of the gospel. The message of the Evangelist should be a clear, relevant, and applicable message. True evangelistic preaching will always be targeted toward application, so the goal of evangelism is to transform people, not to merely inform them.

(From a sermon by Greg Hocking, "It’s radical methods tthat catch fish" 2/10/2009)

 
Contributed By:
Ray McKendry
 
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BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN, WE SIN

A dog barks because it is a dog. It does not become a dog because it barks. Its ‘doginess’ makes it a dog, it’s in its DNA.

Humans are not proved to be human because we sin; it is because we are human that we sin. Though still bearing he image of God, which makes us truly human we are not acceptable to God without radical change because that image is spoiled.

 
Contributed By:
David DeWitt
 
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THE NEW DISHWASHER

In the fourth year of his layoff from his job, Dad gave Mom a dishwasher for Christmas.
You have to understand the magnitude of the gift: Our old house had its original wiring and plumbing, and neither could handle the required installation. There was no spot in the small kitchen for such a large appliance. And we hadn’t even been able to meet the mortgage interest payments for over six months.
But Dad hated the thought of washing dishes; he would rather do anything else. And Mom had undergone major surgery that spring, a radical mastectomy for breast cancer, and found it difficult to do any work requiring the use of her arms.
No large box appeared, no new plumbing or wiring was installed, no remodeling of the kitchen occurred. Rather, a small not...

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Contributed By:
James R. DeBusk
 
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Tags: Salvation (add tag)
 
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WHAT TEAM ARE YOU ON?

At this time of the year, young men are signing letters of intent to play football to the various colleges that have recruited them. These young athletes are making a choice of where they will play football.

In life we have a spiritual decision on which team we will be a part of – God’s team or Satan’s team. Paul chose to be on God’s team. The choice marked a radical transformation for him.

 
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ERWIN MCMANUS AND HIS "JOHN THE BAPTIST"

As we begin today I would like to read a true account of an experience that pastor, speaker, and author, Erwin McManus had in the early years of his ministry. Listen to what he says...

"I got a message through the urban grapevine that I was dead. It might surprise you that in the dark corridors of the urban jungle there are many prophets -- mostly prophets of doom. This angel of death went by the name William. Through my work in one of the projects, his common-law wife had come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. He was in prison and heard the news of her conversion. He did not consider this good news. I had trespassed onto his territory. A crime punishable -- yes, that's right, you got it -- by death. So I got the word -- several times actually -- that when he got out of prison, I was going to be his first stop. He had spent most of his adult life behind prison walls, and by his own description he had broken all of the commandments. This time he had gone to prison for slitting a man's throat. That man was the brother of his common-law wife, whom we will call Lupe.

"When I heard he was released from prison, I decided to find him before he found me. He lived in a small apartment complex surrounded mostly by dilapidated houses and run-down storefronts. The complex was walking distance from the skyscrapers downtown and sat in the middle of what had once been one of the city's most prestigious neighborhoods.

"You don't ever forget meeting someone like William. He was in some ways an ethnic anomaly. He was a white guy in the middle of a Latin community who had a reputation for being good with a knife. He was in his mid-thirties, and life had made him as hard as stone.

"We sat face-to-face in a dingy apartment filled with loud children and usually inebriated neighbors. But before I knew it, we were there alone -- just William and me. I don't recall how it happened. I never noticed the exodus. It was only the silence and discomfort of the moment that made me aware of how everything had changed. Metal bars on the windows, the door soundly shut. We were alone.

"He swiftly reached into his jacket, pulled out a knife, and with a quick move of his wrist opened it where its position made the metal gleam in my direction. Like someone remembering a secret pleasure he smiled and said, 'This is the knife I slit his throat with. The police never got it.'

"A thousand thoughts were rushing through my mind. But I really didn't have any material in the category of 'witty responses to use shortly before dying at knifepoint.' I remember entertaining the thought that Lupe's brother didn't die; William just cut off his vocal cords. That thought was not at all comforting. I knew my next, my first, perhaps my last sentence was of utmost importance. And then the words came. It was as if I heard them for the first time even as he heard them.

"'William, that knife is going to send you to hell!' I looked straight into his eyes, and I knew he was shocked that I said it. To be really honest, I was shocked that I said it. But I was still breathing, which allowed me to gain courage. And so I proceeded: 'You think you're tough...' Halfway through my sentence I heard a scream in my head, What are you thinking? So I adjusted. 'Well, William, you are tough, but you're not free. You're not in prison, but you're still a prisoner. Behind every shadow there's someone waiting to kill you.'

"Somehow William's normal approach to life, one of violence and retaliation, was restrained that day. He listened, and we established a strange kind of friendship. I wish I could tell you that William's life changed that day or that it changed some other day in the future, but best I can tell, William's life never changed. But what did happen I'll never forget. William became my John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for me throughout the streets of south Dallas. He often boasted that he and I were friends because, as he would put it, he was radical for evil and I was radical for God" (Erwin R. McManus, Seizing Your Divine Moment (Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville, Tennessee, 2002), 128-130).

McManus took a risk. Rather than cowering at the threats of impending death by a crazy-man, he confronted William head-on. Now you may think that he's out of his mind -- that he's just plain stupid for doing what he did -- but the reality is he faced his fears with the boldness and strength that can only come from God. McManus seized a divine moment that was given him by God, and the result was an open door of opportunity for the gospel to spread into the inner city of Dallas, Texas.

(From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Seizing Your Divine Moment, 8/16/2010)

 
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