Illustration results for Worship, Prayer
Sermon Central Staff
VACANT HOMES, VACANT LIVES
TIFTON, GA — The most interesting thing about Tifton is an abandoned Victorian house filled with thousands of bats. Tift County declared the once-elegant house in the town’s historic district off limits after a bat specialist said that maybe 20,000 bats had moved in, apparently for good.
Now, teenagers call it the bat house. People talk about the smell, which is an unholy mix of animal urine and decaying wood. "In the summer, ooh, does that place reek," said Linda Turner, 69, a retired nurse and neighbor. "You ain’t smelled nothing until you come back here on a hot day."
Brothers and Sisters, I’m not going to visit that bat house. WHAT A SIGHT AND WHAT A STINK IT MUST BE! Vacant houses get infiltrated with all kinds of creatures and probably not just bats. And many of these creatures make a mess, create a big stink, and eventually ruin that dwelling.
But it doesn’t just happen with vacant houses, it also happens with vacant lives! If a person doesn’t fill their life with good stuff, the bad stuff and sometimes, the evil stuff will move in and take over.
What’s going on in your house? That is, the house you live in, the fleshly body you live in? Who has moved in? Who has taken over your residence and controlling your life? God wants us to stay clean in this world and that will only happen when we let Him move in, that is, when we fill our lives with worship, prayer and service.
Thy word have I hide in my heart that I might not sin against thee! Ps. 119:11. The Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible!
(From a sermon by Steve Shepherd, Our Walk in This World, 4/4/2011)
DRY WOOD: There is a difference between a dead saint and a dry saint. A dead saint is like a statue that never moves and eventually the pigeons will land on it and build their nest. But a dry saint is like dry wood, easily kindled. Dry wood just seems to catch on fire faster. Even though they have dry prayers and dry worship all it takes is for someone to strike the match of motivation and watch them kindle fast.
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?
# John Stafford tells about an old well that stood outside the front door of their family farm house in New Hampshire. The water from the well was remarkably pure and cold. No matter how hot the summer or how severe the drought, the well was always a source of refreshment and joy. The faithful old well was a big part of his memories of summer vacations at the farmhouse.
The years passed and eventually the farmhouse was modernized. Wiring brought electric lights, and indoor plumbing brought hot and cold running water. The old well was no longer needed, so it was sealed for use in possible future emergencies.
One summer day, years later, John Stafford had a desire for cold, pure water. He unsealed the well and lowered a bucket for a nostalgic taste of the delightful refreshment he remembered. He was shocked to discover that the well that once had survived the severest droughts was bone dry! He asked local residents why their well had gone dry. He learned that wells of that sort were fed by hundreds of tiny underground rivulets which seep a steady flow of water. As long as the water is drawn out of the well, new water will flow in through the rivulets, keeping them open for more...
Sermon Central Staff
INVALIDS' PRAYERS BRING REVIVAL
Max Lucado told of a church in Scotland back in the 1940s that was struggling to keep the doors open. A couple of its members were two older ladies who were invalids and couldn’t get out for worship any longer. But these ladies refused to allow their infirmities to get in the way of serving their God. They became convinced that their community needed Jesus desperately and they were going to do something about it. They were going to pray.
They determined to make their house a house of prayer.
Around the clock they prayed for God do something powerful.
Then one day, one of the ladies became convinced that God wanted a revivalist by the name of Campbell to come and hold meetings at their church. They talked to their preacher and he contacted Campbell...but Campbell was unavailable. He was booked up.
The women refused to give up in their prayers however...and it wasn’t long before--oddly enough--some of Campbell’s other revivals became cancelled and he decided to accept the invitation of that small church. He arrived and held 5 weeks of meetings.
The Revival was so well received that hundreds showed up each night. And lives were so changed that many of the local taverns had to close up because they lacked patrons.
One might think it was because of the powerful preaching of a renowned revivalist. But in reality it was because of the faithfulness of two invalid older ladies who dedicated themselves to prayer.
(From a sermon by Jeff Strite, God’s Idea of Church, 5/2/2011)
Gladyce, a widow, attended church faithfully every Sunday. She would get there about 20 minutes early to sit and pray. This was her ritual. Just her and Jesus. She had been doing this for years. Then one Sunday a new family sat behind her. This was disturbing. She said, “Oh, well, they’re visitors and they may not be back next week anyway.” She thought she could put up with the small feet kicking at her back and the toy cars being driven on the top of her pew and loud whispers for lifesavers and trips to the bathroom that interrupted her prayer for one Sunday. Much to her dismay, one week turned into two and two into a month and she realized that they were here to stay. She weighed her options. She could change pews, but “no, that was where she and her husband had always worshiped.” She wasn’t willing to give up her pew. She could turn around and glare at them. She could pray at home for 20 minutes. One Sunday before worship was really bad. “Church was for quiet meditation and reflection,” she thought. She looked at the parents and the squirming children. She realized that the parents looked tired. “Perhaps I should just let them be,” she thought. Instead of yelling, she managed a small smile. The next Sunday she took lifesavers and offered them. The next Sunday she asked their names. She found out the oldest liked horses, the youngest liked cars and the middle one liked books. The next Sunday she was disappointed that they weren’t there. It didn’t seem like church without the tap of little feet at her back. Next week she invited the family over for Sunday Brunch and from there on a fast friendship grew.
Jim Cymbala began at the Brooklyn Tabernacle as an ill-equipped, under-educated, time-strapped preacher who led a second congregation in New Jersey. The Brooklyn church had no money to pay him, a ramshackle building, and barely enough attendance to bother with weekly meetings.
Today, the Tabernacle hosts around 6,000 spirit-filled worshipers. The difference came when Jim, in a moment of desperation, set aside his planned message and called the church to pray. The weekly prayer meeting, not the Sunday worship, became the focal point of the Brooklyn Tabernacle.
Jim’s belief that "God can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need him" (p. 19) guides his work. It is Prayer, not preaching that brings Revival.
How many of us have watched Trading Spaces on TLC or seen Bob Villa and became inspired to finally do something about our own tired and outdated homes? It’s easy to get inspired to do something. Once inspired by seeing a weeks work condensed into a one hour TV show we can easily envision the lasting improvements we can make in our own homes. Yet here we sit; one month, six months, one year after starting and our weekend transformation sits half finished as we struggle to find the time to finish what we started.
This can happen in our spiritual lives too. We begin our walk with Christ full of excitement. Fully intending to do whatever it takes to make it all the way. But after a while, Christianity becomes too daily. It’s the same thing over and over again. The same prayers, the same worshi...
A. Todd Coget
[God Is Just One Squeal Away, Citation: Rod Cooper, "Worship or Worry?" Preaching Today, Tape No. 108.]
We raised pigs.
We raised about a thousand pigs a year.
In one field we had two or three hundred little oinkers running around.
Every day, at four in the morning, as I’d walk into the field to feed those guys, they’d scatter.
Once a little pig came up and began to chew on my foot, so I picked him up and began to pet him.
Soon he wanted down.
I said, "No, I’ll let you down when I’m ready."
At that moment, he let out a squeal such as I had never heard.
In about two seconds, thirty mama pigs weighing five to six hundred pounds each were headed my way.
I put him down and headed for the fence.
I barely made it over, and all the mama pigs were snorting and walking back and forth, daring me to come back over and bother one of their kids.
I look back at that and realize the little rascal wasn’t intimidated.
He was out of control, but he wasn’t intimidated.
Why? Because one squeal away he had resources.
I shall never the first time that I was able to take communion. For years, I had sat back and took far too much heart and thought into those who took on communion “unworthily.” The first time that I took communion was the Thursday of the preceding Easter Sunday of 1990.
I was at Texas Bible College and the custom then was to take communion prior to Easter Sunday. Honestly, I was nervous about it but we had spent the time leading up to the service in fasting and prayer. I am almost certain that Brother J. R. Ensey preached a message to us on “Loving Much” which was about the alabaster box of ointment that was broken in an act of worship.
After he preached there was a time of prayer and consecration around the altars and then we returned to our seats. I can remember the passing of the broken piece of cracker and the grape juice that accompanied it. Then Brother Ensey began to read the passage from 1 Corinthians 11 and then he went to Isaiah 53 and read that. Needless to say, the whole entire service still means something to me.
There were other times that I have taken Communion that really spoke greatly to me. There was a time on Sunday morning at Life Tabernacle in Houston that the Lord moved tremendously in my heart. I also took Communion one year at Because of the Times and felt the power of the Lord in the whole act of worship.
That is what I hope happens here every time that we take Communion. It is my desire for it to be a time of commitment, anointing, and spiritual refreshment for you and for this church.