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Illustration results for futility

Contributed By:
Scott Weber
 
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In a December 2002 article by English columnist Brendan O’Neill called “Eat Drink, Be Merry,” he wrote this: (Show Picture) “Guess who’s plastering posters around the UK this Christmas with the words ’I wish the baby Jesus had never been born’ on them? A Satanic group dreading another celebration of the Christ child’s birth? Radical atheists who want to open our eyes to the futility of religion? In fact it’s The Samaritans, Britain’s trendy ’listening charity’, which is keen to flag up just how ’excruciating’ the season of goodwill can be. The cheery charity says the anti-baby Jesus slogan is ’an attempt to illustrate the dread with which some people view the festive period,’ when ’increased expectations of "high spirits" among family or friends can lead to a deflating sense of anti-climax if they fail to materialize.”

The Samaritans, who offer emotional support to the vulnerable, say the slogan is an attempt to illustrate the dread with which some people view the festive period.

The real problem is that some people focus on the wrong things at Christmas. Christmas can be a time of incredible hope if we focus on Jesus’ incarnation and the cross and empty tomb that followed.

 
Contributed By:
David DeWitt
 
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Leonidas, King of Sparta, was preparing to make a stand with his Greek troops against the Persian army in 480 B.C. when a Persian envoy arrived. The man urged on Leonidas the futility of trying to resist the advance of the huge Persian army. "Our archers are so numerous," said the envoy, "that the flight of their arrows darkens the sun." "So much the better," replied Leonidas, "for we shall fight them in the shade." Leonidas made his stand, and died with his 300 troops.

The Spartan soldiers set an incredible example of courage and sacrifice in the face of battle. They stood against the Persians and held their ground until they died. Jesus wants to see the same kind of courage and strength in our spiritual life.

 
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A reality check on how we sabotage ourselves:

Do you at times long for days gone by where you did certain activities that you now do not do? This is our unredeemed flesh working on a mind that is not renewed by the word of God. We need to immediately cast out these unhelpful distractions, recognize the futility that they deliver, and fill our mind with what is edifying.

This previous life suffices (arketos) in this context means more than simply adequate, but conveys the sense of being more than enough. Peter’s readers had had a whole life full of opportunity to sin, and that is more than enough in doing what the Gentiles (the unconverted peoples) want to do living to fulfill sinful passions (cf. Eph. 2:1–3).

Source: From Matthew Kratz’s Sermon: But It’s Not Fair: Unjust Suffering

 
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The 19th-century Bible scholar G. S. Bowes pointed out the ultimate futility of ambition that isn’t accompanied by dedication to God. Citing four powerful world rulers of the past, he wrote: “Alexander the Great was not satisfied, even when he had completely subdued the nations. He wept because there were no more worlds to conquer, and he died at an early age in a state of debauchery. Hannibal, who filled three bushels with the gold rings taken from the knights he had slaughtered, committed suicide by swallowing poison. Few noted his passing, and he left this earth completely unmourned. Julius Caesar, ‘staining his garments in the blood of one million of his foes,’ conquered 800 cities, only to be stabbed by his best friends at the scene of his greatest triumph....

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Sermon Central
 
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-A reality check on how we sabotage ourselves: Do you at times, long for days gone by where you did certain activities that do now do not do. This is our unredeemed flesh working on a mind that is not renewed by the word of God. We need to immediately cast out these unhelpful distractions, recognize the futility that they deliver, and fill our mind with what is edifying.

This previous life suffices (arketos) in this context means more than simply adequate, but conveys the sense of being more than enough. Peter’s readers had had a whole life full of opportunity to sin, and that is more than enough in doing what the Gentiles (the unconverted peoples) want to do living to fulfill sinful passions (cf. Eph. 2:1–3).


From Matthew Kratz’ Sermon "But It’s Not Fair: Unjust Suffering"

 
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Sermon Central
 
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MORE THAN ENOUGH

A reality check on how we sabotage ourselves:

Do you at times, long for days gone by where you did certain activities that do now do not do? This is our unredeemed flesh working on a mind that is not renewed by the word of God. We need to immediately cast out these unhelpful distractions, recognize the futility that they deliver, and fill our mind with what is edifying.

This previous life suffices (arketos) in this context means more than simply adequate, but conveys the sense of being more than enough. Peter's readers had had a whole life full of opportunity to sin, and that is more than enough in doing what the Gentiles (the unconverted peoples) want to do living to fulfill sinful passions (cf. Eph. 2:1-3).

From Matthew Kratz's Sermon "But It's Not Fair: Unjust Suffering"

 
Contributed By:
Davon Huss
 
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THE GRACE GATE

An active, dedicated, hard-working church member dreamed that he passed away after a long and satisfying life. As he approached the heavenly gate, he noticed a sign posted which read, "ENTRANCE REQUIREMENT: 1,000 POINTS."

The man looked a bit worried. He walked up to the angel guarding the gate and said, "That requirement seems pretty high. Do you think I could possibly have accumulated that many points?"

The angel kindly replied, "Well, why don't you tell me what you have done, and I will tell you how many points you have earned."

"OK, then," the man said enthusiastically. "I was an immersed believer in Christ for 32 years; I taught a Sunday school class for over 12 years; I was a youth chaperone whenever they needed me; and I was a regular member of the church choir!"

"That's wonderful!" said the angel. "Now let me see. That's worth -- ONE POINT."

The man suddenly became very pale and began to perspire, but he went on. "Well, I tithed all my income, and sometimes gave even more. Also I served as an elder in the church, and I served on the finance committee and the building committee. I attended every work day at the church; I mowed the grass and did repairs and painting. At every fellowship supper I helped set up the chairs and tables and then stayed late and helped take them down."

He looked expectantly at the angel, who smiled sympathetically and answered politely, "That sounds great! That's worth -- ANOTHER POINT. Now you have a total of TWO."

The man looked as if he were about to go into shock. He spoke rapidly with a sense of desperation: "I invited a lot of people to church, and often went calling with the preacher. I won quite a few people to Christ. I supported the camp program, and for a while was a forwarding agent for a missionary family. And I never cheated on my income tax!"

The angel tried to speak encouragingly as he said, "That's quite a record of good works! That's worth still another point. Now you have -- THREE."

The poor man's face sagged with futility, and his shoulders drooped as he seemed resigned to his fate. "I may as well give up," he mourned. "I don't think I can ever be good enough to get into Heaven. In fact, it seems impossible for me or anybody else to get in there without the GRACE OF GOD."

"Ah, now, did you say GRACE? You know what? YOU'RE STANDING AT THE WRONG GATE! This is the LAW gate; that's where you need the 1,000 points. Look over there. Do you see that other gate, with another line of people leading up to it? That's the GRACE gate. You don't need any points to get in there. Under grace, heaven is free!"

 
Contributed By:
Davon Huss
 
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I DECLARE YOU THE WINNER

I was watching some little kids play soccer. These kids were only five or six years old, but they were playing a real game- a serious game- two teams, complete with coaches, uniforms, and parents. I didn’t know any of them, so I was able to enjoy the game without the distraction of being anxious about winning or losing- I only wished the parents and coaches could have done the same.

The teams were pretty evenly matched. I will just call them Team One and Team Two. Nobody scored in the first period. The kids were hilarious. They were clumsy and terribly inefficient, as only children can be. They fell over their own feet, they stumbled over the ball, they kicked the ball and missed it, but they didn’t seem to care… they were having fun!

In the second period, the Team One coach, pullout out what must have been his first team players and put in the scrubs; with the exception of his best player, who he left at goalie. The game took a dramatic turn. I guess winning is important even when you are five years old, because the Team Two coach left his best players in; the Team One scrubs were just no match for them.

Team Two swarmed around the little guy at goalie. He was an outstanding athlete for five, but he was no match for three or four who were equally as good. Team Two began to score. The goalie gave it his all. Recklessly throwing his body in front of incoming balls, trying valiantly to stop them. Team Two scored two quick points in succession. It infuriated the young boy. He became a raging maniac- shouting, running and diving. With all the stamina he could muster, he finally was able to cover one of the boys as he approached the goal. But, that boy kicked the ball to another boy twenty feet away, and by the time the young goalie repositioned himself, it was too late. They scored a third goal.

I soon learned who the goalie’s parents were. They were nice, decent-looking people. I could tell that his dad had just come from the office, tie and all. They yelled encouragement to their son. I became totally absorbed, watching the boy on the field, and his parents on the sideline. After the third goal, the little kid changed. He could see it was no use; he couldn’t stop them. He didn’t quit, but he became quietly desperate- futility was written all over his face.

His father changed too. He had been urging his son to try harder- yelling advice and encouragement. But then he changed; he became anxious. He tried to say that it was okay- to hang in there. He grieved for the pain his son was feeling. After the fourth goal, I knew what was going to happen. I’ve seen it before.

The little boy needed help so badly, and there was no help to be had. He retrieved the ball from the net and handed it to the referee-and then he cried. He just stood there while huge tears rolled down both cheeks. He went to his knees, I saw his father start onto the field. His wife clutched his wrist and said, “Jim, don’t. You’ll embarrass him.”

But, he tore loose from her and ran onto the field. He wasn’t supposed to, for the game was still in progress. Suit, tie, dress shoes, and all- he charged onto the field and he picked up his son so everybody would know that this was his boy. And he hugged him and kissed him- and cried with him. I have never been so proud of any man in my life.

He carried him off the field, and when they got close to the sidelines I heard him say, “Scotty, I’m so proud of you. You were great out there. I want everybody to know that you are my son.”

“Daddy,” the boy sobbed, “I couldn’t stop them. I tried, Daddy, I tried and tried and they scored on...

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Contributed By:
Bret Toman
 
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GOD STEPS IN WHERE OUR FATHERS FAIL

John Eldredge, author of Wild At Heart and Fathered By God among others, writes of fishing with his dad as a boy. Spending hours together on a Saturday morning trying to catch fish. "But" he writes, "the fish were never the issue. What I longed for was his presence, his attention and his delight in me." Before he finished elementary school however, his father succumbed to alcoholism and mostly disappeared from his life. It left a void in his life. He needed more. He needed to be shown the way. The father's work was unfinished.

In his mid-twenties he took up fly fishing, something his father never did with him. And his futility in fly-fishing was symbolic of the void his father left. Then he writes of a fly fishing one day, seeing trout all around but unable to catch even one. The guy just up the river was having no trouble. Every time he looked up the guy had his rod bent, laughing and whooping as brought yet another giant rainbow into his net. Finally Eldredge stopped fishing and just watched the guy to try to learn what he was doing. The man saw him and said, "C'mon down."

Turned out he was a fly-fishing guide by profession. In 10 minutes the guide fixed his leader, put the right kind of flies on the line, gave him a few instructions and then stepped out of the water to watch him, like a father who's taught his son to hit a baseball steps back to watch, let the boy take a few swings all by himself. Shortly he hooked a trout and landed it. The guide came back into the water and showed John how to release it. "Have fun" the guide said as he left. Eldredge writes "As I drove home I knew the gift had been from God, that he had fathered me through this man."

I love that story because it brings home the good news that God steps in where our imperfect dads may have let us down and finishes the job. And it's not to say that earthly fathers always fail us, but rather that the only one who can truly father us is God himself.

Honor your father. Doesn't matter who your father is, at a minimum you can honor him and thank God for him that he gave you life. And whatever He has done that has reflected to you something that is true of God, give thanks for that. And know that your heavenly Father wants to fill in the gaps. God the Father wants to complete the job. None of our earthly fathers did it perfectly, we all need God to finish his work in us. He does it through his body, the church, through his Word, through relationship with Him.

 
Contributed By:
Lynn Malone
 
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It is as if the resurrection provides the “missing link” to our faith. We are all familiar with the “missing link” in the theory of evolution. The missing link is that one thing that is missing from the theory that connects the generation of humanity from the ape-like creature the theorists suppose, to the up-right homo sapiens that we supposedly evolved into. That missing link leaves way too many questions unanswered. For our faith, the resurrection connects the promises of God’s covenant (peace, joy, and victory) to our lives. Certainly we catch glimpses of God’s promises while we live, to come to the end of our lives and say, as we stare death in the face, “So that’s it?” would be futility. The resurrection erases the futility, and fills us with hope.

 
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