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Beginning, Finishing, & Choosing

(11)

Sermon shared by Ed Mcneely

October 2004
Summary: Lessons from Gideon on living, serving and choosing our leaders: A guide for living and voting
Denomination: Independent/Bible
Audience: Believer adults
Sermon:
STARTING, FINISHING, & CHOICES
Judges 8-12

There are 2 big lessons for us at the end of and in the wake of Gideon’s life:
1. How we begin leads to how we live.
But, how we finish is so important.
Paul said I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
And now the prize awaits me--the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return. (2Tim4:7,8)
Most of us are closer to the end than the beginning.
Will we end strong—full of faith and satisfaction from how we have lived and served both God and country?
2. How and why we choose those who will govern us will shape the course and character of our country.
What will be the basis for our choices in November?
Partisan loyalty?
Attention grabbing sound bites?
Perception of strengths and weaknesses of the candidates? Or
By faith… as God leads?

Scripture addresses both of these as Gideon retires from public service… and passes on to be with the Lord.

Put yourself in Gideon’s shoes for a moment.
Just how would you feel?
What would you do?
How would you act… if you and 300 men had routed and wiped out 120,000 of the best-armed… most-disciplined troops in an enemy coalition?
A. Strut like a peacock?
B. Boast of how great and wonderful you are?
C. Humble yourself before God, because you know that the victory is his?
D. All of the above?
Gideon picked “D”!

It is so easy!
For many… it is so natural… to credit man for God’s successes.
Whether it is a general in some great battle…
Or a preacher in some great revival…
Or a scientist in some great discovery…
We tend to look at the person… rather than the power behind him.

Dr. Ted Williams, a professor of physics at FSU some years ago—working at the Marine Lab right across the bay… was doodling on a yellow pad while an experiment on the physics of sight in jellyfish was processing… when he noticed that he was writing down the answer to a physics problem that had haunted his science for 150 years.
In his own words, he said it was “like taking dictation.”
He was not aware… nor consciously thinking about the problem when he discovered that he was writing the solution.

He closed shop! Ran home, just up the river from my house!
Showed his scribbling to his wife—also a PHD at FSU.
“Eureka,” She exclaimed, “you have found it.”
As any scientist would, he submitted his findings for publication in the most prestigious journal in his field.
The editor refused to publish it, because Ted was honest in his report.
On the submittal form…where he was asked to explain how he arrived at the solution… Ted wrote: “God gave it to me.”

Ted had been saved several months before.
He had moved into our neighborhood a self-proclaimed atheist.
But he had an encounter with the risen Christ.
It changed his outlook!
It changed his life!
It changed his destiny!

Several other journals also refused to publish his paper—all for the same reason.
None would buy that God had done it.

He later presented his findings at an international symposium.
Many of the attending scientists crowded him on stage afterward and shared their faith with him, and everyone wanted to know why the paper had not been published.
Cancer took him a little while back…
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