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Summary: When you run into the cross, don’t look for a detour because you’re right where you’re supposed to be.


The 2002 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest National Challenge was to select, raise, and wave a national flag…in twenty or more steps!

The idea of this contest is that groups of students are given an elementary challenge: something as simple as peeling an apple, sharpening a pencil, or putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. But instead of just "solving" the problem, students have to make the solution as complicated and as convoluted as possible. In fact, the more steps, the better the Rube Goldberg Machine.

Basically, in this contest, the idea is, instead of finding the simplest way of doing something, you are required to find the HARDEST way of accomplishing a task. Some of the tasks from previous years have been:

Adhere a stamp to a letter, screw a light bulb into a socket, turn on a radio, put coins in a bank, and shut off an alarm clock. And the team of students that won each year was the team that made achieving these simple tasks the hardest.

I know many of you like to travel on vacation. But even if you don’t, you do make trips to Michigan City, Valpo, or Merrillville to shop. And you know there are many ways to get there, some easy, some harder. You can get to Michigan City by…… or Merrillville by……

We’re going on vacation soon. We’re going to Disneyworld and we’re driving down there. I know some people who have shared their opinion of our decision to drive. They say that driving that far is too hard, on our bodies, on our vehicle, on our relationship being cooped up together in a car for that long. They say that flying is the way to go. It’s easier and simpler, they say.

Well, I’m going to tell you something about me that most of you don’t know. I have another middle name. I have my given middle name, but people who know me know that my other middle name is “Do it the hard way”. “Do it the hard way” Beehler. That’s me. Now sometimes I do it the hard way because I like a challenge.

Like when I build something, instead of asking for help with lifting something heavy, I’ll struggle to do it myself, the “hard way”. Who reads the instructions? That’s too easy. Just start putting the toy, grill, etc. together and, if necessary, read the instructions.

Working on some project on your computer and you can’t figure it out? Don’t read the instructions, the simple, easy way. No, just keep fiddling around and maybe you’ll stumble onto the right way to do it. You’ve all seen the “…for dummies” books. DOS for Dummies. Gardening for Dummies. Investing for Dummies. And so on. For Christmas one year I got “The Internet for Dummies”. Never used it, don’t even know where it’s at now. That’s too easy. Do it the hard way.

We’ve all heard people say, maybe you’ve said it yourself, that’s too simple, that won’t work. We see things in life and we’re skeptical. We see ads on TV and we think, “That’s too good to be true”. There must be a catch.

Jesus encountered that attitude in His day, too. That won’t work. It’s too simple. It’s too easy. Those people thought they were so smart and that caused them a big problem. We all know people like that. They are very intelligent, brilliant even. They know the molecular structure of an atom, but burn jello.

“For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumblingblock to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles…” The Jews stumbled over it because Jesus wasn’t the kind of Messiah they wanted. The Jews wanted a Messiah who would overthrow the Romans. They wanted a king who would raise an army, lead them into battle, and defeat the Romans. If Jesus had come with that kind of agenda, they would have marched behind Him. But they ran smack dab into the cross. The cross got in the way.

“Christ crucified” was a stumblingblock because dying on the cross doesn’t look like success or power. It doesn’t look like victory. It looks like weakness. It looks like failure. It looks like defeat. So they kept stumbling over it. It kept getting in the way.

When He came, they crucified Him. The Bible says in John 1:11 that Jesus "…came to His own, & those who were His own did not receive Him." Why? Why didn’t they receive Him? Because the "Jews demand miraculous signs…" They were expecting a Messiah who would perform miracles on their behalf.

Which is incredible because Jesus is doing exactly that. He’s performing miracles – turning water into wine, bringing the dead back to life, giving sight to the blind, the lame are walking, and the lepers are cleansed.

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