Summary: For the church of Jesus Christ to be revived in 2005 we must get back to the historical way of attaining revival by repenting, forgiving and praying.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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I love the United States of America, & I feel tremendously blessed to be a citizen of this land! There is so much that is special about our country.
ILL. For instance, someone wrote:
Only in America are there handicap parking spaces in front of a skating rink.
Only in America do we buy hot dogs in packages of 10, & hotdog buns in packages of 8.
Only in America can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.
Only in America do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, & a DIET coke.
Only in America do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, while healthy people can buy their cigarettes at the front.
Only in America do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway & put our junk in the garage. -- Something to think about, isn’t it? (Adapted from Steve Shepherd on SermonCentral)
ILL. Some of you may remember George Carlin, a comedian who died in 2008. But there were times when he was serious. And in one of his serious moments he wrote what he called, “The Paradox of Our Time.” Listen to a part of it:
The paradox of our time in history is that:
We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers….
We have bigger houses, but smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees, but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, & yet even more problems….
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not how to make a life.
We spend too recklessly, drive too fast, get too angry, read too little, watch TV too much, & pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
We talk too much, love too seldom, & hate too often.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted our souls.
(Adapted from Steve Shepherd on SermonCentral)
APPL. That sounds dismal, doesn’t it? But even though there are many negative things that could be said, I still believe that America offers more opportunities & freedoms than any other country in the world.
A. As you know, I lived the first few years of my life on the China/Tibetan border, & since then have had opportunity to visit other countries, too. I've seen the differences, & I thank God for the United States, & what it has meant to so many.
This Tuesday will be the 4th of July. In many places, parades & special ceremonies are scheduled, reminding us of our nation's heritage, & honoring those who have gone before us.
ILL. A few years ago I was at a gathering of some 10,000 Texans, & a part of its program was the presentation of the colors. I stood with all the others as men & women of our armed forces marched by, carrying flags emblematic of each branch of service.
As they did, I thought back to WW2, & the years my parents were prisoners of the Japanese, & of the 900 men of the 1st Cavalry Division who dashed through 30 miles of enemy-held territory to rescue them. And I thanked God once again for those men.
As I stood there watching the presentation of the colors, the last one, carried with all due honor & respect, was the stars & stripes, the flag of our nation.
And I am not ashamed to tell you that tears began to roll down my cheeks, & it was with great difficulty that I regained my composure. God has truly blessed America!
And I must also admit that when I stand to pledge allegiance to our flag, or join in singing the "Star-Spangled Banner" or "God Bless America," I often get a catch in my throat or my eyes begin to mist.
B. Except for ancient Israel, there is probably no country in the world that has its beginning more entwined with religious beliefs than the United States. Look back over the history of our nation, & you will discover that our earliest forefathers came here in search of religious freedom.
They risked their lives, leaving their homes, crossing the ocean, because they wanted the right to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience.
And as you read the early history of our country, you realize that practically everything they professed was rooted in their religious convictions. In schools, the Bible was the main textbook, & God was a part of class discussions. And as children learned to read, they learned to read from the Word of God.