Sermons

Summary: The third of six on James, this sermon was delivered the Sunday before 9/11.

The Value of Your Reflection

If a mirror reflects no image then it has no value - In fact, it’s not even a mirror! It’s just a window. If a person sees the truth about his own life reflected in God’s word but doesn’t remember that truth then he is like a person who looks into a mirror with no reflection.

Some Moments will be remembered forever

In previous times

April 14, 1864 – The day Lincoln Died

October 24, 1929 – “Black Thursday”: The day the Stock Market Crashed

In our time

December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor: The day that will live in infamy

November 22, 1963 – Kennedy Shot: The day our President Died

January 28, 1986 – The Shuttle Disaster: The day a Teacher Died

September 11, 2001 – Terrorists Attack US: The day the towers fell

These days mark a moment in our personal history

Everyone stops what they are doing…

Everything changes forever…

Nothing is the same again…

…and yet nothing changes for some people

Consider September 11

We all watched our televisions and talked with our families and friends. Churches held services and on September 16, 2001 worship services all over the country were filled and over flowing. People turned to God – or did they really?

Barna Research Group reports the changes in Religious Beliefs.

Barna has tracked a dozen religious and moral beliefs during the past 12 months. There has not been a single, statistically significant change in any of the twelve items during that time. Among the core beliefs followed have been:

· "God is the all-powerful, all-knowing perfect creator of the universe who rules our world today" (69% concur).

No change since 9/11.

· "the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings" (61% agree).

No change since 9/11.

· "Satan is not a living being but is just a symbol of evil" (59% agree).

No change since 9/11.

· Eternal spiritual salvation can be earned by doing enough good deeds (51% agree).

No change since 9/11.

· "When He lived on earth, Jesus Christ committed sins" (40% agree).

No change since 9/11.

· The percentage of adults who can be classified as "born again Christian" because they say they have made a personal to Jesus Christ that is important in their life and who believe they will have eternal salvation because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus as their savior (40%).

No change since 9/11.

One of the perspectives researched relates to views on moral truth. The percentage of adults who base their moral and ethical choices on principles drawn from the Bible has remained fixed at one out of seven (14%).

No change since 9/11.

Life Goes On...

Despite having watched the figures closely during the past twelve months, research George Barna professed his amazement at the outcomes. "I was among those who fully expected to see an intense spiritual reaction to the terrorist attacks. The fact that we saw no lasting impact from the most significant act of war against our country on our own soil says something about the spiritual complacency of the American public."

Barna noted that the stability of the percentage of unchurched adults was one of several indicators that the surge in church attendance in the weeks immediately after the attack was a rallying of the irregulars rather than an influx of outsiders.

Barna also indicated that even after the initial shock of the attacks, our leaders have focused on the restoration of pre-attack ways of being. "None of the agents of influence seemed bent on seizing the attacks as a teaching moment or as a time to ignite deeper self-examination among Americans. For the most part, our response to the attacks has been to restore continuity and comfort as quickly as possible, without much energy devoted to moral, spiritual or emotional growth."

We have become a sleepy, comfortable, and passionless people.

We have been lulled into a false security by the riches of our land and the promises of our futures. Only with the face of evil exposed did we for a brief instant look at our selves and consider our priorities and actions. And then it was only for a brief instant.

We have been quickly distracted. Enron, WorldCom, the plunging stock market, and shrinking 401k’s have driven the important issues of living off the front pages of our minds and onto page 5 of the religion section deep in part D of the daily news.

Yesterday, we collected over 344 bags of clothing for the Ukraine. It was both exhausting and exhilerating work.

One of the workers, Jay, told me about a pastor friend of his who worked with a small church of Ukrainians in the Cincinnati area. He said that many Ukrainian Christians had a deep and profound faith in Russia but that when they moved to America they often lost that faith. It was replace by their good jobs and the abundance they gained here.

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