Friday, January 30, 2015

TESTIMONY AT A FOOTBALL GAME

I learned that consistency, honesty, and integrity are indispensable elements of an effective testimony. It happened just days after [my wife] and I moved into the parsonage of our first pastorate. I was asked to referee a "touch football game" for some boys in the community. I replied that I didn't know all the rules of the game but was willing to do the best that I could. They accepted the offer. I had not met some of the boys and felt this would be an opportunity to relate to them.

The game went well at first. Then came the "big play." A pass was thrown and caught for a long gain. As I was placing the ball at the new starting point, Elliot, a deaf and mute player, indicated to me in sign language that he had been illegally held and prevented from breaking up the pass. I had not seen the infraction of the rule. Several of the boys from each team said, "Preacher Mitchell, you can depend on what Elliot tells you. He is honest and truthful." This posed a problem for the referee who was supposed to "call the games as he saw it." I turned to the one who supposedly held him and asked, "Did you hold him?"

Embarrassingly he replied, "Yes I did." I nullified the play and assigned a penalty. The entire group was satisfied. What a testimony for consistency, truth, and integrity on communicating our message to others! Even the offender agreed with the testimony of the offended. If beneficial in a "touch football game," it is demanded in Christian testimony.

--Virgil Mitchell in Wesley Press' Teacher Helps


#3595

Thursday, January 29, 2015

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Jesus spoke a lot about the kingdom of God. In one sense that kingdom is all of creation, and God is the "King of the Universes," a phrase my Jewish friends use to address God. But human existence has been marked by rebellions against God. From Adam and Eve on, people have regularly turned aside from God's will (a practice we call sin), with the result that human history is littered with wars, acts of inhumanity, and injustice. As we say in the pray of confession that often accompanies the Eucharist, "We have not loved You with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves." So when Jesus speaks about the kingdom of God, He is usually articulating a vision not of what life is, but what it should be. Through new birth and the sanctifying work of the Spirit, we seek to reflect that kingdom in our lives.

-- Adam Hamilton in Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It


#3594

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

THE DEVIL'S SALE

There is a story that the devil once announced he was going out of business and offered to sell his tools to anyone who would pay the price. On the night of the sale, the tools were all attractively displayed. They were a nasty looking lot -- malice, hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit -- each marked with a price tag. A little off from the rest lay a harmless looking wedge-shaped tool, much worn, and priced higher than any of the others.

"What is it?" someone asked the devil.

"That's discouragement," he replied.

"Why is it priced so high?" the prospective customer asked.

"Because," said the devil, "it is more useful to me than any of the others. I can pry open and get inside a person with it when I could never get near him with any of the others. Once inside, I can use the person in whatever way it suits me best. That's why it is so worn, you see. I use it with nearly everybody, because few people yet know that it belongs to me."

It is probably not necessary to add that the devil's price for this tool was so high that there were no bidders. And he is still using it.

-- told by Colin McKay in Scouting (U.K.) magazine


#3593

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

DISCIPLESHIP

"You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. "  (2 Timothy 2:2 NLT)

Discipleship is life rubbing off on life.  It's one follower of Jesus, further along on the journey, seeking to influence those who also want to follow Jesus.

-- Unknown


#3592

Monday, January 26, 2015

DECISIONS THAT DIRECT OUR FAITH

I suspect that very few Christians make a conscious effort to depart from God. Some do no doubt get their feelings hurt over some issue or something in their life and sadly make a choice to abandon their faith, but I would think that is not the normal departure. No, I believe that for most people it is an unconscious and slow process of one compromise after the other until we (hopefully) realize we have lost the grip in our faith…

We… must be careful to review our walk with the Lord and be on guard for any signs of slipping. The Lord gives each of us free will and free choice. It is our responsibility to ground ourselves in the Word of God and therefore make decisions that bolster our faith. When we allow "only a little leaven" we find that very soon the whole batch of dough is corrupted. A little wander here and little drift there and soon we find ourselves completely off course. Take note of the "things" that make a Christian strong and practice them over and over.

-- Pastor Gary Stone


#3591