Archive for September, 2009

Lion Tamers and Multi-Tasking

September 30, 2009

William H. Hinson tells us why animal trainers carry a stool when they go into a cage of lions. They have their whips, of course, and their pistols are at their sides. But invariably they also carry a stool. Hinson says it is the most important tool of the trainer. He holds the stool by the back and thrusts the legs toward the face of the wild animal. Those who know maintain that the animal tries to focus on all four legs at once. In the attempt to focus on all four, a kind of paralysis overwhelms the animal, and it becomes tame, weak, and disabled because its attention is fragmented.

Source: From John Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within You

Contributed by: Darren Ethier

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The Amazing 8-Watts

September 29, 2009

In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According to Leon Jaroff in Time, the satellite’s primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter’s magnetic field, radiation belts, and atmosphere. Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at that time no Earth satellite had every gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target.

But Pioneer 10 accomplished its mission and much, much more. Swinging past the giant planet in November 1973, Jupiter’s immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of speed toward the edge of the solar system. At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10 passed Saturn. At some two billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three billion miles; Pluto at almost four billion miles. By 1997, twenty-five years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun. And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to scientists on Earth. “Perhaps most remarkable,” writes Jaroff, “those signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a bedroom night light, and takes more than nine hours to reach Earth.”

The Little Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did. Engineers designed Pioneer 10 with a useful life of just three years. But it kept going and going. By simple longevity, its tiny 8-watt transmitter radio accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

So it is when we offer ourselves to serve the Lord. God can work even through someone with 8-watt abilities. God cannot work, however, through someone who quits.

SOURCE: Craig Brian Larson

Contributed by: David DeWitt

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The Definition of Gossip

September 28, 2009

Ken Sande, in his book on conflict resolution, The Peacemaker, gives the following definition for gossip: “To gossip means to betray a confidence or to discuss unfavorable personal facts about another person with someone who is not part of the problem or its solution.”

Contributed by: Rickey Bennett

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September 26, 2009

This past week I read about a first-grade teacher who was having a difficult day. It had rained that entire day and the children couldn’t go out for recess, so they got more and more restless and hyperactive as the day wore on. The teacher couldn’t wait for the bell to ring at 3 o’clock. About 2:45 she saw it was still raining, and so she decided to start getting the kids ready for dismissal. She sorted out their boots and raincoats and started helping get them on. Finally, they were ready to go, all except for one little boy whose boots were just too small for his feet. There were no zippers or straps, and it took every last ounce of strength she had to get them on. When at last she did get them on, she straightened up with a sigh of relief. That’s when the little boy looked down at his feet and said, “Teacher, you know what? These boots aren’t mine!” She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but being the good teacher she was, she smiled bravely and started taking them off. And they were harder to get off than they were to put on. She yanked and tugged until finally the boots were off. That’s when the little boy smiled at her and said, “They’re not my boots, but they’re my sister’s, and I got to wear them!”

Contributed by: Ajai Prakash

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Just For You

September 25, 2009

In Peggy Noonan’s book When Character Was King, she tells about a meeting between President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin of Russia. It was their first meeting as world leaders and Bush wanted to be sure they connected—that they looked for depth of soul and character, not simply had a political meeting. Bush brought up a story he had read about Putin. His mother had given him a Christian cross that Putin had had blessed while in Jerusalem. Bush had been touched by the story. Putin told a story in response. He had taken to wearing the cross, and one day had set it down in a house he had been visiting. Strangely, the house had burned down, and all Putin could think about was that his cross was lost in the ruble. He motioned for a worker to come to him, so he could ask him to look for the cross. The worker walked over to Putin, stretched out his hand, and showed him the already recovered cross. Putin told Bush “It was as if something meant for me to have the cross,” inferring that he believed in a higher power. Bush said, “Mr. Putin, President Putin, that’s what it’s all about—that’s the story of the cross.” The story of the cross is that God intended it just for you.

Source: Peggy Noonan, When Character Was King, pp 306-307. New York: Viking, 2001.

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Why Go to Church?

September 24, 2009

A Churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. “I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.” This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”

Contributed by: Dean Kennedy

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The Duty of Every Soul

September 23, 2009

“The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master.”
Source: Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, p. 22.

Contributed by: Donnie Martin

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Coin a Word

September 22, 2009

At the end of World War I, Herbert Hoover, later to become President of the United States, led the allied relief efforts in Europe. He kept hundreds of thousands from starving, and a new word entered the Finnish language. In Finland, to “hoover” means “to be kind, to help.” If someone coined a word from your name, what would it be?

Contributed by: Guy McGraw

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Refiner’s Fire

September 21, 2009

The story is told of a group of women that met for Bible study. While studying in the book of Malachi, chapter three, they came across verse three which says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” This verse puzzled the women and they wondered how this statement applied to the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out more about the process of refining silver, and to get back to the group at their next Bible study. The following week, the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him while at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest, beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith work, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire, where the flames were the hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot, then she thought again about the verse, that “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.” She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the entire time the silver was being refined. The man answered yes, that not only did he have to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on it the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “But how do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy – when I see my image in it.”

Contributed by: Tim Harrison

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Doctrine is Boring?

September 19, 2009

Some might think that a sermon examining doctrine is dry and boring. More than that, they might think that doctrine isn’t as important as something you can apply directly to your life situation. You might think, you want something that will help you with your marriage, with your other relationships, with your children, with your work, with your finances, with direction and purpose in your life. And those things are all important. And I believe Scripture has much to say about all those things.

But consider this…the cement slab your house sits on may be boring, too. It’s basically a small parking lot with a house on it. How boring is that? The cement slab may not be as exciting as the kitchen cabinets, the wood paneling, the decorative moldings, ceiling fixtures, the carpet, the appliances you build on top of it. But, without that boring cement slab, you cannot build anything that will last. Without that foundation, none of these more interesting, more exciting, seemingly more useful things can even stand at all.

It’s like the man who built his house on the rock, versus the man who built his house on the sand. Those beautiful kitchen cabinets sink in the sand, and they wash away, without the boring old cement slab. The beautiful walls, the nice staircase, crack and crumble without that boring old cement slab.

We need to develop an appreciation for the foundational truths, the doctrines of our faith, because without them, none of the seemingly more interesting, more exciting things, the more applicable things, of our Christian lives, can stand at all… none of them will last without this foundation to stand on. We cannot apply our Christian faith to improved relationships in our lives, without the foundational truths of our faith, to hold up those other things. So, remember that as we move forward this morning. What we’re looking at is an essential part of the whole building. The whole building of our faith life, that God wants to build in us.

Contributed by: Bill Sullivan

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