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Helping make ready the bride of Christ (Rev.19:7-8)

Archive for the month “November, 2013”

REAL THANKSGIVING DAYS….by Robert Beike

On September 8, 1860 the Lady Elgin, a crowded passenger steamer sank off the shore of Lake Michigan. Among those who gathered on the shore was Edward W. Spencer, a student at Garrett Biblical Institute. He saw a woman clinging to some wreckage far out in the breakers. Edward threw off his coat and swam out through the heavy waves, succeeding in getting her safely to land.

Sixteen times that day young Spencer braved the fierce waves, rescuing seventeen persons, before collapsing exhausted and delirious. Ed Spencer recovered slowly, but never completely, from the exposure and exertion of his efforts. With broken health he lived quietly, unable to fully pursue his chosen lifework of the ministry. He died in California at the age of eighty-one. In a notice of his death, one paper said not one of those seventeen rescued persons ever came to thank him.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have all been rescued. Our Savior spent His life that ours might be spared. Have you properly thanked Him? The Apostle Paul spells out the only proper thank you in his letter to the Romans; “I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1). Real thanksgiving requires nothing less than committing all we are and have totally to the Lord. Does your life say, “Thank you?” Let’s make everyday a real thanksgiving day.

“QUOTES OF NOTE” about Change……by Robert Beike

  1. “Watch out! You live in a sea of change. Never turn your back on the ocean or the currents of change.”—-Hans Finzel
  2. “It is difficult to change organizations. It is like tending the garden. When you relax, the culture goes back to the weeds.”—Ichak Adizes
  3. “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones.” — John Maynard Keynes/Economist
  4. “A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” — Charlie Brower
  5. “The less I have to do with it, the less I like the idea.” — anonymous church member
  6. “We live in a weather map kind of world. It’s constantly changing. Be prepared for the change, or be prepared for the consequences.” — R. Beike
  7. “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” — Alvin Toffler
  8. “Blessed are the control freaks, for they shall inhibit the earth.” — Rev. Will B. Dunn in Kudzu comic strip
  9. Progress is often just a good idea away.” — John Maxwell
  10. “The Holy Spirit has a way of moving a church beyond its comfort zone.” — Bill Easum
  11. “Control is the sacred cow of established churches, and needs to be ground into gourmet hamburger.” — Bill Easum
  12. “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” — Leo Tolstoy
  13. “When your through changing, you’re through.” — Bruce Barton
  14. “The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.” — Tacitus
  15. “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes
  16. “There is a huge difference in being stretched and just getting bent out of shape. God wants to stretch you.” — R. Beike
  17. “If it aint right shouldn’t we change it?”
  18. “Practice the ‘baby philosophy’– if something stinks, change it.”
  19. “(Leaders) have to architect the condition for right decisions to happen.” — Jim Collins
  20. “42% of pastors reported that the church board was the #1 source of resistance to the turnaround plan.” — John C. Larue Jr.
  21. “A church can become so rigid that it becomes brittle, resulting in chunks breaking off whenever there are attempts at alterations. Change requires malleability.” — R. Beike
  22. “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” — John Maxwell
  23. “…be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self…” —- Apostle Paul
  24. “New wine should be put into fresh wineskins.” — Jesus
  25. “…we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…” — Apostle Paul

Why Preaching is Sometimes like Halloween…by Robert Beike

Sometimes preaching can be like Halloween. It can be a very frightening experience. Consider how many neighbors come to worship dressed as “church people,” many wearing masks to hide their real feelings. When you factor in all the people who promised to “be there in spirit,” church can be a pretty spooky place. Even the Pastor, often, wears a costume. It might be the coat and tie of past pulpiteers, or shirtsleeves and skinny jeans of a post-modern “communicator.” Either way, he’s dressed for the occassion.

The sermon itself can be a scary proposition.The preacher’s wife is scared that her husband will be misunderstood, or she embarrassed in some way. The preacher’s children are terrified they may become the main attraction in their father’s illustrations. Guests are afraid they will be singled out or feel left out, and the congregation must be scared of something. Why else would they huddle for safety in the back of the sanctuary. But, the most frightened of all is the preacher himself.

The preacher stands before an expectant gathering scared that he will misrepresent or miscommunicate the precious word of God. Worse, he fears that the Spirit of God will not show up to animate the dry bones in the pews. Real, too, is the fear of unleashing a disembodied sermon to wander aimlessly for 45 minutes, or the appearance of a fleshless skeleton of a message that speaks more about work ethic than the exposited Word. The preacher is often haunted by the undead apparitions of sermons past, never quite alive, but unwilling to vacate his tortured consciousness. The preacher knows too well that what is pieced together in the laboratory of his study can take on a life of its own in the pulpit. Loosed from theological restraints, or unteathered by grace or compassion, a sermon can run rampant and out of control, leaving a trail of confusion and mayhem. Monday could find deacons or elders at his office door, carrying torches and pitchforks, demanding the end of the three point monstrosities the preacher harbors in his filing cabinets.

But fear is no match for faith, and it is faithfulness that drives the preacher to dispense healthy offerings from God’s Word and to transform the scary into the sacred. It is faith in God and faithfulness to their calling that helps preachers get past the fear and experience the hallowed in the preaching event. “Call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:5,6).

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