hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider
one another in order to stir up love and good works,
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as
is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so
much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Heb. 10: 23-25
Beauty fades, but dumb is forever. ~ Judge Judy
A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders.
The man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke," and turns to the ostrich, "what's yours?"
"I'll have the same," says the ostrich.
A short time later the waitress returns with the order "That will be $9.40, please," and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.
The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke."
The ostrich says, "I'll have the same."
Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.
This becomes routine until the two enter again. "The usual?" asks the waitress.
"No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad," says the man.
"Same," says the ostrich.
Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62."
Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.
The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?"
"Well," says the man, "several years ago, I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there."
"That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!"
"That's right. Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man.
The waitress asks, "What's with the ostrich?"
The man sighs, pauses and answers, "My second wish was for a tall chick with a big rump and long legs who agrees with everything I say."
What you get may not be what you want.
What you want may not be what you need.
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
II Tim. 2: 2
Just because a person has been to seminary does not mean he is able to equip saints with the sound doctrines of the Christian faith.
A friend of mine has recently moved from Pittsburgh, PA to _______(could it be your city?). She has been visiting different churches, seeking a new spiritual home. Her experiences have been frightening!
*One "church" invited people to come because they had "great coffee and cookies."
*Another "church" performed show tunes each week. On Easter they featured the music from Brigadoon.
But my favorite story was this, which I will let my friend tell you in her own words:
I didn't not know how good I had it at ________.
This morning's church was the worst (non-denominational):
The pastor was preaching on "I am the wine, and you are the branches"
Alright, I thought he was going to make some sort cute reference to his quote, integrating it into the sermon, however, he didn't. He preached on Jesus being the wine of life and never expounded on the branches other than grapes grow on branches and wine comes from grapes.
After the service (at cookies and coffee time) I told him his quote was incorrect - Jesus is the vine, not the wine. He said, "You think you know more than I do - can you show me where that is?”
After pointing it out in my Bible, he became beet red and excused himself, moving on to get a refill on his coffee.
I quietly left.
At this point I think I may be more qualified to give a sermon and teach than this guy!
Also, I would give about anything for a choir to sing The Old Rugged Cross, or something else of a traditional origin.
I just can't get into this modern cr_p they all seem to be into these days (I sound like an old f_rt, but I find nothing spiritual about droning the same words over and over again to the point of nausea, with drums and electric guitar banging away in the background. Actually seems unholy to me and an insult to Him).
Sorry to those of you who treasure this "music", but to me it means nothing. I speak, of course, from a classical background and never have had much use for what is in vogue at the time.
As I have learned to go with the flow in this regard, I have to learn to accept, however I will never embrace that variety of music as worthy of God's ear.
I visited many, many congregations. Some had good music and pathetic preaching. Some had great programs and pathetic preaching. Some were warm and caring Christian families with pathetic preaching. Some had a Biblical liturgy and pathetic preaching. [Pathetic preaching is preaching that does little or nothing to equip the saints with the sound doctrines of our Christian faith.] And some had Biblical preaching and pathetic liturgy. [Pathetic liturgy lacks a Trinitarian call to worship, a corporate prayer of confession with assurance of pardon, as well as the reading and preaching of God's Word.]
[An Old Gray Dog pet peeve is using the time allotted to worship God for other purposes. If announcements have to be made, they can be made before the call to worship or after the benediction. Ditto for recognizing Effie Mae's 85th birthday, or the Clutz's 65th wedding anniversary. Military personnel home on leave and college students home on vacation probably came to worship, not to take a bow. Please allow them to do so. From the call to worship to the benediction, all attention should be on God.]
Passionate leadership won't if contrary signals are sent out.
How can a church make a clear, unequivocal witness if the message of its worship service does not send a clear, unequivocal witness to the holiness of God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- and the total depravity of humanity apart from Christ? How can members truly worship if they don't know what their church believes? It may be interesting to hear about the pastor's experiences in mountain climbing, or trials in getting his latest book published, but how does that equip the saints? It may be heartwarming to hear the testimonials of missionaries, but how does that convict sinners and lead them to our sovereign God? A church service that lacks Biblical integrity from the Call to Worship to the Benediction is guilty of sending "contrary signals."
O holy God,
encourage this soul of mine.
Inspire all my thoughts.
Pervade all my imaginations.
Suggest all my decisions.
Direct my will and order my actions.
Manifest Chris through me in my silence and in my speech,
in my haste and in my leisure, in company and in solitude,
in freshness of new day and weariness of evening and
give me grace at all times to rejoice in Thy blessed companionship.
In Jesus' name, I pray.