3 April 2016

posted 1 Apr 2016, 02:58 by C S Paul
3 April 2016
Quotes to Inspire
  • "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • "The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what the man or woman is able to do that counts." – Booker T. Washington
  • "The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win." – Roger Bannister
  • "If the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail." – Unknown
  • "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." – Nelson Mandela
  • "Man is so made that when anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish." – Jean De La Fontaine
  • "Kindness is the oil that takes friction out of life." – Author Unknown
  • "Failure is a part of success. There is no such thing as a bed of roses all your life. But failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it." – Hank Aaron
  • "Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones." – Sir Winston Churchill
  • "No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helps you." – Althea Gibson
  • "Faith is a bird that feels the dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark." – Scandinavian proverb. 
  • "Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not." – Samuel Johnson
  • "A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good." – Thomas Watson Jr.
  • "How come you never see this headline: 'Psychic wins lottery'?" – Jay Leno
  • "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength." – Corrie Ten Boom
Parable of Distrust
-- Author unknown

This is a story about a man called Joseph, who had the misfortune to get caught in a serious flood. The water was rising all around him and was soon up to his knees. He climbed the staircase to the first floor but still the water rose. It wasn't long before the water was up to his waist and he looked out of the window to see what was happening to his neighbours.

A boat was passing and the occupant shouted, "Hey, Joseph! Quick, climb aboard my boat and I will take you to safety." Joseph smiled and replied, "Thank you very much, but I have had a word with God and he will take care of me. You use the space on your boat to help others less fortunate than myself." Soon the boat was out of sight.

The flood would not stop and the water continued to climb. Joseph was forced onto the roof of his home and he surveyed the catastrophe below him.
A helicopter flew over Joseph and a man used his microphone to tell Joseph that worse was yet to come. He threw a rope down to Joseph and cried, "Quick Joseph, climb up while you still have a chance!" Nevertheless, Joseph had been a good man all his life and placed his faith in the Lord, so he declined the offer, requesting that they go in search of other people. "You don't have to worry about me," he shouted, "I have spoken with God and he will not let me die."

The helicopter flew away and the waters rose and rose until finally it was all over. Joseph was taken from this earth.

As stated earlier, Joseph was a good man, so naturally he was taken to the pearly gates to meet St. Peter. On entering heaven he was taken and introduced to God who welcomed him with open arms. But, Joseph was not content and asked God, "I am confused my Lord. I have been a devout follower my entire life, and never once have I strayed from your chosen path. I believe I was too young to die now. I prayed to you and asked you to save me, but my faith let me down. How could you have been so cruel?"

And the Lord replied, "What do you mean I let you down? I sent you a boat to save you, and a helicopter as well."
------
So often we try to help each other, but our efforts are met with distrust or total apathy. So little faith... especially when we try to lead people to the word of God, and His plan for them. But, often we fail to get the message across. "You can lead the horse to water, but you cannot make him drink." However, as faithful disciples, it is the wish of our Lord that we keep trying.

Sit. Stay. Pray.
By Rachel Bickford

Sunday afternoon, five o’clock sharp. The organ hums while I set refreshments on the front table and walk to the pulpit. I’m the pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church in North Weymouth, Massachusetts, and my parishioners are my second family. I look out at my regulars. There’s Lucy, an older gal with a spring in her step and perfectly coiffed blonde curls. Sam, in his usual seat in the front pew, gazes back at me with his soulful brown eyes. Chloe, a rambunctious youngster, fidgets a little, but she’ll settle down when the choir begins. Oh, there’s something I should mention. Lucy is a terrier, Sam is a pug and Chloe is a Bernese mountain dog.

Our service for people and their pets started last October. Sometimes, though, I wonder if the seed wasn’t planted earlier. Growing up, I’d wanted to be a vet, but in my twenties I felt called to seminary. After seven years at Pilgrim Congregational, I still loved coming to work. But folks just weren’t coming to church as much anymore. Too many sporting events on Sundays and too little faith. I looked out at the half-empty sanctuary one Sunday and thought, Lord, what can I do to get people as excited as I am about coming to church?

A few days later, I got an e-mail from an old friend who needed some extra prayers. I bowed my head. That’s when my gaze fell on my two apricot cockapoos, Tugger and Indy, curled up at my feet. One of my favorite verses, Psalm 148, suddenly came to mind: “Let all wild animals and small creatures and flying birds praise the Lord. All animals praise the Lord.”

Something about those words gave me a charge. Plenty of people loved bringing their dogs to our town dog park. What if those folks could bring their dogs to church?

“Honey, I have an idea,” I said to my husband, Peter, that evening. “People should be able to bring their dogs to church. Dogs give unconditional love and support. I mean, it just makes sense ...or does it?”

“Bring ...their dogs ...to church,” he said slowly, then paused. “Actually, Rachel, that’s so wild, it just might work.”

That week I mentioned the idea to my fellow pastors, hoping they wouldn’t think I’d lost it. They didn’t. They loved it! We advertised a Sunday afternoon service. It would be like our more formal one, but after worship we’d serve biscuits and toss tennis balls with our dogs in the side yard. All breeds, as long as they were leashed, were welcome. We decided on a name: Woof’n’Worship.

That first Sunday I was nervous. Maybe I hadn’t thought things through. What if the dogs didn’t get along? Lord, is this too crazy?, I wondered, walking Tugger and Indy to the pulpit with me. I looked up.

The sea of furry faces, and the smiling people in the pews beside them, made me smile too. Before long we had 150 people—150! The dogs got along famously. I giggled when, during my first reading, a handsome German Shepherd with a clownish grin licked a tiny Chihuahua’s ears. Later, the choir sang “Amazing Grace.” Everyone roared when PeeWee, a schnauzer, began howling along. He was almost in key! The best perk of all is that people are reaching out to each other more. The dogs are a great icebreaker. “Sometimes I feel out of place among all the families here,” a single college student told me. “But with Chewy, I fit right in.”

One woman who’s battling breast cancer confided, “Whenever I’m tempted to stay in bed, I remember my responsibility to Diego. We’ve made so many new friends from bringing him to church.” I peer out from my pulpit and take another look at my regulars. Yup, it’s true, my church is going to the dogs—and that’s just fine with me. Sometimes, when we ask God for a solution to a problem, his answer is far better (and crazier!) than we could ever imagine on our own.

Nothing is Written
By Roger Darlington

My all-time favourite film is "Lawrence Of Arabia" and, if I have a favourite scene from the movie, then I guess it is the one of Lawrence's triumphal return from the Nefud desert, having gone back to rescue the Arab Gasim. The crossing of the Nefud desert is considered impossible, even by the local Arabs, but Lawrence persuades them that, in this way, they can take the Turkish port at Aqaba from the rear.

Having carried out the superhuman feat of traversing this furnace, it is discovered that one of the Arabs, Gasim, has fallen off his camel and is no doubt dying somewhere back in the desert. Lawrence is told that any idea of rescue is futile and, in any event, Gasim's death is "written". When Lawrence achieves the impossible and returns with Gasim still alive, Sherif Ali admits to him: "Truly, for some men nothing is written unless they write it".

As an impressionable teenager when this film was first released, I was stunned by Lawrence's courage and unselfishness in going back into the hell of the Nefud to attempt to find a man he hardly knew among the vast expanse of a fiery terrain and I was so moved by the sense of purpose of a man who is determined to take nothing as "written" but to shape his own destiny. This sense of anti-determinism and this belief that anything is possible has stayed with me always and continues to inspire me in small ways and large.

Have You Tasted Jesus?
-- Author unknown

At the University of Chicago Divinity School, each year, they have what is called "Baptist Day." On this day, each one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every "Baptist Day" the school would invite one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center. 

One year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr.Tillich spoke for two and one-half hours attempting to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection, the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo... because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.

After about 30 seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium. "Docta Tillich, I got one question," he said as all eyes turned toward him.

He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it. "Docta Tillich... CRUNCH, MUNCH... My question is a simple question... CRUNCH, MUNCH... "Now, I  ain't never read them books you read... CRUNCH, MUNCH... and I can't recite the Scriptures in the original Greek... CRUNCH,  MUNCH... I don't know nothin' bout Niebuhr and Heidegger... CRUNCH, MUNCH..."

He finished the apple... "All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate... was it bitter or sweet?

Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion... "I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven't tasted your apple." 

The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly, "Neither have you tasted my Jesus." 

The 1,000 plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers.

Dr. Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.

Have you tasted Jesus?

"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. If you have, rejoice in the hope of the resurrection that your faith in Him brings." -- Psalm 34:8

Please pass this on. Others need to read this too. 

 Did You Know ?
  • A two-inch garden hose will carry four times as much water as a one-inch hose.
  • A typical American eats 28 pigs in his/her lifetime.
  • A typical bed usually houses over 6 billion dust mites.
  • A typical lightning bolt is two to four inches wide and two miles long. 
  • A vexillologist is an expert in the history of flags
  • A volcano can shoot its debris as high as 50km into the sky.
  • A vulture will never attack a human or animal that is moving. 
  • A whale's penis is called a dork. 
  • A whip makes a cracking sound because its tip moves faster than the speed of sound.
  • A whole library floor of books can be stored on 50 Gigabytes. 
  • A pregnant goldfish is called a twit
  • A quarter of raw potato placed in each shoe at night will keep the leather soft and the shoes smelling fresh and clean.
  • A quarter of the horses in the US died of a vast virus epidemic in 1872.
  • A state law in Illinois mandates that all bachelors should be called master, not mister, when addressed by their female counterparts.
  • A traditional dish from Savolax, called "kalakukko" (fishcock in engl.) is made of white fish and porkfat encased in a baked crust of rye.
Just for Laughs
Bible quiz

Q. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
    A. Pharaoh's daughter. She went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little       prophet. 

Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?
    A. Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury. 
    A. David's Triumph was heard throughout the land. 
    A. Honda--because the apostles were all in one Accord. 
    A. 2 Cor. 48 describes going out in service in a Volkswagen Beetle: "We are pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement." 

Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
    A. Samson. He brought the house down. 

Q. Where is the first baseball game in the Bible?
    A. In the big inning, Eve stole first, Adam stole second. Cain struck out Abel, and the Prodigal Son came home. The Giants and the Angels were rained out. 

Q. How did Adam and Eve feel when expelled from the Garden of Eden?
    A. They were really put out. 

Q. What is one of the first things that Adam and Eve did after they were kicked out?
    A. They really raised Cain. 

Q. The ark was built in 3 stories, and the top story had a window to let light in, but how did they get light to the bottom 2 stories?
    A. They used floodlights. 

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