Tag Archives: example

So loved

by Paula Harrington

Our congregation has a bus ministry and we’re blessed each week to have several neighborhood kids participate.

Last Sunday morning, I sat beside one very rambunctious little boy and tried to wrangle him during the service. As I kept quieting him, he continued to talk aloud and make noises.

The Lord’s Supper was nearing and my patience was running thin so I grabbed a pen and sheet of paper and handed them to him. I quietly instructed him to write something.

He replied, “Something God would write?” I nodded. Anything, I thought; my inner voice begging him to calm down and be quiet. A few moments passed before he looked up and sincerely whispered, “But I don’t know anything God would say.”

His sweet little eyes searched mine so I took the paper and pen and wrote the words, I love you, and then handed the paper back to him. “God loves me,” he read and then looked my way.

I nodded at the statement that seemed more like a question. I took the paper and wrote, Mrs. Paula loves you, too. He read the words aloud (of course), “Mrs. Paula loves me but God may love me.”

He emphasized the word may too heavily and I couldn’t stop the flood of emotion that overtook me.

Yes, we were in a worship service and the plates were being passed but all that mattered on the back row of that church building was that a sweet kid with too many problems in his young life, living in the Bible belt of the greatest nation on this planet wasn’t completely positive that the Creator, the Father, the God of Heaven and Earth loved him or not.

I took that piece of paper and wrote, God loves you, Jesus loves you, and Mrs. Paula loves you, and then I put my arm around him and relaxed.

Maybe he did make too much noise. Maybe he was extremely wiggly. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be comfortable and hear everything that was being said from the pulpit that morning because, at that moment, what mattered most was going on where I was sitting.

We can shout that God loves this world from the rooftops but if we don’t take the time to show others that love then our words don’t matter.

We can proclaim the peace that passes all understanding until we’re blue in the face but if we are impatient and rude to others, it means nothing. We can write articles, sermons, and books on the great grace of our loving God but if we don’t give it then what good is it?

I hugged that little wide-eyed boy and vowed to tell him every chance I got that God loves him. I want him to know the one who not only preached a message of love, he lived it.

He wasn’t too good, too busy, or too tired to change lives. He walked among us and saved us. He sent his disciples out into a dangerous and broken world and told them to make a difference. And he tells us the same today.

So, Lord, help us show others your love until they are certain of how loved they are. Guide us while we try and forgive us when we fail but never let us forget how much you care.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16John 3:16
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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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, ESV)

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Photograph used by permission http://ordinaryphotograph.wordpress.com/

The big deal

by Paula Harrington

I heard a story about a couple of school kids recently. One had gotten into some trouble and was going to have to walk a few laps at recess and wasn’t taking the news very well.

Another student who wasn’t even a close friend stepped in to offer encouragement. She informed her peer that she wouldn’t have to walk alone. She’d stay by her side, cheering her on the entire time.

When the teacher remarked what a wonderful thing she had just done, the student shrugged and replied, “It’s no big deal. It’s what we’re supposed to do.”

Can you image a world if everyone had the same attitude?

Wait, scratch that–can you imagine a church if everyone had that attitude? It’s those Kingdom-minded thinkers who change the world. Those who forgive, love, go the extra mile, and live righteously, not out of a sense of obligation, not because they’re trying to earn their salvation, not to be seen by others, but because that’s what they’re supposed to do.

We see this attitude throughout the entire Bible.

  • Noah built.
  • Abraham moved.
  • Moses led.
  • Josiah restored.
  • Rahab protected.
  • David conquered.
  • Nehemiah repaired.
  • Ruth stayed.
  • Jeremiah preached.
  • The poor widow gave.
  • The Apostles went.
  • The early church persevered.

Ordinary people did extraordinary things and even though they may have thought their actions were insignificant at the time, the Lord through his word, has allowed us the opportunity to see the role these good people played in the greatest story ever told.

No one else in that West Kentucky classroom offered to walk with that little girl except one sweet, precious soul. She did something that no one else would do. She gave up a part of her free time to walk with someone else who had lost hers.

When people act like Jesus, encourage others in their dark moments, stand up for the least of these, refuse to let their brothers and sisters walk alone, and act like they’re supposed to, in the midst of a world that doesn’t, that my friends, is always a big deal.

Help wanted

by Paula Harrington

Creator of the Universe seeking lost souls and broken hearts for adventure beyond your wildest dreams. Applicants must be prepared for love, mercy, and grace so abounding that it may, at times, seem hard to believe.

Applicants must not be selfish or prideful, but have an open heart and open mind. You must be willing to believe what you read and accept what you cannot see. Past employers will not be considered and gender doesn’t matter. Position is eternal and retirement benefits are out of this world! If interested, contact your nearest Bible!

Wow, wouldn’t it be awesome to have the opportunity to answer an ad like that?

The truth is, you can. However, too many times we allow ourselves to get caught up in the misconception that we’re not good enough to answer God’s call.

Sometimes we’re like Moses and give God a list of excuses, starting with the most popular one. Moses even used it. How many times have you told yourself that you’re not good enough (Exodus 3:11Exodus 3:11
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11 Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

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) to make a difference in this world?

We need to ask forgiveness from God and then allow ourselves to accept it when he gives it. We’ve got to get away from the mindset that church is only for shiny, happy people living perfect, sinless lives.

Let’s be real with each other. I’ll go first:

  • Some days, I’m more of a worrier than a warrior.
  • I usually see the negative in a situation long before I see the positive.
  • My family isn’t perfect and neither am I.
  • I want to be easy to love and hard to offend but I don’t always do well with that.
  • I get aggravated with others too quickly and sometimes have a hard time loving them.

I’m not certain where I stand on every doctrinal issue but I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus lived, died, and rose. I am totally convinced that he is alive and is coming again.

There are too many mistaken beliefs about church:

  • It isn’t a country club where we place our membership and pay our dues.
  • It’s not an organization of the elite that has life all figured out.
  • It’s a family too familiar with the dark, while striving to walk in the light.
  • It’s believers who know that there is a better way and a better place.

So before you think that you’re not good enough to go ye therefore into all the world and make a difference for Jesus, think again. The church needs you and God wants you. Answer the call!

What is wrong with the world?

by Stan Mitchell

When a London newspaper asked its readers to respond to the question, “What is wrong with the world,” the editor received a reply from philosopher G.K. Chesterton. It read: “Dear sir, I am.”

Just because it is a cliche doesn’t make it any less true; a better world does begin with me. As does a better community, a better marriage, and a better church.

It is so much easier to complain and criticize than it is to build and strengthen. They don’t build monuments for critics. Critics don’t write great literature, or create art, or even good government. They simply jeer at the sincere, best efforts of those who build.

So what’s wrong with the world? Probably not G.K. Chesterton, or at least it wasn’t entirely his fault. Yet he realized that for the world to improve, for it to change, he must act himself to make it so.

We used to sing a song as children — “Brighten the Corner Where You Are.”

“Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16Matthew 5:16
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16 Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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There’s a lot of darkness out there. Are you adding to the light, or dampening the fire of others? This much is true: there are two kinds of people in the world, or the church: The givers and the takers.

It’s OK to be a taker if you are a child. But even children grow to make their contribution.

So what’s wrong with the world? Any suggestions?

Legacy

He never made the front page of the local newspaper or saw his name in lights. No one ever wore his name on the back of a jersey or read a book he had penned. His final days weren’t in a grand, sprawling mansion and there was never enough money in his checking account.

However, a young man from central Arkansas who at twenty-seven was told that he had a terminal illness, made a lasting impression on a teenage girl. I know because a few days ago and thirty years after my father’s death, she wrote a beautiful note about him.

You can imagine my surprise this week when I read a message from the woman who had been a teen at the small country church where my father preached. She told of the way he had influenced her and after all these years, still thinks of him from time to time. I appreciate her taking the time to remind me of what a good man he was.

My father wasn’t a youth minister but that didn’t keep him from spending time with the youth in the congregation where he preached in the early 70s.  He loved kids and took a vested interest in their lives.

The influence he made on people of all ages has lasted through the ages and I’m confident it will continue through eternity. My father’s legacy was one of deep love and abounding faith.

What are you leaving behind? Is it a life of faith like those in Hebrews 11 who never surrendered to their trials? Are you fighting life’s battles with dignity and grace? Are you watching what you say and how you say it? Are you taking the time to encourage a brother or sister?

Leave a legacy of love and encouragement to your friends and family and remember, the greatest legacy isn’t engraved on monuments but lovingly written on hearts.

The Ripple Effect

by Tim Hall
Small acts can lead to effects much greater than we anticipate.
Earthquakes have again struck the South Pacific region. The first was the strongest, occurring on September 29, registering as a magnitude 8.0. The force of the shifting plates beneath the surface of the ocean led to a tsunami. The island nation of American Samoa was hit by massive waves and the damage is great. The ripples from the powerful earthquake pounded the coastlines with devastating effect.
Even small forces can have powerful effects. The “butterfly effect” is a concept popularized by Edward Lorenz in 1963. A feature of chaos theory, this principle proposes that even the small puff of air displaced by the wings of a butterfly contribute to weather patterns that eventually turn into hurricanes or tornadoes.
Though many scoff at such a suggestion, serious scientists give it credence. A talk Lorenz gave in 1972 was given the title, “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?”
“Random acts of kindness” is an idea that has been promoted since the early 1980s. By doing little things for total strangers, they’ll be encouraged to do similar acts of kindness for others. At the toll booth, don’t just pay your own toll; pay for the car behind you, too. As you’re walking out of the grocery store, offer to carry a bag for an elderly customer. Positive results have been noted by those who practice such acts.
A tsunami of kindness was begun 2,000 years ago when Jesus walked upon the earth. Peter summed up Jesus’ ministry by saying he “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38Acts 10:38
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38 even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

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, NKJV). Total strangers were blessed in many different ways by their chance encounters with the Lord.
John wrote his first letter many years after Jesus concluded his ministry, yet the ripples were still being felt. “We love him because he first loved us,” John wrote (1 John 4:191 John 4:19
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19 We love Him, because he first loved us.

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). In the same letter John elaborated on the principle: “By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:161 John 3:16
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16 By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

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Distance and time have not weakened the power of Jesus’ ripples. Benevolent acts have multiplied many times over through the centuries as Christ’s followers show his compassion to others. Service has been given to the sick, the homeless, orphans and widows by total strangers. They love because Jesus first loved them.
Our challenge is the same: To let the ripples of Jesus’ love flow through us. “And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14Titus 3:14
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14 Let our people also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they may not be unfruitful.

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). Waves of love and good works will leave wonderful marks, no matter where they wash.

Work's Bad Rap

by Tim Hall

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Why do so many want to never have to work?

Symptoms abound that show Americans don’t like their work. Each week thousands exclaim “It’s Friday!” In those two words is the promise of time away from the salt mine. During the week employees discuss dreams of retirement and how to speed up the process. Retirement, of course, means never having to go to work again.

Then there are those who play the lotteries. No one likes paying taxes, but many gladly pay a few bucks to their state government as they try to woo Lady Luck.

An article on SavingAdvice.com, however, states the case bluntly: “Don’t waste your money.” A typical state lottery, says the article, has odds of winning at 1 in 18 million. A person is six times more likely to be killed by a lightning strike, and three times more likely to die in a car crash on the way to purchase that ticket. /1 Such facts, however, don’t seem to dim the pursuit of a financial windfall.

People go to great lengths to never have to work again. Wouldn’t life be simpler if we could make peace with our jobs?

Paul believed that a new view of work is possible. He said this to Christians at Ephesus:

“Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men” (Ephesians 6:5-7Ephesians 6:5-7
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5 Servants, be obedient to those who according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ; 6 not in the way of service only when eyes are on you, as men-pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men;

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, NKJV).

Those in free societies have difficulty imagining a more difficult existence than being a slave. Talk about a bad job! At no time are you off the clock, and you can never call in sick. Yet slaves were urged to change their views of their work. Instead of focusing on the harsh master, look to the benevolent Lord to whom we willingly bound ourselves. See work as an opportunity to do service “to the Lord, and not to men.”

Paul’s exhortation to servants in Titus 2:10Titus 2:10
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10 not stealing, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior, in all things.

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adds one more dimension to this new view of work: “… that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” The way we go about our daily employment displays our view of God. A Christian has the opportunity on the job to show the good difference God can make. Our faith is not just for Sunday mornings; it shapes the attitudes we bring to the workplace.

Let us no longer view our jobs as a ball and chain that keeps us from enjoying life. It’s a new mission we’ve received. Through our work we can show the devotion we have to the Lord who will one day lead us to eternal rest (Revelation 14:13Revelation 14:13
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13 I heard the voice from heaven saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.”

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