Believe in Prayer

When a nightclub opened on Main Street, the only church in that small town organized an all-night prayer meeting. The members of the church asked God to burn down the club. Within a few minutes, lightning struck the club, and it burned to the ground. The owner sued the church, which denied responsibility.

After hearing both sides, the judge said, “It seems that wherever the guilt may lie, the nightclub owner believes in prayer, while the church doesn’t.”

Actually, the church does believe in prayer. At least we should.

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”—Acts 4:31

 

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Power Source

Magellan

On Wednesday, October 11, 1994, NASA’s Magellan space explorer fell silent. The Magellan had circled Venus more than fifteen thousand times since arriving at the planet in 1990, but on this day NASA scientists intentionally changed the satellite’s course and sent it veering into the planet where it burned to a crisp in the atmosphere.

Why would NASA send the Magellan—which cost nine hundred million dollars—plummeting into the planet? Because the Magellan was virtually out of power. One final experiment had drained its batteries to the point where it could no longer transmit data.

Without power, even the highest technology is worthless. Without the power of God, even the most committed Christian can bear no fruit.

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Most Sincerely Dead

In The Wizard of Oz, when the house landed on the wicked witch of the East, the coroner was called to the scene. After examining the body, he famously proclaimed, “She’s not only merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead!”

When Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, he was really dead. He did not merely swoon on the cross, only to regain consciousness in the coolness of the tomb, as some liberal scholars have claimed. A Roman soldier thrust his spear into Jesus’ side to confirm that he was indeed dead (John 19:34).

The innocent Son of God willingly laid down his life to pay for the sins of the world. He really and truly died for us.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:6-8

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Unafraid of Death

In 100 Meditations on Hope Wayne A. Lamb writes:

In the midst of a storm, a little bird was clinging to the limb of a tree, seemingly calm and unafraid. As the wind tore at the limbs of the tree, the bird continued to look the storm in the face, as if to say, “Shake me off; I still have wings.”

Because of Christ’s resurrection, each Christian can look the experience of death in the face and confidently say, “Shake me off; I still have wings. I’ll live anyway.”

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”’—John 11:25-26

This question is not just for Martha; it is for everyone. Do you believe this?

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Window of Opportunity

Sometimes you can be late and get away with it; sometimes you can’t.

According to the Associated Press, near midnight on the evening of June 30, 1997, United Airlines flight 728 from Chicago was bound for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and as happens it was behind schedule. Unfortunately the Harrisburg airport had informed the airlines that the lone airport runway would be closed from 11:30pm to 6:30am for construction.

The pilot of flight 728 believed that he could land before the runway closed, but when he radioed the control tower he was refused permission to do so. The plane was ordered to fly all the way back to Chicago so as not to disrupt other flight schedules. The airline put the 101 passengers up in hotels and gave them $25 travel certificates, and the next morning the 101 made the trip to Harrisburg one more time. Yes, they were angry.

A window of opportunity is just that. Never assume everything will be okay if you miss the cutoff time. Sometimes, as here, it just makes life harder; other times, we never get a second chance. So it is with the opportunity for salvation.

“…I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”—2 Corinthians 6:2

 

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Talking to Strangers

Sometimes we get the idea that it is of no use to try to initiate a conversation about Jesus with someone we have just met. We have come to believe that we need to develop a long-term relationship with someone before having such a conversation. While developing relationships in order to share the gospel is something we should strive for, let’s not dismiss the value of a meaningful conversation with someone we have just met.

Most of the people in the crowd on the day of Pentecost had never met the apostles, but about 3,000 of them accepted the gospel message that was preached. The woman that Jesus encountered at the well in John 4 was receptive to the words of this person she had just met. The Philippian jailor believed and obeyed the instructions he received from Paul and Silas, even though he did not know them well.

So let’s not be afraid to initiate conversations about Jesus with people we have just met. This method of evangelism has been known to actually work!

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”—Colossians 4:5

 

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Evangelism Plan

There is a story told about a fellow who was involved in one of those get-rich-quick multi-level marketing programs. He was so excited about the concept that he tried to apply this business model to the evangelistic efforts in his church. He explained—“You don’t have to lead anyone to Christ personally. You just need to sign up ten people, who will in turn sign up ten people…”

Unfortunately, evangelism doesn’t work that way. Evangelism takes place when followers of Christ personally share the gospel message with others. It’s just as simple as that.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”—Acts 1:8

 

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Giving Them What They Want

A former business associate of President Donald Trump says that Trump was successful in business because of his strategy. Trump explains it this way–“I see what people want, and I give it to them.”

That may be a great philosophy to succeed in business, but it is a terrible strategy for church leaders. A leader’s job is not to give people what they want, but to give people what they need. And what they desperately need is the undiluted Word of God!

“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”—2 Timothy 4:2-4

Don’t give them what they want; give them what they need!

 

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Dangerous Snake!

Great-grandma kills venomous snake with a shovel

I just read about a 73-year-old woman who noticed a snake on the patio of her apartment. Investigating the serpent more closely, she saw the unmistakable hood that let her know that the snake she was dealing with was a deadly cobra. Mindful of the danger that this creature posed to the children in the apartment complex, she got a shovel and killed the snake.

What really intrigued me about this incident was that it did not take place in India. Nor did it happen in Australia. It was in Pennsylvania! That’s not where you would normally expect to find a cobra roaming free!

Officials noted that several poisonous snakes had previously been removed from a nearby apartment. There is speculation that this cobra may have escaped from its negligent owner.

Officials frown upon citizens taking these kind of situations into their own hands. It is much safer to call the proper authorities to come and deal with such dangerous problems. However, the woman is to be commended for acting in such a way as to protect innocent children from harm.

The Bible warns us that Satan is like a dangerous snake. He is found in unexpected places. He threatens people everywhere. The danger that the devil poses to humans is not to be taken lightly. He must be recognized for the harm he can inflict on unsuspecting people. He must be vigorously opposed. We must stop at nothing to battle against the devil and protect the people we love.

In Genesis 3:14-15 we read—“So the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, ‘Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’”

This is a prophecy about Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, he defeated the devil once and for all. Oh, we still have some battles to fight. We need to resist Satan’s attempts to lure us away from God. But the war is over. Jesus wins! Let’s stay on the winning team! In the meantime, watch out for that dangerous snake, the devil!

 

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The Top 10 Reasons It’s Great to Be a Church Usher

10. You get to wear a cool badge.

9. You don’t have to sit on a hard pew for the whole service.

8. You can slip out to the restroom if you need to, and nobody notices.

7. You get to tell people where to go.

6. You get to take money from people.

5. You don’t have to be as friendly as the greeters.

4. You get to eat a lot of breath mints.

3. If a screaming child bothers you, you can do something about it.

2. Preachers preach to the choir, not to the ushers.

1. You get to seat latecomers in the front row.

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”—Psalm 84:10

 

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