He Still Moves Stones



Revival



Prayer (part 3)



Prayer (Part 2)



Prayer (Part 1)

A young man stepped up to the checkout-counter in a small drugstore with three boxes of chocolate: small, medium, and large. The pharmacist asked him what his plans were for the three boxes, and the young man replied, “Well, I am going over to my new girlfriend’s house for dinner tonight. Afterward, I plan to kiss her goodnight and give her one of the boxes of chocolate. If she doesn’t let me kiss her, I’ll give her the small box. If she lets me kiss her on the cheek, then I’ll give her the medium box. But if she really lets me lay one on her, I’ll give her the large box.” So the eager young fellow made his purchase and left. That evening he arrived at his new girlfriend’s house where he met her parents and sat down for dinner. Before the meal started he asked if he could say grace. Then he began to prayer this elaborate earnest prayer. He rattled on about forgiveness, grace and mercy for almost five minutes. When he finally said amen, his girlfriend leaned in and said, “Wow. You never told me you were such a religious person.” Nervously, he whispered back, “And you never told me your dad was the pharmacist!”

We can all pray when we really need to, can’t we!?


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God’s Not Grey

If yesterday was like Valentine’s Days of the past, over $1 billion was spent on chocolate, 180 million cards were exchanged, and 196 million roses were sold! Unless you’re Charlie Brown, you’ve probably given and received some special valentines in your life. You’ve probably had some things wrapped in red foil or a heart-shaped box. Or maybe you’ve stood at a florist’s counter trying to decide on a “just right” arrangement of roses. Even a Snickers looks better if it’s got a red ribbon around it. Valentine’s Day offers us the opportunity to say “I love you” in elegant, ornamental ways.

Sadly, this Valentine’s Day also marked a new low in our cultural comprehension of love. By now you’ve heard of the book or the movie, 50 Shades of Grey. There is no denying that the books and movie are having a huge impact on our culture. Book sales passed $100 million in November. One of the fastest selling series of all times, it passed The Da Vinci Code and is swiftly catching up to books series like Harry Potter and Twilight. The movie opened yesterday to sold-out audiences. But it’s not really a Valentine’s Day movie. It’s not simply a love story. It’s not sweet or romantic. The story centers on a complex and creepy sexual relationship. Its messages are disturbing and even degrading, especially to women.


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Encountering Jesus (Part 6)

Two thousand years ago, Jesus entered our world and changed everything.

Jesus is the most famous person in all of history. More songs have been sung to him, artwork created of him, and books written about him than anyone who has ever lived. In fact, Jesus looms so large over human history that we actually measure time by him! H.G. Wells, who is famous for his fiction novels like The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, once said, “I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure [of all time].”

But more important than Jesus’s impact on history is his impact on humanity. Everywhere Jesus goes, he leaves changed lives in his tracks. Over the past five weeks, we’ve examined the stories of five people whose lives dramatically changed after an encounter with Jesus. A theologian who grew weary of his religion, a five-time divorcee looking for love in all the wrong places, a blind man who longed to see, a little tax collector who was more than a little curious about Christ, and a woman caught in the act of adultery—their lives were touched and forever changed by an encounter with Jesus.


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Encountering Jesus (Part 5)

Over the last few weeks, we’ve discovered the stories of four changed lives! They include a scholar, a five-time divorcée, a couple of blind men, and a wee-little tax-collector from Jericho. Each of them was burdened with baggage—the luggage of life. A suitcase of discontentment. A backpack full of shame and regret. A duffel bag overflowing with weariness and rejection. A satchel of greed and ill-gotten gain. Yet, each of them laid their luggage down at the feet of Jesus. Their lives were changed by an encounter with Christ.


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Encountering Jesus (Part 4)

How many of you remember the story of Zacchaeus? Of course, you remember. Anyone who hears his story never forgets. Zacchaeus is one of those memorable Bible characters we learn about in Sunday School. In fact, to this day, every time I hear his name I immediately hear that children’s song playing in the back of my mind.

 

Zacchaeus was a wee little man,

A wee little man was he.

He climbed up in a Sycamore tree

For the Lord he wanted to see.

 

Zacchaeus has the lamentable fortune of being remembered primarily because of his less-than-impressive stature—he was a “wee little man.” That’s just about all most of us remember about him so we tend to sell him short, so to speak.


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Encountering Jesus (Part 3)

The past few weeks, we’ve been talking about change. Change doesn’t always come easy for us. As the old saying goes, “A leopard can’t change his spots.” But I disagree. Where did we get the idea that we can’t change? From whence come statements like “It’s just my nature to worry,” or “I’ll always be pessimistic. I’m just that way,” or “I have a bad temper. I can’t help it. I’m a red-head.” Would we make similar statements about our bodies?  “It’s just in my nature to have a broken leg. There’s nothing I can do about it.” Of course, not. If our bodies malfunction, we seek help. Can’t do the same with our hearts? God wants to transform each of us in some pretty dramatic ways. He wants us to have a heart like his. But we can’t transplant our own hearts any more than we can remove our own appendix. New Year’s resolutions, willpower, and best intentions are not enough. What we need is an encounter with Jesus!

I heard a humorous testimony this week. A recent convert was asked to share her testimony in church about the difference accepting Jesus had made in her life. She nervously walked up to the pulpit and declared, “I’m so glad I got saved. Jesus has really turned my heart around. For example, I have an uncle I used to hate so much I vowed I’d never go to his funeral. But then I met Jesus, and now I just can’t wait to go to his funeral!”


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