Archives for : April2011

Familiar with the lyrebird bird?

A parrot is able to imitate words and phrases, but the Lyrebird is able to mimic virtually any sound it hears.  These sounds include things like chainsaws, car engines, car alarms, fire alarms, rifle shots, a camera shutter, mill whistles, barking dogs, explosions, musical instruments, etc. Check out this amazing creature here:  http://bit.ly/bnEsgp

A.B. Simpson, The Christ in the Bible Commentary

Has anyone used “The Christ in the Bible Commentary by A.B. Simpson?  If so, would you recommend this commentary and what would say are the strengths and weaknesses of this material?  Have you used The Christ in the Bible Commentary for sermon material or a VBS program?

A Johnny Cash Bible?!

Yes, there is a Bible associated with Johnny Cash.  This Bible is just the New Testament and it is in an audio format.

If you love God, the Bible, and long to hear the voice of Johnny Cash, the “Johnny Cash Bible” might be just the thing for you.

The following summary, plus other details not included in this post, may be found at:  http://countrymusic.about.com/cs/johnnycash/a/bljcashbible.htm.

“Cash reads the New Testament with devout humility, with no embellishment. He speaks clearly and plainly, with the odd trace of his Arkansas accent giving the whole a rich, comfortable feeling (with the odd pronunciation of “Pontius” and the very Southern “nekkid”), which draws the listener in, as though we’re right there with him, perhaps sitting in a warm cabin on a winter night listening gathered around the rocking chair while being read to.”

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A very useful church tool for any size congregation

http://www.caringbridge.org is a web resource that may be useful to your family or fellow Christians where you worship.

As stated on this site’s home page:  “CaringBridge provides free websites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends, making each health journey easier. CaringBridge is powered by generous donors.

CaringBridge websites offer a personal and private space to communicate and show support, saving time and emotional energy when health matters most. The websites are easy to create and use. Authors add health updates and photos to share their story while visitors leave messages of love, hope and compassion in the guestbook.”

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This story about Jesus is probably not in your Bible

The following story is from “I Infancy,” one of the Apocryphal Gospels.  The Apocryphal Gospels make several false claims about the Lord and here is a prime example of what they say:

1. And Joseph, wherever he went in the city, took the Lord Jesus with him where he was sent for to work to make gates, or milk-pails, or sieves, or boxes; the Lord Jesus was with him wherever he went.  2.  And as often as Joseph had anything in his work to make longer or shorter, or wider, or narrower, the Lord Jesus would stretch his hands towards it.  3.  And presently it became as Joseph would have it.  4.  So that he had no need to finish anything with his own hands, for he was not very skillful at his carpenter’s trade.  5.  On a certain time the King of Jerusalem sent for him and said, I would have you make me a throne of the same dimensions with that place in which I commonly sit.  6.  Joseph obeyed and without delay began the work, and continued two years in the king’s palace before he finished it.  7.  And when he came to fix it in its place, he found it lacked two spans on each side of the appointed measure.  8.  Which, when the king saw, he was very angry with Joseph; 9.  And Joseph, afraid of the king’s anger, went to bed without his supper, not taking anything to eat.  10.  Then the Lord Jesus asked him what he was afraid of.  11.  Joseph replied, Because I have lost my labor in the work which I have been about these two years.  12.  Jesus said to him, Fear not, neither be cast down; 13.  Lay hold on one side of the throne, as I will the other, and we will bring it to its exact dimensions.  14.  And when Joseph had done as the Lord Jesus said, and each of them had with strength drawn his side, the throne obeyed, and was brought to the proper dimensions of the place:  15.  Which miracle when they who stood by saw, they were astonished, praised God.

www.walkthru.org for preachers and Bible teachers

Have you seen or used the “book by book” PowerPoint presentation from www.walkthru.org?  This program provides an interesting graphic for every book of the Bible with a short statement or key word that sums up each book of the Bible

Of all the teaching tools I have seen over the years, this is among the very best.  Others who were in the assembly where I saw this material presented were just as impressed.  In fact, the speaker who used this material was deluged with requests on where this information could be purchased.

Take a moment to vote in this www.walkthru.org review:

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2 Cor. 1:3-4

     The following quote comes from Kim Sherer:
 
     “One night while my young son, Ryan, was sleeping, a storm began brewing outside.  After a loud clap of thunder, I heard him wake up so I headed toward his room to comfort him.  He asked me to stay with him until he fell asleep.  As I lay there I realized he hadn’t asked me to make the storm go away, but to stay with him.  How many times, I wondered, have I asked God to take away the storms of life, when instead I need to ask him to stay with me and help me weather them more peacefully?”
 
     What a beautiful thought!
 
     “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-42 Corinthians 1:3-4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

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     Father, we do indeed pray for your comforting presence in the storms of our lives.  As much as we might desire for the storms to go away, it is much important to us that you remain with us and see us through the storms.  Thank you for your assurance that you will do that for us.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Alan Smith

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2 Cor. 1:3-42 Cor. 1:3-4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

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Sunday's A Comin'

Tony Campolo tells the story of a black Baptist preacher in the inner city of Philadelphia who preached a sermon Tony says he’ll never forget. Tony preached first. He was “hot,” so “hot” he says, that he even stopped and listened to himself. He sat down and said to his minister: “Now see if you can top that one!”

“Son,” said the black evangelist, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” For an hour and a half the preacher repeated these words over and over again: “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a comin’.”

“I’ve never heard anything like it,” Tony said. “He just kept saying it. The congregation was spellbound by the power of it.”

“It’s Friday. Mary, Jesus’ mother is crying her eyes out. That’s her son up there on the cross. He’s dying the agonizing death of crucifixion as a criminal. But it’s only Friday,” the preacher said. “Sunday’s a comin’.

“The apostles were really down and out. Jesus, their leader, was being killed by evil men. But it was only Friday. Sunday is a comin’.

“The Devil thought he had won. ‘You thought you could outwit me,’ he said, ‘but I’ve got you now.’ But it was only Friday. Sunday is a comin’.”

“He went on like that for 30 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour. Each time he said, ‘It’s Friday,’ the crowd began to respond, ‘but Sunday’s comin’. An hour and 15 minutes.

“It’s Friday and evil has triumphed over good. Jesus is dying up there on the cross. The world is turned upside down. This shouldn’t happen. But it’s only Friday. Sunday’s a comin’.

“It’s Friday. But Sunday is comin’. Mary Magdalene was out of her mind with grief. Her Lord was being killed. Jesus had turned her life from sin to grace. Now he was dead. But it’s only Friday. Sunday is a comin’.”

The place was rocking. For an hour and a half. “Friday! But Sunday is a comin’. Friday. But Sunday is a comin’.

“The sisters and the brothers are suffering. It just isn’t fair…all they have to go through, but it’s only Friday. Sunday is comin’.”

“I was exhausted,” Tony said. “It was the best sermon I’ve ever heard. The old preacher was saying it and the people were with him. ‘It’s Friday, but Sunday is a comin’. It was powerful,” Tony said. “It was personal.”

Ronald J. Lavin, I Am the Resurrection and the Life

An 8 cow wife

Johnny lingo’s 8-cow wife by Patricia McGerr

 When I sailed to Kiniwata, an island in the Pacific, I took along a notebook.  After I got back it was filled with descriptions of flora and fauna, native customs and costume.  But the only note that still interests me is the one that says:  “Johnny Lingo gave eight cows to Sarita’s father.”  And I don’t need to have it in writing.  I’m reminded of it every time I see a woman belittling her husband or a wife withering under her husband’s scorn.  I want to say to them, “You should know why Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for his wife.”

 Johnny Lingo wasn’t exactly his name.  But that’s what Shenkin, the manager of the guest house on Kiniwata, called him.  Shenkin was from Chicago and had a habit of Americanizing the names of the islanders.  But Johnny was mentioned by many people in many connections.  If I wanted to spend a few days on the neighboring island of Nurabandi, Johnny Lingo would put me up.  If I wanted to fish he could show me where the biting was best.  If it was pearls I sought, he would bring the best buys. The people of Kiniwata all spoke highly of Johnny Lingo.  Yet when they spoke they smiled, and the smiles were slightly mocking.

 “Get Johnny Lingo to help you find what you want and let him do the bargaining,” advised Shenkin.  “Johnny knows how to make a deal.”  “Johnny Lingo!  A boy seated nearby hooted the name and rocked with laughter.  “What goes on?” I demanded.  “Everybody tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then breaks up.  Let me in on the joke.”  “Oh, the people like to laugh,” Shenkin said, shruggingly.  “Johnny’s the brightest, the strongest young man in the islands, and for his age, the richest.”  “But if he’s all you say, what is there to laugh about?”  “Only one thing . Five months ago, at fall festival, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife.  He paid her father eight cows!

I knew enough about island customs to be impressed.  Two or three cows would buy a fair-to-middling wife, four or five a highly satisfactory one.  “Good Lord!” I said, “Eight cows!  She must have beauty that takes your breath away.”  “She’s not ugly,” he conceded, and smiled a little.  “But the kindest could only call Sarita plain.  Sam Karoo, her father, was afraid she’d be left on his hands.”  “But then he got eight cows for her?  Isn’t that extraordinary?”  “Never been paid before.”  “Yet you call Johnny’s wife plain?”  “I said it would be kindness to call her plain.  She was skinny.  She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked.  She was scared of her own shadow.”  “Well,” I said, “I guess there’s just no accounting for love.”  “True enough,” agreed the man.  “And that’s why the villagers grin when they talk about Johnny.  They get special satisfaction from the fact that the sharpest trader in the islands was bested by dull old Sam Karoo.”  “But how?” “No one knows and everyone wonders.  All the cousins were urging Sam to ask for three cows and hold out for two until he was sure Johnny’d pay only one. Then Johnny came to Sam Karoo and said, ‘Father of Sarita, I offer eight cows for your daughter.’”  “Eight cows,” I murmured.  “I’d like to meet this Johnny Lingo.”  “And I wanted fish.  I wanted pearls.  So the next afternoon I beached my boat at Nurabandi.  And I noticed as I asked directions to Johnny’s house that his name brought no sly smile to the lips of his fellow Nurabandians.  And when I met the slim, serious young man, when he welcomed me with grace to his home, I was glad that from his own people he had respect unmingled with mockery.  We sat in his house and talked.  Then he asked, “You come here from Kiniwata?”  “Yes.”  “They speak of me on that island?”  “They say there’s nothing I might want they you can’t help me get.”  He smiled gently.  “My wife is from Kiniwata.”  “Yes, I know.”  “They speak of her?”  “A little.”  “What do they say?”  “Why, just…”  The question caught me off balance.  “They told me you were married at festival time.”  “Nothing more?”  The curve of his eyebrows told me he knew there had to be more.  They also say the marriage settlement was eight cows.”  I paused.  “They wonder why.”  “They ask that?”  His eyes lightened with pleasure.  “Everyone in Kiniwata knows about the eight cows?”  I nodded.  “And in Nurabandi everyone knows it too.”  His chest expanded with satisfaction.  “Always and forever, when they speak of marriage settlements, it will be remembered that Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for Sarita.”  So that’s the answer, I thought:  vanity.

 And then I saw her.  I watched her enter the room to place flowers on the table.  She stood still a moment to smile at the young man beside me.  Then she went swiftly out again.  She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.  The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right.  I turned back to Johnny Lingo and found him looking at me.  “You admire her?”  he murmured.  “She…she’s glorious.  But she’s not Sarita from Kiniwata,” I said.

 “There’s only one Sarita.  Perhaps she does not look the way they say she looked in Kiniwata.”  “She doesn’t.  I heard she was homely.  They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo.”  “You think eight cows were too many?”  A smile slid over his lips.  “No.  But how can she be so different?”  “Do you ever think,” he asked, “what it must mean to a woman to know that her husband has settled on the lowest price for which she can be bought?  And then later, when the women talk, they boast of what their husbands paid for them.  One says four cows, another maybe six.  How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one or two?”  This could not happen to my Sarita.”  “Then you did this just to make your wife happy?”  “I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes.  But I wanted more than that.  You say she is different.  This is true.  Many things can change a woman.  Things that happen inside, things that happen outside.  But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself.  In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing.  Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands.”  “Then you wanted -” “I wanted to marry Sarita.  I loved her and no other woman.”  “But —” I was close to understanding.  “But,” he finished softly, “I wanted an eight-cow wife.”

The new *power point* for preachers?

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Would you have stayed home?

Throughout the years I have heard many wonderful sermons, most of which I have forgotten. But one sermon I saw has remained in my heart until this day. It happened on a Sunday morning when I was on my way to one of the two small congregations in Munich, Germany on a cold, rainy day in November. When I got out of bed I looked through the window which was covered with ice ferns. New deep snow had fallen during the night, covering the streets of the city. I tried to decide whether I should go to worship or stay at home and read my Bible. I knew the congregation would miss me, for I was the only song leader they had. On the other hand, I would have to walk a half a block to catch the bus to the building. I finally decided to go, but only because I was to lead the singing. While I was riding the bus I noticed two people trying hard to make their path through the snow. I recognized the people and knew where they were going. They were brother and sister Trollman, a faithful couple who attended every service. Brother Trollman was a man in his 80′s who had lost his eyesight. His only guidance was his 75-year old wife, who was lame in one foot. They lived in a little two-room apartment and received a little support from the government. Because they could not afford to ride the bus to the services, which were about three miles away, they walked to the meeting every Lord’s Day. Here I was, sitting in a warm bus, unwilling to go to worship, forced by my duty as a song leader, and there, outside in the cold weather, were two old people driven by their love for the Lord. I was not able to do anything but blush. I was ashamed of myself and the weak faith and love I had proven for my Lord. I felt like an evil-doer in court being judged by his own conscience. This old couple, without their knowledge and without one word, taught me a greater lesson than could ever have been said in words.

– Author Unknown (An American Soldier)

Are your teens using www.teenchatmagazine.com?

http://www.teenchatmagazine.com/ is a new web site for Christian teens.  You can help promote this web site on your church web site, your blog, or mention it in your local church bulletin.