The Best Sermons are Lived

“Day by day the Lord observes the good deeds done by godly men, and gives them eternal rewards”— Psalm 37:18 (TLB).

302f93_c11a0453390744bd967ffd77cfaa7b3a.jpg_srb_p_675_451_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srbhttp://dcimin.org

Barefooted and clad in a sheet, the man shuffled across the street. With head down, his demeanor suggested someone who was lost. This photo of humanity had been captured by a Tulsa World photographer and was plastered across the top inside page of a recent Sunday newspaper.

After snapping the photo, the curious photographer wanted to know the rest of the story. Why was this man walking across the street with a sheet around his shoulders? Upon approaching him, the photographer discovered the man had just been released from a criminal justice center early that morning, wearing nothing but a pair of shorts.

There are no limits to God’s amazing grace.

The man had called an ambulance in an attempt to get a night’s hospital stay. In addition to the ambulance, the police showed up. According to the man’s story, authorities then arrived and gave him a sheet to protect him from the cold until he could eat breakfast at a local soup kitchen and food pantry when it opened.

When the photographer first spotted the sheet-clad man, he said, “(It was) incredible for me because of the religious implications, but it was unusual to see a barefoot man walking down the street wrapped in a sheet.”

Are you pursuing the American Dream or Jesus?

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’”—Matthew 16:24 (NIV).

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Area residents from diverse backgrounds were recently interviewed by a large metropolitan newspaper. They were asked how they felt about the American Dream, how had it changed over the past decades and how hard is it to achieve?

A 68-year-old pastor who was interviewed said, “One of the things that has changed dramatically since the time I was a kid is the place of God and religion in the typical family life. I would suspect that there’s not as much practice of religion…And when you take God out of the picture and religious practice—which supports belief in God—I think the family also suffers.”

The American Dream can very quickly become twisted into a self-serving vision and dominate our lives.”

The term, “American Dream,” was coined by author James Truslow Adams in 1931. Adams’ American Dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

Writing in “Relevant” magazine, Seth Silvers asked this question: Can you pursue the American Dream and follow Jesus at the same time?

Are You Modeling Compassion?

“‘Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’  He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise’”—Luke 10:36-37(ESV).

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In the parable of “The Good Samaritan,” a lawyer puts Jesus to the test, asking Him, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus replies, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

The lawyer replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbors as yourself.”

Jesus then says, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” Seeking to justify himself, the lawyer asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus continues the conversation with the parable of the Samaritan, the only one who stops to help a man who is attacked by robbers and left half dead on the side of the road. The victim had already been ignored by a priest and a Levite. But, the Samaritan had compassion, tended to the man’s wounds and took him to an inn, where he paid the innkeeper and promised to return and pay for any difference for the man’s stay.

When the man’s food arrived, the 5-year-old insisted on praying over it with him.

In the dictionary, compassion means “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” Synonyms for compassion include grace, mercy and kindness. Don’t those words describe God’s goodness to us?

5-Year-Old Begs His Mother to Feed a Homeless Man

Then he prays for him

To my readers: Sometimes, the media overlooks the positive news in our world. I found this article in a news feed on twitter and wanted to share this heartwarming story with you.

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by John Callahan

Seeing a homeless man inside of a Waffle House in Alabama caused one little boy to respond with kindness.

After seeing that this man had no food, this boy quickly rushes over to his mother and asks if she can buy him a meal. The homeless man is in shock and it doesn’t end there. Josiah Duncan goes over to the man and begins to pray, and after that, there wasn’t a dry eye in the building.

This young boy has a heart of gold. His mother, Ava Faulk, was in complete shock and felt so blessed when he prayed for the man.

“He came in and sat down, and nobody really waited on him,” Faulk told a local radio station. “So Josiah jumped up and asked him if he needed a menu because you can’t order without one.”

The photo is now being shown all over the world to promote kindness, and it sure does touch your heart when you look at it.

“Watching my son touch the 11 people in that Waffle House tonight will be forever one of the greatest accomplishments as a parent I’ll ever get to witness,” Faulk said.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/buzzvine/a-5-year-old-begs-his-mother-to-feed-a-homeless-man-then-he-prays-for-him-139299/#fgCekbTyOsHMzy4X.99

Woman pens her own obituary: “I was born; I blinked; and it was over”

emily-cropped-internalA 69-year-old Florida grandmother knew she didn’t have long to live when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February. So, she decided to write her own obituary–her farewell to the world in her own words. Emily Phillips’ self-penned obituary has gone viral on the Internet since she passed away last week, and according to The Florida Times-Union, it has garnered more than 5,100 likes as of last Tuesday.

In the obituary opening, Phillips wrote, “It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day, but that’s simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience.”

A longtime public school teacher who loved in Orange Park, Florida, Phillips recounts her journey through life, beginning with her elementary years in North Carolina. She talks about here memories of her father calling square dances, her 4-H club skits in fifth grade, being a beauty pageant competitor and leading her high school band down King Street in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade as a head majorette.

“I was born; I blinked; and it was over”

Shifting between humorous and sentimental, Phillips’ obituary not only reflects on those little moments of her life, but she also tries to answer some of life’s more existential questions.

“The grandmother of five grandchildren, Phillips began writing the obituary soon after she was diagnosed with the terminal illness in February, according to her daughter, Bonnie Upright. “At first,” Upright says, “the family was resistant, but listened when she insisted they hear her read it.”

Uptight added, “We laughed where we were supposed to laugh, cried where we were supposed to cry, and looking back at it now … it really was one of the most special moments in my entire life,”  adding that the warm response to the obituary has helped soothe the family’s heartbreak.

“Being able to smile through the tears on my face has been an incredible experience, and an incredible gift that mom left us,” she said.

Phillips penned the following as she wrapped up her self-written obit:

 

God bless this Oklahoma police officer

“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them”–Matthew 7:12 (MSG).

With all of the negative attention that law enforcement officers across our country receive, I was touched by this article from an Oklahoma newspaper. Officer Burden truly is a hero.

This is a snippet from the Tulsa World about a Broken Arrow police officer who went above and beyond the call of duty. police officer

God bless Broken Arrow Police Officer Chad Burden. Burden was called to a Wal-Mart recently to investigate a shoplifting complaint, but when he investigated he found that the woman being detained had been caught trying to take a $17 coat for her 3-year-old daughter (because she was short the amount needed to purchase the coat). The high that day was 32 degrees.

Wal-Mart declined to prosecute, and Burden bought the coat for the little girl. He also saw to it that the mother got a pair of shoelaces that she needed so she wouldn’t have to wear sandals in January.

Says the Tulsa World, “It’s a touching story, and one that reminds us the police officers are public servants first and law enforcement second.

 

Thank you Officer Burden for your example.

 

 

What does it mean to be a Successful Christian?

Success

“Then He said to all, ‘Anyone who wants to follow me must put aside his own desires and conveniences and carry his cross with him every day and keep close to me!’”—Luke 9:23(TLB).

In a recent newspaper article, Sean Kouplen, the CEO of a Tulsa-based bank, listed five traits to find balance in life. Speaking from a business viewpoint, he mentioned the characteristics as common ones among those who he defined as successful in life. As I read the list, I realized they also apply to our Christian life.

1.    They have a clear vision of who they want to be.

As Christians, our vision should be striving to be more Christ-like. The banker added, “No matter what their goal, these   people aggressively pursue it with a single-minded focus. They aren’t reactive and they don’t just drift through life.” As Christians, we must be intentional about our spiritual growth. We can’t drift through life, expecting to grow in the fruits of the spirit without spending time with God and reading and studying His Word each day.

2.   They give their best effort at everything they do.

As Christians, our goal should be to do our best each day, no matter the circumstances or the task. According to Kouplen, “Whatever they are involved in, they pursue it with passion and productivity.” Wherever we are asked to serve, we should do it as Colossians 3:23 says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

3.   They focus more on others than themselves.

As Christians, we should be focused on others’ needs. Successful business people enjoy helping others be successful, the CEO said. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Remember the Good Samaritan?