Today's Word for Pastors...

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48

Today's Preaching Insight...

Some Things You Just Can't Do

For weeks now, our office voicemail has been "out of order." If you try to call my office when I'm not sitting at my desk, the phone will ring and ring until you get tired of listening. (We can't even offer you the chance to go on hold and listen to elevator music!)

Worse yet, at the time the system crashed, there were apparently a couple of messages waiting for me. I know this because every time I look at my phone, I encounter these mocking words: "Messages & Calls." They are there, I know they're there, but I can't get to them. And when a new voicemail system is finally installed, those existing messages will disappear into the ether, never to be heard from again.

I'm sure that whoever left those lurking messages has long since preached my funeral for being so ungracious as to ignore their call. And there's nothing I can do about it.

That's the way it is in life, isn't it? There are some things that, no matter how hard you try, you can't do. I can't flap my arms and fly to the moon (though I have tried on occasion). I can't outrun a thoroughbred. And I can't do enough to deserve heaven.

How thankful I am, then, that God loved me enough to send His Son to do for me what I can never do myself. And I'm also thankful that He didn't depend on voicemail to let me know about that good news!

Today's Extra...

Illustration: Integrity, Honesty

Before Tom Lehman had the chance to prove himself on the PGA Tour, he had to enter the 1990 qualifying school (Q-school, as the pros call it) for the PGA Tour. During the high-pressure, all-or-nothing event, Lehman called a penalty stroke on himself. A stiff breeze caused Lehman's ball to move slightly after he addressed it, and the rules are clear: if the ball moves, you are penalized one stroke. The result? Lehman missed qualifying for the cut for the tour by-you guessed it-a single stroke.

If the most important thing in Lehman's life was qualifying for the tour, if his values were based on success rather than faithfulness, he might not have called the penalty stroke. But his faith in Christ, coupled with the importance of living on the basis of real values, called him to honesty. His honesty resulted in waiting another year to qualify.

"If a breach of the rules had occurred and I didn't call it on myself, I couldn't look at myself in the mirror," explained Lehman. "You're only as good as your word. And your world wouldn't be worth much if you can't even be honest with yourself."

Lehman's loss at the Q-school sent him in 1991 to what's now known as the Nationwide Tour, where he set a tour record with seven tournament wins in a single season. The confidence he gained while waiting for his dream led to his subsequent PGA Tour victories. But that isn't what made his decision best. It was the fact that it reflected his values and resulted in faithfulness.

(from Rick Ezell's One Minute Uplift newsletter; http://www.rickezell.net/)

Preaching magazine is the premier resource for those who proclaim the Word. To begin your own subscription and get a free year of issues, go to http://magazine.preaching.com/subscribe/.