Today's Word for Pastors...
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Today's Preaching Insight...
With Great Power...
"With great power comes great responsibility" — Spiderman.
It's a pity that real-life super-hero, Samson, never read Spider-Man comics. He was given supernatural strength to be a leader. Instead, he became a loner who usually acted irresponsibly. He was a man of great physical strength whose gifts blinded him to even greater spiritual dangers. Only at the end, when he lost his two eyes, was he finally able to see.
The sixteenth chapter of Judges begins in the dead of night. Mighty Samson lies with a prostitute. His enemies lie in wait. I imagine their nervous chatter: "He'll have to wait till dawn to come out, won't he? The gate's locked, right? I mean, what'see gonna do — take hold of the doors and tear 'em loose?"
That's exactly what he did — a feat analogous to crawling on your belly underneath a pickup truck, getting up with it on your back, then carrying it up the hill!
But there's no mention of God's spirit coming on Samson in power. I get the feeling that if Samson had seen himself as God's agent in the past, if he'd ever been conscious of his mission, that untended fire had gone out. The guy's alone, on his own.
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Illustration: Comfort, Challenge
Too much comfort is dangerous. Literally.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, did an experiment some time ago that involved introducing an amoeba into a perfectly stress-free environment: ideal temperature, optimal concentration of moisture, constant food supply. The amoeba had an environment to which it had to make no adjustment whatsoever.
So you would guess this was one happy little amoeba. Whatever it is that gives amoebas ulcers and high blood pressure was gone.
Yet, oddly enough, it died.
Apparently there is something about all living creatures, even amoebas, that demands challenge. We require change, adaptation and challenge the way we require food and air. Comfort alone will kill us.
(John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat)
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