Today's Word for Pastors...
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Today's Preaching Insight...
Something in Jesus did not love a wall. That is why He passed through Samaria.
On a hot afternoon in that desert region, Jesus found a shady spot and sank wearily to the ground beside a well to wait while the disciples went for food. A little later, a woman came to draw water. Jesus asked her for a drink.
The woman was utterly flabbergasted and exclaimed, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can You ask me for a drink?"
This snatch of conversation was the first warning tremor of the earthquake that would bring down walls dividing people around the world. Today Christianity is the most diverse religion in the world — racially, culturally and geographically. I sometimes chuckle when I hear in the media that the latest trend is "globalism." Friends, globalism was invented 2000 years ago, when this man, Jesus, told His disciples, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel." With other major religions, you can point to a map of the world and say, "You will find most Hindus concentrated in this region" or "the majority of Muslims are in these countries . . ." Don't even try that with Christianity.
Today 60 % of all Christians inhabit regions equaling two-thirds of the world's area: Asia, Africa and Latin America. We find more Christians attending worship in China than in all of Western Europe. Today in Scotland, less than ten percent of Christians attend church, while in the Philippines this morning, you will find seventy percent of that nation's Christians in the pews. In Nigeria alone, there are seven times as many Anglicans as there are Episcopalians in the United States. Korea now has four times as many Presbyterians as we have in this country. Oh yes, this is truly "World Communion Sunday."
Why? Because Jesus passed through Samaria.
Jesus was friendly as He passed through that hostile territory. He let down His own walls. He struck up a conversation with a stranger. Some of you have told me you grew up in small Southern towns. You remember riding down small-town roads with your parents as a child. Whenever another car drove by, your father would always wave. Can you imagine doing that here in Atlanta? You might be arrested for bizarre behavior. As your father walked on the street in that small Southern town, he considered it simple good manners to tip his hat to each woman he encountered (assuming she was a lady). Those gracious courtesies are a thing of the past. Today it seems we are always surrounded by people we wish weren't there, people who take our parking spot or who make the lines longer at the supermarket checkout stand. So today friendliness is no longer our supreme public virtue. Nowadays, we value physical attractiveness instead. We spend billions simply to appear attractive. Dallas Willard says we aren't even aiming for Andy Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame — these days, we're willing to settle for 15 seconds of fame, content to turn a few heads when we walk into a room. We aren't looking for authentic relationships, or even casual friendship, just a split-second response to our appearance from a stranger. Willard says that on the scale of social interaction, attractiveness is at the bottom of the barrel.
But Jesus never met a stranger.
(To read the entire article Cracks in the Wall by Victor D. Pentz at Preaching.com, click here)
Isn't it strange how a 20 dollar bill seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping?
Isn't it strange how two hours seem so long when you're at church, and so short when you're watching a good movie?
Isn't it strange that you can't find a word to say when you're praying but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend?
Isn't it strange how difficult and boring you think it is to read one chapter of the Bible but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel?
Isn't it strange how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts or games but they do whatever is possible to sit at the last row in church?
Isn't it strange how we need to know about an event for church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda but we can adjust it for other events at the last minute?
Isn't it strange how difficult it is to learn things about God to share with others but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?
Isn't it strange how everyone wants a place in heaven but they don't want to believe, do or say anything to get there?
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