Today's Word for Pastors...
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
Today's Preaching Insight...
The Gospel According to Zacchaeus
In the book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning tells the story of a man who had sinned greatly. His church excommunicated him, and he was forbidden to ever come into the church again. He repented. He wanted healing, so he went to the Lord, as the story goes, and said, "Lord, they won't let me in because I am a sinner." To which the Lord replied, "What are you complaining about, they won't let me in either."
The point of the modern parable was a good one: Poor sinners never fare well in churches that refuse to admit that we are all sinners and in desperate need of a salvation that is out of this world.
The Jewish Rabbinical religion of the first century offered little to ragamuffins. A religion that requires tithes to support a leadership who spend time counting how many angels could fit on the head of a pin is not an attractive message to people laden with guilt, searching for meaning and purpose in life, and trying to come to terms with the holiness of God in light of their own humanity.
Then again, religion based on what we can do to get right with God, what regulations and rules we must keep to earn God's favor, never do. Such religion is still popular. You can gather a pretty big church if you just go around telling them they must do this and do that.
I heard of an evangelist that was speaking at a church in Minneapolis where several hundred people had gathered to hear the message. The evangelist preached that night on the Gospel of God's free gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. As the service ended, he heard the pastor of that church turn to his associate and say: "Humph, that airhead didn't say one thing about what we have to do to earn our salvation!"
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Illustration: Thankfulness, Providence
In his Church & Culture blog, James Emery White shares this story: The barracks where Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested. Click Here to read more.
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