Thoughts of the Week Page 4
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"A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures."

-- Irish Proverb

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One Sunday I was teaching my Junior Church kids, ages 7 through 12, the story of Abraham pleading with the Lord not to destroy Sodom and the righteous people living there.

I explained how Abraham started by asking that the city be spared if there were 50 righteous folks there, then 45, then 30, then 20.

I continued, "Finally, Abraham asked that Sodom be spared if there were only ten who loved the Lord there. And what do you think God said?"

When I paused for their answer, one little boy raised his hand and said, "I think God said, 'Don't push your luck!'" (1)

1. Lois B-Lowell, Michigan, ChristianityToday.com Connection-HTML [connection-html@lists.christianitytoday.com]

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"Men are not prisoners of fate," he said, "but only prisoners of their own minds."(1)

1. "Franklin D. Roosevelt-Try Something-March 12,"" Daily Celebrations, dailycelebrations.com.

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A sign on a narrow road starting an ascent in the Rocky Mountain National Park reads: "Never overestimate the width of this road."

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Turn It Over (1)

A parts manager for a small electronics shop, had occasion to order part No. 669 from the factory. But when he received it he noticed that someone had sent part No. 699 instead.

Furious at the factory's incompetence, he promptly sent the part back along with a letter giving them a piece of his mind.

Less than a week later, he received the same part back with a letter containing just four words: "TURN THE PART OVER."

1. Retrieved from cybersaltlists.org

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"It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching."

 --Saint Francis of Assisi (1181 - 1226) (1)

1. Results from Cole's Quotables

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"Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind."

Mary Ellen Chase (18871973)

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"Do you know how many extraordinary people were runaways, school dropouts, hated school, could not fit in? My source for this data (Victor Goertzel and Mildred George Goertzel, Cradles of Eminence [Boston: Little, Brown, 1962]) lists Pearl Buck, Isadora Duncan, Willa Cather, Sigrid Undset, Susan B. Anthony -- to name some of the women only. William Randolph Hearst, Paderewski, Brendan Behan, Stalin, William Osler, Sarah Bernhardt, and Orville Wright were all expelled from school .... School for teachers was once called normal school, and the goddess of school is the Roman, Minerva, the great normalizer, the great weaver into the social fabric. C zanne was rejected from the Beaux Arts academy. Grieg at age thirteen was completing his opus one (Variations on a German Melody) in a school classroom; his teacher shook him to put a stop to it. Proust's teachers thought his compositions disorganized. Zola got a zero in literature at his high school and also failed rhetoric. Eugene O'Neill, Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald all had failures in college. Edison says, I was always at the foot of the class. And Einstein was considered dull by his teachers. As for Picasso, my data says he was taken out of school at age ten because he stubbornly refused to do anything but paint."

From James Hillman and Michael Ventura, We've Had a Hundred Years of Therapy and the World's Getting Worse (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1992), 65. © 2002 Communication Resources, Inc. All rights reserved Used with permission.

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In one of the final scenes: Joan has been condemned as a witch She is being led to her execution Coming into the courtyard she sees the flames. Pulls back, afraid. A sympathetic soldier reaches down to the ground and picks up two sticks, ties them into a cross and hands them to her. She looks at them, studies them, bows her head in prayer, and then places them in her bosom next to her heart. Then she stands to her full stature, walks through the gate, and faces the leaping flames. (1)

1. George Bernard Shaw's play Saint Joan

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Oh, the Places You'll Go (1)

"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go."

1. Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go (New York: Random House, 1997)

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Let your desire be to see God; your fear, that you may lose God; your sorrow, that you are not having fruition of God; your joy, that God can bring you to eternity. Thus you will live in great peace. (1)

1. Teresa of Avila, © 2002 Communication Resources, Inc. Used with permission.

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Why 10 well-known people would never have taken Christianity seriously if they had been more like me (1):

Paul: "I didn't have time to be a Christian. I was too busy making tents."

Andrew: "I didn't think my family or friends would like me to get involved. And besides, I was too busy as a fisherman."

Peter: "At times the leader of it made me feel uncomfortable."

Martha: "I always had too many things to do around the house to take on any outside activities."

Matthew: "Well, you see, I had this important position as a tax collector which I didn't want to jeopardize."

John: "Religion? For an outdoor man like me?"

Mark: "I was too young. I thought I should wait until I was older to make such an important decision."

Luke: "I had so many sick people to look after that I couldn't spare the time. Besides, I was too scientific."

Thomas: "The whole idea of Christianity was preposterous! What thinking man would believe it?"

Jesus: "I had never had much of an education and had never seen much of the world. Besides, I was just a carpenter. I had nothing to give to Christianity and probably nothing to gain from it. It's just as well that I didn't get too involved in it."

1. Barbara Jurgensen, You're Out of Date, God? (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1971), 65.

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Here's an old story about a farmer talking to the Lord:

"If I had a million dollars, I'd give it to you, Lord. If I had a thousand acres, I'd turn them over to you, Lord."

The Lord said: ""Well, how about a pig?"

"Take it easy there, Lord; I've got a pig."

    Quoted in Homiletics, June 20, 1993, Higher Allegiances. Used with permission

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Two children were in the kitchen fighting over the one orange in the house. Each needed the orange for a recipe.

Mom came in, saw the problem, and with great apparent wisdom, cut that orange in two and handed one half to one, one half to the other.

No one was satisfied. If only someone had listened.

You see, one recipe called for the meat of the orange, the other called for the skin.

BOTH could have had what they wanted...if only anyone had bothered to listen.

Learn to listen to one another, to value one another's feelings and opinions, as a foretaste of heaven itself, where everyone will be heard perfectly.

Would that be something? We might not be rich. We might not have great crowds. We might not sing very well. We might not look very successful in the world's eyes. But if we could listen to one another, and love one another with our hearing, that would be something, wouldn't it? (1)

1. David Leininger, in a sermon, "The real force be with you," Quoted in Homiletics, June 3, 2001, How Did These Guys Get So Smart? Used with permission.

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In a creative writing class, a young teenage girl wrote this short poem: (1)

Don't criticize.

Don't analyze.

Don't even try to sympathize.

Don't say you understand because you don't.

Just hold me in your arms for once.

And love me as I am.

Like my mommy used to do

before the world grew up on me.

1. John Fischer, "In Praise of the Unrenowned," CCM Magazine, October 1997, 84. Quoted in Homiletics, May 3, 1998 The Importance of Being Earnest, Used with permission.

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The final homily given by Francois Marty, Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, at his retirement party, concluded with an anecdote. (1)

"Recently an old Aveyron friend was operated on for cataracts. A few weeks later he returned home. On his arrival at the house, he caught sight of his grandson. He saw him with new eyes. And he exclaimed: 'Oh, my little Jean, I never knew you were so beautiful!'

"Blessed be the Lord who, in the evening of my life, gives me a fleeting insight into man's heart as it really is. I never knew it was so beautiful!"

1. As quoted in Evelyn Woodward, Poets, Prophets and Pragmatists: A New Challenge to Religious Life (Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 1987), 105-6. Copyright Homiletics, July 18, 1993 Are You Growing Grass or Killing Weeds?, Used with permission

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God is always present, but we are not always present to God.

As one spiritual writer puts it, "God is no more present in a church than in a drinking bar, but generally we are more present to God in a church than in a bar." (1)

1. Ronald Rolheiser, The Shattered Lantern: Rediscovering The Felt Presence of God (New York: Crossroad, 1995), 19. Quoted in Homiletics, March 30, 1997, A Go-Ahead God, Used with permission.

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Look outward. Strain forward. Press on toward the goal. (1)

Realize that you have received the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ, and let that great gift free you from the shackles of self-consciousness and self-absorption. Jesus is with you, as Lord and friend, sharing not only his sufferings but also the power of his resurrection.

With Christ at your side, you can:

Love others as God has loved you, even the neighbors who are downright obnoxious.

Work hard-and even suffer-for things you believe in.

Build a community of support for the distressed and the crying, the ill and the dying.

Pray every day, as a way of communicating with your Creator.

Speak of your faith, not as a structured religion but as a saving relationship.

Invite a friend to worship, online or in person.

Recommend the values of Christ-and the value of knowing Christ-to others through your words and your actions.

Live in such a way that you honor your God, love your community and serve your world.

1. Quoted in Homiletics, October 3, 1999, Virtual Values, Used with permission.

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"There was a legend that a rich merchant scoured the Mediterranean world looking for the distinguished apostle Paul. He encountered Timothy, who arranged a visit with Paul, who was a prisoner in Rome.

"Entering the jail cell, the merchant found a rather old man, physically broken down. The merchant was amazed at Paul's personal peace and serenity...they talked for hours. The merchant left with Paul's blessing and prayer...Outside, the merchant inquired, 'What is the key to Paul's power? I have never seen anyone like him in my entire life.'

"'Haven't you figured it out?' asked Timothy. 'Paul is in love...Paul is in love with Jesus Christ.'

"The man looked even more confused. 'Is that all?'

"With a smile on his face, the young preacher answered, 'Ah, but that is everything."'

O. S. Hawkins, Revive Us Again (Nashville Broadman Press, 1990),107. Quoted in Homiletics, June 20, 1993, Higher Allegiances

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There are four main bones in every organization. (1)

The wish-bones: Wishing somebody would do something about the problem.

The jaw-bones: Doing all the talking but very little else.

The knuckle-bones: Those who knock everything.

The back-bones: Those who carry the brunt of the load and do most of the work.

The question is?

1. Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, 16-17. Quoted in Homiletics, May 27, 2001, Voyager Church, Used with permission

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