Messages of Note

                                       Alexander,_Paul

                                   Rev. P.Alexander

ESSENTIAL DISCIPLINE

Rev. Paul Alexander

Many of us have just returned from an excellent General Council and Unstoppable Church Conference.  A rich time was enjoyed by all.  As I reflected upon much of the ministry there seemed to be a consistent theme; it was that we live each day at a time.  We maximise the season of life that we find ourselves in and do not lose the importance of celebrating the moment.  We remembered dear friends who have gone to be with the Lord, and were reminded again and again to seize the opportunities that we have today.

This really all has to do with the concept of living disciplined lives.  There are many Scriptures such as Proverbs 4:13 and Proverbs 13:18 that remind us of the importance of establishing goals and priorities for our lives and then rigidly move towards fulfilling them.  In the next few lines I hope to help us develop a positive concept of the value of discipline,

Firstly, the whole purpose of discipline is that it is the one essential tool in achieving goals and positive life outcomes.  Whatever the goal, discipline is required to achieve it.  Low goals will result in low discipline, high goals, high discipline.

Secondly, discipline establishes the principle of delayed gratification.  Almost everything of worth in life is worth saving for, praying for and sacrificing for.  Budgeting, planning, investing, giving – these are all disciplines that result in that feeling of gratification because of sacrifice.

Then discipline involves the component of making decisions in advance.  Put another way, it is the supreme art of making principled decisions that then have a huge impact on the choices that we make.  Disciplined people live by well-established values and virtues.

Finally, real disciplined living creates the opportunity for celebration.   Discipline helps us gauge achievement more than anything else.

It is Biblical and wise to live each day within the framework of a discipled lifestyle.  I am glad that I have had the joy of reminding myself about this and trust that it will be a small source of help to you.

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Great Stories

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                                   Rev. E. Anderson

FIRST THINGS

When l was a kid growing up, I knew a man who loomed bigger than life to me. His name was Edwin E. Bailey, and he ran the astronomical observatory at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. I would go to the Franklin Institute most Saturdays just to spend time with him. His encyclopedic mind fascinated me. He seemed to know something about everything.

I was friends with Ed Bailey right up until he died several years ago. When he was in the hospital, after a serious stroke, I went to visit him. In an effort to make small talk, I told about all the places I had been to speak and how I had come to his bed- side right from the airport.

He heard me out and then said with a slightly sarcastic manner, “You go all over the world to people who, ten year from now, won’t remember your name. But you haven’t left time for the people who really care about you”. That simple sentence hit me hard and changed my life. I have decided not to let my time be used up by people to whom I make no difference, while I neglect those for whom I am irreplaceable.

A friend of mine recently got a call from the White House asking him to consult with the President of the United States. He said no because it was to be on a day he had promised to spend with his granddaughter at the seashore. The nation survived without him, the President didn’t miss him, and his granddaughter had some precious time with her “Pop-pop”. First things ought to be put first.

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A Time to Laugh

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                                Rev. E. Anderson

MISINTREPRETATIONS OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS

When my twin daughters were young, I taught them to say this prayer before going to bed. As I listened outside their door, I could hear them say, “Give us this steak and daily bread, and forgive us our mattresses.”

When I was a child, I learned this prayer as “Our Father, who are in Heaven, Howard be thy name.” I always thought that was God’s real name.

My son, who is in nursery school, said, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, how didja know my name?”

When my husband was 6 years old, he thought a certain prayer was “He suffered under a bunch of violets.” The real words were “under Pontius Pilate,” but at that age, he didn’t know better. To this day, we still snicker in church whenever that prayer is read.

I was a little girl when we sang a song in Sunday school about Noah. Part of the chorus was “And the rains came down, and the floods came up.” We lived next door to a couple of charming little girls who always sang this song while playing in their garden. Their words were, “And the rains came down, and the spuds came up.”

When my older brother was very young, he always walked up to the church altar with my mother when she took communion. On one occasion, he tugged at her arm and asked, “What does the priest say when he gives you the bread?”

Mom whispered something in his ear. Imagine his shock years later when he learned that the priest doesn’t say, “Be quiet until you get to your seat.”

Young husband: “Why can’t you make bread like my mother does?”

Young bride: “Why can’t you make dough like my father does?” 

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