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ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson
IS THE CHURCH IMPORTANT?

The Christian Communications Laboratory relates the story of a small Midwestern weekly paper which ran a story saying, “We are pleased to announce that the cyclone which blew away the Methodist church last did no real damage to the town.” Kind of scary! Perhaps our failure today not that we kill the King’s Son or practice violence and bloodshed so much as being irrelevant and without impact.

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Rev. E. Anderson
THE CHRIST OF BETHLEHEM

Some tell us that Jesus’ earthly life was not very important. They say he wrote no books, composed no songs, drew no pictures, carved no statues, massed no fortune, commanded no army, ruled no nation. And yet . . . He who never wrote a line has been made the hero of unnumbered volumes. He who never wrote a song has put music into the hearts of nameless multitudes. He who never established an institution is the foundation of the Church that bears his name. He who refused the kingdoms of this world has become the Lord of millions. Yes, He whose shameful death scarcely produced a ripple on the pool of history in his day has become a mighty current in the vast ocean of the centuries since He died. MACK STOKES

THE REAL CHRIST

The people who hanged Christ never accused Him of being a bore; on the contrary, they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with the atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified Him “meek and mild,” and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies. To those who knew Him, however, He in no way suggested a milk-and-water person; they rejected to Him as a dangerous firebrand. True, He was tender to the fortunate, patient with honest inquirers, and humble before heaven; but: insulted respectable clergymen by calling them hypocrites; He referred to king Herod as “that fox”;

He went to parties in disreputable company and was looked upon as a “gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners”; He insulted indignant tradesmen and threw them and their belongings out of the Temple, . . . He showed no proper deference wealth or social position; when confronted with neat dialectical traps, He played a paradoxical humour that affronted serious-minded people, and He resorted by asking disagreeable questions that could not be answered by rule thumb . . . But He had a “daily beauty in his life that made us ugly,” and officialdom felt that the established order of things would be more secure without Him. So they did away with God in the name of peace and quietness. DOROTHY SAYERS

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Rev. E. Anderson
THOUGH I DRIVE THROUGH THE VALLEY

I was 1972 and we had a Plymouth station wagon and a Chevrolet Malibu Whenever I would ask my parents to help me drive, they each had a reply. he would say, “Go ask your mother,” and Mother would say, “Let’s go.”

For months she would sit beside me as I practiced on the back roads of South Jersey. Sometimes she would drive and tell me what she was doing, at other times she would talk me through a particular operation of the car. I remember the first time I drove at night. We were returning from visiting my mom’s brother and had to get on the Walt Whitman Bridge from an access ramp. It was nine o’clock at night, pitch dark, pouring rain. As I sat waiting to enter the six-lane highway, with all the headlights, taillights, rain, and noise, I was thoroughly confused. All my training, but mostly youthful pride kept me from asking my mother to take the wheel.

I can remember pressing the accelerator, hearing the motor respond, hearing someone yell, “YEEEEHAHHHH,” and suddenly finding ourselves following along in traffic with everyone else over the bridge.

Certain things remain a mystery, like how we got onto the lane as confused as I was, and which of us screamed, but certain things are not a mystery, like reassuring it is to have your teacher go through things with you. Our temptation and our trials are not foreign to Jesus, nor are they ours alone to The Teacher is with us.   Fred Gr0sse

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Rev. E. Anderson

TRUE CONVERSION

Paul’s testimony is repeated over and over again as persons respond in faith to God’s gift of Christ, as they are given His Spirit and become new creations. I heard of such a miracle recently. The American Red Cross was gathering supplies, medicine, clothing, food and the like for the suffering people of Biafra. Inside one of the boxes that showed up at the collecting depot one day was a letter. It said, “We have recently been converted and because of our conversion we want to try to help. We won’t ever need these again. Can you use them for something?” Inside the box were several Ku Klux Klan sheets. The sheets were cut down to strips and eventually used to bandage the wounds of black persons in Africa.

It could hardly be more dramatic—from symbols of hatred to bandages of love because of the new creation. Nothing else matters, says Paul.   — maxie dunnam, Commentary on Galatians

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Rev. E. Anderson

TOO BIG FOR YOUR BOOTS

Taken from the Word for today

 ‘when you were little in your own eyes” – 1 Samuel 15:17 NKJV

WHEN KING Saul disobeyed God, the prophet Samuel told him, ‘When you were little in your own eyes…did, not the Lord anoint you King over lsrael? …Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?’ (vv. 17-19 NKJV).

There’s a sobering lesson here. The most dangerous moment in your life is when you think you can succeed without God. When you get a few wins under your belt, it’s easy to forget Who’s responsible for your success. Where once you would have consulted God, you now launch out on your own and ask Him to add His blessing to your decisions. You say, ‘But things remember Who made your success possible, and live with gratitude and dependence on God!

Looking back on how God blessed Israel, the Psalmist records, ‘Then they believed His words; they sang His praise. [But] they soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel’ (Psalms 106112-13 NKN).

Our capacity for forgetfulness is staggering. The old-timers used to tie a string around their finger to remind them of something they might easily forget. Maybe you need to wear a string on your finger to remind you that God is the secret, the source of all your blessings.

Frustrated by how long he had to wait in line to renew his driver’s licence, the CEO of a big plumbing company asked his wife, ‘Don’t they know who l am?’ She responded, ‘Yes, you’re a plumber’s son who got lucky.’ The word for today is: stay humble, and don’t get too big for your boots!

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points to ponder

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Rev. E. Anderson
THE TATES IN YOUR CHURCH

Do you know how many members of the Tate family belong to your church?
There is old man Dic Tate who wants to run everything, while Uncle Ro Tate tries to change everything. Their sister Agi Tate stirs up plenty of trouble, with help from her husband, Irri Tate.

Whenever new projects are suggested, Hesi Tate and his wife, Vege Tate, want to wait until next year. Then there is Aunt Imi Tate, who wants our church to be like all the others. Devas Tate provides the voice of doom, while Poten Tate wants to be a big shot.

But not all members of the family are bad. Brother Facili Tate is quite helpful in church matters. And a delightful, happy member of the family is Miss Felici Tate. Cousins Cogi Tate and Medi Tate always think things over and lend helpful, steady hands. And of course there is the black sheep of the family, Ampu Tate, who has completely cut himself off from the church.

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Rev. E. Anderson
THE POWER OF RITUAL
Taken from Our Daily Bread

When I was growing up, one of the rules in our house was that we weren’t allowed to go to bed angry (Eph. 4:26). All our fights and disagreements had to be resolved. The companion to that rule was this bedtime ritual: Mom and dad would say to my brother an me, “Good night. I love you.” And We would respond, “Good night. I love you too.”

The value of this ritual has recently been impressed on me. As my mother lay in a hospice bed dying of lung cancer, she became less and less responsive. But each night when I left her bedside I would say “I love you Mom.” And though she could say little else, she would respond, “I love you too.”

Growing up I had no idea what a gift this ritual would be to me so many years later. Time and repetition can rob our rituals of meaning. But some are important reminders of vital spiritual truths. Rather than give up the ritual, perhaps we need to restore the meaning. May we always be moved with gratitude for the wonderful gift of ritual. Any ritual can lose meaning, but that does not make the ritual meaningless.

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ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson
THE NINE TESTS OF CONFUCIUS

“Man’s mind,” says Confucius, “is more treacherous than mounts and rivers, and more difficult to know than the sky. . For with the sky you know what to expect of the coming of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and alternation of day and night. But man hides his character behind an inscrutable appearance. There are those who appear tame and self-effacing, conceal a terrible pride. There are those who have some special ability but appear to be stupid. There are those who are compliant and yielding but always get their objective. Some are hard outside but soft inside, and some are slow without but impatient within . Therefore those who rush forward to do the righteous thing as if they were craving for it, drop it like something hot.

“Therefore (in the judgment of men) a gentleman sends a man to a distant mission in order to test his loyalty. He employs him nearby in order to observe his manners. He gives him a lot to do in order to judge his ability. He suddenly puts a question to him in order to test his knowledge and makes a commitment with him under difficult circumstances to test his ability to live up to his word. He trusts him with money to test his heart, and announces to him the coming of a crisis to test his integrity. He makes him drunk in order to see the inside of his character, and puts him in female company to see his attitude toward women. Submitted to these nine tests, a fool will always reveal himself.” The Window of Lao-tse

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ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson

THE CHURCH
Nikki Walker

“The Church was never designed to be a moral police force, or a political persuasion, nor a social club for Christians. The Church is the people. A people broken, but for the grace of God. A people lost, but for the love of Christ. The Body of Christ, being mobilised for such a time as this, rising up with selfless faith. Breaking down the four walls, beginning to see what He sees, and beginning to be what He’s called us to be. We can’t just attend church any more. We are the Church.”

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ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson
THE BIBLE

I am a Christian because God says so, and I did what he told me to do, and I stand on God’s Word, and if the Book goes down, I’ll go with it. Billy Sunday
It is better to pray over the Bible than to brood over the self. P. T. Forsyth
The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives. D. L. Moody
The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me. Martin Luther
The Bible is a stream of running water, where alike the elephant may swim, and the lamb walk without losing its feet. Gregory the Great.

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