Only God Is Great

25 06 2007

Ascending the throne at the age four, Louis XIV rules as king of France for 72 years, the longest reign in modern European history. Consumed with hiw own power, he called himself the “Greatlouisxiv.jpg Monarch” and declared, “I am the State!” But in 1715, King Louis XIV abdicated his throne to death.

His funeral was nothing short of spectacular. The great cathedral was packed with mourners paying final tribute to their king, who lay in a solid gold coffin. To dramatize the deceased ruler’s greatness, a solitary candle burned above his coffin. Thousands waited in hushed silence as they peered at the exquisite casket that held the mortal remains of their monarch.

At the appointed time the funeral service began, and Bishop Massillon, who presided over this official act of state, stood the address the mourners, including the assembled clergy of France. When the bishop rose, he did something that stunned the nation. Bending down from the pulpit, he snuffed out the lone candle representing Louis XIV’s greatness. The people gasped. Then in the darkness, came just four words from behind the open Bible:

“Only God is great!”

–Steven J. Lawson, Glory, quoted from Heartcry! Life Action Ministries’ Journal on Revival and Spiritual Awakening, Spring 2007, pp42-3.


The Blushing Apostle

3 06 2007

“Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
(Joshua 22:5)

The first step down for any church is taken when it surrenders its high opinion of God.

–A.W. Tozer

Raphael was painting his famous Vatican frescoes when a couple of cardinals stopped by to watch and to criticize.

“The face of the apostle is too red,” said one.

Raphael replied, “He blushes to see into whose hands the church has fallen.”

–quoted in Warren Wiersbe’s The Integrity Crisis, p40

Prime-Time Christianity

2 06 2007

“I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”
(1 Corinthians 2:3-5)

The church has been mesmerized by power. We stand in awe of the beauty queen, the pro-football player, the wealthy businessman, and we willingly pay millions of dollars to anyone who will take our money and prove to us that we are the majority; that we are respectable; that we are the winners. We gladly allow these personages of power to travel in their private jets with their loyal platoon of executive assistants and press secretaries. We gladly give our substance to vicariously share with them as they wine and dine with presidents, scurry from one TV studio to the next, and whisk in and out of airports in long, black limousines. These powerful personalities have become our evangelical gigolos. We gladly prostitute our money, our time, and all that we have, so that we can flaunt them in front of those who do not believe that we are, in fact, winners. And it isn’t their fault. It’s ours.

–Mike Yaconelli, The Wittenburg Door

Fool’s Gold

31 05 2007

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
(Matthew 6:21) golden-calf.jpg

The people of Israel sacrificed so that they could enjoy their golden calf. They donated their wealth and they even got up early in the morning to eat and drink and play (see Exodus 32:6). I’ve met church people who complain about missionary offerings (“Are they begging again?”) but never think twice about spending thousands of dollars to enjoy a “Christian vacation” or purchase another “adult toy.” People who would find it difficult to get up early for a prayer meeting have no problem getting up for a time of “fun.” Individuals sacrifice for the things they really love.

–Warren Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, p89

Vainly Lifting Hands?

7 12 2006

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(1 John 1:9)

Honest confession of sin undergirds and makes genuine all the other things we do as Christians. How deep can our praise and worship be if the people lifting their hands and singing have made a treaty with sin? And what good are all the Christian books and sermon tapes if they never get to the heart of the matter—the reality of our sin in the eyes of a holy God?

Jim Cymbala
“The Church God Blesses”, pp96-7

Abandon Our Faith?

23 09 2006

” If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us.”
(2 Timothy 2:11-13)

Many years ago a small Jewish boy asked his father, “Why must we surrender our Jewish faith and start to attend Lutheran services here in Germany?”

The father replied, “Son, we must abandon our faith so that people will accept us and support our business adventures!”

The young lad never got over his disappointment and bitterness. His faith in his father and in his religion were crushed. When the lad left Germany he went to England to study at the British Museum where he formed his philosophies for life. From those intensive investigations he wrote a book that changed the world called, “The Communist Manifesto”.

From that book one-third of the world fell under the spell of Marxist-Lenist ideology. The name of that little boy was Karl Marx. He influenced billions into a stream that for 70 years ruined, imprisoned and confused many lives. Today, that system of thinking is crumbling, but only after people got a good look at its tragic consequences. The influence of this father’s hypocrisy multiplied in infamy. Without godly faith, all of us are subject to distortions in our perspectives.

(from sermon illustrations)