Friday, November 26, 2010

Made righteous through Christ - Story & lesson

 '...He leads me in the paths of righteousness...' Psalm 23:3
 How could a God who is perfect live side by side in heaven with people like us who aren't?

That's like asking if Oxford or Cambridge University could admit someone with no GCSEs.. Then what are we to do? Find a worthy substitute, or be lost forever! That's where Jesus comes in; He's the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. It's the great transfer! At the cross God placed all our sins on Christ, and at the point of believing faith He places all Christ's righteousness on us.

Awesome! Actor Kevin Bacon recalls when his six-year-old son saw the movie Footloose for the first time:

' "Hey, Dad, you know that part in the movie where you swing from the beam? That's really cool, how did you do that?"

I said, "Well, I didn't do that part... it was a stuntman."

"What's a stuntman?" he asked.

"That's someone who dresses like me and does things I can't do.

"Oh," he replied, and walked out of the room looking a little confused.

Later, he said, "Hey, Dad, you know that part in the movie where you spin around on that gym bar and land on your feet?

How did you do that?" I said, "Well, I didn't do that either. That was a gymnastics double."

"What's a gymnastics double?" he asked. "That's a guy who dresses in my clothes and does things I can't do."

Then my son asked, "Dad, what did you do?" "I got all the glory," I sheepishly replied.'

The songwriter put it this way:
'Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before Thy throne. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.'

The Vatican Debate - Story

About a century ago, the Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave the Vatican. Naturally, there was a big uproar from the Jewish community, so the Pope made a deal. He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Jew won, the Jews could stay. If the Pope won, they would have to leave.

The Jews realized they had no choice, so they selected a middle-aged man named "Moishe" to represent them. Moishe asked for one addition to the debate. To make it more interesting, neither side would be allowed to talk, and the Pope agreed.

The day of the great debate came. They sat opposite one another for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed 3 fingers. Moishe looked back at him and raised 1 finger.

The Pope then waved his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine.

Moishe pulled out an apple.

The Pope stood up and said, "I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay."

An hour later, the cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope said, "First I held up 3 fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up 1 finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground and showing that God was right here with us. I pulled out the wafer and wine to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. "What could I do?"

Meanwhile, the Jewish Community had crowded around Moishe.

"What happened?" they asked.

"Well," said Moishe. "First he said to me that the Jews had 3 days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I told him that we were staying right here.

"And then?" asked a woman.
"I don't know," said Moishe. "He took out his lunch, so I took out mine."

Heavenly Rates - Story and lesson

A man dies and goes to heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the pearly gates.

Peter says, "Here's how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven.
You tell me all the good things you've done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in."

"Okay," the man says,
"I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart."

"That's wonderful," says St. Peter, "that's worth three points!"

"Three points?" he says. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service."

"Terrific!" says St. Peter, "that's certainly worth a point."

"One point? Golly. How about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans."

"Fantastic, that's good for two more points," he says.

"TWO POINTS!!" the man cries,
"At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the Grace of God!"

"Come on in!"

I Love You, Son - Fantastic story & lesson

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church's pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, he briefly introduced a guest minister who was in the service that evening.

In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service..

With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak.
'A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the pacific coast,' he began.
'When a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore.

The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized.'
the old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were,
for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story.

The aged minister continued with his story, 'grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy would he throw the other end of the life line.
He only had seconds to make the decision.

The father knew that his son was a believer and he, also, knew that his son's friend was not.
The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves..
As the father yelled out, 'I love you, Son!'
he threw out the life line to his son's friend.
By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of night.

His body was never recovered.
By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister's mouth.

'The father,' he continued, 'knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus.. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son's friend. '

How great is the love of God that he should do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed his only begotten Son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept his offer to rescue you and take a hold of the life line he is throwing out to you in this service.'

With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room.
The pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon with an invitation at the end. However, no one responded to the appeal.

Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's side.
'That was a nice story,' politely stated one of them, 'but i don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a believer.'

'Well, you've got a point there,' the old man replied, glancing down at his worn bible.

A big smile broadened his narrow face.

He once again looked up at the boys  and said, 'it sure isn't very realistic, is it? But,

I'm standing here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up his son for me.

You see...
I was that father and your pastor is my son's friend.

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