Today's Word for Pastors...
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Today's Preaching Insight...
Our Deepest Questions
Forty-one years I have served as a pastor. Throughout those years I have been bombarded with questions, honest questions, by sincere men and women who are trying to decide whether or not to say "yes" to Jesus.
Most of these questioners are genuine people, serious in their quest for spiritual reality. Some are young people, raised in the faith, who are now ready to throw it all out or have already thrown it all out, because of a cynical professor and/or friends who have put questions to them that they had never heard addressed before and are urging them to lifestyles contrary to biblical standards. Some have gone through life tragedies that have caused them to question everything. Some, in their intellectual development, have just come to honest questions for which they want answers.
Some of the questioners are adults who, for years have been nominal, cultural Christians, attending church because that is what you did in the communities where they were raised. They have never had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They have always thought that church attendance was a good thing to do and have put it at a level beside joining a service club, such as Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis, and taking leadership in the local PTA. But now they are discovering the pluralism of American culture. Some of their friends have totally dropped out of church; they don't have time for civic and specific religious organizations. Others of their friends are claiming a "born-again" experience with Jesus Christ and are not just attending church occasionally but have become extremely active in what they call "the family of God," personal Bible study, prayer, faithful worship attendance, weekly participation in a small group, reading books and attending Bible classes. Not only this, they are engaged in local and world mission projects, even giving ten percent and more of their gross income to the work of Jesus Christ.
Others who raise these questions to me come from completely non-religious backgrounds. They know nothing about the faith. A few have never been to church before. They tell me that the first time they came they didn't know when to sit and when to stand, and the language was foreign. It was all new. They were raising questions they had never raised before...
I could make a life work out of trying to answer each one of these. These are big questions, not easily resolved. But, sooner or later, you have to make a decision whether or not to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
(To read the entire sermon, "The Answers to Our Deepest Questions" by John A. Huffman Jr. at Preaching.com, click here)
The only survivor of a shipwreck came upon a small, uninhabited island. He prayed repeatedly for God to save him and everyday scanned the horizon for his answer. Even though he was exhausted and in despair, he eventually managed to build a little hut to keep him out of the weather and to store his provisions.
Then one day, after searching for food, he came home to find his little hut on fire. The worst thing that could have happened had happened. Everything he had was consumed. In his grief he cried out, "God, how could you do this to me!" Early the next morning, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. They had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the castaway. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.