Today's Word for Pastors...
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Today's Preaching Insight...
Prelude to Power
Prayer is a sacred covenant. We usually associate it with solemnity and holy words. Of course, there are humorous situations which come with it.
Let's take the case of little 8-year-old Mary Lou. In planning a picnic her friends purposely leave her out. It isn't until the very last minute they give in and issue an invitation. Her mother offers a sigh of relief. She calls out, "Hurry, dear. Wash your face. Slip on a clean dress. I'll fix your picnic lunch." Mary Lou slowly walks up to her mother and despondently explains, "Mother, it's no use. I've just finished praying for rain."
Then, there is a group of farm families waiting for their new preacher. It is a scorching hot summer day. The crops are needing rain very badly. When he arrives, they immediately ask him to pray for rain. He responds positively and offers a beautiful prayer. Slightly before the benediction is pronounced, a great storm breaks lose. Fields are flooded. Crops are washed away. Bridges come tumbling down. Monday morning two of the farmers are observing the disaster. One grumbles to the other: "Well, that's the way with these new preachers. Everything they do, they overdo."
Finally, we must not forget about little Tommy. In just seven days he will be six years old. His prayers are getting noticeably longer and louder. It comes time for his usual bedtime talk with God. He kneels with his forehead on the blanket and begins praying in a voice which can be heard for several yards. He lists the many thing he wants for his birthday. His mother quite irritatingly says, "Don't pray so loudly. The Lord isn't deaf'. He pays no attention to his mother. So, she goes into his bedroom and taps him on the shoulder. He looks up at her with an angelic innocence. He whispers, "S'hh, Mom, I know the Lord isn't deaf; but Grandma is in the living room, and she is."
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The story appeared in the January 29, 2003, edition of The Washington Post. Titled "Picabo's Problem," it is a story about the well-known Olympic gold medallist, Picabo Street. The article notes that she's much more than a famous skier. Between training on the slopes and traveling around the world, she managed to get an education and earn a degree in nursing.
"Early in her nursing career, she was assigned to work briefly as an Intensive Care Unit nurse in a large metropolitan hospital. She did outstanding work, but there was a slight problem. The head nurse had to tell her not to answer the phone in the ICU because of the confusion it caused when callers would be connected to the ICU and hear Picabo say in her best professional voice: "Picabo, ICU." What a story! Can you imagine? Only problem is that it's not true.
Picabo is not a nurse -- never has been. She gets the joke, though, and has a good laugh with others. Since childhood, she's been teased about the name her parents gave her, who got it from an Idaho town that takes its name from a Native American word meaning "shinning waters." (from Jimmy Gentry, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Carrolton, Georgia)
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