Faithlife Sermons


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n Focus on the Family, Rolf Zettersten wrote, "A good friend in North Carolina bought a new car with a voice-warn­ing system. ... At first Ed­win was amused to hear the soft female voice gently re­mind him that his seat belt wasn't fastened. . . . Ed­win affectionately called this voice the 'little woman.'

"He soon discovered his little woman was pro­grammed to warn him about his gasoline. 'Your fuel level is low/ she said one time in her sweet voice. Edwin nodded his head and thanked her. He figured he still had enough gas to go another 50 miles, so he kept on driving. But a few minutes later, her voice interrupted again with the same warning. And so it went over and over. Although he knew it was the same recording, Edwin thought her voice sounded harsher each time.

"Finally, he stopped his car and crawled under the dashboard. After a quick search, he found the ap­propriate wires and gave them a good yank. So much for the little woman.

"He was still smiling to himself a few miles later when his car began sput­tering and coughing. He ran out of gas! Somewhere inside the dashboard, Ed­win was sure he could hear the little woman laughing."

People like Edwin learn before long that the little voice inside, although ig­nored or even disconnect­ed, often tells them exactly what they need to know. — William J. Gestal, Jr.

Enon Valley, Pennsylvania

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aul Harvey tells a story about Lieutenant Com­mander Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare, the Navy's number-one ace in the Second World War and the first naval aviator ever to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is named for him.

What Butch O'Hare became, however, was made possible because someone else paid a great price. That someone else was Butch's father, Edward J. O'Hare, a slick lawyer for the gangster Al Capone. "Artful Ed­die," as he was known, had money and power, but one day he squealed on Capone. The reason for this sudden change of heart? He wanted to give his son a break, he said. Before long, the mob silenced Artful Eddie with two shotgun blasts.

But because of Eddie's courageous change of heart, his son Butch was accepted at Annapolis: Eddie's confession and subsequent death satisfied admissions people that the family's mob connections were sev­ered. Artful Eddie paid with his own life for his son's chance to make good, something that Jesus Christ did for each of us on the Cross.

— Steven D. Mathewson Helena, Montana



usty Stephens, a Navigators director in Virgin­ia Beach, Virginia, tells this story: "As I fever­ishly pushed the lawn mower around our yard, I wondered if I'd finish before dinner. Mikey, our 6-year-old, walked up and, without even asking, stepped in front of me and placed his hands on the mower handle. Knowing that he wanted to help me, I quit pushing.

"The mower quickly slowed to a stop. Chuckling inwardly at his struggles, I resisted the urge to say, 'Get out of here, kid. You're in my way,' and said instead, 'Here, Son. I'll help you.' As I resumed pushing, I bowed my back, leaned forward, and walked spread-legged to avoid colliding with Mikey. The grass cutting continued, but more slowly and less efficiently than before, because Mikey was 'helping' me.

"Suddenly, tears came to my eyes as it hit me: This is the way my heavenly Father allows me to 'help' him build his kingdom! I pictured my heavenly Father at work seek­ing, saving, and transforming the lost, and there I was, with my weak hands 'helping.' My Father could do the work by himself, but he doesn't. He chooses to stoop graciously to allow me to co-labor with him. Why? For my sake, because he wants me to have the privilege of ministering with him."

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n The Northwestern Lu­theran, Joel C. Gerlach writes: "Eight times the Ministry of Education in East Germany said no to Uwe Holmer's children when they tried to enroll at the university in East Ber­lin. The Ministry of Educa­tion doesn't usually give reasons for its rejection of applications for enroll­ment. But in this case the reason wasn't hard to guess. Uwe Holmer, the father of the eight appli­cants, is a Lutheran pastor at Lobetal, a suburb of East Berlin.

"For 26 years the Minis­try of Education was head­ed by Margot Honecker, wife of East Germany's pre­mier, Erich Honecker. . . , [Then] when the Berlin wall cracked . . . Honecker and his wife were unceremoni­ously dismissed from office. He is now under indict­ment for criminal activities during his tenure as premier.

"At the end of January the Honeckers were evict­ed from their luxurious palace in Vandlitz, an ex­clusive suburb of palatial homes reserved for the VIPs in the party. The Honeckers suddenly found themselves friend­less, without resources, and with no place to go. None of their former cronies showed them any of the humanitarianism Communists boast about. No one wanted to identify with the Honeckers. . . . "Enter Uwe Holmer. Re­membering the words of Jesus, 'If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also,' Holmer extended an invi­tation to the Honeckers to stay with his family in the parsonage  of the parish

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church in Lobetal. . . .

"Pastor Holmer has not reported that the Hon-eckers have renounced their atheism and pro­fessed faith in Jesus as Sav­ior and Lord. But at least they fold their hands and bow their heads when the family prays together. Who knows what the Holmer's faith-in-action plan will lead to before this extraordinary episode ends?"

— Gordon J. Peters Bend, Oregon



inston Churchill had planned his funeral, which took place in Saint Paul's Cathedral. He included many of the great hymns of the church and used the eloquent Anglican liturgy. At his direction, a bugler, positioned high in the dome of Saint Paul's, in­toned, after the benedic­tion, the sound of "Taps," the universal signal that says the day is over.

But then came the most dramatic turn: as Churchill instructed, as soon as "Taps" was finished, an­other bugler, placed on the other side of the great dome, played the notes of "Reveille" — "It's time to get up. It's time to get up. It's time to get up in the morning."

That was Churchill's tes­timony that at the end of history, the last note will not be "Taps;" it will be "Reveille." The worst things are never the last things.

— John Claypool Birmingham, Alabama



obert Chesebrough believed in his product. He's the fellow who invented Vaseline, a pe­troleum jelly refined from rod wax, the ooze that forms on shafts of oil rigs. He so believed in the healing properties of his product that he became his own guinea pig: he burned himself with acid and flame; he cut and scratched himself so often and so deeply that he bore the scars of his tests the rest of his life. But he proved his product worked. People had only to look at his wounds, now healed, to see the value of his work — and the extent of his belief.

— Ralph Walker Concord, North Carolina



eter Cartwright, a nineteenth-century circuit-riding Methodist preacher, was an uncompro­mising man. One Sunday morning when he was to preach, he was told that President Andrew Jackson was in the congregation, and warned not to say anything out of line.

When Cartwright stood to preach, he said, "I un­derstand that Andrew Jackson is here. I have been requested to be guarded in my remarks. Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he doesn't repent."

The congregation was shocked and wondered how the President would respond. After the service, Presi­dent Jackson shook hands with Peter Cartwright and said, "Sir, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could whip the world."

— David Walls Elyria, Ohio



eorge Will writes in Men at Work: "Baseball umpires are carved from granite and stuffed with microchips . . . they are professional dispensers of pure justice. Once when Babe Pinelli called Babe Ruth out on strikes, Ruth made a populist argument. Ruth reasoned fallaciously (as populists do) from raw numbers to moral weight:  'There's 40,000 people here who know that last one was a ball, tomato head.'

"Pinelli replied with the measured stateliness of John Marshall: 'Maybe so, but mine is the only opin­ion that counts.' "

Christians are also pressed by the weight of numbers aligned against the moral law of God. But the Chris­tian knows that in the end, only one opinion counts: that of the beneficent Umpire of all human affairs.

— Mark Turnbough Rock Port, Missouri



rom 1986 to 1990, Frank Reed was held hostage in a Lebanon cell. For months at a time, Reed was blindfolded, liv­ing in complete darkness, or chained to a wall and kept in absolute silence. On one occasion, he was moved to another room, and, although blindfolded, he could sense others in the room. Yet it was three weeks before he dared peek out to discover he was chained next to Terry Anderson and Tom Sutherland.

Although he was beat­en, made ill, and torment­ed, Reed felt most the lack of anyone caring. He said in an interview with Time, "Nothing I did mattered to anyone. I began to realize how withering it is to exist with not a single expres­sion of caring around [me]. ... I learned one overriding fact: caring is a powerful force. If no one cares, you are truly alone." Christians, who are never truly alone, are also fortunate to receive God's gracious care through the church. This care can pro­vide the strength to endure.

— Lynn H. Pry or Snyder, Texas

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