According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (formerly affiliated with Planned Parenthood), an estimated 183,000 abortions are performed each year on minors under 18 years of age; that is about 11 percent of the total number of abortions performed in the U.S. About half of the minors who get abortions consult with one parent; under the age of 15, three-fourths of the minors discuss the issue with at least one parent. (The Wall Street Journal, June 26, 1990)
ACTION -- Required for survival
A man was out playing golf with three business associates for the first time. He took his drive from the first tee; it bounced fifty yards onto the fairway and landed atop a large anthill. Embarrassed at his poor shot, he took a mighty swing at the ball and destroyed half the anthill, killing half the 10,000 ants living there; meanwhile, the ball popped up about a foot in the air and landed right back on the anthill. Humiliated at his poor play in front of the others, he heaved another giant swing; this time the ball popped up about six inches and came back to rest in the wreckage of the anthill. That third swing had killed all but two of the remaining ants.
At that point, one of the two surviving ants looked at the other one and said, "Friend, if we want to survive, we'd better get on the ball."
BIBLE - Why we love it
Stuart Briscoe recalls an experience when he was doing some work on an airplane, with an open Bible in front of him. A stewardess came up to him and said, "You know, four years ago the Bible was a dead book to me. Then something happened, and I can't explain it, but I can't get enough of it. I devour it."
"I know what happened," I answered. "Have you ever read a book that was boring, then one day you met the author? Afterwards you picked up the same book and said, 'I know who wrote this,' and it became the most exciting book in the world to you."
"Yes, that's what happened to me, I met the author."
Stuart makes this point: "When you meet the author of the Word of God, He begins to write it in your heart instead of hitting you over the head with it. You begin to desire it instead of resenting it." (D. Stuart Briscoe, Playing by the Rules, Fleming H. Revell Co., 1986, p. 183.)
CHURCH -- Meant for service
"The holiest moment of the church service is the moment when God's people -- strengthened by preaching and sacrament -- go out of the church door into the world to be the Church. We don't go to church; we are the Church." (Ernest Southcott)
"If I wanted to find out whether a man was a Christian, I wouldn't go to his minister. I would go and ask his wife.... If a man doesn't treat his wife right, I don't want to hear him talk about Christianity. What is the use of his talking about salvation for the next life if he has no salvation for this? We want a Christianity that goes into our homes and everyday lives." (Dwight L. Moody)
Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right;
Faith and Hope triumphant say Christ will rise on Easter Day. (Phillip Brooks, An Easter Carol)
EASTER -- Death not last word
At the funeral of a Swiss theologian, his colleagues on the religion faculty served as pall bearers. Each wore a boutonniere; the custom in that community was for each pall bearer to take off his boutonniere and lay it on the ground beside the casket, before it was lowered into the grave. The closest friend of the deceased, however, instead took off his boutonniere, crumpled it in his hand, threw it into the grave, and stomped away.
Later, his colleagues asked him the reason for his unorthodox behavior. He explained, "When I realized what death had done to my friend, how death had taken that marvelous mind and caused it to deteriorate, taken that magnificant personality and caused it to shrivel up, I just wanted one defiant act in which I could say, 'Death, you are not the final word!'"
That is the message of Easter; death is not the final word. In Christ and His resurrection, life has overcome the power of death, (provided by Kenneth Chafin, recently retired Pastor of Walnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville, KY)
EASTER -- We have message to share
Vernon Grounds tells the story of W. E. Sangster, the great British preacher who contracted an incurable disease that would progressively atrophy his muscles. Gradually, his muscles would waste away, his voice would fail, his throat would be unable to swallow.
Sangster threw himself into his work on behalf of British home missions; he could still write and felt that now he would have more time for prayer. He wrote articles and books, and helped oganize prayer cells throughout the nation. When people expressed pity, he explained, "I'm only in the kindergarten of suffering."
Finally his legs became useless and he lost his voice, but he could still use a pen, however weakly. A few weeks before his death, Sangster penned a letter to his daughter on Easter morning. He wrote: "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice with which to shout, 'He is risen!' But it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout." (submitted by Wayne Rouse, Pastor, Church of the Brethren, Astoria, IL)
Although the Berlin Wall has crumbled, we can still visualize the East German guards and their attack dogs. What is now known is that out of 6,500 dogs, only 1,000 were actually trained to attack; the other 5,500 were suitable as pets, and that is what they have become. Of course, people didn't know which dogs were vicious and which were not, so they were all assumed to be vicious.
The things we fear often are unworthy of our concern. As Christians, we come to understand that "there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). (submitted by David W. Richardson, Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Dexter, MO)
RESURRECTION -- Gives new life to all
Martin Marty told of eight-year-old Stephen, whose classmates were beginning to recognize the differences caused by his mental retardation. Just before Easter, the Sunday School teacher asked the eight children to each bring an empty pantyhose egg container next Sunday; in it, they should each put some small object representing the new life that spring brings. The next Sunday, all of the containers were placed on the table without identification; the teacher feared that Stephen might not have understood, and didn't want him to be embarrassed.
"The first had a tiny flower. 'What a lovely sign of new life!' The donor could not help but erupt, 'I brought that one.' Next came a rock. That must be Stephen's, since rocks don't symbolize new life. But Billy shouted that his rock had moss on it and moss represented new life. The teacher agreed. A butterfly flew from the third container, another child bragged that her choice was the best sign of all. The fourth L'eggs container was empty. 'It has to be Stephen's,' thought the teacher, reaching quickly for the next one. But 'Please don't skip mine,' Stephen interjected. 'But it's empty.' 'That's right,' said Stephen, 'the tomb was empty, and that's new life for everyone.'
"That summer Stephen's condition worsened and he died. At his funeral, on his casket mourners found eight L'eggs containers, all empty!" (submitted by Howard W. Roberts, Pastor, Broadview Baptist Church, Temple Hills, MD)
RESURRECTION -- Quotations
"Death? Translated into the heavenly tongue, that word means life!" (Henry Ward Beecher)
"Everything science has taught me -- and continues to teach me -- strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death." (Wernar von Braun)
"Both free enterprise and the labor movement at their best believe in the worth of the individual. But such a faith is nonsense if men are cheap candles blown out at death, or drops of water absorbed into some vague ocean of being. Thus any real faith in personality rests on faith in the life everlasting. (George A. Buttrick)
SERVICE -- Required to maintain strength
According to a report in the Dallas Morning News (November 11, 1990), beechdrops are small, flowering plants found on the roots of beech trees. Like other parasitic plants, beechdrops do not have all the chemicals necessary for photosynthesis; over centuries of parasitic existence, beechdrops have lost the genes necessary to manufacture the chemicals. Now they cannot photosynthesize under any circumstances; they are completely dependent on their host.
"So do Christians lose the ability to serve when they only wait for others to serve them. Christ commands each believer to function as a servant." (submitted by Rick Davis, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Midlothian, TX)