In 1951, the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still was a box office hit! Today it is considered a film classic. When a flying saucer lands in Washington, D.C., the U. S. Army quickly encircles the spaceship. A humanoid (Michael Rennie) emerges, announcing that he has come in peace. His galaxy has been obsereving Earth and they are concerned about the Earth’s future.
As many of the world’s greatest scientists gather, Klaatu (the alien) pointedly tells them that the people of Earth have a choice. They can join the other planets in peace, but should they threaten to extend their violence into space, “this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. We shall be waiting for your answer”. Klaatu then leaves as he came.
Though this was produced years ago, it shows us that America was concerned with its future years ago. Weapons have since developed that people in 1951 could never have imagined. Laser weapons. Heat-seeking missles. Drones. Dirty bombs. Iran and North Korea with nuclear weapons. We have the capability of destroying each other many times over!
While this film is fictional it is thought-provoking. How long can this world survive? How long before God says, “Enough!” Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail.” Lamentations 3:22-23
We have approximately 9,000 taste buds in our mouths, each with ten to fifteen receptacles that send messages to the brain saying Yuck or Yum. John Harrison, the official taste tester for a major ice cream company, has developed such a sensitive tongue that his taste buds are insured for one million dollars! (I would like his job!)
All of us need a sensitive tongue, which the Bible compares honey and apples. “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body.” Proverbs 16:24. And Proverbs 25:11 adds, “Words spoken at the right time are like gold apples in a silver setting.”
We need to ask God to give us a sensitivity of speech to speak timely words, sensitive to each situation. “…a time to keep silent and a time to speak,…” Ecclesiastes 3:7 God-honoring speech comes only from a heart that honors God.
I just watched one of my favorite movies; Shadowlands. It’s the story of C.S. Lewis, one of the greatest Christian authors. [C.S. Lewis is played by Anthony Hopkins, who gives one of his best performances.] Allow me to share how Lewis faced the prospect his wife’s struggle with cancer.
At one point his wife started to get better. His minister commented that God was answering his prayers. Lewis replied, “That is not why I pray. I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I am helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me. “
Yesterday I watched the video “When the game stands tall.” (Highly recommended) The De La Salle Spartans (High School football) have just completed an incredible 151 consecutive victories and 12-straight state championships but it ended when they played against Bellevue on Saturday, September 4, 2004, in a 39-20 loss.
Needless to say, the team was more than upset. The assistant coach gave them awesome advice. “Don’t let a game define who you are. Let the way you live your life do that.”
Church leaders and pastors are always looking for something that will draw people to their church. They have tried the Bus Ministry, the Seeker-sensitive approach, Small Groups and a host of others. But I think that the Biblical approach still works best! This way does not cost any money. Everyone is gifted and can be trained to use this approach.
The first recorded instance is found in Exodus 3; “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” The King James Version says, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” Some may say that it was curiosity that drew him to the bush but I think it more than that. It was the presence of God that drew him.
When Jesus walked this earth, He always drew a crowd. People were attracted to Him. When God’s presence is manifested in a worship service, people might not understand (just like Moses didn’t understand) but they will be drawn. When Jesus spoke of His coming death, He said, “And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me.” He put it this way to show how he was going to be put to death.” John 12:32
Christianity was different than any religion. It offered a personal relationship with God. The void in man’s soul can only be filled by God. This what people are looking for. This relationship brings meaning and purpose to people’s lives.
When it came time for my mother to give me birth; she went to our local hospital. Our hospital was considered small by most standards but they were quite capable. It just so happened that I chose a very busy night to come into the world. There were no rooms available, so they put my mother in the hall, placed a portable curtain around her for privacy and there I came into the world. [True story] Is it any wonder that I have dealt with feelings of rejection all my life?
But seriously, I have always felt that somehow I never quite measured up. I am not trying to solicit sympathy just stating a fact. In school, I never spoke to the popular kids fearing rejection. I always felt inferior to ministers that pastored larger churches. But when I read Mark 1:11, it changed my thinking about myself. God said of Jesus, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” This was the beginning of Jesus’ ministry; He hadn’t preached His first sermon or performed His first miracle, so how was the Father pleased with Him?
Most people assume that God’s approval is based on their ‘personal performance,’ But the truth is found in the words, “You are my Son..” God found pleasure in His personal relationship with the Son. God is not impressed with all activity but He is pleased when we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
How freeing to know that I do not have to reach a certain level of performance for God to be pleased with me. God loves me for who I am, not for what I do.