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From Time to Eternity in ‘07

Last year I listed some people who died in 2006 with my comments. Here is my 2007 list. This is not necessarily a list of important people or world-changing people – just interesting people. Some are now in heaven. Some went into a Christ-less eternity. Here they are:

Evel Knievel – 69 – Hard-living bone-breaking daredevil who renounced the devil, and boldly talked about how Jesus changed his life in his later years.

Luciano Pavarotti – 71 – Tenor. Cancer.

Liz Claiborne – 78 – Clothes. Cancer.

Marcel Marceau – 84 – Mime.  Old.

Boris Yeltsin – 76 – Former Russian president who helped dismantle the Soviet Union. Heart failure.

Dan Fogelberg – 56 – Singer/songwriter icon of ‘70s soft-rock era. Prostate cancer. Danny F lived in my 8-track in my Camaro in high school.

Anna Nicole Smith – 39 – Celebrity. Drug overdose. Dead or alive – why is she always in the news? I just don’t get it. 

D. James Kennedy – 76 – Pastor, author, broadcaster and founder of Evangelism Explosion (EE). I got saved in ’76 when someone “EE’d” me. I had never heard a presentation of the gospel that made sense, until then.

Jerry Falwell – 73 – Mega-church pastor. Founder of Liberty University. Founder of Moral Majority political lobby with 6.5 million members. One of those love him or hate him kind of guys.

Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner – 65 – On-demand tears, big hair and mile-long eyelashes. Icon of ’70s & ’80s religious TV shows. 

Kurt Waldheim
– 88 – Former United Nations secretary-general accused of Nazi war crimes. The UN must have the world’s greatest PR machine to still have an ounce of credibility after all the scandals involving their top leaders.

Seung-Hui Cho
– 23 – Tormented student who murdered 32 students and faculty on the Virginia Tech campus. Stuff like this makes me want to be a campus missionary.

Paul Tibbets – 92 – Piloted the B-29 bomber that dropped The Bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The plane, Enola Gay, was named after Tibbet’s mother. Who would name a bomber after their mother? Not sure my Mom would be flattered. 

Robert Cade – 80 – Univ of Florida researcher who invented Gatorade in ’65 to help to the Florida Gator athletes replace electrolytes lost through sweat. What if he had worked at Oregon or Oregon State? Not sure Beaverade or Duckade would have been as marketable as Gatorade.   

Benny Parsons – 65 – Taxi driver who became one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers, winning 21 races. I’ve seen at least 1000 Filipino taxi drivers could do the same, if given the chance.

One thing is for sure – sooner or later, we will all die.

One question: will we be ready?   

Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. – HEB 9:27

Wake Up America!

The week before Christmas, Rice Broocks dragged me to one of those citywide pastors meetings that I rarely attend, because most are a waste of time.
Not this one. Glad I went.

This was a gathering of Pentecostals, Charismatics and Baptists at the Life Way building in downtown Nashville. (Life Way is like a Southern Baptist Vatican, complete with a massive statue of Billy Graham in front.)

When I arrived, I realized this was not just a city-wide thing, but a nation-wide call for the church in America to WAKE UP.

The meeting was led by Billy Wilson, former head of the Church of God of Prophecy denomination and the driving force behind the Azuza Street Centennial. Billy now runs the Center for Spiritual Renewal, which is calling for America to wake up.

I was shocked when Billy said that:
- only 9% of America goes to a Bible-based Pentecostal, Charismatic or Evangelical church on the average Sunday
- only 17% of America goes to any type of church on the average Sunday
- church attendance as a percentage of population is in decline in EVERY county in EVERY state in America (except for a few counties in Hawaii – go Norman!)

Billy and his friends are trying to get America’s spiritual leaders to wake up. Here are some who have joined Billy’s Awakening America Alliance:

General Council of the Assemblies of God
Aglow International – Jane Hansen
Bethany World Prayer Center – Larry Stockstill
Charisma Magazine – Lee Grady
Christ for the Nations
CBN
Church of God of Prophecy
Eagle’s Wings – Robert Stearns
Every Home for Christ – Dick Eastman
The Foursquare Church – Jack Hayford
Global Advance – David Shibley
Harvest Evangelism – Ed Silvoso
Moody Broadcasting
Open Bible Churches
Teen Mania – Ron Luce
The Call – Lou Engle
Tommy Barnett Ministries
U.S. Prayer Center
Wellington Boone Ministries
Youth with a Mission – John Dawson

I added Every Nation to the list because I want to stay awake, and I want to help America’s spiritual leaders stay awake.

Un-Used Christmas Sermon

Here are my unedited notes of the Christmas sermon I never got to preach on “Black Sunday” a couple of weeks ago. Since I couldn’t preach it, I decided to post it.

I realize the my notes might not make sense to you, but if you think of them like some ancient secret code, maybe you can find the hidden truth. (FYI – I hand-write my notes on one of those double-sized yellow sticky pads and attach it to my Bible on the page of my text.)

SERIES: i-Witness Christmas

TITLE: (I don’t really do titles)

ME
- C’mas eve ‘89 story – hoped for “real arrows” & disappointed b/c gave up too early

WE
- all have hopes, dreams, expectations that are not yet reality…
- So did Simeon, he waited his whole life…

WORD
-    I-witness series = 4 witnesses of 1st C’mas
-    Simeon had long-time hope that finally happened when he found Christ
-    WHEN YOU FIND CHRIST, YOU FIND YOUR PURPOSE AND GOD’S PROMISE
-    Luke 2:25-32
-    V25 just b/c you are still waiting on your dream, does not mean something is wrong with you
-    V26 the HS has the final say about your future
-    V27 many look for God in the wrong places
-    V28,29 no matter how long you wait, God always keeps His promise
-    V30-32 are YOU an i-witness of C’mas? Do you know Him?

END – John 3:16 – You can be an i-witness today.

(You may notice I used a modified-Stanley-outline on this one.)

There is No Easy Button

I’ve had these thoughts on my mind and in my journal since my “Ever Feel Like Quitting?” blog about Joseph & Mary, but I’ve been too busy to post. So finally, here it
goes…

Easy and right are usually opposites. The easy choice for Joseph would have been to dump his pregnant fiancé and move on with his life.

The right choice was to listen to the Holy Spirit and stick with Mary.

It didn’t matter how many times Joseph tried to explain that the baby was from God, no one believed him. Most rolled their eyes or looked with a self-righteous smirk.

All his buddies thought Joseph was either guilty or stupid for believing such a wild story. And they all thought Mary was guilty. That much was obvious.

But sometimes the obvious is not the truth.

And, sometimes the easy thing to do, is not the right thing to do.

Lord, help us see beyond the obvious and help us do what is right even when it is not easy.

Ever Feel Like Quitting?

Ever want to quit – relationship, job, church – but the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let you?

Even though it would be easier to walk.
Even though you were wronged.
Even though it hurts to stay.

Maybe the marriage is not all you dreamed it would be.
Maybe the job is not what it was promised to be.
Maybe the church really is filled with hypocrites.

But for some reason, God will not let you quit.

So what do you do?  Stay, or walk? Go for it on 4th and 20, or punt? Fight on, or tapout? All in, or fold?

What do you do when everything in you says to quit, but some faint barely discernible still quite voice says to hang in there?

If you ever feel like that, I suggest you read the Christmas story.

The one in Matthew 1:18-25.

Summary. A man discovers his fiancé is pregnant. The baby is not his. She claims it is God’s. Yea, right. I’m out of here. He wasn’t bitter or vindictive. Just hurt. Confused. And moving on with his life. But while he was sleeping, God sent an angel to tell him that the baby really was from God, and he better not quit.

I’m sure he still had questions. And doubts. And pain. But he stayed. He went for it. All in.

“When he woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded.” (v. 24)

Same question as before: ever wanna quit – relationship, job, church – but the Holy Spirit says not to?

We all have.

Aren’t you glad you listened to Him?

My Day in the ER

Slept like a baby last night – woke up every 90 minutes screaming.

In case you missed  my "accidental missionary" blog yesterday, here’s the story…

At 8:05 Sunday morning, while making final adjustments on my sermon, I was stabbed in the gut with a giant Rambo knife. Then someone started twisting it. At least that’s what it felt like.

By 8:30 I was racing to Medical City ER, where I would spend the next 7 hours. They wanted to admit me, but Joey B helped me escape. I prefer to suffer at home.

Kidney stone.

ER
doc said it was a half cm, but it felt like a sea urchin or a bowling
ball.

Many of you know that I handle pain like a baby. Jack Bauer could
get me to talk in 10 seconds. Glad I was not around during the
Inquisition. 

I
don’t have the vocab to describe the pain, and all the words that come
to mind should not be blogged by a pastor, on a Sunday.

Thx to
all who prayed for me. Please don’t stop. That sea urchin shaped
bowling ball is still in there torturing me as it tries to get out.

A
friend called when he heard I had a heart attack or something like
that. I got a good laugh out of that one. And discovered that laughing
increases the pain by 10.

© 2012 Steve Murrell

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