Tu ce vezi când privești?


Mi-am luat o pereche de adidași. Nu i-am luat de pe internet, de pe anumite site-uri dodgy. Nici din Chinatown, shop-uri indiene ori car boot sales. I-am luat din Westfield, White City.
Nu m-am grăbit. Nu-mi iau des și dacă îmi iau, I take my time.
M-am uitat bine la ei. Talpă, cutia în care au fost, cusături. Nu par a fi făcuți de ingineri suferinzi de parkinson.
Însă unde am văzut eu un real deal, cumnățica mea vede un mare fake. Și, încăpățânați, nici eu și nici ea, nu renunțăm la perspectivele noastre. Nu suntem specialiști însă ne dăm cu părerea. Un expert ne-ar lămuri. Probabil.
De altfel, se prea poate să privești la acelaș lucru, chiar și la aceiași oameni și să vezi cu totul altceva. Nu poți altera realitatea însă. Oameni plini de răutate și viclenie apar în viața noastră neinvitati. Și ei sunt cu adevărat oameni plini de răutate și viclenie. Punct.
Nu-i nevoie de expertiză pentru a realiza asta. Nu poți să numești întunericul lumină.
Poți însă să ai alte lentile, alți ochelari și prin prisma lor realitatea să ți se traducă diferit. Acolo unde se vede evident întuneric și lipsă, tu să privești prin filtrul bunătății, speranței și al dragostei. Să vezi nu neapărat ce sunt, dar și potențialul și ceea ce ei ar putea deveni. Precum o face si ne învață Hristos. Să-i vezi pe oameni prin ochii lui Dumnezeu.
În Hiding Place, de multe ori Corrie ten Boom relatează episoade în care sora ei Betsie vedea cu totul altceva decât ea.
La un moment dat, Corrie o întreabă cu privire la omul care i-a trădat, Jan Vogel.
– Betsie, nu simți nimic pentru Jan Vogel? Nu te deranjează? 
– O ba da, Corrie! Teribil! Mă doare pentru el de când am aflat – și mă rog pentru el de fiecare dată când îmi aduc aminte de numele lui. Cât de mult trebuie să sufere.
Meditând la spusele lui Betsie, Corrie menționează: ..iarăși, am avut sentimentul că această soră cu care mi-am petrecut toată viața, aparținea unei alte lumi.
Cu altă ocazie, privind un gardian ce bătea un deținut în cel mai brutal mod, Betsie vedea o ființă foarte rănită. Și nu se referea la deținut.
Și mă minunam, scrie Corrie în biografia ei, nu pentru prima oară, ce fel de persoană era ea, această sora a mea…Ce fel de drum a urmat ea în timp ce eu mă târam pe lângă ea pe pământul acesta mult prea tare.


Martin Luther on the Importance of Music. by David Jeremiah

HERE for more Audio Sermon Illustrations

Eight cow woman

Laura bought two books about marriage relationships this week-end. Bringing out the best in your Wife and Bringing out the best in your Husband by H.N. Wright, translated into Romanian. And of course, I have to read my bit. We started together. Now, in my book, Wright mentions an old, well known story for most. It was new to me. I’ve checked the story online and was quite surprised to see that there is also a movie about it, Johnny Lingo (1969).

Like always, I will share this story here, hoping that someone will benefit from it.

During a trip to Atlanta I read an article in Reader’s Digest. I made a copy of it and have kept it in my heart and mind ever since. It was the story of Johnny Lingo, a man who lived in the South Pacific. The islanders all spoke highly of this man, but when it came time for him to find a wife the people shook their heads in disbelief. In order to obtain a wife you paid for her by giving her father cows. Four to six cows was considered a high price. But the woman Johnny Lingo chose was plain, skinny and walked with her shoulders hunched and her head down. She was very hesitant and shy. What surprised everyone was Johnny’s offer he gave eight cows for her! Everyone chuckled about it, since they believed his father-in-law put one over on him.

Several months after the wedding, a visitor from the U.S. came to the islands to trade and heard the story about Johnny Lingo and his eight-cow wife. Upon meeting Johnny and his wife the visitor was totally taken back, since this wasn’t a shy, plain and hesitant woman but one who was beautiful, poised and confident. The visitor asked about the transformation, and Johnny Lingo’s response was very simple. “I wanted an eight-cow woman, and when I paid that for her and treated her in that fashion, she began to believe that she was an eight cow woman. She discovered she was worth more than any other woman in the islands. And what matters most is what a woman thinks about herself.”

Bringing Out the Best in Your Wife, H. Norman Wright

Pastor, Stop Lying

There are many pastors that are showing something in public and a totally different stuff in their private life. Some call this a double life. Spiritual schizophrenia.
I was very surprised, taking a break from my reading of Paul Tripp’s, Dangerous Calling, to see an article on Gospel Coalition by Ronnie Martin, written nearly on the same topic. He is speaking about a fellow pastor that “lost his way”, to use Tripp’s words. He describes the following scenario:

It was nothing “scandalous” at all, really. It was that he lied.
When asked how he was doing, he always replied, “Great!” When asked what he needed prayer for, he always offered some generic request.
He kept things guarded, impersonal, and close to the vest, even when others around him shared the depths of their heart. I don’t think I ever heard him apologize to anyone for anything, ever.
Yet he smiled a lot. He laughed heartily and kept things as “positive” as possible. But I saw how the people closest to him were positively crushed by his lack of vulnerability. I was one of them

The unbelievable aspect in this story is that Ronnie himself soon realized that is very tempted to lie also about his condition. Mentoring a young man, he was challanged to be honest.

I repented to him, praying that God would destroy the pride that kept me from sharing my heart to others. Pride is always the root problem. I wanted people to see me as someone who didn’t need the gospel as bad as I was telling them they needed it.
Praise God that the Holy Spirit faithfully reveals what our hearts conceal. Praise God that those no one hidden in Christ needs to hide anything any longer.

Now, this has a happy ending and it’s quite a gentle story compared with the painful and scary things you’ll find in Tripp’s book. It’s quite an embarrassing, humbling book and you may feel tempted to say that it’s speaking to a small number of ministers, but from his experience(and mine) that’s not true. Continue reading “Pastor, Stop Lying”

Broken windows

It’is difficult sometimes to understand certain passages from Scripture. It becomes even harder when you have to communicate them so they can be understood. Of course, the Holy Spirit lights up and opens the heart of the listeners but I’m not desconsidering the preparation and the personal effort.

The sermon illustrations play a vital role in the communication and the reception of the truth. God told Noah to “build a window in the boat”. The sermon illustrations, in this respect, are “windows”, as Spurgeon mentioned. You might bring a lot of fog with plenty definitions and theological explanations but inserting a good illustration will bring clarity and practicability to your message. It will bring freshness and will make “the air to circulate in your exposure”.

On the other hand, you can inflict damage to your text with an awkward illustration. I remember the sermon evaluation tests at the seminary. You can hear many homiletic pearls if you have the patience to listen. And I have also used many, let’s say, strange illustrations. God have mercy. That’s why we were assessing the sermons after, to learn from our mistakes.

Such an illustration, from a sermon, got stuck in my mind.

Our colleague spoke from 1Cor. 3:12, 13, describing what means to build on gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw and that each man’s work will become evident, and the Lord’s day will show it.
But he wasn’t very inspired. He used the story of the three little pigs to support his message. And he was preaching with passion on “how the wolf arrived at the first house of straw and blew (and he blew too, as though he had been the wolf) and the house falls down. Got to the second one, made of wood (and again blows) and the house falls down. At the third one, made of stone, the wolf blows and keeps blowing … until he falls fainted because of so much air flow. That’s why we must be careful on what and how we build, because in the end, each man’s work will become evident. 🙂

Top 10 Christian News Stories of 2009.

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff
The year 2009 brought hundreds of stories and movements to bear on global Christianity. Here are the faces, places, and movements the Crosswalk.com editors believe most impacted Christians around the world.
Read the full article here