Live and Work

Father was a hardworking man who delivered bread as a living to support his wife and three children. He spent all his evenings after work attending classes, hoping to improve himself so that he could one day find a better paying job. Except for Sundays, Father hardly ate a meal together with his family. He worked and studied very hard because he wanted to provide his family with the best money could buy.

Whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

The day came when the examination results were announced. To his joy, Father passed, and with distinctions too! Soon after, he was offered a good job as a senior supervisor which paid handsomely.

Like a dream come true, Father could now afford to provide his family with life’s little luxuries like nice clothing, fine food and vacation abroad.

However, the family still did not get to see father for most of the week. He continued to work very hard, hoping to be promoted to the position of manager. In fact, to make himself a worthily candidate for the promotion, he enrolled for another course in the open university.

Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

Father’s hard work paid off and he was promoted. Jubilantly, he decided to hire a maid to relieve his wife from her domestic tasks. He also felt that their three-room flat was no longer big enough, it would be nice for his family to be able to enjoy the facilities and comfort of a condominium. Having experienced the rewards of his hard work many times before, Father resolved to further his studies and work at being promoted again. The family still did not get to see much of him. In fact, sometimes Father had to work on Sundays entertaining clients. Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

As expected, Father’s hard work paid off again and he bought a beautiful condominium overlooking the coast of Singapore. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, Father declared to his family that he decided not to take anymore courses or pursue any more promotions. From then on he was going to devote more time to his family.

Father did not wake up the next day.

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Ten Good Reasons to go to Church

dont-go-to-church
Why on earth would you, a busy person, want to sacrifice what little R&R time you have to attend public worship regularly? In the final analysis, those who attend public worship regularly do so because they believe they are gaining much more than they are giving up. The benefits of attending far outweigh any deficits (real or imagined). If you have never attended a Christian congregation regularly or have fallen into a habit of not doing so, and especially if you don’t feel ready or motivated to go, I invite you to read the following “Ten Good Reasons to go to Church.”

1. To have fellowship with the crucified and risen Christ

If you knew that Jesus Himself was going to be at a particular place on a regular basis, would you not be motivated to go? The local Christian congregation is that place. Christians gather publicly to be with their risen Savior. When they worship, the Lord Himself is present!

Though it is true that Christ is always with individual believers, He is present in a unique and special way where Christians gather around the Word. He promised to be where Christians gather: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20) and “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Both of these statements are spoken to Christians in the plural, to the believing community. Further, Scripture calls Christians assembled together, “the body of Christ.” In other words, the answer to the question, “Where can I find Jesus today?” is “Where Christians gather ” for they are His body.

Specifically, Jesus comes among His people through the preached Word and the Sacraments. What Jesus said to the disciples applies to every sermon which proclaims His Word truly: “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). We hear the preacher, but it is Christ speaking through Him. The Lord also comes among us through the holy Supper. If it is true that the Lord’s Supper is the crucified and risen Christ’s body and blood, then this has awesome ramifications. It means that as the people of God receive this meal, they are entering into intimate fellowship with Christ Himself. The Lord’s Supper is called “communion” (Greek koinonia) because there the people of God have intimate communion with Jesus and with one another (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). After communing, with Simeon we say, “Lord, lettest now Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation” (Luke 20:29-30).

2. To be forgiven

Why come to church? Because the Lord Jesus is there. And He is there primarily to give forgiveness to all who repent and believe. Proclaiming the full forgiveness that Jesus won for us on the cross is the main point of all Christian worship services. This is the amazing thing about our God. He comes among His people not primarily to receive but to give. To give the precious forgiveness of sins. He does this through the preaching of the Gospel, holy Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. What a joy it is to weary souls who have been struggling with their sin all week to hear and receive God’s pardon given through Word and Sacrament.

3. To hear the voice of God

Never before have people been confronted with so many voices. Never before have people been confronted with so many choices. Life can be confusing and at times overwhelming as we try to sift through and sort out right from wrong, truth from error. All the more reason to go to church regularly. For there the voice of God Himself speaks to us through sermon, Scripture, liturgy, and hymnody. God speaks to His people as a whole and He speaks to them individually, guiding them into truth, reminding them of what is right, warning them about what is wrong. His is a voice of strength and comfort, a voice of healing and binding up. His is a voice of sanity amidst the insanity. His is a voice that tells the truth when so many other voices cannot be trusted. How sad when believers pray for guidance but fail to show up at the place that God has chosen to give that guidance.

4. To grow in the knowledge of the Bible, God’s Word

This reason is related to the previous one but is not redundant. Here I am responding to a common excuse: “I don’t need to go to church to hear the Word; I can read the Bible on my own.” On the one hand, private study of God’s Word is wonderful. Would that all believers had a daily diet of God’s Word! But private study of Scripture must not be a substitute for hearing the preached Word.

Why not? There are two reasons, the first theological, the second practical. Because the Pastor, who holds the divinely appointed preaching office, is, by God’s will, the chief teacher of God’s Word, the one through whom Christ Himself speaks (see Luke 10:16; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Timothy 4:13-16; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Hebrews 13:17). The Pastor has been blessed with a gift of teaching. Furthermore, he has gone through extensive schooling and study so as to become an “specialist” in God’s Word (though he also is always growing and learning). He has learned Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. He has spent many years in prayer and study learning God’s Word. Why not benefit from his area of expertise?

I find it ironic that though we are willing to acknowledge and turn to self-proclaimed experts in every branch of human knowledge, we do not see the need for an expert in the Word of God. In other words, in so many areas of knowledge we freely admit that we lack the expertise to form judgments and we seek out the experts to help us. We turn to doctors for our health, CPAs for our taxes, auto mechanics for our vehicles, psychologists for our problems, etc. However, when it comes to the Word of God, some apparently know it all. Yes, every Christian can and should read the Bible. Yes, the people of God are to judge the teaching of the Pastor. I am not promoting clergy tyranny. I am warning against lay anarchy.

5. To feed your soul

Feed the soul? Does the soul need nourishment? According to Scripture, yes. There we are reminded that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). There we are encouraged, “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). God’s Word is food for the soul. Public worship is the best place to give your soul the Word-of-God-nourishment it needs. In another place Jesus says, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” (John 6:27). How tragic to see people zealously provide for their bodies but not their souls.

6. To be loved and encouraged

Why go to church regularly? To be loved and encouraged. We all have troubles. We all face dilemmas and disappointments. We all wrestle with discouragement and heartache. Life can be cruel in a fallen world. What God said of Adam applies to us all: “It is not good for man to be alone.” Why bear your burdens alone? Coming to church means interacting with your fellow Christians, the body of Christ. It means receiving an encouraging word, a hug and a smile. It means having someone listen. More profoundly, it is often through His body that Christ speaks the comfort and crucial direction that we need. How often a timely word of Gospel spoken by one Christian to another dispels the gloom! How often one Christian will have a spiritual insight that benefits another. Come to church to be loved and encouraged.

7. To be prayed for

Jesus once promised, “if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). There is power when the people of God pray. But for those unfortunate souls who have cut themselves off from regular attendance at the Christian assembly, their needs are unknown, and they pray alone. An often overlooked reason to come to church is to be prayed for.

8. To love and encourage your fellow Christians

At the heart of the Christian ethic is the obligation to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus sharpens this in John 13 when He says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). The apostle Paul echoes this when he writes, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2) and “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:10).

Failing to attend public worship regularly not only transgresses the Third Commandment (“Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy”). It is also transgresses the law of Christ, to love one’s fellow Christians and to bear their burdens. When we refuse to gather with our fellow Christians, this is not love! By such refusal we lose touch with them and in most cases have no idea what they are going through. And if we have no idea what they are going through how can we encourage and help them? Furthermore, our absence is a powerful nonverbal discouragement to them. But our presence is a powerful nonverbal encouragement, even when no words are spoken.

9. To worship

That Christians are to worship God publicly is a Biblical given. Behind this given is the reality that we are creatures and God is the Creator. Everything we are and have is a gift from Him. Therefore God richly deserves our worship, our praise, thanks, and prayer. At the heart of New Testament/Christian worship is the gift of forgiveness that God has given us in Jesus Christ. Because God through Christ has forgiven us and given eternal life to us out of pure grace, He richly deserves our public praise and thanks through word and song.

When we worship the true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are doing what we were created to do. Worshiping our Creator is being in sync with who we really are. It is not by accident that the book of Revelation pictures heaven as a place were the ransomed of the Lord will worship God forevermore.

Because we were created to be worshiping beings, we will worship someone or something. Either God, our Creator, who alone deserves our worship, or someone or something else: ourselves, possessions, wealth, a cause, a career, a hobby, or another person.

10. To promote the Gospel

One last reason to attend corporate worship regularly is that by doing so we promote and defend the Gospel. Remember, the Christian Church exists, ipso facto, “to make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). We exist to tell the good news that through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, God has forgiven humanity and offers heaven as a gift to those who believe this. The Church’s main mission is to populate heaven not to make people better (though through the Gospel this happens, too!).

How does attending church regularly promote the Gospel? In a variety of ways. First, by supporting the local congregation through weekly offerings, you allow the Gospel to be preached to our local communities. Without the financial support of faithful members, such local mission work would cease. Can’t financial giving be done without attending? Yes, but apart from the inappropriateness of such non-attending giving, this rarely happens. In reality, only those who attend regularly contribute regularly. Second, as we hear and receive the Gospel through preaching and Sacrament, we are empowered and motivated to share the Gospel out in the world. Third, those who attend regularly give a very positive message to others about what Jesus Christ means to them. He means enough to set aside several hours a week to hear His Word and praise and thank Him. This can’t help but attract others to Christ. Fourth, when we come regularly we will from time to time invite others to hear the Gospel.

We hope you dwell in the presence of the Lord forever.

By Dr. Richard P. Bucher

Funny Short Stories

The child and his mother:

A curious child asked his mother: “Mommy, why are some of your hairs turning grey?”

The mother tried to use this occasion to teach her child: “It is because of you, dear. Every bad action of yours will turn one of my hairs grey!”

The child replied innocently: “Now I know why grandmother has only grey hairs on her head.”

:mrgreen:
Wrong email address:

A couple going on vacation but his wife was on a business trip so he went to the destination first and his wife would meet him the next day.

When he reached his hotel, he decided to send his wife a quick email.

Unfortunately, when typing her address, he mistyped a letter and his note was directed instead to an elderly preacher’s wife whose husband had passed away only the day before.

When the grieving widow checked her email, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor in a dead faint.

At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the screen:

Dearest Wife,
Just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow.

P.S. Sure is hot down here.

:mrgreen:

Will’s experience at the airport:

After his return from Rome, Will couldn’t find his luggage in the airport baggage area. He went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that his bags hadn’t shown up on the carousel.

She smiled and told him not to worry because they were trained professionals and he was in good hands.

Then she asked Will, “Has your plane arrived yet?”

😯 :mrgreen:

Clever kids:

A police officer found a perfect hiding place for watching for speeding motorists.

One day, the officer was amazed when everyone was under the speed limit, so he investigated and found the problem.

A 10 years old boy was standing on the side of the road with a huge hand painted sign which said “Radar Trap Ahead.”

A little more investigative work led the officer to the boy’s accomplice: another boy about 100 yards beyond the radar trap with a sign reading “TIPS” and a bucket at his feet full of change.

😛 :mrgreen:

Old people´s home

A man was taking his old Mother to a home for old people. He wanted her to have the best one so he was investigating many of them. So one day he came to a home and the Head of the staff wanted to show him around. He asked his Mother to sit and wait in the entrance and the personal was going to watch over her while he was gone.

The old woman sat there for a while and then she suddenly started to lean over to the left side. A nurse hurried up to her, moved her up and placed a pillow at her left side. After a short while the old woman started to lean towards the right side. Of course the little nurse hurried to her and put her up in position, putting another pillow at her right side. Just a little while longer and the Mom now started to lean forward. She got propped up again by the nurse.

Now the son came back from his inspection. He had found that this home was absolutely the best he had seen. All rooms were very nicely furnished and there were skilled personal for the old ones. The price was also acceptable so he really thought that he found the right place for his Mom.

“Mom”, he said “I really think you will be happy here! What do you say?”

The Mother said: ” I do not want to stay here!” He was surprised and said: “But Mom – this is just the way you like it. You will be taken good care of here.”

The old Lady said really firmly: ” I will not stay here – they don´t allow me to fart!”
Adam’s Rib

Adam was walking around the Garden of Eden feeling very lonely, so God asked Adam, “What is wrong with you?”

Adam said, “Lord, I don’t have anyone to talk to.”

God said, “Then I will give you a companion, and she will be called a ‘woman’. This person will cook for you and wash your clothes, she will always agree with every decision you make. She will bear your children and never ask you to get up in the middle of the night to take care of them. She will not nag you, and will always be the first to admit she was wrong when you’ve had a disagreement. She will never have a headache, and will freely give ‘love’ and compassion whenever needed. She will never question your behaviour or the company you keep. She will support you and understand that you have important decisions to make throughout your life and don’t have time for nonsense…”

Adam asked God, “What will this woman cost?”

God said, “An arm and a leg…”

Adam said, “Take only my rib and reduce the quality of the woman ”

 

Speeding:

Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?

Officer: Ma’am, you were speeding.

Woman: Oh, I see.

Officer: Can I see your license please?

Woman: I’d give it to you but I don’t have one.

Officer: Don’t have one?

Woman: Lost it 4 times for drunk driving.

Officer: I see…Can I see your vehicle registration papers please.

Woman: I can’t do that.

Officer: Why not?

Woman: I stole this car.

Officer: Stole it?

Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.

Officer: You what?

Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want
to see.

The Officer looks at the woman, slowly backs away to his car, and
calls for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior
officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.

Officer 2: Ma’am, could you step out of your vehicle please!

The woman steps out of her vehicle.

Woman: Is there a problem sir?

Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this
car and murdered the owner.

Woman: Murdered the owner?

Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car,
please.

The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.

Officer 2: Is this your car, ma’am?

Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers.

The first officer is stunned.

Officer 2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a driving
license.

The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and
hands it to the officer. The officer snaps open the clutch purse and
examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.

Officer 2: Thank you ma’am, one of my officers told me you didn’t
have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked
up the owner.

Woman: Guess the lying IDIOT!! told you I was speeding too.

A glass of Milk, paid in Full

paid in full
paid in full

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk.

He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”

“You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”

He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.”

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Year’s later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room.

She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She began to read the following words:

“Paid in full with one glass of milk”

Signed, Dr. Howard Kelly.

The important things in life

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Pupil Counting Apples

A teacher teaching Maths to seven-year-old Laiq asked
CPS Math Apples him, “If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”

Within a few seconds Laiq replied confidently, “Four!”

The dismayed teacher was expecting an effortless correct answer, three. She was disappointed. “Maybe the child did not listen properly.” – she thought.

She repeated, “Laiq, listen carefully. If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”

Laiq had seen the disappointment on his teacher’s face. He calculated again on his fingers. But within him he was also searching for the answer that will make the teacher happy. His search for the answer was not for the correct one, but the one that will make his teacher happy.

Continue reading Pupil Counting Apples

Keep your dreams alive

dream

I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Ysidro. He has let me use his house to put on fund-raising events to raise money for youth at risk programs.

The last time I was there he introduced me by saying, “I want to tell you why I let Jack use my horse. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.

“That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch.

“He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, `See me after class.’

“The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, `Why did I receive an F?’

“The teacher said, `This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.’ Then the teacher added, `If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.’

“The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, `Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.’ “Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all.

He stated, “You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.”

Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.” He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week.” When the teacher was leaving, he said, “Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids’ dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.”

“Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what.”