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Prairie Schooners

Missions Compassion Servanthood

Source: Sermon

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: James Miller | Date Posted: 2018-10-06

Scripture: Matthew 25:29 ; Matthew 28:18

Author: James Miller
8

ILLUSTRATION

In the American Old West, the pioneers used a kind of self-defense called "circling the wagons." It involved driving a wagon train in a circle so that the pioneers could camp inside and keep the wolves out.  Today, some people see the church as a circle of wagons, protecting them from the world around them.

The Hebrew people had to circle the wagons in Babylon.  They chose not to eat the Babylonian food or adopt the Babylonian customs.  They stayed separate, kept their rituals, preserved their culture, and protected themselves.  This lifestyle produced a group that would be called the "set apart ones," or in Hebrew, "perushim," which we translate Pharisees.  

APPLICATION

The problem was Jesus took a different approach.  He taught His disciples to reach out to outsiders.  As a result, the Church started a mission to reach Gentiles rather than keeping separate.  With Jesus, there would be no circling of the wagons.

Funny thing about those pioneers.  They called their wagons "Prairie Schooners." A schooner is a sailboat.  Those tarps stretched over their wagons looked a bit like sails.  And like a boat that sets out to open sea, the pioneers weren't searching for safety but for adventure.

We must continue to do the same.  We are not here to keep people safe from the world; we are here to change the world. We're here on a great adventure; to reach lost people for Jesus, not to hide out from the world.

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age'" (Matthew 28:18-20). 

Built to Sail

Discipleship Servanthood Great Commission

Source: Sermon

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: James Miller | Date Posted: 2018-09-22

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:10 ; Matthew 28:18

Author: James Miller
9

ILLUSTRATION

A little boy built a model ship, glued all the pieces together, and worked on it for hours.  It was perfect.  Every detail was correct, down to tiny sailors standing on the deck.  He put it in a glass case.  He wouldn't let his brother play with it in the bathtub.  He was going to keep it perfect by keeping it safe.

His parents bought a real boat so they could spend the weekends sailing out on the harbor.  They loved it.  At first.  It was a lot of work to maintain.  Boat owners will tell you that the day you bought your boat was the happiest day of your life, and the day you sold it was the second happiest.  At first, they used it a lot.  But then they used it less.  It was expensive.  After a few months, they went to spend a day sailing and found barnacles growing on the side, algae all over it, and a dead motor.  A real boat is only kept in shape by being used.

The two boats worked in opposite ways.  The model was preserved by being kept safe.  The real boat was preserved by being used.

APPLICATION

Churches are like the real boat; they are only kept in shape by being used. Churches that are preserved and spared use will eventually fall into disrepair.  But churches that pour themselves into serving their communities will find energy, calling, passion, and love.  

"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace" (1 Peter 4:10). 

"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20). 

Killfies

Self-absorbed Church Health/Growth Servanthood

Source: preacherpollard.com

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2018-06-27

Scripture: Philippians 2:3

Author: Neal Pollard
4

ILLUSTRATION

What do high cliff ledges, train tracks, animal game parks, bridges and buildings have in common? They are apparently popular sites for people to take selfies and places where over 200 people have died in the last 5 years in pursuit of that “perfect selfie.” The Economic Times of India, a country leading the world in deaths by selfies, reports that 86 people in 2016 and 73 people in 2017 died in this tragic, needless way. Since 2014, 128 have died in the course of taking selfies in this densely populated nation.

But other countries are getting involved in trying to stem the tide of such tragedies. Irish doctors reported, “The consequences of poorer spatial awareness and a focus on getting a good or daring photo has lead to multiple traumas” (Indulekha Aravind, 2/18/18).  There are people in Russia that have become celebrities because of their daring self-centered photos (ibid.). Nowhere social media has gone is there an exemption from this trend, including here in our country.

Because I do not have a background in psychology, I could be wrong about this but could these extraordinary lengths to capture oneself in these kinds of photos be an act of desperation for acceptance, friendship, or even love? Could the yearning for admiration, congratulations, and adulation drive people to disregard all restraint and precaution? 

APPLICATION

I do know that, as Henry David Thoreau said in 1854, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation” (Walden, ch. 1, p. 8).  With selfies, we are able to project exactly the image or perception of ourselves that we want others to see. We don’t publish the unflattering or the boring. We want to be seen as valuable, relevant, and attractive. Why? Though we might lose our way in the process, human nature yearns for community and relationship (cf. Genesis. 2:24). 

By contrast, God formed the Church to be a place where we focus on others. Paul wrote, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians. 2:3-4).

So much about being Jesus’ disciples gets us outside ourselves and into the lives of others—not just other Christians but people from every walk of life outside of Christ. He wants our energy, effort, and focus to be turned outward. It’s not so much about projection as service. 

How To Get Things Done In Russia

Servanthood Control Motivation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-04-16

Author: Illustration Exchange
5

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The Beautiful Apology

Apology Servanthood Listening

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-13

Scripture: James 1:19 ; Mark 10:45

Author: Illustration Exchange
3

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Teenager Calls 911 To Avoid Vacation

Servanthood Heaven Self-absorbed

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-02-06

Scripture: Matthew 20:28

Author: Illustration Exchange
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The Well Prepared Man

Preparation Servanthood Wisdom

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-10-06

Scripture: John 6:6 ; Acts 20:35

Author: Mitchell Dillon
7

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Free To Be A Walmart Greeter

Redemption Servanthood Motivation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-08-27

Scripture: Colossians 3:10 ; Colossians 3:23

Author: Illustration Exchange
6

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Servanthood Spiritual Gifts Cultural Trends

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-08-07

Scripture: Matthew 20:28

Author: Illustration Exchange
6

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A Kingdom of Robots

Servanthood Kingdom of God Free Will

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-07-13

Scripture: Matthew 23:11

Author: Illustration Exchange
4

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