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Prairie Schooners

Missions Compassion Servanthood

Source: Sermon

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

Scripture: Matthew 25:29 ; Matthew 28:18

Author: James Miller


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.  


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). 

You Are The "Fiber Optic Light" Of The World

Jesus' Love Compassion Holy Spirit

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Contributed By: Dan Kelley | Date Posted: 2018-07-13

Scripture: John 8:12 ; John 15:5

Author: Dan Kelley


Humans are much like a single strand of a fiber-optic cable.  Like the optical fiber, our existence is meaningless unless we are conducting light.   And like the optical fiber, none of us have any light of our own. There is only one source of light and that's Jesus.


Most optical fibers are called "end glow" because light is supposed to come out of the end and not the sides.  If an "end-glow" fiber allows light to escape from the sides it is because it has been damaged.  When Christians are "damaged" by hardship, pain or suffering the Light inside comes out in the direction of that pain. 

Likewise, as we allow God to use us, He shines through us in ways that allow the light to reach others who have experienced the same pain. 

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life'" (John 8:12). 

I Know How You Feel!

Empathy Compassion Disappointment

Source: “Historic breakdown,” By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports, April 23, 2007

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Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2018-04-25

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:4 ; 2 Corinthians 1:6

Author: Jeff Passan


Every baseball player dreams of making it to the majors, but to tie a Major League Baseball record within the first week would be something really special. Chase Wright, a rookie pitcher for the New York Yankees, did just that in only his second game after being called up from a Double-A team—though probably not in the way he had hoped.

On April 22, 2007, Wright gave up a record four consecutive home runs to the Boston Red Sox, allowing the Red Sox to sweep their division rivals in their first meeting of the season. In doing so, Wright tied the record previously held by Paul Foytack, who gave up four consecutive homers in 1963. 

Rather than berate the young pitcher, then Yankee skipper Joe Torre said, "It's just another piece of experience for that kid. It has nothing to do with what he's going to be or what's going to happen in the future. I still think he's going to be special. He's a pretty tough kid."

While Torre's confidence was certainly heartening to Wright, he received some support in the mail from someone who could really empathize with his plight. Paul Foytack, Wright's partner in baseball infamy, mailed him a letter of encouragement the next morning. "He's kind of young to be going through that," Foytack said. “Hopefully, he'll take it to heart."


There was only one other person on the planet who knew exactly how Chase felt, and that was Paul Foytack. Because of that, Paul was the one person whose words of encouragement would mean the most to Chase. 

God equips us, through the most disappointing or painful experiences of our lives, for the ministry of encouragement. Had Paul Foytack not had the same experience, he would not have been able to offer Chase such meaningful comfort. 

It is through our disappointments that God empowers us to empathize with the very people who most need it.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us" (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).

Does Your Church Really Care?

Compassion Church Health/Growth Outreach

Contributed By: Kory Ferree | Date Posted: 2017-07-31

Scripture: James 2:16 ; Mark 9:41

Author: Kory Ferree

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The Bug Letter

Compassion Empathy Love (Human)

Contributed By: Charles Krieg | Date Posted: 2017-07-01

Scripture: Colossians 3:12 ; Matthew 9:36

Author: Charles Krieg

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911 Operator Arrested For Hanging Up

Compassion Jesus' Love Responsibility

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-04-29

Scripture: 4:9 ; John 15:13

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Walk A Mile In My Hospital Shoes

Compassion Perspective Leadership

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-12-13

Scripture: Matthew 7:12

Author: Illustration Exchange

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“Eyes Wide Open” Prayer

Prayer Compassion Lost Opportunity

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-11-09

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ; Ephesians 6:8

Author: Illustration Exchange

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“Your Story Is Our Story”

Compassion Legacy Trials

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

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:8 ; 1 John 3:16

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Sold "As Is"

Compassion Jesus' Love Sin Nature

Contributed By: Glenn Newton | Date Posted: 2016-04-28

Scripture: Matthew 9:11 ; Romans 3:10

Author: Glenn Newton

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