A few inspirational quotes, sermon illustrations, jokes and humor from Leadership
HOW CONDI CAME BACK: President Bush's National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is a preacher's kid. She grew up in church. But in her mid-20s, she found she had drifted from her Christian faith. Rice told this story at a Sunday school class at National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. in August 2002: Although I never doubted the existence of God, I think like all people I've had some ups and downs in my faith. When I first moved to California in 1981 to join the faculty at Stanford, there were a lot of years when I was not attending church regularly ... I was a specialist in international politics, so I was always traveling abroad. [One] Sunday morning, I went to Menlo Park Presbyterian Church [in Palo Alto]. The minister that Sunday morning gave a sermon I will never quite forget. It was about the Prodigal Son from the point of view of the elder son. It set the elder son up not as somebody who had done all the right things but as somebody who had become so self-satisfied; a parable about self-satisfaction and complacency in faith, that people who didn't somehow expect themselves to need to be born again can be complacent. I started to think of myself as that elder son who had never doubted the existence of God but wasn't really walking in faith in an active way anymore. I started to become more active with the church, to go to Bible study, and to have a more active prayer life. It was a very important turning point in my life. Washington Times (8/27/02)
MAN BURIED WITH HIS MONEY: There was a man who worked all his life and saved as much as he could. He loved money more than anything. Just before he died, he said to his wife, "When I die, I want you to take all my money and put it in the casket with me. I want to take my money to the afterlife with me." His wife promised she would. At his funeral, just before the undertakers closed the casket, his wife put a box in the casket. The undertakers shut the casket and rolled it away. The wife's friend said, " I know you weren't foolish enough to put all that money in there with that man." She said, "I can't lie. I promised him I would put that money in the casket with him." "You mean to tell me you put that money in the casket with him?" her friend asked. "I sure did," said the wife. "I wrote him a check."
PROF CALCULATES ODDS OF RESURRECTION: In April 2002, the well-respected Oxford University philosophy professor Richard Swineburne used a broadly accepted probability theory to defend the truth of Christ's resurrection. He did this at a high-profile gathering of philosophy professors at Yale University. In a New York Times interview, Swineburne said, "For someone dead for 36 hours to come to life again is, according to the laws of nature, extremely improbable. But if there is a God of the traditional kind, natural laws only operate because he makes them operate." Swineburne used the Bayes Theorem to assign values to things like the probability that God is real, Jesus' behavior during his lifetime, and the quality of witness testimony after his death. Then he plugged the numbers into a probability formula and added everything up. The result: a 97 percent probability that the resurrection really happened. Group magazine (July 2002)
GOSSIP WORSE THAN STICKS AND STONES: In Today's Christian Woman, Ramona Cramer Tucker writes: While at a restaurant after lunch, my friend Michelle and her coworker, Sharon, stopped in the restroom to fix their makeup before returning to their jobs. Their small talk turned to the subject of a woman who drove them crazy. Michelle launched into a two-minute diatribe about their coworker Beth. As Michelle prepared to divulge more, a stall door opened. Out walked Beth, red-faced and angry. Michelle and Beth stared at each other in embarrassed panic. Michelle knew she couldn't take her words back. In the instant their eyes met, Beth fled out the door. That afternoon, Beth didn't return to work. The next day Michelle heard through the grapevine that Beth had resigned. While other staff members cheered what seemed to be good news, Michelle felt miserable. She wished she had talked to Beth instead of talking about Beth. Although that situation happened five years ago, Michelle's never forgotten it. She tried to reach Beth several times by phone, then wrote her a letter of apology. Beth never responded. Michelle says she learned her lesson about loose lips the hard way. What's worse is that Michelle's a Christian, and Beth, to her knowledge, isn't. "Loose Lips," Today's Christian Woman (Nov/Dec 2000)
DISCERNMENT, TED WILLIAMS-STYLE: Ted Williams, the last baseball player to hit better than .400 in a season, died [in July 2002] at the age of 83. "There is no joy in Red Sox nation, a.k.a. New England, or in any heart where baseball matters," George Will reported in a column memorializing the star hitter. Will described Mr. Williams as "an alloy of innocence and arrogance," an obsessive player who gave the local sports reporters lots to write about. "He used a postal scale to check that humidity had not added an ounce to the weight of his bats," he writes. "Challenged to find from among six bats the one that was half an ounce heavier than the others, he quickly did. He once returned to the maker a batch of his Louisville Sluggers because he sensed that the handles were not quite right. The handles were off by five-thousandths of an inch." World (7/20/02)