Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)
TITLE: John Tanner's last sermon
By Geoffrey johnstone
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The following Sunday it appeared as an insert in our church bulletin. The Pastor's handwritten notes are included as capital letters.
My name is John Tanner and this is my last sermon. In one hour I will be John Tanner – retired pastor. POINT TO FISHING ROD.
My text is found in Acts 12:5 “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
What has thirty five years of pastoral ministry taught me? It is this. The hardest thing in the world is for God to say no to a church that is in complete agreement.
Our critics say if you lock five Baptists in a room they will come up with seven points of view. But let me tell you a story that may change your mind. It occurred in my first year of ministry.
Little Robbie McArdle was diagnosed with aggressive leukemia. He was only a year old and he wasn’t given much hope. The doctors told his parents if he survived the treatment he would never have children of his own.
But we prayed. Oh how we prayed.
That night the church was full.
Each of us had our own reason for being there.
Some people came just to support the family.
I was surprised to hear them say they did not believe in miracles. There were folk like that in Peter’s church. When the Apostle knocked on the door they did not believe it was him.
Doubt does not stop God from answering prayer.
Here is the good news. You don’t need great faith when you have a great God. PAUSE FOR EFFECT. Just put what little faith you have in the God who raised His Son from the grave.
The second reason people came was because God might just do something.
In verse 2 God does not save James, the brother of John. Herod murdered him.
All of the disciples, except John, would die terrible deaths.
However! THUMP PULPIT
God saved Daniel from the lion’s den. God saved Moses from Pharoah. God saved Jonah from the belly of the whale.
And on that night, so long ago, there was a chance God might save little Robbie McArdle
Finally, there was Auntie Pat. SMILE AT PRIVATE JOKE.
Auntie Pat was 5 feet tall and completely unstoppable. She had a stare that could kill a kangaroo at a hundred yards. Her exact words were, “God if you don’t answer our prayer tonight how are you going to look us in the face on Judgment Day?”
She believed if God said it, then that settled it. She constantly told us that Jesus said if you ask anything in His name then you would have it.
Here is some more good news. Your reasons for turning up don’t matter. Just turn up!
Do you want to know what happened to little Robbie McArdle? He lives in Melbourne with his beautiful wife and five adorable children. Do you know what happened to Peter? An angel opened the doors of the prison.
We live in a world at war with itself. Tragedy sells newspapers.
But you and I are different. We are God’s people. There is greatness inside of us.
That’s why we can do the impossible. We can stand before God
PAUSE as one people,
PAUSE as one family,
PAUSE as one voice,
and pray Thy kingdom come and thy will be done, in this place as it is in Heaven!
God bless you.
Calvary Baptist Church
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