I like old movies that have a plot that pulls you in, adventure that holds your attention, and a happy ending that warms your heart. Few modern movies have that mix. As a history buff, I am especially interested in World War II-era films that were attempting to build a moral support for the war back home.
Many of those films have a common theme: soldiers in the barracks bickering and fighting with one another. But when they get to the battlefield they stand united because they need each other. Fighting together they conquer the enemy and win in the end.
One of the reasons Christians often bicker among themselves is that there is no challenging goal that binds them together. A church that argues over traditions or style has forgotten its vision of winning the lost.
What is your favorite kind of movie and why?
Tags: fights, unity
There was a feud between the Pastor and the Choir Director of The Bakersville Southern Baptist Church. It seems the first hint of trouble came when the Pastor preached on dedicating yourselves to service and the Choir Director chose to sing: “I Shall Not Be Moved”.
Trying to believe it was a coincidence, the Pastor put the incident behind him. The next Sunday he preached on giving. Afterwards, the choir squirmed as the director led them in the hymn: “Jesus Paid it All”.
By this time, the Pastor was losing his temper. Sunday morning attendance swelled as the tension between the two built. A large crowd showed up the next week to hear his sermon on the sin of gossiping. Would you believe the Choir Director selected: “I Love to Tell the Story”. There was no turning back.
The following Sunday the Pastor told the congregation that unless something changed he was considering resignation. The entire church gasped when the Choir Director led them in: “Why Not Tonight.”
Truthfully, no one was surprised when the Pastor resigned a week later; explaining that Jesus had led Him there and Jesus was leading him away. The Choir Director could not resist: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
Of course, this is a fictional story. But this kind of undermining of authority happens in churches all the time. We should be thankful for a unified leadership at New Hope. Human nature could easily destroy all that.
Tags: division, fights, unity
A young rabbi was dismayed to find a serious quarrel among members of his new congregation. The quarrel took up all the congregation’s energy. During Friday services, half the participants stood up during one part of the proceedings while half remained seated. All decorum was lost as each side shouted at the other side to conform. Members of each group insisted that theirs was the correct tradition. Seeking guidance, the young rabbi took a representative from each side to visit the synagogue’s founder, a ninety-nine-year old rabbi living in a nursing home.
“Rabbi, isn’t it true that the the tradition was always for the people to stand at this point in the service?” inquired the man from the standing-up side.
“No, that was not the tradition,” the old man replied.
“Then it is true the tradition is for the people to stay seated?” asked the sitting-down representative.
“No,” the rabbi said, “that was not the tradition.”
“But, rabbi,” cried the young rabbi, “what we have now is complete chaos; half the people stand and shout, while the others sit and scream.”
“Ah,” said the old man. “THAT was the tradition.”
Some people have the tradition of fighting for their own opinion, even when it really doesn’t matter. Christ has called us to overcome our own selfishness and be united. Somethings aren’t worth fighting over.
Tags: fights, tradition, unity
Here is an interesting quote from a book I read (can’t remember the title or author):
“A congregation in a small town in Tennessee flew apart rather than staying together. Their place of worship had a sign in front that read, ‘LEFT FOOT BAPTIST CHURCH’. It seems a number of years ago, there had been a split in this local congregation that practiced foot-washing. An argument had broken out over which foot should be washed first. The group insisting on the left foot taking precedence finally withdrew and split off to organize its own church and named its congregation accordingly!”
I’m all for standing up for our beliefs, but that takes the cake. I wonder how many people in the area were attracted to that church by its new name.
Tags: division, fights, unity
I love collecting sermon illustrations, as you have noticed reading this blog. My all time favorite is a true story told by heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay. In his own words:
“When I was a kid in Louisville, my parents gave me a brand-new bicycle. Proud and happy, I parked it outside a gym one day. Then somebody stole it, and it just about broke my heart. Someone told me there was a policeman in the basement, and when I found him, I told him that I’d find the guy who’d stolen my bike and beat him up. When he discovered that I didn’t know how to fight, he offered to teach me. That’s how I got into boxing. To this day I never found the thief. But every time I got into the ring, I looked across at the other fighter and told myself, “Hey, that’s the guy who stole my bicycle!”
Getting good and mad can be a real motivator. Popeye used to get pushed around by Brutus until he finally announced, “That’s all I can stand. I can’t stands no more!” When pushed to the brink he ate his spinach and took action.
In our spiritual development, there must be a time when we say, “That’s all I can stand. I can’t stands no more,” and get mad enough to take action to change the situation. What are you waiting for? Get good and mad and do something about it.
Tags: anger, bicycle, fights, Muhammed Ali, Popeye, stealing
In his book Tarbell’s, Dr. William P. Barker tells that in the seventeenth century there was a French explorer named Samuel de Champlain. Champlain reported back to the Old World on many of the wonders he encountered while journeying through the New World – especially Canada. In these writings, he told one delightful story of a community in Nova Scotia that was served by both a Roman Catholic priest and a Protestant pastor.
Champlain does not detail the doctrinal disputes that arose between these two servants of the Gospel, but he explains the means by which they sought resolution of their differences. At regular intervals, the priest and the pastor engaged in public fist-fights. According to his report, crowds of settlers, Native Americans, and voyagers who were passing through would gather at the center of the village to cheer on the combatants.
Now, what’s wrong with this picture? I’m interested in your feedback.
Tags: differences, fights, Roman Catholic
Several years ago Anita and I travelled to Nigeria to speak at a pastor’s conference. On our way back home, we had seated ourselves on the airplane and were awaiting takeoff. There was a ruckus in the back of the plane and several flight attendants moved to the rear. After more yelling, the head flight attendant moved down the aisle past us and said out loud, “That’s it! I want both of them off my plane!”
It seems two Nigerian tribesmen (whose tribes are always competing with one another) were fighting over space in the luggage compartment. Neither would back down and they were both kicked off the plane. Of course, the plane had to sit there while the luggage handlers had to unload all the luggage to find these two idiots’ luggage, before we could fly. That threw everything off schedule.
Disagreements are human nature. Even Paul and his partner Barnabus had a big fight that separated them as a team. Even the angels in heaven had a disagreements and God had to kick one-third of them out of heaven.
God, however, expects better of Christians. I believe there is a better way for Christians to behave. After all, we’ll be living next door to each other all eternity.
Tags: disagreements, fights, peace