|4th of July
June 25, 2007
For Freedom We Were Set Free
by James McCullen
Humorous experiences saturate the life of my friend Burnell Lewis. One of the funniest took place over 50 years ago as Burnell participated in the Army’s basic training. A friend of his persuaded him to help him in embarrassing the Inspection Officer. This Inspection officer enjoyed going over locker and person more »
Where Do God and Country Meet?
by Melvin Newland
Where do God & country meet? How can we be good Christians & yet good citizens? Can we be both, or do we have to be one or the other? Do we have to sacrifice our love of God for love of country, or vice-versa? Well, I think we can be both good citizens & good Christians. I’m convinced that it’s not only more »
Citizens of Heaven, Impacting Earth
by Brian La Croix
The purpose of this time together today is to give us an opportunity to examine the ways that Christians can be involved in our society. You see, folks, we are to impact our society with the gospel of Christ, and we cannot do that by just telling people about Jesus. We do it also by modeling Christ-like behavior more »
America Needs a Footwashing
by Jerry DePoy
The other night at worship, my son, John Austin, asked Sheryl, "Mom, why does everybody call daddy, Brother Mitchell?" As Sheryl did her best to explain to him how we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and that we are all God’s children, John Austin’s brain was working. When she was through explaining more »
Out of Many, One
by Jim Kane
The Fourth of July is upon us again and it is a time of picnics, fireworks, and celebration! We sing “Happy Birthday” to ourselves as Americans and we again both celebrate, and are reminded of, our nation’s birth and life. There are many commercial reminders of this national holiday that offer us deals, deals, and more »
A Flag of Rags
In the final years of our imprisonment, the North Vietnamese moved us from small cells with one or two prisoners to large rooms with as many as 30-40 men to a room. We preferred this situation for the companionship and strength we could draw from our fellow prisoners. In addition to moving us to new quarters, our captors also let us receive packages and letters from home. Many men received word from their families for the first time in several years. The improved conditions were a result of public pressure put on the North Vietnamese by the American public.
In our cell was one Navy officer, Lt. Commander Mike Christian. Over a period of time Mike had gathered bits and pieces of red and white cloth from various packages. Using a piece of bamboo he had fashioned into a needle, Mike sewed a United States flag on the inside of his shirt, one of the blue pajama tops we all wore.
Every night in our cell, Mike would put his shirt on the wall, and we would say the Pledge of Allegiance. I know that the Pledge of Allegiance may not be the most important aspect of our day now, but I can tell you that at the time it was the most important aspect of our lives.
This had been going on for some time until one of the guards came in as we were reciting our pledge. They ripped the flag off the wall and dragged Mike out. He was beaten for several hours and then thrown back into the cell.
Later that night, as we were settling down to sleep on the concrete slabs that were our beds, I looked over to the spot where the guards had thrown Mike. There, under the solitary light bulb hanging from the ceiling, I saw Mike. Still bloody and his face swollen beyond recognition, Mike was gathering bits and pieces of cloth together. He was sewing a new American flag.
SOURCE: A Flag of Rags, Citation: John McCain.
Contributed by: A. Todd Coget
Watchmen on the Walls of Freedom
"We in this country, in this generation, are by destiny rather than choice the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of peace on earth, goodwill toward men."
--John F. Kennedy (from a speech that was never delivered, due to Kennedy’s death)
SOURCE: Presidential Prayer Team Update for April 4, 2003.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn’t know what to do. Napoleon’s massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church.
The pastor rose and said, "Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord’s resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us." The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left. SOURCE: Izak Shipman
How Much Do You Know?
In a recent Constitution Poll commissioned by the National Constitution Center, fewer than 50 percent of the respondents knew how many U.S. Senators there are; only 6 percent could name the four rights guaranteed by the First Amendment; and 84 percent thought the Constitution states that "all men are equal."
Last year, in a promotion to introduce a new printer, Hewlett-Packard conducted an American History quiz among 1000 adults in the United States. Two-thirds of respondents didn’t know that the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia and one-third didn’t know that the Fourth of July is celebrated to mark the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.
George Washington, in his Farewell Address of 1796.
SOURCE: William J. Bennett. Our Sacred Honor: The Spirit of America.
Finding Water During the Dry Times (for Pastors)
Pastoring Your Virtual Flock