Recently I witnessed an unusual accountability partnership at my church. In an effort to break his habit of using profanity, Paul started meeting with another guy from church, and they set up an aggressive plan for holiness. Each Sunday, Paul would report to William how many times he cussed during the week, and he'd put $5 in the offering plate for each incident. The first week cost Paul $100. Although following weeks improved somewhat, he wasn't having the success he wanted and was losing a lot of hard-earned cash. After the fourth week, William told Paul he had unilaterally changed the deal for the coming week, but he wouldn't tell Paul how. Paul wanted to know, but all William would say was, "Trust me. It will cost you both less and more." The following Sunday before worship, Paul was looking a bit down, obviously having failed again. William put a hand on his shoulder and said, "Paul, this will cost you both less and more. It's called grace." At that he took out a check made out to the church, dated and signed by William. Only the amount was blank. "Your sin still costs, but for you it's free. Just fill in the numbers. And next week there will be more grace." That first week of grace cost William $55, but the second only cost him $20. There was no third week. It cost Paul too much to fill in those checks, so he quit sinning.permalink source: Bill White, Paramount, California
When I was in seventh grade, the school tried to scare us to death about using alcohol. We saw a film about a party where students danced and listened to music. One guy invited his friends to the back room for drinks, and another guy passed out. They couldn't revive him, so they called the ambulance. The paramedics rushed to the hospital where someone called the parents. Mom was crying. Dad was crying. The doctors stuck needles in his veins and tubes up his nose. The moral of the movie was "Don't drink alcohol or they'll stick needles in your veins, tubes up your nose, and your parents will cry." We were convinced that none of us would ever drink alcohol if that's what they were going to do to us. We even stayed clear of the water fountain, I think, the rest of that day. Then they brought in another film, whose plot was basically the same, but the moral this time was "Don't take drugs." Another time, we got to look at and touch the lung of some poor soul who had smoked all his life. The object was, "If you smoke, your lung will look like this, and kids will touch it." We were convinced there in the seventh grade that we would never ever smoke cigarettes. Another movie is still shown today in driver-education courses. It makes slasher films look like they are PG or G. Photographers have filmed the scenes of car wrecks before the paramedics get there. From accident after accident, there are shots of crushed cars and mangled bodies. I thought the moral of that movie was, "Don't ever get in a car." We seventh graders were convinced that under no circumstances would we ever drink, smoke, take drugs, or drive recklessly, if at all. Yet, soon after we entered high school, most of my friends were smoking. Just about everybody was drinking, and I lost several of my friends to drug overdoses. How could we be convinced that something was deadly, unhealthy, and unwise, yet not act on our beliefs? Today many of you are involved in things that a year or two ago you never dreamed you would do.... What happened to my friends in the seventh grade also happens to us. We have preferences. Yet we have very few convictions.permalink source: Andy Stanley, Preference vs. Conviction
A recent study at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health unveiled the not-so-surprising finding that the more teenagers a teen driver has in the car, the more likely he or she will be killed in an accident. A 16-year-old driving with three or more passengers is nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than a teen driving solo. Why does this happen? Two things come to mind: First, groupthink leads people to do things they normally would not (driving fast and recklessly, for example). And second, when you're in a group it's easy to get distracted. Distraction can lead to death. When groupthink dominates your life, it can also lead to spiritual death.permalink source: YouthSpecialties Email
Did you hear the story of that important business executive who boarded the New-Orleans-to-Washington train? He was a heavy sleeper and he needed to be awakened in order to get off the train in Atlanta about five o'clock in the morning. He had a very important business engagement there so he found a porter and told him, "I want you to awaken me in order that I might get off the train at five o'clock in the morning. Now I'm a heavy sleeper," he said. "It doesn't matter how much I fret and fuss and fume or what I do to you — I have to get off the train in Atlanta. If you have to remove me bodily," he said, "you get me off that train in Atlanta." "Well, the next morning he awakened about 9 o'clock, having slept all night and having missed Atlanta, found that he was speeding toward Washington. He located the porter and really poured it on with all sorts of abusive language, almost attacking the poor guy bodily. After he left, someone said to the porter, "How could you stand there and take that kind of talk from that man?" The porter said, rather bewildered, 'That ain't nothin'! You should've heard that guy I put off in Atlanta!'" "Many of us not only fail to get off at the right station, we miss the train — and too many of us, I'm afraid, miss the train of the total gospel message. That's the reason we have to read the rest of the story — and we have to think about the walk from Emmaus."permalink source: Sermon by Maxie Dunnam "The Walk From Emmaus"
Almost all reformers, however strict their social conscience, live in houses as big as they can pay for.permalink source: Logan Pearsall Smith
What we suffer fromâ€¦is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.permalink source: G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy