Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Five Great Lessons

 Five Great Lessons

Story One

During the second month of nursing school, a professor gave a pop quiz to the students. 

            One student was a conscientious student and had breezed through the question, until he read the last question on the quiz.

            What is the first name of the woman who cleans this school?

Surely this was some kind of joke.

            He had seen the cleaning woman several times.

She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would he know her name?

            He handed in his paper, leaving the last question blank.

Before class ended, on student asked if the last question would count toward the quiz grade.

            “Absolutely,” said the professor.

“In you careers you will meet many people.

            All people are significant.”

They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say, “hello.”

            That is the first lesson for us to learn today.

Lesson One:               “All people are significant.”


Story Two

            One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm.

            Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.

Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

            A young white man stopped to help her  - generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1060s.

            The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

            She seemed to be in a big hurry!

She wrote down his name and address and thanked him and drove away.

            Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door.

To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.

            A special not was attached.  It read, “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night.  The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits.  Then you came along.  Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away.  God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.  Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole

            Lesson two:                We are to unselfishly serve others.

Story Three

            In the days when an ice cream sundae cost must less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table.

            A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

“How much is an ice cream sundae?”

            “Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it.

            “How much is a dish of plain ice cream,” he inquired.

Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient.

            “Thirty-five cents,” she said brusquely.

The little boy again counted the coins, “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

            The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away, perturbed and her table had been taken up, never to be seen by the boy again..

            The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed.

When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw.

            There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies – her tip.

            Lesson Three:                        Always remember those whom you serve.


Story Four

            In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway.

Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.

            Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.

            Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but noe did anything about getting the big stone out of the way.

            Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables.

On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. 

            After much pushing and staining, he finally succeeded.

As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. 

            The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. 

            The peasant learned what many others will never understand.

Lesson Four:

            Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one’s condition.

                        Emotional, spiritual


Story Five

            Many years ago, a young man was a volunteer at Stanford Hospital, and he got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease.

            Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5 year old brother who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.

            The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

            He hesitated for just a second and then said, “Yes, I will do it if it will save Liz.”

            As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as everyone did around the bed, seeing the color return to Liz’s cheecks.

            Then the five year old’s face grew pale and his smiled faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”


Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor.  He thought he was going to have to going to have to give his sister all of his blood.

            Lesson Five:                           Attitude, after all, is everything!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Dr. Steven McMillen, in his book, These Diseases, tells the story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she received the questionnaire part of the college application.

There was a question that asked, “Are You a Leader?”
   Being an honest and conscientious person she wrote in the blank, “No”
She put the possibility of going to this particular college behind and her and began applying elsewhere.
   To her surprise, she received a response letter to her application.  It said,  “Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders.  We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least on follower.”

When it comes to living out our faith, are we ready to follow or are we only willing to lead?

Those situations in your life: when someone asks you to assist them in some form of Christian Service or activity.  Do you get involved and immediately want to start to take control?  Do your tend to quickly offer friendly suggestions and advice because you know that with just a few changes you can make what they are doing better?

And soon, do you start to lead, even though you were there to follow and to assist?
Jesus said, "Follow Me."  If we can find a way to give up control of our lives to the Lord, Jesus might just lead us to accomplish something amazing WITH Christ in control.
Follow me on Twitter where I will regularly be offering spiritual reflections: aaronnagelnj

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Following Christ

This is a concern we have for people we care about.

Many people pass through religion and church with their eyes only have gazed on the truth of faith, ever waiting to turn their attention to present day spirituality.  We have a desire that those whom we know, love and care about will want to believe in God and have a desire to follow in the footsteps of the faith.

There is an internal recognition that God exists, that the Lord Jesus is present… and yet people, especially young people, can have difficulty grappling with the perplexity and confusion and doubts that go along with the building up of their faith.  There is a mysterious ability for some to talk themselves out of believing by allowing their puzzlement to grasp hold and consume the desire of faith.

Theologian Donald Baille said, “You can go on bravely in the path of duty and purity and love.  So much of Christ is plain to you, and so far you can follow him with your eyes wide open.  And if you are perplexed about this or that, Christ says, “What is that to you, Follow me.”

I know that the perplexities of the world create confusion in your faith… and sometimes you get stuck in your belief… when that happens…  set your mind on Jesus, he says, Follow Me.      

Some time ago, my boys were playing Monopoly.  They next morning it was on the floor, so I said to my son, “Can you pick up the Monopoly game?”  And he said, “What about my brother?”

That was Peter’s response when called by Jesus.  Peter has been issued a challenge to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  Follow me, Christ says. 

Peter could have said you know I love you Lord and you know I will follow you to the ends of the earth.  Or, Yes, I will follow you, what would you have me do for you.  Or even better, tell me how to follow you, how am I to feed you lambs and tend your sheep.

Instead, his response to Christ challenge is to begin talking about the other person present.

You want me to follow you Jesus. What about him?  What about John?  What about that other guy? Is he going to be with you?  Is John going to be part of your ministry and church forever?  Is John supposed to follow you like me?  Shouldn’t he be challenged to serve you as much as I am being challenged

Jesus, tell me what is going to happen to him.  What commitment is he going to have to make?

Donald Baille said we have a lesson to learn here, “Don’t worry about what other people are doing, follow Christ.”

There are so many ways people try to evade Christ’s challenge to follow him.  Some begin to compare their faith and belief with others and say I’ll never have faith like that, and so it becomes much easier to stay in a cycle of mediocre belief.  Others point to the faults of Christians and the people of faith who have fallen in life and it allows them to make an excuse as to why they should not follow Christ themselves.  Some do not follow Christ because to do so would require a drastic change in their lives.  They might even have to reconfigure their priorities.

I read recently a very sad statistic, 85% of high school students stop going to church when they go off to college and less than 15% will ever return.

The message we need to give to young people and ourselves is: Don’t worry about what other people are doing, follow Christ.

Donald Baille wrote, “There is nothing on earth greater than the Church.  It is part of the very essence of the gospel.  Its fellowship is near the heart of the Christian life. 

 Life is the living out of faith.  Christ says follow me.  Don’t just be a member of the Church, be a follower of Christ.

It is a timeless message.  The Lord Jesus came and said, follow me.

Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, go forth and proclaim the Gospel, baptize people in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  The role of the church is to make the church alive in the lives of people.  For the sole purpose of providing an opportunity for some to hear the call of Jesus, to hear the voice of Christ say, “Follow Me.”

Follow me on Twitter where I will regularly be offering spiritual reflections: aaronnagelnj