Thought Provokers for Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016

mustard-seed-faith-matthew-1720

Prayer is not asking.
Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God,
at his disposition,
and listening to his voice in the depths of our hearts.

Mother Teresa

* * * * * * * * * *

The little girl prayed, “God, find Dad a new job, and help mother with her arthritis, and get Charlie some good graces for a change.”

And then she paused and said in her most grown-up voice, “And I am getting sick and tired of praying all the time without getting any results.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Do not pray for an easy life.
Pray to be a stronger person.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.
Pray for powers equal to your tasks.

Phillips Brooks
Author of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

* * * * * * * * * *

God is not a cosmic bell-boy
for whom we can press a button to get things done.

Harry Emerson Fosdick

* * * * * * * * * *

As the floor is swept every day,
so is the soul cleansed every day by confession.

Hugh Connolly

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016

lazarus-poor

These thought provokers may help you meditating the Gospel of the day: Luke 16:19-31
*
****************************************************************************

Christianity for the first time made charity a rudimentary virtue….
It effected a complete revolution in this sphere,
by regarding the poor as the special representatives of the Christian Founder
and thus making the love of Christ rather than the love of man
the principle of charity.

W.E.H. Lecky

* * * * * * * * * *

Erich Honecker held several of the highest offices in Communist East Germany for almost two decades. He was instrumental in persecuting the church and denying benefits to Christians. Then in 1989, the Berlin Wall fell–and Honecker fell with it. Removed from office and arrested for treason, Honecker and his wife were ailing and helpless.

But Pastor Uwe Holmer and his wife, whose family had suffered under Honecker’s regime, took the Honeckers into their home and provided for their medical care.

The Holmers were much criticized for their benevolence, because people hated Honecker. But Pastor Holmer explained:

“My wife and I feel that everything gets turned around
when all the weakness, all the mistakes, and all the crimes of the past era
are heaped on the shoulders of one man.
If we don’t learn to seek guilt in ourselves,
we’ll never work through the events of the past.”

* * * * * * * * * *

The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry person,
the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it,
the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes,
the money which you hoard away belongs to the poor.

Basil the Great

* * * * * * * * * *

I saw a stranger last night.
And I put food in the eating place,
drink in the drinking place,
music in the listening place,
and I heard the lark sing in his song,
often, often, often,
goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise.

A Gaelic poem

* * * * * * * * * *

The test of true religion
is not how we treat the man who holds a high position in society,
but how we treat the man who has no position to hold;
not how we respond to the call of the man who wields power,
but how we respond to the call of the man who has no power to command us.
Religion is not how we treat the rich,
but rather what attitude we take toward the poor.

Dr. Benjamin Mays

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016

steward-dishonest-steward

The Gospel reading for this Sunday is Luke 16:1-13.

God likes help
when helping people.

Anonymous

* * * * * * * * * *

The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry person,
the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it,
the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes,
the money which you hoard away belongs to the poor.

Basil the Great

* * * * * * * * * *

Of what use is it to weigh down Christ’s table with golden cups,
when he himself is dying of hunger?

First, fill him when he is hungry;
then use the means you have left to adorn his table.

Will you have a golden cup made but not give a cup of water?

Do not, therefore, adorn the church and ignore your afflicted brother,
for he is the most precious temple of all.

John Chrysostom

* * * * * * * * * *

We make a living by what we get,
But we make a life by what we give.

Anonymous

* * * * * * * * * *

The more you have the less you can give,
and the less you have the more you can give.

Mother Teresa

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016

Americans are no special pets in the eyes of God.
He loves the Russians just as much.

Billy Graham, speaking to Americans
when the Cold War was still raging hot

* * * * * * * * * *

Martin Luther said that the sweetness of the Gospel lies in pronouns such as “me”, “my”, and “thy”. The Bible speaks of Christ “who love me, and gave Himself for me.” It speaks of “Christ Jesus my Lord.” It says, “Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.”

* * * * * * * * * *

The fact of Jesus’ coming
is the final and unanswerable proof that God cares.

William Barclay

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016

cross carrying

If you want to know what we learned in 25 words or less,
giving is down because we don’t love God
as much as we love a lot of other stuff.

Sylvia Ronsvalle,
commenting on a study of Christian stewardship

* * * * * * * * * *

We do not want suffering; we want success.
We identify not with those who are low and hurt
but with those who are high and healthy.
We don’t like lepers or losers very well;
we prefer climbers and comers.
For Christians, the temptation to be conformed to this world
is desperately sweet and strong.

Yet, says the apostle Paul,
we are children of God if we suffer with Christ..
God does not give his hardest assignments to his weakest children.

Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. in Assurances of the Heart

* * * * * * * * * *

Christ died to save us, not from suffering, but from ourselves;
not from injustice, far less from justice,
but from being unjust.

He died that we might live–
but live as he lives,
by dying as he died
who died to himself that he might live unto God.

If we do not die to ourselves,
we cannot live to God,
and he that does not live to God is dead.

George MacDonald in Unspoken Sermons

* * * * * * * * * *

We in the church are making a great mistake
by trying to make Christianity popular and pleasant.

We have taken the cross away
and substituted cushions.

Billy Graham

* * * * * * * * * *

Through circumstances, often very humdrum conditions,
and sometimes through disagreeable people,
God seeks to prepare his servants
that they may be for him “broken bread and poured-out wine.”

D.W. Lambert

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, August 28, 2016

invite the poor the crippled

The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall;
the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall.

Francis Bacon

* * * * * * * * * *

Some years ago, a bishop visited a parochial school. When he asked the little boys if they would like to be priests when they grew up, several boys raised their hands. Then he asked how many would like to be bishops. One little boy raised his hand.

The other boys began to giggle at something that was going on behind the bishop’s back. When the bishop looked around, he saw several priests standing on either side of the altars with their hands raised.

* * * * * * * * * *

Heaven-gates are not so highly arch’d
As princes’ palaces;
They that enter there
Must go upon their knees.

John Webster

* * * * * * * * * *

The Church’s own littleness is the key to its greatness.
God wishes to show that man’s salvation is His work, and not man’s.

John La Farge

* * * * * * * * * *

Be humble,
that you may not be humbled.

The Talmud

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thoughts Provokers for the week ending Sunday, July 31, 2016

rich fool248

The Gospel for this Sunday is Luke 12:13-21, the parable of the rich fool.
____________________________________________________

If you think nobody cares if you’re alive,
try missing a couple of car payments.

* * * * * * * * * *

It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy,
but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while
and make sure you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.

George Horace Lorimer

* * * * * * * * * *

He that is of opinion money will do everything
may well be suspected of doing everything for money.

Benjamin Franklin

* * * * * * * * * *

Tell me what you think about money,
and I can tell you what you think about God,
for these two are closely related.
A person’s heart is closer to his wallet
than almost anything else.

Billy Graham

* * * * * * * * * *

Tell him too much money has killed men
and left them dead years before burial:
and quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs
has twisted good enough men
sometimes into dry thwarted worms.

Carl Sandburg, “The People, Yes”

* * * * * * * * * *

Gathered by Dick Donovan

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, July 24, 2016

ask seek knock

The Gospel for this Sunday is Luke 11:1-13
************************************************

As a sixteenth century mystic said,
“Prayer is not to ask what we wish of God,
but what God wishes of us.”

Harry Emerson Fosdick

* * * * * * * * * *

It is in fact one of the most precious things in life
that we can take the simple, ordinary things to God,
that God is not only the God of the great world-shaking, epoch-making events,
but that he is also the God who cares
that his humblest child may have daily bread to eat.

William Barclay

* * * * * * * * * *

Man finds it hard to get what he wants,
because he does not want the best;
God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best,
and man will not take it.

George MacDonald

* * * * * * * * * *

O, do not pray for easy lives.
Pray to be stronger.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.
Pray for powers equal to your tasks.

Phillips Brooks

* * * * * * * * * *

Love to pray.
Feel often during the day the need for prayer,
and take trouble to pray.
Prayer enlarges the heart
until it is capable of containing God’s gift of Himself.
Ask and seek,
and your heart will grow big enough to receive Him
and keep Him as your own.

Mother Teresa

* * * * * * * * * *

[Gathered by Dick Donovan]

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Thought Provokers for the week leading to Sunday, July 17, 2016

one-thing is necessary
T
hese Thought Provokers may help you meditate on the text of the Gospel for this Sunday, Luke 10:38-42

When we have met our Lord
in the silent intimacy of our prayer,
then we will also meet him in the campo,
in the market,
and in the town square.
But when we have not met him
in the center of our own hearts,
we cannot expect to meet him
in the busyness of our daily lives.

Henri J. M. Nouwen, Gracias! A Latin American Journal

* * * * * * * * * *

Prayer should be the key of the morning
and the lock of the night.

Owen Felltham

* * * * * * * * * *

Just as husband and wife live out their lives against the backdrop of being married, so do we live out the entirety of our lives against the backdrop of a constant relationship with God. He is always there, always loving us, always ready to listen to us. As we recognize his unwavering commitment to us, we are able to live in the day to day adventure and challenge of his presence. We enjoy the dialogue. It’s as if we say, “Oh, I must talk to him about this!”

John Guest

* * * * * * * * * *

Christ always lives where there is room for him.
If there is room in your heart for Christ, he lives there;
if there is room in a law office for Christ, he lives there;
if there is room on a locomotive engine, he will be there;
if there is room in a baggage car, he will be there.

Sam Jones

* * * * * * * * * *

I felt God’s presence on the moon
more than I have ever felt it here on earth.

James B. Irwin, astronaut

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers

good samaritan5586
These Thought Provokers may help you meditate on the Gospel for this coming Sunday, July 10, 2016. Luke 10:25-37
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He drew a circle that shut me out–
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.

Edwin Markham

* * * * * * * * * *

It is discouraging to try to be a good neighbor
in a bad neighborhood.

William Castle

* * * * * * * * * *

Love thy neighbor,
even when he plays the trombone.

Jewish proverb

* * * * * * * * * *

Faith without consequences is a lie.
God does not need our sacrifices
but has, nevertheless, appointed a representative to receive them,
namely our neighbor.
The neighbor always represents the invisible Christ.

J.S. Whale

* * * * * * * * * *

When asked what a person should do when they felt the onset of a nervous breakdown, Dr. Karl Menninger replied:

“Lock up your house,
go across the railroad tracks,
find someone in need,
and do something for them.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Compiled by Dick Donovan

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