<ul><li>The </li></ul><ul><li>First Light Factor </li></ul><ul><li>Jeff Strite </li></ul>http:// www.sermoncentral.com/ser...
<ul><li>Nine men lay trapped 240 feet beneath the ground in a coal mine in Pennsylvania. </li></ul><ul><li>A nearby older ...
<ul><li>They rapped on the rock ceiling- 9 taps every ten minutes - hoping someone using specialized listening equipment c...
<ul><li>Another one of the miners asked if anyone had a pen. He wrote a note on cardboard to his wife and kids, telling th...
<ul><li>When nine notes had been placed inside the bucket, the lid was snapped on and the bucket lashed to a boulder so it...
<ul><li>Nine men. 240 feet below the surface.  Unable to dig their own way out to freedom. Facing the prospect of certain ...
<ul><li>But in their heart of hearts they just knew there was someone up above them. And if that someone could just reach ...
<ul><li>They had hope... </li></ul><ul><li>but they also had to face reality. Theirs was a dark world with no real promise...
<ul><li>Comedian Tim Allen was asked, “Was it difficult to be a parent after losing your father in a car accident with a d...
<ul><li>It’s a very peculiar place on philosophical and metaphysical and religious levels. I love human beings because we’...
<ul><li>In “ A Free Man’s Worship”  Bertrand Russell writes: Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race th...
<ul><li>for Man, condemned today to lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains on...
<ul><li>to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built; undismayed by the empire of </li></ul><ul><li>chance, to p...
<ul><li>for a moment, his knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but unyielding Atlas, the world that h...
<ul><li>Now, that’s fairly depressing. But there are people all around us – just like Bertrand Russell, just like Tim Alle...
<ul><li>Ecclesiastes 3:11  NIV   He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of m...
<ul><li>Ecclesiastes 3:11   explains that one of the reasons this world is so dissatisfying and frustrating to so many is ...
<ul><li>‛ ôlâm,  o-lawm' </li></ul><ul><li>properly  concealed , that is, the  vanishing  point; generally time  out   o...
<ul><li>&quot;darkness&quot;; perhaps &quot;eternity&quot; or &quot;the future.&quot; The meaning of the noun  עֹלָם   ('o...
<ul><li>Here is how it is translated:  </li></ul><ul><li>ACV, ASV, ESV, GW, MKJV, NASB, </li></ul><ul><li>NIV, RSV, VW, WE...
<ul><li>Could it be said, “Mankind is ignorant and desires to gain knowledge about what God has done and plans to do?”   G...
<ul><li>And so, when people see and experience those harsh realities, they are filled with frustration and confusion. This...
<ul><li>I got to thinking, maybe – when God set  eternity  in our hearts - maybe that “glimpse of  eternity ” was like tur...
<ul><li>Ephesians 5:14  tells us that “… it is light that makes everything visible...&quot; And that makes sense. If you g...
<ul><li>And I got to thinking that must have been how our world first looked when God exposed it to light. Do you remember...
<ul><li>If you’d been present on that 1st day of creation, what do you think the world would have looked like? The previou...
<ul><li>It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t filled with life It wasn’t filled with hope. It was formless and….empty.  </li></ul><u...
<ul><li>But then I noticed what Ecclesiastes said, just before it explained that God has set  eternity  in our hearts:  Ec...
<ul><li>But 2 days later, </li></ul><ul><li>you’d have seen flowers and trees and grass. The day after that you’d have bee...
<ul><li>The day after that you’d have seen fish and whales playing and swimming in the sea, and bright and colorful birds ...
<ul><li>And ultimately, on that 6th day, you’d have seen the first human couple. A man and a woman - beautiful, pure, unde...
<ul><li>In His time, God had filled the entire earth with beauty and life… and hope. He made ALL things beautiful in His t...
<ul><li>And you know, that is the promise God has made to us. He has promised us that – in His time (not necessarily ours)...
<ul><li>Now, that doesn’t say that all things are good. And it doesn’t say that everything that happens to us was brought ...
<ul><li>He makes ALL things beautiful in His time. But there are many people in this world that don’t see that. They don’t...
<ul><li>And God tells us that they can’t see what He CAN do because:   Ecclesiastes 3:11b,c  NIV   yet they cannot fathom ...
<ul><li>Either they reject things that the Bible and Christians tell them, like Bertrand Russell did, or they’ve not been ...
<ul><li>They just can’t FATHOM </li></ul><ul><li>what God has done for </li></ul><ul><li>others. </li></ul><ul><li>They ar...
<ul><li>The preacher was telling him why he’d become a preacher to begin with. He explained that he’d once been an alcohol...
<ul><li>Is that true???? Of course it was true. If it wasn’t true, why would the preacher tell the story? I’ve heard of a ...
<ul><li>And yet, that very story stirred his imagination. Is that true? Can it be true? Would God really do such a thing? ...
<ul><li>You see, even though he was skeptical. God had placed inside his heart the hope that there just might be something...
<ul><li>Someone who could reach down into a darkened world and change lives and rescue us from the darkness and frustratio...
<ul><li>Now, I’ve said all that, </li></ul><ul><li>to say this: There are people you work next to every day, neighbors you...
<ul><li>Maybe they’ve been a bit </li></ul><ul><li>hostile to your faith. Maybe they’re argumentative when it comes to the...
<ul><li>That negativity in their response to you is a good thing. It’s a mark that they feel the “ eternity ” that God has...
<ul><li>In fact in we’re told   2 Timothy 2:23  NIV   Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because...
<ul><li>25   Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to...
<ul><li>You see – you don’t have to argue anybody into the kingdom. God has planted the seed of   “ eternity ”   in their ...
<ul><li>Could this not mean   “in   its time”   the   “eternity ”   God has put into their hearts will become   “beautiful...
<ul><li>That’s a logical conclusion. If I’m not satisfied with this life maybe it’s because I was made for a different kin...
<ul><li>And we’ve GOT that </li></ul><ul><li>“ something better” The folks around us may not accept that truth right away....
<ul><li>They’re not going to bother to wait around for God to “do His thing” in their lives if He hasn’t done “His thing” ...
<ul><li>There are folks out there who live in dark and hopeless worlds who are just looking for some proof that tells them...
<ul><li>It was July, 2002, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Nine miners – 240 feet below the surface of the earth. For 3 day...
<ul><li>Unable to free themselves </li></ul><ul><li>from their tomb. They knew they had </li></ul><ul><li>minutes left to ...
<ul><li>And then they heard a voice. “Can you hear me?” They almost couldn’t believe it. They didn’t speak for a moment ou...
<ul><li>Then they heard the voice again: “Can you hear me?” &quot;Yes… we can hear you.&quot; And thus began the rescue of...
<ul><li>THIS IS REAL!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Who do you know that needs light in their lives? Will they come to that light be...
<ul><li>Matthew 5:15  NIV   Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and ...
<ul><li>This is our job, our duty, our service, our Joy! Letting our light shine in all we do, every day. It is in the lig...
<ul><li>(The first and last illustrations came from stories in Readers Digest, November 2002 and Guideposts November of 20...
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The First Light Factor

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This sermon is by Jeff Strite. It can be found at:
http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=127559

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The First Light Factor

  1. 1. <ul><li>The </li></ul><ul><li>First Light Factor </li></ul><ul><li>Jeff Strite </li></ul>http:// www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID =127559
  2. 2. <ul><li>Nine men lay trapped 240 feet beneath the ground in a coal mine in Pennsylvania. </li></ul><ul><li>A nearby older mine - filled with tons of water - had been breached and now that water had forced these miners to a dead end shaft, an 18 x 70 foot air pocket that was illuminated only by the lamps on their helmets. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>They rapped on the rock ceiling- 9 taps every ten minutes - hoping someone using specialized listening equipment could hear them. The leader of the miners gave it to them straight: In another hour, he estimated, all of them would be dead. There was quiet. There were tears. There were silent prayers. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Another one of the miners asked if anyone had a pen. He wrote a note on cardboard to his wife and kids, telling them he loved them. He put the note in a white plastic bucket and offered the pen to the others. Each man wrote his goodbyes to loved ones. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>When nine notes had been placed inside the bucket, the lid was snapped on and the bucket lashed to a boulder so it would be found. A 3rd miner then grabbed steel cable from the materials normally used in a working mine. He looped it onto their belts saying that if they were to die, they would do so as a team, as a family. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Nine men. 240 feet below the surface. Unable to dig their own way out to freedom. Facing the prospect of certain - and inevitable - death in a dark world. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>But in their heart of hearts they just knew there was someone up above them. And if that someone could just reach them, that someone could save them. But they had no way of knowing whether or not that someone actually was there. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>They had hope... </li></ul><ul><li>but they also had to face reality. Theirs was a dark world with no real promise of salvation. There are people who walk around us every day who see this world the same way - as a dark and harsh place to live. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Comedian Tim Allen was asked, “Was it difficult to be a parent after losing your father in a car accident with a drunk driver?” ?” “I never really recovered. The world’s a mean place. It’s unfair, then it’s fair. It’s hateful, then it’s loving. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>It’s a very peculiar place on philosophical and metaphysical and religious levels. I love human beings because we’re very courageous in the peculiar place that we live: reality.” </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>In “ A Free Man’s Worship” Bertrand Russell writes: Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls </li></ul><ul><li>on its relentless way; </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>for Man, condemned today to lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day; disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of Fate, </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built; undismayed by the empire of </li></ul><ul><li>chance, to preserve a mind free from the wanton tyranny that rules his outward life; </li></ul><ul><li>proudly defiant of the irresistible forces that tolerate, </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>for a moment, his knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but unyielding Atlas, the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious power. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Now, that’s fairly depressing. But there are people all around us – just like Bertrand Russell, just like Tim Allen – who see their present and their future as being harsh, dark, frustrating… and hopeless. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Ecclesiastes 3:11 explains that one of the reasons this world is so dissatisfying and frustrating to so many is because God has set “ eternity in the hearts of men .” The word translated eternity is hard to get a handle on. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>‛ ôlâm, o-lawm' </li></ul><ul><li>properly concealed , that is, the vanishing point; generally time out of mind (past or future), that is, (practically) eternity ; frequentative adverbially (especially with prepositional prefix) always : - always (-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, [n-]) ever (-lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+ without end). (Strongs) </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>&quot;darkness&quot;; perhaps &quot;eternity&quot; or &quot;the future.&quot; The meaning of the noun עֹלָם ('olam) is debated. It may mean: (1) &quot;ignorance&quot;; (2) time reference: (a) &quot;eternity&quot; or (b) &quot;the future&quot;; or (3) &quot;knowledge&quot; (less likely). </li></ul><ul><li>(NET Bible Notes) </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Here is how it is translated: </li></ul><ul><li>ACV, ASV, ESV, GW, MKJV, NASB, </li></ul><ul><li>NIV, RSV, VW, WEB = eternity , </li></ul><ul><li>Bishops = ignoraunce , </li></ul><ul><li>NET = ignorance , </li></ul><ul><li>YLT = knowledge , </li></ul><ul><li>GNB = desire to know the future , </li></ul><ul><li>MSG = he's left us in the dark , </li></ul><ul><li>CEV = he puts questions in our minds , </li></ul><ul><li>CAB, Darby, KJV, RV = World </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Could it be said, “Mankind is ignorant and desires to gain knowledge about what God has done and plans to do?” God has given us an innate understanding that this world was not created to be this way. It was not created to be unfair and hateful and mean. </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>And so, when people see and experience those harsh realities, they are filled with frustration and confusion. This is not the way it was meant to be. They sense this world should be filled with light and goodness. But much of what they can see is darkness and hypocrisy and emptiness. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>I got to thinking, maybe – when God set eternity in our hearts - maybe that “glimpse of eternity ” was like turning a spotlight onto the harshness of our present world. Ephesians 5:14 NIV for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead,and Christ will shine on you.” </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Ephesians 5:14 tells us that “… it is light that makes everything visible...&quot; And that makes sense. If you go into a dark room, and turn on the light you either see a room that orderly and attractive, or clutter and messiness… or perhaps even an empty, barren room. </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>And I got to thinking that must have been how our world first looked when God exposed it to light. Do you remember what Genesis says was created on the first day? </li></ul><ul><li>Light Genesis 1:3 NIV And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>If you’d been present on that 1st day of creation, what do you think the world would have looked like? The previous verse in Genesis says: Genesis 1:2a,b NIV Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep …. </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t filled with life It wasn’t filled with hope. It was formless and….empty. </li></ul><ul><li>That’s how much of life seems to many people who live around us today. They see it as empty and formless. They see little if any beauty or life or hope. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>But then I noticed what Ecclesiastes said, just before it explained that God has set eternity in our hearts: Ecclesiastes 3:11a NIV He has made everything beautiful in its time. </li></ul><ul><li>If you’d been on earth on that 1st day of creation you’d have seen an empty and formless world. </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>But 2 days later, </li></ul><ul><li>you’d have seen flowers and trees and grass. The day after that you’d have been dazzled by the sight of the sun, the moon and innumerable stars. </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>The day after that you’d have seen fish and whales playing and swimming in the sea, and bright and colorful birds filling the air with their songs. And on the sixth day, you’d have thought you’d walked into a zoo with lions, and tigers, camels and elephants and all kinds of animals roaring and barking and yelping. </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>And ultimately, on that 6th day, you’d have seen the first human couple. A man and a woman - beautiful, pure, undefiled, filled with love for each other, for the world they’d been given, and most importantly – filled with love for their God. </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>In His time, God had filled the entire earth with beauty and life… and hope. He made ALL things beautiful in His time. </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>And you know, that is the promise God has made to us. He has promised us that – in His time (not necessarily ours) He’d make all things beautiful. He promises us that: Romans 8:28 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>Now, that doesn’t say that all things are good. And it doesn’t say that everything that happens to us was brought about by God. But it does say that, no matter what happens in your life, whether it’s good or evil, God is capable and willing to work it into the fabric of our lives so that ultimately, we see the power and love of God. </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>He makes ALL things beautiful in His time. But there are many people in this world that don’t see that. They don’t see the beauty that God CAN do in their lives. All they can see is the emptiness and formlessness. All they can see is what is real for them right now. </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>And God tells us that they can’t see what He CAN do because: Ecclesiastes 3:11b,c NIV yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. </li></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>Either they reject things that the Bible and Christians tell them, like Bertrand Russell did, or they’ve not been exposed to those witnesses to God. They’ve not heard or understood the stories from Scripture. Or the stories of the lives of people God has touched. </li></ul>
  38. 38. <ul><li>They just can’t FATHOM </li></ul><ul><li>what God has done for </li></ul><ul><li>others. </li></ul><ul><li>They are totally mystified </li></ul><ul><li>by this concept. </li></ul><ul><li>I recently heard of a very intelligent man who was talking to a preacher he’d just met. </li></ul>
  39. 39. <ul><li>The preacher was telling him why he’d become a preacher to begin with. He explained that he’d once been an alcoholic, but when he became a Christian God took that desire away from him. The other man looked at the preacher and asked: “Is that true?” </li></ul>
  40. 40. <ul><li>Is that true???? Of course it was true. If it wasn’t true, why would the preacher tell the story? I’ve heard of a number of people who’ve experienced the same freedom from God. But the 1st man couldn’t FATHOM how God could change someone else. It was totally foreign to his thinking. </li></ul>
  41. 41. <ul><li>And yet, that very story stirred his imagination. Is that true? Can it be true? Would God really do such a thing? </li></ul>
  42. 42. <ul><li>You see, even though he was skeptical. God had placed inside his heart the hope that there just might be something beyond this mortal world. There just might be someone “Out there” </li></ul>
  43. 43. <ul><li>Someone who could reach down into a darkened world and change lives and rescue us from the darkness and frustration of this present life. </li></ul>
  44. 44. <ul><li>Now, I’ve said all that, </li></ul><ul><li>to say this: There are people you work next to every day, neighbors you say “hi” to, relatives you talk to on a regular basis, And you know, </li></ul><ul><li>they’re not Christians. </li></ul>
  45. 45. <ul><li>Maybe they’ve been a bit </li></ul><ul><li>hostile to your faith. Maybe they’re argumentative when it comes to the issue of religion. And when these folks become hostile and argumentative, you know what you should do? You should rejoice! </li></ul>
  46. 46. <ul><li>That negativity in their response to you is a good thing. It’s a mark that they feel the “ eternity ” that God has set into their hearts. Now, you’ll never win these folks over by arguing with them. </li></ul>
  47. 47. <ul><li>In fact in we’re told 2 Timothy 2:23 NIV Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. </li></ul><ul><li>24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. </li></ul>
  48. 48. <ul><li>25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, </li></ul><ul><li>26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. </li></ul>
  49. 49. <ul><li>You see – you don’t have to argue anybody into the kingdom. God has planted the seed of “ eternity ” in their hearts. We commented earlier concerning “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” </li></ul><ul><li>And that sense of “ eternity ” will be “made - beautiful in its time.” </li></ul>
  50. 50. <ul><li>Could this not mean “in its time” the “eternity ” God has put into their hearts will become “beautiful” and show them there’s something more to this world than what they can see right now. </li></ul>
  51. 51. <ul><li>That’s a logical conclusion. If I’m not satisfied with this life maybe it’s because I was made for a different kind of life. If this world looks dark and dreary to me, maybe it’s because there IS something better. </li></ul>
  52. 52. <ul><li>And we’ve GOT that </li></ul><ul><li>“ something better” The folks around us may not accept that truth right away. But it doesn’t matter whether they do or not… IT IS REAL. We’ve got it – they need it! But the only way they’ll believe is if they see that God is real to you. </li></ul>
  53. 53. <ul><li>They’re not going to bother to wait around for God to “do His thing” in their lives if He hasn’t done “His thing” in you. If you’re the type that complains about everything in your life, they won’t buy your Jesus If you’re always angry, or frustrated, or down in the mouth, they won’t buy into your Jesus. </li></ul>
  54. 54. <ul><li>There are folks out there who live in dark and hopeless worlds who are just looking for some proof that tells them there’s someone out there. There’s somebody looking for me. There’s someone who can free me from the emptiness of my life. </li></ul>
  55. 55. <ul><li>It was July, 2002, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Nine miners – 240 feet below the surface of the earth. For 3 days trapped in a dark world. </li></ul>
  56. 56. <ul><li>Unable to free themselves </li></ul><ul><li>from their tomb. They knew they had </li></ul><ul><li>minutes left to live They had said their goodbyes and roped themselves together to face death as a family. </li></ul>
  57. 57. <ul><li>And then they heard a voice. “Can you hear me?” They almost couldn’t believe it. They didn’t speak for a moment out of fear it was an illusion. </li></ul>
  58. 58. <ul><li>Then they heard the voice again: “Can you hear me?” &quot;Yes… we can hear you.&quot; And thus began the rescue of nine miners who had long ago </li></ul><ul><li>given up hope. It was when they heard the voice… and responded… that they knew someone WAS up there. </li></ul>
  59. 59. <ul><li>THIS IS REAL!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Who do you know that needs light in their lives? Will they come to that light because you’re letting Jesus, </li></ul><ul><li>THE LIGHT OF </li></ul><ul><li>ALL THE WORLD </li></ul><ul><li>shine through you? </li></ul>
  60. 60. <ul><li>Matthew 5:15 NIV Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. </li></ul>
  61. 61. <ul><li>This is our job, our duty, our service, our Joy! Letting our light shine in all we do, every day. It is in the light reflecting through us people are able to see the source of the light, Jesus . </li></ul>
  62. 62. <ul><li>(The first and last illustrations came from stories in Readers Digest, November 2002 and Guideposts November of 2002). </li></ul>

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