Short and Sweet

AVERAGE LIFE SPANS ARE shorter than most of us realize. Unlike the great redwood trees that can last for a thousand years, most other things come and go quickly. Several examples illustrate how temporary things really are: Copper plumbing: twenty to twenty-five years; Face-lift: six to ten years; Car muffler: two to three years; Dollar bill: five to six years

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Make a Difference at Christmas

SOMEBODY COPIED THIS piece from a well-worn carbon in the billfold of a thirty-year veteran missionary. She and her husband were on their way to another tour of duty in Sudan. No one seems to know who authored it, but it captures the essence of the greatest essay ever written on love.

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Monuments

THE FOUR MONUMENTS OF HUMAN NATURE: Fortune, Fame, Power, Pleasure Built in clusters, making them appear formidable . . . and acceptable. As the idols in ancient Athens, our society is saturated with them. Fortune. How neatly it fits our times! Its inscription at the base is bold: “Get rich.” The figure in the statue is impressive—a hardworking young executive, a clever, diligent businessman unwilling to admit the greed behind his long hours and relentless drive.

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Show Some Heart

WEBSTER DEFINES THE WORD “cordial” as of or relating to the heart: vital, tending to revive, cheer, or invigorate, heartfelt, gracious. That’s really a mouthful; in fact, that’s worth a few minutes of our time together. Being cordial starts from the heart, as I see it. How do we project cordiality? In answer to that question, allow me to offer four special ingredients: 1. Warm smiles. Now lest you try, let me warn you against faking this. You don’t learn to smile by practicing in front of a mirror.

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The Gift of Admiration

YEARS AGO, when I pastored in California, an usher met me as I was leaving the church. He had been involved in counting the morning offering. He smiled as he walked up to me, stuck out his hand, and said, “I’ve got something for you. It came in the offering.” He handed me a note from a child who had been in our service. It read: TO PASTER CHUCK SWINDOL, I don’t think you know me but I shur know you. You are a very good speeker for Jesus Christ.

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A Source of All Comfort

You are never more like God when you are available to those who suffer. I urge you to be available for the long haul to that one who is grieving a devastating loss of a loved one.

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Ministering Together

In every ministry there are at least three essentials that produce an atmosphere of joyous cooperation. They are objectives, people, and places. First, whatever God plans, He pursues. That has to do with the ministry essential of objectives.

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Good and Bad Advice

Every person reading this chapter has been the recipient of bad advice. You listened as someone gave it to you. You followed the counsel you received and then suffered the consequences.

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Outgoing Love

His face was covered with a full beard. His hair fell almost to his shoulders. When he smiled, his white teeth flashed in contrast to the blanket of brown that concealed his skin. His eyes were blue, clear, and alert. His laughter was strong and familiar to my ears. It reminded me of the times we sat together as friends in seminary, wrestling with reason and trying to unscrew the inscrutable.

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