Senator and presidential candidate John McCain tells of an experience he had as a POW in North Vietnam. At the infamous prison called the Hanoi Hilton, McCain had been tied up in a way to create maximum pain. A guard came in for the evening shift, put his forefinger in front of his own lips as if to say, “shh” and loosened McCain’s bonds. As the guard prepared to leave the next morning he came back to tighten them again.

Later, on Christmas Day, McCain was given a brief ten minute break outside his cell.  That guard approached. He stood next to McCain and with his foot, the guard traced a cross on the ground and very quickly erased it. There in that horrible prison, the love of Christ had gotten through to one guard and had been extended to a hurting stranger.


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We all need someone to stand by us some time. Television and print reports told the story of thirteen-year-old Natalie Gilbert. Natalie was asked to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” before a full house at a NBA playoff game. As sometimes happens, Natalie forgot the words. She closed her eyes and appeared to be on the verge of tears. Maurice Cheeks, head coach of the Portland Trailblazers, walked out on center court, placed his arm around Natalie and began singing with her. He then asked the crowd to join them. What could have been enormously embarrassing turned into a great moment.

We all need someone to stand with us in our frailties and help us become better. People might sometimes help, but Jesus always will. By the way, Natalie has been asked to sing again next year.

-Michael Shannon, Preaching July/August 2003


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Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four-year-old child whose next-door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.” (from Jimmy Gentry)

-PreachingNow Vol. 3:21


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In Stockholm, Sweden, a lady was pinned beneath a streetcar. She was seriously injured and bleeding badly. A crowd collected. They tried to move the streetcar, but it was too heavy. There was nothing to do but wait for the heavy equipment to come. She was in great pain. She was losing blood rapidly. Suddenly a young man broke away from the crowd. He crawled under the street car. He took the woman’s hand and said, “Hold my hand tightly until help comes.” In holding his hand she grew calm. She avoided going into shock. The loss of blood was slowed. Finally, after she was freed, she said, “I never knew the touch of a hand could mean so much.”

_______________
J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.


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We all need someone to stand by us some time. Television and print reports told the story of thirteen-year-old Natalie Gilbert. Natalie was asked to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” before a full house at a NBA playoff game. As sometimes happens, Natalie forgot the words. She closed her eyes and appeared to be on the verge of tears. Maurice Cheeks, head coach of the Portland Trailblazers, walked out on center court, placed his arm around Natalie and began singing with her He then asked the crowd to join them. What could have been enormously embarrassing turned into a great moment.

We all need someone to stand with us in our frailties and help us become better. People might sometimes help, but Jesus always will. By the way, Natalie has been asked to sing again next year.
_______________

J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.


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Reporters have come up with a new term to describe the lack of reaction to
disasters. They call it compassion fatigue. We are constantly inundated with
stories of human distress: famine, genocide, and earthquakes. Some say that
since we cannot help them all, we sometimes tune out such news. Certainly no
one can accuse Americans of not caring. Eight out of ten Americans give
something to charity every year. But we can see how modern news gathering and
reporting does overwhelm us with stories of disasters and we do often feel
helpless to assist even when we’d like to. Thankfully, our God never has
compassion fatigue. He is pained by all the suffering of those made in His
image. He is gracious and forgiving to those who disappoint Him. He is, as the
Bible says, “full of compassion” and “His mercy endures
forever.”


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