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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

DUMBER THAN A DONKEY

IT WAS A COOL, CLEAR MORNING.
BALAAM WAS OUTSIDE
SITTING ON A LOW ROCK
RUNNING HIS TOES THROUGH THE SAND.
HE WAS IN A FUNK BECAUSE HE HAD MISSED HIS CHANCE.

HE HAD HOPED TO BE ON THE ROAD TO RICHES.
HE HAD HOPED TO BE ON THE ROAD TO HONOR.
HE HAD HOPED TO HAVE A AUDIENCE WITH THE KING.

INSTEAD OF BEING A TRAVELLING MAN THAT DAY,
INSTEAD OF GETTING A KING'S RICHES,
HE WAS SITTING ON A ROCK,
AT HOME IN ARAM, UPPER MESOPOTAMIA,
GETTING HIS TOES DIRTY.

YOU SAY, "WHY, BRUCE? WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?"

TURN WITH ME TO NUMBERS 22. WHILE YOU ARE TURNING THERE LET ME TELL
YOU ABOUT THE GREAT WORLD EVENTS THAT CREATED THE BACKGROUND FOR
OUR STORY.

FORTY YEARS BEFORE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL HAD THROWN OFF THEIR
EGYPTIAN MASTERS. GOD TOLD THEM TO HEAD OVER TO CANAAN, BUT BECAUSE
OF UNBELIEF, THEY DID NOT ENTER IN.  INSTEAD THEY WANDERED FOR
FORTY YEARS AS A MYSTERIOUS FORCE OUT IN THE DESERT.

NOW GOD TOLD THEM TO ENTER AGAIN AND SO THEY WERE ON THE MOVE INTO
THE PLAINS OF MOAB ALONG THE JORDAN RIVER.

THEIR ARRIVAL, AS FAR AS THE MOABITES WERE CONCERNED, WAS A LOT
LIKE AN ALIEN ARMY VISITING OUR PLANET FROM OUTER SPACE.

IF I ASKED YOU, YOU COULD LIST ALL THE MAJOR MILITARY POWERS IN OUR
WORLD (OTHER THAN THE U.S.): CHINA, FRANCE, BRITAIN, INDIA, THE
MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES.
WE KNOW THESE COUNTRIES.
WE KNOW HOW STRONG WE ARE COMPARED TO THEM.
WE KNOW THE ODDS IF ONE OF THEM DECIDES TO ATTACK US.
THAT KNOWLEDGE GIVES US UNDERSTANDING AND CONFIDENCE.

BUT WHAT IF AN ALIEN ARMY SHOWED UP IN SPACE SHIPS AND KNOCKED OFF
FRANCE. 
OR CANADA? 
HOW WOULD YOU REACT TO THAT?

REMEMBER, THE ISRAELITES WERE LED BY A PILLAR OF CLOUD BY DAY AND
A PILLAR OF FIRE BY NIGHT. (EX. 13:21) CAN YOU IMAGINE A BIG
SECTION OF SKY LIT UP BY FIRE AT NIGHT! 
A BIG SAUCER WOULD BE LESS FRIGHTENING!
THIS LOOKED LIKE SUPERNATURAL STUFF, BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT
IT WAS!

NOW YOU GET AN IDEA OF HOW KING BALAK FELT.
THIS ARMY OF ISRAEL HAD SHOWN UP OUT OF THE WILDERNESS, AND KNOCKED
OFF THE AMORITES.

LETS READ NUMBERS 22:2-5.
THE MOABITES WERE SCARED. VERSE 4 SAYS THEY THOUGHT THE ISRAELITES
WERE GOING TO "LICK UP" EVERYTHING AROUND THEM.  THEY PROBABLY
THOUGHT THEY MIGHT NOT JUST SETTLE FOR THE THINGS AROUND THEM, BUT
MIGHT BE LICKING THEM UP TOO.

SO KING BALAK SENT FOR BALAAM. LETS CONTINUE WITH v.6. LETS HEAR
HIS REQUEST.

NOW PUT YOURSELF IN BALAAM'S PLACE. THE PRESIDENT CALLS YOU.
HE SAYS THERE ARE ALIEN INVADERS.
THE COUNTRY IS TERRIFIED.
NO TRADITIONAL MILITARY DEFENSES ARE GOING TO SAVE US.
YOU ARE THE MAN, OR WOMAN, OF THE HOUR.
YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CAN SAVE THE COUNTRY.
BECAUSE YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
THESE INVADERS ARE BE BEYOND UNDERSTANDING,
AND YOU HAVE CONTACT WITH POWERS BEYOND THE ORDINARY.

IF YOU CAN MAKE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WORK TO SAVE THE COUNTRY
YOU WILL BE ON CENTER STAGE
YOU WILL BE A HERO!

WHOEVER THE ROCK STAR,
WHOEVER THE POLITICIAN,
WHOEVER THE MOVIE STAR,

YOU WILL BE MORE FAMOUS,
YOU WILL BE MORE LOVED,
YOU WILL HAVE THE GRATITUDE OF THE NATION!

AND ITS WORTH MORE MONEY THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.

THE PRINCES ARRIVE CARRYING THE MESSAGE FROM THE KING. LETS SEE
WHAT BALAAM SAYS. READ NUMBERS 22:8.

BALAAM TELLS THEM HE HAS TO GO TO GOD. LET'S FIND OUT WHAT GOD
SAYS: READ NUMBERS 22:9-13.

NOW YOU KNOW WHY BALAAM IS SITTING ON A ROCK,
DEPRESSED AND DISCOURAGED BECAUSE THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME JUST
SLIPPED THROUGH HIS FINGERS.
JUST LIKE THE SAND IS SLIPPING THROUGH HIS TOES.

LET ME ASK YOU: HAVE YOU EVER FELT BAD ABOUT DOING GOOD?

IF YOU DID WHAT WAS RIGHT, BUT YOU DIDN'T ENJOY IT.
YOU CAN BE SURE THE DEVIL WILL COME AGAIN.

AND SO HE DID WITH BALAAM.  BALAK SENDS MORE PRINCES, WHO ARE MORE
PRESTIGIOUS, WITH (NO DOUBT) MORE MONEY. LETS READ vv.15-19.

IT WAS NOT GOD'S PLAN THAT BALAAM GO. WE KNOW THAT FROM v.12.
IT WAS BALAAM'S PLAN THAT HE GO.
IT WAS THAT PALACE OF SILVER AND GOLD THAT KEPT DANCING IN HIS
HEAD.
SO AFTER GETTING A CLEAR "NO" FROM GOD, IN vv. 18-19 WE SEE BALAAM
STARTED PESTERING GOD. 

PARENTS, DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT?

EVER GIVE YOUR CHILDREN A CLEAR "NO," AND THEN THE PESTERING BATTLE
BEGINS? 

FINALLY, IN v. 20 GOD LET BALAAM CONDITIONALLY GO.

WARREN WIERSBE, IN HIS BOOK, "BE ALERT," EXPLAINS THIS DIFFICULT TO
UNDERSTAND CHANGE. (PAGE 60) GOD'S DIRECT WILL WAS KNOWN -- HE DID
NOT WANT BALAAM TO GO.

BUT LOTS OF TIMES WE DO THINGS THAT GOD DOES NOT REALLY WANT US TO
DO. WIERSBE CALLS IT GOD'S "PERMISSIVE WILL."  GOD SAYS, "ALRIGHT,
THIS IS NOT MY PLAN, BUT LET'S SEE IF THIS CAN WORK OUT RIGHT."
I READ OTHER COMMENTATORS WHO AGREE WITH WIERSBE'S VIEW.

TURNED OUT SOMETHING WENT WRONG. THE BIBLE DOESN'T CONTAIN ENOUGH
DETAIL FOR US TO KNOW WHAT. 
ELLEN WHITE, IN THE BOOK "PATRIARCHS AND PROPHETS," SAYS THAT ONE
OF GOD'S CONDITIONS WAS NOT MET -- BUT BALAAM LEFT ANYWAY.

WHATEVER THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM, GOD IS NOT HAPPY.

LETS READ ON. NUMBERS 22:21-29.

I LOVE THIS! 
UNLIKE ME, BALAAM DID NOT GROW UP WITH MR. ED.

YET BALAAM DOESN'T EVEN BLINK ABOUT TALKING TO HIS DONKEY.

BALAAM DID NOT UNDERSTAND "THAT MR. ED WILL NEVER SPEAK, UNLESS HE
HAS SOMETHING TO SAY."

SO WHEN THE DONKEY TALKS, BALAAM STARTS ARGUING WITH HIM, JUST LIKE
THE DONKEY WERE ONE OF HIS SERVANTS!

AND WHAT BALAAM SAYS TO HIS DONKEY GIVES US A SNAPSHOT OF THE MAN.
LOOK AT v.29. BALAAM SAYS "I'VE BEEN BEATING YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE
MAKING ME LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT!"

THERE ARE ALL THESE IMPORTANT PRINCES AROUND.
HE IS GOING OFF TO SAVE THE NATION,
ADVISE THE KING,
AND HE LOOKS LIKE HE IS DUMBER THAN HIS DONKEY.
HE CANNOT DO A SIMPLE THING LIKE DRIVE HIS DONKEY IN A STRAIGHT
LINE,
HOW IS HE GOING TO BE ABLE TO ADVISE THE KING ON CONTROLLING THEIR
ENEMIES IF HE CANNOT CONTROL HIS OWN DONKEY?

THE TRUTH IS, HE WAS DUMBER THAN HIS DONKEY.
READ vv.31-33.

MY FRIENDS, I WANT TO TALK WITH YOU THIS MORNING ABOUT BEING DUMBER
THAN A DONKEY.

I KNOW I HAVE BEEN DUMBER THAN A DONKEY A LOT OF TIMES.
I'M AFRAID THAT IT SHOULD BE ONE OF OUR GOALS IN LIFE TO BE AT
LEAST AS SMART AS BALAAM'S DONKEY.
WE ARE DESTINED TO CONTINUE TO BE DUMBER THAN DONKEYS A LOT OF
TIMES IN THE FUTURE IF WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE POINT OF BALAAM'S
STORY.

PETER TELLS US THE POINT IN 2 PETER 2:15-16. "THEY HAVE LEFT THE
STRAIGHT WAY AND WANDERED OFF TO FOLLOW THE WAY OF BALAAM SON OF
BEOR, WHO LOVED THE WAGES OF WICKEDNESS. BUT HE WAS REBUKED FOR HIS
WRONGDOING BY A DONKEY -- A BEAST WITHOUT SPEECH -- WHO SPOKE WITH
A MAN'S VOICE AND RESTRAINED THE PROPHET'S MADNESS."

HE LOVED "THE WAGES OF WICKEDNESS."

WHAT WERE THOSE WAGES?

BALAAM'S PROBLEM WAS THAT HE LOVED GLORY AND MONEY.
THE BIBLE CALLS IT MADNESS.

I'VE BEEN LOOKING AT NEW MOTORHOMES LATELY.  I CAN'T AFFORD ONE.
BUT I'VE BEEN GETTING GREAT ENJOYMENT OUT OF GOING TO THE MOTORHOME
SHOWS, LOOKING AND DREAMING.
I DO QUITE A BIT OF READING ABOUT THEM TOO.

ONE THING I'VE LEARNED IS THAT YOU HAVE TO LOOK CAREFULLY AT
WHETHER THE MOTORHOME IS BUILT TO CARRY THE WEIGHT.

BET SUCH A THING WOULD NEVER ENTER YOUR MIND BECAUSE YOU DON'T ASK
THOSE KINDS OF QUESTIONS WHEN YOU BUY A CAR, RIGHT?

THE LAST TIME YOU BOUGHT A CAR, DID YOU LOOK AT THE GVWR (GROSS
VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING) TO SEE IF IT COULD CARRY FOUR PEOPLE AND A
TANK FULL OF GAS? YOU ASSUME THE MANUFACTURER ALREADY FIGURES THOSE
THINGS OUT.

IMAGINE: NEW CAR. YOU AND YOUR FAMILY JUMP IN AND SLAM THE DOORS AT
THE DEALERSHIP. SUDDENLY, KABOOM! ALL FOUR TIRES BLOW. YOU HEAR THE
SALESMAN YELLING OUT IN THE BACKGROUND, "HENRY, DID YOU FILL THE
TANK WITH GAS?  I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT!"

WITH MOTORHOMES, IT IS NOT SAFE TO ASSUME THIS IS ALL FIGURED OUT.
IF YOU PUT 5 PEOPLE IN A MOTORHOME, THAT ADDS 800 POUNDS.
ADD GAS: MINE TAKES ABOUT 100 GALLONS -- AT ABOUT 7 POUNDS A GAL.--
COMES TO 700 POUNDS.
ADD WATER, AT LEAST 50 GALLONS, AT ABOUT 10 POUNDS A GAL., COMES TO
500 POUNDS. BEFORE YOU LOAD YOUR STUFF, YOU HAVE ABOUT 2000
ADDITIONAL POUNDS.
ABOUT THE WEIGHT OF A SMALL CAR.

TECHNICALLY, THIS MEANS YOU WILL HAVE TO BREATH HELIUM THE WHOLE
TRIP.

IF YOUR MOTORHOME IS OVERWEIGHT, IT CAUSES ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMS.
NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH IS YOUR TIRES ARE MORE LIKELY TO BLOW OUT.

FRIENDS, THE MORE I STUDY THE BIBLE, 
THE MORE I AM CONVINCED THAT ALL OF SIN COMES DOWN TO JUST ONE OR
TWO ATTITUDES: PRIDE AND GREED.

JUST EXACTLY WHAT PETER TELLS US WERE BALAAM'S PROBLEMS.

IF WE HAVE PRIDE AND GREED AS ATTITUDES IN OUR LIFE,
IT IS JUST LIKE EXCESS WEIGHT TO A MOTORHOME -- IT CREATES ALL
SORTS OF PROBLEMS IN OUR LIFE.

ONE OF THE WORST IS THAT IT MAKES US HEADSTRONG.
SECOND, IT DIMS OUR VISION FOR SEEING GOD'S LEADERSHIP.

A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO THEY BUILT A GO CART RACE TRACK BY MY HOUSE.
THE KIDS AND I WENT TO THIS NEW TRACK TO RACE GO CARTS.
THESE CARTS WERE PRETTY FAST.
BUT AFTER I HAD GONE AROUND THE TRACK A COUPLE OF TIMES I BECAME
CONVINCED THAT YOU COULDN'T TIP THESE GO CARTS
AND THAT THE BEST STRATEGY FOR GOING FAST WAS TO SIMPLY KEEP THE
ACCELERATOR FLOORED ALL THE TIME.

AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, ONE OF MY KIDS WOULD RIDE WITH ME.
THEY WERE STUNNED TO SEE ME NEVER PUT MY FOOT ON THE BRAKE AND
NEVER TAKE MY FOOT OFF THE ACCELERATOR.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?  I COULD RARELY PASS ANYONE.
I WAS GOING FASTER THAN OTHERS, BUT JUST AS I WOULD PULL UP TO
PASS, MY ENGINE WOULD START MISSING.

I THOUGHT, "AM I GOING SO FAST AROUND THE CORNER THAT CENTRIFICAL
FORCE OVERCOMES GRAVITY AND THE GAS WON'T GO DOWN THE CARBURETOR?"

THEN I SAW IT. AN EMPLOYEE WAS STANDING AT THE SIDE OF THE TRACK
HOLDING WHAT LOOKED LIKE A GUN.
IT WAS A SPECIAL GUN THAT SENT OUT AN ELECTRONIC BEAM.
AND THAT BEAM SHUT DOWN THE ELECTRONICS OF THE GO CART ENGINE.

I THOUGHT I WAS IN CHARGE!
I THOUGHT THAT BY SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE AND BRAVERY I WOULD BE ABLE
TO PASS THE REST OF THE SLUGS ON THE TRACK.
TURNED OUT JUST WHEN I WAS READY TO PASS, THE GUY WITH THE GUN
WOULD GIVE ME THE BEAM -- AND MY MOTOR WOULD TEMPORARILY STALL.

THAT WAS THE BALAAM IN ME.
I THOUGHT I SHOULD BE IN CHARGE.
I THOUGHT I WAS IN CHARGE!
TURNED OUT THE RACETRACK WAS IN CHARGE.

BALAAM'S PROBLEM WAS THAT PRIDE AND GREED MADE HIM DISLOYAL TO GOD.
HE THOUGHT THE GOAL WAS TO ADVANCE HIS INTERESTS INSTEAD OF GOD'S
INTERESTS.

YOU SAY BRUCE, DIDN'T HE GO TO GOD TWICE?
DIDN'T HE ASK PERMISSION TWICE?
DIDN'T HE REFUSE TO GO UNTIL GOD LET HIM?

FRIENDS, THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT OF THE SERMON IS TO UNDERSTAND
THE PROBLEM HERE.
IT IS SO SUBTLE
BUT SO LETHAL.
AND IT IS OUR PROBLEM.

JEREMIAH 29:13 TELLS US TO SEEK THE LORD WITH ALL OUR HEARTS.
PAUL, IN ROMANS 1:9 SAYS HE SERVED GOD "WITH [HIS] WHOLE HEART."
BALAAM SOUGHT GOD, BUT NOT WITH ALL HIS HEART. 

THE PEOPLE OUT IN THE WORLD DO NOT HAVE THIS PROBLEM.
THEY SAY THEY ARE IN CHARGE
THEY MAKE NO PRETENSE OF PUTTING GOD IN CHARGE.

BALAAM MADE A PRETENSE THAT GOD WAS IN CHARGE,
BUT HIS ATTITUDE WAS THAT HE WAS IN CHARGE.
WHAT LOOKED LIKE OBEDIENCE ON BALAAM'S PART, WAS REALLY DISLOYALTY.
HE ONLY KEPT GOING TO GOD BECAUSE HIS WILL WAS DIFFERENT THAN GOD'S
WILL.
HE KNEW GOD'S WILL,  
BUT HE WANTED GOD TO AGREE WITH HIM.

LET ME ASK YOU IF YOU HAVE EVER DONE THIS. 
YOU KNOW GOD'S WILL. HIS WILL IS PLAIN.
BUT YOU SEEK SOMETHING ELSE.  

YOU CAREFULLY SEARCH THE BIBLE FOR A DIFFERENT ANSWER.
YOU PRAY UP A STORM LOOKING FOR GOD TO TELL YOU DIFFERENTLY.
YOU FOOL YOURSELF INTO THINKING THAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR GOD'S
ANSWER.

BUT YOU ARE NOT LOOKING FOR GOD'S ANSWER! 

YOU ARE LOOKING FOR GOD TO AGREE WITH YOU!

MY FRIENDS, IF YOU GO TO THE BIBLE LOOKING FOR YOUR ANSWER,
YOU WILL FIND YOUR ANSWER.

IF YOU GO TO GOD IN PRAYER, LOOKING FOR YOUR SOLUTION,
YOU WILL FIND YOUR SOLUTION.

YOU WOULD BE BETTER OFF SAYING, "I'M GOING TO DO MY WILL. FORGET
GOD'S WILL."  
THAT WOULD BE BETTER BECAUSE AT LEAST YOUR CONSCIENCE WOULD PESTER
YOU.

BUT WHEN YOU MAKE THIS PRETENSE OF GOING TO GOD TO FIND YOUR WILL,
YOU DON'T FEEL GUILTY BECAUSE YOU HAVE DECEIVED YOURSELF.

AS YOU ARE RACING AROUND THE TRACK OF LIFE, YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND
WHY YOU ARE NOT GOING FASTER.
IT IS BECAUSE GOD IS IN CHARGE. JUST LIKE AT THE GO CART RACE TRACK
HE IS HOLDING THE GUN WITH THE SPECIAL BEAM.

IF WE THINK WE ARE IN CHARGE, WE ARE DUMBER THAN A DONKEY.

GOD MAKES THIS POINT TO US MORE THAN ONCE IN THE BIBLE.
IN ISAIAH 1:3. GOD SAYS: "THE OX KNOWS HIS MASTER, THE DONKEY HIS
OWNER'S MANGER, BUT ISRAEL DOES NOT KNOW, MY PEOPLE DO NOT
UNDERSTAND."

GOD SAYS ISRAEL DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THE DONKEY AND OX
UNDERSTAND: THAT GOD IS IN CHARGE!

YOU SAY, "BRUCE, WHY ARE YOU PREACHING THIS?
WHAT IS THE APPLICATION FOR OUR CHURCH IN MARCH, 1997?"

LET ME MAKE TWO POINTS THIS MORING WITH REGARD TO OUR CHURCH: 
1. NO BEATING; AND, 2. SEEKING GOD'S VISION. LET ME EXPLAIN.

CONSIDER THE LOYALTY THAT BALAAM'S DONKEY HAD TO HIS MASTER.
BALAAM BEAT HIS DONKEY THREE TIMES.
HE WAS SO MAD, NUMBERS 22:29 TELLS US THAT HE WOULD HAVE KILLED HIS
DONKEY.

CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW THAT DONKEY WAS BEING BEATEN?
IF BALAAM'S GOAL WAS TO KILL THE DONKEY -- IF HE JUST HAD THE RIGHT
EQUIPMENT, YOU CAN IMAGINE THE EXTENT OF THE BEATING!

THE DONKEY WAS BEING BEATEN BECAUSE OF HIS VISION.
THE DONKEY COULD SEE THE TRUTH, BUT BALAAM COULD NOT.
THE DONKEY COULD SEE THE DANGER, BUT BALAAM COULD NOT.

THIS MORNING I'VE HAD YOU IN BALAK'S SHOES AND BALAAM'S SHOES.
NOW PUT YOURSELF IN THE DONKEY'S HOOVES.
IF SOMEONE WERE TRYING TO BEAT YOU TO DEATH,
BECAUSE YOU WOULD WERE TRYING TO SAVE HIS LIFE,
HOW LONG WOULD YOU ARGUE?

ABOUT THE TIME I GOT WHACKED A FEW TIMES IN THE NOSE, THE LIPS AND
THE RIBS,
I KNOW I WOULD SAY, "YOU'RE REALLY RIGHT BALAAM.  WE REALLY DO NEED
TO GET MOVING ALONG NOW."

(LET ME HAVE A WORD WITH YOU REDSKINS FANS FOR JUST A MOMENT. 
JUST THE REDSKINS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT A YOUNG DONKEY IS CALLED A "COLT?"
I KNOW THAT YOU KNEW THIS ALL ALONG.

YOU KNOW, THEN, REDSKINS FANS, THAT OUR PASTOR CLOSELY IDENTIFIES
WITH A PACK OF YOUNG DONKEYS. [NOTE TO READER: THE COLT'S FOOTBALL
TEAM.]

AND OF COURSE HE ALLOWS ME TO PREACH WHEN HE IS GONE JUST SO I CAN
SHARE IMPORTANT FACTS LIKE THIS WITH YOU.)

YOU ALL KNOW THE PASTOR HAS A VISION FOR OUR CHURCH.
THE LAST FEW WEEKS HE HAS BEEN PREACHING ABOUT HIS VISION
AND SUGGESTING THAT WE NEED TO BE OPEN TO A CHANGE IN OUR WORSHIP
SERVICE.

LETS ASSUME THAT OUR PASTOR, JUST LIKE BALAAM'S DONKEY CAN SEE
GOD'S WILL.

THE LAST THING WE WANT TO BE DOING IS BEATING HIM BECAUSE OF IT,
RIGHT?
YOU MAY HAVE A DIFFERENT VISION. 
MAYBE IT IS BASED ON CONVENIENCE, TRADITION OR PREFERENCE.

THE SOLUTION IS NOT TO BE BEATING EACH OTHER ABOUT THE DIFFERENCES
IN OUR VISIONS.

OUR GOAL IS TO UNDERSTAND GOD'S WILL BECAUSE HE IS IN CHARGE!

FRIENDS, PROVERBS 27:17 SAYS, "IRON SHARPENS IRON."
SILLY PUTTY DOES NOT SHARPEN IRON.
PLASTIC DOES NOT SHARPEN IRON.
IRON SHARPENS IRON.

THAT IS WHY I GIVE YOU A STRAIGHTFORWARD SERMON. SO THAT YOU WILL
CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE FUTURE OF WORSHIP IN OUR CHURCH.

THE SOLUTION IS TO PRAY THAT GOD WILL OPEN OUR EYES -- INCLUDING
OUR PASTOR'S.
THE SOLUTION IS LOYALTY TO GOD'S WILL INSTEAD OF OUR WILL.
THE SOLUTION IS TO LOVE EACH OTHER, EVEN WHEN WE ARE NOT SURE THE
OTHER PERSON HAS THE CORRECT VISION.

FRIENDS I WANT THIS CHURCH TO GROW UNDER GOD'S LEADERSHIP.
THE KEY TO THAT IS PUTTING ASIDE OUR PRIDE OF OPINION,
PUTTING ASIDE OUR PREFERENCES,
NOT BEATING EACH OTHER UP BECAUSE WE HAVE A DIFFERENT VISION,
BUT SEEKING GOD'S WILL.
SEEKING GOD'S VISION.
SEEKING TO BE AS WISE AS BALAAM'S DONKEY.