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Old 05-22-2011, 07:37 AM   #1
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Smile "The Father"

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church's
pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and before he
gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest
minister who was in the service that evening.

In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the
guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that
he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and
share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service.

With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to
speak.

"A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the
Pacific coast," he began, "when a fast approaching storm blocked
any attempt to get back to the shore. The waves were so high,
that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could
not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the
ocean as the boat capsized."

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two
teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began,
looking somewhat interested in his story.

The aged minister continued with his story, "grabbing a rescue
line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of
his life: to which boy he would throw the other end of the life
line. He only had seconds to make the decision.

The father knew that his son was a Christian and he also knew
that his son's friend was not. The agony of his decision could
not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled
out, 'I love you, son!' he threw out the life line to his son's
friend.

By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the
capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells
into the black of night. His body was never recovered."

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the
pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old
minister's mouth. "The father," he continued, "knew his son
would step into eternity with Jesus and he could not bear the
thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without
Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son's
friend. How great is the love of God that he should do the same
for us.

Our heavenly father sacrificed his only begotten son that we
could be saved. I urge you to accept his offer to rescue you
and take a hold of the life line he is throwing out to you in
this service."

With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as
silence filled the room. The pastor again walked slowly to the
pulpit and delivered a brief sermon with an invitation at the
end. However, no one responded to the appeal. Within minutes
after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's
side.

"That was a nice story," politely stated one of the boys, "but I
don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his
only son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a
Christian."

"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied,
glancing down at his worn bible. A big smile broadened his
narrow face, he once again looked up at the boys and said, "it
sure isn't very realistic, is it?

But I'm standing here today to tell you that story gives me a
glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up his
son for me.

You see ---

I was that father and your pastor is my son's friend."

~Author Unknown~
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