Thursday, March 08, 2007
Arthur Stace was a homeless alcoholic who lived in the streets of Sydney, Australia. After a conversion to Christianity, he quit drinking, and spent the rest of his life writing the word "Eternity" all over the city in yellow chalk.
Beginning in the 1930s Arthur Stace spent his early morning hours writing the word "Eternity" in a distinctive cursive style in every doorway, on every street, and major entrance to a public area that he could find in Sydney.
For years, the citizens of the city wondered who was writing the "one word sermon" and why. Every once in a while, someone would claim responsibility for the graffiti and the newspapers would print the stories.
In 1956, Stace was a member of the Burton Street Baptist Church, where he also served as the janitor and a prayer leader. One day, the pastor of the church, Rev. Lisle M. Thompson, stumbled across Stace while he was writing his chalk message on a sidewalk and the mystery of the "Eternity" messages all over Sydney was solved.
Stace said that after his conversion to Christianity, he heard a sermon by Australian evangelist John G Ridley in which the evangelist said, "Eternity! Eternity! Oh, that this word could be emblazoned across the streets of Sydney!" In his simple way, Stace heard this exclamation as a call of God and he decided to do that. The amazing thing is that Arthur Stace was largely illiterate lifelong. Growing up in an alcoholic family, he rarely attended school. The only word he could really write was the one he copied, "Eternity!"
There is a huge illuminated sign on the Sydney Harbour Bridge that says "Eternity" in Stace's distinctive handwriting, a sign that was clearly seen by hundreds of millions of people at the turn of the millenium, as news coverage showed how each nation celebrated the new millenium.
This was repeated during the fireworks display at the end of the opening ceremonies at the Olympics in Sydney in 2000.
Arthur Stace is remembered in Sydney for his nearly 40-years of colourful lettering, which was designed to prompt people to think about eternity and their own mortality.
And how about you?
As a young man I heard an elderly gentleman speak about that one word, "Eternity!" He asked the question, "Do you know for sure where you will spend eternity?"
It is an awful long time.
You need to know what will be your final destination.
You can know.
1John 5:11 says And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
God wants you to know where you are going to spen eternity.
He wants you to spend eternity in heaven with Him.
He has provided the way for you to spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Romans 6:23 says For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 15 :3 says For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
He died in your place at the cross just as Isaiah prophesied 700 years before :
Isaiah 53: 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Will you receive this Saviour as your own Saviour?
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
If you do your Eternity is guarranteed.
partly from "Stories for Speakers" by Geoff Pound and my own personal testimony.