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My Vision: “Theology Matters” Conferences

Friends:
I believe the Lord has given me a vision! (Someone say “Hallelujah!”FirefoxScreenSnapz638 Just kidding).  Okay.  I don’t know what the graphic on the right is supposed to represent.  Is it the hand of God?  Is He wearing a Brooks Brothers suit?  Why is He taking the “O” out of VISION?  I don’t know.

Anyway.  I have a vision for local church, weekend conferences on, are you sitting down, the doctrines of the Christian faith!  I’ve even created my own logo.  Here it is (see below).

I firmly bMicrosoft PowerPointScreenSnapz007elieve that we Christians don’t talk enough about our “faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).  Here’s my idea:

My Proposal:  I would like to propose that you and your church might consider hosting a “Theology Matters” Conference!  It could take the following form:

1.  A local church or assembly hosts a weekend conference, inviting other local Evangelical churches/assemblies to participate.
2.  A particular theme could be chosen for the weekend.  Recently I’ve done FirefoxScreenSnapz361conferences on the topics of “When Temptation Strikes” and “Doctrine Matters.”  A couple of weeks ago I spoke at Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference and the theme was “Revolutionary Orthodoxy.”
3.  The costs to attend such a conference can be kept low, although people often appreciate what they pay a bit for.  It is my opinion that we need to provide solid teaching for serious Christians, rather than always try to appeal to all.
4.  A book table would be an important source for such serious Christians to continue their pursuit of the things of God.

My Passion:  Having grown up in the Assemblies, I have been privileged to preach His Word and teach the practical doctrines of biblical faith for over 40 years.  Educationally, I have my BA from Northeastern Bible College, my M.Div. from Biblical Seminary (where I studied under Mr. Tom Taylor), and my Ph.D. from Drew FirefoxScreenSnapz679University (my dissertation was on John Darby’s doctrine of the Holy Spirit).  By God’s grace, I have written several books:  DocTALK (a survey of all ten areas of Christian faith); DocWALK (how do we apply these truths to everyday life?); The Other Side of the Good News: Confronting Contemporary Challenges to Jesus’ Teaching on Hell; Heaven: Thinking Now about Forever; When Temptation Strikes: Gaining Victory Over Sin; Whatever Happened to Heresy?; Farewell, Rob Bell; and Saved: Rescued from God, by God, and for God (forthcoming).  A wide range of doctrinal topics is available for consideration.

My Vision:  Such a weekend conference could take the following form:FirefoxScreenSnapz680
Friday night full session, Saturday morning full session, Saturday lunch for those who have read ____ (a key book could be chosen to discuss over lunch), Saturday evening full session, Sunday Sunday School full session, Family Bible Hour full session. Total of five full sessions.

Interested?  I’d love to talk with you about the possibility of hosting a “Theology Matters” conference in your church.  Call me at: 803-201-9745.

 

 

A QUICK ADDITION TO TODAY:

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This is from Ann Voskamp’s aholyexperience.com post today.  You must read it.  It is entitled “How to Focus in an Age of Distraction.”

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in theology

 

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When Temptation Strikes — at Lafayette Bible Chapel!

What a great weekend!   My friends at Lafayette Bible Chapel in Lafayette, Louisiana,WTS cover invited me to speak on the topic of my book When Temptation Strikes this past weekend.

How good it was to get to know this group of Jesus followers!  We had FirefoxScreenSnapz532some great discussion — and we helped to decimate the crawfish population!  Here’s a picture of me eating crawfish for the first time in my life!  What a feast!

I will post my last sermon of the weekend below.  You might find it helpful.  For some reason, the sermon doesn’t start until 1 minute and 4 seconds into the file, so please be patient.

Again, a great time with the believers in Lafayette!

Here’s the sermon: 

 

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2014 in preaching

 

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Hurry Up! . . . Fast?

I recently preached this FirefoxScreenSnapz06530 minute message in our church in Columbia, SC, on Matthew 6 and the spiritual discipline of fasting.  Let me know what you think!

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2013 in matthew 6

 

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Jim Elliot’s Most Famous Saying . . .

The missionary-martyr Jim Elliot, who lost his life in seeking to FirefoxScreenSnapz060win the Auca people to Christ, is perhaps best known for his statement:

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I once-upon-a-time taught homiletics (how to preach) to a group of undergraduate students when Northeastern Bible College in New Jersey was still in existence.  I remember telling them that if they use a quote in a sermon, and mess up the quote as they were giving it, to just keep going.

One student, impressed by the above quote from Jim Elliot, tried to use it in his sermon.  He botched it — and said something like . . .

KeynoteScreenSnapz062

Inwardly, I was cracking up.  But outwardly I was so proud that he kept on going in his sermon!

Questions:

1.  What profound statement have you heard from someone that helps to guide your life?

2.  How do you relate this statement by Jim Elliot to what Jesus says in Matthew 10: 39″ Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”?

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2013 in homiletics

 

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The Love of the Trinity

Friends:

I’m speaking in a Junior class chapel today at Columbia International University. The topic is LOVE and I’m one of three speakers. The aspect of God’s love I’ve been asked to discuss is . . .

The Love of the Trinity

I John 4:8 says “God is love.” But can God be love without an object to love? I John 4:8 actually says: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Understanding the meaning of “God is love” could not be more important, could it?

But love needs an object. Did God have to create the universe and human beings in order to have something or someone to love? Are we doing God a favor by existing, by giving Him the chance to prove that He is love? Or is something much deeper going on in the universe with the Three-in-One God?

And we are supposed to love God in return. Could it be that the reality is that there is much more than simply a God who demands we love Him, a kind of narcissistic deity who needs us so He could love and we need Him so that He can be loved?

One term that theologians use to describe the inter-Trinitarian life of God is the term PERICHORESIS. This term was coined to account for the idea that “the Father is IN the Son and the Son is IN the Father.” (Jn. 1:18).

Perichoresis describes the indwelling fellowship of the Father and the Son. It is intimacy. And this intimacy Jesus prays the church itself will enjoy: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).

John of Damascus described this intimacy as a cleaving together. Such is the fellowship in the Godhead that the Father and the Son not only embrace each other, but they also enter into each other, permeate each other, and dwell in each other. One in being, they are also always one in the intimacy of their friendship. Some use the terms “procession of the Spirit” and the “begetting of the Son” to express this mutual devotion of the Father and the Son through the Spirit.

Well, so say the theologians. But what do we learn from the Scriptures? Do we have any texts which describe the inter-Trinitarian life before the universe was created? Are there verses speaking of the Father’s love for the Son (who always existed but became flesh in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth)? Are there verses which speak of the Son’s love of the Father? The Spirit’s love of the Son? The Son’s love of the Spirit? The Father’s love of the Spirit? The Spirit’s love of the Father? The answers are: YES, YES, YES, NO, NO, NO, NO. Let me explain:

1. Pre-Incarnate Expressions of the Father’s Love for the Son:

We read in John 17- “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (17:24).

In Mt. 12, Matthew quotes Isaiah saying, “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.” (v. 18).

2. At His baptism: Jesus is affirmed by the Father: “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” (Mt. 3:17).

3. At His transfiguration, we read the following: “Then a cloud appeared and covered them and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’” (Mk. 9:7)

The intimacy of the Father and the Son is often referred to in John’s gospel:

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.” (3:35) “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.” (5:20). “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again” (10:17); “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (15:9).

There is a desire for Christ, who is loved by the Father, to be loved by those He redeems. The Father will love us because we love His SON! “The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” (Jn. 16:27)

There is an INTENTIONAL sharing of that Father/Son love with those who believe in Him: “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (Jn. 17:26). Colossians says “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” (Col. 1:13). We’ve been brought into that kingdom of the Son He loves! Can I hear an “AMEN!”?

WHAT ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT?

How does the Holy Spirit fit in? “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:5). We read of the Spirit’s role in Romans 15: I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” (Rom. 15:30).

The entire Trinity desires to pull us into this love relationship: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor. 13:14).

John 17:

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Questions:

1. How do we appropriate this love that the Trinity experiences?

2. In what ways have you heard the God of the Bible described in narcissistic terms? How do we counteract those criticisms?

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in preaching

 

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CARTOON MONDAY! GOT GUILT?

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in preaching

 

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CONTEMPORARY ILLUSTRATIONS (Letters “O” and “P”)

Friends: I’ve been collecting illustrations for about 30 years now. I once dreamed of publishing a book of these, but have decided to give them away for FREE!  I’ll post my collection — one letter at a time — over the next little while.

Let me know if you find any of these useful!

CONTEMPORARY ILLUSTRATIONS

FOR PANICKY PREACHERS

Obedience

Oh the folly of any mind that would explain God before obeying Him! That would map out the character of God instead of crying, Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do? (George MacDonald)

Observation (Bible study)

A small bottle containing urine sat upon the desk of Sir William Osler.  He was then the eminent professor of medicine at Oxford University.  Sitting before him was a classroom full of young, wide-eyed medical students listening to his lecture on the importance of observing details. To emphasize his point, he reached down and picked up the bottle. Holding it high, he announced:  “This bottle contains a sample for analysis.  It’s often possible by tasting it to determine the disease from which the patient suffers.”  Suiting action to words, he dipped a finger into the fluid and then into his mouth, as he continued — “Now I am going to pass the bottle around.  Each of you please do exactly as I did.  Perhaps we can learn the importance of this technique and diagnose the case.”  The bottle made its way from row to row as each student gingerly poked his finger in and bravely sampled the contents with a frown.  Dr. Osler then retrieved the bottle and startled his students with the words:  “Gentlemen, now you will understand what I mean when I speak about details.  Had you been observant you would have seen that I put my index finger into the bottle but my middle finger into my mouth!”

Obvious

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of

wine, they lay down for the night, and went to sleep.<br>

Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. <br>

&quot;Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.&quot;<br>

Watson replied, &quot;I see millions and millions of stars.&quot;<br>

&quot;What does that tell you?&quot; Holmes asked. <br>

Watson pondered for a minute. &quot;Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of

galaxies and potentially billions of planets.<br>

Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is

approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and

that we are small and insignificant.<br>

Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.<br>

What does it tell you?&quot; <br>

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke.<br>

&quot;Watson, you idiot. Somebody has stolen our tent!

Openmindedness

“Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

–G.K. Chesterton

Opinions

Rev. Warren J. Keating, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Yuma, AZ., says that the best prayer he ever heard was, “Lord, please make me the kind of person my dog thinks I am.”

“Every man is entitled to be wrong in his opinions, but no man is entitled to be wrong in his facts!” (anonymous)

“A great number of people don’t have a right to their own opinion because they don’t know what they’re talking about!” (Andrew Rooney)

“Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” (Mark Twain

Opportunities

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”

Opposition

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” (Albert Einstein)

Orthodoxy

Immanuel Kant: “If we were all before the gates of Heaven and the question were put, `Which of you is orthodox,’ the Jew, the Turk and the Christian would answer in unison, `I am.'” (Lecture at Koenigsberg, 1775).

Oxymorons

List of Popular Oxymoron’s

1. Act naturally

2. Found missing

3. Resident alien

4. Advanced BASIC

5. Genuine imitation

6. Safe sex

7. Airline food

8. Good grief

9. Same difference

10. Almost exactly

11. Government organization

11a. Military intelligence

12. Sanitary landfill

13. Alone together

14. Legally drunk

15. Silent scream

16. British fashion

16a. British food

17. Living dead

18. Small crowd

19. Business ethics

20. Microsoft Works

21. Soft rock

22. Butt head

23. Software documentation

24. California culture

25. New classic

26. Sweet sorrow

27. Childproof

28. “Now, then…”

29. Synthetic natural gas

30. Christian Scientists

Parenting

Luther spoke of “shameful, despicable, damnable parents who are no parents at all but despicable hogs and venomous beasts, devouring their own young” (“Luther’s Works,” Fortress Press, Philadelphia, Vol. 46, p. 211).  In A Sermon on Keeping Children in School, he wrote:  The common people appear to be quite indifferent to the matter of maintaining the schools. I see them withdrawing their children from instruction and turning them to the making of a living and to caring for their bellies. Besides, they either will not or cannot think what a horrible and un Christian business this is and what great and murderous harm they are doing everywhere in so serving the devil.

Things I’ve learned from children (honest and no kidding):

- There is no such thing as child-proofing your house.

- If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller

blades, they can ignite.

- A 4 years old’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded

restaurant.

- The glass in windows (even double pane) doesn’t stop a baseball hit

by a ceiling fan.

- When you hear the toilet flush and the words “Uh-oh,” it’s already

too late.

- A six-year old can start a fire with a flint rock, even though

36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.

- If you use a waterbed as home plate while wearing baseball shoes, it

does not leak-it explodes.

- Legos will pass through the digestive tract of a four year old.

- Duplos will not.

- “Play Doh” and “microwave” should never be used in the same sentence.

- SuperGlue is forever.

- No matter how much Jello you put in a swimming pool, you still can’t

walk on water.

- Pool filters do not like Jello

- VCR’s do not eject PB&J sandwiches, even though TV commercials show

they do.

- Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

- Always look in the oven before you turn it on.

- Plastic toys do not like ovens.

- The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.

- It will, however, make cats dizzy.

- Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

- Quiet does not necessarily mean “don’t worry”.

- A good sense of humor will get you through most problems in life.

HIGH COST OF SPEEDING: When Stephen Cost, 16, of Alabaster, Ala., got his third speeding ticket in as many months, his pickup truck was suspended. The truck, not the boy. His father, Alan, used a backhoe to lift the truck’s back end several feet into the air. He chained it to a tree to keep it there, and put a sign in the window: “This is what happens when a teenager does not mind.” In smaller print, it notes “May be for sale.” It’ll stay there for a week, the elder Cost says. “I hate being that rough on my boy, but if he ain’t going to listen to me, I  have no other choice,” he said. (AP) …Give the kid a few more weeks, and he may wrap the truck around the tree himself.

PARENTING WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING IN AN AGE OF “NO FEAR”

by Mikal Frazier, MA, MMFT, LMFT, LPC

On a ski slope many years ago, I first saw the words onsomeone’s clothing which read “No Fear.”  As those words registered with me in that particular context, I couldn’t help but wonder at the reckless disregard for the danger and risk so foreboding on that mountain.  I had some close calls with a few that very day who seemed to adhere to such a motto.

Recent events have reminded us of the danger that lurks on those inviting slopes.  Traumatic death came to both Sony Bono and Michael Kennedy as a result of what seems to have been reckless abandon of all warnings as they raced into their eternal destiny.  One commentator, in discussing the death of Michael Kennedy, discussed the common disregard for rules shared by the entire Kennedy clan.  He said something like, “The Kennedys have regularly pushed the envelope and abandoned the rules of responsible behavior. “

Many parents have adopted the same ambiguous perspective toward Parenting.  They find it difficult to give their children limits and boundaries.  In discussing this issue I often share the story of a family who worshipped at my church.  This family had planned their life well and waited several years to have a child.  Finally the wife gave birth to a much awaited little girl.  The husband had been a boxer in the marines and was one of quite formidable stature.  It was the husband and new father who proudly carried that newborn little girl into the church building for her first worship service.

As he perched her for everyone to see, he held her some twelve or more inches from his body without supporting her little arms or legs.  They were just flailing in the air.  The maternal instincts in me wanted to say, “Hold that baby close and give her secure boundaries.”  Those little arms and legs were looking for that security and support. Since one fear accompanying a baby at birth is the fear of falling, I cannot help but wonder if there was not some sort of fear in that little

person.

Our  children continue to look for boundaries as they grow, and the security these limits provide.  But in an age where “No Fear” seems to be the motto and teaching absolutes, morality and respect for authority is not deemed “politically correct,” many parents have abdicated their most important role as teachers of time-honored responsible behavior.

Robert Bly, in his book, _The Sibling Society_, narrates America’s journey from what Jules Henry in 1962 called “the Indo-European, Islamic, Hebraic impulse-control system” and the ushering in of boundless permissiveness.   Bly goes on to state, “Fathers in the late 1950’s gave up their traditional setting of limits, and in return asked for new sorts of love from their children — at a price.  The children soon saw they had been put into power.”

Perhaps it is the desire for love which lured parents from their appropriate position as authority figures in a responsible hierarchy. Bly also reports the observations of Englishman Geoffrey Gorer when he visited the United States. Bly says Gorer “noticed the extraordinary desire of American grown-ups to be loved.  They didn’t seem to feel it necessary to love in return; rather, to be the object of love was all that was required.  How could one be more clearly worthy of love than

to agree to whatever your children want?”  Voila!! Reckless permissiveness.

Christian psychologist Ross Campbell says when our children are acting out, they are really saying, “But do you really love me?”  So, possibly, in what Bly calls the sibling society, we have the adults and the children simultaneously craving and yearning for love.  The adults have abdicated their position of power and handed it to their children on a silver platter. The children who are now the engineers of society, experience a similar fear and helplessness to the newborn

baby girl who desperately flailed in a search for her boundaries.

In family therapy we call this a reversal of hierarchy, a recipe for disaster, whether in a nation or a nuclear family unit.  (And yes, I am aware there are many families, which do not meet the criteria of a nuclear family.  Any arrangement less than a  nuclear family will only exacerbate this hopeless spiral when the reversal of hierarchy exists.)

Mom and Dad, your children are begging for limits and rules to guide their lives.  In 1 Samuel 3:13 God tells Samuel about his judgment against Eli. “For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them.”  Just as Eli’s sons were wicked because Eli did not restrain them, so will our children follow their own desires if we do not restrain them.

Paul Faulkner, in his book _Raising Faithful Kids_ ,  quotes Kent Hayes:  “We know from hard-won experience that the parents who provide the appropriate structure in their home have the happiest, most secure children.  Secure children do not act out, run away, fight, or resist authority as much as those who never know the rules or what might happen next.”

We all need boundaries.  Scott Peck says we all submit to something (have boundaries) or else we die or wind up in an institution. Faulkner says, “Boundaries and rules are essential to our happiness as adults, and certainly are essential for our children — whether they know it or not.”

When I was in training it was pointed out that it was important to ***

train children and give them limits as their very survival depended on

it.  Bono and Kennedy are prime examples.  Yet, there is even a greater

cost for not restraining our children which goes beyond happiness and

survival, and that is their eternal salvation.  In Ephesians 6:4, Paul

instructs us to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of

the Lord.

Our children must be taught to follow instruction because we have a

Father in heaven who demands obedience.  He no longer winks his eye at

ignorance, Acts 17:30.  He does not accept lukewarm obedience

(Revelation 3:16).  He wants us to give ourselves as living sacrifices

( Romans 12:1).  Our salvation and the salvation of our children is a

matter of searching it out with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

A while back a group of young people were swimming at an approved water

hole. Swimming was OK, but diving was not.  A 15-year-old young man

perched himself on a cliff and onlooking adult supervisors said, “Don’t

dive.”  He did.  He was blessed because he only cut a gash in his head

and nothing more.

Later a parent was discussing the event with me and made the comment,

“You cannot tell a child ‘no’ and expect him not to do something.”  I

was stunned.  You certainly can tell a child “no” and expect him to

follow the instruction. This child nearly paid with his life for not

having been taught this.  You will reap obedient behavior when you have

restrained your child with appropriate training and discipline.

(Consistent, swift and sure consequences for misbehavior are essential,

but that is subject matter for another article.)

Faulkner quotes John Rosemond:  “Expect your children to obey.  Stop

apologizing for the decisions you make in their lives.  Get back in

touch with the power of ‘Because I said so.’  Stop thinking that you

can persuade your children that your decisions are for their own good,

or even that you need to try!  Essential to a child’s sense of security

are parents who are authoritative, decisive, and trustworthy–in a

word, powerful!  So, get with it folks!  Your children are counting on

you.”

Mom and Dad in the Lord, your children are counting on you.  Your most

important task in raising your children is the ministry of

reconciliation of your children to the Father.  You are the best ones

to influence your children.  Even the experts are now realizing parents

have the most influence. Your children are begging for your moral and

spiritual guidance.  Eternity for your children is hanging in the

balance.

[Mikal Frazier is a licensed family therapist with a practice

in Minden and Bossier City, Louisiana. She and her husband, Jim

have three adult children and two grandchildren.]

Nagging works. That’s the conclusion of marketing researchers who found that children get what they want if they nag their parents effectively. The firm studied 150 mothers through 10,000  nagging incidents and found that nagging by children aged 3 to 8 was the reason behind 46 percent of toy purchases by their mothers, as well as 34 percent of movie theater visits and 34 percent of food purchases. While whining “I want it!” didn’t work terribly well, reasoned pleadings such as “Mom, Barbie needs a dream house so she can build a family” were found to be more effective. (Reuters) …That, and “If you don’t buy me this, sympathetic juries of the future will certainly take

it into consideration.”

Pastors, Qualifications of

“He must have the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child, and the hide of a rhinoceros.” (Stuart Briscoe)

Patience, God’s

During the Civil War, an atheist stood before an audience and said, “There is no God — and I

can prove it!”  He then said, “For the next minute I’m going to go outside and challenge God — if there is a God — to strike me dead!”  He went outside and waited for a full minute in the silence and then started laughing and said, “See, there is no God!”  A elderly black lady in the back of the audience turned to her friend and said, “Stupid old man.  He thinks he can try God’s patience in one minute!”

 

Peace

Annoyed when rain ruined their plans, a vacationing couple asked an old gentleman placidly rocking on the hotel veranda, “Where on earth do you find such serenity?”  “Well,” he said, “when it starts to rain, I let it.”  (Daisy Brown, The Wall Street Journal)

Perception

A grandmother tells the following story:  “Some oil had leaked onto our driveway, and in the sunshine it acted like a prism, showing many different colors.  When my grandson saw it he came running into the house.  `Grandma!’ he called.  `Come see the dead rainbow in the driveway!'” (Eunice James in Readers’ Digest)

Perfection

Someone has said that “The only nice thing about being imperfect is the joy it brings to others.”

“The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy; the pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.” (Readers’ Digest)\

Perfume

THE FRENCH NOSE: The Paris-region transport authority plans to use 1.5 tons of perfume per month to cover the infamous stench of city’s subway. Metro director Jacques Rapoport says the new scent, “Madeleine”, was designed as “a smell that was sweet rather than violent, that lingered for two weeks and that suggested a feeling of cleanliness and well-being rather than of filthiness being covered up.” (Reuters)

Persecution

NO ONE EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION: The Inquisitions shouldn’t

necessarily be condemned, argues Roman Catholic theologian Georges

Cottier. Rather, its historical context should be reviewed before

saying “that such and such an act should not have been committed,” he

said. Cottier will chair a symposium at the Vatican this fall to

examine the Roman, Spanish and Middle Age Inquisitions in order to

provide the Pope “with enough information to see if there is a need to

apologize” for such acts as torture or the burning of Protestants at

the stake. (AFP) …Indeed, we must examine whether the Inquisitors

came from broken homes and inner city squalor, which might help us

understand them better.

 

Perseverance

Perseverance

(Phil. 3:12-14, Heb. 12:1)

In his forthcoming book, Pastoral Grit: the Strength to Stand and to Stay (Bethany), Craig Brian Larson writes:

“In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According to Leon Jaroff in Time, the satellite’s primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter’s magnetic field, radiation belts, and atmosphere. Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at that time no earth satellite had ever gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target.

“But Pioneer 10 accomplished its mission and much, much more. Swinging past the giant planet in November 1973, Jupiter’s immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of speed toward the edge of the solar system. At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10 passed Saturn. At some two billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three billion miles; Pluto at almost four billion miles. By 1997, twenty-five years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun.

“And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to scientists on Earth. ‘Perhaps most remarkable,’ writes Jaroff, ‘those signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a bedroom night light, and takes more than nine hours to reach Earth.’

“The Little Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did. Engineers designed Pioneer 10 with a useful life of just three years. But it kept going and going. By simple longevity, its tiny 8-watt transmitter radio accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

“So it is when we offer ourselves to serve the Lord. God can work even through someone with 8-watt abilities. God cannot work, however, through someone who quits.”

Pets

It is reported that the following part of the Book of Genesis

was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls. If authentic, it would

shed light on the question, “Where do pets come from?”

And Adam said, “Lord, when I was in the garden, you walked

with me everyday. Now I do not see you anymore.

I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember

how much you love me.”

And God said, “No problem!  I will create a companion for

you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection

of my love for you, so that you will know I love you,

even when you cannot see me.  Regardless of how selfish and

childish and unlovable you may be, this new companion will

accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of

yourself.”

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam.

And it was a good animal.  And God was pleased.

And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and he wagged

his tail. And Adam said, “But Lord, I have already named all the

animals in the Kingdom and all the good names are taken and I

cannot think of a name for this new animal.”

And God said, “No problem! Because I have created this new

animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will

be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG.”

And Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him and

loved him.  And Adam was comforted.  And God was pleased.

And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it come to pass that Adam’s guardian angel came

to the Lord and said, “Lord, Adam has become filled with pride.

He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy

of adoration. Dog has indeed taught him that he is loved,

but no one has taught him humility.

And the Lord said, ” No problem!  I will create for him a

companion who will be with him forever and who will see him

as he is.  The companion will remind him of his limitations,

so he will know that he is not always worthy of adoration.”

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam.  And Cat

would not obey Adam.

And when Adam gazed into Cats eyes, he was reminded that he

was not the supreme being.  And Adam learned humility.

And God was pleased.  And Adam was greatly improved.

And Cat did not care one way or the other.

Plans

“True or False? The most important thing in your life is to include God in your plans?  False!  God want you to fit into His plans!” (George Murray)

Pleasure

Concerned doctor with stethoscope on patient’s chest: “You’ve been enjoying something again.” (Joe Mirachi in The Wall Street Journal)

“The way I see it, there’s the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Achievement and there’s also the Hall of Enjoyment.  I hope to be enshrined in the Hall of Enjoyment.” (Jim Kaat, pitched in major leagues more than 20 years)

“Since we’re on our way down — We might as well enjoy the view.” (James Taylor)

H.L. Mencken defined Puritanism as the haunting fear that somewhere, somehow, somebody may be happy. (Hot Tub Religion, J.I. Packer, p. 83)

Said a constant dieter after indulging in a piece of double-fudge cake, “God made chocolate in heaven, and the Devil threw the calories in when it landed.” (Readers’ Digest)

Politically Correct Language

Politically correct message for the season?

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible,

low stress, nonaddictive, gender neutral, summer/winter solstice

holiday, practised within the most joyous traditions of the religious

persuasion of your choice, and with respect for the religious

persuasions of others or their choice not to practise a religion at

all; a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically

uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year

1998, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of

other cultures whose contributions to our society have helped make

your country of choice great, without regard to the race,  creed,

color, religious, or sexual preferences of the wishes.

(This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies

no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for

her/himself or others.)

Politics

“The difference between the politician and the statesman is that the former worries about the next election, whereas the latter is concerned with the next generation.” (Pierre Elliott Trudeau)

“I don’t know what’s wrong with my television set. I was getting C-Span and the Home Shopping Network on the same station. I actually bought a congressman.” –Bruce Baum

>      A priest went into a Washington, D.C., barbershop, got his hair

> cut

>      and asked how much he owed. “No charge, Father,” the barber said.

> “I

>      consider it a service to the Lord.” when the barber arrived at his

> shop the

>      next morning, he found a dozen small prayer booklets on the stoop

> along

>      with a thank you note from the priest.

>

>       A few days later a police officer came in. “How much do I owe

> you?”

>      the cop asked after his haircut. “No charge, officer,” the barber

>      answered. “I consider it a service to my community.” The next

> morning the

>      barber found  a dozen doughnuts on the stoop along with a thank you

> note

>      from the police officer.

>

>       A few days after that, a Senator walked in for a haircut. “How

> much

>      do I owe you?” he asked afterward. “No charge,” the barber replied.

> “I

>       consider it a service to my country.” The next morning when he

>      arrived at the shop, the barber found a dozen Senators waiting on

> the stoop.

Possessions

A lawyer opened the door of his BMW, when suddenly a car came along

and hit the door, ripping it off completely. When the police arrived at

the scene, the lawyer was complaining bitterly about the damage to his

precious BMW.

<BR>”Officer, look what they’ve done to my Beemer!” he whined.

<BR>”You lawyers are so materialistic, you make me sick!” retorted the

officer, “You’re so worried about your stupid BMW, that you didn’t even

notice that your left arm was ripped off!”

<BR>”Oh my god”, replied the lawyer, finally noticing the bloody left shoulder

where his arm once was, “Where’s my Rolex!”

Introduction to property law from a toddler’s perspective:

If I like it, it’s mine.

If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.

If I had it a while ago, it’s mine.

If I say it is mine, it’s mine.

If it looks like mine, it’s mine.

If I say I saw it first, it’s mine.

If you’re having fun with it, it’s mine.

If you lay down your toy, it’s mine.

If it is broken, it’s yours.

–Joke Distribution Network

What some people mistake for the high cost of living is really the cost of high living.” –Doug Larson

“The most miserable person in the world is not the person who doesn’t have what he wants, but the person who has what he wants and has found out that it doesn’t make any difference.” (Corrie Ten Boom)

“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.” (anonymous)

In a museum in Deadwood, South Dakota, there is an inscription left by a prospector years ago: “I lost my gun.  I lost my horse.  I’m out of food.  The Indians are after me.  But I’ve got all the gold I can carry.”

“I have learned to hold everything loosely — that way it doesn’t hurt when God takes anything away from me.” (Corrie Ten Boom)

The Chicago Tribune (9/1/96) ran the story of Buddy Post, “living proof that money can’t buy happiness.” In 1988, he won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since then, he was convicted of assault, his sixth wife left him, his brother was convicted of trying to kill him, and his landlady successfully sued him for one-third of the jackpot. “Money didn’t change me,” said Post, a 58-year-old former carnival worker and cook. “It changed people around me that I knew, that I thought cared a little bit about me. But they only cared about the money.” Post is trying to auction off 17 future payments, valued at nearly $5 million, in order to pay off taxes, legal fees, and a number of failed business ventures. He plans to spend his life as an ex-winner pursuing lawsuits he has filed against police, judges, and lawyers who he says conspired to take his money. “I’m just going to stay at home and mind my p’s and q’s,” he said. “Money draws flies.”

 

Power

Did you hear about Sam who was walking through La Guardia Airport, struggling with two very heavy suitcases?  He was approached by a man who asked if he knew the time.  Sam, quite irritated but trying to be as civil as possible, put the giant suitcases down, looked at his watch, and said, “It’s quarter to six.”  “Hey, that’s a nice watch,” the man said to Sam.  “Yes, it is,” Sam replied.  “Check this out.”  Sam pressed a button to reveal a time zone and pressed the button again, revealing another time zone.  “This watch displays every time zone in the world and the 86 largest metropolitan areas in the world.  Not only that,” Sam continued, getting into his subject, “this watch will talk to you.”  Sam pressed another button and a voice said, The time is quarter to six.  Another button and the same voice says the same thing in Japanese, then in French.  “This watch will give you the time in every major language in the world and with appropriate accents.”  Then Sam hit another button and a tiny, but very high-resolution, map of New York City appeared on the display.  “The flashing dot shows our location by satellite positioning.”  Then Sam said, “Recede” and the display backed off to show eastern New York state.  “This watch will give you your location any place in the world.  And, not only that, listen.”  Sam pressed the button a number of other times in succession and the watch became a credible FM radio receiver with a digital tuner, a sonar device measuring distances up to 125 meters, a pager, and a message recorder with the capacity for voice recordings of up to 300 messages.”  “I’ve got to have that watch,” the man said to Sam. “I’ll give you $15,000 for it.”  Sam thought, I’ve only put $6000 into materials and development.  With the $15,000, I can make another one and have it ready for merchandising in only six months. I’ll make a nice profit of $9000.  “Sold!”  The man wrote a check for the $15,000 and gave it to Sam. Then, Sam took off the watch and gave it to the man.  The man walked away quite pleased with his purchase when Sam shouted at him.  “Hey, wait a minute!”  “What is it?”  Sam, pointing at the giant suitcases he’d been struggling to get through the airport, said, “Don’t forget your batteries.”

 

Praise

E.M. Sangster had a muscular disease that took over his whole body.  His legs went first, and then his voice and the last thing before he died he was only able to hold a pen and write on a piece of paper.  He wrote to his daughter around Easter:  “It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice with which to shout.  But it would still be more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout.”

“Alas for those who never sing, but die with their music still in them.” (Oliver Wendall Holmes)

The woman sitting next to me at the concert was about 80 years old with upswept silver hair.  Her whole manner indicated a background of genteel breeding and taste.  As the concert progressed it was obvious that she was caught up in the performance.  Her rapture built until, after a particularly moving number, she could restrain herself no longer.  Tapping me on the knee, she implored, “Oh, do shout `BRAVO’ for me!” (W.P. Hovey, Jr. in Readers’ Digest)

“When the heart is afire, some sparks will fly out of the mouth.” (Thomas Fuller)

Prayer

During the minister’s prayer one Sunday, there was a loud whistle  from one of the back pews. Gary’s mother was horrified. She pinched him into silence, and after church, asked: “Gary, whatever made you do such a  thing?” Gary answered soberly: “I asked God to teach me to whistle…And He just then did!”

My Prayer

Lord help me to relax about insignificant details beginning tomorrow

at 7:41:23 am, e.s.t.

God help me to consider people’s feelings, even if most of them ARE

hypersensitive.

God help me to take responsibility for my own actions, even though

they’re usually NOT my fault.

God, help me to not try to RUN everything.  But, if You need some

help, please feel free to ASK me!

Lord, help me to be more laid back,  and help me to do it EXACTLY

right.

God help me to take things more seriously, especially laughter,

parties, and dancing.

God give me patience, and I mean right NOW!

Lord help me not be a perfectionist.  (Did I spell that correctly?)

God, help me to finish everything I sta

God, help me to keep my mind on one th — Look, a bird — ing at a

time.

God help me to do only what I can, and trust you for the rest.  And

would you mind putting that in writing?

Lord keep me open to others’ ideas, WRONG though they may be.

Lord help me follow established procedures today.  On second

thought, I’ll settle for a few minutes.

Lord, help me slow down andnotrushthroughwhatIdo.

Lord help me be less independent, but let me do it my way.

Amen

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Contributed by Jan Groenveld)

“You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.” (A.J. Gordon)

“At the profoundest depths in life men talk not about God, but with Him.” (Elton Trueblood)

Prayer (answers to)

A Free Church minister was visiting a Pentecostal friend.  He noticed a big

red phone on the desk.  Upon inquiry he learned it was a direct line to

God.  After trying it out with some thorny church issues and thanking his

charismatic friend he asked if he could pay for the charges.  After some

calculation a total of $6.29 was paid.

The next week the Pentecostal visited the Free Church pastor.  A large red

phone sat on his desk.  After learning he too now had a direct line the

Pentecostal used it to deal with a few “emergencies” of his own.  He too

wanted to pay for the charges.  The Free Church man whipped out his

calculator and asked for 32 cents.  The Pentecostal was bewildered.  “Why

so cheap” he asked?  The Free Church pastor smiled.  “Local call” he said.

Did you hear about he woman who went to her pastor and said, “I have a husband who is not a Christian.  He’s awful.  He’s abrasive and obnoxious.  He’s never hit me, but he is awful with his words.  He comes home drunk half the time.  You wouldn’t believe what he says to me and how the kids are afraid of him.  What should I do?”  The pastor said, “Pray that he find Christ.”  Two weeks later this woman came back to her pastor and he said, “What happened?”  She said, “My husband died.  You know, God always gives you more than you ask for!” (Stephen Brown)

“They’re almost unbelievable –

Some prayer answers

You sent so fast

They took my breath away

And made me laugh.

I thank You.

I thank You there were other times

It seemed You’d left me way out

In the dark alone to wait . . .

Until You became more important

Than any answer I was looking for.”

(Nancy Spiegelberg)

Prayer (confused)

One woman writes that her sister shops for bargains because she has six children to feed.  She frequently stops at a bakery thrift store.  She didn’t realize the impression she was making on the children until one night when she heard her little girl reciting the Lord’s Prayer:  “Give us this day our day-old bread.” (Patricia Dial)

Prayer (definition)

Pray, v. “To ask that the rules of the universe be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy.” (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary)

“Prayer is the contemplation of life from the highest point of view.” (William James)

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan was once asked by a lady, “Dr. Morgan, should I pray to God about little things?”  “Madam,” he replied, “can you think of anything that is not little to the God of the universe?”

“Whenever we try to turn prayer into something to enable us to realize our own ambitions and to satisfy our own desires, prayer must be ineffective, for it is not real prayer at all.” (William Barclay, The Gospel of John)

“Prayer may be considered under two points of view: as an endeavor to change the intentions of God or as a formal testimony of our obedience.” (Shelley)

Prayer (generic)

William H. Willimon, dean of the chapel at Duke University, “went through a stage of attempting to pray generic prayers,” using phrases such as `that Divine Force which touches our lives.’  He put an end to his experiment in politically correct prayer after a student told him he “sounded less like a Christian minister and more like a crew member on the starship Enterprise.” (quoted in The Biblical Evangelist, January 1, 1993)

Prayer (genuine)

“May it be the real I who speaks.  May it be the real Thou that I speak to.” (C.S. Lewis)

“Prayer is not an argument with God to persuade Him to move things our way, but an exercise by which we are enabled by His Spirit to move ourselves His way.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

A young seminary student was a guest preacher in a beautifully stain-glassed church.  He prayed an extended, eloquent, theologically articulate prayer.  An old man shook his hand after the service, looked him in the eye and said, “Son, that was the greatest prayer I’ve ever heard offered . . . to people!”

“Never trust someone who has to change his tone to ask something of the Lord.” (Robert A. Everett)

“Spread out your petition before God, and then say, `Thy will, not mine, be done.’  The sweetest lesson I have learned in God’s school is to let the Lord choose for me.” (D.L. Moody)

Prayer (God hearing our)

“Dear God – if you can do all these things people say you do, you’re pretty busy.  Now here’s my question: when’s the best time I can talk to you?  I know you are always listening, but when will you be listening hard?  In Troy, N.Y.  Sincerely, Allen. (Letters from Children to God)

THE POLICE STATE: The Lincolnshire, England, Christian Police Association

has set up “Prayer Watch” — a “spiritual twist on the Neighbourhood

Watch scheme.” Christian officers will ask the public to pray for a

reduction in crime, sending out e-mail alerts to ask for specific

prayers. The CPA is “a support group,” said Lincolnshire Police

spokesman Dick Holmes, “a bit like the black or gay associations.” Not

all local residents like the idea. “Churches can pray for whatever they

like,” said one man, “but if God does exist are you telling me he

doesn’t know about little old ladies being attacked?” (Lincolnshire

Echo)

Prayer (God’s will and)

“What we usually pray to God is not that his will be done, but that he approve ours.” (Helga Bergold Gross)

“Prayer is simply believing God to supply what is needed to fulfill His will.” (Robert E. Coleman)

Prayer, Importance of

“I’d rather be able to pray than to be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught his disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.” (D.L. Moody)

“Pray when in the mood — It is sinful to neglect such an opportunity!  Pray when not in the mood.  It is dangerous to be in such a condition.” (Matthew Henry)

One day a small boy tried to lift a heavy rock, but couldn’t budge it.  His father was watching and finally said, “Are you positive, son, that you’re using all your strength?”  “Yes, I am!” the boy cried.  “No, you’re not,” said the father.  “You haven’t asked me to help you.”

“At the profoundest depths in life men talk not about God, but with Him.” (Elton Trueblood)

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” (Martin Luther)

“If prayer is the breathe of the soul, how many of us are among the walking dead?” (anonymous)

“I’d rather be able to pray than to be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught his disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.” (D.L. Moody)

Prayer (listening and)

“Prayer is not a monologue, but a dialogue.  Listening to God’s voice is the secret of the assurance that He will listen to mine.” (Andrew Murray)

“If we could all hear one another’s prayers, God might be relieved of some of his burden.” (anonymous)

Prayer, Satan and

“The one concern of the devil is to keep God’s people from praying . . . He laughs at your toil and he mocks at your wisdom.  But he trembles when you pray!” (Samuel Chadwick)

Prayer (and service)

“Whenever you see a great work of God, it can be traced to a kneeling figure.” (D.L. Moody)

In 1740 the preacher Gilbert Tennent said, “It looks hypocrite-lie to go no further, when other things are required, than cheap prayer!”

Prayer (spirituality and)

“What a man is alone on his knees before God,” said Murray McCheyne, “that he is, and no more.”

A little boy prayed: “Lord, if you can’t make me a better boy — don’t worry about it.  I’m having a real good time as it is!”

Prayer (work of)

Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.  –Oswald Chambers

Preaching

“Presume disinterest . . . [W]hile you are poring over the readings for next Sunday’s homily, presume a cold audience.  Presume that they would rather feed their children to crocodiles than listen to you.” (William O’Malley, quoted in Burghardt’s Preaching: The Art and the Craft)

“I cannot fill the sanctuary with people, but I can fill the service with purpose.  I cannot convince people they are sinners, but I can confess that I am a sinner.  I cannot persuade the whole world, but I can proclaim the whole Word.” (Dick Rasanen)

James Cox has aptly stated: “If the sermon is not interesting, preachers need to go back and see if they have been talking about the real needs of the people, if they have used supportive material (illustrations and examples) with which the people can identify, if they have laid out their ideas in a logical way that makes good sense, and if they have couched their thoughts in words and sentences that people can understand.  You should have sound exegesis; your theology should be sound.  No doubt about that!  But how shall they hear except they be interested?” (James Cox, quoted in The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text, p. 341).

“To me, the unprepared homilist is a menace.  I do not minimize divine inspiration; I simply suggest it is rarely allotted to the lazy.” (Walter J. Burghardt, Preaching: The Art and the Craft)

“An apt illustration sticks in the soul like a hook in a fish’s mouth.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

An English woman took her American friend to hear the great preacher Spurgeon.  When the service was over they were walking away and the English woman turned to her friend and said, “What did you think of him?”  The American looked up and said, “Who?”  “Well, Spurgeon, of course,” said the English woman.  The American woman replied, “To be honest with you, I wasn’t thinking of Spurgeon.  I was thinking of Jesus.”

The three secrets of success in public speaking are: be sincere, be brief, be seated.

Predestination

“At the beginning of my missionary career I said that if predestination were true I could not be a missionary.  Now after 20 some years of struggling with the hardness of the human heart, I say I could never be a missionary unless I believed in the doctrine of predestination.”  (John Alexander, former pres. of IVCF, in Piper’s Let the Nations Be Glad).

Preparation

Donald Grey Barnhouse, after he had spoken in Boston, was approached by a young man in seminary: “That was a great speech!  How long did it take you to prepare it?”  Barnhouse replied, “It took me five minutes . . . and twenty years.”

Pride

“There is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride.  Beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive.  Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.” (Benjamin Franklin)

Near the end of World War II, a soldier wrote home about the strange sights he saw while France was being liberated.  He saw Germans jumping and shouting for joy at the thought of being taken prisoner and escaping the fighting.  He saw many wounded Germans gratefully accepting Allied offers of mercy.  But one German, a stern S.S. man, refused help.  The S.S. man required an immediate blood transfusion.  “Will it be British blood?” he asked.  The doctor nodded.  “Healthy British blood.  You will die if you do not take it.”  The German glared at his benefactor.  His face tightened into a rigid frown.  “Then,” he said, “I would rather die.”  A few hours later his body was prepared for burial.

Priorities

I’m constantly amazed by the number of people who can’t seem to control their own schedules. Over the years, I’ve had many executives come to me and say with pride, ‘Boy, last year I worked so hard that I didn’t take any vacation.’ It’s actually nothing to be proud of. I always feel like responding, “You dummy. You mean to tell me that you can take responsibility for an $80 million project, and you can’t plan two weeks out of the year to go off with your family and have some fun?” –Lee Iacocca

“I will place no value on anything I own except in relation to the kingdom of God.” (David Livingstone)

Problems

A young man, who was also an avid golfer, found himself with a few hours

to spare one afternoon. He figured that if he hurried and played very fast,

he could get in 9 holes before he had to head home. Just as he was about

to tee off, an old gentleman shuffled onto the tee and asked if he could

accompany the young man as he was golfing alone. Not being able to say

no, he allowed the old man to join him.

<BR>To his surprise, the old man played fairly quickly. He didn’t hit the

ball far, but plodded along consistently and didn’t waste much time. Finally,

they reached the 9th fairway and the young man found himself with a tough

shot. There was a large pine tree right in front of his ball and directly

between his ball and the green. After several minutes of debating how to

hit the shot, the old man finally said, “You know, when I was your age,

I’d hit the ball right over that tree.”

<BR>With that challenge placed before him, the youngster swung hard, hit

the ball up, right smack into the top of the tree trunk and it thudded

back on the ground not a foot from where it had originally lay.

<BR>The old man offered one more comment, “Of course, when I was your age,

that pine tree was only 3 feet tall.”

A young woman went to her doctor complaining of pain.  “Where are you hurting?” asked the doctor.”You have to help me, I hurt all over”, said the woman.”What do you mean, all over?” asked the doctor, “be a little more specific.”  The woman touched her right knee with her index  finger and yelled, “Ow, that hurts.” Then she touched her left cheek and again yelled, “Ouch!

That hurts, too.” Then she touched her right earlobe, “Ow, even THAT hurts”, she cried. The doctor checked her thoughtfully for a moment and told her his diagnosis, “You have a broken finger.”

CLOGGED ARTERY: A tanker truck carrying warm animal fat to a processing plant to be made into fabric softener overturned in Cincinnati, Ohio, during rush hour traffic, spilling 6,700 gallons of fat on Interstate 74. Road crews closed the highway for three days while trying to figure out how to clear away the slick fat — sand, high-pressure water and solvents didn’t work since the grease had oozed into cracks and the grooved pavement, then cooled and congealed. So Proctor & Gamble, which is based in Cincinnati, donated 3.5 tons of “Dawn” dishwashing detergent, which is advertised with the slogan “Dawn takes grease out of your way.” It worked. “This is, by far, the most extreme case of grease we’ve dealt with,” a P&G spokesman said. “We’re delighted it worked.” (AP) …Most extreme case of grease they’ve dealt with?  Obviously, then, P&G doesn’t have the McDonald’s contract.

Subject

The Oyster

There once was an oyster

Whose story I tell,

Who found that some sand

Had got into his shell.

It was only a grain,

But it gave him great pain.

For oysters have feelings

Although they’re so plain.

Now, did he berate

The harsh workings of fate

That had brought him

To such a deplorable state?

Did he curse at the government,

Cry for election,

And claim that the sea should

Have given him protection?

No – he said to himself

As he lay on a shell,

Since I cannot remove it,

I shall try to improve it.

Now the years have rolled around,

As the years always do,

And he came to his ultimate

Destiny – stew.

And the small grain of sand

That had bothered him so

Was a beautiful pearl

All richly aglow.

Now the tale has a moral,

For isn’t it grand

What an oyster can do

With a morsel of sand?

What couldn’t we do

If we’d only begin

With some of the things

That get under our skin.

Bud and Rocky, two sky divers having tired of all the ordinary stunts, decided to set a world record by free-falling to within 100 feet of the ground before opening their chutes.  They jumped from 8000 feet, and came plummeting towards the earth.  When his altimeter read 100, But shouted to Rocky, “Now?”  “No, not now!”  “Now?” Bud screamed at 50 feet.  “Not yet!”  “Come on,” Bud shrieked, “it’s only ten feet!”  “For heaven’s sake, Bud,” Rocky yelled, “haven’t you ever fallen from ten feet before?” (Dragan R. Filipovic)

Weather-bureau official to assistant:  “I was afraid of this — since we started mixing male and female hurricanes, there’s a lot of little hurricanes popping up.” (Readers’ Digest)

Overheard during a coffee break: “There must be something to reincarnation.  It’s hard to believe that I could get this far behind in one lifetime.”

The story is told of a Norwegian who went fishing with his two sons.  They got in the middle of a great storm and couldn’t see the shore.  They got lost and were in the storm for hours.  They were certain that they were going to die.  Meanwhile, back at their cottage, a fire started in the kitchen.  It quickly spread to the rest of the house and completely burned the house down.  When the father and his two sons finally got to the dock, they were greeted by the mother with big tears streaming down her face.  She said, “We have lost everything in that fire.”  The father began to laugh.  “Didn’t you understand what I said?” she sobbed.  “We have lost everything — our house has burned down!”  The father said, “We were lost at sea, we had given up on our lives, when we saw a light dimly, and made for that light.  The closer we came the bigger it was, and it was the house burning that saved our lives!” (Stephen Brown)

It started when Donald Hudson of Midland, Michigan, suddenly noticed his morning newspaper was moving.  A bird had nestled into the plastic-covered paper before Hudson picked it up from his lawn and put it on the car seat beside him.  He stopped the car and shifted into neutral to let the bird go.  He had one leg out the door when the gear slipped and the car began to move.  Hudson’s other foot and pants leg were stuck under the seat, so he tried hopping down the road to keep up.  In the process, his pants slipped halfway down.  Finally Hudson’s foot came loose, and he fell out of the car and hit his head on the pavement.  The vehicle kept going and plowed into a neighbor’s porch. (Readers’ Digest)

Vacationist in drug-store: “Have you anything good for mosquito bites on top of poison ivy over sunburn?” (Readers’ Digest)

When a man took his aged, ailing car into his neighborhood garage for diagnosis, the mechanic’s prescription wasn’t encouraging.  “I’d save the radiator cap,” he drawled, “and screw a new car under it.” (Readers’ Digest)

A friend of mine, needing chains put on her car one snowy morning, called the AAA for assistance.  They replied, “Is it an emergency?  We only put chains on if you’re stuck.”  With that my friend went out to her car.  Calmly, deliberately and forcefully, she backed it into the nearest snowdrift.  She then returned to the phone. (Norman Nisly in Readers’ Digest)

“I just bought the new Jane Fonda work-out tape.  I just couldn’t keep up with her.  My philosophy is — `No pain — no pain!'” (Readers’ Digest)

Computer Problem Report Form

1.  Describe your problem:

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

2.  Now, describe the problem accurately:

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

3.  Speculate wildly about the cause of the problem:

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

4.  Problem Severity:

A.  Minor__

B.  Minor__

C.  Minor__

D. Trivial__

5.  Nature of the problem:

A.  Locked Up__

B.  Frozen__

C.  Hung__

D.  Strange Smell__

6.  Is your computer plugged in?  Yes__ No__

7.  Is it turned on?  Yes__ No__

8.  Have you tried to fix it yourself?  Yes__ No__

9.  Have you made it worse?  Yes__

10. Have you had “a friend” who  “Knows all about computers” try to fix

it for you?  Yes__  No__

11.  Did they make it even worse?  Yes__

12.  Have you read the manual?  Yes__ No__

13.  Are you sure you’ve read the manual?  Maybe__ No__

14.  Are you absolutely certain you’ve read the manual?   No__

15.  If you read the manual, do you think you understood it?  Yes__ No__

16.  If ‘Yes’ then explain why you can’t fix the problem yourself.

__________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________

17.  What were you doing with your computer at the time the problem

occurred?

__________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________

l8.  If you answered ‘nothing’ then explain why you were logged in?

__________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________

l9.  Are you sure you aren’t imagining the problem?  Yes__ No__

20.  Does the clock on your home VCR blink 12:00?  Yes__ What’s a VCR?__

21.  Do you have a copy of ‘PCs for Dummies’?  Yes__ No__

22.  Do you have any independent witnesses to the problem?  Yes__ No__

23.  Do you have any electronics products that DO work?  Yes__ No__

24.  Is there anyone else you could blame this problem on?  Yes__ No__

25.  Have you given the machine a good whack on the top?  Yes__ No__

26.  Is the machine on fire?  Yes__ Not Yet__

27.  Can you do something else instead of bothering me?  Yes__

Submitted by: Cyan41@juno.com

Roy Blount illustrates his view of the between the sexes:  “I once lived in a messy apartment, and I realize it’s sexist to assume that just because a woman wasn’t there it was messy.  So I went downstairs to borrow an iron, and I realize it’s sexist to assume that just because there wasn’t a woman there, there wasn’t an iron there.  And I came back up and didn’t have an ironing board.  I realize it’s sexist to have anybody assume that of course I wouldn’t have an ironing board, but I didn’t.  So I was ironing my shirt on the floor, and there was this little crunch, and I picked up the shirt and I had ironed a roach right on it.  And the point of this is there are some things that just can’t be ironed out.” (Karin Winegar in Readers’ Digest)

“While I was sitting in my parked car on the street one day,” writes Frank Rubesky, “a young woman in the car ahead came over and asked me if I had a hammer that she could borrow.  When I said no, she got one from the man in the car in front of hers.  She then deftly proceeded to smash out the vent pane on the side of her car.  After returning the hammer, she opened her door, took out the keys and waved them at us with a triumphant grin.  As she drove away, the fellow who lent her the hammer came over to me and said, `If only she had told me what she wanted the hammer for, I think I could have helped her.  I’m a locksmith.'” (Readers’ Digest)

A stewardess says that on one particular flight, the airplane had to go through a fairly turbulent air pocket.  A rough landing completed an otherwise normal flight.  The passengers were a bit disheveled as they disembarked.  A grandmotherly-looking lady said to the stewardess, “Did we land — or were we shot down?”

“For the wise men of old, the cardinal problem of human life was how to conform the soul to objective reality, and the solution was wisdom, self-discipline and virtue.  For the modern mind, the cardinal problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of man, and the solution is a technique.” (C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man)

“For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong.” (anonymous)

Progress

“If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” (C.S. Lewis)

Progress

Dr. David Livingstone returned to England after serving Christ on the foreign mission field.  People assumed that he would now retire.  He announced he was returning to Africa.  A reporter asked him: “Dr. Livingstone, where are you going now?”  Livingstone replied: “I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward!”

Providence

Mike Cameron, a Mets outfielder in 2005, said in defense of a teammate who lost a fly ball in the sun, “Stuff is going to happen sometimes.  The sun has been there for 500, 600 years.”

Psychiatry

“We have a society which is psychiatrized in the same sense in which medieval European society was Christianized, religionized — everything was a matter of religion.  Now everything is a matter of psychiatry, from homosexuality, to heroin, to murder.” (Thomas Szasz)

Punctuation

It’s all in the punctuation:&nbsp;

<BR>An English professor wrote the words, “Woman without her man

<BR>is nothing” on the blackboard and directed his students to

<BR>punctuate it correctly.

<BR>The men wrote: “Woman, without her man, is nothing.”

<BR>The women wrote: “Woman: Without her, man is nothing.”

Compare these two identically worded paragraphs, and notice how a change in punctuation alters the meaning:

Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is all about.  You are generous, kind,

thoughtful.  People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men.  I yearn for you.  I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart.  I can be forever happy — will you let me be yours?

Susan

Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is.  All about you are generous, kind,

thoughtful people, who are not like you.  Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me.  For other men, I yearn.  For you, I have no feelings whatsoever.  When we’re apart, I can be forever happy.  Will you let me be?

Yours,

Susan

Punishment

The Readers’ Digest reported the story of a woman who was a music instructor.  She says that she works with many classroom teachers and on one occasion she entered a second-grade class to begin her lesson.  Out of the corner of her eye she saw the teacher take out a bright-red lipstick and, very deliberately, apply an enormous amount to her lips.  “How unlike her,” thought the music teacher.  When the bell rang, she said good-bye to an exceptionally well-behaved group of seven-year olds.  The teacher then said, “Class, I am sure Mrs. Johnson thinks that I was acting very strange today.  Who would like to explain?”  One boy spoke right up:  “Mrs. King said that if anybody misbehaved today, she was going to give them a big kiss.”

Puns

AT NEW YORK’s Kennedy airport today, an individual – later discovered to be a public school teacher – was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a slide rule, and a calculator. At a morning press conference, the U. S. Attorney General disclosed that he believes the man to be a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

“Al-gebra is a fearsome cult,” he declared. “They seek average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute value. They use secret code names like ‘x’ and ‘y’ and refer to themselves as ‘unknowns,’ but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to argue, there are three sides to every triangle.”

When asked to comment on the arrest, the President stated, “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes. I am gratified that our government has shown us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these math-dogs, who are willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard. Murky statisticians love to inflict plane on every sphere of influence. Under the circumferences, we must differentiate their root, make our point, and draw the line.”

The President warned, “These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen, unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor in random facts of vertex.”

The Attorney General concluded, “As our Great Leader would say, read my ellipse. Here is one principle he is uncertain of: though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered as the hypotenuse tightens.”

It is with the saddest heart that I must pass on the following news:  Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community.  The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly.  He was 71.  Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin.  Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch.   The gravesite was piled high with flours.  Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers.  He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes.  Despite being a little flaky at times, he was still a crusty old man and was considered a roll model for millions.  Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, two children, John Dough and Jane Dough, plus they had one in the oven.  He is also survived by his elderly dad, Pop Tart.  The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.

If this made you smile even for a brief second, please take times to pass it on and share that smile with someone else who kneads it!

Mahatma Gandhi walked barefoot everywhere, to the point that his feet became quite thick and hard.  He also was quite a spiritual person.  Even when he was not on a hunger strike, he did not eat much and became quite thin and frail.  Furthermore, due to his diet, he wound up with very bad breath.  Therefore, he came to be known as a “Super callused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis.”

Purpose

Al Heppner. Maybe you read his story in the newspaper last week. Al was a world-class long distance race walker. His dream was to go to the Olympics. That’s what he lived for. Two weeks ago today, he was competing in the 50-kilometer Olympic trials in Chula   Vista, hoping (and expecting) to earn a birth on the team that will be going to Athens this summer. To no one’s surprise, he led the race until about the 35-kilometer mark, when he              began to tire. Four other walkers eventually passed him, and he finished fifth, nearly 24 minutes over the Olympic qualifying time of 4 hours. Three days later, he drove out Interstate 8 to the Pine Valley Bridge in eastern San Diego County and jumped to his death. A fellow race walker and one of his closest friends said, “He was pretty much all or nothing. My feeling would be that he was so intent that he just forgot about everything else except for making the Olympics. Nothing else mattered.”

Many years ago, Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote this: “This is the true joy in life— being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a weighty one, instead of being a feverish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

Just before he received the Nobel prize for literature (which Shaw had earlier won), American novelist John Steinbeck wrote in a letter to a friend: “Long ago I knew, perhaps, that mine was not a truly first-rate talent. I had then two choices, to throw it over or to use what I had to the best of my ability. I chose the second.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger, co-founder of the famous Menninger clinic, made this cogent observation: “The secret of mental health is finding out what you are supposed to do in this life, and working hard at it.”

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in illustrations, preaching

 

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CONTEMPORARY ILLUSTRATIONS FOR PANICKY PREACHERS! (Letter “N”):

Friends: I’ve been collecting illustrations for about 30 years now. I once dreamed of publishing a book of these, but have decided to give them away for FREE!  I’ll post my collection — one letter at a time — over the next little while.

Let me know if you find any of these useful!

CONTEMPORARY ILLUSTRATIONS

FOR PANICKY PREACHERS

Names

WHAT’S IN A NAME? A study by the University of California at San Diego finds that people whose initials spell out negative words don’t live as long as people whose initials spell out positive words. “It’s a little tiny depressant to be called PIG, or a little tiny boost to your esteem to be called ACE or WOW,” says psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld. The  research found 11 especially “good” sets of initials and 19 particularly “bad” ones, and showed those with better initials such as ACE or GOD lived an average of 4.48 years longer than a control group with neutral initials. Those with worse initials such as DIE or BUM died 2.8 years sooner than the control group, “the notion being that accidents aren’t really accidents,” Christenfeld said. “Whether deliberate or not, if you think less of yourself, you may be more likely to drive your car into a bridge abutment.” (AP) …BAD you are, ACE I be; I’ll be here, while you RIP.

Needs

“People need love, especially when they don’t deserve it!” (anonymous)

“You Must Install Windoze 98!”

There was a knock on the door. It was the man from Microsoft. “Not you again,” I said.

“Sorry,” he said, a little sheepishly. “I guess you know why I’m here.” Indeed I did. Microsoft’s $300 million campaign to promote the Windows 98 operating system was meant to be universally effective, to convince every human being on the planet that Windows 98 was an essential, some would say integral, part of living. Problem was, not everyone had bought it.  Specifically, I hadn’t. I was the Last Human Being Without Windows 98.  And now this little man from Microsoft was at my door, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“No,” I said.  “You know I can’t take that,” he said, pulling out a copy of Windows 98 from a briefcase. “Come on. Just one copy. That’s all we ask.”

“Not interested,” I said. “Look, isn’t there someone else you can go bother for a while? There’s got to be someone else on the planet who doesn’t have a copy.”

“Well, no,” the Microsoft man said. “You’re the only one.”

“You can’t be serious. Not everyone on the planet has a computer,” I said. “And certainly, not everyone has a PC! Some people own Macintoshes, which run their own operating system. And some people who have PCs run OS/2, though I hear that’s just a rumor. In short, there are some people who just have no USE for Windows 98.”

The Microsoft man look perplexed. “I’m missing your point,” he said.

“Use!” I screamed. “Use! Use! Use! Why BUY it, if you can’t USE it?”

“Well, I don’t know anything about this “use” thing you’re going on about,” the Microsoft man said. “All I know is that according to our records, everyone else on the planet has a copy.”

“People without computers?”

“Got ‘em.”

“Amazonian Indians?”

“We had to get some malaria shots to go in, but yes.”

“The Amish?”

“Check.”

“Oh, come on,” I said. “They don’t even wear BUTTONS. How did you get them to buy a computer operating system?”

“We told them there were actually 98 very small windows in the box,” the Microsoft man admitted. “We sort of lied. Which means we are all going to Hell, every single employee of Microsoft.” He was somber for a minute, but then perked right up. “But that’s not the point!” he said. “The point is, EVERYONE has a copy. Except you.”

“So what?” I said. “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you expect me to do it, too?”

“If we spent $300 million advertising it? Absolutely.”

“No.”

“Oh, back to that again,” the Microsoft man said. “Hey. I’ll tell you what. I’ll GIVE you a copy. For free. Just take it and install it on your computer.” He waved the box in front of me.

“No,” I said again. “No offense, pal, but I don’t NEED it. And frankly, your whole advertising blitz has sort of offended me. I mean, it’s a computer operating system. Great. Fine. Swell. Whatever. But you guys are advertising it like it creates world peace or something.”

“It did.”

“Pardon?”

“World peace. It was part of the original design. Really. One button access. Click on it, poof, end to strife and hunger. Simple.”

“So what happened?”

“Well, you know,” he said. “It took up a lot of space on the hard drive.  We had to decide between it or the Microsoft Network. Anyway, we couldn’t figure out how to make a profit off of world peace.”

“Go away,” I said.

“I can’t,” he said. “I’ll be killed if I fail.”

“You have got to be kidding,” I said.

“Look,” the Microsoft man said, “We sold this to the Amish. The Amish!  Right now, they’re opening the boxes and figuring out they’ve been had. We’ll be pitchforked if we ever step into Western Pennsyvania again. But we did it. So to have YOU holding out, well, it’s embarassing. It’s embarassing to the company. It’s embarassing to the product. It’s embarassing to Bill.”

“Bill Gates does not care about me,” I said.

“He’s watching right now,” the Microsoft man said. “Borrowed one of those military spy satellites just for the purpose. It’s also got one of those high-powered lasers. You close that door on me, zap, I’m a pile of grey ash.”

“He wouldn’t do that,” I said. “He might hit that copy of Windows 98 by accident.”

“Oh, Bill’s gotten pretty good with that laser,” the Microsoft man said nervously. “Okay. I wasn’t supposed to do this, but you leave me no choice. If you take this copy of Windows 98, we will reward you handsomely. In fact, we’ll give you your own Caribbean island! How does Montserrat sound?”

“Terrible. There’s an active volcano there.”

“It’s only a small one,” the Microsoft man said.

“Look,” I said, “even if you DID convince me to take that copy of Windows 98, what would you do then? You’d have totally saturated the market. That would be it. No new worlds to conquer. What would you do then?”

The Microsoft man held up another box and gave it to me.

“‘Windows 98….For Pets’?!?!?”

“There’s a LOT of domestic animals out there,” he said.

I shut the door quickly. There was a surprised yelp, the sound of a laser, and then nothing.

News

Letter From Camp

Dear Mom & Dad:

We are having a great time here at Lake Typhoid.  Scoutmaster Webb is making  us all write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and worried.  We are OK.  Only 1 of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away.  Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened.  Oh yes, please call Chad’s mother and tell her he is OK.  He can’t write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search & rescue jeeps.

It was neat.  We never would have found him in the dark if it hadn’t been for the lightning.  Scoutmster Webb got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anyone.  Chad said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him. Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blow up? The wet wood still didn’t burn, but one of our tents did.  Also some of our clothes.  John is going to look weird until his hair grows back.  We will be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Webb gets the car fixed.  It wasn’t his fault about the wreck.  The brakes worked OK when we left.  Scoutmaster Webb said that a car that old you have to expect something to break down; that’s probably why he can’t get insurance on it.  We think it’s a neat car.  He doesn’t care if we get it dirty, and if its hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the tailgate.  It gets pretty hot with 10 people in a car.  He let us take turns riding in the trailer until the highway patrolman stopped and talked to us. Scoutmaster Webb is a neat guy.  Don’t worry, he is a good driver.  In fact, he is teaching Terry how to drive.  But he only lets him drive on the mountain roads where there isn’t any traffic.  All we ever see up there are logging  trucks.  This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake.  Scoutmaster Webb wouldn’t let me because I can’t swim and Chad was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so he let us take the canoe across the lake.  It was great.  You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood.  Scoutmaster Webb isn’t crabby like some scoutmasters.  He didn’t even get mad about the life jackets.  He has to spend a lot of time working on the car so we are trying not to cause him any trouble.  Guess what?  We have all passed our first aid merit badges.  When Dave dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Also Wade and I threw up.  Scoutmaster Webb said it probably was just food poisoning from the leftover chicken.  I have to go now.  We are going into town to mail our letters and buy bullets.  Don’t worry about anything.  We are fine.

Love,  Cole

P.S.  How long has it been since I had a tetanus shot?

In her rush to return to University in Indiana, my friend Jill was caught speeding.  When she called to tell her parents, she did her best to downplay the incident.  “I’ve got some good news and some bad news,” she began.  “The good news is my 16-year-old car still does 75 m.p.h.  The bad news is the police know it.” (Readers’ Digest)

New Year’s

“One resolve is like another — In one year and out the other.” (anonymous)

“At New Year’s resolutions my mind is agile,  It is strong — but they are fragile.” (anonymous)

Following the Christmas break, I returned to the YMCA to renew my swimming exercise program.  To my surprise, the pool was crowded with two or three people in each lane.  When I spoke to the lifeguard about the increase in swimmers, he wasn’t concerned.  “Those are just New Year’s resolutions,” he replied. “They’ll be gone in a few weeks.” (RD)

Normalcy

“We are so sub-normal that if we ever became normal people would think we were abnormal.” (Vance Havner)

Nostalgia

“Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson.  You find the present tense and the past perfect.” (anonymous)

>I have decided that Nostalgia is the VCR of our minds.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in illustrations, preaching

 

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CARTOON MONDAY! AGREEING WITH SERMON —- AGAIN?

Questions:
1. How do you graciously disagree with a sermon you have heard?
2. Why do we think that pastors and preachers should not be respectfully questioned about their sermons?

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 6, 2012 in cartoons, preaching, Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

CONTEMPORARY ILLUSTRATIONS FOR PANICKY PREACHERS (Letters L and M)

Friends: I’ve been collecting illustrations for about 30 years now. I once dreamed of publishing a book of these, but have decided to give them away for FREE!  I’ll post my collection — one letter at a time — over the next little while.

Let me know if you find any of these useful!

CONTEMPORARY ILLUSTRATIONS

FOR PANICKY PREACHERS

Language

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English”.

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.

The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w”with “v”.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil

sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

Laughter

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” (Victor Borge)

“Beware of those who laugh at nothing or at everything.” (Arnold H. Glasow)

It is the heart that is not yet sure of its God that is afraid to laugh in His presence. (George MacDonald)

Laziness

The world’s most incredibly lazy man found a magic lamp. He rubbed it and a genie appeared and granted him three wishes. He wished for a horse, a sumo wrestler and a squirrel. “They’re yours, but what are they for?” the genie asked.&nbsp; “I’m tired of walking everywhere–I want to just ride the horse. The sumo wrestler is so that I won’t have to work to get on the horse.” “But the squirrel?” asked the genie.  “I need something to go ‘click-click’ to start the horse!!!”

 

Leadership

FELIX THE FLYING FROG, a Parable About Modern Management

Once upon a time, there lived a man named Clarence who had a pet frog

named Felix.  Clarence lived a modestly comfortable existence on what

he earned working at the Wal-Mart, but he always dreamed of being

rich. “Felix!” he said one day, hit by sudden inspiration, “We’re

going to be rich!  I will teach you to fly!”

Felix, of course, was terrified at the prospect.  “I can’t fly, you

twit! I’m a frog, not a canary!”

Clarence, disappointed at the initial response, told Felix: “That

negative attitude of yours could be a real problem.  I’m sending you

to class.” So Felix went to a three-day course and learned about

problem solving, time management, and effective communication — but

nothing about flying.

On the first day of the “flying lessons,” Clarence could barely

control his excitement (and Felix could barely control his bladder).

Clarence explained that their apartment building had 15 floors, and

each day Felix would jump out of a window, starting with the first

floor and eventually getting to the top floor.

After each jump, Felix would analyze how well he flew, isolate the

most effective flying techniques, and implement the improved process

for the next flight.  By the time they reached the top floor, Felix

would surely be able to fly.

Felix pleaded for his life, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.  “He

just doesn’t understand how important this is,” thought Clarence.

“He can’t see the big picture.”

So, with that, Clarence opened the window and threw Felix out.  He

landed with a thud.

The next day, poised for his second flying lesson, Felix again begged

not to be thrown out of the window.  Clarence opened his pocket guide

to “Managing More Effectively,” and showed Felix the part about how

one must always expect resistance when introducing new, innovative

programs.

With that, he threw Felix out the window — THUD!

On the third day (at the third floor), Felix tried a different ploy:

stalling.  He asked for a delay in the “project” until better

weather would make flying conditions more favorable.

But Clarence was ready for him: He produced a timeline and pointed to

the third Milestone and asked.  “You don’t want to slip up the

schedule, do you?”

From his training, Felix knew that not jumping today would only mean

that he would have to jump TWICE tomorrow.  So he just muttered,

“OK, yeeha, let’s go.”  And out the window he went.

Now this is not to say that Felix wasn’t trying his best. On the

fifth day he flapped his legs madly in a vain attempt at flying.  On

the sixth day, he tied a small red cape around his neck and tried to

think “Superman” thoughts.

It didn’t help.

By the seventh day, Felix, accepting his fate, no longer begged for

mercy.  He simply looked at Clarence and said, “You know you’re

killing me, don’t you?”

Clarence pointed out that Felix’s performance so far had been less

than exemplary, failing to meet any of the milestone goals he had

set for him. With that, Felix said quietly, “Shut up and open the

window,” and he leaped out, taking careful aim at the large jagged

rock by the corner of the building.

And Felix went to that great lily pad in the sky.

Clarence was extremely upset, as his project had failed to meet a

single objective that he had set out to accomplish.  Felix had not

only failed to fly, he hadn’t even learned to steer his fall as he

dropped like a sack of cement, nor had he heeded Clarence’s advice to

“Fall smarter, not harder.”

The only thing left for Clarence to do was to analyze the process and

try to determine where it had gone wrong.

After much thought, Clarence smiled and said, “Next time, I’m getting

a smarter frog!”

(Original source unknown)

– I think one of the applications for the Church is that pastor and

people must work together to discover God’s vision and mission for

their joint ministry. Otherwise, a misguided leader may attempt to

teach frogs to fly.

Perhaps, just perhaps, that is part of what is wrong with much of

the Church today:  leaders imposing their misguided visions rather

than working with their constituents to develop a shared….  Nah,

couldn’t be….  The fault MUST be with the people…. <g>

For theoretical justification of developing shared vision and

mission and the incredible results it can produce see: Oakley and

Kruge, _Enlightened Leadership_) which argues that in every

organization the people with the knowledge and means to correct the

problems are within the group; and Kiefer “Leadership in Metanoic

Organizations” in _Transforming Leadership: From Vision to Results_,

J D Adams, ed., which also argues that leader’s are custodians rather

than dispensers of group vision and mission.

“There is something that is much more scarce, something rarer than ability.  It is the ability to recognize ability.” (Robert Half)

“The trouble with being a leader today is that you can’t be sure whether people are following you or chasing you.” (Bits & Pieces)

Learning

“Is not the great defect of our education today . . . that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils subjects, we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think: they learn everything, except the art of learning.” (Dorothy Sayers’ essay “The Lost Tools of Learning”).

 

“Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant?  I’m halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my….I could be eating a slow learner.”

I’VE LEARNED….

•                 I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it. Age 39

•             I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up. Age 13

•             I’ve learned that children and grandparents are natural allies. Age 46

•             I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. Age 82

•             I’ve learned that it is so important to live your life to remember, not to regret.  Age 27

•             I’ve learned that silent company is often more healing than words of advice. Age 24

•             I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people ,and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. Age 65

•             I’ve learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone. Age 50

•             I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die. Age 53

•             I’ve learned that you can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. Age 7

•             I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his need to cast blame on others.  Age 46

•             I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. Age 62

•             I’ve learned that it pays to believe in miracles. And to tell the truth, I’ve seen several.  Yeah, like the Bulldogs beating Florida in 1997.  Age 73

•             I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. Age 64

•             I’ve learned that brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s great pleasures. Age 29

•             I’ve learned that wherever I go, the worlds worst drivers have followed me there.  Age 29

•             I’ve learned that singing “Amazing Grace” can lift my spirits for hours. Age 49

•             I’ve learned that you can make someone’s day by simply sending them a little card.

Age 44

•             I’ve learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up.  Age 13

•             I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.  Age 9

•             I’ve learned that although it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my parents are strict with me.  Age 15

•             I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things:  a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. Age 52

•             I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually make the right decision.  Age 66

•             I’ve learned that if you want to do something positive for your children, try to improve your marriage.  Age 61

•             I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. Age 58

•             I’ve learned that everyone can use a prayer.  Age 72

•             I’ve learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing “Silent Night”. Age 7

•             I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t know how to show it.  Age 41

•             I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch-holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.  Age 85

•             I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.  Age 92

•             I’ve learned that I’m going to lose my job if I keep sending emails to all my friends

Age 29….

•             I’ve learned that without friends the road of life is extremely difficult. Age 34

Life

Three friends from the local congregation were asked, “When you’re in your casket, and friends and congregation members are mourning over you, what would you like them to say?”

Artie said: “I would like them to say I was a wonderful husband, a fine spiritual leader, and a great family man.”

Eugene commented: “I would like them to say I was a wonderful teacher and servant of God who made a huge difference in people’s lives.”

Al said: “I’d like them to say, “Look, he’s moving!”

Twist of Fate: When Penny Brown choked on some food at a restaurant in Depew, New York, it was dishwasher, Kevin Stephan, 1 17-year-old Eagle Scout and volunteer fireman, who performed the Heimlich maneuver, saving her life.  It turned out it was a favor returned.  Brown, a nurse, saved Kevin’s life six years earlier when his heart stopped beating.  Kevin had accidentally been hit in the chest with a bat at a ball game and the shock sent him into cardiac arrest.  Brown jumped from the stands and started CPR and got the boy breathing again.  “The Lord works in mysterious ways,” said Gerald Robert, Kevin’s Scout leader.

Morissette Alanis

Jagged Little Pill

Ironic

An old man turned ninety-eight

He won the lottery and died the next day

It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay

It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late

Isn’t it ironic… don’t you think

(chorus)

It’s like rain on your wedding day

It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid

It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take

Who would’ve thought… it figures

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly

He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye

He waited his whole damn life to take that flight

And as the plane crashed down he thought

“Well, isn’t this nice.”

And isn’t it ironic … don’t you think

(repeat chorus)

Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you

When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right

And life has a funny way of helping you out when

You think everything’s gone wrong and everthing blows up

In your face

A traffic jam when you’re already late

A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break

It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife

It’s meeting the man of my dreams

And then meeting his beautiful wife

And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think

A little too ironic.. and yeah I really do think…

(repeat chorus)

Life (Purpose)

“This is the true joy of life: the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself to be a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Listening

“There’s no point in our ancestors speaking to us unless we know how to listen.” (Mortimer Adler)

In the early 1930’s an 86-year-old woman was one of a score of persons to whom I was introduced at a party.  I didn’t get her name, and later asked her to repeat it.  Whereupon she mildly rebuked me with a remard that has remained with me all these 40 years: “When you are introduced, the name you always hear is your own.” (Don Wharton in Readers’ Digest)

“Most people take their ears for granted,” says blind singer Ray Charles.  “I can’t.  My eyes are my handicap, but my ears are my opportunity.  They show me what my eyes can’t.  They tell me 99 percent of what I need to know about my world.  Because of my ears, I can communicate naturally and freely with people everywhere.  I don’t have to find an unnatural way of expressing one of the most basic human instincts God has given us.” (Readers’ Digest)

An anthropologist was quite sure that he could charm the wild beasts of the jungle with music.  So he took his transistor radio into a clearing, turned it on, and waited.  After a few minutes a tiger came into the clearing and sat down to listen to the music.  Later was joined by a monkey, a snake, an elephant, and a hippo.  Suddenly a lion burst out of the bushes, jumped on the fellow, and gobbled him down in one bite.  “What did you do that for?” asked the hippo.  “Eh?” says the lion.  “What?” (Readers’ Digest)

“His thoughts were slow, his words were few

And never meant to glisten.

He was a joy to all his friends –

You should have heard him listen.” (anonymous)

Literature

“Death to Dickens”

Dickens should die,

Put his head on a pike.

His disemboweled corpse

Is something I’d like.

Dickens should die.

His book?   It’s real bad.

The Tale of Two Cities

Is driving me mad.

Dickens should die

So-called “Master of Prose”

I guess he was great

In old times, I suppose.

Dickens should die

Dear Lord! I hate him!

They called him a genius

I think he was dim.

His book has a little

Or no plot at all,

And I can’t understand

His old jumbled-up scrawl!

A book should be art!

A grand tapestry weaved

But his dirty old twine

Of a book has me peeved.

Now Patterson says,

He’s a god among bugs”

Which proves Pat’s lost marbles

Are swept under the rugs.

“Dickens should die!”

My mantra remains

For every word we’ve read

We’ll double his pains.

Dickens should die!

It has to be said.

The only small problem?

He’s already dead.

Loneliness

The poet Milton said “Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named as `not good.'”

Lostness

We agreed to watch Orff, a friend’s __ (breed) dog while she had to go to the funeral of a cousin who had committed suicide.  Orff is a very frisky puppy, very energetic, pulls hard at the leash when you take him for a walk.  Someone left our door open – and Orff took off.  We live close to a golf course, and we looked and looked for Orff that whole Saturday.  The golf course let me use a cart and I drove the entire 18 holes – twice!  — looking for that stupid dog!  Only a few men were playing the course on that rainy Saturday, but I politely drove up to each group, waiting for them to tee off, and explained that we had lost a dog we were watching for someone else.  They all agreed to keep their eyes open for him, but they really were there to play golf.  I spoke to some people living around the golf course, but they seemed pretty busy too.  No Orff.  Great.  When Melissa comes back on Monday, after the funeral for her cousin, we will have to tell her that we lost her dog.  My wife put up panicky “Lost Dog – Looks like a fox – call 736-8482” signs around the neighborhood, but we began to lose hope.  It was pouring rain the whole day.  My unsaved friend Mike began to phone his friends living around the golf course to keep a look out for Orff.  I had to drive 3 ½ hours away to preach the next day, so I left the house with great sadness, sure that Orff would be hit by a car, stolen by someone (he’s a pure breed), or die in the cold rain.  My 3½ hour drive was spent mostly in prayer, that Orff would be found.  When I arrived at the church’s apartment, I called my wife Linda.  “Has he been found?”, I asked with little hope in my voice.  You need to know that my wife needs to tell the full story, so when she began saying that a friend saw a “Found!” poster with a digital photo of Orff on it, I knew that he had been returned.  The story of Orff illustrates some principles about lostness.  We dropped everything we were doing – and had hoped to be doing – that Saturday, to search for somebody else’s dog.  Some people helped us; some were more committed to playing golf.  I would have done anything to have found that dog.  And the joy of having him returned to us – there are no words!

 

Love

A rich Dutch merchant wanted to buy a diamond of a certain kind to add to his collection. A famous dealer in New York found a stone to match his description, and called him to come and see it.  The merchant flew immediately to New York, where the seller had assigned his best diamond expert to close the transaction. After hearing the assistant describe in perfect technical detail the diamond’s worth and beauty, the Dutchman decided not to buy it. Before he left, however, the owner of the store stepped forward and asked, “Do you mind if I show you that stone once more?” The customer agreed.  The store owner didn’t repeat one thing that the salesman had said. He simply took the stone in his hand, stared at it, and described the beauty of the stone in a way that revealed why this stone stood out from all the others he had seen in his life. The customer bought it.  Tucking his new purchase into his breast pocket, the customer commented to the owner, “Sir, I wonder why you were able to sell me this stone when your salesman could not.”  The owner replied, “That salesman is the best in the business. He knows more about diamonds than anyone, including myself, and I pay him a large salary for his knowledge and expertise. But I would gladly pay him more if I could put into him something I have which he lacks. You see, he knows diamonds, but I love them.” (Author unknown.)

A salesman was making a phone call at a service station on a pay phone.  He was talking to his wife, and he said goodbye and hung up the phone.  As he was turning to walk away the phone rang, and he thought it was the operator calling back saying he had not given enough change.  So he went back to the phone and picked it up.  The operator said, “Sir, just after you hung up your wife said, `I love you,’ and I thought you ought to know.”

In 1989, Mother Teresa visited Phoenix to open a home for the destitute. During that brief visit, she was interviewed by KTAR, the largest radio station in town.

In a private moment, the announcer asked Mother Teresa if there was anything he could do for her. He was expecting her to request a contribution or media help to raise money for her new home for the impoverished in Phoenix.

Instead, she replied, “Yes, there is. Find somebody nobody else loves and love them.”

Mother Teresa was not the first to teach this kind of love. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40).

–J. Paul Covert

Phoenix, Arizona

A woman says that she was with her new boyfriend at a nice restaurant.  “As I scanned the menu, I saw that all of the things that appealed to me were in the upper price range.  `How much do you love me?’, I asked my boy friend.”  Continuing to scan his menu, he pondered my question.  “Probably more than the corned beef,” he replied, “but not as much as the lobster.” (Readers’ Digest)

A little boy was asked what love is and replied, “It’s when Mother reads a book to me.”  Then he added, “And real love is when she doesn’t skip any pages!”

An Ogden, Iowa, minister was matching coins with a member of his congregation for a cup of coffee.  When asked if that didn’t constitute gambling, the minister replied, “It is merely a scientific method of determining just who is going to commit an act of charity.” (Readers’ Digest)

Love, Definition of

“Love is essentially the effort to sacrifice yourself to another person.  Passion is essentially the effort to sacrifice another person to yourself.” (anonymous)

Love, For Christ

A young painter brought his painting of the Last Supper to be critiqued by Leonardo Da Vinci.  Da Vinci pointed to the central figure and said, “Son, you don’t love Him.”  The young painter said, “But that’s the Lord Jesus.”  Da Vinci said, “Yes, and if you loved Him more, you would paint Him better.” (Stephen Brown)

Love, God’s

“God loves us, not because we are lovely, but because He is love.” (C.S. Lewis)

Luck

Her husband had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months

yet she stayed by his bedside every single day.When he came to, he motioned

for her to come nearer. As she sat by him, he said, “You know what? You

have been with me all through the bad times. When I got fired, you were

there to support me. When my business fell, you were there. When I got

shot, you were by my side. When we lost the house, you gave me support.

When my health started failing, you were still by my side. Well, now that

I think about it, I think you bring me bad luck!

Lying

Saint Peter stopped a man at the entrance to heaven.  “You’ve told too many lies to be allowed in here,” he said.  “Have a heart,” replied the man.  “Remember, you were once a fisherman yourself.” (Harold Helfer in Catholic Digest)

One Sunday morning the pastor’s topic was “Thou shalt not steal.”  He began by asking the members of the congregation to raise their hands if they had ever stolen anything, no matter how small.  A number of hands went up, including the minister’s.  He then preached his sermon on the sin of stealing.  The next Sunday the pastor’s theme was “Thou shalt not lie.”  He began his sermon by saying, “Last week, I asked all those who had ever stolen to raise your hands.  There were some who didn’t.  This sermon is for you.” (Readers’ Digest)

MacDonald, George

GEORGE MACDONALD: An Anthology

Edited by C.S.Lewis, Collins: Fount Paperbacks, 1947/1983

Here’s an enigma.

C.S.Lewis may have been more influenced, at least in formative

theological thinking, by George MacDonald, than by anyone else. His

indebtedness to MacDonald’s three volumes of ‘Unspoken Sermons’ ‘is

almost as great as one can owe to another.’ Yet, Lewis would not give

Macdonald a first or second grade ranking to him as a literateur.

Most theologians wouldn’t give MacDonald a high ranking as a

theologian either. So why was Lewis enamoured of his ideas – and why

is MacDonald making a comeback in the religious bookshops.

You hear echoes of MacDonald all through Lewis’s writings. Consider

Jeremy Taylor’s idea/phrase, used  by MacDonald to describe God’s

judgment: ‘He threatens terrible things if we will not be happy.’ Can

you find a better summary-quote for Lewis (particularly the Lewis,

say, of The Problem of Pain)?

Well, you be the judge. Consider these quotes, selected almost at

random from Lewis’s anthology of MacDonald’s writings:

* Man’s first business is ‘What does God want me to do?’ not

‘What will God do if I do so and so?’ [quote # 29]

* All that is not music is silence [41]

* A man is in bondage to whatever he cannot part with that

is less than himself [57]

* Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does

not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He

would give the best, and man will not take it [130]

* The infinite God, the great one life, than whom is no

other – only shadows, lovely shadows of Him [141]

* All that is not God is death [146]

* Oh the folly of any mind that would explain God before

obeying Him! That would map out the character of God instead

of crying, Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do? [207]

* There is one kind of religion in which the more devoted a

man is, the fewer proselytes he makes: the worship of

himself [262]

* It is the heart that is not yet sure of its God that is

afraid to laugh in His presence [319]

* No work noble or lastingly good can come of emulation any

more than of greed: I think the motives are spiritually the

same [328]

* You will be dead so long as you refuse to die [363].

Shalom!  Rowland Croucher                    rowlandc@mira.net

 

Majority

“The ordinary Christian with the Bible in his hand can say that the majority is wrong.” (Francis Schaeffer)

“Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one.” (Thomas Carlyle)

Man

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

- Mahatma Gandhi

“We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.” Gene Roddenberry

“I had a linguistics professor who said that it’s man’s ability to use language that makes him the dominant species on the planet. That may be.  But I think there’s one other thing that separates us from animals. We aren’t afraid of vacuum cleaners.” –Jeff Stilson

“I know some muddle-headed Christians have talked as if Christianity thought that sex, or the body, or pleasure, were bad in themselves.  But they were wrong.  Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body — which believes that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in Heaven and is going to be an essential part of our happiness, our beauty, and our energy.  Christianity has glorified marriage more than any other religion: and nearly all the greatest love poetry in the world has been produced by Christianity.”  (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity,  Bk. 3, ch. 5)

“There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God.  God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature.  That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us.  We may think this rather crude and unspiritual.  God does not: He invented eating.  He likes matter.  He invented it.”  (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Bk. 2, ch. 5)

 

Marriage

A devoted wife had spent her lifetime taking care of her husband. Now he was slipping in and out of a coma for several months, yet she stayed by his bedside every single day.  When he came to, he motioned for her to come nearer.  As she sat by him, he said, “You know what?  You have been with me all through the bad times. When I got fired, you were there to support me.  When my business failed, you were there. When I got shot, you were by my side. When we lost the house, you gave me support. When my health started failing, you were still by my side… You know what?”  “What dear?”  She asks gently.  “I think you bring me bad luck!”

At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything,

>>including human beings.  Little Johnny a child in the Kindergarten

>>class, seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created

>>out of one of Adam’s ribs.

>>

>>Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were

>>ill, and said,  Johnny what is the matter?

>>

>>Little Johnny responded, “I have a pain in my side.  I think I’m going

>>to have a wife.”

A married couple was celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. At the party everybody wanted to know how they managed to stay married so long in this day and age. The husband responded “When we were first married we came to an agreement. I would make all the major decisions and my wife would make all the minor decisions. And in 60 years of marriage we have never needed to make a major decision.”

DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY: After 11 years of study, Oxford University

Professor Michael Argyle says he knows what makes people happy. It

isn’t being rich: “Satisfaction and happiness do not increase with

income,” he says. The key to happiness, rather, is marriage, and the

least happy are the divorced and separated. But don’t have an affair:

that can ruin the marriage, the basis of happiness. “Having two people

who give you support and company could be a good thing. But it rarely

works out that way,” Argyle cautioned. There is an alternative to

marriage, though: people addicted to TV soap operas also tend to be

happy. “The results on television watching have been most perplexing,”

he said. “One theory is that through doing it, they are making

imaginary friends.” (Reuters) …Ignorance is bliss.

Once upon a time, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog in a pond. The frog said to the princess, ” I once was a handsome prince until an evil witch put a spell on me. One kiss from you and I will turn back into a prince and then we can marry, move into the castle with my mom and you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children and forever feel happy doing so.” That night, while the princess dined on frog legs,she kept laughing and saying, “I don’t THINK so.”

By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. –Socrates

SYNTHETIC SON-IN-LAW: When Rebecca Scott got married on St. Helena, her parents couldn’t make the 6,000 mile trip from Middlesbrough, England, to be there. “The only thing to do was stage a virtual wedding,” said her mother Maggi. They borrowed two dummies from a local store and dressed them up in wedding suits, invited their friends, and listened to the real ceremony over the phone. “Mum told me that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the congregation in Middlesbrough heard us say our vows,” Rebecca said. Guests then drank champagne toasts and tossed confetti on the dummies. (Reuters) …Two dummies getting  married? Nothing unusual about that.

APPEARANCE DOESN’T TELL THE WHOLE STORY

By Norman Bales

While traveling on an Oklahoma interstate highway, I passed an antiquated, rusty pickup.  As I pulled out to go around the truck, I noticed a bumper sticker that read, “I love my wife.”   The message aroused my curiosity.  As I pulled alongside, I reduced my speed enough to catch a good look at the vehicle’s riders.   That’s when I realized the loved lady wasn’t the most attractive female I’d ever seen.

As I resumed speed and whipped back into the right lane, I chuckled and thought to myself, “I’m glad he loves her.   I don’t think he had to compete with too many suitors to win her favor.”    For a long time I kept thinking about those two people in the pickup.   If she lacked certain assets, the driver wasn’t exactly a rival to Brad Pitt.   I don’t know what his destination might have been, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t keeping an appointment to model clothes for Gentleman’s Quarterly

I kept wondering what I might see if I could look inside their hearts.  Maybe they had more capacity to love than the people who model clothes and make movies.    Perhaps they showed more consideration, thoughtfulness, willingness to sacrifice, and devotion to each other’s best interest than folks who drive sports cars, wear the latest fashions and get their hair done at a place that advertises itself as a salon.   I know one thing for sure. The guy in the pickup wanted the world to know that he loves his wife.   Does Brad Pitt have a sticker like that on his vehicle?

In childhood, our parents repeated the cliche, “beauty is only skin deep.”    Later we heard someone say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”   Both observations were correct.   According to Genesis

1:26, we are all created in the image of God.   That doesn’t have anything to do with appearance.   It describes our basic nature.   When two people see one another as beings who “. . . have been made a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned . . . with glory and honor,” they inevitably view one another with respect and esteem. If a husband understands that, it doesn’t surprise me that he might want to post a bumper sticker on his vehicle professing love for his wife.    His love is based on something more substantial than how she looks.

We judge people by superficial standards.   We look for tangible ways of measuring their worth.  Sometimes we judge people by their achievements.  Our social structure encourages us to do this.  Pick up a high school yearbook and you will find pages devoted to the “most popular,” “most likely to succeed,” “best all around athlete,” etc.

You would think that the people whose photographs appear on those pages are the ones most likely to succeed in marriage.  Take a look at the yearbook at their 25th class reunion.  It doesn’t always work out that way.   If you start looking for the most successful marriage in the class, you might find a rather plain looking couple, driving a rusty old pickup across Oklahoma.

“More and more smart engaged couples are avoiding costly future court disputes by means of a legal arrangement called a `prenuptial divorce,’ under which they agree to get married and divorced simultaneously.  This eliminates problems down the road yet enables the couple to go ahead and have the kind of enormous, ware-intensive wedding that America needs to remain competitive in the world economy.” (Dave Barry)

A middle-aged couple was discussing their future and their plans over dinner. He screwed up the courage to ask the question that had been troubling him for quite some time. “Tell me, if I die before you, do you suppose you’ll get remarried?”

“Well, I’m sure that I’ll miss you terribly. But life goes on and, given the right circumstances, I’d remarry.”

He pondered this momentarily and then asked, “Well, would you stay in this house?”

“Of course! I love this house. We built it for ourselves, we’ve lived here for thirty-two years and it’s paid for. Yes, I’d stay in this house.”

Suddenly troubled by what might become of his memory, he pondered this in uncomfortable silence. Finally, he screwed up the courage to ask, “Would you keep the car?”

This one wasn’t as easy. She had to think about it for moment. “Yes. It’s a good car, it’s fairly new and it’s paid for. I can’t think of any reason to not keep it.”

Hmmm. This didn’t look good. She’d remarry, live in the same house and keep the car. This wasn’t looking good. At last he asked the question that really was uppermost in his mind.

“Would you let him use my golf clubs?”

“Of course not! He’s left handed!”

Source: Heard this one from Bruce McNichol at a Leadership Catalyst seminar

Marriage, Difficulties of

“The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality but must live with a character.” (Peter De Vries)

>      The Loving Wife:

>      A woman goes into the local newspaper office to see that the obituary for her recently deceased husband is written.   The obitituary editor informs her that the fee for the obituary is 50 cents a word.

She pauses, reflects and then says, “Well then, let it read “Fred Brown died.”  Amused at the woman’s thrift, the editor tells her that there is a 7 word minimum for all obituaries.  Only a little flustered, she thinks thing over and in a few seconds says, “In that case, let it read, ‘Fred Brown died:  1983 Pick-up for sale.'”

Marriage, Requirements for

Basic Rules to Follow – submitted by Mary Hettwer

These rules are to be applied to yourself as well as your future spouse:

1. Complete high school and any further schooling.

2. Begin your career and you must be at the same job for at least two years.

3. Live by yourself for at least one year. (College dorms do not count! No borrowing money from family or friends either!)

4. Be older than 21 before even considering an engagement.

A. When considering an engagement, consider:

I) Has your future spouse been at their job for two years or longer?

II) Are all debts paid in full? House payments don’t count. Credit cards, department store accounts, etc. do count.

III) Do you want children? If so, how many? What happens if a child is born with a defect? How are you going to care for the children? What are your roles as parents?

IV) Do you attend church together? If yes, is it the same religion? If not the same religion, which religion are you going to participate in, support and raise your family in? If you don’t or your future spouse doesn’t attend church, is it because you’re too lazy to attend or don’t believe in anything? If you don’t believe in anything, how can you believe in trust and faithfulness in the future?

V) Do you do charity work or donate your time to some type of useful need in the community?

VI) What are your goals in life, long and short term?

VII) For family gatherings, are you only participating in one side or both sides? Alternating them around? Or are you going to avoid them completely?

5. Have a respectful relationship with family and friends.

Medicine

A SHORT HISTORY OF MEDICINE: “Doctor, I have an ear ache.”

2000 B.C. – “Here, eat this root.”

1000 B.C. – “That root is heathen, say this prayer.”

1850 A.D. – “That prayer is superstition, drink this potion.”

1940 A.D. – “That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill.”

1985 A.D. – “That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.”

2000 A.D. – “That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!”

Men

A new British mall is building in an innovation to attract women shoppers: a day care center — for their husbands. “Some grown-up men are very similar to small children, and most couples have anecdotes of their own to prove it,” said a spokesman for the Bluewater Retail Centre, being constructed in Kent. He added that the idea for the big-baby-sitting area came from “extensive research showing that 50 percent of couples’ shopping trips end in argument.” The creche features video games, televisions showing sports …and beer. (Reuters) …And, we hope, a changing area.

Men and Women

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.  “House,” for instance, is feminine: “la casa.”  “Pencil,” however, is masculine: “el lapiz.”

A student asked, “What gender is ‘computer’?”

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether “computer” should be a masculine or a feminine noun.  Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men’s group decided that “computer” should definitely be of the feminine gender (“la computer”), because:

1.          No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2.          The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

3.          Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4.          As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

(No chuckling … this gets better!)

The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine (“el computer”) because:

1.          In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2.          They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;

3.          They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and

4.          As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model!

The women won!

Men & Women

1.  A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he wants.

A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn’t want.

2.  A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

3.  A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.

A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

4.  To be happy with a man you must understand him a lot & love him a little.

To be happy with a woman you must love her a lot & not try to understand her at all.

5.  Married men live longer than single men – but married men are a lot more willing to die.

6.  Any married man should forget his mistakes – there’s no use in two people remembering the same thing.

7.  Men wake up about as good-looking as they went to bed.

Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

8.  A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change and she does.

9.  A woman has the last word in any argument.

Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

10. There are 2 times when a man doesn’t understand a woman – before

marriage & after marriage.

Ministry

IS IT A MINISTRY OR JUST A JOB??

If you are doing it because no one else will, it’s a job.

If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it’s a ministry.

If you are doing it just well enough to get by, it’s a job.

If you are doing it to the best of your ability, it’s a ministry.

If you will do it only so long as it doesn’t interfere with other activities, it’s a job.

If you are committed to staying with it, even when it means letting go of other things, it’s a ministry.

If you quit because no one praised you or thanked you, it was a job.

If you stay with it even when no one seems to notice, it’s a ministry.

If you do it because someone else said it needs to be done, it’s a job.

If you do it because you are convinced it needs to be done, it’s a ministry.

It is hard to get excited about a job.

It is almost impossible not to get excited about a ministry.

People may say, “Well done”, when you do your job.

The Lord will say, “Well done,” when you complete your ministry.

An average church is filled with people doing jobs.

A great church is filled with people involved in ministry.

-Author Unknown

“All the holy men seem to have gone off and died.  There’s no one left but us sinners to carry on the ministry.” (Jamie Buckingham)

“You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God in order to solve them.” (P.T. Forsyth)

Miracles

“Some Christians long for a world well-stocked with miracles and spectacular signs of God’s presence.  I hear wistful sermons on the parting of the Red Sea and the ten plagues and the daily manna in the wilderness, as if the speakers yearn for God to unleash his power like that today.  But the follow-the-dots journey of the Israelites should give us pause.  Would a burst of miracles nourish faith?  Not the kind of faith God seems interested in, evidently.  The Israelites give ample proof that signs may only addict us to signs, not to God.” (Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God, p. 48)

Missions

YOU KNOW YOU’RE AN MK WHEN…

- You can’t answer the question, “Where are you from?”

- You speak two languages but can’t spell in either.

- You flew before you could walk.

- When you call your parents co-workers Aunt and Uncle.

- The Oklahoma City bombing seemed normal to you.

- Some of your sentences come out a mixture of two different languages.

- You don’t know how to play Pac-Man.

- You watch a National Geographic special and recognize someone.

- Your life story uses the phrase “Then we went to…” five times.

- Your last memories of your extended family are 6 years old.

- You watch nature documentaries and you think about how good that would

be if it were fried.

- You think in grams, meters and liters.

- You ask for peanut butter for Christmas.

- You feel you need to move after you’ve lived in the same place for a

month.

- You marvel at the cleanliness of U.S. gas station bathrooms.

- You have friends from or in 29 different countries.

- When you like to watch American commercials.

- When adults want to pay you to teach them English.

- You are grateful for the speed and efficiency of the U.S. Postal

Service.

- You realize that furlough is not a vacation.

- You wince when people mispronounce foreign words.

- You’ve spoken in dozens of churches but aren’t a pastor.

- You know what REAL coffee tastes like.

- The majority of your friends don’t speak English as a first language.

- Someone brings up the name of a team, and you get the sport wrong.

- You tell Americans that democracy isn’t the only viable form of

government.

- You haggle with the checkout clerk for a lower price.

- You don’t understand why you cannot just hand the policeman a dollar

and drive away when he stops you.

- When you go on furlough your mom buys everything in the store.

- Going to the post office is the highlight of your day.

- When the message on your answering machine is in two languages.

- When your mother gets excited over finding Root Beer at a foreigner’s

garage sale.

- When you’ve memorized Dad’s deputation message.

- When it’s your 18th birthday and you still don’t have a driver’s

license.

- When “Little House on the Prairie” re-runs are the new fall line-up.

- When you don’t know how to count American money.

- When you find a seven year old picture of yourself on someone’s

refrigerator.

- When you have carried the same dollar bill in your wallet for four

years.

Mistakes

Dani Tyler, third baseman for the U.S. women’s Olympic softball team, hit a home run. Or so she thought. In her excitement rounding the bases, she accidentally stepped over home plate. The umpire disallowed the run. Because of that one misstep, the U.S. team lost in extra innings 2-1, only their second international loss in 10 years. The next evening, Tyler played well. Sports Illustrated writer Peter King (8/12/96) asked her why the mistake hadn’t seemed to become a mental ball-and-chain. “Well, I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning,” she admitted. “But this is sports. One play doesn’t make a game, and one play won’t define my life. I’ve never been the best athlete, but I try to have the best attitude and work the hardest. What happened was a freak thing. It’s over. If I whine about it, or make excuses, or argue, what happens? I look like a jerk.”

One day a little girl came home from school, and said to her mother, “Mommy, today in school I was punished for something that I didn’t do.”  The mother exclaimed, “But that’s terrible! I’m going to have a talk with your teacher about this … by the way, what was it that you didn’t do?”  The little girl replied, “My homework.”

“The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything!” (Edward Phelps)

Pennsylvania State’s football team, coached by Joe Paterno, played Alabama in a very important game.  In that game Penn State lost by one touchdown because a touchdown by Penn wsa called back because the referee said there was one extra player on the field.  At a news conference after that particular game the reporters asked Joe Paterno the name of that one player who messed it up for the rest of the team.  Paterno said, “It doesn’t matter, and I won’t reveal it.  He’s just a boy, and it’s just a game, and he just made a mistake.” (Stephen Brown)

One day, after our economics professor had gone over an exam taken by the class, a bewildered student approached him and asked to have his test reevaluated.  As tactfully as possible, the student pointed out that the professor must have made mistake, since 30 points had been deducted on a question that was valued at only 25 points.  The professor looked over the paper and then handed it back with a pained expression.  “But you were so wrong,” he told the young man. (Donald L. Korn, Readers’ Digest)

“If you are willing to admit you are all wrong when you are all wrong, you are all right.” (anonymous)

Misunderstanding

The story is told of a lady who was rather old-fashioned, always quite delicate and elegant, especially in her language. She and her husband were planning a week’s vacation in Florida, so she wrote to a particular campground asking for a reservation.

She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped, but didn’t quite know how to ask about the toilet facilities. She just couldn’t bring herself to write the word “toilet” in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the old-fashioned term BATHROOM COMMODE. But when

she wrote that down, she still thought she was being too forward. So she started all over again, rewrote the entire letter referring to the bathroom commode merely as the BC: “Does the campground have it’s own BC?” is what she actually wrote.

Well, the campground owner wasn’t old-fashioned at all and when he got the letter, he just couldn’t figure out what the woman was talking about. That BC business really stumped him.

After worrying about it for awhile, he showed the letter to several campers, but they couldn’t imagine what the lady meant either. So the campground owner, finally coming to the conclusion that the lady must be asking about the local Baptist Church, sat down and wrote the following reply:

Dear Madam: I regret very much the delay in answering your letter, but I now take pleasure in informing you that a BC is located nine miles north of the campground and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. I admit it is quite a distance away, if you are in the habit of going regularly, but

no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along and make a day of it. They usually arrive early and stay late. It is such a beautiful facility and the acoustics are marvelous even the normal delivery sounds can be heard.

The last time my wife and I went was six years ago, and it was so crowded we had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know that right now a supper is planned to raise money to buy more seats. They are going to hold it in the basement of the BC.

I would like to say it pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly, but it surely is no lack of desire on my part. As we grow old, it seems to be more of an effort, particularly in cold weather.

If you do decide to come down to our campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go, sit with you, and introduce you to all the other folks.

Remember, this is a friendly community.

Sincerely,

(Campground Owner)

Gary Smalley tells the story of a man who read a book about how he ought to love his wife.  So he decided that he ought to do something special for his wife.  She worked hard with the kids, giving so much of her time to keep the house going.  She he bought some candy and flowers and decided he was going to bring them home.  When he got to the door, he knocked on it, waited for his wife to come, and when he came he gave her the flowers and the candy.  As soon as she got them in her hand, she began to cry.  “Honey, what are you crying for?”  She said, “It’s been a horrible day.  The roof is leaking, the baby’s sick, I had to force Billy to go to school, the washing machine is broken, and now you come home drunk!”

Money

Excerpt: ‘Dave Barry’s Money Secrets’

by Dave Barry

In his new book, humorist Dave Barry explains why people go to great lengths for money. Read an excerpt.

Chapter 1: How Money Works

Or: Everybody Clap for Tinker Bell!

Why is money valuable? Why are people willing to work so hard for it, lie for it, cheat for it, go to prison for it, fight for it, kill for it, give up their children for it… even marry Donald Trump for it?

I mean, look at the dollar bill. What is it, really? It’s a piece of paper! What’s more, it’s a piece of paper that appears to have been designed by a disturbed individual. On one side, you have a portrait of George Washington, who, granted, was the Father of Our Country and a great leader and everything, but who looks, in this particular picture . . .

… like a man having his prostate examined by Roto-Rooter. And then on the other side of the dollar you have:

What is that about? Why is there a picture of a pyramid, instead of a structure traditionally associated with the fundamental values of the United States of America, such as a Wal-Mart? And why is the pyramid being hovered over by an eyeball the size of a UPS truck?

Whatever the explanation, the design of the dollar would not seem to inspire confidence in its value. And yet if you drop a few dollars from an overpass onto a busy freeway at rush hour, people will run into traffic and literally risk their lives in an effort to grab them. Try it!

What does this tell us? It tells us that people are stupid. But it also tells us that money is more than just pieces of paper. But what makes it valuable? To answer that question, we need to consider:

The History of Money

In prehistoric times, there was no such thing as money. When people needed to buy something, they had to charge it. And then when the bills came, nobody could understand them, because there was also no such thing as reading. This led to a lot of misunderstandings and hitting with rocks.

The first form of money that we are aware of by looking it up on the Internet was animals. From the start there were problems with this type of money, particularly the smaller denominations, such as squirrels, which were always biting the payee and scampering away.

By 9000 b.c., the most commonly accepted form of animal money was cattle. When you bought something, you would give the other person a cow, and the other person would give your change in calves. This was better than squirrels, but still not an efficient system. The cash registers were disgusting.

By 3000 b.c., the Mesopotamians had invented two concepts that revolutionized economic activity: (1) writing and (2) banking. This meant that, for the first time, it was possible for a Mesopotamian to walk into a bank and hand the teller a stone tablet stating:

GIVE ME ALL YOUR COWS AND NOBODY GETS HURT

These robbers were captured quickly, because they had to make their getaways at very slow speeds. Still, it was clear that a better medium of exchange was needed.

The ancient Chinese tried to solve the problem by using seashells as money. The advantage of this system was that seashells were small, durable, clean, and easy to carry. The drawback was that they were, in a word, seashells. This meant that anybody with access to the sea could get them. By the time the ancient Chinese had figured this out, much of their country was the legal property of gulls.

And so the quest continued for a better form of money. Various cultures experimented with a number of commodities, including tea, grains, leather, tobacco, and Pokémon cards. Then, finally, humanity hit upon a medium of exchange that had no disadvantages–a medium that was durable, portable, beautiful, and universally recognized to have lasting value. That medium, of course, was beer.

No, seriously, it was precious metals, especially gold and silver, which–in addition to being rare and beautiful–could be easily shaped into little disks that fit into vending machines.

Before long, many cultures were using some form of gold for money. It came in a wide variety of shapes and designs, as we see in these photographs of ancient coins unearthed by archeologists:

The problem was that gold is too heavy to be constantly lugged around. So, to make it easier for everybody, governments began to issue pieces of paper to represent gold. The deal was, whenever you wanted, you could redeem the paper for gold. The government was just holding your gold for you. But it was YOUR gold! You could get it anytime! That was the sacred promise that the government made to the people. That’s why the people trusted paper money. And that’s why, to this very day, if you–an ordinary citizen–go to Fort Knox and ask to exchange your U.S. dollars for gold, you will be used as a human chew toy by large federal dogs.

Because the government changed the deal. We don’t have the gold standard anymore. Nobody does. Over the years, all the governments in the world, having discovered that gold is, like, rare, decided that it would be more convenient to back their money with something that is easier to come by, namely: nothing. So even though the U.S. government still allegedly holds tons of gold in “reserve,” you can no longer exchange your dollars for it. You can’t even see it, because visitors are not allowed. For all you know, Fort Knox is filled with Cheez Whiz.

Which brings us back to the original question: If our money really is just pieces of paper, backed by nothing, why is it valuable? The answer is: Because we all believe it’s valuable.

Really, that’s pretty much it. Remember the part in Peter Pan where we clap to prove that we believe in fairies, and we save Tinker Bell? That’s our monetary system! It’s the Tinker Bell System! We see everybody else running around after these pieces of paper, and we figure, Hey, these pieces of paper must be valuable. That’s why if you exchanged your house for, say, a pile of acorns, everybody would think you’re insane; whereas if you exchange your house for a pile of dollars, everybody thinks you’re rational, because you get… pieces of paper! The special kind, with the big hovering eyeball!

And you laughed at the ancient Chinese, with the seashells.

So what does all this mean? Does it mean that our monetary system is a giant house of cards that would collapse like, well, a giant house of cards if the public stopped believing in the pieces of paper? Could all of our “wealth”–our savings, our investments, our pension plans, etc. — suddenly become worthless, meaning that the only truly “wealthy” people would be the survivalist wing nuts who trade all their money for guns and beef jerky?

Yes. But that probably won’t happen. Because, fortunately, the public prefers not to think about economics. Most people are unable to understand their own telephone bills, let alone the U.S. monetary system. And as long as we don’t question the big eyeball, Tinker Bell is safe.

OK, now you know what money actually is. (Don’t tell anybody!) The next question is: How come some people have so much money, while others have so little? Why does the money distribution seem so unfair? Why, for example, are professional athletes paid tens of millions of dollars a year for playing silly games with balls, while productive, hardworking people with infinitely more value to society, such as humor writers, must struggle to make barely half that? And above all, how can you, personally, get more money?

We’ll address these questions in future chapters,3 which will be chock-full of sure-fire, can’t-miss, no-nonsense, common-sense, easy-to-apply, on-the-money hyphenated phrases. You’ll be on your way to riches in no time! All you have to do is really believe in yourself! Come on, show that you really believe! Clap your hands!

Also, just in case, you should get some jerky.

Why Does the Back of the Dollar Have a Pyramid and a Giant Eyeball?

There is actually a simple explanation for these two seemingly odd symbols:

Back when the Founding Fathers were designing our currency, they were looking for an image for the new nation, an image that would symbolize the concept of something strong and massive being watched over by something all-seeing and wise. After much discussion, what they came up with–as you have probably guessed–was a picture of an owl standing on an elephant.

The Founding Fathers passed this idea along to the artist hired to do the engraving of the printing plates for the dollar, whose name was Phil. As it happened, the day he did the dollar, which was his birthday, Phil consumed what historians now believe was at least two quarts of whiskey, and for whatever reason–the only explanation he ever gave was “the squirrels made me” — he engraved a pyramid with a giant eyeball on top of it. Unfortunately, the Founding Fathers, who were in a hurry to get the dollar printed so they could spend it, failed to notice this until it was too late. Fortunately, however, they did catch the error on the front of the dollar, where, instead of George Washington, Phil had engraved a fish playing tennis. Otherwise we might live in a very different nation today.

One man says that when he called his friend at his dorm room, he was somewhat surprised by the message on his answering machine.  “Hi, this is Dave,” it began.  “If it’s the phone company, I sent the money.  If it’s Mom or Dad, please send money.  If it’s a friend, you still owe me money.  If it’s financial aid, you didn’t loan me enough money.  If it’s a female, leave a message . . .  and don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of money!” (Readers’ Digest)

Morality

“Two points: first, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot get rid of it.  Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way.  They know the law of Nature; they break it.  These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

The teachers at our Sunday school took turns giving the lesson.  Usually they’d round it off with, “Now, chldren, the moral of this story is . . .”  One day, Miss Brown, the teacher whose turn it was, made the story particularly exciting, and the youngsters were delighted.  One boy asked if Miss Brown might not give the lesson more often.  “We like her very much,” he explained, “because she hasn’t any morals.” (Readers’ Digest)

Rob Reiner, the director of the movie “A Few Good Men,” commented on Christians who push their morality onto society.  In that movie Kiefer Sutherland is a Bible-thumping officer who turns out to be the most despicable character in the film.  Said Reiner to the Los Angeles Times: “[T]hese people are (expletive deleted) destroying the country . . . They get these people twisted around with ideas about what morality should be.  How about just be decent to the other guy!  You know, if they really believed in anything, if they really believed in what they were preaching, if they really believed in what Jesus Christ said, they wouldn’t be promoting family values!” (quoted by Michael Medved in Focus on the Family magazine, March 1993).

Mothers

Our little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and he handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on.  After his mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:

For cutting the grass                                                                   $5.00

For cleaning my room this week                                                               $1.00

For going to the store for you                                                                   .50

Baby-sitting my kid brother for you while you went shopping           .25

Taking out the garbage                                                                           $1.00

For getting a good report card                                                                  $5.00

For cleaning up and raking the yard                                                          $2.00

Total Owed:                                                                 $14.75

Well, I’ll tell you, his mother looked at him standing there expectantly, and boy, could I see the memories flashing through her mind. So she picked up the pen, turned over the paper he’d written on, and this is what she wrote:

For the nine months I carried you while you grew inside me, No Charge.

For all the nights I’ve sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you, No Charge.

For all the trying times, and all the tears you’ve caused through the years, No Charge.

When you add it all up, the cost of my love is, No Charge.

For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead, No Charge.

For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose, there’s No Charge, Son.

And when you add it all up, the full cost of real love is No Charge.

Well, friends, when our son finished reading what his mother had written, there were great big old tears in his eyes, and he looked straight up at his mother and said, “Mom, I sure do love you.” And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote : “PAID IN FULL.”

Music

Bob Hill and his new wife, Betty, were vacationing in Europe, as it happens, near Transylvania.  They were driving in a rental car along a rather deserted  highway.  It was late, and raining very hard.  Bob could barely see 10  feet in  front of the car. suddenly the car skids out of control!  Bob attempts to  control the car, but to no avail! The car swerves and smashes into a  tree.

>

Moments later, Bob shakes his head to clear the fog.  Dazed, he looks over at  the passenger seat and sees his new wife unconscious, with her head bleeding!  Despite the rain and unfamiliar countryside, Bob knows he has to carry her  to  the nearest phone.

>

Bob carefully picks his wife up and begins trudging down the road, After a short while, he sees a light.  He heads towards the light, which is coming from an old, large house.  He approaches the door and knocks.

>

A minute passes.  A small, hunched man opens the door.  Bob immediately blurts, “Hello,  my name is Bob Hill, and this is my wife Betty.  We’ve been in a terrible accident, and my wife has been seriously hurt.  Can  I  please use your phone??

>

“I’m sorry,” replied the hunchback, “but we don’t have a phone.  My master is  a  doctor; come in and I will get him.”

>

Bob brings his wife in.  An elegant man comes down the stairs.  “I’m afraid my  assistant may have misled you.  I am not a medical doctor; I am a scientist.  However, it is many miles to the nearest clinic, and I have had a basic medical training.  I will see what I can do.  Igor, bring them down to the  laboratory.”

>

With that, Igor picks up Betty and carries her downstairs, with Bob following closely.  Igor places Betty on a table in the lab.  Bob collapses from exhaustion and his own injuries, so Igor places Bob on an adjoining table.

>

After a brief examination, Igor’s master looks worried.  “things are serious,  Igor.  Prepare a transfusion.”  Igor and his master work feverishly, but  to no  avail.  Bob and Betty Hill are no more.

>

The Hills’ deaths upset Igor’s master greatly.  Wearily, he climbs the steps to his  conservatory, which houses his pipe organ.  For it is here that he has  always found solace.  He begins to play, and a stirring, almost haunting,  melody fills the house.

>

Meanwhile, Igor is still in the lab tidying up.  As the music fills the lab, his eyes catch movement, and he notices the fingers on Betty Hill’s hand twitch.  Stunned, he watches as Bob’s arm begins to rise!  He is furthur amazed as Betty sits straight up!

>

Unable to contain himself, he dashes up the stairs to the conservatory. He bursts in and shouts to his master:  “Master, Master!…….The Hills are alive with the sound of music!”

Why do bagpipe players walk while they play?

>>        To get away from the noise.

>>

>> What’s the difference between an Appalachian dulcimer and a hammered

>> dulcimer?

>>        A hammered dulcimer burns hotter; an Appalachian dulcimer burns

>> longer.

>>

>> How many country & western singers does it take to change a light bulb?

>>        Three. One to change the bulb and two to sing about the old one.

>>

>> What happens if you play blues music backwards?

>>        Your wife returns to you, your dog comes back to life, and you

>> get out of prison.

>>

>> What do you get when you play New Age music backwards?

>>        New Age music.

>>

>> What does it say on a blues singer’s tombstone?

>>        “I didn’t wake up this morning…”

>>

>> “Hey, buddy, how late do the filkers play?”

>>        “Oh, about half a beat behind…”

>>

>> What’s the difference between a puppy and a singer-songwriter?

>>        Eventually the puppy stops whining.

>>

>> How many sound men does it take to change a light bulb?

>>            1.”One, two, three, one, two, three…”

>>            2.”Hey man, I just do sound.”

>>            3.One. Upon finding no replacement, he takes the original apart, repairs it with a chewing gum wrapper and duct tape, changes the screw mount to bayonet mount, finds an appropriate patch cable, and re-installs the bulb fifty feet from where it should have been, to the satisfaction of the rest of the band.

>>

>> How many Deadheads does it take to change a lightbulb?

>>        12,001. One to change it, 2,000 to record the event and take pictures of it, and 10,000 to follow it around until it burns out.

>>

>> How many punk-rock musicians does it take to change a light bulb?

>>        Two: One to screw in the bulb and the other to smash the old one on his forehead.

>>

>> Know how to make a million dollars singing jazz?

>>        Start with two million.

>>

>> How many jazz musicians does it take to change a light bulb?

>>            1.None. Jazz musicians can’t afford light bulbs.

>>            2.”Don’t worry about the changes. We’ll fake it!”

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in illustrations, preaching

 

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