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Thursday, June 30, 2011


            There's an old story about an intersection that has a three-way stop. At each corner there was located a church.
            One church was singing, "Will there be stars in my crown..."
            Another church was singing, "No not one, no not one..."
            Meanwhile, members of the third church were singing, "Oh that will be glory for me..."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Devil’s Coattails

        An old preacher grew tired of hearing Christians complain about all of the temptations Satan was placing in their paths. Consequently he proclaimed, “People are always portraying Satan as pursuing them to tempt them. The truth is, so many people are pulling at the Devil’s coattails, he has no time to chase anybody.”

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (I Cor. 10:13.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Dog and the Rabbit

James 2:15-16: 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

            There is a fable of a dog chasing a rabbit. Many people witnessed the event and cried out words of support to the rabbit.
            At last the rabbit said, “Thank you for your kind encouragement, but for goodness sake shoot the dog.”

Monday, June 27, 2011

Man's Inhumanity Toward Animals

            Earlier this year, TIME carried a story about a cockfight in California. Organizers were surreptitiously holding an event (cockfighting is illegal in California), when one of the birds flew away from the ring toward a spectator named Jose Luis Ochoa.
            In this match’s variation, one organizer had tied knives to the bird’s legs. As a result, Ochoa was stabbed in the calf; he bled to death.
            John Goodwin, member of California’s Humane Society, was asked to comment on the death. He responded, “I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often, considering the knives they put on those birds.”
            Reflecting on this tragedy, I cannot help but think of the Bible’s constant admonition of sowing and reaping. (Not to mention the Hindus, who instinctively observe this universal reality and label it karma.) However, there is a passage in Proverbs that captures well the spirit of cockfighting and other activities cruel to animals, “Good people are kind to their animals, but a mean person is cruel.” (Prov. 12:10.) CEV

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hope Over Experience

The story is told of a gentleman who had been an acquaintance of the great British author, Dr. Samuel Johnson. The man had been very unhappy in marriage. His wife passed away; yet, he immediately remarried after she died.
            Observing this marvel, Johnson commented, “His conduct was the triumph of hope over experience.”

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Free Appendectomy!

            Many years ago, a contest was held in West Virginia to name a new county hospital. First prize was a free appendectomy… a great prize—if one needed to remove an appendix.
            Jesus was a servant, who met the needs of people. We Christians follow in the steps of Jesus. However, let us remember, our service is not much help if we are not meeting a NEED.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Your Day Today is not His First

            A patient was lying on a stretcher, waiting to be wheeled into surgery. Seeing a young woman looking sympathetically at him, the patient said, “I’m so nervous. This is my first operation.”
            The young woman replied, “So am I. My husband is the doctor and this is his first operation, too.”
            God’s been around a long time. Your day today is not His first.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Christian Speech

            Years ago, I heard a story about a woman, who had major surgery on her throat. The worst part came afterwards—she was not able to talk for six months. Having a husband and six children, this proved daunting.
            The family worked out a system; any time the mother needed one of the kids, she blew a whistle.  She carried a little note pad throughout the house, which allowed her to quickly scribble a note when needed.
            After six months, she was a changed woman. She also noticed that her kids behaved better than at any time, since they had been born.
Ultimately, she decided, “I'm never going to holler again.”  She further testified, “You would not believe how many of those notes I tore up and threw away, after I read what I wanted to say."

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Black Sheep of the Family

             I cracked up reading about the great Dr. Samuel Johnson, who, while courting a woman, felt compelled to confess that his family had their skeletons in the closet. One example: he had an uncle, who was hanged.
            The woman he was courting was a master diplomat. She replied that, while no one in her family had been hanged, at least fifty family members deserved such.

Friday, June 17, 2011


            In honor of Father’s Day, I want to pass along a humorous story. A Protestant clergyman had moved to a new town. His apparel was not unlike that of a Roman Catholic priest.
            One day, the reverend was walking down the street, and he happened to pass some little Catholic boys. They tipped their hats to the reverend and said in unison, “Good evening, Father.”
            After the clergyman had passed, one of the boys, who had not spoken, said in disgust, “Father! He’s no father—he’s got three kids!”
            Taking those words out of context, and speaking to those of us who are males with children, may it never be said, “He’s no father.”           

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Problem with the Human Race

            A few years ago, reporters began to explore the poor play of Seattle Supersonic (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) center Jerome James. They consulted the team’s coach, Nate McMillan, and he offered some reasons.
            The media then asked Jerome James himself. He replied, "I don't have the first clue who he is talking about, because all I worry about is Jerome."
            Jerome, unwittingly, probably summarized the problem with the entire human race—“All I worry about is [insert your name here.]


Wednesday, June 15, 2011


            I like statistics, but I must admit, I’ve got to be careful with how I use them. Like the old story I read about a 97-year-old man, who entered an insurance office and applied for a life insurance policy.
            He received word later that his application had been turned down. Angry, he hurried over to the firm’s office and told them, “You folks are making a big mistake! If you look over your statistics, you’ll find that mighty few men die after they’re 97.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bible Reading

            Like a challenge? Try inspiring people to read the Bible.
            There is an old story about an elderly woman, who was distressed by the prevailing ignorance of the citizens of a small town concerning the Scriptures. Recognizing that illiteracy was a problem, she convinced the schoolteacher to teach some of the adults in the town to read.
            Later, she met one of the pupils on the street. She asked in a kind way, “Well, John, I guess you can read your Bible now, can’t you?”
            “Bless your heart, ma’am,” came the grateful reply. “I was out of the Bible and into the sports pages just over a week ago.”

Monday, June 13, 2011


            Last week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED told about the Dallas Mavericks arriving in Miami in the late afternoon, two days prior to Game 1 of their Finals series with the Heat. All of the Mavs scattered to various restaurants for supper—all except one. Dirk Nowitzki headed over to Miami’s American Airlines Center… to practice shooting.
            This is Dirk’s habit. Hour… after hour… after hour, Dirk Nowitzki, practices shooting the basketball. Last night, against Miami, Dirk was one of twelve shooting in the first half. He was, however, five of six in the fourth quarter and finished with 21 points, leading Dallas to their first world championship.
            I think Dirk’s shooting was emblematic of his team.
            There have been other years when Dallas had more talent and seemed more likely win championships. Dallas has suffered some devastating playoff losses, enough to crush a team and discourage it from ever hoping to win a title. Yet, Dirk kept shooting and the Mavs kept trying.
            Now, in the most unlikely of years, Dallas has won a title. Their leader, Dirk Nowitzki, is a champion.
            Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs remind me that we, as Christians, will face many challenges and discouraging moments in our walk with God. Yet, as Paul writes, we press on: 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12-14.) NIV 1984

Friday, June 10, 2011

He Adores His Maker

            Benjamin Disraeli was a prime minister of England in the 1800s. A friend of his once remarked to another acquaintance—the British citizen, John Bright, “You ought to give him [Disraeli] credit for what he has accomplished, as he is a self-made man.”
            “I know he is,” retorted Mr. Bright, “and he adores his maker.”

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience… (Col. 3:12.) ESV

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Middle Road

            A concerned woman once consulted a great religious leader in the Roman Catholic Church concerning the propriety of wearing rouge. He replied, “Some persons may object to it, and others may see no harm in it, but I shall take a middle course, by allowing you to rouge in one cheek.”
            Sometimes, the middle course is not the best way to address an issue.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lost Souls

            I’ve been reading recently Dominic Sandbrook’s fascinating account of the 1970s. In his book, Sandbrook tells of con man named Warner Erhard.
            Erhard was a car salesman from Norristown, Pennsylvania. In the late 1960s, he left his wife for a younger woman. He began dabbling in Scientology, Buddhism, and therapy, when, in 1971, he claimed to have received a revelation while driving in his car on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
            Inspired, he organized workshops lasting two consecutive weekends. He would charge people hundreds of dollars to attend.
            His training was to submit attendees to incessant questioning and locking them in uncomfortable, hot rooms for hours at a time—without access to bathrooms. In some ways, it was as if he was maintaining a military boot camp.             
            His purpose in all of this was to strip away the “layers” of personality that had accumulated in his clients through the years. His method, he said, would help people to reach the essential nothingness of “the person within.”
            Instructors would yell at the students and call them obscene names. After finally laying aside their personalities, participants were invited to “take responsibility” for their failures. Once they had gone through all of the training, Erhard would issue this pronouncement, “You are omnipotent. You are a god in your universe.”
            Hundreds of thousands of people paid for this training. Celebrities including John Denver and Valerie Harper participated. Ultimately, Erhard grew rich. By the end of the decade, the workshops ceased due to allegations of sexual abuse and charges that Erhard was creating a cult.
            I am amazed at the extent to which people will go to find spiritual peace. Surely, we Christians, carrying the message of the Prince of Peace, can find some of these lost souls and share with them the Good News of Jesus. Perhaps, some would even listen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Illustrating the Principle of Unity

              The source for the following story is unknown:

                  In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn't.
            “What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?” asks Linus.
            “These five fingers,” says Lucy. “Individually they're nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.”
                  “Which channel do you want?” asks Linus.
            Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, “Why can't you guys get organized like that?”

            Okay, maybe not the best way to practice unity, but it is a good principle of unity—all individuals submitting to a transcending goal… thus joining together as a single unit.

Monday, June 6, 2011


            We sing a song with the words, "Redeemed how I love to proclaim it." It reminds me of how Paul Lee Tan illustrates the meaning of redemption. He writes that A. J. Gordon was a preacher, who met a young boy carrying an old cage. The cage held some wild birds.
            Gordon inquired, “Son, where did you get those birds?”
            The boy replied, “I trapped them out in the field.”
            “What are you going to do with them?”
            “I’m going to play with them, and then I guess I’ll just feed them to an old cat we have at home.”
            Gordon offered to buy them, and the boy exclaimed, “Mister, you don’t want them, they’re just little old wild birds and can’t sing very well.”
            Gordon replied, “I’ll give you $2 for the cage and the birds.”
            “Okay, it’s a deal, but you’re making a bad bargain.”
            The transaction completed, the boy went away happy with his money. Meanwhile, the following Sunday, Gordon “took the empty cage into the pulpit and used it to illustrate his sermon about Christ’s coming to seek and to save the lost—paying for them with His own precious blood. ‘That boy told me the birds were not songsters,’ said Gordon, ‘but when I released them and they winged their way heavenward, it seemed to me they were singing, ‘Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed!’”
            “You and I have been held captive to sin, but Christ has purchased our pardon and set us at liberty. When a person has this life-changing experience, he will want to sing, “Redeemed, Redeemed, Redeemed!”

Friday, June 3, 2011


            An old story goes like this:

            There was a gracious lady, who was mailing an old family Bible to her brother. He lived in another part of the country.
            “Is there anything breakable in here?” asked the postal clerk.
            “Only the Ten Commandments,” she answered.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

“Thy Comforter Is Coming”

            Someone put this story on my door the other day:

            Sunday, after church, a mom asked her very young daughter what the Sunday school lesson was about.
            The daughter answered, “Don’t be scared, you’ll get your quilt.”
            Needless to say, the mom was perplexed. Later in the day, the preacher dropped by for a brief visit, so the mother asked him what the Sunday school lesson was about in her daughter’s class.
            He answered, “Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming.”

            That young girl’s doctrine was fuzzy, but she was on the right path. God covers us in his love and ultimate protection—through the Holy Spirit. So why be scared?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Good Samaritan

            This was from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, September 19, 1994:
A middle-aged man, diseased with Parkinson’s Syndrome, was driving along a two-line highway one afternoon in southern Michigan. He passed by a group of college students, who stood sadly and silently by their car.
The hood of the car was up and it was in trouble. The older man stopped his car, did a U-turn, and went back to help. He pulled out some jumper cables and, in spite of his best efforts, he couldn’t fix the car—so he gave two of the students a ride back to campus.
I don’t know how long all of this took—maybe an hour or two. I know many of us wouldn’t have stopped; even if we knew that it was 100% safe. We would not have stopped because of the inconvenience. We don’t have time today for inconvenience. We don’t have time to serve.
This man didn’t either. At one time he was the most famous man in the world. But that day, Muhammad Ali, driving in his Rolls Royce, took time out of his globe-hopping schedule to help some college students.
He did not drive on by and call on his cell phone to send someone else. He came himself.
Our God didn’t phone for help either. He came to this world himself—and He served.