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Friday, July 29, 2011

Pocket Money

There is the story of a preacher who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation, "I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it is still out there in your pockets."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mud Pies in a Slum

Today is a travel day, so what I have to share is not so much a story as a great quote, "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." - C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Must You Live?

            The great British author and linguist Dr. Samuel Johnson once rebuked a man for engaging in a shady business. The man replied, “You know, doctor, that I must live.”
            Dr. Johnson answered, “[I do] not see the least necessity for that.”
            Dr. Johnson was channeling Jesus, For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
Source: Edmund Fuller

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Going Against the Flow

            It is always hard to go against the crowd. Marvin Olasky told the story several years ago about an absent-minded fellow who was driving down the interstate—when his cell phone rang.      
            He answered and heard his wife urgently warn him, “I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on the interstate. Please be careful!”
            Her husband replied, “It's not just one car, honey, it's hundreds of them!”
            I believe that's the way it is sometimes going against our culture. But in the case of Christians, we are going the right way (hopefully!) and the crowd is not.
            One of the things I appreciate about the prophet Elijah is he was willing to go against the crowd. May Christ’s followers today do the same today.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Making a Name For Yourself

 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves… (Gen. 11:4a.)

A friend of mine once asked an official at a Christian university why the school had no trouble raising money for buildings, but it couldn't raise very much for scholarships for Bible students. The official answered, “Because you can put your name on a building.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

“May I have this Dance?”

Ben Macintyre, of THE TIMES OF LONDON, once wrote that Winston Churchill began each day with a whisky and soda; he "slurped through the war on a tidal wave of Champagne and brandy."
Perhaps, he wrote, this was not a good example for the British foreign secretary [whom I will not name—just in case MacIntyre’s information is incorrect; you know the British Press. :) ]
In the 1960's, at a reception in Peru, he (the foreign minister) was said to have once stumblingly invited a guest in flowing purple robes to dance. But it was not to be.
"First, you are drunk," the guest is said to have replied. "Second, this is not a waltz; it is the Peruvian national anthem. And third, I am not a woman; I am the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Picky Man

            Recently, a wedding announcement appeared in the media outlets of Rochester, New York. 99-year-old Gilbert Harrick married 86-year-old Virginia Hartman. It was his first marriage. Hey, when the right one comes along....
            Herrick and Hartman were both nursing home residents. Gilbert met Virginia while admiring her artwork. They got to know each other, and, ultimately, fell in love.
            On June 6, an interview with reporters revealed that the couple would have loved to elope to Fiji, but the rules of their nursing home deny them the opportunity for travel. They settled for a hometown wedding.
            I love that story. And while I would not want anyone to have to wait 99 years to marry, I do appreciate the concept of carefully selecting one's mate. In an age that holds too high a value for physical beauty, there is something to be said for getting to know the soul of an individual. 
           Marry well–you may someday be living with that handsome 25-year-old in a nursing home… when he is 99.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord (Prov. 18:22.) ESV
Source: WORLD MAGAZINE, July 30, 2011, p. 16.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Redheaded Salesperson

            One definition of integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching. A parable, perhaps a true story, tells of a company that had advertised for a salesperson. They received this reply:

            I am at present selling furniture at the address below. You may judge my sales ability if you will stop in to see me at any time, pretending that you are interested in buying furniture.
            When you come in you can identify me by my red hair. And I will have no way of identifying you.
            Such salesmanship as I exhibit during your visit, therefore, will be no more than my usual workday approach, and not a special effort to impress a prospective employer.

            Hundreds applied for that job; the redheaded furniture salesperson won it. This makes me think of what Paul wrote to the Colossians, Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance (Col. 3:23.) THE MESSAGE
Source: Bits & Pieces, March 3, 1994

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Label the Bottles Clearly

             Many years ago, a farmer’s wife admonished her druggist, “Now be sure to label those bottles plainly; which one is for the horse, and which one is for my husband.”
            “Oh, don’t worry, I will,” replied the druggist. “Why are you so concerned?”
            “Because,” she answered, “I don’t want anything to happen to that horse before spring plowing!”

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Juror

            A judge became annoyed by the long delay in settling a case that seemed to him very plain. The judge said, “I hereby discharge this jury.”
            One man of the jury, sensing that his personal integrity was being challenged, exclaimed, “You can’t do that.”
            “And why not?” asked the judge sternly.
            “Because you didn’t hire me,” replied the juror. Pointing to the defense attorney he said, “I’m working for that man there.”

A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live. (Prob. 15:27.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

19 Messages from God

          Okay, this is more of a funny list than a story.
Ever seen those billboards displaying a “message” from God? Well, a few years ago, some one sent me a list of 19 he had seen. Hope you like them:

            1. Let's Meet At My House Sunday Before the Game - God

                        2. C'mon Over And Bring The Kids - God

                        3. What Part of "Thou Shalt Not..." Didn't You Understand? - God

                        4. We Need To Talk - God

                        5. Keep Using My Name in Vain And I'll Make Rush Hour Longer - God

                        6. Loved The Wedding, Invite Me To The Marriage - God

                        7. That "Love Thy Neighbor" Thing, I Meant It. - God
8. I Love You...I Love You...I Love You... - God
9. Will The Road You're On Get You To My Place? - God

10. Follow Me. - God

             11. Big Bang Theory, You've Got To Be Kidding. - God

             12. My Way Is The Highway. - God

             13. Need Directions? - God

             14. You Think It's Hot Here? - God

             15. Tell The Kids I Love Them. - God

             16. Need a Marriage Counselor? I'm Available. - God

             17. Have You Read My #1 Best Seller? There Will Be A Test. - God

             18. I don't question your existence.  -God

             19. Don't make me come down there. -God 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"He is going to get there, isn’t he?"

            A. Scott Berg, in his biography, LINDBERGH, tells about the time that the great aviation pioneer, Charles Lindbergh, took his family to see the movie THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS. The movie chronicled Lindbergh's courageous flight alone from New York to Paris, becoming the first human to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane.
            Because Lindbergh was such a public figure, his children grew up knowing the story of his famous flight. One day, Lindbergh, his wife, and their three youngest children, quietly attended a screening of the movie in a New York City theater.
            The audience was captivated by the drama. Halfway through the movie, during a moment that was especially tense, Lindbergh's 11-year-old daughter clutched her mother's arm and asked, “He is going to get there, isn't he?”
            I absolutely love that story. It illustrates for us the Christian life. Lindbergh's daughter intellectually knew how the story would end. However, she got caught up in the tension of the moment, and emotionally it was very challenging for her.
            I think it's the same for us as Christians. Intellectually, we know how God's story will end. However, we get so emotionally caught up in day-to-day living, that it is easy for us to wonder, “Jesus is going to get here, isn’t he?”
            Yes, Jesus said he would come back some day; Jesus is going to get here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies

            How do you illustrate Ps. 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”? Well, here’s one story that might work.
            A little girl engaged in defiant behavior against her parents. Her consequence was to eat supper alone at a little table in a corner of the dining room.
            The rest of the family ignored her until they heard her “say grace” over her meal, “I thank Thee Lord for preparing a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What is Sin?

              “Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or ambition and try desperately to fulfill it without God. Not only is it sin, it is a perverse distortion of the image of the Creator in us. All these good things, and all our security, are rightly found only and completely in him.”
--Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Coal Miner and the Disbelieving Sons

            5-6 For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, "Since you are God's Son, jump." The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: "He has placed you in the care of an gels. They will catch you so that you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone."
 7Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: "Don't you dare test the Lord your God" (Mt. 4:5-7.) THE MESSAGE

            The story was told years ago of a coal miner who was devoutly religious. Some acquaintances chided him because he had not successfully passed along his faith to his three sons.
            He defended himself with these words, “I tell them to pray, and they don’t pray. I tell them again to pray, and they don’t pray. I knock them down, and they don’t pray.”
            Phillip Yancey writes that Jesus never coerced belief. Jesus never seduced belief.
            Jesus cherished the freedom of each individual to freely choose to follow Him. We don’t have to take people’s choices personally.
            Unbelief is not so much a sin against us; it is a sin against God.

Friday, July 8, 2011

You Can't Campaign Forever

Former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole noted the presence of George McGovern at the funeral of Richard Nixon’s wife, Pat. McGovern had been a bitter rival of Nixon and had run against him as the candidate of the Democrat party in the 1972 presidential election.
Intrigued, Dole asked McGovern why he had come to the funeral. McGovern replied, "You can't go on campaigning forever."
Sooner or late, we all need to let it go.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Raffle

            Many years ago, a young man was employed by a bank for a modest salary.  He began to very noticeably live a lavish lifestyle, buying a car and demonstrating that he had suddenly become wealthy.
            Finally, one of the bank executives called him into his office. He asked the young man, “How is it that you, who are only receiving a salary of $20 a week, can spend what must certainly be $75 or more a week?”
            “Why it is simple," the clerk replied, “there are more than 200 employees here and every payday, I raffle off my salary at 50 cents a ticket.”
            Jesus said he wished his subjects felt motivated to use their intelligence and gifts for the Kingdom like people of the world do to pursue their self-interests—That's how it is! The people of this world look out for themselves better than the people who belong to the light” (Luke 16:8b.) CEV

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What does “Status Quo” Mean?

            A boy once asked his father, “What’s status quo, Daddy?
            “Son,” his father answered gravely, “that’s just the name of the mess we’re in.”
            In Philippians chapter two, Paul addresses church members who have created a mess for themselves. Yet, he writes these words of encouragement, “13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
            God works—even in the status quo.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

But I am Wearing My Seatbelt, Your Honor

            A man appeared in court in Wichita, Kansas recently trying to fight a ticket. It seems a policeman had stopped him for not wearing his seat belt. His argument, which he proudly showed the Judge, was that he was wearing a seatbelt.
            Literally, this was true. Paul Weigand claimed he was satisfying the local seat belt law.
            The prosecutor admitted that he had a point. The law stated that a seatbelt had to be worn–and said nothing about it needing to be attached to a vehicle.
            However, the prosecutor went on to say that this violated the spirit of the law, which was to keep passengers safe. The judge then asked the gentleman if his accessory would keep him safe. When he admitted that it would not, the judge fined him $30 plus court costs.
            Legalism hurts a lot of people, but ultimately, it is self-destructive.

Monday, July 4, 2011

iPhone Confessional

           If you're good with technology and are Roman Catholic, you have a new way of practicing the sacrament of penance. Recently, a Catholic bishop sanctioned an app—called “confession” and available on iPhone—to allow penitents to type in the sins they wish to confess in a confessional box and then receive instructions on how to make penitence.
            Since so many Catholics are now refusing to go to confession, some leaders are hoping this virtual confession will entice more Catholics to return to the real-life confessional booth.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hoisting Petards

            Here is a category in which a state does not want to lead the nation: staged accidents. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Florida leads the nation in staged automobile accidents. These Floridians do so to rob insurance companies out of thousands of dollars.
            Some of these citizens have ingeniously used technicalities of existing state law. Through their machinations, they have individually robbed insurance companies of as much as $10,000 on nonexistent accidents. They pull off these heists by taking advantage of the fact that, in Florida, one is not required to prove that any party (involved in an accident) was negligent.
            These abuses of the law reflect a spirit of greed. There will be consequences. This behavior inevitably drives up insurance rates for everyone.
            In HAMLET, Shakespeare wrote a phrase that we have translated into a figure of speech—“hoist with his own petard.” It means the equivalent of a bomb maker blowing himself up with his own bomb.
            Greed is motivating too many Americans to “hoist with [their] own petards.”