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Monday, October 31, 2011


            A legend is told of a time during the Civil War. A young Union soldier grieved over a father and older brother who had been killed.
            This soldier traveled to Washington, D.C. to seek an exemption from military service so that he could go back home and help his mother and sister with the spring planting. Approaching the White House, the soldier sought an audience with the president. He was turned away.
            Discouraged, the soldier took a seat on a park bench nearby. A boy approached him and asked, “You look unhappy, soldier. What’s wrong?”
            The soldier related what had happened, which motivated the boy to take the soldier by the hand. The boy led him through the back door of the White House, past the guards, and into the president’s office itself. There, President Lincoln looked up and asked, “What can I do for you, Tad?”
            Tad answered, “Daddy, this soldier needs to talk to you.” The soldier was granted access to the president.
            Jesus does the same for us. Through Jesus’ work, we have access to the Heavenly Father in His throne room.

So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body (Heb. 10:19-21.) THE MESSAGE
Source: Progress Magazine, December 12/13, 1992

Friday, October 28, 2011

Waiting for a Friend

            Several years ago, ABC’s NIGHTLINE presented a story about Fragile X syndrome. Fragile X syndrome is a disease that reflects changes in part of the X chromosome. Typically, children that suffer from this disease demonstrate a behavior that is just a little bit off. 
            This particularly episode focused a sufferer named Dillon. Dillon was a boy who was told by a friend that he (the friend) would come over and play at 3:00 PM. Dillon began to wait for his friend at 1:00. At 3:00, the boy did not show up. Dillon waited… until well after dark. At last, it was time to go to bed.
            This story helps me appreciate this scripture more:  And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted” (Heb. 2:18) CEV, as well as Jesus' words in Luke And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” NIV

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Focus on the Bad Guys

            Okay, this is not exactly a story, unless you count it as a story about the biblical scholar, James Sanders. However, it is so good, I had to share it in some venue.
            Here it is: when you read the Bible, you should never identify with the good guys. Rather, identify with the bad guys.
            If you come away from the Bible feeling good, you have misread it. That will make you feel self-righteousness.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Two Bears

           Who doesn’t like a teddy bear? They’re cute; they’re cuddly. Unfortunately, sometimes children consign their views of teddy bears onto real ones. That’s dangerous.
            In 1990, two boys climbed over a fence at the Bronx Zoo in New York City and descended into the polar bear compound. Later, workers found their lifeless bodies.
             One writer applied this story to pet sins. All of us are tempted to maintain pet sins. Watch out! Your pet sins can kill!
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell (Mt. 5:29-30.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Don’t Trash the Treasure

            Stephan Breitwiser is a convicted French art thief. Moving throughout Europe, he stole 239 works of art valued at over $1.4 billion. Authorities followed his trail and made an arrest.
            Hearing of her son’s arrest, Breitwieser's mother located some of the paintings. Intending to protect her son, she systematically began to carve up the paintings and shred them in her garbage disposal.
            She threw archeological artifacts such as vases and pottery into a local river. Later, a Swiss police officer was quoted as saying, "[N]ever have so many old masters been destroyed at the same time."
            Hebrews celebrates the glory of Christ’s salvation. Unfortunately, some Christians were throwing it away. Never trash the treasure of God’s salvation.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Join the Story

            A mother once was reading to her three-year-old son his favorite bedtime story—for the third time. When she finished, the boy seized the book and placed it on the ground. Opening the book, he gently placed one foot on top of a page… and then the other. Suddenly, he cried.  
            His mother was confused. Why was he crying?
            Then her eight-year-old daughter explained to her what made the boy cry, “He really likes the book.”
            At that point, it hit the mother. Her son wanted to insert himself into the book. He wanted to join the story.
            God is writing a story. We as God’s people should desire to become a part of that story.
            Join God’s story.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Taking Your Work Home

            We should never take our work home. An old story tells about a woman who was a high school counselor. Consequently, she knew all the signs of emotional upheaval.
            One morning her preteen daughter showed up for breakfast, dragging her feet and rubbing her eyes. The young girl flopped down in her chair and told her mother she was sick of life.
            Immediately, the mother's high school counselor alarms sounded off as she rushed around the breakfast bar, put an arm around her daughter, and began to explain to her why life is worth living.
            The daughter looked up at her with a confused look on her face and said, "Mom!?! I meant LIFE cereal."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pitching and… the Devil’s Philosophy

            Last night, the St. Louis Cardinals used good pitching to defeat my team, the Texas Rangers, in game one of the World Series. This reminds me of something George Will wrote about in his book celebrating baseball—MEN AT WORK. Among those he profiled, Will wrote an interesting piece on the Los Angeles Dodger (and current ESPN broadcaster) Orel Hershiser.
            Regarding pitching Hershiser believed, “There are two theories of pitching. One is that you try to convince the batter that a particular pitch is coming and you throw something different. The other theory, that you don’t hear as much, but that I use, is that if the batter expects a particular pitch, you throw it, but you throw it in a place where he can’t hit it.”
            Listen to Doug Cecil compare Hershiser’s pitching philosophy to the Devil’s philosophy of temptation, “Isn’t that the way the Enemy works in our life? He knows just what kind of pitch that we are a sucker for and then throws it our way. But, it is just a little higher or just a little bit more outside than where we like it, and most likely we will bite on it every time. After all, it looks so good. It feels so right.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Welsh Revival

            OUR DAILY BREAD once described an eyewitness report of the great Welsh revival of 1904. Concerning that, G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “The horses are terribly puzzled. A manager said to me. ‘The haulers are some of the very lowest. They have driven their horses by obscenity and kicks. Now they can hardly persuade the horses to start working, because there is no obscenity and no kicks.’”
            A revived spirit changes lives.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Court Case Call

            An old story tells of a man in Australia who was arrested and charged with stealing a sheep. He emphatically claimed it was one of his own and had been missing for many days.
            When the case went to court, the judge was puzzled, not knowing how to decide the matter. At last he asked that the sheep be brought into the courtroom.
            The judge then he ordered the plaintiff to step outside and call the animal. The sheep made no response except to raise its head and look frightened.
            The judge then instructed the defendant to go to the courtyard and call the sheep. When the accused man began to make his distinctive call, the sheep bounded toward the door. It was obvious that he recognized the familiar voice of his master.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice (John 10:4.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Do You Hear His Voice?

          An old story goes like this:

            A man who wanted to teach his nephews and nieces about the reality of the living presence of Christ in our lives asked them, “Where’s your mother?”
            “Upstairs,” answered one girl. 
            “How do you know?” 
            “I saw her go,” she replied. 
            “You mean you saw her start to go upstairs,” corrected the uncle. “Maybe she didn’t get there, or perhaps she’s not there now.”
            “Oh, I know she’s there, because I just called her, and she answered me,” said the youngest child. 
            The uncle continued his questioning, “Did you see her?” 
            “No, but she spoke to me and called me by my name. I know her voice, and I know it was Mother!” 
            “You are right,” said the uncle. “And in much the same way that you know your mother is upstairs we can know that the Lord is alive and in our lives. He speaks to us and we just know it is His voice.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Following Anybody

            Moody’s Anecdotes tells the story of a man who was traveling in the East. He heard there was a shepherd, who continued the custom of calling his sheep by name. The traveler went to the man, and requested, “Let me put on your clothes and take your rod, and I will call them and see if they will come to me.”
            The shepherd agreed and watched as the stranger called to one sheep, “Mina, Mina,” but the entire flock ran away from him. The traveler then asked the shepherd, “Will none of them follow me when I call?”
            The shepherd replied, “Yes, some of them will; the sick sheep will follow anybody.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Seeing God

            I first received the following story in 1999. I have never seen it confirmed, so let’s call it a parable. It might have happened; it might not have happened. Either way, the story makes a nice point:

            A college student was in a philosophy class. The class was debating the existence of God. The professor argued, “Has anyone in this class heard God?”
            Nobody spoke.
            “Has anyone in this class touched God?”
            Again, nobody spoke.
            “Has anyone in this class seen God?”
            When nobody spoke for the third time, he simply stated, “Then there is no God.”            
            One student did not agree. He asked for permission to speak. The professor granted it.
            The student stood up and asked the following questions of his classmates: “Has anyone in this class heard our professor's brain?”
            “Has anyone in this class touched our professor's brain?”
            Absolute silence.
            “Has anyone in this class seen our professor's brain?”
            When nobody in the class dared to speak, the student concluded, “Then, according to our professor's logic, it must be true that our professor has no brain!”
            Disrespectful, perhaps, but the student received an “A” in the class.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Value of the Bible

            I have not confirmed the following story; I read it in a Christian magazine many years ago. To be safe, let’s say, “Legend has it…

            D.L. Moody was preaching one time in a Southern city about the value of the Word of God in a person's life. Suddenly, he was interrupted by the loud voice of a man in the audience.
                 “Mr. Moody, I do not believe a single word of that collection of old wives’ tales you call your Bible!”
                 “My dear brother,” replied Mr. Moody, “there is one verse in this Bible which you are forced to believe. ‘Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’ If a man sows wheat, he does not reap potatoes or peanuts. Take the saloonkeeper, for example; he sows drunkards and he will reap drunkards.”
                 The man sat down as the audience broke into loud applause. Mr. Moody, of course, did not know the man, but the audience did. He was a notorious, long-time atheistic saloonkeeper; and all his children, both sons and daughters, were drunkards.

Monday, October 10, 2011


            Okay, this is a stretch for a story. Still, I found it so relevant today, I could not resist sharing it. (Call it, "Tell Me Some Bullet Points.") The following ran in a bulletin several years ago. No author’s name was given:


     "My child doesn't like to go to Bible school. What can I do about it?"

YOU CAN BE CONSTRUCTIVE:  Do not criticize the teacher of the child. A negative attitude only complicates matters and hardly ever helps.

YOU CAN BE ENTHUSIASTIC: Adopt this attitude about the teacher, the lesson, other
children, and in preparing all week for class. Kindly, but firmly ignore negative expressions by the child.

YOU CAN PREPARE ALL WEEK: Do not rush, scold or nag on Sunday morning. Prepare clothes, lessons, and the Lord's Day routine ahead of time. Get up early enough so that the child can leisurely use the routine you have set.

HELP THE CHILD PARTICIPATE: Let him take a picture book or an object he has made to the teacher. Participation gives a sense of belonging and increases interest.

YOU CAN ARRANGE TO TAKE ONE OR MORE: Pick up a neighborhood playmate and take him to class. Helping someone else to attend gives extra importance to the event.

YOU CAN OFFER TO HELP THE TEACHER: Be sincere, specific and constructive in your offer. Never, ever criticize the teacher before the child.

YOU CAN HELP PREPARE THE BIBLE SCHOOL LESSONS: Read the text to him from the Bible. Answer questions; make suggestions; establishment of good habits lasts a lifetime.

YOU CAN HELP BY PRAYING: Pray with the child, for the child, about the child. Through
prayer we are strong. Most children do not like Bible School because of the parent’s attitude.


Friday, October 7, 2011

I Got Here as Fast as I Could

            This does not always work:

            A patrolman gets out of his car and addresses a high school student kid whom he had stopped for speeding. Slowly, he rolls down his window.
            “I’ve been waiting for you all day,” the policeman says.
            “Well,” the student replies, “I got here as fast as I could.”
            When the policeman finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a citation. Instead, he told the young man, “Please slow down.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It’s A Wonderful Life

            Thanks, David Pardue, for chastising me for not sharing a story yesterday! I hope you want mind, but today I am actually going to repeat a story I passed along a couple of months ago.
            As all of you know, Steven Jobs tragically lost his battle to cancer (and its complications) yesterday. The first computer I was blessed with was a brand new MacPlus that the Austin Avenue Church bought for my Argentina work back in 1989. I loved that computer. Since then, I, along with virtually everyone else on the planet, have been positively impacted by Jobs’ genius.
            However, were it not for one decision, this would have never happened. In an IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE sort of way, I want you to imagine… what if?             Here’s the story I told back in August, which I have seen confirmed many times since:

            I read in the Tyler paper this morning something interesting. Star Parker wrote about an unwed mother, a college student, who decided to put her child up for adoption. The year was 1955—pre-Roe v Wade.
            You know her son today—his name is Steven Jobs.

            I think today we are all grateful to that young mother.