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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It Cost

            As we enter the Christmas season, it’s good to be reminded how much cost was expended when Jesus entered into the world.
            I received the following a couple of decades ago. The author is unknown.

It Cost
            It cost Mary and Joseph the comforts of home during a long period of exile in Egypt to protect the little babe.
            It cost mothers, in and around Bethlehem, the massacre of their babies by the cruel order of Herod.
            It cost the shepherds the complacency of their shepherds’ life, with the call to the manger and to tell the good news.
            It cost the wise men a long journey and expensive gifts and changed lives.
            It cost the early Apostles and the early church persecution and sometimes death.
            It cost missionaries of Christ untold suffering and privation to spread the Good News.
            It cost Christian martyrs in all ages their lives for Christ’s sake.
            More than all this, it cost God the Father His own Son—He sent Him to the earth to save men.
            It cost Jesus a life of sacrifice and service, a death cruel and unmatched in history.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Dot

           Here’s a convicting story. A preacher was once addressing a group of men. He took a large, blank sheet of paper, placed a black dot in the center with his pen, and held it up before the men.
            “What do you see?” he asked.
            One person responded quickly, “I see a black mark.”
            “Right,” the preacher replied. “What else do you see?”
            Total silence.
            “Don’t you see anything other than the dot?” he asked.
            No reply.
            “I’m really surprised that you have completely overlooked the most important thing of all—the rest of the sheet of paper.”
            His application was this. Life is full of blessings and possibilities. Too often, we allow the relatively fewer and smaller, dot-like disappointments or painful experiences to distract us.
            In our lives, we have so much to be thankful for—and so much possibility with what is yet to come.
19 Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms (Psalm 68:19.) NLT

Source: Our Daily Bread

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Wheelbarrow

            An old story goes like this:

            The strong young man at the construction site was bragging that he could outdo anyone in a feat of strength. He made a special case of making fun of one of the older workmen.
            After several minutes one older worker had had enough. "Why don't you put your money where your mouth is?" he said. "I will bet a week's wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to that building that you won't be able to wheel back."
            "You're on, old man," the young guy replied.             
            The old man reached out and grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then he turned to the young man and said, "Alright. Get in."  
            Sometimes, it’s better to be wise than strong.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Courtroom Humor

            I received this eight years ago. I thought it was hilarious. Happy post Thanksgiving!

            Most language is spoken language, and most words, once they are            uttered, vanish forever into the air. But such is not the case with language spoken during courtroom trials, for there exists an army of courtroom reporters whose job it is to take down and preserve every statement made during the proceedings.
            Mary Louise Gilman, the venerable editor of the National Shorthand Reporter has collected many of the more hilarious courtroom bloopers in two books - Humor in the Court (1977) and More Humor in the Court, published later. From Mrs. Gilman's two volumes, here are some of my favorite transcripts, all recorded by America's keepers of the word:

           Q. Did you ever stay all night with this man in New York?
            A. I refuse to answer that question.
            Q. Did you ever stay all night with this man in Chicago?
            A. I refuse to answer that question.
            Q. Did you ever stay all night with this man in Miami?
            A. No.

            Q. Now, Mrs. Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated?
            A. By death.
            Q. And by whose death was it terminated?
            Q. Doctor, did you say he was shot in the woods?
            A. No, I said he was shot in the lumbar region.

           Q. What is your name?
            A. Ernestine McDowell.
            Q. And what is your marital status?
            A. Fair.

           Q. And who is this person you are speaking of?
            A. My ex-widow said it.

           Q. How did you happen to go to Dr. Cherney?
            A. Well, a gal down the road had had several of her children by Dr. Cherney,                    and said he was really good.

           Q. Mrs. Smith, do you believe that you are emotionally unstable?
            A. I should be.
            Q. How many times have you committed suicide?
            A. Four times.

            Q. Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
            A. All my autopsies have been performed on dead people.

           Q. Were you acquainted with the deceased?
            A. Yes, sir.
            Q. Before or after he died?

            Q. What happened then?
            A. He told me, he says, "I have to kill you because you can identify me."
            Q. Did he kill you?
            A. No.

           Q. Mrs. Jones, is your appearance this morning pursuant to a deposition                               notice which I sent to your attorney?
            A. No. This is how I dress when I go to work.

            Q. Did he pick the dog up by the ears?
            A. No.
            Q. What was he doing with the dog's ears?
            A. Picking them up in the air.
            Q. Where was the dog at this time?
            A. Attached to the ears.

          Q. And lastly, Gary, all your responses must be oral. O.K.? What
                school do you go to?
            A. Oral.
            Q. How old are you?
            A. Oral.

Source: Laugh & Lift Daily Issue 4/14/03 - Message   
WebMail - Laugh & Lift Daily Issue 4/14/03

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Are You Thankful for?

        I am shamelessly stealing this video clip from my sister-in-law, who put it in her blog.
         Heard of the Skit Guys? They are pretty clever and have funny skits.
         This is one they put out for Thanksgiving:

         Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anger Management

            Winnsboro, TX youth minister Tony Tucker ran this story in a bulletin recently. The author is unknown. It goes like this:
            A guy gets in a taxi one day headed to the airport. The taxi was driving in the right lane when, suddenly, a car pulled out in front of the taxi. The taxi driver hit the brakes. The taxi skidded and barely avoided hitting the car.
            The driver of the other vehicle began shouting at the taxi driver. Bizarre, right? What was his problem?
            The taxi driver did not respond in kind. Instead, he simply smiled and waved.
            The passenger was amazed. He asked him how he was able to keep his cool.
            The taxi driver kept his cool because of “The Law of the Garbage Truck.”
            “The Law of the Garbage Truck” refers to the fact that many people are like garbage trucks. They operate in life full of frustration, anger, disappointment… in other words, full of garbage.
            In time, their garbage truck becomes too full. They need to dump some of their garbage. When they do, that place may be—on you.
            The key is to not take it personally when they dump their garbage. Smile. Wave at them. Wish them well. Then, move on.
            Never take their garbage with you and spread it on other people you know at home, school, work, or anywhere else.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Prov. 15:1.) ESV

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cutting Toenails for Christ

            This Sunday, I am preaching from John 13.
            A few weeks ago, I was reading Tim Archer’s blog and I came across this story he was passing along from Richard Beck and his blog, Experimental Theology. Beck shares about his experiences teaching John 13 in his prison ministry. I could think of no better illustration of John 13:

            After reading the story I returned to our prior conversation. I asked, “Can you serve people like Jesus did here in the prison?”
            As before, there was general skepticism. The comment “kindness in prison is mistaken for weakness” was repeated. But I pushed a little harder this time and waited a little longer.
            “How can you find moments to serve in this place?”
            There was a long silence.
            Then one man, Norberto (not his real name), raised his hand.
            I was intrigued by what Norberto would say. He is a big, intimidating man. He could snap me like a twig. You can tell he commands a lot of respect from the other men.
            I called on him and, given his intimidating presence, figured he’d stay with the “you can’t do that kind of stuff in here” consensus.
            He began, speaking softly.
            “Well,” he started with his heavy Hispanic accent, “I don’t know if this is what you are looking for but I help my celly [i.e., cell mate].”
            “How?” I ask.
            “Well, my celly isn’t too bright. Something is wrong with his head. He was in an accident so he’s not too smart.” Guys who know Norberto’s cellmate nod in agreement and elaborate. Apparently he’s borderline mentally retarded and needs a lot of help taking care of himself and navigating prison life.
            Norberto continues. “Well, when my celly first got put in with me I noticed that he never took off his shoes. He always left them on. So one day I finally asked him, ‘Why don’t you ever take off your shoes?’ He wouldn’t tell me. Finally I got him to tell me. He was embarrassed. He didn’t know how to take care of his feet. So his toenails were all overgrown, smelly and ugly looking. So I asked him to take off his shoes and socks. And his nails were awful. But he didn’t know how to cut them.
            So I sat him down and had him put his feet in water. Then I took his foot in my lap and cut his toenails for him. I don’t know what people would have thought if they walked by, his foot in my lap. And I would never have thought I’d be doing something like that.”
            There was now a deep silence in the room. The image before us was so unexpected. Here was this huge, intimidating man taking the time, almost like a mother, to gently wash the feet and trim the nails of his mentally retarded cell mate.
            Breaking the silence Norberto looked up at me and asked, “Is that an example of what you were talking about?”
            “Yes,” I said. “Yes, that is an example of what I was talking about.”

Monday, November 21, 2011


           I have immense respect for the great boxer, Muhammad Ali. That’s why I read with great amusement a story, perhaps apocryphal, on one of those Internet sites last week. Of course, during his heyday, Ali was known as much for his braggadocio as he was for his boxing.
            The legend goes that once Ali was flying to a fight on a commercial airline. Before the plane took off, a flight attendant, making her rounds, noticed that Ali had not buckled his seat belt.
            The flight attendant asked him to buckle up, and Ali refused. The flight attendant insisted, but Ali said, "Superman don't need no seatbelt."            
            The attendant replied, "Superman don't need no plane."
            Ali buckled his seat belt.
            It’s always good to keep things in their proper perspective.
             3 O LORD, what is man that you regard him,
or the son of man that you think of him?
4 Man is like a breath;
his days are like a passing shadow (Psalm 144:3-4.) 
Story Source: Perry Greene…

Friday, November 18, 2011

Angels Explained by Children

            We are close to the Christmas season and the singing of songs celebrating angels-- celebrating the birth of Jesus. In that spirit, a humorous look at angels as explained by children.

I only know the names of two angels. Hark and Harold.
            --Gregory, 5

Everybody's got it all wrong. Angels don't wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it.
            --Olive, 9

It's not easy to become an angel! First, you die. Then you go to heaven, then there's still the flight training to go through. And then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes.
            --Matthew, 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do something else.
            --Mitchell, 7

My guardian angel helps me with math, but he's not much good for science.
            --Henry, 8

Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!!.
            --Jack, 6

Angels talk all the way while they're flying you up to heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead.            
            --Daniel, 9

When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten. And when he lets out his breath, somewhere there's a tornado.
            --Reagan, 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go north for the winter.
            --Sara, 6

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his son, who's a very good carpenter.
            --Jared , 8

All angels are girls because they gotta wear dresses and boys didn't go for it.
            --Antonio, 9

Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if they don't make the animals get better, they help the child get over it.
            --Vicki, 8

What I don't get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them.
            --Sarah, 7              


Thursday, November 17, 2011

When the Umpire Costs the Game

            About ten years ago, a team from Oceanside, CA was participating in the Little League World Series. Their opponent was a squad from the Bronx, NY.
            The New York team won 1-0 on a controversial play.  The winning run was scored by a Bronx player, who missed second base moving from first to third on the base hit of a teammate.
            After the game, ESPN, who was broadcasting the contest, showed replays that demonstrated clearly the New York player had missed the bag. That was enough to provoke the ESPN commentator to ask Daryl Wasano, losing manager of the California team, this question, “Is this something you will be bitter about in the future?”
            Wasano answered, “Not at all. It's a judgment call, and we didn't get the call. Now we move on.” Wasano continued by stating how much he and his players had enjoyed the entire World Series experience; they were grateful.
            Sportsmanship seems to be a rare commodity these days. That’s a shame.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Lighthouse

         Many years ago, someone interviewed the man who ran the lighthouse in Calais, off the French coast. The commentator commended him for his diligence and asked him, "What would you do if your light ever went out?"
The man answered, "That would never happen. I could never live with the guilt if my light went out." He further added, "Sometimes, I feel like the whole world is looking at my light."
Christians should feel the same way.
14 “You are the light of the world… 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others… (Mt. 5:14a, 16a.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brave New World

            About ten years ago, ABC NIGHTLINE did a story on a surrogate mother. According to her contract with the adoptive parents, if she became pregnant with twins, she would abort one. (Remind you of Solomon?)
            She refused. Lawsuit, anyone?
            Another story covered the case of a married couple, who through vitro fertilization conceived four children through donated sperm. The married couple divorced before birth. A legal controversy ensued: whom should the law force to pay child support? The ex-husband or the sperm donor?
            During this time, I was reading Aldous Huxley’s prescient novel—A BRAVE NEW WORLD. As I reflected on that novel and the events of early 2001, I, along with many others, were struck with this observation. For over fifty years, the western world was warned that George Orwell’s novel, 1984, was a forerunner of the future. This was incorrect. A BRAVE NEW WORLD has more effectively anticipated the postmodern world.
            If you have not read A BRAVE NEW WORLD, I would encourage you to do so. At least read the CLIFFSNOTES. You may surprised.

Monday, November 14, 2011


            Last week, it seemed that all the media wanted to talk about was the tragic situation of child abuse regarding Penn State. Certainly this story needed to be discussed in our public dialogue. However, any time the press becomes focused so much on one story, I concern myself with the thought they might take an extreme position that was before unthinkable.
            Recently, I heard talk that sounded an awful lot like vigilantism. A vigilante is an individual who takes the law into his own hands, specifically through enforcing the law without any legal authority.
            This occurred often in the old west. Sometimes, a group of citizens would seek to bring a criminal to justice in a logical and organized way. Occasionally, though, the group would turn into a mob and apply force in unjust way.
            A publication* once told of a grave located in Boot Hill Cemetery in the state of Arizona. The gravestone contains these words, “Lynched by mistake.”
            Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully, (Prov. 28:5.)
            May we always, without prejudice or favoritism, truly seek justice in a proper way.

·     * Today in the Word, November 19, 1995, p. 26.

Friday, November 11, 2011


           The 1960s were a time of great turmoil in the U. S., especially on college campuses. William Manchester, in his book THE GLORY AND THE DREAM, described the students coming out of America’s universities in the sixties in this way, "The upshot was that millions of pupils approached the age of awareness equipped with marvelous radar but no gyroscopes." They were receiving many college degrees; however, Manchester wondered if, without being taught values, these students were receiving an education.
            I appreciate Manchester’s imagery—students of any age, who are not taught values, are receiving radar but no gyroscopes.
            How are we doing these days?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Angel of Comfort

            I don’t know if this is truth or legend. I received it several years ago. It did not contain the author’s name:

            When my oldest son Scotty was 3 years old he was blessed with the gift of "chicken-pox" from his older sister. Well, I had been taught that a child with chicken pox had to stay in a dark room so that their eyes would not be damaged! Try keeping a 3 year old in bed....much less in a darkened room!
            One afternoon, it was dark and stormy, and I heard my son calling me in panic. When I got to his room, he was crying with his heard covered up...telling me how afraid he was. I quickly took him in my arms and started to pray and he calmed right down, but didn't want me to leave the room. I pointed to a picture of an angel with 2 children that was hanging on the wall. I went into great detail about how huge this mighty angel was, how powerful...and told Scotty that he was right there in the room to protect him!
            Good story right???
           Well, Scotty immediately sat up in bed, and looked at me and said, "That does it Mom, now I really am scared!!!"
            Today Scotty is 40 and a minister!

            We all say things to our kids that did not generate the response that we hoped. Thankfully, we have a heavenly Father who wants to win those kids to Him even more than we do.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All In

           God wants people to choose Him. God wants people who are all in—somebody like Bobby Martin.
            Back in 2005, Bobby was a member of the Colonel White High School football team in Dayton, Ohio. Bobby played nose guard and special teams. However, in an early season game, game officials expelled him-for not wearing shoes.
            Bobby had a good reason for not wearing shoes—he had no legs or feet! Those obstacles did not stop him. Using his arms and legs, Bobby had become a very effective player.
            Not only that, Bobby had learned to bowl, dance, do cartwheels, skateboard… well, you get the idea. Bobby was “all in” when it came to life. Adversity meant nothing to him.
            Are we all in for God?
"So now: Fear God. Worship him in total commitment (Josh. 24:14a.) THE MESSAGE

Source: SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Issue date: October 3, 2005