What Did I Do To Deserve This?

If I were a weapons inventor, I would create the ultimate weapon. Here’s how it would work.

The enemy launches a huge missile. Someone shouts, “Incoming!” and everyone jumps into a hole or looks for something to hide behind.

Not to worry, though. My trusty invention fires a cloud of happy dust into the air and when the missile flies though, its payload changes from explosives into good stuff. Red, green, blue and yellow flowers float towards the earth, along with oatmeal cookies.

The only thing is, I haven’t figured out how to do it. I’ll keep you updated.

God’s Weapon

God can do it, though. Missiles may still hurt when they explode (an oatmeal cookie would hurt if it fell on your noggin), but instead of destroying us they work for our good if we face them with faith in the Lord.

There were a couple of things that really troubled me when I was a kid, then a teenager. If I could have changed them I would have done it in the blink of an eye. It stills hurts a bit when I think of it, all these years afterwards.

But, in a way these circumstances help to make me. Continue reading

Dread

Internet provides a wonderful way to find incredibly good illustrations. We also find other people on Internet who tell you that the wonderful illustration is really a bunch of malarkey.

For instance, I had this inspiring story about a mama eagle teaching her young to fly. She invites them onto her back, flys high, high into the sky, then dumps them. The little one haplessly beats his wings trying to fly and when he’s in danger of crashing, she swoops under him, flies skyward then dumps him again.

Eventually, the little one learns to fly (or dies).

I was going to tell you about that today, but after some deep and arduous research (maybe 15 minutes on You Tube and Internet), there are more votes against the truth of this story than for it.

I’m beginning to doubt it myself. By the time the eagle is old enough to fly, he is as big as his parents.

I can imagine his mama as she talks to one of her sisters. “You wouldn’t believe it, Mabel. That boy of mine is as big as a cow and eats like a horse. When I dumped him off my back and swooped back under him, he nearly smashed me to the ground.”

Heights Scare us Continue reading

“Watch Out For Nasty Stuff Behind Rocks”

Once I turned over a rock and a snake poked his head out of a hole under it. I think it was a coral snake. I’m not sure because I didn’t wait to ask him his national origins.

Another time I was fishing in the waters of a river that had overflowed its banks. Tiny islands of land protruded from the water, so I took off my shoes, rolled up my pants legs and waded out to one. The better to entice a big bass, you see.

There were several rocks on this tiny land protrusion. After several fruitless casts of my rod and reel, for some reason, I picked up one of those rocks and there was a critter underneath.

A scorpion!

I reached for another rock to send him to wherever scorpions go where they die. There were three scorpions under that rock. Evidently, they were taking refuge from the rising water. Continue reading

“Hey God, I’m Doing You a Favor!” 

Phyllis and I became the pastors of a small country church in Arkansas the week I turned 22. I still had a semester of college left and we made the 180-mile round trip each weekend. Then we served as assistant pastor at my home church in Nashville, Arkansas.

By the time I was 25 we were pastoring in Texas and I was ready for ordination, which is the third and final step for pastoral recognition in our movement.

I’ll never forget the night of the ordination service. At the end, one of my leaders placed his hands on my head as I knelt praying. I hadn’t expected anything special, but I got it anyway.

You see, I showed up for that meeting pretty beat up. Pastoring a church looks easy to those who have never done it. I’ll agree. It’s as easy as piloting a Boeing 767 in a thunderstorm. I like people to like me and be happy with me, and even in small churches there are always a few people who wouldn’t be happy, even if the Lord Jesus was the pastor of their church.

I’ve remarked to my wife more than once, “I’m glad I only have to deal with that person at church. Their spouse has to deal with them all the time, and I don’t imagine that’s a picnic.” And there are some husbands who are mad at their wives, but they are afraid to take it out on them so they take it out on the pastor.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Some of the best people I ever met were in those churches. If you’re reading this, you were one of them. The Texas church is still one of the highlights of our ministry. Continue reading

Are You One of the Walking Dead?  Or Maybe the Limping Living? 

When I was in Creteil, France I decided to talk about zombies in a sermon. I don’t remember the spiritual application, all I remember is zombies. So, in order to be really cool I searched for a funny clip on You Tube about zombies.

Zombies aren’t very funny, did you know that? I found out. They are macabre, scary and weird. I decided that if I showed one of those film clips some of the ladies might me into a zombie.

You know what, though? I found something in the Bible that’s kind of zombie-like.

Do you remember when Jesus raised Lazyrus from the dead and the former cadaver shuffled out of the tomb? Graveclothes still bound him.

If I had been there I would have been torn between praising the Lord Jesus and streaking away faster than a jackrabbit on steroids.

Lazyrus wasn’t a zombie, though. He was very much alive again. He just needed to get rid of those grave clothes. Once he got back into his blue jeans and tee-shirt, he was just a normal guy who had been dead.

Christian Zombies Continue reading