All posts by David Porter

When he was in college, David Porter wanted to be a journalist. Today he is a preacher. In Coffee Stains, the preacher and journalist meet to bless everyone who likes a funny East Texas story with a spiritual kicker at the end!

Does Forced Thanksgiving Count?

I’ve set out on a quest to become a thankful man.

Now, that sounds spiritual, but I have to admit that it’s a bit selfish. I’ve noticed that I do better in life when I’m thankful. When I’m mad at someone or feel like they owe me something I’m entitled to, I don’t do well.

So, how do I get to be a man marked by a thankful attitude? I’m not 100% sure how to do it. But I know what will not work.

You remember how it was when you were six and your grandmother would give you a pair of socks for Christmas? You’d be standing there asking yourself, “What was that woman thinking? Socks! I wanted a model airplane.”

Your mama might say, “Tell Grandma thank you.”

And you would just stand there with your bottom lip stuck out. “Thank you? For a pair of socks? C’mon. Get real!”

Mamas are very persuasive, though, and suddenly you might feel a “whap!” landing on the back of your head.

“I said, ‘say thank you,’” your sweet mama might encourage you.

Your face would screw itself into a scowl as you tried to rub the pain out of the spot where Mad Mama had struck you. But between clinched teeth you managed to mutter, “Thank you for the socks.”

You did that because you were thankful, didn’t you? No, you did it because you imagined her hand poised behind your head, itching to deliver another blow.

That’s not thankfulness, that’s self-preservation. Continue reading Does Forced Thanksgiving Count?

The Sad Story of Hungry “Red”

Blondes get a lot of bad press. I think people are a bit jealous because blonde ladies are often pretty, so they tell jokes to try to even up the playing field. That’s kind of mean isn’t it?

Of course, you would never imagine me telling a blond joke. Would you?
So, today I leave aside the blonde jokes and I’ll tell you a story about a dumb redhead.

This fellow’s name was Esau. He was a redhead. “And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah discovered that she did indeed have twins! The first one was very red at birth and covered with thick hair like a fur coat.” (Genesis 25:25, 26, NLT)

He seemed to feel good about himself and became a dashing hunter. He was the firstborn to old man Isaac, beating his twin brother Jacob into the world by a few heartbeats. But, there were lightyears of difference in the two men.

“Red” lived for today, while Jacob lived for the long haul.

Once Red came back from hunting. It was one of those days where you either saw nothing to shoot, it was too far away, or you missed your shot. Red had tried hard and long with no results, now he was HUNGRY. And Red hated to desire something very long. He wanted something to eat now, not later.

He walked by his brother Jacob who was cooking red beans, rice and cornbread (I’m not sure about the rice and cornbread part). And when he smelled that, his insides did a double-back flip and he WANTED some…NOW! Continue reading The Sad Story of Hungry “Red”

Riding In My Musical Time Machine

One of these days some inventor is going to figure out how to travel back in time, and people will think, “Wow ! What a brain.”

I won’t be impressed, though. I’ve got my own time machine and I go back in time often. If I’m listening to the radio and I hear Simon and Garfunkel singing, “Sounds of Silence,” suddenly I’m sucked back to the 1960’s. I’m in my dad’s station wagon going to Mamaw Deloney’s house and suddenly that song comes on the radio and I’m there listening to it again, just like when I heard it that night so many years ago.

There used to be a song we sang in church, “Just a Little Talk With Jesus.” I flown back to the 1950’s a few times when that song worked its magic. Our church was small and the song leader often said, “Why don’t those of you who want to, come on up here and we’ll have a choir.”

Normally, there were about as many people in the choir loft as those who stayed in their pews.

But you’d find that nine-year old version of me up there, singing away.

“A Little Talk With Jesus,” had a strong bass part, so Bro. Billy and Bro. Adoph would show out–“Now let’s us …” and the women and the sissies would answer, “have a little talk with Jesus.” “

“Let us,” the basses bellowed. “Tell Him all about our troubles,” the high voices responded. On and on.

You’d think nine-year olds would be singing with the ladies, wouldn’t you? You’d think wrong. When my time machine lands I see me there squeaking out the bass voice with Bro. Billy and Bro. Adoph. I was impressive. Continue reading Riding In My Musical Time Machine

You’re Right … And You’re Right, Too

I must have seen the movie, “Fiddler On the Roof,” a half-dozen times. In one scene the portly lead character, Tevye, is in a lively discussion with a group of his Jewish neighbors.

One of them states a strong opinion about whatever the subject was. Tevye looks at him and says, “You’re right!”

A man across the small circle delivers a contrary opinion. “You’re right, too!” Tevye says.

Someone else says, “Wait. He’s right (indicating the first man) and he’s right (indicating the second). They can’t both be right.”

Tevye thinks a minute and says, “And you’re right, too!”

That’s the way I feel when we start arguing about God. One says, “God is great and powerful, glorious and mighty. He’s all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, eternal and good.”

And with Tevye I say, “You’re right.”

Another says, “Jesus is my best friend. I talk to Him like I talk to you. Why just this morning I was saying, ‘You know, Lord, I’ve got this ache in my toe. And did you see how those people acted towards me at church last night? And by the way, Lord, I’d sure appreciate it if you could help me get a parking place and (chatter, chatter, chatter) and could you wait a minute, Lord, I’ve got to go to the bathroom? I’ll be right back.’”

And with Tevye I say, “You’re right too. (Kind of).”

How can God fill the far corners of the universe yet be near enough to hear my weakest cry?

You’re right, too! He’s all that and a lot more. He’s God. Continue reading You’re Right … And You’re Right, Too

The Remarkable Connection Between Praying and Sneezing


Pray-ers are a lot like sneezers—there are all kinds.

For instance, some sneezers are “blast-a-hole-in-the-wall” sneezers. There’s no art. Just suck in a week’s worth of air and “Ahhhhhhhh-CHOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Woe be to the person who steps between this sneezer and the wall.

The air current from the sneeze registers about seven on the Richter scale.
If all you want to do is expel whatever is tickling your nose, I guess this is okay. It’s not pretty. If others aren’t expecting it, you may give them a heart attack, but hey, it works.
Some folks pray like this. No art, just get it out. When they pray the rafters rumble, the windows rattle and dust floats down from the ceiling. If Jesus had prayed like these folks when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter, James and John wouldn’t have slept instead of praying.
Sleeping would have been impossible.
Other sneezers are much more artful. Instead of trying for the big bang, they aim for style and understatement. “Ah-choo!” they squeak and daintily dab at their nose with a handkerchief.
And some folks pray like this. They want to express themselves in a sophisticated fashion so they seem to pray with one pinky in the air, like cultured people used to drink tea in the pre-Starbucks world. Continue reading The Remarkable Connection Between Praying and Sneezing