He Took a Selfie With a Rattlesnake

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I’m not among those who think that the advent of selfies pre-shadows the end of life as we know it. (For you non-internet people, a selfie is a photo you take of yourself, usually with a cell-phone, usually with a weird expression on your face).

Is it a bit self-centered? Yep, but so is standing there while someone else takes your photograph. When you get shot with a group of people where do you look first when you see the resulting picture? 

It’s still a selfie for you. 

Recently there was a story in the French newspaper, le Figaro, about a young American who took a selfie with a rattlesnake. The story didn’t finish well. It ended up costing $153,000 in snake-bite serum and medical bills.

I’m a little sensitive about stories of Americans who do dumb things because I am one, but I’m not that stupid. Rattlesnakes bite. Continue reading

When Doorbells Move, Things Get Weird

17369640456_62191235e2_zWhen I pastored in Texas we scheduled a singing group for one Sunday morning. They arrived late Saturday night after a concert.

Around midnight one of them punched the doorbell.

A tiny word of explanation here. We didn’t have a doorbell.

When he pushed it the doorbell moved, which doesn’t happen often. That was probably because the “doorbell” was a big spider. (Snicker, snicker, snicker).

The singer lived. I don’t know what happened to the spider.

He probably went home to his spider buddies and said, “You’ll never believe what happened. This strange guy with hair that looked like it was plastered down by three cans of hairspray, punched me with his finger. I couldn’t get turned around or I would have gnawed it off for him.”

Things aren’t always what they seem to be.

It may well be that you are getting ready to rush into something, that’s going to move when you punch it. That may not be a doorbell. Continue reading

If It Had Been A Snake It Would Have Bitten You

I’ve been “awareness-challenged” most of my life. For instance, mama would send me to look for something and I would look everywhere without finding it when finally she would point it out to me—right under my nose.

“If it had been a snake it would have bitten you,” she would opine. “Thanks mama. I needed that encouragement.”

With age, things seem to get worse. I notice buildings going up as we travel somewhere but my wife assures me that workers have been working on it for months and I just haven’t noticed it.

I still look for things that are right in front of me and it seems that since I’ve begun to wear glasses all the time, I’m even less aware.

“If it had been a snake it would have bitten you!” Thanks dear, I needed that.

My theory is that when you’re concentrating so hard on solving the great problems of the world, it’s hard to pay attention to minor details of life around you. Or something …

Sometimes though, I wonder if there aren’t a lot of “awareness-challenged” people around me. These folks say that they see no evidence for God.


For those who are aware, it’s really no challenge to see God. Heaven and earth declare His existence! Lord Kelvin, a noted British scientist asserted, “If you study science deep enough and long enough it will force you to believe in God.”

Of course if you don’t want to believe, all you have to do is squeeze your eyes shut and clamp your hands over your ears. Atheist Richard Dawkins says in his book, The Blind Watchmaker, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

Huh? I think mama would say, “If it had been a snake it would have bitten you, Mr. Dawkins.”

A blind man cried out to Jesus one day as the Lord passed near him,

“Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.”

They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.

Jesus said, “What can I do for you?”

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”

In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road. (Mark 10:49, 50, The Message)

The blind man didn’t say to Him, “I know it seems like you’re here Jesus but this is just a natural process set in action by forces unleashed–we’re not sure yet how–billions of years ago and blah, blah, blah.”

He just wanted to see and He believed that Jesus could do something about it. So many people think, “If it’s all true about God and His Son Jesus, why didn’t God reveal himself more clearly?”

Could it be that God has revealed Himself very clearly in the creation, in His Word, by His Spirit and in His Son Jesus? Maybe instead of praying, “Lord, reveal yourself!” We ought to pray, “Lord, open my eyes so that I can see! I’m ‘awareness-challenged’”

That’s what this man did. And those blind eyes opened and he saw–and followed Jesus with his whole heart!

Are questions, doubts, and anxiety blurring your vision? Cry out to Jesus so that you can see the truth—right in front of you.

If it was a snake it would bite you.


Change does not come until someone gets mad. Those trying to bring change will make mad those who do not want change.

~Myles Monroe~

Do You Think Little Red Riding Hood Was A Bit Slow ?

I have a hard time believing some fairy tales I’ve read.

The one about Little Red Riding Hood, for instance. That kid must have had a learning disability.

Just think. Here’s a wolf disguised as her grandmother and she couldn’t tell the difference. Either she was off a bit off or her grandmother was really ugly.

Maybe Red’s mama rocked her too close to the wall when she was an infant? (“Rock, bump, rock, bump, rock, bump…”) That’ll do it.

But dull though she was, even (A Little Slow) Riding Hood could tell that something wasn’t quite right with grandma. “What big eyes you have grandma!” “What big ears!” “What big teeth!” “What bad breath!” (I just made that last one up. Did you notice?)

When something was off she asked questions. That’s not bad advice for Christians who never ask questions, who just plunge head first into everything they hear. Maybe they’re not quite as swift as Little Red …?

We’re constantly bombarded with Christian messages today and most are anywhere from okay to excellent. They help us grow. But, if we could hear well enough, a few of these messages have a distinctive wolf accent.

How can you tell what comes from God and what doesn’t? Here’s a few hints:

1. Is Jesus and his work on the Cross truly exalted to the highest place or does someone use Him as camouflage to exalt himself and manipulate others? (1 Corinthiens 12:2)

2. Is what is taught really based on and in agreement with all the Word of God? (1 John 4:6)

3. Do the “manifestations” of a ministry build up the Church or do they simply stir human excitement? (1 Cor. 12:7; 14: 4, 5)

4. Does this message motivate us to go and tell others about Jesus, or is it mostly about us? (Acts 1:8; 2: 17, 18, 21)

5. Do the fruits last more than a few weeks? We sometimes get caught up in outward manifestations but the most important thing is a passionate love for Jesus and my brother, and a pure life, full of faith and good works.

6. What does the “anointing” of God in you say? (1 John 2:24-27). The Spirit says, “Amen!” to the truth. If He’s silent or troubled, be careful. And if you don’t have a regular time spent with God, how are you going to know Him well enough to judge?

7. What do other mature Christians think? (1 Cor. 14:29b).
We also need to be careful to not be like those who are fully capable of identifying imposters without wanting all that God has for us. That’s also a sin and we can find ourselves in big trouble with God if we lose our first love.

God shook the Ephesians with this word:

“I see what you’ve done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can’t stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out.

“But you walked away from your first love—why?

“What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall! “Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle. “You do have this to your credit: You hate the Nicolaitan business. I hate it, too.’’ (Revelations 2, The Message).

Test teachings and ministries. Don’t just swallow everything you see because it wraps itself in robes of Christianity and success. Otherwise, like little Red Riding Hood, you’re in danger of being swallowed yourself.

If men knew what they were saying about each other, there wouldn’t be four friends left in the world. Blaise Pascal

The Wrong of Being Right

The Podcast this week is called: “My Three Dumbest Decisions” It’s at the bottom of the page.

I have a theory ( “Oh, no!” you say to yourself, “Here comes another one.”) I think a good percentage of all the problems in the church—in the whole world even—are caused by people who are RIGHT! Not just “right” mind you, but “RIGHT!”

I’ve been wanting to preach a message for a long time called, “When It’s Not Right To Tell the Truth.” I see the hackles rise on the back of some of your necks, (You could use a haircut old buddy. Get those hackles trimmed). But just hang on. I didn’t say it’s right to tell a lie, just that sometimes the truth is not in order. You can be RIGHT! and still be wrong. Think not?

Suppose you see someone whose body has been deformed by a terrible illness and you say to him, “You’re about the ugliest thing I ever saw.” That may be the truth but is it in order? You’re right but are you right?

Or suppose you’re in a group that starts to gossip about someone who is not present. The worst is that you know something that outdoes everything anyone has said to this point. What pure, unmitigated joy to be able to ladle a big helping of juicy truth onto the garbage pile of the conversation.

Only, you think, “Does what I know really need to be revealed? Or is it just piling on in the pigsty?” What you know is true and it would be so much fun to tell it, but the problem is that the Lord is listening. You might do better to buckle up your lips and mumble, “Hey guys, gotta go. See you!”

Some can’t resist giving their opinion, whether it’s needed or not. An outspoken lady told me many years ago, “I’m just a country girl. I say what I think.” That’s all right when what you think is worth saying, but if not, you’re better off quietly ruminating in your corner.

Either Abraham Lincoln, or Mark Twain, or George Elliot, or Confucius, or someone else said it (they’ve all been blamed, but it’s true, whoever thought of it): “It’s better to remain silent and be thought stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” The inspiration was probably Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” (NIV)

Sometimes I blow up and want to give someone a piece of my mind (Be careful. If you gave away too many pieces by the time you get into your 50’s you won’t have much mind left to give). But then I read, “for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:20, NIV)

So I calm down, pray, and reflect. I try not to avoid confrontation if it’s really needed but if I go to correct someone or to get things right between us, I must make sure that my heart is right before God. I can be right on the issue but if I’m not speaking in love, the truth I’m speaking can hurt, divide, and destroy.

You’re probably thinking, “David, where are you going with this? Get to the point and quit rambling.” Actually that’s what I’m thinking too but I figure if I ramble long enough I’ll be stricken by a powerful spiritual application, so hang on.

Oh, oh, here it comes. Get ready for it. Truth by itself can injure and kill. It must always be accompanied by something even more powerful—God’s love. The Spirit instructs us pointedly,

“…speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ..” (Eph. 4:15, NIV)

I remember hearing a tough message preached by someone I admired when I was a young pastor. Stirred, I prepared to whack my own people with the same truth the following Sunday morning. I was sitting at my desk, engines turning, eyes glowing, when suddenly the Lord instructed me, “Speaking the truth in love…”

Ouch! I realized that it wasn’t enough to speak the truth but that I had to have God’s motivations in doing it.

I’ve often seen the truth used as a bludgeon, inside and outside the church. It must be a comfort to know that if someone whacks you, they were RIGHT!

But if I’m motivated by God’s love the truth I speak will set people free. Does that make sense? Truth motivated by God’s love is always in order.


“O God, please give me three wounds: the wound of contrition and the wound of compassion and the wound of longing after God. This I ask without condition.” Lady Julian of Norwich.