It’s my very own piece of furniture, the only one I don’t share with my wife. It stands higher than my head and opens with two doors to reveals shelves where I can stock handkerchiefs and socks and odds and ends and unload my pockets each night. The various drawers contain the usual assortment of clothing as well as winter sweaters and long-forgotten personal items. When I die, the family will commence strip-mining operations on my armoire. My coin jar is there, filled with buffalo nickels I collected in 1964 while working at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in New Orleans. My DVD player is there, for some reason, and cards and photos from the many times I have unloaded and simplified my wallet.
So, now, think of today’s blog as my armoire: lots of interesting and mostly unrelated stuff.
YOU KNOW IT’S GOING TO BE AN INTERESTING CHURCH SERVICE WHEN….
–the pastor announces, “The third and fourth offerings today will go to….”
–the choir enters dressed in sackcloth and ashes.
–the ushers walk through the congregation passing out Dramamine tablets.
–you see in the bulletin that your investment counselor is scheduled for a testimony on his former life of crime.
–the worship leaders invites everyone to log on to www.firstchurch.com for the words of the next hymn.
–a pulpit committee made up of 12 men in dark suits shows up unexpectedly and takes the second row on a Sunday when you happen to know the pastor plans to confront a major problem in the church and call some trouble-makers by name.
A CARTOON CAPTION (but without the cartoon) —
The pastor says to the deacons, “Let me remind you of the effects of inflation—so, if you ever want to buy me a new car, it might be best not to wait for my 10th anniversary.”
FOUR POINTS ON PRAYER —
The text is Deuteronomy 4:7, “For what great nation is there that has a God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call on Him!”
1) How dear He is. Isn’t He wonderful to do such a thing as allow us to bring Him our petitions and praise. Psalm 118:6 says, “The Lord is for me — I will not fear — what can man do to me?”
2) How near He is. He is near the broken-hearted (Ps. 34:18) and near to all who call upon Him (Ps.145:18). God said, “Am I not a God who is near? And not a God far off?” (Jer. 23:23)
3) How clear He is. Couldn’t be plainer than “Ask and you shall receive” (Matthew 7:7) and “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:3 ).
4) How queer it all is — that the Lord has made Himself available to us and we do not take advantage. “Until now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive that your joy may be made full” (John 16:24). “He did not do many wonderful works there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58).
A FEW STORIES AND QUOTES —
King Henry VIII was presented a Bible by Bishop Hugh Latimer. It was finely made and exquisitely wrapped. On the wrapping were the words, “Fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
Oliver Cromwell said to the dogmatic religionists of his day, “I beseech you in the bowels of Jesus Christ, to think that you may be wrong.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury received an anonymous note that read: “You are a skunk. Yours in Jesus’ name.”
Warren Wiersbe once told of a frontier town where a man risked his life to stop a runaway horse and wagon. On board was a mighty-frightened small boy. In time, that boy grew up to become a hardened criminal, and his rescuer a judge. One day, the criminal stood before that same judge, and pleaded for his life on the basis of that event many years earlier. The judge said, “Young man, then I was your savior. Today, I am your judge, and I must sentence you to be hanged.”
Dennis the Menace was kneeling by his bedside for nighttime prayers. He’s wearing his cowboy pajamas and his 10-gallon hat, and his guns are strapped to his side. As he folds his hands and looks heavenward, he says to the Lord, “I’m here to turn myself in.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said preaching is like flinging a bucket of water at a row of bottles. Some of it goes in the bottles. But by talking to people personally, the minister has the opportunity of topping off every bottle and making sure none of the water spills.
Mark Twain said, “Man was made at the end of the week’s work when God was tired.”
Robert McAfee Brown: “God is not a safe or tame God, securely lodged behind the bars of a distant heaven; he has the most annoying manner of showing up when we least want him; of confronting us in the strangest ways. And he usually turns out to be very different from the sort of God we would have invented ourselves. We have to be prepared for surprises and unexpected news.”
Bruce Larson told of a plane crash in which the pilot, lost in a heavy fog, plowed into a mountain and was killed. A commercial pilot commented, “It’s tragic and unnecessary. Pilots are taught to go up when they can’t see in the fog. They keep going up until they can see. That’s a cardinal rule.” Larson added, “It’s not a bad rule for your life and mine. Take time to look up and tell God you’re lost in your business, your career, and your marriage. Keep going up.”