March 2007


Next week I plan on doing some posts on heroes. So, in the way of introduction I want to give the Sunday school answer. The old joke is that the teacher asked the children, “What animal is small and gray with a bushy tail, lives in trees, and likes to eat nuts?” After several moments one of the young Sunday school attenders raised his hand and said, “Teacher, I know the answer is supposed to be Jesus, but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me.”

 

Since no hero, living or dead, real or fictitious, can compare with my biggest hero, I decided to introduce the series with Him.

 

My biggest hero is Jesus. Why? Again the Sunday school answer: because He saved me. But it goes beyond that. Jesus Christ is the kind of hero that has been shaking up the world simply because of His existence. Forget the miracles—turning water into wine, healing the sick, calming the storm with a word, raising the dead—and look at who He really is. He disturbed the religious leaders by pointing out the inconsistencies in their practices, He baffled the intellectuals by asking simple questions, He turned the world upside down, and is still doing it today.

 

Jesus is my pick as the greatest of all heroes because He is God in person, love in action, righteousness in practice, grace in reality, and mercy in fact.

 

Start thinking now—who are your heroes? Why? Sound off now and log in next week to see mine.

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bit·ter    (bĭt’ər)  adj.   bit·ter·er, bit·ter·est

  1. Having or being a taste that is sharp, acrid, and unpleasant. 
  2. Causing a sharply unpleasant, painful, or stinging sensation; harsh: enveloped in bitter cold; a bitter wind.
  3. Difficult or distasteful to accept, admit, or bear: the bitter truth; bitter sorrow.
  4. Proceeding from or exhibiting strong animosity: a bitter struggle; bitter foes.
  5. Resulting from or expressive of severe grief, anguish, or disappointment: cried bitter tears.
  6. Marked by resentment or cynicism: “He was already a bitter elderly man with a gray face” (John Dos Passos).

                                                    {from American Heritage Dictionary}

 

Any way you slice it, bitterness is something that we don’t really want. The funny thing is: we continually allow ourselves to be bitter. The longer we stew in our bitter state, the bitterer we become. The bitterer we become, the less we realize that we are bitter. First our hearts, then our minds, and finally our entire beings shrivel up into a bitter little pill that is oh most difficult to swallow.

 

While we seem to be immune to our own bitterness, we quickly can identify those around us who are bitter. So, think about that bitter person you know. Really, think about them. Ask yourself, is that me? If it is, take steps. Identify that about which you are bitter, remove it from your life. If you cannot remove it the re-evaluate, “Is this really something (someone) to be bitter about?” More often than not the answer is no. So, stop it, drop it, refocus on that which makes you better, not bitter.

This blog is a mirrored blog on WordPress. It is a test. I’ve noticed several other bloggers switching over to WordPress  from Blogger for their blogs, I thought I’d give it a try. Take a look and give me some feedback (here and/or there) to let me know what you think. Which site looks better? Which one do you prefer? The original site is called Loom & Wheel. Click on the link and tell me what you think. For now, Book ’em Benj-O will stay where it is.

As a result of an emergency in our services (God is working always), I was only able to complete one point of my sermon. The topic was “Second Chances” reminding us all that we have opportunity after opportunity to say Yes to Jesus. He makes it clear that those second chances are His determination and not ours. We are never to stop sharing until our mortality wins out. At the same time, it is when mortality wins out that the second chances cease altogether.

For those who simply must complete all the blanks I am including the completed worksheet for you:

 

Take Advantage of Second Chances           Jonah 3:1-10 

I. God desires for believers to serve him.

1.      Who is a believer?

2.      How do we serve him?

3.      When do we serve him?

4.      Why do we serve him?

 

II. God desires for people to hear the message.

1.      The content of the message.

2.      The complexity of the message.

3.      The core of the message.

 

III. God desires for people to know him.

1.      The reprobate.

2.      The good old boy.

3.      The saint.

 

If you want to fill in the spaces, come see me, I’d be glad to finish the sermon.

My PhotoSome years ago, I was introduced to clowning ministry. I was told as I developed my alter ego that he should have a name. By the end of the session, everyone had a name but me. My response: “I’m not sure yet.” And it stuck. It also became a part of my work as a clown — I can’t be sure about anything, but people can be sure of something. Jesus loves you!

 It works, and works well with children (when they’re not afraid of clowns).

How about you? Are there creative ways that you’ve used to be awitness for Christ?

I love the game of golf. The rule I love best is not really a rule, but a practice. Namely, the practice of being allowed to replay one shot per hole without penalty. The practice is called a Mulligan. It’s a do-over, a second chance to repair damage done by a bad swing. Of course in golf, the Mulligan rule would only be helpful to me if I were allowed to replay one shot per shot without penalty.

We love do-overs, don’t we? Students enter the classroom asking the teacher, “When’s the re-test going to be?” before the original test is even distributed. We are a society that thrives on second chances. So much so, that when we have made an utter mess of things, we proclaim, “Third time’s the charm” and prepare to go again.

God understands this about us, and is patient even beyond our own capacity to be patient. He disciplines His children (whom He loves), then offers another opportunity to get it right. He did it with Jonah, He can do it for us as well. What a great God!