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I think that that is a funny, slightly clever saying. I have been “that” pastor more than a few times.
It’s a weird feeling. I walk into a gathering, such as a reception after a funeral, or something. People are “doing their thing”, and when I walk in I hear things like, “Oh, excuse my language pastor, or, I know I shouldn’t smoke, or….they look at me and look away sheepishly, imagining that I think they are horrible or something.
I always feel weird. I am “there” artificially. I am not part of their world, except when someone dies, or gets married, or some other “un”usual reason. I’m glad to be there, but it is awkward to be the one who changes things simply by being there. I know that as a Christian, I am to be salt and light, etc., but sometimes I feel like a parole officer in a drug house.
Sometimes I respond verbally. Something like, “Hey, it doesn’t bother me if you smoke”, or, I just smile back sheepishly. It’s weird for me. I’m trying to be invisible, but I’m pretty sure I’m not.
I am not a choir boy. I actually had a very different life before I was a Christian. I’m not shocked at a lot of stuff. I don’t cover my mouth and gasp at the sight of such things. I know…it’s hard to believe.
I appreciate the respect and deference that people show me because I’m a pastor. That’s a cool thing. I might try to dodge their smoke, not get any alcohol on me, and sit down and hang out with them, and get to know them. It rarely happens that way, in those kinds of gatherings, but it’s all good. Sometimes I get to connect with people, but often times, folks don’t wanna be seen with the likes of me.
If I could say a few things to them (and sometimes I do), it would be something like this:
“Thanks for saying that. I appreciate that. It doesn’t bother me. Actually, I’m not the one you need to worry about. I’m not your judge, God is. He loves you, and he is the one you need to think about, not me, but thanks”.
Somehow, many people have gotten the idea that drinking and smoking are deal breakers with God. I recently told one guy to not quit drinking or smoking unless Jesus inspired him to. Just come to church, listen, and be open, and then make up your own mind.
Gosh, I know a lot of Christians, including pastors, that were drinking and smoking and doing other stuff when they came to Jesus. It seems like some of us have forgotten that.
Anyway, to all my future acquaintances: don’t worry about me. If I don’t like what you’re doing, I’ll leave the room. But honestly, Jesus is the One you need to think about.
Cheers! Where’s the Martinelli’s?
A Napa Valley pastor has taken matters into his own hands, as he very purposely disrupted an effort to Occupy Napa.
It is reported that a Napa Valley pastor came home today, only to find hundreds of six legged protesters occupying one of his kitchen cabinets. The pastor’s elderly mother was battling the Occupiers as best she could, but when her son arrived at the residence, things went from bad to worse for the Occupiers.
Armed with a vacuum hose and a bottle of Windex, the evangelical pastor, who is known only as PB, brutally attacked the Occupiers, and ended their occupation.
When questioned about the incident, and the rights of the Occupiers, he replied, “I expect that they will be back. Yes, they have a God given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but they can pursue their God given rights elsewhere”. As he walked away, this reporter thought he heard the pastor muttering, “vengeance is mine…..”.
It is rumored that this pastor has had outbreaks of “protecting his property” in the past. Local Occupiers should take note; it might be wise to pick an easier target. Pass the word to your friends.
From the City of Napa, King of My Castle reporting. Have Merry Christmas
My first skateboard was home made. It was made from an ancient contraption called a “shoe skate”.
The old shoe skate attached to your shoe, and then you had a key to tighten it up so it squeezed on to your shoe. It slid forward and backwards to adjust for the length of your foot. That adjustment had to be tightened too.
I don’t know where my friends and I got the idea from, but we discovered that you could make a skateboard. I disassembled an old steel shoe skate, hammered the attachment “squeeze” parts flat, and then nailed the separated pieces on to a 2×4 piece of wood. I gave it a custom spray paint job, and I was off flying down hills with very little control, not to mention no flex in the board. The smallest pebble would send you flying.
Then came the clay wheels with trucks and ball bearings. We could steer now! What a concept. I spent many hours cutting out skateboard shapes from pieces of plywood, experimenting with different shapes to gain any advantage to help me have better control and do tricks. The experimenting with “mini flake” spray paint continued. The most tricks we ever did were slalom courses, wheelies, and 360 spins or 180’s. We were the dinosaurs of skateboarding.
Fast forward from the 1965 to 2009. Dad can still pull a 360, but son Jonathan can fly. The sport has come a long way, and I thoroughly enjoy watching Jon and his friends do their thing. I have even gotten over the fear of them not wearing helmets. I’ll jump on a new skateboard once a year, but I can’t imagine getting air and doing the kinds of tricks that Jon can do.
Still…it makes a dad proud.
Maybe it’s some kind of set-up…I don’t know.
Maybe “they” do this to you…cyber flattery…hookless hooks that pull you in…and keep you controlled…
Hmmm…I did hear a great sermon on spiritual warfare tonight…
I like to peruse WordPress’ “growing blogs” page from time to time, to see what people are writing about.
They listed “Growing Blogs”, but the date was August 1, 2008.
Anyway, there I was…there we were, all you and me…#85.
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(Editor’s note) From time to time, I will be posting these funny, fictional stories. They have an authentic tone to them, because if you have been in church for any amount of time, you recognize that the ridiculous statements contained in these stories have seeds of truths in them from among the congregations we are apart of. So though these stories are fictional, there is some truth in them that we can learn from. Let the reader beware, and discern.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Members at Avalon Baptist church were angered to discover that the soap used for years in the church restrooms was replaced by a new, economical foaming soap.
“You get this bubbly mound that disappears once you rub it in your hands,” one man complained as he exited the restroom. “It’s all show, this new soap.”
“What happened to the thick, slimy stuff?” one man asked. “That really worked.”
Last Sunday was supposed to be the kick-off of the church’s annual Missions Week. But the buzz in the foyer was about the soap change. Some suggested taking a special offering to restore the original liquid soap.
“You have to wonder about the leadership’s judgment, if they’re willing to make a poor decision like this,” says one woman. “It signals weakness at the top.”
The pastor and custodian released a joint statement on Monday saying they believe people will get used to “the new foaming action soap, and appreciate its many benefits for our church going forward.”
BIG TIMBER, Mont. — Without their consent or knowledge, a pastor in rural Montana has sold his church and congregation on eBay for $3 million.
“I finally got good and sick of them,” says Tad Marshall, pastor for 15 years who completed the secret sale last week. “This serves them right. All of them.”
But many in the church are stunned by the Marshall family’s sudden departure. “We had such a good relationship,” says Winifred Barnes. “Whenever I called him in the middle of the night to pray for my psoriasis, he was happy to help. I’m surprised he would treat us this way.”
Others expressed similar feelings.
“We would stop by for surprise visits every time he had a day off, and his wife was always quick to put a pot of coffee on,” says Fred Souther. “We’d sit there and chat for hours. Those were wonderful times.”
One woman recalls how Pastor Marshall responded to her plea to visit her ailing mother every day during her prolonged illness at a hospital 78 miles away. “I don’t think he did it because we threatened to quit the church. I think he was genuinely concerned for Mother even though she was in a coma,” she says. “We would sit with her for hours singing hymns to her. I could tell he was blessed by it.”
Another longtime member recalls the day a group of women surprised the pastor’s wife with an impromptu shopping trip.
“It was clear she was unable to afford modest clothing, so we charged right in and threw away everything in her closet,” she says. “Then we bought her new ankle-length dresses with long sleeves. She cried tears of joy that day. She kept saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re doing this.’ It was a bonding moment for all of us.”
Even the board, which had its share of differences with Marshall, recalls him fondly. They say he happily abided by the church’s Dress and Grooming Code, kept sermons to 23 minutes as the board required and even abandoned his use of the New Living translation on Sunday morning.
“Once he understood it is a devilish translation that twists the words of the original spoken English, he said he’d be happy to go back to using the Authorized King James Version,” an elder says. “That’s the way Tad was. A real go-along guy.”
Friends from out of state say Marshall came to rural Montana hoping to find a friendly lifestyle where he could help good-hearted people grow closer to Christ. Instead he found “an enclave of faux-Christian Pharisees” who demanded he serve their every whim, says one seminary buddy.
One day while selling old exercise equipment on eBay to supplement his church income, which had been docked by the board because a service had gone too long, Marshall decided to rid himself of the congregation in a creative way. His eBay listing emphasized the positive: “This delightful country church sits on 2 acres of land. Comes complete with congregation and 35 regular tithers! Sunday school wing, no mortgage. Bids start at $200,000.”
Recent Bible college graduates bid first, hoping to gain a built-in congregation on the cheap. Then several entrepreneurs with ministry ambitions swooped in, driving the price up. Kevin Silver, a 39-year-old former Internet company founder, won with a last-minute bid. He is looking forward to “leaving the spiritual corruption of the big city behind” and taking the helm of the rural congregation.
“I always wanted to serve at a little country church where decent people just want to pursue God,” he says. “My wife and I are looking forward to settling into community life and getting to know these wonderful folks. This will be a great second chapter of life for us.”
(Editor’s note) I hope you enjoyed this bit of fictional humor with me…
Proverbs 17:22 (NLT) A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
“It’s sittin’ on 17’s.” So says my youngest son Jonathan, approvingly. “So that’s where I put my roller skate”, comments another.
After a string of less than reliable cars, I took the plunge and decided to buy this 2006 Scion Xa, made by Toyota. It is a salvaged title vehicle, but repaired perfectly. Only 8500 miles, and and 100,000,000 more to go.
It has 17″ racing tires on custom rims. So? It has a great stereo system with extra speakers added and stereo controls in the steering wheel. You gotta problem with that? So yeah, it’s lowered and can take a corner at 60 m.p.h. It’s just for aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. It’s not my fault that it’s fun. And then there is the carbon fiber hood. I never knew such things existed.
I can’t help it that I bought this car. God forced me to. You see, my ’92 Toyota 4Runner only gets 12mpg city/16mpg highway. As I prayed, I had a vision of a simple, fuel efficient car. Gas prices are continuing to rise, and I want to be a good steward of our family finances. It just made sense to be thinking about a simple fuel efficient vehicle.
Something plain, nondescript, hardly noticeable, just blending in to the wash of plain and simple cars. A nobody car amongst a sea of nobody cars. Yes, that was what I envisioned. This would be all about simple living, and saving money.
But God’s ways are not our ways.
I searched online for that “nothing” of a car that I would buy, and then I saw the Xa. It looked good, and the price was, well, way less than even a Corolla. Could God be leading me to buy this car? Would He force me to purchase a vehicle that would make teenage boys jealous, and soccer moms shake their heads? Please Lord, no. I pleaded with Him.
I prayed. “Lord, don’t force me to buy this car that has a great stereo, corners like a race car, and looks good according to people who have never seen a black and white T.V. Lord, don’t plunge me into this test of having to be envied, mocked, and misunderstood.”
And yet, like Isaiah, I must say, “Here I am Lord, send me”. And so the car was purchased, and I suffer alone.
I have been plunged by God into a spiritual battle, the flesh and the spirit are at war as I weave in and out of traffic, quickly passing those that I pray for. High speed U-turns are executed, as I realize people I just passed need a drive-by prayer. The 1.5 liter engine strains like a stallion taking a soldier into battle.
Yes, perhaps that is God’s plan, having me cover more ground, praying as I go. Yes, that must be it. Drive and pray, pray and drive, corner and pray, crank up the stereo, and pray. The mission is crystallizing.
The unenlightened public doesn’t understand. “Hey, it matches your hair”, they say mockingly. Or, “Are you gonna start dying your hair black”? This is not a mid life crisis folks. This is a costly ministry, and I alone have been chosen.
And so I will set my face like flint. The streets of Napa and beyond are my Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and uttermost parts of the world. I will drive and pray. I will corner and intercede. I will ignore the jealous glares, and instead, return good for evil. The thumping of the stereo will be the harbinger’s call for all to repent.
I will suffer quietly as I serve the Lord, knowing that I am envied and misunderstood. And if you see me, pray for me. Don’t let the grin fool you, this is serious work.