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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

BLACK FRIDAY

I can hardly believe it but, it has happened again—Black Friday. It has proved to be the longest day of the year for me. Up before 5 AM to make sure I am not too far back in the long line of shivering humanity, most of whom are holding cups of steaming something-or-other. It is cold and folks are moving about shuffling their feet, pushing their hands deeper into their pockets or blowing on them. Some are pulling the hoods of their coats or sweatshirts tighter about them. Like I said, it is cold!

Suddenly there is a stir ahead of us—something is happening up ahead. We can’t see the front door of the store as the line is long enough it bends around the front and down one side of the big building. My son and his friend and I are about halfway down that side. We see the reason for the stir. One of the managers has come out and gives some instructions on what to watch for once we are inside. Then he looks at his watch and says loudly, “One minute till the door opens!”

“Ooh, boy. we are literally down to seconds, fellas. Hang on!”

Suddenly the line begins to move and as I watch people are putting their heads down and beginning to shuffle forwards with increasing speed. It takes only a few brief moments and we have rounded the corner of the building and the lights at the front are before us—then the doors appear and before you know it we are inside. Some people are already at the check stands on their way out before I begin my search for the prized item I have focused on. Oh, me. Where is it, anyway?

Within a period of probably ten minutes I have found the items I want, along with some I had not intended to purchase, and I get in line for the check stands. I can tell this is probably going to be the longest stretch of the morning. There are really a bunch of people in front of me. Oh, well, patience is the word of the day.

Then the first really bad news of the day comes along. A manager comes up and asks us, his eyes scanning several of us standing in line at the point, if we are sure we are in the correct line. What? Oh, oh.

I was in the wrong line. I was in a line for people who were apparently purchasing certain “big ticket” items. I was told I would need to go to “that line over there…..” And it was a long line, let me tell you!

Friend, make sure you are in the correct “line” as you approach through life. Better yet, make sure you are in the correct “line” all through life, the one that Jesus has mapped out for you.

Blessings to you.

Pastor Bill

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DOOR CRASHER

This really was not my thing. Standing in a long line of people in front of the locked doors of a large department store, in the early-morning darkness, in the rain, and on a Thanksgiving Holiday to top it off! No. This really was not my thing!

 

It all began when my brother, who at that time lived a few blocks from my parents, got in touch with me to say he was giving our folks a gift for Christmas of a year’s subscription to cable TV. Hey, all right! That was an unexpected act of generosity on the part of my younger brother, let me tell you. But, he went on to say that he thought it would be nice if I were to get involved. (I should have known something like this was coming!) He went on to tell me that the television our parents presently had was in very poor shape and it would be nice if they had a new one for that cable to be attached to. So that was it!

 

My brother continued by stating he had seen a newspaper ad that indicated a local outlet for a large chain store was having the “grand-daddy” of all sales within the next several days. The advertisement included a “limited number” of high-quality, name brand, 19 inch color televisions. He suggested that if I were to choose to be so kind as to purchase one of them for my parents it would be an excellent Christmas present from my side of the family. My brother knows how to put the pressure on—in a nice way, you understand. Since my wife and I, who lived several hours away at the time, were going to be traveling to the city in which my parents lived for the Thanksgiving Holiday, I could go to that sale!

 

He concluded his “presentation” with the really bad news last. The sale was on Thanksgiving Day, yet! Not only that, it was between 7:00 and 9:00 AM! I had to wonder if there were no holidays that were sacred any longer. And it is barely light at 7:00 AM! Aren’t you supposed to sleep in on holidays? My brother suggested that I might wish to be at the door of the store a “little” before 7:00 AM, so that I could purchase one of these fine electronic marvels for my parents. Why, it would make the entire year that followed so much better for them! And they could really enjoy their new cable hook-up my brother would be providing them.

 

So, that is how I found myself standing in a long line of people, a light rain sprinkling down on all but a small group fortunate enough to be standing beneath an awning over the doorway, wondering how long it would be before daylight would arrive. Some folks had planned ahead and had mugs of coffee and umbrellas. I determined they must be professional “door crashers.” They had come prepared! They were ready!

 

As the hands on my watch crawled ever so slowly towards the unearthly hour of 7:00 AM, I began to count the number of people between the doors and where I was standing. It appeared there were about 50. A turn to look behind me, towards the end of the line, showed there were roughly another 150 people waiting for the “checkered flag” and the line was growing longer by the minute as people came into the parking lot from all directions, some of them running towards the line as soon their feet hit the pavement.

 

As I stood watching and listening to people I overheard a lady say, “Are you here for one of the TV’s?” The reply was a mumbled, “Yup. That’s what I’m after. Wish we could have more than one.”

 

Then I heard another voice, “They say they are back in the middle of an aisle by the Electronics Department . . . . . . And they only have fifty of them.”

 

Say, now! That last comment grabbed my attention—only fifty? I counted the number of folks in front of me and, sure enough, I was real close to being number fifty. What if all those people in front of me were after television sets. Oh, me! This could be close!

 

Suddenly I heard the sound of keys in the lock of the doors and, at the same time, the line began to surge forward. I pulled my hat down over my eyes and began to move along with everyone else. No sense going against the current in a deal like this! I wouldn’t want to slow anyone up, you understand.

 

As I squeezed through the doorway with several other folks at the same time it became clear that this crush of people were determined about what they were doing. As the group swept through the door and into a long left turn, some lay all restraint aside and began running up one of the main aisles of the store. Though I was unfamiliar with the layout of this business it did not take a genius to determine where the crowd was headed and I just rolled along with them, thinking to myself that this would not be a good time to trip and fall! Several people dropped out of the line to grab shopping carts and I suddenly found myself struggling to keep my place in the moving mass of people as a lady pushing one cart, and pulling another behind her, tried to force her way past me. Say, these people were serious about this!

 

The crowd of men and women roared into another turn, to the right this time, and headed down the stretch toward Electronics. Suddenly I realized I was meeting people who were going against the “current,” and they were packing huge boxes with pictures of a television set on the side. Hey, I must be getting close. Then I heard someone yell, “They’re going fast. One pallet’s gone already!”

 

Oh, oh. I realized the mass of people was slowing, while at the same time people seemed to become more focused in their determination to achieve their goal of getting a low-cost TV set. I looked over the heads and shoulders of those ahead of me and saw a huge mountain of boxed televisions sets that was disappearing with a speed that was utterly incredible. As I continued to struggle ahead I realized, in those tense moments, that I may have waited in the dark, and rain and cold for nothing. The boxes of televisions were almost gone!

 

Hmm. . . . . . I read a story a while back about a scene very similar to the one I have just described. In that case, the hundreds of people who thronged into the store to find the best bargains failed to notice a man who was trampled by the crowd. Nobody went to his aid as busy shoppers continued their mad dash to accomplish their mission. At the end of the day, when the store manager locked the doors for the night, he was shocked to see this helpless victim. The person on the floor looked vaguely familiar.

 

It was later learned that the stranger trampled in the Christmas rush was a man named “Jesus.”

 

In the New Testament, in John 12:20-22, we find these words:  “Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus.’ Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.”



The account that follows these verses holds some powerful truths for each of us, but wouldn’t it be something if there were more people, especially as we enter what is routinely called the “holiday season,” truly searching and making a concerted effort to find Jesus. I suspect that we would be witness to some magnificent and positive changes in this world in which we live. As people watch us each day—those people who have never met Jesus—do they begin to want that which they see in us? I pray they do.

 

Oh, by the way, my parents did get a new television set.

 

Prayer: Father, please cause me to live my life in such a way that people I rub shoulders with and those with whom I have contact, will want to know the reason for my hope. Lord, may my life be such that it will cause others to seek Jesus. In His wonderful Name I pray. Amen.

 

Pastor Bill


Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™   Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Crrrraaaaccck! My head jerked up off the pillow and my eyes snapped open as the tiny, glassed-in room was suddenly filled with a blinding light and an ear-shattering explosion of sound, followed by a deep rumble that lasted for several long seconds. Moments later, my heartbeat barely beginning to slow, it happened again. By now I and my friend were wide awake. Say, now. This was supposed to be a quiet, restful and relaxing time! What happened?

 

As I groped around in the darkness attempting to locate my flashlight so I could check the time, my friend made the profoundly brilliant statement, “Lightning!” It was 3:00 AM and the two of us were both sitting up in our sleeping bags as we looked out the windows of the old Forest Service fire lookout tower in which we were sleeping. Our eyes would just begin to adjust to the blackness of the night when there would be another blinding flash, illuminating everything about us for an instant before we were plunged into the inky darkness again. After several such cycles I agreed with my “enlightened,“ partner that it was, indeed, lightning, and I lay back down, pulled the sleeping bag over my head, and attempted to return to sleep.

 

Daybreak the following morning brought an absolutely exquisite sunrise. It appeared as if God had arisen early to paint the sky with just the perfect colors, designs and images. No human could ever hope to match the scenes with which God gifted us that morning. But it was only the beginning. The following night I awakened to a stillness which seemed to envelope the old lookout. I got out of the sleeping bag and, being careful not to disturb my friend, went outside onto the narrow walkway which surrounded the tower. There was not a single man-made source of light to be seen anywhere As I looked I realized there was no moon on this night. But the sky was filled with an awesome array of stars which we rarely get to see living in “civilization.” As I stared into the Heavens I could not help but marvel at a sky, once again filled with the splendor of our Creator.

 

Folks, I must tell you that when I pause to watch a sunset or sunrise, when I walk the shores of an ocean staring out at the horizon, when I witness the violence of a mountain storm, or when I hold a tiny newborn baby—I think of God! “Big bang,” theory? Sure, it’s true. As long as we recognize the fingerprint of God, the Creator, in every part of it!

 

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” BANG!

 

Blessings to each of you in Christ‘s name.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the exquisite beauty of your creation. What a gift you have given us! Cause me to appreciate–truly appreciate–what you have provided us. In you Son’s Name we pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill

 

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™   Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.


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GIDAP!

Psalm 119:105

“Gidap! Hey, you! Gidap!”

That is what you are supposed to say to get a horse moving, isn’t it? But this old brown mare did not seem to understand the same kind of language I had heard cowboys in old black and white western movies use as I was growing up. This horse must not have been trained right!

“C’mon! Gidap!” I tried again. This time I slapped the sides of my boots against the animal. Its response was to turn its head and give me what appeared to be an obviously “insolent” look as I heard the “swish, swish” of its tail behind me. It blinked its eyes slowly, stomped a front foot against the ground several times, and turned away from me.

“Say, now. This could get embarrassing! What was the matter with this old horse?”

I looked up the steep trail ahead of me, observing the backs of the two men who were with me as they reached a point in the path where they would soon disappear from sight. As I watched, the man nearest me, who was wearing a black western hat, stopped and turned to look at me. He put his hand next to his mouth and called out, “Are you coming? What’s the matter?”

Trying to sound as confident as I could, I yelled back, “No problem. I’ll catch up in a minute,” adding under my breath, “If this goofy horse will start minding its master! It apparently does not understand who is in charge, here.”

As I looked back up the trail I saw the two men disappear from sight around the first turn.

“C’mon, you horse! Gidap! Gidap! What’s the matter with you? Man, oh man, what are they teachin’ horses these days, anyway?”

This time I not only slapped my boots against the horse’s flanks but I began lurching up and down in the saddle and slapping the reins back and forth over her neck in hopes that the animal would get the message. No such luck! I had never seen a horse like this!

Of course, I had to admit that I did not have a great deal of experience with horses. I did have one stand painfully on my foot when I was about 10 years old. Horses can weigh quite a bit, you know. It hurt! I could not get that horse to move on that occasion, either!

Well, something was going to have to happen, and in a hurry! The two men who were on foot ahead of me were bound to stop for a breather and when I failed to come along one of them was sure to come back down the trail to see what was holding me up. That could be more than a little embarrassing! I would probably be hearing about it all week long. Yes, at least for a week!

The three of us had been chosen to go into a rugged mountainous area to clear fallen trees and brush from a network of forest trails. We had a mule—and yes, it was a stubborn one—to carry all the food and camping gear we would need for the week. We also had been given this old brown mare to ride. But there were three of us! That meant taking turns. I had been selected for the first stint at riding this old horse and now, here I sat, unable to get her to move. The mule, tied by a short length of rope to the saddle of the mare, stood looking at me, its ears twitching, almost seeming to have a smile on its face!

“Hey, you comin’ with us or not?”

“Oh, boy. I’m done for now,” I thought as I looked up to see the orange shirt of one of the men coming down the trail towards me.

“What’s the matter? Did you tell her to G-O?” he asked, spelling the word out.

“What?” I asked.

Bob smiled as he said, “You have to tell her what you want her to do. It’s either G-O or S-T-O-P.”

“You mean all I have to do is say, ‘Go’?

I had no sooner gotten that little two-letter word out of my mouth than the horse lurched forward, nearly throwing me out of the saddle, and started moving up the trail.

We certainly find life to be difficult at times, and that includes what might seem to be some of the simpler things related to walking through life as a Christian. Yet, if we are careful to spend time in God’s Word we will begin to understand that it contains within its covers an abundance of instruction and teaching for life. In Psalm 119:105 we are told “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”


You know something? That is absolutely true! You may be familiar with the acronym for the word “Bible—Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” I like that.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the in-depth instructions for life you offer each of us in your Word. Cause me to have an insatiable desire for all you offer me within its pages. In your Son’s Name I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill


Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™   Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Early this morning I was seated in my living room staring out through the sliding doors at the beginnings of a day still blanketed in darkness. As my gaze wandered across the black landscape, looking at the multitude of sparkling lights which seemed to give promise of some life in the cities which hugged the valley floor, I began to contemplate the reality of the retired life. That’s right–retired. The “R” word.How can that be? I am surely not old enough to be retired! Retired? You must be kidding me!

Retired people are old people, arent’ they? If they weren’t old they no doubt had a rich uncle for a benefactor who died early and left them a tidy sum of cash to dispose of. And I am just not that old, or at least I don’t feel old…..till I try to crawl out of bed early in the morning…..or work to drag myself out of the car after a long drive seated in the same position. Now, I must admit, there are a few times like that when I wonder if old age may be approaching. And of course I have to agree that I feel shortchanged if I miss out on my regular afternoon nap. Yes, I do take a nap. You don’t have to be old to do that, do you?

But, don’t retired people just sit around, like on a porch swing or in a rocking chair, and watch the world go by? People who are retired usually go to a warm climate in the winter so the cold weather does not hinder their lifestyle, right? And if you are really retired, don’t you feel that way? Just what does a retired person look like? How should they act? Do they talk different than anyone else?

Hmmm. I just happened to think of one retired person who I always had deep respect for–my Dad. He seemed too young to retire when he stepped into that uncharted territory of his life. He didn’t look any older after he left 32 years of employment as a postmaster in a small, rural community of North Idaho. He didn’t act any older to me, either. As I watched he and my Mother they seemed to be just as active as ever though they did seem to take a few more trips to the mountains and the Oregon Coast since they had a bit more time to spare. I think my Dad also took longer naps, and he certainly spent more time with the grandkids, which they all seemed to enjoy. He also began to spend more time in the kitchen, grinding flour in a small flour mill and baking bread once each week that would make your mouth begin to water before you opened the door to their home. He also spent more time caring for his lawn and the flowers around their home.

One of the really neat things about my Dad’s retirement was that he seemed to have more time to talk with me when I stopped by. He rarely seemed to be in a hurry. I liked that. I miss that, for you see, my Dad’s gone now. Though it is a bit frightening, it seems I have stepped into that vacancy he left behind. I wonder how I will do? I hope I will take occasion to remember my Dad and his seeming approach to retirement. And what was that? Though he did slow his pace, somewhat, I don’t think he ever quit. Life still held its challenges which he enjoyed facing. Life still had its occasional troubles which he faced squarely and worked through. And life continued to hold its joys and the good things that made up each day. He never saw growing old as an impairment–it was simply part of life. He continued to be useful throughout his entire life.

My Dad reminds me of many of the well-known people in the Bible. In Exodus 7:7, we read these words, “Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.”

Wow! These guys were still being used to lead a nation in what some would have seen as the “declining” years of their lives. And they still had a lot of years to go. They were of value and did not see their age as a hindrance when it came to serving God and His people. I wonder how I stand in light of their example–and the example of my Dad? Maybe retirement won’t be so bad–if I maintain a Godly attitude.


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DOOR CRASHER


This really was not my thing. Standing in a long line of people in front of the locked doors of a large department store, in the early-morning darkness, in the rain, and on a Thanksgiving Holiday to top it off! No. This really was not my thing!

It all began when my brother, who lived a few blocks from my parents in a city in another state, got in touch with me to say he was giving our folks a gift for Christmas of a year’s subscription to cable TV. Hey, all right! That was an unexpected act of generosity on the part of my younger brother, let me tell you. But, he went on to say that he thought it would be nice if I were to get involved. (I should have known something like this was coming!) He went on to tell me that the television our parents presently had was in very poor shape and it would be nice if they had a new one for that cable to be attached to. So that was it!

My brother continued by stating he had seen a newspaper ad that indicated a local outlet for a large chain store was having the “grand-daddy” of all sales within the next several days. The advertisement included a “limited number” of high-quality, name brand, 19 inch color televisions. He suggested that if I were to choose to be so kind as to purchase one of them for my parents it would be an excellent Christmas present from my side of the family. My brother knows how to put the pressure on—in a nice way, you understand. Since my wife and I were going to be traveling to the city in which my parents lived for the Thanksgiving Holiday, I could go to that sale!

He concluded his “presentation” with the real bad news last. The sale was on Thanksgiving Day, yet! Not only that, it was between 7:00 and 9:00 AM! I had to wonder if there were no holidays that were sacred any longer. And it is barely light at 7:00 AM! Aren’t you supposed to sleep in on holidays? My brother suggested that I might wish to be at the door of the store a “little” before 7:00 AM, so that I could purchase one of these fine electronic marvels for my parents. Why, it would make the entire year 2000 much better for them!

So, that is how I found myself standing in a long of people, a light rain sprinkling down on all but a small group fortunate enough to be standing beneath an awning over the doorway, wondering how long it would be before daylight would arrive. Some folks had planned ahead and had mugs of coffee and umbrellas. I determined they must be professional “door crashers.” They had come prepared!

As the hands on my watch crawled towards the unearthly hour of 7:00 AM, I began to count the number of people between the doors and where I was standing. It appeared there were about 50. A turn to look behind me, towards the end of the line, showed there were roughly another 150 people waiting for the “checkered flag” and the line was growing longer all the time as people came into the parking lot from all directions, some of them running towards the line as soon their feet hit the pavement.

As I stood watching and listening to people I overheard a lady say, “Are you here for one of the TV’s?” The reply was a mumbled, “Yup. That’s what I’m after. Wish we could have more than one.”

Then I heard another voice, “They say they are back in the middle of an aisle by the Electronics Department . . . . . . And they only have fifty of them.”

Say, now! That last comment grabbed my attention—only fifty? I counted the number of folks in front of me and, sure enough, I was real close to being number fifty. What if all those people in front of me were after television sets. This could be close!

Suddenly I heard the sound of keys in the lock of the doors and, at the same time, the line began to surge forward. I pulled my hat down over my eyes and began to move along with everyone else. No sense going against the current in a deal like this!

As I squeezed through the doorway with several other folks at the same time it became clear that this group of people were determined about what they were doing. As the group swept through the door and into a long left turn, some lay all restraint aside and began running up one of the main aisles of the store. Though I was unfamiliar with the layout of this business it did not take a genius to determine where the crowd was headed and I just rolled along with them, thinking to myself that this would not be a good time to trip and fall! Several people dropped out of the line to grab shopping carts and I suddenly found myself struggling to keep my place in the moving mass of people as a lady pushing one cart, and pulling another behind her, tried to force her way past me. Say, these people were serious about this!

The crowd of men and women roared into another turn, to the right this time, and headed down the stretch toward Electronics. Suddenly I realized I was meeting people who were going against the “current,” and they were packing huge boxes with pictures of a television set on the side. Hey, I must be getting close. Then I heard someone yell, “They’re going fast. One pallet’s gone already!”

Oh, oh. I realized the mass of people was slowing, while at the same time people seemed to become more focused in their determination to achieve their goal of getting a low-cost TV set. I looked over the heads and shoulders of those ahead of me and saw a huge mountain of boxed televisions sets that was disappearing with a speed that was utterly incredible. As I continued to struggle ahead I realized, in those tense moments, that I may have waited in the dark, and rain and cold for nothing. The boxes of televisions were almost gone!

Hmm. . . . . . I read a story this week about a scene very similar to the one I have just described. In that case, the hundreds of people who thronged into the store to find the best bargains failed to notice a man who was trampled by the crowd. Nobody went to his aid as busy shoppers continued their mad dash to accomplish their mission. At the end of the day, when the store manager locked the doors for the night, he was shocked to see this helpless victim. The person on the floor looked vaguely familiar.

It was later learned that the stranger trampled in the Christmas rush was a man named “Jesus.”

It is something to think about, isn’t it? Oh, by the way, my parents do have a new television set.

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