One thing that’s pretty much universal among churches is the tendency to accumulate stuff. Old educational materials, extra vacuum cleaners, tables and chairs, costumes and choir robes, dishes, pots and pans, artificial flower arrangements…you name it, some church somewhere has it stashed someplace.
It’s hard to fault the Israelites for being frightened that day. Pharaoh had finally, after a series of plagues that ended with every Egyptian firstborn male—human and animal—dead, agreed to let Israel leave Egypt. Their Egyptian neighbors were so relieved to have them and their plagues gone that they sent them out with as much Egyptian gold, precious stones, and jewelry they could carry.
If we are doing it correctly, sometimes we pastors must approach the task of preaching with great fear and trembling. We speak from a position in which our words are understood as coming from God. In the pulpit, we are not expressing our own opinions, but trying to communicate to a congregation a message God has for them on a particular day.
When Mike and I go to a movie, we generally stay put until the credits have completely rolled. That’s because, quite often, there are more little scenes that interrupt, or follow, the credits, or sometimes bits of humor mixed in among the names; and if you leave when the movie actually ends, you’ll miss them.
Scripture: Genesis 6:5-22; 8:6-12; 9:8-17
The house where I spent most of my childhood, on Ohio Street in Coffeyville, was built on the bank of Sycamore Creek. Nowadays they’d never let anyone build a house that close to a creek, but the rules were different in the 1950s, when that part of town had been developed.
Scripture: Psalm 119:105-112
I grew up a little less than 20 miles from the site of the “Little House on the Prairie,” the log cabin where Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family spent about a year when she was very young. The story of how they found exactly where the cabin had been located is sort of interesting; Laura remembered it in her book of the same name as being “forty miles” from the city of Independence, Kansas, in Indian Territory. What nobody seemed to be aware of is that there was a strip of Kansas, just north of where the Oklahoma border is now, that was an Osage reserve in 1870.
Scripture: Romans 11:1-2a, 25-36
In August of 1980, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of a church in suburban Oklahoma City, Dr. Bailey Smith, spoke before a gathering of like-minded Christians in Dallas. In the midst of his talk he made a remark, quite possibly off-the-cuff, that set off a bit of a furor.