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In a chapter about rethinking discipleship James Emery White states:
Some of you may remember comedian Yakov Smirnoff. He said when he first came to the United States from Russia; he wasn’t prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, "On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk--you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice--you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, what a country!"
James Emery White, Rethinking the Church, Baker, 1997, p. 55-57
The story is told about a small, country church where the pastor called a special meeting of the congregation to approve the purchase of a brand new chandelier. After some discussion pro and con, an old farmer stood up and said, "Buying a new chandelier may seem like a good idea to you, but I’m against it for three reasons. First of all, it’s too expensive and we can’t afford one. Second, there isn’t anybody around here who knows how to play one. And third, what we really need in this church is a new light fixture."
Upon entering a little country store, a stranger noticed a sign reading, "Danger! Beware of Dog" posted on the glass door. Inside, he noticed a harmless old hound dog asleep on the floor besides the cash register. He asked the store manager, "Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?" "Yep, that’s him," he replied. The stranger couldn’t help but be amused. "That certainly doesn’t look like a dangerous dog to me. Why in the world would you post that sign?" "Because," the owner replied, "before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him."
A New York City businessman moved to the country and bought a piece of land. He went to the local feed and livestock store and talked to the proprietor about how he was going to take up chicken farming. He then asked to buy 100 chicks.
"That’s a lot of chicks," commented the proprietor. "I mean business," the man replied.
A week later the new farmer was back again. "I need another 100 chicks," he said. "Boy, you are serious about this chicken farming," the man told him.
"Yeah," the man replied. "If I can iron out a few problems...
Have you heard the Story of the Doctor who comes to a split in the road on a Vermont back country lane. The road sign at the fork points both directions for the same town. Seeing a farmer beside the road he asked him, “does it matter which road I take to get to town?” The Farmer replies, “Not to me it don’t.”
It is an old & familiar story, but let me use it again. Yakov Smirnoff, the Russian comedian, wrote a book, "Seeing the USA on Six Rubles a Day." In it he tells about being overwhelmed when he first entered an American supermarket & saw the great variety of products there. He just couldn’t believe it.
He wrote, "As I walked down the aisles, the first thing I noticed was powdered milk. ‘Just add water & you get milk.’ Then I saw powdered orange juice. ‘Just add water & you get orange juice.’ Then I saw baby powder, & I thought to myself, ‘What a country!’"
Even when we come across test questions that seem simple on the surface, we find that they’re often not as simple as we first thought. For instance, the answer to the question, "How long did the Hundred Years War last?’ seems obvious, but the answer is 116 years. When a test asks, "Which country manufactures Panama hats?" the correct answer is Equador. Here’s another: From what animal do we get cat gut? From sheep and horses of course. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November. What was King George IV’s first name? Well, everyone knows it was Albert. Ah yes...many test takers are glad to be out of school...far away from trick questions like that thought up in some teacher’s lounge.
But as far as we try to get from the rigors of the academic life, we find our lives are filled with other kinds of tests. We take driver’s tests, drug tests, polygraph tests, sobriety tests, eye tests, entrance exams. People in law enforcement have to qualify on the shooting range at least four times a year, many of you have to take a test for your chosen profession. Like it or not, tests are a part of life.
But is there a test to determine whether a person is on the right track spiritually?
Everything in our culture is fast. We hate to delay. I heard about a furniture store that carried a sign on its window, “Antiques, while you wait.” Max Lucado says, “America, the country of shortcuts and fast lanes. We’re the only nation on earth with a mountain called, ‘Rushmore.’” Our rushing around make...
A newly appointed young preacher was contacted by the local funeral director to hold a graveside committal service at a small country cemetery in Iowa. There was to be no funeral, just the committal, because sadly, the deceased had no family or friends left in Iowa.
The young pastor started early to the cemetery, but lost his way on the long back roads. After backtracking many miles, he finally arrived, a half-hour late. The hearse was no where in sight, and the workmen were relaxing under a near-by tree, eating their lunch.
The pastor went to the open grave and found that the vault lid was already in place. He took out his book and read the service.
As he returned to his car, one of the workmen paused between bites and said, "Think we should have told him that’s a septic tank."
I have run across some absolutely irrefutable statistics that show exactly
why you are tired. It’s no wonder you’re tired either! There aren’t as many
people actually working as you may have thought, at least not according to
this survey recently completed.
The population of this country is 284 million, 119 million over 60 years of
age, which leaves 165 million to do the work. People under 20 years of age
total 115 million which leaves only 50 million to do the work.
Then there are 28 million who are employed by the Government, and that
leaves 22 million to do the work. Six million are in the Armed Forces, which
leaves 16 million to do the work. Deduct 15,690,000. - the number in the
State and City offices, and that leaves 310,000 to do the work. There are
288,000 in hospitals, insane asylums, etc., so that leaves 22,000 to do the
Now, it may interest you to know that there are 21,198 people in jail, so
that leaves just two people to carry the load. That’s you and me!
And brother, I’m getting tired of doing everything by myself.