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John Bisagno former Pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church tells the story of his coming there to candidate for the position of pastor many years ago. He said that as he entered the auditorium it was dimly lit, with just a few people huddled together. They were singing some old slow funeral type song that was depressing.
Later that day he took a walk in downtown Houston and came upon a jewelry store. It was some sort of grand opening and there were bright lights and a greeter at the door to welcome you in with a smile. Inside there was a celebration going on. There were refreshments and people having a good time talking and laughing with each other. They welcomed him and offered him some punch. He said that after attending both the church and the jewelry store, if the jewelry store had offered an invitation, he would have joined the jewelry store!
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When John A. Broadus was the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, he went to a country church to preach one Sunday. A man approached him after the service and said, "Brother, God kin git along without all your learnin." Bro. Broadus replied, " Yes sir, God can. And he can also get along without all your ignorance."
The next time you feel like GOD can’t use you, just remember...
Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
SEARCH COMMITTEE REPORT
We do not have a happy report to give. We have not been able to find a suitable candidate for this church, though we have one promising prospect. Thank you for your suggestions. We have followed up on each one with interviews or by calling at least three references. The following is our confidential report.
ADAM: Racial ancestry could not be confirmed. Good man but has problems with his wife. One reference told us how he and his wife enjoyed walking nude in the woods, until God finally made them put clothes back on.
NOAH: Had Former pastorate of 120 years with no converts. Prone to unrealistic building projects. Great animal lover, but the last neighborhood received a flood of complaints right as he was leaving town.
JOSEPH: A big thinker, but a braggart; believes in dream interpreting and has a prison record over accusations of a rape of his bosses wife. Good with budgets and managing resources, however.
MOSES: A modest and meek man, but poor communicator; even stutters at times. Sometimes blows his stack and acts rashly in business meetings. Some say he left an earlier church over a murder charge. Often claims to get direct quotes from God. Too much over the top for most folks. History says he was a basket case from the beginning.
DEBORAH: One word --- Female.
DAVID: The most promising leader of all until we discovered the affair he had with his neighbor’s wife. Besides, he can’t control his own household... so how could we respect him.
SOLOMON: Great preacher, but he too, has had serious women problems. Independantly wealthy, so the church could pay him less and he can make up the difference.
ELIJAH: Prone to depression; collapses under pressure. Besides, no one has seen him in a long time. Doesn’t blend well with other religious leads, either.
HOSEA: A tender and loving pastor, but our people could never handle his wife’s occupation.
JONAH: Told us he was swallowed up by a great fish. He said the fish later spit him out on the shore near here three days later. We hung up.
AMOS: Too much of a country hick. Backward and unpolished. With some seminary training, he might have promise; but he has a hang-up against wealthy people.
JOHN: Says he is a Baptist, but doesn’t dress like one. May be too Pentecostal. Tends to lift both hands in the air to worship when he gets excited. You know we limit to one hand. Sleeps in the outdoors, has a weird diet, and provokes denominational leaders.
PETER: Too blue collar. Has a bad temper, even said to have cursed on occasions. He’s a loose cannon.
PAUL: Powerful CEO type and fascinating preacher. However, he’s short on tact, unforgiving with young ministers, harsh, and has been known to preach all night. Very offensive to women when he starts his "submission" stuff. And besides, he has a rap sheet a mile long in numerous cities.
TIMOTHY: Too young and inexperienced.
JESUS: Has had popular times occasionally, but once when his church grew overnight to 5000, he managed to offend them all with too hard a message; eventually his church dwindled down ...
BEFORE THE REVIEW BOARD
John the Baptist was a truly strange fellow.
I can imagine his performance review from the board of clergy examiners.
- - - - - - - - -
Dear John ben Zechariah:
The board of examiners completed their visit and frankly were concerned about several matters pertaining to your person and ministry.
Our initial concern was your choice of location.
It seems to us that conducting religious services in the Judean wilderness is not very sensible.
People have to travel great distances to get there and there is an unacceptable level of danger traversing to and fro said location.
Furthermore, we were concerned about your unprofessional attire. We understand that Elijah wore similar camel hair vestments. But you are not Elijah!
It seems that you are turning religion into a matter of
entertainment and spectacle.
You also failed to treat our examiners in a professional and courteous manner.
When they attempted to enter into the rituals you were performing on people you singled them out for humiliation – referring to them as a "brood of vipers."
The ritual itself leaves much to be desired. If you had completed a degree in theology you would have undoubtedly realized that baptism is reserved for people converting to the one true faith.
Is it really necessary to baptize people who are already children of Abraham?
Finally, we are concerned about the general tone and tenor of your work. Your words are harsh. What these people really need is to be affirmed and encouraged. These are troubling times and your ministry does not do much to help people feel better or cope with the overwhelming pressures of modern life.
Therefore, we respectful request that you cease and desis...