Stuff happens... And because it does, we have to deal with it. Within the pages of this short book are ninety-nine days of readings to help you along the way as you fight the little battles of your journey. If nothing else, these short missives will entertain you as you hear them expressed against the background of God's Word.
My Mother loved playing the card game called Canasta. I'm not sure if she knew what the word actually meant, but I don't think she really cared anyway. She was good at it and rather proficient at whooping our butts. I haven't played it since she passed away, and that was a decade ago. Maybe one day I'll gather a few people around a table and brush up on the finer points once again.
When you move from one neighborhood to another, it's really enlightening. You don't even have to move very far to discover a whole new treasure trove of wondrous adventures. Even little things like finding a new grocery store are eye opening forays into your new universe. I rediscovered all this when, last November, we packed up all our belongings and headed west. Thank you, Horace Greeley. The transition point was only thirteen miles away, but it was a slightly different perspective on the world. I don't want to do it again anytime soon, but it was a memorable escapade.
Today's church has become as diverse and segmented as the society and culture around us. Still, we continue to struggle to find ways to remain relevant. In his latest book, Dave Zuchelli helps us take a look at the oddities of life through the eyes of the Scriptures. It's a trek, but it's a journey well worth making (and it will only take 99 days).
I never in my wildest dreams thought I would need to know what the word "canasta" meant. It was just one of those terms we all tossed around without ever thinking about it. It's not entirely unlike using the word "thingamajig." No one actually knows what a thingamajig happens to be, but we all use it. It's something akin to a round tuit. We all say we're going to get one but never do. Well, now I know what it means. I suppose my life will be forever changed.
My Mom loved to play Canasta, but I don't think she ever knew what the word meant. I'm not totally sure she cared, either. Regardless, Canasta was a blood sport in our home. We were all about games. We grew up in a small neighborhood that was several miles from town. So, it was either play games or be dreadfully bored. We became quite proficient at many of them--Canasta included. It was a long time before I understood the true meaning of the word.
Moving from one town to another can be either a drag or an adventure. Often times it's a mixture of both. Our last relo was the move from hell (at least on moving day). Of course once we got things settled in, we were okay. Still, there were all sorts of little things to do. Finding a good grocery store was one of them. It's a good think I took Spanish in high school. I was able to quickly acclimate to my new neighborhood. My old Spanish teacher, Senorita Lauder, would have been proud.
This is not another book about marriage. The market is flooded with those. The Last Wedding is a Biblical overview of the importance of weddings throughout Scripture. The author takes a humorous, but important look at why weddings are highlighted in the Bible and what they mean for us today. This is what they don't tell you when you get married. Even if you're single, The Last Wedding is one you'll want to know about.
Everyone blames Eve for eating the forbidden fruit. I see it from a slightly different angle. As the old saying goes, "It takes two to tango." In this case, it was three (if you include the serpent). Adam had the ability to stop all the temptation nonsense in its tracks. Yet, he doesn't seem to make any effort to do so. He just plows right in and eats from the same tree. There doesn't seem to be any hesitation, no stopping to think about it, no consultation with the Maker. He just "shot from the hip" as we humans so often do.
What do you do when you think God has answered your prayer, only to find out you were wrong? I guess you pray the prayer again and hope for the best. If the answer is a long time in coming, you have two choices. You either give up, or you keep plugging away...praying, waiting, and expecting. Answers to prayer can be far off into the distant future. Sometimes there are false alarms. Occasionally tragedy interferes. Eventually, fruition bursts onto the scene, and all is well. The time in between can be agonizing.
There's a mysterious sense of "calling" about one's home. Even if you've left there because you really wanted to get out, sooner or later the pull to return arises in your soul. For Adam and Eve (who probably never wanted to leave home) that pull to return must have eaten at them day in and day out. Every little glimmer of hope they had must have taken them back in their minds to that wonderful place we call Eden.
Most people remember Noah as the guy who built the ark (not just any ark--THE ark). We forget the fact that ship building was not his main job. In fact, he was a little like Barney Rubble (remember the Flintstones?). We never hear about his regular vocation. After the flood is over, however, we get an eyeful. For a guy who was supposed to be so righteous, he left a little to be desired. Typical of God to pick someone like that do do his work.
Nakedness plays an important role in the Bible. Most of us shy away from the topic, but God has some pretty important things to say about it.
In today's world where gender roles have been all but obliterated, we seem to think this is something new. Frankly, this all started back in the Garden of Eden.
A lot of Genesis, like many other things, is left to the imagination. What did Adam and Eve look like? How long did they roam the fields of Eden? Did they have campfires? Did they even know what a fire was? Imagination is a good thing. Like all good things, however, it can be overdone. Most people don't know the basic story of our first parents because they've imagined all sorts of things over the years (or they've listened to other people's imaginings). Instead of merely imagining about the story of the fall, we should probably ask questions of the text. Not all of them will get answered, but it helps us to think through what we actually know. That's what I've tried to do with The Last Wedding--ask questions and inspire others to ask questions as well.
The Genesis account of Adam and Eve is quite brief. In fact, there are facets of the story many readers would like to see fleshed out (excuse the double entendre). I'm guessing a full rendition of this account could not have made the cut (although the Bible can get rather racy at times). Hollywood would love to get hold of that screenplay.
Wedding ceremonies are usually a very big deal. Lots of money is exchanged, and bride-zillas are created. Mothers cry, and Fathers go broke (so I guess they cry too--but for different reasons). The first wedding seems to have been a bit simpler.
Half a year of sermon starters for harried preachers, pastors, and other clergy types.
I've always wanted a Jeep Wrangler. I finally got one, but the one I could afford was 15 years old. There's a verse in Zechariah that tells us not to despise the day of small beginnings. I guess my new (?) Jeep is just that...a small beginning. Maybe someday I'll be able to move up to one that's only ten years old.
Yet another half year of Sermon Starters for the Harried Preacher, Pastor, and other Clergy Types.
Another half year of Sermon Starters for the Harried Preacher, Pastor, and other Clergy Types.
The church is forever looking inward. In that respect, we're no different than anyone else. Our calling, however, is to look upward and outward. More often than not, we have to force ourselves to do that. Beer Goggles are one way to accomplish this task. There are a lot of other ways as well. This sermon starter lists five ways to begin answering the call to love our neighbors.
Working Title: Five Keys to the Perfect Ceremony: A Guide for the Bride
This Book Is In Development
There are some small items that couples don't think about as they enter their big day. The reception is their main focus. Consequently, they don't give the actual wedding ceremony much thought. This short book will help any couple think through five simple details that will make their wedding more perfect.
Over the past thirty-five years, I've done hundreds of wedding ceremonies of all sorts. Each one is unique, yet they're all the same in many ways. Usually something funny will happen that we all remember. Occasionally something awful will happen that we all try to put out of our minds. This is a very short book--a booklet really. As I sit here to write this little blurb, I realize I could write a full length tome about the weddings with which I've been involved. I've seen first hand the issues that create bride-zillas. I've also seen the moments that make grown men cry. There's nothing quite like the perfect ceremony.
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