Preaching Now sent links to the following humorous stories. They will give you a chuckle.
Monthly Archives: February 2010
There are days when a circus elephant has better balance than I do. Six months after my episode of vertigo, my balance has still not returned completely. I can climb a ladder, I can ride a bicycle, I can ride a roller coaster. I just cannot walk in a straight line. I cannot stand still without feeling like I am tipping over.
One of the benefits of dealing with this illness is that I have learned far more about my balance system than I ever knew before. I discovered that our balance system is made up of three components:
- Eyes (Visual)
- Inner ear (Vestibular)
- Feet (Somatosensory – pressure and muscle sense)
Since I still have issues caused by my inner ear, I rely heavily on visual cues and what my feet sense to keep myself upright and balanced. Little changes in those two areas have a dramatic effect on me. My wife bought a thicker rug for our bathroom and the extra thickness makes me feel like I am “up in the air.” My greatest challenge, however is that I cannot walk in the dark. When I walk down the hallway at night, I have to turn on the lights. If I don’t, I drift into the walls. The simple act of turning off the bedroom light and walking a few feet to the bed is a challenge. “Falling into bed” took on a whole new meaning.
I am physically unable to walk in the dark. To maintain my balance, I have to turn on the lights.
In the same way, if I want to maintain my spiritual balance, I also need to walk in the light. If I turn off the light of God’s Word, I might bounce off something more harmful than a wall. I might fall into an addictive behavior. I might flirt with another woman and drift into an affair. I might trip over a sin and bruise my integrity. But if I let the Word of God shine in my life, I will walk in a straight line because I will see that God is walking right beside me.
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7, ESV)
I came across a website where you can watch the TV show JAG online. The site has almost all the episodes of the 10 seasons of JAG (1995-2005). After watching a few, I was reminded why I enjoyed the program when it was on the air. JAG was well written and had interesting stories, many of which were seemingly pulled from the headlines of the time. It had believable characters with real life issues and back-stories that drew you in. The characters acted out of conviction, honor, duty, and loyalty. But what appealed to me the most then, and now, is that the characters were heroic. They righted wrongs. They fought for the underdog. The individuals made a difference in the world. Good show.
Is any team more of a Jekyll and Hyde than the UW men’s basketball team this year? Dominant at home and AWOL on the road. Hard to figure out.
Has anyone done more to turn around the culture of a program than Steve Sarkisian has done with the UW football team? From the 0-12 debacle of one year ago to winning some key games this past season to bringing in a nationally ranked recuiting class two days ago? Fans have confidence and hope that the program is back on solid ground and heading in the right direction.
I have subscribed to Sports Illustrated since the mid-1980’s. I started out with the cheapest subscription rate possible–a student/educator rate–and kept it ever since. Last year, my low rate seemingly disappeared and went up. I paid $49.99 for 56 issues in 2009. With my subscription expiring, it was time to renew. But being frugal and cheap, I did not want to pay $79.99 to renew my subscription. I tried calling customer service several times to find out why it was so much more expensive, but I could never get through the automated system to speak with a real person. I was ready to let my subscription expire and be content with reading what was available online. Then I discovered that I could get a new subscription for $39.99 for 56 issues. Why pay $80 to renew my subscription when I could let it expire and start over for half the cost? I finally talked to a “live” person at SI and she said that was the best thing for me to do. While it makes no sense to my feeble mind, I will enjoy the savings nonetheless.
Sunday, I began preaching through the book of 1 John. The theme of the letter is to how to have fellowship with God. The book identifies the things that promote and lead to a deeper relationship with God as well as the things that hinder one’s spiritual growth. We started the series by considering verses 1-4 of chapter 1. I made the point that fellowship is based on the reality of the incarnation. Fellowship with God is only possible if Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. The implication is that fellowship cannot occur without Jesus being at the center.
That afternoon, the doorbell rang and there stood a husband and wife from the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They wanted to share their “Awake” magazine with me and talk to me about spiritual things. Since 1 & 2 John teaches that you cannot have fellowship with false teachers, I try to spend very little time with them. (If someone is seeking the truth and asking honest questions, I will give them as much time as needed. But I avoid spending time with those who teach false doctrine.) I interrupted the man’s spiel and said that I understood that “Awake” was the publication of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I was not interested in learning about it. Surprisingly, he asked, “Why?” I responded, “Because the Jesus you believe in is not the Jesus that I believe in.” At that point, the conversation ended, and he left my doorstep.
In hindsight, I should have gone further. I should have stated, “I believe that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man, and that he is coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Because he died on the cross for our sins, his death is completely sufficient to save us from the penalty of sin and we can be forgiven. I believe that we are saved by grace through faith, and not of works. What do you believe about Jesus and salvation?” Unfortunately, I viewed the knock on the door more as an interruption than an opportunity to witness.
In 1964, Gilligan and his shipmates set sail for their fateful “three-hour-tour.” Driven off course and stranded on a desert island, they have lived in syndication ever since.
Five and a half months ago, I set off on a 45-minute bike ride. Part way through my ride, I succumbed to vertigo, as I reported here and here, and have lived in an “unbalanced” state ever since. Perhaps not quite as dramatic as Gilligan’s experience, but much more real and personal, nonetheless.
Today, I can say that I am almost home. I rode my bike for the first time since that fateful August day. While I only made it 3.5 miles instead of my normal 7, it was because of strength and stamina, not lack of balance. It will take some time to get back to the level of fitness I enjoyed previously. But I am encouraged that I am able to ride again.
I am not quite back to normal, but the shoreline appears closer. During the holidays, I was up and down an extension ladder, putting up and taking down Christmas lights. I had no problem with heights. I rode Space Mountain at Disneyland in December and felt fine afterwards. I rode my bike today. Encouraging signs. However, I still cannot walk in a straight line and drifting sideways. I cannot stand still without feeling like I am going to tip over.
I am not quite off the desert island, but it appears I am almost home from the “three-hour tour.”
Thank you, Lord!