Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The preacher's kid and the liquor boxes

Not only am I a preacher, but I'm a PK-- preacher's kid. My father was a pastor before me.

Once when I was a teenager, we were moving out of the pastorium, and mom ran out of packing boxes. She asked me to go to the grocery store and see if I could get some more boxes. When I arrived at the grocery store, the manager informed me that they had just disposed of most of their boxes. Not wanting to return home empty-handed, I asked if he knew someplace else that had boxes. The manager said, "You can try the liquor store-- they have lots of boxes."

So I went to the liquor store in that town, and sure enough, they had plenty of empty boxes that they were glad for me to take. I thought mom would be pleased, since many of the liquor boxes had separate compartments that would be perfect for storing small things. I was wrong.

"You went WHERE?" she softly shouted. She was probably wondering if a deacon saw the Baptist pastor's son going into the liquor store.

When I explained that it was the suggestion of the grocery store manager, she relaxed and told me to put them over in the corner, but she did not plan to use the nasty things.

We continued to pack without using the liquor boxes, but soon we needed them. Finally, mom broke down and asked me to hand her one of those Jack Daniels' boxes to store her glasses in, so they wouldn't break. I guess she finally decided that the devil had used them long enough, and it was time for the Lord to get some good out of them.

God did something similar when he sent Jesus. The perfect, holy, pure Son of God came to earth, wrapping himself in the flesh of the sinful, wicked human race, although He was without sin Himself (Hebrews 4:15). When the angel Gabriel first heard about it, maybe he said to God, "You are sending the Son WHERE?"

God did not become one of us to condone our sin, but to show us the way out, by faith in His sacrifice on the cross. Like my mom with the liquor boxes, God decided the devil had us long enough, and it was time for Him to reclaim us for His purposes. Not only did He wrap Himself in the same flesh as sinful man, but he entrusted to mankind to pass on the gospel message to others. The apostle Paul, speaking about the precious gospel being carried by sinful man, says, "Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7, HCSB).

This is the wonder of the incarnation-- not that God came as a cute baby, but that a holy God took descended into the muck and mire of human sin to save us. The act of God using us as his "clay jars" is not only more shocking than the Baptist preacher's son uses empty liquor boxes, but it was also far more redemptive. Thank God that He loved us that much!

Copyright 2009 by Bob Rogers.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Introductions can make a huge first impression, either for good or bad.
A man ran into the associate pastor of his church at a restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. He introduced his associate pastor to some friends, and afterwards his wife told him, "Do you realize what you just said? You introduced him as our 'Socio-Pastor.'"
While some introductions may hurt, other introductions that seem to hurt may actually help. Years ago, a fellow was running for student body president at Mississippi College, and at the candidate forum he had six different people introduce him before he gave his campaign speech. Since it was a Christian college, he enlisted a fellow who was preparing to be a foreign missionary to make the final introduction. The speaker said that the candidate running for president had loved the college since he was a child, growing up near the college. In fact, he said, when the candidate was a little boy, his mother was hanging clothes on the line to dry, and she turned around to look for her child, but he was gone. She soon found him on his tricycle, riding straight to the college, "without a stitch of clothes on." The candidate said, "I think it was that introduction that got me elected."
The apostle Paul gave letters of introduction when he sent men with a financial gift to the church at Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:3), but Paul said because he had such a close relationship with the church at Corinth, that he himself did not need a letter of introduction. "You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry..." (2 Corinthians 3:2-3, NIV).
The truth is, that when you have a real relationship, you don't need an introduction. So if you met Jesus today in person, would somebody have to introduce you, or would He already know you?

Copyright 2009 by Bob Rogers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Taking it to the bank

When I went off to seminary, I moved from Woodville, Mississippi, to New Orleans, Louisiana. It was only a few hours’ drive, but the two cultures were light-years apart.

I had been serving Woodville Baptist Church as their youth minister. Woodville was, and still is, a small county-seat town located south of Natchez in the extreme southwest corner of the state. Woodville’s claim to fame was that it was the boyhood home of Jefferson Davis. Woodville also boasts the first standard-sized railroad line ever built in America, which once was used to ship cotton down to the Mississippi River at St. Francisville, Louisiana. Although it was a tiny town, they had very active Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian and Catholic churches, each one claiming to be the oldest of their denomination in the state. You could leave your house unlocked in Woodville and not worry about anybody breaking in.

I took my new bride and settled into an apartment belonging to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and I promptly went to a big New Orleans bank to open a checking account.

The bank clerk took one look at my check from Woodville, and said, “I can’t deposit this check. It doesn’t have an account number.” I said, “That bank doesn’t use account numbers. They go by your name.” The clerk sarcastically replied, “This is 1980. Nobody does that anymore.”

I just shrugged and said, “They do. Why don’t you call them and ask them?”

So the bank clerk took my challenge and left me sitting at his desk while he went off to another room and called. In a few minutes, he came back with a sheepish grin on his face.

I asked, “Well, did they tell you that my check was good?”

He said, “Yeah, and the fellow also said to tell you hello.”

It’s nice to be known by your name rather than just a number, isn’t it?

God knows your name. Revelation 10:15 tells us that he has the names of all who believe in Jesus Christ written in his Book of Life. And beside the name of each believer, that book has these words written: “Paid in Full,” because Christ made full payment for our sins upon the cross (1 Corinthians 6:20). That’s one book that I’ve made sure has my name. And you can take that to the bank!

Copyright 2009 by Bob Rogers

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Finding a preacher who can sweat

An older pastor retired and moved back to his home in rural Mississippi. A few days later, his phone rang. Below is a verbatim transcript of the phone conversation:

"You got a King James Bible?" the person asked.


"Can you sweat?"


"Got a handkerchief to wipe the sweat?"


"Then I know a church looking for a preacher."

Apparently, those were the qualifications for a preacher-- a King James Bible and the ability to sweat when preaching.

The apostle Paul added some other qualifications. According to the King James Version, he said, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17-18, 23-24, KJV)

So if you're looking for a preacher, find one that preaches the cross of Jesus Christ. And if he can work up a sweat about it, that's an added bonus.

Copyright 2009 by Bob Rogers.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The day a snake visited church

I've heard of the squirrel that got loose in church, and I even saw a bat get loose in church. I've heard of snake handlers, but never before have I heard a story like the one I heard from a pastor's wife in Gulfport, Mississippi. It seems that this preacher's wife was also a preacher's kid. And one day when she was a child, they had a snake visit her father's church.
Her father was preaching with all of his might, when suddenly the serpent poked its head out of the ceiling, extended part of its body down, and looked at the congregation. The members responded by screaming, but the pastor thought they were shouting. Feeling the power of the Spirit, the pastor preached with even more fervor, as the congregation screamed all the more. Then the snake decided to ascend back into the hole in the ceiling. Whether it was all the noise, or the lack of anything to interest him, nobody knew. But thankfully, the serpent slithered away, the congregation calmed down, and the pastor finished his sermon.
On the way home, the pastor told his daughter, "Boy, I preached a good one today!" His girl didn't have the heart to tell her daddy that the people were moved more by fear than by the Spirit. In fact, she never did tell him. But she told me.
Satan himself dressed up like a snake one time (Genesis 3), and he still tries to slither his way into our churches with deception. Deuteronomy gives three tests to recognize whether a Satan is deceiving you: false words, false ways, and false worship. False words: Deuteronomy 18:21-22 says if a prophet says something and it doesn't come true, he's a false prophet. False ways: Deuteronomy 18:9-14 warned against "detestable ways" of the Canaanites, which included divination, fortune-telling, interpreting omens, sorcery, casting spells, and consulting with spirits and the dead. False worship: Deuteronomy 13:1-4 warns that even if a prophet's words come true, he is still a false prophet if he tells you to worship any other God than the Lord.
So the next time a snake slithers into your church, check to see if he speaks with forked tongue. You don't want to be moved by the wrong spirit.

Copyright 2009 by Bob Rogers

Monday, February 16, 2009

Solomon said, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!" (Ecclesiastes 1:2). But Solomon never got to see vanity tags on automobiles.

Jesus told His disciples that they would be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). So if a vanity license plate can spark a discussion and share the faith, then I'm sure wise old Solomon would agree. While our cars are "chasing the wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:14), a word for the Lord on our license plate doesn't have to be a vanity. So here are some samples seen on the road by Flinn and Ikey Gregory of Bluffton, Georgia:

Some are easy to understand, such as these: "BE HOLY," "LOOK UP," "GOD WILL," "SOW REAP," and "NEED HIM."

Other vanity tags refer to favorite scriptures, such as "PSALM 23" ("The Lord is my shepherd"), "LK 14 27" ("Carry your cross and follow Jesus"), "ACTS 2" (The Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost), and "JN 3" ("You must be born again).

I especially like the ones that you have to read aloud to understand, like these: "F8TH," "4 CHRIST," "BLESS B," "SWTMRCY" (Sweet mercy), "LUV 2 SNG," "GDS FAVR," "2 BLESST," "TRI HIM," "IM BLSSD" (I'm blessed), "TRI GOD 2," "JST BLVE" (Just Believe), "BLESS U," and "4 GIVE."

But as much as I enjoyed those, my all time favorite vanity plate must have belonged to a descendant of Eve who was glad to be married. It simply said, "HIS RIB." (See Genesis 2:22).

Copyright 2009 by Bob Rogers. www.holyhumor.blogspot.com