Having a baby changes everything. A man and a woman marry and start a life together. They are usually understandably young and immature, and, are fairly self-centered in their lifestyle. Then a baby comes along, and changes everything! Nothing makes you grow up quicker. Nothing changes your priorities more. Your sleep schedule changes, your social life pauses indefinitely. Your times of intimacy must alter. Your house is not as quiet, and it also smells different. Your money suddenly vanishes, and you must humble yourself to degrading tasks. So, you make changes as necessary. And … indeed, the baby does need changing every time you turn around. You think you are changing them, but really they are changing you. You want to mold and shape this new life, but at least at first, only YOU are being transformed! The wife’s pride was in her hair, which she could spend hours shaping. Now it’s cut short, pulled back. She always wanted more curves, now she’s got them! The husband used to watch football in his easy chair, now he’s a gopher, running plays called by his new life coach from the sidelines He can’t afford to drop the ball, because It’s his child which he cradles in a football hold, trying to make the crying stop! Then, before you know it, that all changes. Next, the baby starts pulling itself up. So the knick-knacks must be moved higher or put away. We spend the next three years begging them to talk & to walk. Then, we spend fifteen years telling them to be quiet and sit down. Truth be told, every stage of their lives includes fascinating changes. Another thing, they are all expensive. You think the costs might go down over time? Think again! I think teenagers cost more than adults. And then they go to college. Parents are now suffering from mal-tuition! Costs gradually increase over the years until they finally reach their peak, which is the night you go bail them out of jail and bring them back to the basement you refinished for retirement. They will now live there until sometime in their 20’s-40’s! There is one thing however that doesn’t change. You love them through it all, and with every beat of your heart!
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight. If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy. If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty. If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient. If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to have confidence. If a child lives with praise, he learns appreciation. If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice. If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith. If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself. If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.
Children are so absolutely cute. Her are five short stories that prove so:
One morning at Sunday school a 4-year-old little boy showed up without any identification. The teacher got his first name but that was it! The teacher said, “Brian, what’s your daddy’s name?” He quickly replied, “Daddy!” So, she tried again, “Brian, what’s your mommy’s name?” He answered, “Mommy!” Suddenly she had a brainstorm, “Brian, what does your Daddy call your Mommy?” His face lit up. With a grin and in a deep voice, he replied, “Hey, babe.”
A four-year-old named Amanda went to the doctor’s office with a fever. The doctor looked in her ears and said, “Who’s in there? Donald Duck? “She looked at him, and said, “No.” He looked in her nose and said, “Who’s in there? Mickey Mouse?” Again she said, “No.” He put his stethoscope on her heart and said, “Who’s in there? Barney?” Amanda raised her eyebrows and said, “No, Jesus is in my heart. Barney is on my underwear.”
A four-year-old granddaughter asked her Grandpa why he was wearing the brightly colored scarf in his pocket. Grandpa replied, “I thought it would make my blue suit look much prettier.” After a moment’s consideration, she replied sympathetically, “It didn’t work, did it?”
Six-year-old Molly complained to her mother that her stomach hurt. Realizing it was lunchtime, Mom told Molly, “Your stomach is empty; you’ll feel better after you put something in it.” Later that evening the pastor came over for a visit. During the conversation he mentioned he had a headache. Molly piped up with the solution: “That’s because it’s empty, you’ll feel better once you put something in it.
One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes in the sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Mom why are some of your hairs white?” Her mother replied, “Well, every time you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.” The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, “Oh Mommy, now I know why all of grandma’s hairs are white.”
TRUE STORY: Many years ago a Christian had stopped attending church services. After a month or so the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening, and the pastor found his parishioner at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for the pastor’s visit, the member welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The minister made himself at home, but said nothing. After several minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and he placed it to one side of the hearth … all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. His host watched all of this in quiet contemplation. The one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, then there was a momentary glow and its fire was no more. Soon, it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The minister glanced at his watch, slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember, and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately, it began to glow once more, with all the light and warmth of the burning coals around it. As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, “I’ll be back in church Sunday.”
Please read and re-read every bulletin before you pass them out. The following are bloopers from over the years.
*Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
*The cost for attending our Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals.
*Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget to bring your husbands.
*The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
*The sermon for this morning is “Jesus walks on the water.” The sermon for this evening is “Searching for Jesus.”
*Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
*Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests copies of Pastor’s sermons.
*Sermon for next week, “Don’t let worry kill you, let the church help.”
*A chili-bean dinner will be held on Tuesday evening in the church fellowship hall. Music will follow.
*At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell? Come early and listen to our choir practice.
*For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
*Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
*Weight Watchers will at meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double doors at the side entrance.
The story is told of a little girl staying for dinner at the home of her friend. The vegetable was buttered broccoli, & the mother asked if she liked it. The child replied very politely, “Oh, yes, I love it.” But when the bowl of broccoli was passed, she declined to take any … The mother said, “I thought you said you loved broccoli.” The girl replied sweetly, “Oh, yes, ma’am, I do, but not enough to eat it!”
Commitment can be compared to what it takes in order to have ham and eggs for breakfast. The chicken is involved, but the ham is committed.
The late president John F. Kennedy told a story one day about commitment. Frank O’Connor, an Irish writer, wrote the story. The Irishman told of his childhood days when he and his friends would wander through the countryside of his homeland. When they would come to an orchard with a wall too high to cross, they would all toss their hats over the wall. Therefore they had no choice but to do whatever they had to do to get their hats back.
A young man went to see an elderly man for some advice. He said, “Sir I have seen a lot of people who are up and down in their faith. I have both heard and observed that you are not like that. I see that you have fervently sought after God throughout all these years. What makes you different?” The old man smiled and replied. “Let me tell you a story: One day I was sitting here quietly in the sun with my dog. Suddenly a large white rabbit ran across the field right in front of us. Well, my dog jumped up, and took off after that big rabbit. He chased the rabbit over the hills with a passion. Soon, other dogs joined him they were attracted by his barking. What a sight it was, that pack of dogs ran barking and howling, running across the creeks, up the steep embankments, through thickets and, through the thorns! Gradually however, one by one, the other dogs dropped out of the pursuit, discouraged by the course, and frustrated by the chase. Only my dog continued to hotly pursue the white rabbit.” Now, in that story … young man, lies the answer to your question.” The young man sat in confused silence. Finally, he said, “Sir, I don’t understand. What is the connection between the rabbit chase and the quest for God?” “You fail to understand,” answered the well-seasoned old man. “Because you failed to ask the obvious question. And that is, why didn’t the other dogs continue with the chase? And the answer to that question is, the other dogs had not seen the rabbit. They were only in the chase because they were following to see what my dog had seen.” We have to follow Jesus because we have seen Him for ourselves, and not through someone else.
Most products we purchase today have labels warning about improper use. One would think that common sense would prevail, but believe it or not, the following warnings are all real. A label on a snow sled, which says: “Beware, sled may develop high speed under certain snow conditions.” A fishing lure, with a warning that reads: “Harmful if swallowed.” A warning on an electric router made for carpenters cautions: “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.” A warning label found on a baby stroller cautions the user to: “Remove child before folding.” A container of underarm deodorant says: “Caution: Do not spray in eyes.” A cartridge for a laser printer warns, “Do not eat toner,” A cardboard car sunshield that keeps sun off the dashboard warns: “Do not drive with sunshield in place”
The story is told of a young pastor who arrived at his first pastorate. It was out in a farming community. He knew very little about farming. His first Sunday at his new position, just so happened was in the middle of harvest season & only one person showed up. The young pastor waited for fifteen minutes to see if any one else would come. Finally … he looked down at the one farmer and said, “What do you think I should do?” The farmer replied, “Well Pastor I’m just a cowhand but I do know this. If I have a load of hay and I go to the backfield to feed the cows, even if only one cow shows up I still feed that one cow. The young Pastor realized he now knew what to do. So he launched into a two hour-long sermon. At the end of the service the young pastor walked up to the farmer and asked, “Well how did I do?” … The farmer looked at the pastor and said, Well Pastor I am just a cow-hand but I do know this, when I feed just one cow I don’t feed him the whole load of hay.
We are often tempted to look at the outward appearance of someone. To judge people by their looks, or maybe even how we perceive them. This starts out early in life. A little girl in the 3rd grade came up to her father one evening and very emotionally asked, “Daddy, am I pretty?” He said, “Of course you are honey.” But the wise father knew there was more to this, so he asked her, “Why are you asking me if you are pretty?” Tearfully, she said, “The boys in my school were saying who the pretty girls are, and they didn’t say my name.” (Can you feel her pain? – good that’s compassion.) I would have wanted to say, “Honey if those boys make fun of you, just punch them in the nose. THAT IS NOT COMPASSION … OR GOOD ADVICE
TRUE STORY: One day a little boy stood outside a restaurant with his head pressed flat against the window. A man inside noticed him went outside and brought him in and bought him a meal. The young boy however, kept looking outside and wouldn’t eat. When the man asked him what was the matter, the little boy said, “My brother, he’s outside and he doesn’t have anything to eat either.” The man went and got the other boy and they all had a great feast.
TRUE STORY: Dr. Paul Brand has devoted his life to treating leprosy patients in India. In the course of one examination, Dr. Brand laid his hand on the patient’s shoulder and informed him through a translator of the treatment that lay ahead. To his surprise the man began to shake with muffled sobs. Dr. Brand asked if he had said something wrong?” The translator quizzed the patient and reported, “No, doctor, he says he is crying because you put your hand around his shoulder. Until he came here no one had touched him for many years.”
A little boy had been given a slingshot for his birthday. He loved it and practiced every day aiming at different objects. During the summer he and his sister would spend a lot of time at their grandmother’s house. One day he was out in grandma’s backyard, when he spied his grandma’s pet duck. He thought, “Wow … a live target!” On impulse he took out his slingshot, took aim and hit the duck with a stone. The trouble is, the duck died on the spot! He’d killed it! Then he panicked. What was he to do? This was grandmother’s pet duck. He did not want to get in trouble … so he hid the duck in the woodpile. But when he looked up, there was his sister … She’d seen what he’d done. After lunch that day, Grandma told Sally to help with the dishes. And Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you Johnny?” And then she leaned over and whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So, Johnny did the dishes. What choice did he have? For the next several weeks Johnny did a lot of dishes. And every once in a while (when he’d be tempted to object) His sister would whisper to him: “Remember the duck” After a few weeks, Johnny realized he could not go on like this. So Johnny went to grandma and confessed. It was then that Grandma informed Johnny that she already knew what had happened. She told Johnny she had watched the whole thing out the window. Then she said, “I have been waiting to see how long you would let Sally make a slave out of you. Un-confessed sin makes a slave out of you.
The story is told of a father of four boys. Dad came home one day, only to find all of them engaged in a free-for-all. They were throwing punches, wrestling, etc. Dad looked at the oldest of the four and asked, “Butch, who started this?” He responded, “Well Dad, it all started when Harold hit me back,”
True conversion involves going back and starting over. This true story happened about 30 years ago. I came home from work one night only to discover that my darling wife had purchased a portable barbecue for the grand sum of $19.97. She was very proud of her purchase! However, she was also very frustrated. She said to me, “There is something very wrong with it. I have tried and tried for the last two hours and it cannot be put together.” She showed me how a certain piece just would not fit. Being a kind and loving husband, I said, “Sweetheart sit down and let me at least look at it.” I reached over, picked up the instruction page, and I began to read it. My frustrated wife said, “What are you doing?” I replied, “Honey I am reading the directions of how to put it together.” She said, “We don’t need those, see it just won’t go together.” I said, “I’m sorry dear I just want to look.” As I looked, I immediately realized the problem. My dear wife had put what she had put together out of sequence. I could see that if I took it apart, and started over, and put it together in the right sequence it would and indeed it did go together. Sometimes in life things happen and the only way to fix them is to go back and start over.
Jonathan Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer. He lived during the late 1500’s and early 1600’s. He was also an inventor. He invented eyeglass lenses, and the telescope. He kept logs of planetary motion, made maps of the known world of stars, and wrote a book called, Astronovia Nova (650 page theory of how earth travels around the sun) Kepler was troubled by one of his friends who denied the existence of God. His friend was an early evolutionist. In order to convince his friend of the truth, he constructed a model of the sun with the planets circling round it. When his friend came into the observatory and saw the beautiful model, he exclaimed with delight, “How beautiful that is! Who made that?” Kepler answered, “No one made it, it made itself.” His friend looked at him and said, “Nonsense, tell me who made it.” Kepler replied, “Friend, you say that this little toy could not make itself. It is but a very weak imitation of this great universe which, I understood, you believe did make itself.”