Posts Tagged ‘tr8’

“He’s eating grasshoppers.”

“What?”

“He’s eating grasshoppers. The other kids saw it and reported it to the lunchroom lady.”

“Well, Johnny has always been difficult and unusual. He’s not like the others. He’s been a difficult, determined child…”

“Has he been tested? At times he seems almost autistic. I’d have him checked. We can recommend someone.”

“No, he’s not autistic. Maybe a bit ADHD or OCD.”

“It’s not just the grasshoppers. He stands by the drinking fountain and shouts at the rest the kids to ‘repent’ and then he splashes water on them.”

“Well, his father, Zach, and I…as you can see, we’re not young…we try…. Zach retired from the Temple when Johnny finished kindergarten. It hasn’t been easy…he’s talked with counselors at The Temple Clinic. They say he has guilt issues. They’ve never seen anyone so obsessed with confessing mistakes. But really, it’s only a little splashing, right?”

“And then there are the dippings.”

“The dippings?”

“Yes. Whenever one of his little friends say they are sorry for whatever, he dips them in the fountain. When the older students walk by and make fun of him, he yells at them. Things like, “Judgment is approaching! Hypocrites! Repent and be baptized!”

“Hmm. I was wondering why his camel shirt was always so wet after school.”

“Yes, and the camel shirt. What’s with the camel shirt? All the other nice children wear clean linen shirts and broadcloth trousers. John looks hideous! I’ve a mind to call Children’s Services!”

“We’ve tried with the clothes. There must be ten linen shirts in his closet. But every day. Camel shirt.”

“Well, Elizabeth, I know this is difficult, but John has been given three days of ISS for cutting up in the lunchroom — making noise and splashing children. If things continue to spiral out of hand, John will be dismissed.”

“I understand. You know, he’s really a good boy. He’s just misunderstood. He never hurts anyone and you should see the way he plays with my cousin Mary’s boy. They talk about changing the world! They are inseparable. Zach and I try our best to influence Johnny to love and serve God and others, but we can’t control his choices at school. Do you think ISS is going to help him?”

“Well, we’ll see. This must stop. The kids are starting to call him ‘the baptizer’ and he makes the faculty nervous.”

Tr8: Influence. We influence our children, but we do not choose for them (except as infants). They grow into free agents (baptizers, saviors, doctors, bakers, etc.) quickly and start choice-making within a year of birth. While we cannot choose for them, we can present them good choices. As time goes on, prepared choices become fewer and fewer. Choosing for them can also be dangerous — adults don’t survive on their parent’s faith. Sadly, some children become bad decision-makers. We survive by trusting God and our children.

Orchestrate choices while you can. Children need practice in making wise decisions. Perhaps the best way is to embrace choosing as a life skill. If I could do it over again, I’d have done this more. I’d treat making choices like brushing teeth. It isn’t a tacit act, it’s purposeful. Decisions 101: 1) What will happen next? 2) Will this hurt me or someone else? 3) What if everyone does this? 4) Would Jesus do this? and 5) What is the story I want to tell others with this decision?

Review the steps to making a good decision often. The more directed practice a child gets before adolescence, the better. Practice praying for wise decisions. Celebrate wise decisions and reboot after bad ones.

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JonahGod: Jonah, I want you to go next door and invite your neighbor to church.

Jonah: Umm, God, he’s mean and he stole my rake.

God: Just invite him to church. If he doesn’t come, I’ll rain fire and brimstone on him.

Jonah: He has tattoos.

God: Invite him. Jonah slips out the back door, walks down the alley and catches a local bus headed downtown. The traffic begins to pile up and pretty soon the bus is stuck in gridlock traffic. Nothing happening. 1 hour. 2 hours. 3 hours.

Rider: What’s the deal here? Are we cursed or something?

Jonah: It’s me. I’m running from God.

Others: Throw him off the bus!

The driver opens the doors and kicks Jonah out into traffic. He gets hit by a Smart car and is thrown to the side of the road. The Smart car is totaled. The driver calls 911 and an ambulance shows up shortly. The EMTs put Jonah on a gurney, slide him in the ambulance and they drive off. Jonah is dazed and confused. In transit the EMTs spot a two-for-one at Chick-fil-A and pull in. Then, the ambulance drivers drive around and park, drive around and park, and drive around and park.

This goes on for three days.

At the end of three days the ambulance is in an accident at a drive-thru and the doors crash open and Jonah’s gurney shoots out. He coasts to a stop a few blocks from his house. A street person trades his grocery cart for Jonah’s gurney. Jonah pushes the grocery cart home. It has a wobbly wheel. Crossing the driveway, he climbs the steps to his neighbor’s door and knocks.

Neighbor (opening door): What?

Jonah: God told me to tell you you are doomed. You can visit my church, if you want, but you are screwed.

Neighbor (scratching his chin): Is this over the rake?

Jonah: No. God’s sending fire and brimstone your way.

Neighbor: Hmmm. Yeah, I’d like to visit your church. When are services?

Jonah (swearing under his breath): Tomorrow morning. Service is at 11:00. You’ll need to go early ’cause parking is sometimes complicating, but there will be folks directing traffic.

Neighbor: Okay, I’ll leave at 10:15.

Jonah (turns and walks away): Yeah. Whatever. 10:15.

The neighbor and his family go to church. They love it. After a couple of weeks they go to Starting Point and Next. The neighbor begins volunteering with a parking team and joins a small group. Not long afterward, the whole family is baptized and their video testimonies get a standing O.

Jonah missed all of this because he’s in a snit. He’s in his backyard working on his grocery cart hoping God will strike down his neighbor. As he adjusts the wobbly wheel, his neighbor comes out and waves.

Neighbor: Jonah! Thanks about the church thing. We’re loving it. Jonah storms toward the front yard, pushing his grocery cart.

Jonah (furious): God! I knew it—when I first heard your plan, I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I got on the bus! I knew you were full of grace and mercy, not easily angered, abundant in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to forgive this creep!

God: So, what are you angry about? But Jonah just left. He pushed his grocery cart across the street and sat down in the grass median to pout. He put together a makeshift shelter of newspapers and cardboard and sat there to see if anything would happen to his neighbor. It was hot. God arranged for clouds to come and turned on the sprinklers. Shade and a mist swept over Jonah to cool him off and get him out of his angry mood. Jonah was pleased and happy with the shade and mist. Life was looking up. Within 30 minutes the sprinklers stopped and clouds passed. The sun came out and God sent a hot, blistering wind from the east.

Jonah: @#$%^& this is terrible! I can’t stand this! No fire and brimstone and now, no sprinkler! Jonah goes in his garage, gets in his car and starts it.

God: What are you doing parked in the garage with the car on?

Jonah: Killing myself.

God: Why?

Jonah: The sprinkler. YOU turned off the sprinkler. I LOVED the sprinkler mist. And YOU turned it off. AND you saved my neighbor. He deserved fire and brimstone. Makes me so mad I can’t live another minute. And the sprinkler. I’d be better off dead.

God (turning off the car and opening the garage door): Seriously? How can you be so happy with sprinklers, then be so ticked off when they’re off? All you did was sit there next to your pathetic cart (which belongs to Kroger). So, why can’t I change how I feel about your neighbor and his family, to say nothing about his cat and dog?

Tr8: Don’t rejoice in another’s pain or judgment. Be gracious and merciful. “When theology becomes an obstacle to your mercy, adjust your theology,” Andy Stanley.

—- Read how the author nearly kills himself.

Originally blogged on April 29, 2012.

Mary Magdalene and Mark are cleaning up the kitchen at his Mom’s house.

Mark: Which of the disciples do you think is the hottest?

Mary: Hmmmm. I guess Andy, but Bart’s got somethin goin on when his hair’s washed.

Mark: What about Jesus?

Mary: He’s not a ‘player.’

Mark: What’d’ya mean?

Mary:  He’s a Blues Brother…on a ‘mission from God.’ Any woman who falls for him will be disappointed. Take Peter. He was a good husband to Mary before she passed.  He still loves her after all these years.

Mark: What’s with the name ‘Mary?’ Nearly every woman with us except Salome is called ‘Mary.’

Mary: It’s ancient Aramaic sarcasm. Means ‘Oh, joy! It’s a girl!’ Haven’t you noticed this is a male-dominant culture?

Mark: Then what does ‘Salome’ mean?

Mary: ‘This is not a boy.’

Mark: ‘Suzanne?’

Mary: ‘Missed again.’

Mark: Hmmm. So, why would a guy want a girl?

Mary: To have kids, a slave, or to get a dowry.

Mark: What about sex?

Mary: What do you know about sex?

Mark: One of the Romans draws naked pictures. He says sex is fun.

Mary: Maybe if you are a Roman. Sex for fun will get you killed around here. I used to be treated like a piece of meat at the market. Promiscuous sex doesn’t reach wide acceptance until 1967 AD — ‘Summer of Love,‘ Woodstock and all. But, sexual liberation won’t be kind to anyone. Viewing sex as a ‘thing’ is a mistake. Sex should be the product of love in a relationship.

Mark: OK, if you don’t want killed, or a dowry, or a slave, and Romans are pigs, then why have a woman?

Mary: Considering it is minus 32 BC and women are little better than livestock, I’d go with a good Arabian horse.

Mark: Why do you hang around all these guys, then?

Mary: Because Jesus treats everyone with love and respect and leads these nimrods to do likewise. He knows what love is and isn’t afraid to demonsrtate compassion. Doesn’t make any difference whether you’re male, female, young or old. Plus, he’s confident but humble; a man’s man but godly — that’s not unattractive.

Mark: Yeah, I know what you mean. Jesus treats me like an adult and respects me as a friend and everything even though I’m just a kid.

Mary: Aww. You’re nearly a man. Follow Jesus, Mark. If you learn to treat others like he does, you’ll do fine. Mark, if you choose to marry, settle down, and have kids, love your wife like Jesus loves us.

Tr8: Respect. Treat others with love and respect regardless of their situation or circumstances.

Jerusalem – May 23, 35 AD

Rolling Stone (RS): Thanks for the interview, James Josephson. Let’s begin. What’s your favorite song by the Beatles?

James: That’s really a tough one. I guess I’d have to say, ‘The Word,’ though I also like George’s ‘Within You and Without You.’ The double meaning and all.

RS: So, you’re a lyric, rather than a tune guy?

James: Yeah, I suppose so.

RS: Has anyone ever said you look a lot like Captain Kirk, on Star Trek?

James: No…well, maybe once.

RS: What about James Dean?

James: Yeah, I get that a lot. I think it’s the hair thing and motorcycles. When I was young I was the ‘black sheep’ of the family. I was pretty messed up. When I went to synagogue, which I skipped most of the time, I sat in the balcony.

RS: Was that because your older brother was the Son of God?

James: There was that, but initially that was all over my head. I didn’t get it. Dad alway seemed to trust Jesus more. Like he’d ask him if we should go fishing or not and where the fish were biting. Jesus would just nod or point to a spot in the lake. We’d always catch something if Jesus said it was a good day for fishing.

RS: Tell us, what was it like to have God as an older brother?

James: Well, you didn’t want to play cards with him. Goes without saying, he was a straight-A student. Once we were throwing the football in the backyard and he said, ‘Watch this,’ and threw the ball at Mom. It was a long throw. He yells, ‘Hail Mary!’ and barely missed her. He thought that was really funny. I thought it was a little strange.

RS: So, Jesus had a sense of humor?

James: Oh, yeah. He’d crack me up when he said I had a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. His favorite joke went like this: ‘Knock, knock,’ ‘Who’s there?’ ‘Behold,’ ‘Behold, who?’ ‘Behold, it’s me, standin’ at the door knockin.’

RS: I don’t get it.

James: Neither did I. John liked it though, and used it in his ‘Revelation.’ Bet you didn’t know that quote was for comic effect…that was sort of a weird letter. Makes me wish my letter was closer to the front and all.

RS: What about when your father died?

James: That was a hard time. It’s also when I began to realize Jesus had a connection with the other side. He always acted like Dad was on a trip and he was getting postcards regularly. It took the edge off the tragedy. Sometimes Jesus would say, ‘Dad thinks you could give football a little more,’ or something like that.

RS: When did you realize Jesus was the Messiah?

James: I remember exactly when it sunk it. It was after his crucifixion. On the weekend he died, I was in Cesarea. Mom sent a message. All she said was, ‘Jesus is in trouble.’ I dropped everything and headed for Jerusalem.

RS: And…

James: When I got to John Mark’s house on Saturday night I thought it was all over. I was devastated. Some of the guys went into hiding, but most of us just hung out at the house. Mom and some of her friends went to the tomb Sunday morning. They came back and woke the house, yelling,’He’s gone! He’s arisen!’

RS: So, what did you do?

James: Nothing, I stayed with Mom. Peter and John took off running to the tomb. It wasn’t that far away. They were all excited. Angels and stuff — you can read it in the Bible. At the time, I didn’t know what to think. We were all upstairs when he appeared.

RS: Jesus?

James (grinning): Yes. There was a big knocking sound at the door. Peter freaked and yelled, ‘Who’s there?’ then, my brother just appeared out of nowhere and said, ‘Behold, it’s me, standin’ at the door, knockin’. I laughed out loud.

RS: Then what happened?

James: Peter almost wet his pants. Jesus explained he was resurrected. Just before he left he came over to me and said, ‘James, meet me tomorrow morning on the porch.’ And then he was gone.

RS: Did you meet him the next morning?

James: Yes. That’s when I knew for sure he was God. He appeared as the sun rose and said, ‘Jay, I did it for you.’ Then, he explained his whole life and why he had to die so we could stay related forever.

RS: Did you see him again?

James: Yes, we even went fishing again. When we were by the lake, the last thing he said to me was how important it was my faith and actions match up. If we don’t act on our faith, it’s pointless. That’s in my letter in the Bible. By the way, mine was the first letter to the churches, but it got stuck in the back.

RS: Thanks, James. When can we look for your next album?

James: Well, I have a project I’m doing with Quincy Jones and Bob Dylan, but it’ll be a surprise. Probably around Christmas.

Tr8: Faith and actions should match up.

Paul and Barnabas were walking through the marketplace in Antioch after church. They are going to Olive Garden for soup and salad. As they walk, a young girl and man are right on their heels.

Girl: 6×6=36!     16×23=368!    48,588×455=222,307,540!

Barnabas: 55×32?

Girl: 1,760!

Paul: 7×5?

Girl: 35!

Man with girl: She’s my slave. She can multiply anything. I rent her out as a calculator.

Paul: 9×9?

Barnabas (just ahead of the girl): 81.

Man: Want to hire her for some calculations?

Paul: No. We mostly add.

Man: You’re already into me for 6 calculations.

Paul: No way! We didn’t ask for the first three and Barnabas answered the last one.

Man: Hey, everyone! These….CHRISTIANS…THEY don’t want to pay for their calculations! I’m being oppressed!

A group gathers around them.

Man: Wilbur, how much did you pay me for calculating how many casks you could move with your crew?

Wilbur: 50 cents. Yeah, 5 men, 5 trips, 25 casks. I remember.

Man: There! See? You owe me $3.00.

Paul (steamed): Here’s $1.50 for 2 questions.

Girl: $1.00

Paul: Did that one count?

Man (thinking): Of course. That’ll be $1.00.

Paul (handing over $1.00): Okay, here. This ain’t right. No one should have to work as a calculator. Girl, do you like this?

Girl: I’m so tormented. All I can do is…multiply…if only I were free!

Man (slapping the girl): Shut-up, winch!

Paul: That’s it bub. Demon, identify yourself and come forth!

Girl (falling to the ground): Aghh!

Demon: Paul of Tarsus, servant of Jesus Christ! I am the Demon of Multiplication. Please don’t send me to the pit! Please!

Paul (looking around): Foul fiend! Go! Into that donkey, you minion of evil!

The girl sat up, in her right mind, smiling calmly at the crowd. The people were amazed.

Man (startled, looking at the girl): What’s 13×120?

Girl:  I don’t know.

Donkey: 1,560.

Tr8: Multiply your grace by helping others. Boldly help the helpless.