"... he did not speak to them
without a parable" Jesus
Mark 4:34 R.S.V.
a monthly resource letter for pastors/teachers/speakers
Volume 7, Number 12 February / 1988
THE" BIBLE ON YOUR COMPUTER I have found a truly helpful piece of software called Word Search. It puts the entire Bible (NIV) on my hard disk. It takes about 2.5 megabytes. And it is FAST. You look up verses (like a concordance) and they are there in less then 2 seconds. You can add and delete easily. You can print them out. You can move them over into your sermon or your newsletter in a trice. Amazing! Regular price is $189.00. If you write your sermons on a computer, and you have a hard disk — this is for you! You can order your copy through Saratoga Press now for only $139.00. Send your check or charge card number. It comes with a demo disk which lets you try it out with the book of Genesis before you break the seal on the total package. If you don't like what you see in the demo, return the package (with the seals unbroken) and get a full refund. Amazing (I think I said that before!). If you don't have a computer — here's a good reason to get one. If you have a computer but no hard disk — now is the time to get one. Send your check or charge card number to 14200 Victor Place, Saratoga, CA.
WORKING TOGETHER Charles Osgood tells the story of two ladies who live in a convalescent center. Each of these ladies had suffered incapacitating strokes. Margaret's stroke caused her left side to be restricted while Ruth's stroke left her right side limited. Both of these ladies were accomplished pianists, but had given up the hope of ever playing again.
The director of the center sat them down at a piano and encouraged them to play solo pieces together. They did, and a beautiful friendship and relationship began.
What a picture of the church needing to work together. What one Christian cannot do alone, perhaps two or more could do together. The early church was characterized by being in one accord. What one could not provide another could. If we could learn to trust and help one another, perhaps we could see the power of the early church manifested in the church today! Let's follow the example of Margaret and Ruth.
Submitted by Don Higginbotham, First Baptist Church, Pleasanton, TX.
KINDNESS / SERVING Salem Kirban tells the following story: East Berlin is communist controlled. West Berlin is free. Some people in East Berlin one day took a truckload of garbage and dumped it on the West Berlin side. The people of West Berlin could have done the same thing. But instead they took a truckload of canned goods, bread, and milk...and neatly stacked it on the East Berlin side. On top of this stack they placed a sign that said, "EACH GIVES WHAT HE HAS."
That is exactly what the Scriptures teach about dealing with people around us. We are not to repay evil with evil; we are not to trade insult for insult, but to give a blessing instead. (I Peter 3:9) When Jesus was reviled, He did not revile in return. When suffering, He uttered no threats (I Peter 2:23). Wouldn't it be a wonderful day when someone speaks evil of you and you don't have a desire to repay them with a worse evil? Just imagine: someone insults you with filthy words and in your anger, it crosses your mind to reply with filthy words, but you can't think of any. If you are tempted to return evil for evil, remember that sign: "Each gives what he has." If our hearts are pure, we will give what we have: nothing but pure, sweet, kind words that cool hearts and make peace. Submitted by David Lusk, Sulphur Springs, TX
THE VALUE OF A GLIMPSE A glimpse is not a vision. But to a man on a mountain road by night, a glimpse of the next three feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon. C. S. Lewis
Parables, Etc. / February, 1988 Page 2 / 7.12.2
INVISIBLE LIFE The day was warm and sunny, and after lunch I took Tricia into the woods behind the house to explore with her the places I remembered from my own childhood. A dark stream ran through the woodland, and leaves were yellow-green against the fast-moving clouds and blue sky. I pointed out, as my father had to me, the warblers darting among the oaks and maples. The stream swirled lazily over rocks and sodden logs, and for a while we sat upon a boulder and watched the water flow.
"Did you know there are tiny creatures in that water?" I asked. "Animals that you can't see?"
Tricia lowered her face toward the pool beneath us. "Are there?"
My father had demonstrated the existence of the invisible teeming life by taking a sample of creek water and showing me slides under a microscope. I remembered the elaborate bulbous forms of protozoa and the bizarre wriggling cilia that waved in the droplets of water.
"How do you suppose we could tell whether such creatures were there?" I asked. Tricia continued to stare into the water. "By the fish," she said. "The fish?"
"I can see fish, and the fish have to eat something smaller than they are, and those things must eat something smaller ..." I nodded and laughed at what seemed so logical, and at myself for thinking I should believe only what I could see with my own eyes.
Taken from a short story entitled, "Invisible Life," by Kent Nelson. Submitted by
Bill Fournier, Christ the King Retreat Center, Buffalo, MN.
OBEDIENCE God willing, I will push and politick no more . . . the mountains are too high, history is too long and eternity is longer. God is too great, man is too small, there are many of God's dear children, and all around there are men (& women) going to Hell. And if one man and a small group of men do not approve of where I am and what I do, does it prove I've missed success? No; only one thing will determine that — whether this day I'm where the Lord of lords and King of kings wants me to be. To win as many as I can, to help strengthen the hands of those who fight unbelief in the historical setting in which they are placed, to know the reality of "the Lord is my song" and to be committed to the Holy Spirit — that is what I wish I could know to be the reality of each day as it closes.
From Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer, submitted by Don Maddox, Corona, CA.
POWERS TO BURN Everyone knows on any given day that there are energies slumbering in him which the incitements of that day do not call forth . . . Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. Our fires are damped, our drafts are checked. We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources . . . Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits; he possesses powers of various sorts he habitually fails to use.
Charles Swindoll, Living Above The Level of Mediocrity, p. 89. Submitted by John
Bristol, First Presbyterian Church, Milpitas, CA.
Parables, Etc. (Copyright 1988) (ISSN 074402017) is published monthly for $24.95 per year by Saratoga Press, 14200 Victor Place, Saratoga, California 95070. Second-Class Postage paid at Saratoga, California. Postmaster: Send address changes to Parables, Etc., c/o Saratoga Press, 14200 Victor Place, Saratoga, California 95070. To foreign countries — subscription rate is $30.95 in US$ or currency of equivalent value. New phone number: (408) 252-2141
Parables, Etc. / February, 1988 Page 3 / 7.12.3
COMMUNICATION / TRUTH / GOSSIP — THE "F.O.A.F." STORY Did you know that there are
catfish so large down at the __ dam, divers refuse to go down there? They say they can
eat a man!" The first time I heard that story, it was told about a lake close to my boyhood home; the next time, it was a lake in Arkansas (and I argued with the teller that he had the wrong lake in mind); and another time the same story referred to one in Oklahoma. I discovered recently that every lake that has a fish in it has such a story. The tale is called a "F.O.A.F."
A "F.O.A.F" is a story we are just sure is true. We didn't see it first hand, but we heard it from "A Friend of A Friend." "F.O.A.F. stories" make the rounds for years, changing just a bit in every generation. There is the woman who dried her poodle in a microwave — a "F.O.A.F." Have you ever heard of the woman who was stung to death by bees who had nested in her beehive hairdo back in the '60's? . . . A "F.O.A.F."
And there are religious "F.O.A.F.s" that won't die too. An article called the "Missing Day In Time" has been proven false, yet it still makes church bulletins. In the early '70's Madalyn O'Hair petitioned N.A.S.A. to stop the astronauts from reading the Bible. They rejected her proposal on the spot, and the matter was dropped, yet for over 15 years, petitions have been pouring into N.A.S.A. by the thousands every year asking them to reject her demand. People keep telling a dead story because "A friend told me it was true."
Around 1980, word got out on the Proctor and Gamble company that the trademark on their packages and boxes depicted the numbers 666, and the president of the company was a devil worshipper. It never was true, but it cost P.G.C. millions of dollars and a new logo trying to put the story to rest.
Have you ever read that Hollywood had ordered the making of a film depicting Jesus as "Gay"? We receive handbills telling us to fight the movie . . . It is a "F.O.A.F." Nobody has made one, and one is not planned.
How true the scriptures ring at this point: "With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered." (Proverbs 11:9) "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight." (Proverbs 12:22)
Let your mind think on what is true. Check your sources. Don't get involved in a "F.O.A.F."— only in the "TRUTH."
Submitted by David Lusk, Sulphur Springs, TX
THE INTERPRETATION MAKES THE DIFFERENCE What do you see in the circumstances of life? As people of faith we see the hand of God active in our lives. The person without faith does not.
Two men were talking in a bar. The atheist said, "There is no such thing as God." The other man said, "Why do you say that?" The other man continued, "I asked his help once when I was stuck in the desert. Dying in the glaring sun, I cried out for God's help." The other man said, "Something must have happened. You're here now."
The atheist said, "Not really. Some crazy Indian came along and saved me."
Submitted by Bill Fournier, Christ the King Retreat Center, Buffalo, MN.
THE TRUTH WILL OUT A Deputy District Attorney asked several robbery victims to study a lineup of five people. He had placed the suspect in the middle, and had told each man to step forward saying, "Give me all your money — and I need some change in quarters and dimes." The first two men in the lineup did it right. Then the middle fellow broke the case. He blurted out, "That isn't what I said." Reader's Digest
Parables, Etc. / February, 1988 Page 4 / 7.12.4
SUCCESS AND THE BEATITUDES The one thing we must see is that the Beatitudes by which Jesus begins this sermon, are not a mild and sentimental collection of platitudes. They are a frontal challenge to almost everything we assume about "the way it is" in the world. The only way they make sense is if Jesus Christ himself is able to sustain the blessings he pronounces. When that fact becomes our fact, and when we become convinced that Jesus Christ has the authority to support his promises, then the word blessed not only invites us to find the right path but also to welcome the path we find.
We now have the biblical doctrine of success. Success is not measured in possessions or by the state of our health. Success means to be where I am supposed to be — the right place at the right time and for the right reason — because of the purpose for my life that has its origins in God's love and faithfulness. If I am on the right road then I am successful in this radical rearrangement of our ordinary value systems. Success for those who believe this amazing Sermon on the Mount is a word about relationship with the Shepherd-Lord of the pathway and about our journey upon that pathway.
Earl Palmer, The Enormous Exception, submitted by Steve Roosa, Westhope Presbyterian
Church, Saratoga, CA.
RUSSIAN JOKES Apparently even the Russians have the ability to laugh at themselves. They pass around stories such as the following, which is one of President Reagan's favorites of this genre: It seems a Russian citizen wanted to buy a car. He goes to the official agency and puts his money down ,and is told by the clerk that he can take delivery of his automobile in exactly 10 years.
The purchaser asks the clerk, "Morning or afternoon?"
The official replies, "Ten years from now, morning or afternoon, what difference does it make?"
The car buyer says, "Well, the plumber's coming in the morning."
Another Russian joke is the one about the party official who asks a farmer how things are going, and the farmer replies that the harvest is so bountiful that the potatoes would reach the "foot of God" if piled on top of one another.
The commissar says, "But this is the Soviet Union, there is no God here." The farmer replies, "There are no potatoes, either."
BALANCE I spent much of my ninth summer on a bicycle. About a mile from our house the road went down a steep hill and turned sharply at the bottom. Coasting down the hill one morning, I felt my gathering speed to be ecstatic. To give up this ecstasy by applying brakes seemed an absurd self-punishment. So I resolved to simultaneously retain my speed and negotiate the corner.
My ecstasy ended seconds later when I was propelled a dozen feet off the road into the woods. I was badly scratched and bleeding, and the front wheel of my new bike was twisted beyond use from its impact against a tree.
I had been unwilling to suffer the pain of giving up my ecstatic speed in the interest of maintaining my balance around the corner. I learned, however, that the loss of balance is ultimately more painful than the giving up required to maintain balance. It is a lesson I have continually had to relearn. As must everyone, for as we negotiate the curves and corners of our lives, we must continually give up parts of ourselves.
M. Scott Peck, condensed from The Road Less Travelled, submitted by Steve Roosa,
Westhope Presbyterian Church, Saratoga, CA.
Parables, Etc. / February, 1988 Page 5 / 7.12.5
DEMILLE AMD THE WATER BEETLE Cecil B. DeMille, the famous motion-picture producer, was a man of great talents and keen insights.
He liked to get off by himself at times to think out a problem. One such time when he was faced with some vexing personal problems, he went out in a canoe on a lake in Maine.
After a while, the canoe floated inshore to a place where the water was only a few inches deep. Looking down he saw that the bottom was crowded with beetle-like bugs. As he watched," one of the water beetles came to the surface and slowly crawled up the side of the canoe. Finally, reaching the top, it grasped fast to the wood and died.
DeMille soon forgot the beetle and his thoughts went back to his own problems. Several hour later, he happened to notice the beetle again and saw that, in the hot sun, its shell had become very dry and brittle. As he watched, it slowly split open and there emerged from it a new form, a dragonfly, which took to the air, its scintillating colors
flashing in the sunlight.
That winged insect flew farther in an instant than the water beetle had crawled in days. Then it circled back and swooped down to the surface of the water. DeMille noticed its shadow on the water. The water beetles below might have seen it, too, but now their erstwhile companion was in a world beyond their comprehension. They were still living in their limited world while their winged cousin had gained for himself all the freedom between earth and sky.
Later, when DeMille told of this experience, he concluded with a very penetrating question. "Would the great Creator of the universe," he asked, "do that for a water beetle and not for a human being?"
From Guidepost Treasury of Faith, page 477, submitted by Ed Evans, Presbyterian
Church, Centralia, IL.
HERO OR FOOL — THE CHRISTIAN EXAMPLE In the fourth century, a Christian named Phocas lived outside of Sinope in Asia Minor. Hundreds of travelers to the city passed by his door. They would stop awhile in his garden on their journey and Phocas would talk of Christ to them.
Then came the Diocletian persecution, and Phocas was named as a Christian. Killers were
dispatched to Sinope to execute him on the spot. As they neared Sinope one hot day,
Phocas saw them and invited them to share the cool of his garden. The men consented and
were so warmly welcomed that they stayed the night also.
"What is your business in Sinope?" asked Phocas. One replied, "We seek a Christian named Phocas for execution. Do you know him?" "I know him well," said Phocas. "He is quite near; let us attend to it in the morning."
That night, Phocas sat thinking in his garden. He could escape to hide with other Christians. But the others would be endangered; and, he would be jeopardizing the soldiers who were ordered to execute him. "Should I run? Should these soldiers forfeit their lives for mine? My Lord did not run."
By dawn he had dug his own grave. He awakened his guests and told them, "I am Phocas." The soldiers refused to do the foul deed, but he calmly urged them to think of themselves and their own dear ones. They had their duty, ana he had nothing but love in his heart for them.
A sword swept, and the blood of Phocas mingled with the garden he had loved. From Fox's Book of Martyrs, submitted by David Lusk, Sulphur Springs, TX
Parables, Etc. / February, 1988 Page 6 / 7.12.6
PERSPECTIVE There was a distraught woman staying at a Boston hotel who one day telephoned the manager: "I am dizzy, faint, and at my wit's end. Someone in the next room has been banging on the piano the whole day. If you don't have it stopped at once, I may collapse and you will be responsible."
The manager replied, "I wish I could help you, madam, but I don't dare. The pianist is rehearsing for his concert tonight in Symphony Hall — it's Paderewski."
The"woman was taken aback and quavered, "Really? Oh, well that's different." After she hung up the phone she immediately proceeded to invite her friends to visit her room and listen with her.
Submitted by Milton Weisshaar, Crescenta Valley Un. Meth. Church, Montrose, CA.
THE SENSITIVITY OF A GRATEFUL HEART If one should give me a dish of sand, and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my eyes, and search for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet, and sweep through it, and how would it draw to itself the almost invisible particles by the mere power of attraction. The unthankful heart, like my finger in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings. Only the iron in God's sand is gold.
From a sermon by Henry Ward Beecher, submitted by Don Maddox, Covenant Presbyterian
Church, Corona, CA.
PRAYER FOR A BUSY DAY
When the day is too busy and the voices too loud,
When there is too much on my mind and too little in my heart,
When I plan too much for tomorrow and explain too much about yesterday,
When faith is a Sunday word and "Let's be practical" my motto through the week,
When I have hidden my true feelings inside and then complained of being lonely and
misunderstood. When I am quite hopelessly lost and don't even have sense enough to know it —
Be my good shepherd and my friend.
Gather up my jangled nerves, my tensed muscles, my anxious and fluttering heart.
Gather up my fearful heart and hold it warmly in your hand.
Send life pulsing through it like an irresistible flood.
Quicken me to a quivering blaze, excited and alive.
But show me how to be quiet, too.
Teach me to be still.
In deep stillness let me rest.
Let silence surround me like a friend, calming me and instructing me with deeper wisdom from within.
When my day is too busy and the voices are all too loud, Be my good shepherd and my friend. Amen.
George L. Miller, Alive Now, November / December 1987, page 15.
POWERFUL MOTIVATION This announcement appeared in the bulletin of the Church of the Incarnation in Sarasota, Florida: "The Magic of Lassie, a film for the whole family, will be shown Sunday at 5 p.m. in the church hall. Free puppies given to all children not accompanied by parents." Reader's Digest
Parables, Etc. / February, 1988 Page 7 / 7.12.7
LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS In an article called "The Happy Huckster" we learn about James Kabler, the Master of Upscale Novelties (Success, December, 87). Kabler picked up his education in a variety of jobs including clerking with a state Supreme Court judge and then as Assistant Chief of Protocol under the Ford administration:
Kabler got the job through a connection: He had met Gerald Ford's former law partner at an athletic club. Part tour guide, part babysitter, Kabler received and entertained heads of state and their spouses.
The position afforded a whimsical view of the rich and famous. Take the time he stood in Bloomingdale's on a sweltering summer afternoon, helping Imelda Marcos pick out $25,000 worth of Godiva chocolates. She signaled an aide, who paid from a purse containing $100,000 in cash. Kabler was a little distressed. "But Mrs. Marcos," he inquired, "how are you going to get all those chocolates back to Manila in July without their melting?" The dictator's wife turned to him and snapped, "That's not your problem, it's mine," and promptly hired a refrigerated truck and plane to spirit her package back to the Philippines.
DREAM AMD DRIVE In the same article, "The Happy Huckster" we learn about the great drive of James Kabler. When working as assistant chief of protocol he made many contacts. Later he went into business selling the Donvier ice-cream maker:
During his first trip to the Far East he befriended Den Fujita, president of McDonald's Japan. "He's one of the great men in my life," says Kabler. "Fujita-san is one of the_ most brilliant salesmen in the world." Fujita did more than just impress Kabler. He dared him to become an entrepreneur. A few months after the visit he sent Kabler a sample Donvier ice-cream maker with the challenge, "I've seen it do well in Japan, why don't you try to sell it in the States?"
Kabler couldn't resist the gauntlet. Within weeks he was back in Japan, presenting his business plan for marketing the Donvier in the United States. When the meeting was finished, the chairman rose and said in politely dismissing tones, "This is very interesting, Mr. Kabler. Why don't you go back to New York and gather some more information in the next few months and send it over?" Kabler was horrified at the thought of losing a year before getting the Donvier to the market. He looked up at the delegation from Nippon Light Metal Co. Ltd., introduced to him by Den Fujita, and said, "Gentlemen, if I stay up all night and work up what you need, can we meet face-to-face before I leave tomorrow?" Aghast, they agreed, and Kabler worked through the night. By morning, he'd delivered a 35-page report, turned skepticism into a partnership, and formed Nikkal Industries, launched on $500,000 from three investors.
"Jamie's a great dreamer," says his brother David Kabler, 37, COO of Nikkal. "He can see great things that others don't even know are there. And he acts on his dreams. He doesn't really have any special ability — except that he's got guts. He dreamed he could sell a million ice-cream makers and ended up selling two million."
DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS A young American at a banquet found himself seated next to a Chinese diplomat. Not knowing what to say to a Chinese person, the young man pointed to the first course and asked, "Likee soupee?" The diplomat nodded and smiled. Later, the Chinese diplomat, Wellington Koo, was called on to speak and delivered an eloquent address in flawless English. As he sat down to the sound of applause, he turned to the young American and said, "Likee speechee?"
Submitted by Robert Smith, First Presbyterian Church, Badin, NC.
A FRIEND . . . knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities. William Arthur Ward
Parables, Etc. / February, 1988 Page 8 / 7.12.8
THE EXTRA STEP THAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE A Christian woman, laboring among the moral lepers of London, found a poor street girl desperately ill in a bare, cold room. With her own hands she ministered to her, changing her bed linen, procuring medicines, nourishing food, a fire, and making the poor place as bright and cheery as possible, and then she said, "May I pray with you?"
The girl said, "No! You don't care for me; you are doing this to get to heaven."
Many days passed, the Christian woman unwearily kind, the sinful girl hard and bitter. At last the woman said, "My dear, you are nearly well now, and I shall not come again, but as it is my last visit, I want you to let me kiss you." And the lips that had known prayers and God's Holy Word met the lips that had known oaths and unholy caresses — and then the girl's heart broke. That was Christ's way.
Adapted from a story by Ted Engstrom's, Heart Reaching Illustrations, submitted by
Kelby Cotton, Mountair Christian Church, Lakewood, CO.
COMMUNICATION Communication should be as crisp and to the point as the sign I saw when I was in Chicago recently. It read: WARNING! GUARD DOG ON DUTY — SURVIVORS WILL BE PROSECUTED! Now that communicates. I didn't want any part of that fence, that dog, that yard, or anything to do with that house. To be effective communicators, we should always be just that clear, though not necessarily that threatening.
Zig Ziglar, Top Performance, (Revell, 1986), submitted by Stan Buck, Aboite U. Meth.
Church, Ft. Wayne, IN.
ANGER . . . Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else — you' are the one who gets burned. Buddha
DISCERNMENT . . . Developing a habitual way of listening to God. Alive Now, November / December, 1987
SAME STARTING DATE ... It may be true that life begins at 40, but so does rheumatism. Submitted by Byron Erixon, Saratoga, CA.
MODESTY ... is the triumph of mind over flatter.