“View From The Pulpit”

 A rare view of what some pastors sometimes see from the pulpit, as they earnestly seek to expound on God’s Word.

Attentiveness

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More Bloopers

More Bloopers Found In Church Bulletins

or Announced in Church Services

  • Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall.  Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
  • The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.
  • Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. 
  • Smile at someone who is hard to love.  Say “hell” to someone who doesn’t care much about you.
  • Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for transfusions.  She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.
  • The pastor will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing:  “Break Forth Into Joy.”
  • Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church.  So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
  • A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church 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.
  • Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
  • Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.
  • The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment and gracious hostility.
  • Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.
  • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind.  They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
  • This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the church.  Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

(See previous post for the initial list)

 

Do you have a funny story, blooper or announcement similar to the above?

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Church Bulletin Bloopers

 (This is a compilation of church bulletin bloopers I have come across.)

  1. Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

  2. The Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
  3. Evening Massage – 6 p.m.
  4. The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
  5. Low Self-esteem Support Group will meet Thursday from 7 to 8 PM. Please use back door.
  6. Ushers will eat latecomers.
  7. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  8. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
  9. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  10. The concert held in the Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which, as usual, fell upon her.
  11. An announcement concerning the pastor’s illness: GOD IS GOOD. Pastor Hargreaves is better.
  12. Potluck supper: prayer and medication to follow.
  13. Don’t let worry kill you off – let the church help.
  14. The Rector is on vacation. Massages can be given to the church secretary.
  15. Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  16. The choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir
  17. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
  18. Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It is a good chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
  19. The peace-making meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
  20. Next Thursday, there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
  21. The agenda was adopted…the minutes were approved…the financial secretary gave a grief report.
  22. Barbara C. remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.
  23. The “Over 60’s Choir” will be disbanded for the summer with the thanks of the entire church.
  24. A missionary from Africa, Bertha Belch, was to speak at Calvary Memorial Church. The announcement read: “Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.”
  25. Miss Charlene Mason sang, “I Will Not Pass This Way Again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  26. Announcement for a National Prayer and Fasting Conference: “The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.”
  27. The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water” The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus”

Inventor of SPAM wins Nobel Prize

  SPAM

Stockholm, Sweden – The Nobel Prize committee announced that Frederick L. Sternman has been awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to mankind.

Men shaking hands

Sternman is widely recognized as the inventor of SPAM email.  Like many great accomplishments his began small.  He tells his story, “In 1994 I was on several bulletin board discussion groups and had carefully collected the various email addresses of participants. I believe it was in October that I sent out a group email using these collected addresses advertising my Aunt Hildah’s mop solution for cleaning hardwood floors. It was at that point I realized the great potential for this. Although no one bought any of Aunt Hildah’s solution it’s as if a light came on. Thousands, even millions, could be reached inexpensively. Now in 2007 I marvel at how many have been impacted by my invention.”

Nobel Prize committee chairman Hanz Gunsberger smiled as he handed Sternman the prize.

He noted the following benefits to SPAM email and the great good it has done for mankind.

  • Many lonely people appreciate these messages. “They just don’t get much email and the human touch is so needed in our hectic, fractured world. This just brings people together in our global community” Gunsberger noted.
  • The dissemination of information just not available elsewhere, including products describing medical conditions people are not even aware they have and are very uncomfortable speaking to their doctors about.
  • Making prescription medicines affordable to all.
  • Providing top notch financial and investment advice.
  • Expanding educational opportunities making college degrees available to all.
  • Posting info about good, well-paying careers that people can do at home from their computer in only minutes a day.
  • Helping rich African widows distribute their fortunes to worthy causes.
  • Helping people to learn foreign languages. (many SPAM emails are in another language so the recipient must study to understand the message and thus learn a new language!) 
  • Providing downloadable software at a fraction of market price.

There are many, many others noted Gunsberger and more all the time. “SPAM is the gift that keeps on giving.”

In accepting the Prize Sternamn stated, “This is just so incredibly meaningful to me. To think I am now in the same league with Yasser Arafat.” (Sternman converted to the Islam religion while in prison in the late nineties while serving time for internet fraud.)

Fellow Nobel prize winner Al Gore stated, “I am very happy for Fred. As the inventor of the Internet I am especially pleased to see my technology used for such worthy causes. The way I see it every email of this type is one less tree cut down for paper. He’s a brilliant man.”

A smiling Jimmy Carter, also a Nobel Prize recipient in the past stated, “I believe Fred has done much to advance world peace. Furthermore I have ordered products from these emails and they really do work.” 

But not everyone is happy. Jim Samuel who runs a firm devoted to stopping SPAM says. “I can’t believe this! These unsolicited messages are a tremendous nuisance, expense and time waster.”

Nobel prize chairman Gunsberger bristled at Samuel’s remarks, “There will always be hateful, intolerant, narrow-minded, bigoted people bent on stopping human progress” he stated. “We must ignore them and do the right thing. Furthermore hasn’t Jim Samuel heard of the delete button!”

Gunsberger gave some hints at future prize nominees but emphasized they had not been voted on yet. Those under consideration include:

  • Osama Bin Laden (Peace)
  • Dr. Jack Kervakin, who developed the partial birth abortion procedure. (Medicine)
  • Ruth Beder Frinkman, professor at Columbia who first identified homophobia. (Sociology)
  • John Starswell, who invented PacMan
  • Richard Simmons, for promoting fitness worldwide
  • Karen Laftery for inventing the hula hoop, (Physics)
  • Larry Flint (Literature)
  • Elias P. Spamnen for inventing canned SPAM (posthumously)

SPAM website

“Church Serves Starbucks Coffee”

 

We were visiting in Williamsburg, Virginia and decided to see what churches were available so we turned to the Yellow pages in the phone book in our hotel.

I suppose competing for church visitors is pretty hard these days but it’s been awhile since I looked through church ads in the Yellow pages. It was quite an eye opener.

One church attempted to attract visitors by it’s large display ad promoting their choice of dress as ”casual clothing” and their choice of drink as “Starbucks coffee.”  I’m not kidding. We didn’t attend the church although I periodically do enjoy a strong cup of coffee.  

Both features are worthy of comment but in today’s post we will examine the coffee.

Our ALFN reporter did some research on this matter and discovered that a Barna survey among 700 potential church goers determined that 76.23% of those surveyed feel churches generally have bad coffee.

Freddie Smith, a twenty-something IT specialist was interviewed by phone. “I tried several churches but they all had really bad coffee. It’s gonna take a lot for me to ever try church again. If the coffee is bad what does that say regarding whatever else they have to offer?”

Mick Tome serves on his church’s S&W committee in Mount Hope, Washington to identify strengths and weaknesses in his church. “We realized we just weren’t making the grade with our coffee and pastries so we spent 3 hours discussing this”, he shared. “We tested various coffees and pastries and sought the Lord on this matter. We are going with Seattle’s Best (a regional favorite) for coffee and Panara Bread for pastries. Sister Martha had been getting the pastries Saturday night at the local Piggly Wiggly but will now be traveling 75 miles early each Sunday morning to Walla Walla to get an assortment of fresh pastries from the nearest Panara Bread.”

Pastor Wally Cleaver from Hinkletown, PA shared of his burden for souls and his contention that one of the greatest hindrances to reaching the lost in our generation is bad coffee in church. He sees their use of Starbucks as a means of fulfilling the Great Commission. Pastor Cleaver wiped a tear from his eyes as he recalls the years of bad coffee as his church used the cheapest they could get from the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in nearby Lancaster. “How could we have missed something so obvious?” he stated.

Pastor Eddie Haskell serves a country church near Hickory, North Carolina.  “The coffee really isn’t an issue for us”, Haskell reports, “any hot, black coffee is fine but our people and community know good pastries. We are going with Krispy Kreme and everybody is really happy. We’ve seen several new families start coming.” He added, “Our special ‘Christian’ weight loss program is also growing and we are considering forming a committee to study what is contributing to this growth.”

Starbucks spokesman Wilfed Stoner shared his enthusiasm on these marketing agreements. “The coffee cafe in local churches represents a massive new market for us”

ALFN finally interviewed Dr. Perry Minson, distinguished professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary who has studied this issue extensively.  “I am not surprised at these developments. We are seeing churches becoming more and more user friendly.  Churches are studying enhancements such as quality pew padding (partnering with Sealy mattress), valet parking and bottled water. For instance we find churches that provide bottled water have a 3.2% increase in their retention over water coolers” stated Minson.

In our research on church promotion techniques AFLN found little reference to terms such as Biblical preaching, sound doctrine, holy living or hymns. In fact these terms seem to be a real turnoff to “seekers”.

Pastor Chip Stallworth, pastor of the “We’re Cooler” Center in Castro Valley, California said these terms are anathema to today’s modern church. “The closest we would ever use is ‘relevant teaching’ but never ‘Biblical preaching'”, he stated as he sipped from his mint creamy latte. “We always seek to be relevant. That’s the main thing!”

“An Unusual Prayer Request”

  Fred and Wanda

Fred and Wanda were a dear older couple in the little country church we pastored in southern Missouri when we first got married in 1976. Fred had lost his right arm in an oil well accident many years earlier and his thumb on his left hand in a different accident, but he had learned to compensate and was a real blessing in helping us to renovate the little parsonage we lived in. In fact he did construction for a living.  It was an inspiration to watch him use a hammer and drive a nail with speed and strength with only four fingers and the stump of a severed arm.   

But our favorite memory of Fred was a prayer request. It was the custom in that little country church to ask the congregation what they wanted to pray about and various needs would be expressed.

One Sunday evening Fred requested prayer for a friend, “Pray for my friend Jim. He had a hysterectomy and is in a whole lot of pain.”  Wanda, who was sitting beside him went right along with him, nodding in agreement and weeping.  I suppressed a laugh as I noted the other older folks in the church didn’t see the problem with such a request.  I am not sure how I actually prayed that night but managed to get through it.

(We never tried to correct him or clarify but I think he meant another type of ectomy.)

Dog receives ordination

Enoch

MY DOG ENOCH

“How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Psalms 104:24). “But ask the animals, and they will teach you” (Job 12:7).

My first dog Suzy, whom I had since childhood, died shortly after we got married.*  My wife Brooksyne and I had both had dogs growing up and we wanted another dog. Neighbors in the rural area of southern Missouri we lived in had a litter of mixed breed pups they were trying to find good homes for and were giving away. We figured we were a good home. The puppies were weaned and ready to go. The mother was a Chow and looked like a bear. We don’t know what breed the father was. We picked out a cute male from the litter and being spiritually minded Bible School students named him Enoch. Why shouldn’t our dog walk with God.

Pet friendsAt the same time we got Enoch we got a kitten that we named Coon (because he looked like a Raccoon). Enoch and Coon became fast friends and didn’t seem to know that dogs were supposed to hate cats and vice versa. They chased each other around the grounds and had a wonderful pet childhood together. On the hot summer days we didn’t have a screen door on the little country church we pastored and they had a problem staying outside while we had a church service. But those dear country folks just smiled when they came in.

First petsEnoch loved to ride in the back of our old blue Datsun pickup on the wheelwell with his head hanging out facing the wind. We just couldn’t get him to stay down. One time we were heading down a country highway about 45 miles per hour and heard a loud thump. Looking in the rearview mirror we saw a ball of fur tumbling down the highway. We stopped and thought that this would be the end for Enoch, but as soon as he stopped rolling he got up and ran toward us with a look as if to say, “That was fun, let’s do it again!” However Enoch never fell out of a pickup again, although he did continue to ride up on the wheelwell.

When Enoch was about a year old we moved from Missouri to Pennsylvania to plant a church in St. Marys. We moved in a big U-Haul truck and towed the Datsun behind us. Because we didn’t fancy that long of a trip with Enoch, who was by now a big dog, in the cab with us, we placed him in the cab of the Datsun. Once when we stopped a trucker came and told us of the funniest sight. It seems Enoch was riding in the cab with his paws up on the steering wheel so he appeared to be driving!

When we got to Pennsylvania we rented an apartment on a busy street in town with houses all around us. Enoch was home sick for the good farm life of Missouri. Shortly after we moved Coon ran off and Enoch was forlorn. He spent hour after hour lying in the back of the truck. Once I had done some work on the truck and failed to chock the wheels. The truck slowly started to roll back toward our apartment and just before it crashed into the back porch Enoch jumped out. He never would spend time in that truck again!

About a year after moving to Pennsylvania we bought a mobile home and had it placed on a lot near the beautiful Pennsylvania woods. Enoch was revived! We went on long hikes into the woods. Enoch would always run ahead of us and turn around as if to say “Are you coming or not?” We were near lots of wildlife and periodically had deer and black bear in our yard. A couple of times Enoch got in a tussle with a porcupine and my, did he yelp out when I pulled out the quills!

One of our concerns when we got Enoch was that Chows were known to be very protective of their owners and not very friendly to outsiders. We liked to have a lot of people around and didn’t want Enoch to be a detriment. He never was. He loved everybody and I suspect wouldn’t have been much help as a watchdog! During that phase of our lives we kept many foster children and I reckon to this day most still remember Enoch.

Enoch was always glad to see us. Any time we would be gone for more than a short time he would run out to greet us when we returned. He always acted like he hadn’t seen us for days. That’s a great feeling isn’t it? I don’t recall him ever being in a bad mood or grumpy. However deep in sleep he might be, if I indicated I was going for a walk he would get up and shake himself and be ready to go! There are times we had to discipline him and it sure seemed that he had shame and knew he was in trouble. But regardless of how severe the punishment he always got over it real quick. Dogs just seem incapable of holding a grudge.

Enoch's ordination certficateEnoch’s most remarkable achievement is that he was an ordained minister. Yup, he had his own fancy certificate to prove it. He got it through the mail with some denomination I never heard of out in California. They offered free ordinations. Now for the sake of honesty I must divulge that I did help him a bit with the paperwork. Enoch couldn’t spell very well and that was before they had spell check. He was seven years old at the time and I did convert that to dog years or 49 on the application. In a couple of weeks he got his very own certificate of ordination and even began to get mail addressed to Rev. Enoch Weber. He could have been a doctor through the same outfit but that cost $25.00 and I just couldn’t stand him having more titles than I had.

Enoch was never neutered but didn’t appear to have much interest in the ladies. He was able to roam free but we never had a problem with him running off for romance. That is until late in his life when he was about 9 years old (that’s 63 in dog years). He had a dalliance with a beagle up the road. We found out later that he was a father. Some people we knew got one of the puppies and we were thus able to see Enoch’s offspring for some time after Enoch died.

Enoch had a habit of laying under our car in the shade. This was no problem since he would always immediately get up when we came out of the house to go somewhere. But when he got old he was arthritic and deaf. Once when Brooksyne went somewhere he didn’t move and his legs were injured seriously. We took him to the vet but his condition, along with his age at the time (about 70 dog years), was just too much and the vet send him home to die. We tried to keep him a while longer but he was pathetic. He was unable to walk but would still try to painfully drag his back legs and follow us around. Maggots were beginning to eat at him from the inside out. But I was mired in inaction regarding what I knew needed done.

A couple of compassionate neighbors saw my plight and volunteered to take care of it for me. They placed Enoch on a wheelbarrow and went back into those woods Enoch loved so much. They took a shovel, which I told them was unnecessary, but they insisted. They said if he were their dog that they’d want him buried. A few minutes later I heard the loud report of a deer rifle and knew that my dog Enoch was gone.

I know writing about my dog may seem unspiritual to some but I have been blessed by these creatures created by God and as Job observed they do teach lessons. And I sure hope you’ve had some good pets!

* I’ve also written a story about my first dog Suzy.