Thursday, November 20, 2014

Church Can Be A Funny Place

Church bulletins often contain some of the funniest lines around. For years, we've been a big fan of these malapropisms and want to share some of our favorite chuckles with you:

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

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,

Announcement in the church bulletin for a National Prayer and Fasting Conference: "The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals."

Charlene Mason sang "I Will Not Pass This Way Again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

Next Sunday is the family hayride and bonfire at the Fowlers. Bring your own hot dogs and guns.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.

For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.

Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

Next Thursday, there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

The “Over 60s Choir” will be disbanded for the summer with the thanks of the entire church.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

The Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM.  Please use the back door.

We want to pray for our unloved saved ones.

Brother Lamar has gone on to be the Lord.

On a church postcard: I have received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I would like a personal visit.

The church is glad to have with us today as our guest minister the Rev. Ralph Green, who has Mrs. Green with him. After the service we request that all remain in the sanctuary for the Hanging of the Greens.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in honor of his wife.

Please welcome Pastor Don, a caring individual who loves hurting people.

It’s Drug Awareness Week: Get involved in drugs before your children do.

The Sunday night men’s Bible study will meet on Saturday at the park, unless it rains. In that case they will meet at their regular Tuesday evening time.

Illiterate? Write to the church office for help.

The class on prophecy has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

(An unfortunate blooper during the pastor’s illness) God is good! Dr. Hargreaves is better!

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

The church office will be closed until opening. It will remain closed after opening. It will reopen Monday.

Let us join David and Lisa in the celebration of their wedding and bring their happiness to a conclusion.

On Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the expense of a new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will please come forward to get a piece of paper.

There is a sign-up sheet for anyone wishing to be baptized on the table in the foyer.

Janet Smith has volunteered to strip and refinish the communion table in the sanctuary.

The concert held in the fellowship hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the pastor’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

If you are going to be hospitalized for an operation, contact the pastor. Special prayer also for those who are seriously sick by request.

Jean will be leading a weight-management series Wednesday nights. She’s used the program herself and has been growing like crazy!

(After the church maintenance man left a note with the church secretary that read “van battery dead,” these words were in the bulletin the next Sunday) Pray for the family of Van Battery who died this week.

When parking on the north side of the church, please remember to park on an angel.

Men’s prayer breakfast. No charge, but your damnation will be gratefully accepted.

(Thanks to Thom Rainer for his many contributions to this list)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

D-Day and Christmas Day

In his book The Faith, Chuck Colson has a chapter entitled "The Invasion." In it he describes the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. D-Day was the largest seaborne landing in history. More than 150,000 U.S. troops were committed to the initial invasion, employing 6,900 vessels, 4,100 landing craft, and 12,000 airplanes. Within two weeks the British deployed an additional 314,547 men, 54,000 vehicles, and 102,000 tons of supplies, while the Americans put ashore an additional 314,504 men, 41,000 vehicles, and 116,000 tons of supplies at Omaha. Ten thousand tons of bombs were dropped on German defenses, with the word given to the French resistance to sabotage key bridges, railway lines, telephone exchanges, and electricity substations. Despite the Allies' air superiority and hours of heavy bombardment against the beach defenses by the warships' guns, the Germans stayed intact as thousands of brave men in the landing craft motored toward shore.

Nothing stood between these troops and the German guns but the morning air. At Omaha, Gold, Sword, Juno, and Utah beaches, the troops' only chance was to run, swim, and crawl up the beach to the sea walls, where they could reassemble for assaults on enemy gun positions. In the first hours at Omaha, more than 2,400 died. Over the next few weeks, as the battle progressed inland, the U.S. would eventually lose 29,000 men and more than 100,000 wounded and missing, while the British gave up 11,000 of its finest, and Canada 5,000. And all this was just the initial set of invasions. The Battle of the Bulge and other potentially catastrophic reversals were still to come, but the invasion of Normandy was so massive and successful, that it allowed the Allies to turn every counterattack into another victory. Colson writes, "As if preordained, the outcome was clear; the evils of Hitler and fascism would be conquered."

Colson then goes on to compare the invasion of Normandy with the invasion of God on Christmas Day. He writes:

In one sense, the great invasions of history are analogous to the way in which God, in the great cosmic struggle between good and evil, chose to deal with Satan's rule over the earth—He invaded. But not with massive logistical support and huge armies; rather, in a way that confounded and perplexed the wisdom of humanity.

It was a quiet invasion. Few people understood what was happening. Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew that she was with child, but she also knew that she had never been with a man, not even Joseph, to whom she was engaged. She had learned of her pregnancy and what was to be a virgin birth when an angel told her that she was pregnant with the Son of God.

For many, including Joseph, the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is hard to accept. But the God who could speak the universe into being, who could create human life, could certainly choose to make Himself known by the power of the Holy Spirit through a virgin,

Most of the people in Palestine at the time of Jesus' birth were expecting a Messianic invasion like we saw at D-day—conquerors in armor bringing a sword to set the people free from oppression.

Jesus only added to the bewilderment of the people who knew Him when He announced: "The time has come …. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:15). This was the time the Jews had waited for, for so long? Liberation? And who was this ordinary Nazarene carpenter to say he was bringing in the Kingdom of God?

Dr. John A. Huffman, Jr., in the sermon The Gifts of Christmas: Salvation (preached on 12-2-07 at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, California); source: Chuck Colson, The Faith (Zondervan, 2008)