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“Wow,” I thought, “An on-line ad for a car insurance company that suggests that it can save me money! I need to look into this.”

I perused the information provided. And I considered it.

Insurance

If it had said, “Different Coverage for Less” I would have been less interested. But the ad clearly said, “Same Great Coverage For Less”. I thought, “Really?” but it confirmed this bit of knowledge three times, as if to answer me reassuringly, “Really.”

They truly had a clear picture of my situation: Indeed, I do work hard for my money. It’s scary how much the ad-writers know!

In fact, I was beginning to think that a friend of mine had ‘shared’ this company’s information with me, when I noted the text, “Sponsored” near the top. It was just a matter of good fortune that it came up as I scrolled. In any case, I was ready to act.

I wasn’t sure how to, though, until I spotted the handy “Learn More” button. Why, that’s exactly what I wanted to do!

So I clicked it and it brought me to a handy form to fill out my information. It took several minutes, but I thought, “I do want to ‘start saving today’, not later.”

And thus I endeavored to fill out the form, ignorant of that to which I was unaware of.

I admit, I should have noticed the clues. When they asked “How many models do you want to insure?” and the options were “0-20″,”20-50″,”50-100″ and “more than 100″ I thought, “Who owns more than a hundred cars?” But still I pressed on.

But then it asked, “Estimated Average Value of all Models” and the options were “0-$1″, “$1-$10″ and “$10-$60″, and the like.

I thought, obviously this is a typo. I should let them know. They will be grateful. So I called the number at the bottom of the page and spoke with a personable insurance agent.

After we exchanged pleasantries, I said, “So anyway, surely your dollar ranges must be incorrect.”

And she said, “Oh, here we go again.”

And I said, “Oh, I see. It must be the case that you’ve been told numerous times about this error but your IT website developing programmer has yet to update the page and that is why you sound so miffed and/or irate.”

And she said, “No, that is not the case.”

And I said, “Oh, well, then it must be the case that it is a known issue with my browser software, Inter-Awesome”

And she said, “No, that is not the case.”

And I asked, “Please tell me then what is the case.”

And she said, “What you should, but clearly don’t, know, is that our company only insures Die-Cast toy cars.”

And after a few seconds I, being a bit stunned and confused, repeated, “Die-Cast T–”

And she impatiently interrupted, “You know – like hot wheels and matchbox cars”

And after a few seconds I, still being a bit stunned and confused, again repeated, “Hot wheels and Matchb–”

And she again, but with more ire apparent in her tone, interrupted a second time, “The ad couldn’t have been more clear! It’s obviously a small toy in the image! There’s a hand holding it! Did you think it to be a giant grotesque perversion of a human hand holding a full-size navigable vehicle?!?!”

And I thought, “I wonder how many exclamation points and questions marks I should add at the end of her last remark when I transcribe this interchange.” I decided upon two exclamation points and two question marks, respectively. In any case, I re-looked at the original image and saw that she was speaking accurately.

Insurance2

So I said out loud, “I see. That makes sen-”

And she, a third time, and with yet even greater emphasis, interrupted again, “I told that dratted marketer this was going to happen! I said, they’re going to think we’re selling insurance for real cars! The kind you drive! And he said, ‘I’ll put in a picture of a hand holding the car.’ And then he chuckled, he CHUCKLED, and said, ‘I’m sure that will make it clear enough for even the least-smart Facebook viewer’. But obviously he was wrong and his dratted chuckling was misplaced!”

And I thought, “next question – when transcribing, what word should I use to replace that very offensive word that she used not once, but twice in her exasperated rant.” I considered “dang”, “fracking” and “confounded” before finally landing on “dratted”.

But she was continuing: “I told him, ‘How about the words “Toy Car” instead of “Car”!’ I suggested -”

And now it was my turn to interrupt her.

“Ma’am?” I said, and then “Ma’am!”

And she stopped, sighed and said, resignedly, “What?”

And I said, truthfully and with a calm voice, “As it happens, I happen to be in the possession of more than two hundred currently uninsured die-cast toy cars”

She paused, as if not really believing me. And then she asked, in much the same way I had only a half hour earlier, “Really?”

And I responded in like manner, “Really.”

I’m pleased to say that our conversation went much better after that. And I can report that, while I think a $230 yearly deductable is a little steep and while I’m still unclear as to why liability is an issue, my 232 yellow 1971 mint Ford Mustang models are safely “covered”. For the 21st century and beyond.

Sometimes I make notes to myself suggesting future blog posts topics. Recently I made this note:

“Ignorance still effective”.

Looking at it, I don’t know what I had in mind. Any ideas?

So here we have the last set of funny quotes from Pastor John. They are generally on the theme of his thoughts about being a pastor and pastoral transition. The last two are the beginning and end of a pretty good story as told by the man called to replace him, Pastor Jason Meyer, in last week’s sermon.

As usual, 3 disclaimers:

1. All quotes taken from sermons.
2. All completely taken out of context.
3. None found in the Online Sermon Texts – but many are on the videos.

17 Amusing Quotes From Pastor John Piper

• This isn’t in my manuscript. This is dangerous. My wife tells me not to do this.

• And that’s where we’re going in a moment. In fact, not a moment – a second: Number 6!

• I wanted to get rid of one of my credit cards. I called them to close it down. She said, ”Did you cash out your points?”. I said, “Points?” I had 140,000 points. That’s $1400 dollars! What would you do with $1400 dollars? I’m not going to tell you what I did.

• I’m really dealing with John Piper here. I’m the preacher. I’m going to be called to account for obeying this more than any of you. At the judgment day. Let not many of you be teachers because you will be judged more strictly. You stood before those people and gave them eleven ways this works and here’s what you did: Boom, boom, boom, boom. It’s a scary thing to be a preacher.

• [Regarding our vision statement – ‘For the joy of all peoples’] The ‘s’ in peoples was put there on purpose. That ‘s’ turns us into a missionary enterprise. That ‘s’ means everything to us.

• If the Lord wills, we will live. I will finish this sermon, if the Lord wills. If a wacko walks in the door, shoots me between the eyes, it was God’s will. So make sure you don’t say wrong things at the funeral. My wife will stand up and correct you!

• Now I know there are people who are going to say, ‘You are so naïve, Piper. You are unbelievable!’ That’s what they’re going to say when they see this on the internet tomorrow, so watch the comments.

• What we need to be at the end of the age is a people who love each other so that that community of love become a protection against deception. Or if you’d like more rhyme than that: Solid affection for believers is a protection against deception. You could almost rap that. But don’t look to me to do that. At least not unless the video is changed.

• That’s another sermon.

• It’s Sunday somewhere in the world.

• We don’t choose our texts from Emily Dickenson

• … And I want to stress – that level of peace that we’ve enjoyed – is a work of God. Because Warm Fuzzies is not in John Piper’s reservoir. That isn’t the right word. Repertoire. That’s what I meant to say. It’s not in the reservoir either… You don’t know. You just don’t know.

• We could not choose a better day on which to end my ministry. Easter. This is awesome. It’s a dream come true. I mean the only better day would be my death day. And that could still happen! In fact, I was thinking – the farewell service that we have planned could be a funeral! But you don’t want me to go to that. I’m sorry. Just – that’s the kind of imagination you’re dealing with here. So morose. Happy morose!

• [In a question/answer session with Erik Metaxis, moderated by Jason Meyer]
Jason: Okay, the next one says – John ask Erik a question and Erik ask John a question.
Erik (to Pastor John): What’s the capital of South Dakota?
John: Oh, don’t ask that. . . But I’d like to ask -
Jason: The answer is Pierre, by the way.
John: I would not have known that.
Erik: You see, this is the kind of person you need in this establishment. Get a hold of this guy. He’s a bright young thinker.

• I’ll give you a dollar – no, I’ll give you a hundred dollars if you hit one of them. (To Pastor Jason Meyer just before he threw a rock and hit an eagle that had been dive bombing them).

• “Consider pledge or flying stone.
Consider vow or diving bird.
Let it be marked, let it be known:
John Piper keeps his every word.”
(In a letter – with which the promised money was enclosed – to Jason Meyer three weeks later*)

<To see this story – watch the first three minutes (or more!) of the sermon here.>

And one more quote from just before Pastor John retired:

• Entire books have been written on this subject and endless questions are going to be raised and I’ll let Jason answer these questions for the next thirty years or so. . .

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By the way, as usual, I’d love to hear what your favorites are.

If you’d like see the other Piper Quotes posts . . .
Piper Quotes 1
Piper Quotes 2
Piper Quotes 3
Piper Quotes 4
Piper Quotes 5
Piper Quotes 6

And I’d like to also recommend heading over to my Dad blog to see my “Dads and Anger” series of posts. My hope is that these posts will help Christian dads avoid sinfully acting in anger against their kids.

And if you’d like to see information about the newest Bible Verse Memory CD made by me and other people at John Piper’s church, you can go here.

CD_Set3

As I was looking at the last set of quotes that I have from Pastor John’s last sermons before he retired I decided to split them up into two posts because there were so many and some of them are fairly long. So this month I’m posting the more theological quotes from the last set and next month I’ll post what he had to say about preaching and pastoral transition.

For the months before he retired he spent several sermons talking about the key theological themes from our church – many of these quotes are along those lines.

As usual, 3 disclaimers:

1. All quotes taken from sermons.
2. All completely taken out of context.
3. None found in the Online Sermon Texts – but many are on the videos.

17 Humorous Quotes from Pastor John

  • There are no drop outs. Nobody’s lost who’s called. . . This is rock solid, covenant keeping power of a sovereign God. It’s not an inoculation on your arm, like “I got saved, I walked an aisle, I signed a card, so it can’t happen to me, I’ve got antibodies in my blood, against lostness.” It doesn’t work that way. Do you know what you’ve got? You’ve got the promise of God.
  • The term ‘Christian Hedonism’ is found in none of our official documents.  It’s not in the Constitution, it’s not in the church Covenant, it’s not in the values booklet, it’s not in the ten dimensions of church life. Nevertheless, some of us love this statement. It’s catchy and it’s … controversial and it’s not in the Bible and therefore zero pressure for you to like it, just because I do.
  • The point of an image is to image.
  • How does Paul respond? “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness. That the power of Christ may rest upon me.” What a man! What a crazy man! What a contrary-to-everything man … called a Christian.
  • Our goal is not to live a simpler life – you move to Northern Minnesota, eat organic, grow potatoes. I don’t know if you grow potatoes in northern Minnesota – our goal is to live with a wartime mentality.
  • “Would you bring another pillow for the den, please?” That’s not what prayer is for! To ring up the maid! … It’s not a domestic intercom.
  • “He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs. Who can stand before his cold?” I love living in Minnesota! Is that cold? That’s God! You haven’t felt cold yet all you Californians, just arrived.
  • I don’t know how people pray who don’t believe in the sovereignty of God to do the impossible. Because all the things I want to happen are impossible. If they’re possible I’ll do them.
  • So I’m going to close by reading from a hero. I have unabashed love for Jonathan Edwards. Okay? Unabashed love. If you want to get my back up, say something ugly about Edwards. Like talking about my mom, you know? He’s not perfect. Boy, oh, boy, was he not perfect. He wasn’t even a Baptist. Small flaw! Small flaw!
  • The highest good of the good news is Joy in God. Period. Nothing beyond it. You will never ever in the bible after that hear God say ‘Much more’ than God himself being your totally satisfying portion forever. ‘Much more’, like golf or something. No offense to golfers. Sorry, David. It just comes to my mind, because I find it so boring.
  • There aren’t any songs about complementarianism that I know of.
  • Where is anyone who leaps for joy, thinking, “I’m hated!”
  • Evidently John has a very elastic view of the last hour or the end of the age…. They were in the last hour two thousand years ago and we’re in the last hour [now]. That’s a stretchy hour.
  • [regarding the end times] I don’t know how far off they are. I have no idea. So if you think like I’ve been sounding like the man of lawlessness will come in 2014, wrong. I have no idea! Could be. Could be six more of God’s days. A week would be a good time for the end time. I hope that doesn’t discourage you.
  • There is nothing in Biblical Eschatology that says you, or your church or your family has to be a part of the ice age coming over the church and the world. Nothing! Which means – a picture in my head – okay, “the love of many will grow cold”. So this glacier is coming over the world to freeze out Christians at the end of the age – they’re all deceived. What’s our job? Torch it! Torch the glacier! So that a big hole happens in the glacier and you see God and it can be wide enough so that Minneapolis is red hot for Jesus when he comes!  Now Bemidji and  Duluth may have gone the way of all flesh. That’s just possible. Or maybe Duluth would be white hot for Jesus and the lake would be bubbling ….
  • I’m so tired of hearing, “The condition of society is the report card of the church.” No! This is God’s sovereign plan.
  • We like to say around here, “Go for it! You can only be killed!”

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By the way, as usual, I’d love to hear what your favorites are.

If you’d like see the other Piper Quotes posts . . .
Piper Quotes 1
Piper Quotes 2
Piper Quotes 3
Piper Quotes 4
Piper Quotes 5

If you’d like to see other posts which had humor as a goal you can go to my attempts category.

And if you’d like to see information about the newest Bible Verse Memory CD made by me and other people at John Piper’s church, you can go here.

CD_Set3

Hello, Biblical language experts who are currently creating the next translation of the Bible – here’s my suggestion/plea.

Don’t use ‘Trespass’ or ‘Trespasses’ as a noun. No current day English-speaking person on earth uses Trespass that way. Only as a verb. You know, ‘To Trespass’.

I know, it’s too late for the ESV, but maybe we can prevent this from ever happening again.

Now you might be thinking, “Is this just because you’re trying to write a Fighter Verse song with the word ‘trespass’ in it? Multiple times?”

Why yes – and it’s a really difficult word to – I mean, THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!

 

 

 

I know almost nothing about this book:

… but I’m guessing this:  There is a non zero number of people who look at symbol in the middle of the title and say to themselves, “Does ‘>’ mean ‘less than’ or ‘greater than’? Okay, let’s see. Is it an alligator mouth going for the bigger one  … or is it a rocket ship pointed towards the bigger one? I can never remember!”

Also, some are wondering if there’s a rap poem in the foreword.

 

DentalAd

I imagine that if this website had more room in the ad, they’d include some more helpful information:

1. Please note that we say “most affordable” but we don’t say “most pain free”. You might catch this from the fact that while two inch metal rods inserted into the jaw might a simple and cost effective way to permanently attach teeth to your gums, there may be a loss of comfort as these come into contact with the odd nerve or two.

2. We’ve put the handy red arrows for clarity. We aren’t going to leave teeth just floating in the air above the lower part of your mouth!

3. You can see how thinking outside the box can save you money. Why go to the expense of attaching three teeth when we can just glue the middle tooth to the outer two and then attach those?

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Interested in seeing more of my attempts at humor?

BadAdTo Facebook I say:

Has it come to this? You’ve lowered yourself to selling ads to consultants who teach people how to murder other people?
With golf clubs?

Really, I mean, Really?

To potential consumers of the product I say:

How competent a teacher can “Jim McLean” be if he hasn’t taught this would-be hit-woman the basics?

Like how about “By all means, don’t let your intended victim get within reach of your iron” for example?

Or “Try, when you’re beating someone to death, not to do it in what looks like a wide open field.”

Or “When swinging, keep your eyes on the target”. This lady looks like she’s staring at the ground.

In any case, were I his marketing adviser, this is not the photo I would have used.

I do give him props for having an innocuous sounding web page, though.

=======

Interested in seeing more of my attempts at humor?

I think one of the funniest verses in the Bible is Jonah 1:10b. Not for what it says, but for what it implies.

Here it is:

For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

Because – When did he mention this? Was it when he came on board? Did the first mate ask him in his brief interview when Jonah came on board as a passenger?

First mate: Name.

Jonah: Jonah.

First mate: Occupation.

Jonah: Prophet.

First mate: Reason for travel.

Jonah: Running away from my God, because I don’t feel like doing what he commanded.

First mate: <shrugs> Whatevs*. Come on up.

I mean, who knows what kind of other weird motivations to cross a sea this sailor has heard from would be passengers.

Or did Jonah mention it in the galley after dinner during a game of cribbage?

Other Passenger: So what’s your story? What’s in Tarshish for you?

Jonah: Well, not my God’s presence, for one.

Other Passenger: Huh. Your deal, Ogden.

However the conversation went, the sailors apparently weren’t bothered by this. Nor did they ask for more details.

Until the storm.

Just as an aside, on the list of dos and don’ts for a passenger on a small ship – one of the ‘don’ts’ is “Relax and have a lie-down while the waves get so big that sea-hardened sailors are ‘crying out’ like babies”.

Which is, of course, what Jonah did. But they woke him up for the Casting Of Lots. One wonders if they often did this:

Alright, who muddied up the deck with his boots? Throw those dice, Milford. We’ll find out!

In any case, ‘the lot fell on Jonah’. Can you picture all heads turning to look at him? I can.

And then I picture the captain asking politely, but with some assertiveness, “Please tell us a little more about yourself.”

And Jonah swallows and (to his credit) decides to only mention the information pertinent to the situation at hand, “I serve … well, you know the god I said I was running away from? Well, He’s the”,  and he clears his throat, “…God who created the land and the sea.”

If I were writing a radio teleplay of this story, at this point I would:

SFX** – The Pulling-the-needle-off-a-record-player screechy noise. (yes, I know it’s oft-used and outdated but it still scores well with the young kids).

Then:

SFX – Silence. [I’d say crickets, but crickets is over done, and really, would this kind of insect be on a boat?]

And then the captain pauses and says, “The, um . . . the god who created the what now?”

And Jonah is not pleased that he has to repeat himself. But he does and this time he is more to the point: “The God who created the sea. Including this one.”

If I was writing a play or television screenplay of this story, I would have the Captain blink. Twice. And then calmly turn around and face his men. And then, not so calmly (in fact hysterically): Row! Row! For all you’re worth!

It’s recorded that about here in the story, some of the men also said, “What is this that you have done!”

It’s not recorded, but at this point, the First Mate might have had a few more words. Y’know, something like, “Really? You couldn’t have mentioned this before when we were initially speaking together? Wow. Just . . . Wow.”

All of this because this captain, the first mate and all the sailors are smart guys*** and they know that a god who created the sea your ship is on has the ability to wreck stuff on the sea your ship is on. Including your ship.

There are other messages in the book of Jonah, but this has to be one of them, right? And I think we can generalize: If you are somewhere that your God created, defying him is unwise.

If you believe this, I recommend you live like you believe this.

* What? You didn’t know that ‘whatevs’ is originally from an early common Mesopotamian tongue?  More interestingly, linguistic analysis shows that, unlike in our culture, it was used by the more masculine of speakers.

** Sound Effects

*** Although, I can imagine one newbie sailor who’s a little slow on the uptake, commenting loudly as he’s pulling on the main-mast ropes: What? What’s the big deal? Won’t anyone explain what’s going on?

[If you'd like to read other posts where I try to be funny, please see my Attempts category.]

As usual, 3 disclaimers:

1. All quotes taken from sermons – if you count the message given at our church’s 140th anniversary celebration. That’s what the first four are from.
2. All completely taken out of context.
3. None found in the Online Sermon Texts – but many are on the videos.

Please also notice that like the last list,  there are some sound effects in these quotes – I made my best guess at how to spell them based on how Pastor John spoke them.

31 Humorous Quotes from Pastor John

  • One of the great things about getting old is you can see the patterns and things don’t make you panic.
  • It’s hard to be sick when you’re excited.
  • It was one o’clock in the morning. You’re crazier at one o’clock in the morning.
  • That’s why we did the north stealth bomber building. I tell people, it’s the building that looks like a stealth bomber. With no sign. Yet.
  • If you’re heading for a cliff and someone shouts a warning to you, you will never complain about the irraspable strident nature of the tone of their voice.
  • Okay, Peter says, “You will never wash my feet.” Now Jesus could have simply said, ‘Look Peter, you’re wrecking the illustration. Just shut your mouth, sit down, let me wash your feet. I’m making a point. Don’t ruin the illustration!”
  • I know I don’t know how many hundreds of verses by heart and I come up to a moment and I can forget ALL OF THEM in an hour of crisis! The Devil has an incredible – I mean these arrows – I don’t know what they are but I think one of them is ‘Bing!’ No memory!
  • Which means you’ve gotta fight to learn these [verses] and memorize these things and have these verses tumbling around in your fore-frontal lobal brain part. Whatever that is.
  • But [In the tense moment of fear] I wasn’t vaguely thinking “Oh I need help. O God, your kind. Uh, do something.” That’s better than nothing, but way better is to think of something specific, tailor made, blood bought that He said.
  • The temptation of Covetousness or Greed: So you desire something, everybody deals with this – it’s why ‘Thou shall not covet’ is in the Bible. You desire something. And the desire starts to get really strong. Really powerful. You are starting to lose your contentment in Jesus. You are starting to feel: ‘If I don’t have this thing –’ might be a husband, might be an iPad . . .
  • I’m scared out of my wits at being a millionaire. That’s a weakness. Some people can handle it. I don’t have that gift. Like I chew a whole pack of gum immediately. . . Why wouldn’t you?*
  • You hardly ever make friends when you’re dealing with church discipline.
  • (About the Holy Spirit) [Jesus] gave you a helper. Notice (I love this), he didn’t give you an observer. Like: “I’m watching. Right now I’m next to you. And I’m watching.” Well, that’s not what I need. Everybody’s watching me. I don’t need another person to watch me. . . I need a helper.
  • You might be glad that there are copper pipes in your walls but you really like the water. Unless you’re weird.
  • Hello, my name is John, I’ll be serving you tonight, would you like to begin with a drink? [Regarding Pastors as Waiters in 1 Cor 3.]
  • What will we do that is greater than what Jesus did? You should be on the edge of your seat, because you don’t know the answer to that. I do! I think. You can get all these theologians to test me on it.
  • I got two tickets in the mail. Not driving tickets – my branches are over the sidewalk. I’m going to be fined in twelve days. My branches are over the sidewalk of my hedge. So I clipped them! I obeyed the law. Then I got another one. I forgot to put the clippings in a compostable bag! And now, by Tuesday, I have to empty the big black sturdy bag into a wimpy little green bag. Now what’s the point of that little interlude? The point is, isn’t it amazing that there’s a cultural consensus about the good that puts the power of jail and fines into the hands of the police because of my branches.
  • My branches are too long! I personally think that’s probably a good law. I don’t like messy neighborhoods.  I’d like to take some of the other houses in my neighborhood and say, “Why don’t you send them some letters?”
  • The next week we’ll have a guest pastor, Ed …. Help me ….Stetzer. That’s what happens when you’re sixty-six. Don’t laugh, it’s coming.
  • Dads, I’m going to make this real easy. Even if you can’t read and your wife can, you can still lead in devotions. Just say, “C’mon, kids, come on”. Say that: “Come. On.” And then you say, “Honey, read John 1”. And you say, “Daughter, pray for us.” That’s leadership, Fella. You don’t need anything but guts to do that. Well, the Holy Spirit would help. You know what I mean.
  • But we know it’s not the main point, because verse six begins with ‘For’. See that? I hope it’s there in your version; if it’s not, get another version.
  • Mothers are you reading your kids bible stories before they can read? Are you playing tapes – you don’t use tapes – CDs?
  • Does this look familiar to you? It shouldn’t. I never bring this Bible. Scofield Reference Edition. King James Version. “Happy Birthday, Son. January 11th 1961. This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book. Mother and Daddy.” This was my book for four years. I got another one when I was nineteen. I got an RSV. Then I got an NIV.  Used it for the next 40 years. Then I got an ESV. And I’m happy there ‘till I die.  But this was my book. And I love to turn in here and look at these blue and red marks. . . It says “Johnny S Piper” on the front. In gold.”
  • [In 2 Timothy 4,] Correction is: zoop! Like it’s: zoop! Like: you’re going this way? Go this way!
  • So as I’ve tried to discern what I should say, It has seemed to me that perhaps fitting that a choppy text should have a choppy sermon.
  • “When you come, bring the coat that I left with Carpus at Troas.” Seriously? You are the most famous, the most effective and the most authoritative Christian on the planet, Paul. Timothy is one thousand miles away. I googled it today. Rome to Ephesus. I don’t know if he’d take a boat, or walk. No cars, no planes, this is going to be a hard long journey and Timothy has a job. He’s the pastor in Ephesus and you want him to bring you your coat . . . Buy another coat! In Rome. They make coats! Ask Claudia to make you one. What’s going on here? I mean why is this in the Bible? What is going on? Bring me my coat. Well, I don’t know, but it has the ring of unbelievable wartime simplicity to me.
  • I have a coat and winter is coming. Get the connection? Oh, it’s going to be cold. And you are writing this letter before the first winter of Rome hits, they’ve told you what it’s like. You left your coat not knowing what the temperatures would be like in Rome, now you’ve been told what Minnesota’s like and you send for your California coat, which won’t work anyway.
  • Jesus never says, “Let those fickle, failing, finite, fallible friends go”
  • My happy conviction is that pastors ought not to be experts on everything.
  • Okay, close that parenthesis, that’s another sermon. Jason, you can do that one.

* I’ll just note that there is a 6 second pause before he says “Why wouldn’t you?” You can see it at 40:30 here.

By the way, as usual, I’d love to hear what your favorites are.

If you’d like see the other Piper Quotes posts . . .
Piper Quotes 1
Piper Quotes 2
Piper Quotes 3
Piper Quotes 4

And if you’d like to hear samples of Bible Verse memory songs for the memory plan used by John Piper’s Church, go the iTunes page.

Or check out the CD!

Great for families!

For an adult, being sunburnt out in public is like walking around with a big sign that says,

“‘Yes, I’m an idiot.”

or

“As you can see, I’ve managed to make it to my forties without learning basic human physiology”

or

“Cause and Effect? What’s that? Sounds interesting!”

 

. . .Also known as the wind chime, You know, that multi-tone little-hanging-chime percussion instrument played with the percussionists finger to give an other-worldly fantasy feel to music or dramatic situations.

(Please don’t take this post too seriously)

There is a considerable degree of controversy surrounding this musical device and even among Evangelical circles there is often a great divide in different individual’s beliefs. I can’t count how many times a seemingly innocuous twitter comment about the Mark Tree from a well known evangelical leader has gone viral with thousands of agreeing/hating retweets.

And this is no surprise. On one end of the spectrum, there are those who would say that all usages of this instrument in a worship setting are ‘evil’, ‘following worldliness right into the sewer’, or even ‘digestionally-challenging-to-those-who-have-the-slightest-musical-taste’.

Others suggest that there is no bad time to employ this instrument; it should be ‘played’ at every event that happens in a church, right down to adult baptisms and/or funerals.

I say, can’t we find a middle road here? This ‘instrument’ is neither inherently good nor bad. The key factor is how it is used.

So here, for the Responsible Puppet Reader, is a handy pair of lists to be employed by thoughtful modern worship directors to determine what the appropriate times are for this instrument’s usage.

Good Times To Use The Mark Tree:
1. In a worship song – during a transition period when the song is getting softer and more introspective, particularly if it’s been at least a month since the last time you used it in a worship setting.

Okay, I guess that’s really the only good time to use this instrument.

Inappropriate Times To Use The Mark Tree:
1. As implied above, during baptism services and/or funerals.
2. During a sermon based on Hebrews or Malachi. Or any of the genealogies. Or elsewhere in the Old or New Testament.
3. As a part of an ‘organ only’ service.
4. Communion. So I guess pretty much all of the sacraments are out.
5. During announcements, unless the speaker presenting them is talking about the bussing schedule for the ‘Witness at the Renaissance Festival’ event.
6. In the middle of a ‘Pray silently’ moment.
7. During the “Visitors, Please Introduce Yourselves” portion of a service.
8. During an alter call.
9. As a part of a ‘saxophone only’ service.
10. Right after the benediction.

As you can see, there are plenty of potential pitfalls with Mark tree usage. It is understandable if you just want to avoid using it altogether. But a wise Music Director can navigate these ‘danger zones’ and avoid the horrific musical consequences that so many service leaders have fallen into, pulling all the congregants – kicking and screaming – down with them.

Has your church used the Mark Tree in worship services? Would you have suggestions/amendments for the ‘Good’ and ‘Inappropriate’ lists?

Now that the vote is in and Pastor Jason is being called to be our new pastor (with 99% affirming the call), I have compiled the amusing quotes from Pastor Meyer’s season of candidating and posted them here. I will note two things that are different from the quotes that I’ve previously posted for Pastor John:

  1. Jason’s amusing quotes are longer.
  2. Jason’s amusing quotes are actually in the posted manuscript – at least most of them. Pastor John’s quotes are almost always less planned.

The last quote on the list was spoken by Pastor Meyer about ten minutes before the vote.

Here are the quotes:

A lot of people approach the cross like the ABC’s of the Christian life.    What I mean by that is, it’s a good thing to start with but then as you mature you move beyond it. Right? The cross is like spiritual kindergarten and we don’t watch TV brought to us by the letter C anymore, thank you very much. Haven’t we moved beyond that? . . . And I’m never tired of saying, we never move beyond the cross. We only move further up, further in, to the very heart of God.

Any of us, with our pathetic pride, would not be able to handle this kind of mocking [from the other two criminals on the cross to his left and his right]. Really? You’re dying and you’re dying and you’re mocking me? I know that I wouldn’t be able to stay up on the cross, because I’ve experienced something like this. I had an eighth grade neighbor when I lived in Louisville and I found out that he loved basketball and I found out he wasn’t a Christian, and we decided to play together and I had played a little bit in college so we were going to play together and I was going to let him win, gonna let him beat me and build up some self esteem, and it was all going very well until he got ahead by ten points and started trash talking. “Oh you played in college – were they all girls? ha ha ha!”
And he didn’t win.
And he didn’t score another point.
Because I am pathetic.

Everyone knows instinctively knows that there is a vast difference between running over your neighbor’s mailbox and running over your neighbor.

. . . A distinction between a point and focal point. Something and the main thing. And we all know this if you’ve ever made potato soup, right? Who among us actually thinks potato soup only has potatoes in it? You have potatoes, you have milk, you have flour, you have basil and if you’re good you might actually add some bacon. But it’s not called bacon, milk, potato soup parsley whatever-you-put-in-it. The dominant ingredient becomes the defining element.

Who in this room actually gets what the incarnation is about? The whole fullness of deity . . . in a body. That’s like all of the oceans of the world . . . in a cup! We’re not talking about the difference between regular Dawn detergent dish soap and Ultra Dawn, super-concentrated, twice the cleaning power. We’re talking about fullness of deity in a body, infinite perfection in a human being – how can it be?

We say to God, “You are in another category than me” so what we do is we stop, our minds feel defeated and we adore the wisdom, celebrate the wisdom, and thank God for the Incarnation. There’s a TV show called ‘How It Works’, and sometimes while we’re flipping channels we’ll look at them take some common thing and goes into the inner workings of it. This will never be on that show.

In the first year of my marriage, my wife and I played kind of a funny game, where you don’t just say, “Happy Anniversary” every year, but every month. Sometimes it meant even waking the other person up at midnight to say, “Happy Third Anniversary! Beat you to it!”

We played another funny game, that we don’t do as much now that I’ve made it a sermon illustration, but, we used to say, “I love you” and then with that sparkle in the eye for the other person we’d say, “Oh I love you more” and then it’s like, “Okay, you want to play it that way? Game on, I love you ten times more””Oh, I love you a hundred times more.” “I love you a billion times more!””I love you infinity” And you had to stop. You can’t pull a Buzz Lightyear and say “Infinity and Beyond”. You can’t say, “I love you infinity times ten” It’s not romantic, it’s just bad math! So at this point, do you see? It’s bad theology to say, “We have Christ but we need something else.”

[about candidating for the Pastoral Position] Sometimes I think if you can make it through this process and not be dead then you’re fit for it and if you die then you weren’t called for the position.

==

 
If you’d like to see my other humorous posts, please head over to my Attempts category.

We’re redoing the kitchen in our home and much of the work is being done by Phil Carlson Custom Woodcraft. He (very reasonably) asked us to fill out a form describing our expectations for the work being done and any thoughts we had about how it should be done. We filled it out and rather than taking what we had written seriously, Phil seemed to be amused by what we wrote.  Please read what I wrote and see what you think!

===

Communication and Expectations

What hours of the day can we be at your house?  When can we start and when would you like us out of your home?  Can we work on Saturdays if necessary?

We’ve got a sort of odd schedule and what would be most helpful is if you are only in our house on even hours on odd days and odd hours on even days.

Please don’t work before 11:30 AM or after 2:30 PM

Saturdays won’t work as we have our weekly Porcupine Owners Round-Up Meeting (P.O.R.U.M) at our place all day on Saturdays.

What is the best mode of communication?  When is it appropriate to call you?

The homeschool curriculum we’re using encourages engaging in different kinds of communication tools. So while calling us on the phone is fine, it would be great if you would refrain from using your voice – rather, use some kind of implement to tap out morse code. I can send a link to a website of how to perform the dots and dashes, if that would help. Or you could perform the clicking communication used by ancient Aztecs circa 1400 A.D, although the documentation about that is less substantial.

How involved do you want to be in the project?  Will you be present on the job site?  How much of what is going on would you like to be informed about (ie – tomorrow we are doing xyz, and next Tuesday xyz will be here, etc).

We’ve never done this before, so we’d like to be very involved, if only for learning purposes. For example, if you could show all of our kids how to hang a cabinet, we’d appreciate it.

Will your kids be home alone with either myself or my workers there?  Are you ok with that?  Just want to make sure you’re comfortable.

Ever since the ‘Rotto Rooter Incident’ – in which Foster somehow inadvertently (but extremely cutely) destroyed our sections of the neighborhood’s sewage system – we’re not allowed to have workers alone with our kids, due to a Court order – for the “protection of the nearby block section and those entering [our home]”. You may have heard about this situation in the paper, but I can assure you, the local press overplayed the story. In any case, the RoRoo employee has almost nearly fully recovered, with minimal permanent loss of gross motor functionality in his legs.

Are there any parking restrictions I should know about, whether in your driveway or on the street?  Do you have any neighbors we need to be extra careful around or respectful toward?

Our city ordinance prohibit construction workers from parking within 300 feet of the home in which they are doing work (for marketing purposes, I don’t claim to understand it).

We’d actually request that you be DISrespectful to our neighbor to the north (Lyle Blortenmurhen).  He’s kind of a pain. Could you toss some kitchen remodeling waste on his roof, for example? Or yell disparaging words at his dogs?

Where can I set my dumpster?

What would be great is if you could put it at the far south west corner (a mere three minute walk) of our backyard. We don’t want junk being stored on our driveway, obviously! Adding a wrinkle to that request is our fervent wish to keep trucks off our lawn, so if you ask any of the neighbors for permission to drive through their lawn to position the dumpster, that would be great. Option 2: Keeping the dumpster at your place and simply hauling all of the refuse there each night. Either is fine with us.

Can I store materials in your garage?  Is your garage available as a workspace for cutting materials and making a minimal mess with dust?

Sure, but only on pleasant sunny days. During inclement weather, we’d appreciate it if you keep the gear and do the work somewhere else (anywhere outside is fine, esp. Mr, Blortenmurhen’s front lawn) so that muddy footprints don’t sully our pristine garage floor.

Which restroom should we use?

Whoah, whoah, whoah, who’s ‘we’? What do you think we are, some kind of free lavatory service for whoever you want to invite to our home?

How tidy do you want the jobsite to be left at the end of each day?

Just as long as you can hook up the kitchen sink before you leave each night, we don’t care. After all, we don’t stop eating (and that means preparing food, obviously) just because we’re making our kitchen nice.

Do you have any aversions, sensitivities, or things that annoy you I should be aware of?

Well, dangling participles, for one. That sentence should read, “. . . or things of which that annoy you I should be.” Also, some of our kids are afraid of power tools. And loud noises.

Anything else?

Please see our attached list of music we’d like you and your workers to be limited to. Don’t worry, it’s a pretty diverse set and includes music ranging from ‘Carmen’ to ‘Sandy Patty’. And everything in between.

Thank you,

Phil

Right back at you, The Jamisons

With the announcement of Jason Meyer as the new preaching pastor for Bethlehem Baptist Church, there have been many misconceptions, misunderstandings and misrepresentations about the Decision Process. In this document, I have codified them, quashed them and now present them to you.

But first, one might reasonably ask: Who are you and what makes you a reliable resource on the subject? I’m glad you asked. Here are just two qualifications (of many!) that I can give you.

  1. I have personally spoken with Pastor John Piper recently. [Full disclosure - it was a ninety second conversation about a different subject, but honestly now, can you make that claim?]
  2. I (along with my family) sat in the pew directly in front of the Meyer family last Sunday.

Nine Myth Dispellations About The Process To Determine The New Bethlehem Pastor

1. His name is Jason Meyer, not Jason Meyers, Jason Mayor, Jason MyErr (Ha ha, really funny), Jason Mraz, John Mayer or Mason Jeyer.

2. At no point was this question (regarding Twitter competency) asked of Jason: Let’s say that Pastor [name of popular but on-the-edge evangelical pastor] writes a new book espousing a happy-feely but heretical view. What would you tweet? In four syllables or less. Bonus points if it rhymes.

3. In the documentation about the decision, it was stated that at one point, the elders had narrowed the field down to two candidates. The other person was not Kirk Cameron.

4. Neither was this plan ever seriously considered: “In lieu of live sermons, Bethlehem elders will stand at the pulpit weekly and read Jonathan Edwards sermons.”

5. The congregational vote is coming in only two stages (Associate Pastor for Preaching and Vision then Pastor for Preaching and Vision), not seven stages (Associate Pastor for Preaching, Associate Pastor for Vision, Associate Pastor for Vision Preaching,  Associate Pastor for Vision Preaching,  Associate Vision Pastor for Preaching, Associate Preaching Pastor for Vision, THEN Pastor for Preaching and Vision).

6. No, Jason was not grilled for several hours on his view of “Theodical Cyclonistry*” (seminary fancy talk for Tornado Theology).

7. The book written by Jason is “The End of the Law – Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theory”, NOT “New Testament Cool Stuff”**

8. Jason doesn’t actually have “Bethlehem convictions and activities” literally written in his DNA. This was confirmed by blood test. But it was only a minor strike against him.

9. Pastor John will not “immediately” be starting a seven month leave to write “Don’t Waste Your Pastoral Transition”

* Apparently, the spell checker doesn’t think that Dispellations, Theodical, nor Cyclonistry are real words. It just goes to show how little it knows of these matters. Also ‘happy-feely’.

** Just checked in Wiki-Reformed-opedia. It turns out that New Testament Cool Stuff was at one point the working title for the book, so this myth was at least somewhat reasonable.

=======

Interested in seeing more of my attempts at humor?

I don’t think I’ve publicly admitted it on this blog, but I’m a bit of a Star Trek fan. I’ve watched almost every episode of at least four of the shows and I’ve been to exactly one convention. Does that qualify me?

So recently my wife and I watched The Captains, (it’s instant viewing on Netflix) a documentary produced by William Shatner in which he interviewed all of the other Star Trek captains.

It was actually quite interesting.

The most intriguing part was a section in which he asked all of them about the personal cost of being cast in the role. In it we learned that four of the actors who played the Captains were divorced, two of the divorces were at least indirect results of being actors on science fiction television and one (Kate Mulgrew) said that her kids resented her role in Star Trek and were ‘dripping contempt’ for the show.

And then (at 58:55) Mr. Shatner asks Avery Brooks (Deep Space Nine – Benjamin Sisko) about his family life during the show and what follows is two minutes of . . . well, I would call it glorious incoherence.

How would you describe it? I’ve taken the time to transcribe it – here it is:

====

Shatner: Did you lose family time?
Brooks: Of course!
Shatner: Did it hurt?
Brooks: Of course!
Shatner: But how much harm was suffered -

Brooks: Well, you’d have to ask them, I mean, because the attendant, the attendant of – of the movement of time, y’know for us all, y’know, there-there it is, there – the one – the one hand or the other. I mean who knows, therefore, y’know, in retrospect, y’know. I mean, you can do it that way: say I should have done this as opposed, y’know, I mean, who knows? I mean so – so – so I hold fast to what I’ve chosen to do and I’m not apologizing for that. But the attendant toll taken on family and all of that is, that’s – that’s it.

Shatner: What do you mean, ‘that’s it’? That’s profound. That was terrible.

Brooks: It’s true, baby.

Shatner: That was terrible.

Brooks: Well, it’s not terrible or not terrible, it’s true. It’s true.

Shatner: Well, it’s true, you suffered.

Brooks: It’s true, they suffered.

Shatner: You suffered.

Brooks: It’s true-

Shatner: But you suffered as well.

Brooks: Well, watch -

Shatner: Well, if they suffered, you suffered.

Brooks: Watch what I’m saying to you.

Shatner: I’m listening.

Brooks: It’s true. It’s not terrible or not. It’s true. You know, the toll – the toll on people, you can’t get it back. I mean, no matter what. I mean, whether-whether the decision to make, y’know, to do the thing or not to do a thing – you know what I’m talking about?

Shatner: Yes, I do. Did you discuss this with Vicki like this or did you -

Brooks: She knows, of course! I’ll move. Whether we survive is still accident, isn’t it? Whether we survive all of the sum of who we are -

Shatner: The cumulative effects of life.

Brooks: Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve got to live it, baby. Like you. What’s different?

Shatner: The same.

Brooks: Hmmm.

========

Hmmm, indeed.

And for the record, Avery has been married to Vicki since 1976.

As the story goes the popularity of the movie “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” did not go unnoticed by the other Hollywood studios. The odd tale showed Benjamin throughout the course of his life growing backwards – from old to young.

One competing studio actually worked on a similar concept, this one where a man went through his whole life looking like he was a balding man of sixty three. But studio execs quashed the project saying there was “no character change” and that the protagonist was “too static”.

In the end the original concept photography was sold an used as another on-line education grant advertisement:

When I was quite young I used to watch the animated superhero show ‘Underdog’.

I will say that as a young child I found some of the scenes to be quite scary and sobering and none were more frightening to me than the episode called “The Phoney-Booths” in which the evil Simon Bar Sinister created phone booths that would transform normal people into slaves (with odd siren-like lights on their heads) who would do whatever evil he wanted them to.

And when Underdog fell into the trap and became (temporarily!) evil himself, the seven year old me found it very disturbing.

All that to say that when I see this internet add on the yahoo website:

. . . it kind of freaks me out a little bit. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the marketers were going for.

So I was pumping gas on Friday and I saw this on the pump:

. . . and I thought to myself, “Those instructions, with it’s blue rectangle and red circle, may not be clear enough.”

So I thought I’d make a suggestion – in graphic format – as a service to those people reading this blog who design gas pumps:

What do you think?

As usual, 3 disclaimers:

1. All quotes taken from sermons
2. All completely taken out of context
3. None found in the Online Sermon Texts – but many are on the videos

27 Witticisms From John Piper

As I was compiling these quotes, I noticed a slight theme. This year, a few of the quotes include a nonstandard word. In fact, I couldn’t use one of the quotes, because I couldn’t figure out how to spell the utterance he used. In any case, that’s what these first four quotes are.

===

  • [On Pastor John’s Definition of being ‘Free’] You aren’t really fully free if you aren’t doing what you desire to. You say, “I can! I can muster up my will and I can do what I don’t want to do.” Yes, you can. You call that Freedom? I don’t. Bleah.
  • The word ‘Alone’ is added in the ESV, The word ‘Deemed’ is added in the Study Bible, I’ve written those folks, all my friends who translated this verse and said “Don’t do this to me! I have to preach on this! The fact that he said it the way that he said it accounts for their objection in verse 13. If you take out the problem from Chapter 5 verse 30 you can’t explain the problem that the Pharisees in chapter 8 verse 13!” So forgive me for being little bit CLK here.
  • I told Noel the other night how frustrating it is to preach through this gospel because when you’re starting verses like this you gotta slow down! And if I slow down I’ll never finish! So . . . we try to slow down a little and then Pssssh like this, y’know? So I’m doing a Pssssh tonight.
  • Some pastors say “I don’t want to get into specifics. We’ll just have a hazy unity.” I don’t want to have a hazy unity. Hazy unity feels . . . bleah.

(We now return you to your regularly scheduled normal funny quotes from Pastor John)

  • In fact, so much is here in verse 31, that I never got to verse 32, from which I took the title to the message.
  • We want to fly away and be like angels. But we live here and we change diapers. Used to anyway. About 4000 of them, I figure.
  • When we’re praying “forgive me”, we’re not just saying, “I hope you’re nice!”
  • If you asked, “Show us the Father”, and I said, “as long as I have been with you and you don’t know me?” you wouldn’t come back to this church. And you shouldn’t.
  • . . . So pretend like you’re in class for the next twenty minutes or so and we’ll close with preaching.
  • [About our church’s location] Can you survive the fact that if you can see the church, you can’t get to it? Yes, you can. . . Try it sometime! Try driving down 35W. There it is! Twenty minutes later you’re at our church.
  • I cannot imagine that it would be satisfying to become an itinerant conference speaker. Yuck.
  • No one sins out of duty: “I don’t want to sin, but I really should, so I will.”
  • For John, this was like he was writing in the 50’s. I’m 65. I remember the 50’s. I remember Elvis!
  • When I read things like this in the Bible they jar me. I really love to be jarred by the Bible.
  • If you haven’t been jarred when you’re reading the Bible, you’re not reading it.
  • I’ve told that story a hundred time and people always laugh. You almost didn’t laugh.
  • We’re talking about eternal life. It’s not eternal golf. I’m always picking on golf. Sorry David! No, it’s eternal Him!
  • Some people are saying, when I think about Jesus’ love, I think about John 3:16. I don’t think about 11:5 [letting Lazarus die.]
  • Human brains get us into trouble a lot.
  • I listened to about 5 minutes of it. I couldn’t take it anymore.*
  • If you’re dead, you’re dead. You can’t undead yourself.
  • I think I get it [I can explain this complex text (John 9:40-41)]. But you’re going to have to help me. You’re going to have to not think about what you’re going to be doing in an hour. You will be lost.
  • There’s only one kind of sheep. Mangy sheep.
  • If you say ‘I don’t have anything to give [in a small group]’, that’s blasphemy. . . not to overstate it.
  • I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I don’t have any promises about ease, except: It gets worse. I DO have huge promises about joy.
  • There are those who think, “I don’t give a rip about mixed metaphors. If you’re a door and a shepherd, tell me about it!”
  • We are little children. Little children don’t know all they need to know, but they really sleep well.

* The newest contemporary Christian music song? No, he’s talking about the tape from the first time he preached from John 16:16-24

If you’d like more Piper Quotes
Piper Quotes 1
Piper Quotes 2
Piper Quotes 3

And if you’d like to hear songs for verses from Pastor Piper’s church’s Bible memory plan (and maybe buy the CD) look here:

By the way, as usual, I’d love to hear what your favorites are.

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