A Little Girl’s History of the Bible

little-girl-with-bible-outside-churchI hope you enjoy this – the history of the Bible written by a little girl: “In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, ‘The Lord thy God is one,’ but I think He must be a lot older than that. Anyway, God said, ‘Give me a light!’ and someone did. Then God made the world. He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren’t embarrassed because mirrors hadn’t been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden. Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn’t have cars. Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Able.

Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something. One of the next important person was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check. After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than His brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat. Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston.

Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable. God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top ten Commandments. These include don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor’s stuff. Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: ‘Humor thy father and thy mother.’

One of Moses’ best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spy glasses. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and made a fence fell over on the town. Joshus led his people to fight off the Aminites, the Kanenites, the Parisites, and the Moskeetobites. After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a rock and got into big trouble kissing somebody named after a bath tub. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn’t sound very wise to me. After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed upon the shore. He probably smelled like my little brother. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don’t have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn, too, because my mom is always saying to me, ‘Close the door! Were you born in a barn?’ It would be nice to say, ‘As a matter of fact, I was.’) During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Democrats. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man and the sun of God. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn’t stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead because his wife told him to. Anyway’s, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. When he comes he will raise up those people who are dead but really quick. That doesn’t make sense to me and there are lots of other confusing things in the book of Revolution.”

Mister Rogers and the Marathon Bombings


This past Monday there were two pressure-cooker bombs that exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon killing three and injuring 170, some severely. There was a quote making its way around social media; a quote from Mister Rogers from years ago: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Boston is not the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, but we did see the helpers, didn’t we? We saw people running toward the devastation; rushing to help in any way they could.

It was a great illustration of what Jesus meant when he told the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. You know the story. Did you ever notice the subtle twist in the answer that Jesus gave to the teacher of the Law who asked him, “Who is my neighbor?” After telling the compelling story, Jesus answered the question by asking another one; “Which…do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”  The emphasis went from who is my neighbor to whose neighbor are you? In other words, it is not about you and your relationship to the person, but about them and their need. Thus as a follower of Christ, my neighborhood is wherever I am and my neighbor is to whomever I show mercy.  

The other day, I was walking a few blocks from my home and saw a very frail old woman (even older than me) in a house coat and slippers in her front yard. She had a shovel and was trying to dig a hole (I assumed) in which to plant a flower. I said good morning and she didn’t answer, but looked at me with a mixture of desperation and fear. I kept walking, trying to process what I saw and thinking that if I had stopped to help her she might have freaked out. Suddenly it hit me; I was justifying myself by trying to figure out whether she was my neighbor and capable of receiving my help. In reality, I was her neighbor by virtue of the fact that I saw she needed help. So I circled back and found that she had collapsed… just kidding. I found that she was just going into her house, so I walked home realizing that I had missed an opportunity to show mercy.  

The “helpers” in Boston may have hesitated because of fear, but they rushed back into devastation because there was a need in the “neighborhood.” And Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”


Afraid of God?

Afraid of GodSome could rightly argue that our culture no longer has a fear of God. Jonathan Edwards’s famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1741) would today be re-entitled, “God in the Hands of Angry Sinners.” However, there are many very religious people in our world who are seeking a relationship with God based upon fear and desperately need to hear the overwhelming joyful news of the gospel.

I was reading the testimony of a woman who became a Christian in Iran. When she was fourteen, she joined a Zeinabiyeh (the house of the Imam Hazrat Zeinab), a sort of holy club where women would study the Koran and learn how to please Allah. For seven years she awoke every morning to pray from 1- 5 am. She would go to school and then back to the Zeinab House to pray from 5 pm to the early evening. Sometimes there would be a special program and she would be there until midnight, go home for an hour or so of sleep, and then begin the regimen again. There were certain “dark celebrations” in which the women would mourn for the dead Imams. They would fall down and scratch their faces, bang their heads on the floor, and pull out their hair. They would beat their chests so hard that they would be black and blue. All of her prayers, all of her tears, all of her service were to please Allah.

She feared death. She was always aware of her sin and believed that Allah was angry at her and would judge her when she died. “I feared that if any of my hair stuck out of my scarf, Allah would hang me from my hair in heaven. Heavy black socks covered my legs. If I accidentally revealed my ankles to anyone, Allah would drop me repeatedly into hell to burn my legs. I could reach heaven only if I wore all this stuff and cried all the time. Finally a young woman of twenty-one, I left the Zeinab House. My studies were complete. They had shown me a very angry God.” Here was a woman who had memorized the Koran and was able to translate portions from Arabic into Farsi, and yet she could not find a God who loved her.

After a suicide attempt, she began watching a Christian TV program. It was actually a worship service beamed in from another country and as the camera panned the congregation she saw people who actually looked happy. They were singing and clapping their hands. There was no music in her worship. She was immediately drawn to a God whose worshippers were filled with joy—something that she had never experienced. She had always observed that holy men in her country, such as Imam Khomeini, never cracked a smile. They always looked sad and angry as they lashed out at this or that. So when an international number appeared on the TV screen, she called it. Over the next several months she was given a Bible in Farsi, which she read voraciously. She also continued to watch the TV program and soon came to know a God of love revealed through Jesus Christ.

What an amazing joyful gospel we have to share with the world! “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16, 17). If your worship service this weekend were beamed into someone else’s living room, what would they conclude about your God?

Conversation with a Princess

disney-princessesI had a very refreshing conversation a few years ago at Dunkin Donuts with a very pretty young lady. We conversed about the tea party she was planning for that afternoon and the people she was going to invite. She called herself Cinderella and told me that I was Prince Charming. She also told me that she was inviting Snow White and few others to the party. I asked if all those dwarfs were coming. She said “just Dopey because he is too young for school.” Hmm… makes sense.

Are you wondering if I am losing my mind? You see, the charming young lady was my 4 year old granddaughter, Sophia (now 8). She and her little brother and her mom were visiting from out East for awhile. I have always enjoyed the opportunities to bond with her, especially at D and D’s. However, I found that in order to relate with her I had to study up about princes and princesses because these things were very important to her. I tried to pose a theological question, but she just continued to drink her chocolate milk and make faces at me. Can you believe that? Of course you can.

When you are trying to build a relationship with someone—anyone, you must become interested in what interests them. How do we expect people to listen to the gospel when we have not listened to them? Have you ever had the experience of having someone talk at you and not to you? So, you know how that feels. Proverbs 18:13 says “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” We want to engage people in conversation and an essential ingredient of that engagement is to listen to what interests them. If not, they may just drink their chocolate milk and make faces at us.

Back to Sophia… towards the end of our conversation we did get theological, but she brought it up— honestly! I had shared a little story about having a dog when I was young. She correctly assumed that the dog was dead by now and asked me whether I thought that dogs go to heaven. Like a good conversationalist I turned the question around and asked her whether she believed that. She said she did not know, but she believed that the little baby her mommy miscarried some years before was in heaven. Wow! I learned a lot that day from listening and talking to my little princess. It motivated me to do a better job with my neighbors.