There is a very strong man who walks a tightrope across one of the gorges in the Grand Canyon. He holds a pole with two old fashioned rain barrels attached to each end of the pole. In each rain barrel are heavy weights which help balance him and provide stability even under windy conditions. After witnessing the man cross the gorge several times under various conditions, a spectator approaches the man and says “You’re amazing, I believe if you took the weights out of one of those barrels and I got in, you could carry me safely across the gorge. The performer said simply “Then, get in”.
Late one night, many years ago, I was watching You Bet Your Life!, the Groucho Marx quiz show that was a vehicle for Marx’s ad lib comedy. In this particular episode, Marx was interviewing a gentleman from the Appalachian Mountains who had obviously been selected because of his particular ‘hillbilly’ culture and outlook. In the course of their conversation, the subject of foreigners and aliens came up. This gentleman defined ‘aliens’ to be from out of the country while ‘foreigners’ were merely for out of state. While Marx went on the have great fun with this man’s particular point of view, I was struck by the uniqueness of this Appalachian point of view. It gave him a clear paradigm through which to view the world and people around him. He knew who was who by where they were from and by implication, what he should think of them because of that place of origin.
There’s No Place Like Home – Week 2
May 22, 2016
Speaker: Rob Yanike
Watch on video.
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:1 NIV). This is the opening sentence of the book of Ecclesiastes. Other translations make these words “Vanity of vanities” (NASB), “Futile! Futile!” (NET), “Nothing makes sense! Everything is nonsense” (CEV) or my favorite, “Perfectly pointless, says the Teacher, perfectly pointless” (CEB). The Teacher is opening this book with the point that life is meaningless and goes on over the next twelve chapters to expand on and repeat that theme. It doesn’t take much to understand that Ecclesiastes is not one of the most popular books in the Bible. We don’t want to hear that life is meaningless, vain, futile, nonsense or pointless and quickly move on.
Fred, a US citizen, has no immediate prospects for gainful employment. He hears of an opportunity in France for his exact area of expertise and is given an extremely lucrative offer with specific conditions. He may wire all or any part of his paychecks to his bank account back home but may not export anything material from France. Additionally, when his visa expires, he must depart immediately and may never return to France, even as a tourist. Fred has been given a very peculiar opportunity to work in the field of his destiny and send plenty of money home to retire very comfortably. So he naturally accepts.
Whenever the topic of worry comes up, I always have to mumble the bad joke, “Worrying works. Nothing I ever worry about actually happens.” Jesus kind of says the same thing: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Luke 12:25). Of course not. I have heard that worry actually shortens one’s life. That worries me.
There’s No Place Like Home – Week 1
May 15, 2016
Speaker: Bart Wilkins
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In the Wizard of Oz, the classic 1939 movie, a young girl named Dorothy is swept up by a tornado from her Kansas home and dropped into a strange and wonderful place called Oz. The plot is driven by Dorothy’s overwhelming desire to get back home; she knows that Oz is just a temporary residence and that Kansas is where she belongs. She is told that the only way to get home is to follow the Yellow Brick Road and find the Great Oz, the wizard who lives in the Emerald City. As she sets out on her journey, she has a powerful friend in the Good Witch of the North and a powerful enemy in the Wicked Witch of the West. On her journey along the Yellow Brick Road, she makes friends in the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion. She and her companions face challenges, trials and their fears, all in order to win their hearts’ desires from the Great Oz. Along the way, they all discover truths about who they really are. Ultimately, when all is said and done, Dorothy finds her way home by clicking her ruby slippers together and saying ‘There is no place like home…’