Thursday, June 25, 2009

How did they do that?

Hello all you loonies,

I have been fascinated by the Prius car ads on TV. Do you know the ones I'm talking about, the ones that use about a gazillion people in colorful costumes to form roads, trees, flowers, and mountains? Every time it comes on TV Ramel and I puzzle over how they do that. Curious minds want to know. So, like my hero, Sherlock Holmes, I went looking for answers.

And what better place to start than the Internet, the source of all that is true and authentic. I found a YouTube video that explains it all. Take a minute to watch it and then I'll have a couple of observations on the other side.

What fascinates me about this is the way it tricks your eyes. Watching the ad you would conclude that it took a cast of thousands, which is not true. They actually only used a crew of 200 extras, then multiplied them electronically using computers so that the finished product looks like 1 million people. To me that is truly amazing.

Are there any spiritual lessons here? I think so. The effect of Christians in the world is greater than their actual numbers. In the same way that Jesus borrowed a little boy's lunch of 5 barley cakes and 2 dried fishes and multiplied them to feed a multitude of 5,000 men plus all their women and children (see John 6:1-14), in the same way God multiplies us, and whatever we put in His hands and He makes it more, bigger, and better.

The Bible says that Christ's followers are light and salt in this world. Salt never stays where it is put. It always spreads out and permeates whatever medium in which it finds itself. And light does the same thing. A little bit of light can go a very long way. Soldiers on the battlefield learn this very quickly. Lighting a cigarette can give your position away to an enemy who is still miles away because that little bit of light spreads out and goes far.

I pastor a very small church, and one that unfortunately has been getting smaller due to a number of factors, some of which I understand and some that I am still trying to figure out. But I digress... My point is that with God's help and empowerment the effectiveness of a group of Christians in a local community can go way beyond their actual numbers. That is important to know and remember at those times when we begin to become discouraged, thinking that we are not having much effect and are failing miserably. Salt is seldom aware of how far its influence spreads, and light never knows how far it can be seen. Our job is just to keep on being faithful to what the Master has called us to do. We'll leave the multiplication to Him.

There is an old hymn that hardly anybody sings anymore. It was composed by Kittie L. Suffield back in 1924 and it's entitled, "Little Is Much When God Is In It." The Gaither Vocal Band has a good rendition of it and I want you to listen to it and pay attention to the words. It is a good reminder that our "little" can become "much" in His hands. A "few" can look like "many" when He is running the production.

One small crazy piece of God's big project,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In the Doghouse?

Hello my wacky friends,

Most of us husbands find it intimidating and perplexing to try and buy good gifts for our wives. In my opinion, any man who says he finds it easy is either lying, or is some kind of weird mutant metro-sexual weenie who should not be taken seriously anyway. At no time will the Mars/Venus thing rear its ugly head more frighteningly than at Christmas, Valentine's Day, her birthday, and your anniversary. These four are the yearly mine fields that every man must pass through, hopefully without getting his legs blown off and bleeding to death.

Let's take a look at a brief case study. What man has not considered getting his little lady a new dishwasher for their anniversary? His reasoning goes this way... "Our old one is broken, we need a new one, and this one is on sale. It will save her a lot of work, for which she will be very grateful. It is in her favorite color. It is expensive, so I know she'll appreciate it. On top of everything, the store guy says they will deliver it on our big day with a big red bow on it. What could possibly go wrong?"

My naive friend, RUN, do not walk, to the nearest exit! Get out of the appliance section. You are about to make the worst mistake of your life. For the Big Four special occasions mentioned above, appliances are never, I repeat, NEVER, the right gift for the little woman. If you go forward with this plan it will put you in the DOGHOUSE, eating quiche and drinking chai tea for every meal! And you will be there for a very long time. Women have long memories, like elephants and the IRS.

The following husband training video will explain what I am trying to tell you. You young fellows especially, pay close attention.

As an old salty-dog husband who has made his share of near-fatal mistakes in the gift-buying area, I feel more than qualified to tell you young bucks a thing or two. Jewelry is the thing. It is always a sure winner. Chocolates and flowers should accompany the jewelry. Do not buy appliances. Do not buy power tools. Stay away from kitchen utensils or gardening implements of any kind. Besides being a greased slide straight to the doghouse, these things can easily be turned into weapons in the hands of an angry wife. Do not run the risk!

I hope this little instructional session has been helpful. Now go out and sin no more.

Crazy, but still running free,