July 16, 2018


Sometimes we ministry-types come off a bit too seriously. We speak and act like everything we may say or do might have some world shaking significance. We pastors too often communicate and relate stories as if we were old-time televangelists. We speak the name of JESUS as if it should be pronounced as five slowly said words (JJJJJJJJJJJJ EEEEEEEEEE SSSSSSSS UUUUUUUU SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS), that WE somehow can make powerful with our delivery, rather than merely speaking those five powerful letters as the Name above all names! Too often, we teachers of the Word come off just too heavy!

So, if I may, I’d like to share a view of the lighter side of ministry, or at least a lighter side of my ministry with you now. This event happened on the El Salvador mission trip that I was so blessed to be on earlier this summer and have been relating to you here. This moment in ministry occurred on the sixth day of the trip. We had invited a large group of the children we had been ministering to all week to join us at a local water park for a day of fun and encouragement. The start of the day would be neither fun nor encouraging for me!

As the bus carrying my mission-mates and myself arrived at the water park, we were greeted by a large group of children anxious to get in the water and out of the heat. We left the bus slowly, to allow the children time to each locate and properly greet their “adopted parent” as we debarked. Since I did not have an “adopted child” on this trip, I was the last person off the bus, which was starting to become a problem for me. You see, my meal the night before, or my breakfast that morning, had not agreed with me and one of those meals was challenging my digestive track at the moment. The suspect meal was definitely seeking an exit strategy!

After getting off the bus, I located the nearest “bano” (bathroom in Spanish) and made a strategic move to get to it before my impending bowel disaster struck. Now let me set the stage here. The bathroom was NOT air conditioned and it was already VERY hot! Second, when I pulled the outdoor restroom door open on the first stall I arrived at, I was shocked to see that the toilet had NO seat on it! Yikes!!! I pulled open the other 3 stall doors to find that bareback was the model toilet available in all of the potties. Oh My!

There was no stopping nature at that point, so I began the manipulations to get my shorts down and attempt to straddle the toilet. Time was now of the essence! Suddenly, at just about the point of no return, I heard a loud splash. Being positive that the splash was not something coming out of me, I realized the source of the splash must be something coming off of me. Deduction is a wonderful thing. I looked into the rusty water of the bowl and saw my fancy smart phone laying at the bottom of the toilet! Oh my gosh! Realizing that another splash of more dire urgency was only milliseconds away, I quickly reached into the less than clear water and retrieved my phone…let’s just say, in the nick of time.

I’m pretty sure I said “Jesus,” but not in an affectionate or respectful way. Of course, if you have ever dropped your expensive smart phone into water of any color, you are prepared for the horrific consequences that will surely follow. I was sure my life-line to civilization was destroyed. I began to fret that I was thousands of miles away from the nearest Verizon store that could render me aid and restore my ability to speak to all my peeps. As I tried to get my clothing and my decorum back together I just said these words (affectionately and respectfully), “Lord God, please help me.” When I finished drying the sludge off my phone, I saw that God can and had miraculously intervened for me…my phone worked perfectly. It was a…say it with me now…”A MIRACLE!” Yes, yes it was.

Just how badly do you really need your phone????

I have one simple truth for you to garner from this story of distress. Don’t decide in advance if God is going to be miraculous for you in ANY circumstance. Too often, we don’t ask God to be miraculous for us, because we don’t really think He will be miraculous for us, or because the situation is too small, or it seems stupid to ask for God to be miraculous because we were stupid, or because we think He is too busy with more important stuff in the world to be miraculous for little old us. Not true. Too often we stop God from showing us miraculously just how much He loves us and wants to bless us miraculously, because we make excuses for Him NOT to act on our behalves, or worse, we simply don’t ask. We are advised in the Bible that there is power in the name of Jesus alone. Listen, however you say JESUS, if you will say it and at the same time believe in Him as you do, you just might find yourself straddling a toilet with a wet phone in your hand that works when it shouldn’t, because you trusted Jesus instead of circumstances. If you are going to take anyone seriously, I HOPE it will be Jesus. I pray you will. Now go wash your hands!!!!!

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