Discomfort for Mr Macaroni

slow food pasta art workHeaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.”

Mr Macaroni boiled hearing Moody’s words. He’d always been something of a limp noodle, and today he was doubting his choice of employment. It had always been tough making decisions, but once made one he was left feeling deep regrets. When the clock struck 5, Macaroni was ready to get sauced.

Despite his constant indecision, Mr Macaroni was as true as a man could be. He was no impasta when it came to living, but his new job as a dental assistant was leaving him feeling a bit al dente.

He quickly exited the office on his way to the Meat Ball to dance with his sweetheart, a beautiful Italian gal named Penne. All dressed up, he straightened his little bow tie and slicked back his thick blonde angel hair with a bit of olive oil.

As he stepped from the sidewalk into the street, humming “On top of Old Smokey all covered with cheese,” Mr Macaroni was still steaming. A motorcycle with gleaming chrome twin-forks raced toward him. He never knew what hit him and instantly pasta way.

A moment later Mr Macaroni opened his eyes. Before him were the golden arches and beyond was the dazzling White Castle he’d always heard about. Macaroni was greeted by a choir of French guys singing, “Welcome to the realm of Burger King and Dairy Queen.”

A stout fellow calling himself Big Mac approached and laid a whopper of a story on him about being dead and forever living in the presence of the King. “If you’ll lettuce, tomater my friends and I will take you in-and-out through the kingdom.” It gave Mr Macaroni the shakes.

He hadn’t been at ease with people when he was alive, now an eternity with them was unbearable. He wasn’t made for a place like this. He hadn’t wanted anything to do with the king while he was alive and he didn’t want it now. He longed to have it his way and he wasn’t lovin’ it one bit. Mr Macaroni wondered, “Why did the King bring me here if I didn’t want him back when I was living?

If you don’t enjoy King Jesus today, what makes you think you’ll enjoy eternity with Him?

In My Father’s house are many mansions; it if were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2-3).

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The Sign of a Minister of Christ

A painting in the home of Mr Timothy Musyoki, Mutalia, Kenya.

Jesus called Satan the father of all lies (John 8:44). Since his first lie in the Garden of Eden, deception has been the devil’s weapon of choice. Signs and wonders and miracles prove absolutely nothing; Satan performs such works in order to deceive.

The telling sign of a minister of Christ is his doctrine, not his miracles.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).

Two Pet Mice Named Pete and Re-Pete

Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? … For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little (Isaiah 28:9-10)

My sister came home from school one day with a new joke. A man had two pet mice named Pete and Re-Pete. What was the name of the second mouse?

Of course, I answered by saying, Re-Pete. She’d then repeat the joke again, and so it went on-and-on until I walked away to pull it on someone else.

We all need reminding. We all need repetition; it is the key to all learning. It is the framework upon which both knowledge and habit become permanent in our minds. The saying that practice makes perfect may not be accurate, but practice makes permanent. Every good teacher knows this and begins each class period by reviewing previous lessons.

On Sunday, I begin my sermon by reminding the congregation of the truth we saw in God’s Word the week before. After a busy week has passed, it’s easy to forget the truths taught and learned, so one-fourth to half of each sermon is repetition, building on the foundation laid the previous Sunday.

The Apostle Peter made sure to write,

I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth, Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease (2 Peter 1:12-15).

What Biblical truth do you need to repeatedly hear?

Have You Heard of Our Water?

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them (Psalm 139:16).

Last week we attended the annual Oregon State Fair in Salem. It’s always so much fun.

We enjoy looking at the dairy cows, draft horses, Asian chickens, old cars, pig races, and strangely dressed people from across our state. One fair venue houses hundreds of booths where people sell their wares, everything from hair chalk to snake jerky, bed mattresses to pickles the size of a football.

As we were wandering through the building, a young woman held out a cup of water. Have you heard of our water? It’s imported from Japan and it’s prolonging the lives of people all over the world. It’s been proven to extend your life, prevent cancer, and even cure diabetes. Would you like to try it?

I thanked her for the offer on such a hot day, but said, I’m a Christian and believe that God ordained the day of my birth, the day of my death, and everything in between. He’s in control of my life and none of your water is going to change that. 

She smiled and agreed. As we walked away a few minutes later, my son said, There you go again freaking people out. 

Jesus was offered a cup of water from a women. In return He offered her the water of life. He said to her, Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall given him will never thirst again. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:13-14).

The Greatest Heist

In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, two men identifying themselves as Boston police officers arrived at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. They said they were responding to a silent alarm that indicated the museum was being robbed. The guard on duty checked the officers’ credentials and let them into the museum.

The two uniformed policemen assembled all the private security officers in the museum, handcuffed them, and locked them in the basement. The police then roamed through the museum, stealing 13 works of art, including a Rembrandt, a Manet, and a few paintings by Degas. The estimated value of the paintings was $500 million dollars!

The next morning, when a new private security detail arrived for duty, 13 empty picture frames were discovered hanging from the museum walls. The theft remains unsolved.

When Jesus gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age (Galatians 2:4), the Bible says that the greatest heist of all time took place. At the very moment Jesus died on the cross, all whom God the Father elected to salvation were delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).

In broad daylight, under the noses of both Heaven and Earth, Rome and Palestine, angel and demon, Jesus rescued us from Satan’s kingdom unto Himself. It wasn’t some sneaky deception carried out by impostors, but an instant deliverance out from the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of Heaven by the King of Glory.

Since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 11:28).

For more information on the greatest heist of all time, consult your local Bible and return to this website for additional daily updates.

 

The Moving Carpet

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).

Many years ago, one of my co-workers and her husband adopted a baby boy from the country of Costa Rica. When Ryan turned 13, Tamara and Bob decided it was important their son see the nation of his birth and meet the family he still had living there.

The family flew to the tiny Central American nation and with a guide, began making their way toward the small, remote village of their son’s birth.

The first night in Costa Rica, they found a village with a hotel. When they turned on the light in the room, Tamara said it was like the whole floor moved. The family was tired and passed the blur off to their sleepiness.

In the night, Tamara was awakened by a strange clicking noise. She turned on the tiny light next to the bed to find the walls, ceiling, and the entire floor of the room covered with cockroaches, which are creatures of the dark and generally associated with uncleanness and food waste.

Tamara screamed while Bob ran for the ceiling light. When he turned on the light, he said it was like entire floor shifted beneath his feet.

Tamara hid in the car while Bob and Ryan packed up the luggage.

Jesus described Himself as the Light of the world (John 9:5). Later He added that His works caused Him to be hated. Why? Because His works and His words revealed the sin in people’s lives (John 15:22-25).

Like the cockroaches scattering in the tiny Costa Rican hotel room when the light was turned on, sinners scatter when the Light of Jesus is shined upon their sins because their deeds are evil.

** Please keep us in prayer while we minister in Kenya. Thanks!

The Leopard’s Spots

 

 

 

 

This is a poster printed in the year 1898. It reads:

The Brutal Driver

Many horsemen are so lacking in the sense of humanity that they take delight in pursuing and running down cyclists on the public road. By the efforts of the L.A.W. many of these brutes have been arrested and punished, and this salutary work will be carried on in the future more vigorously than ever.

Despite the advancements in education, medicine, technology, and general civilization, the nature of man doesn’t change. It reminds us of the Scripture:

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil (Jeremiah 13:23).

Apart from the transforming work of Jesus Christ in the heart of man, we are no more able to do the good that honors God than the leopard can change its spots.

I’m Not Rich

Where Living Begins, Pastor Richard L Rice

My wife got a good laugh when I first began cutting my own hair. She’d sit down next to me in the evening and begin laughing hysterically. “Did you cut your hair today?” she’d ask.

Why?

Between gasps for breath she’d answer, “Because you missed a big streak of hair down the back of your head!

I’ve gotten much better at using the electric clippers on myself. You can call me cheap, but as a mostly bald-headed man, I refuse to pay $20 a week to have someone else cut my hair to my scalp. If my head looks like the back of a skunk, well, that just happens to be the way I like it!

Money is one of those things we all take seriously. We can always compare ourselves to someone else and conclude, “I’m not rich,” but we need to remember this important truth:

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share (1 Timothy 6:17-18).

 

Dr Seuss with Bedhead

where living begins, pastor, Richard L Rice

Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me NOW!
It is fun to have fun
But you have
to know how.” Dr Seuss

When my wife and I married, I often greeted her each morning with a silly song or rhyme of some sort. Think of me as Dr Seuss with bedhead. A few days of my rhymes and she informed me, “I don’t like rhymes in the morning.” I understood and began telling her a rhyme before bed. She doesn’t like those either.

I learned that my penchant for silliness isn’t always appreciated or appropriate. However, I didn’t learn anything about Kim as a person. I learned what displeased her, but not who she was or what she enjoyed.

A popular myth is that we get to know God by “worshiping” Him, and by worship the mythologizer incorrectly means singing songs. So ask yourself, how well do you get to know someone by singing to him? You might discover that he thinks your voice is annoying, but you don’t really learn who he is. To know him, you listen to him.

This seems a crazy question, but how do you get to know the God of the Bible? Not by singing but by reading His words, the Bible.

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, Jesus expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us.” (Luke 24:27, 32).

Time to Move On

knock

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Aren’t you glad I didn’t say “knock, knock” again?

Whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet (Matthew 10:14).

Knock on the door. If it opens and you’re accepted, share. If your message of the Good News of Jesus isn’t accepted, move to the next door.