Friday, May 01, 2009

What A Difference One Word Makes!

I have a long list of public speaking blunders in my three and a half decades of speaking. One I will never forget, and still remains high on my list of "Church Chuckles" happened about thirty years ago in my first couple of years with the Fairfax church. I was preaching about Jesus sending the demon that possessed Legion into the 2000 pigs, and I just knew there was a better word to use besides hogs or pigs. I had a major "brain burp" and called them "poultry". Why? I don't know. I was a city boy my first thirteen years of growing up in Washington, D.C., but I had a lot of years working with farm animals in south Georgia and Arkansas. I even helped gather eggs at the Miller Poultry Farm just up the road from Donna's folks house. I know what poultry is! It just came out and I still remember seeing lots of chucking ripple through the congregation - long minutes after I'd moved on in the lesson. It didn't help that, at that time, about half the congregation worked for the Department of Agriculture in downtown D.C..
I have to admit, visualizing the story with 2000 chickens stampeding off a cliff - well, it certainly changes the entire impact of the story. Especially the fact that most barnyard chickens can fly short distances with no problem. And then there is the vision of demon possessed chickens? Wow - I don't even want to go there. What a difference one word makes!
I share that funny, yet somewhat painful, story to make a point. If we would start seeing God's church as a tool to support the carrying out of His will, rather than an institution to be supported, it would radically change the way we see "the work of the church." Faithfulness, loving, giving, witnessing, and spiritual maturing must not be defined by "THE church" but by our personal walk with God and with Jesus. Like I've said many times, church is a support system, not a system to support. We will each stand before God and give account of ourselves to Him! YOU are His church! Getting together with our church family, organizing, shepherding, and church-body-life are God given tools to help us help one another. A tool is not the goal it's the instrument you use.
What a difference one word makes?

1 comment:

tinacaffi said...

Guess what, Mike? Foster and I also remember that funny blooper! Mostly I remember great lessons that helped me grown in Christ. Thanks for those good memories. (Tina Caffi)