Sunday, October 28, 2007

Who is the joke really on?

I went for a walk the other night. It was dark out as it usually is at 10 o'clock in the evening. As I turned to walk down an alley, I heard a bump, bump, bump sound. I looked behind me and there was this coffin following me. So, I started to run to get away from him and sure enought, bump, bump, bump he started coming after me that much faster. I was starting to get a little bit scared. I made it up to my house and fumbled around for my keys. Bump, bump, bump, the coffin got closer and closer to me. I made it inside the house and locked the door shut! Bumb, bump, bump and POW, the door swung open. I was face to face with the coffin. I ran upstairs and the coffin followed me up the steps. bump, bump, bump. I locked myself in the bathroom and sure enough, I could hear outside the sound of bump, bump, bump. Then POW, the door swung open. I was trapped! With no where to go I backed up to where I could not move anymore. Bump, bump, bump, slowly it inched towards me. I threw some shampoo at it. Nothing happened. I threw my razor at it. Nothing happened. Finally, out of desperation, I threw some throat lozenges at it and sure enough...

The coffin stopped!

The above joke, was said by me while I was a pastor of a church. I would start off each week with a good joke (okay, I am assuming this is a good joke!) I would then read a Scripture and would follow that up with some good stories and some funny antedotes. It was very poor teaching at best and very Satan inspired at worst. I know that sounds kind of harsh to say that but you have to understand that when I was a pastor, I was not truly saved. I was still living in sin. I had not repented of my sins. I was living off of the good old fashioned Scripture that says, "For God so loved the world that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." I believed in God. I believed in Jesus. I knew in my heart that He died on the cross for my sins. What was missing? I had not repented of my sins. I was just going through the motions of saying, "God, please forgive me for my sins." There was no repentance and no desire to repent of my sins. I had no desire to truly be obedient to His Word. Righteousness was just a word to me. So, as a pastor, I would fill my sermons with "feel good" stories of the Bible. I would make sure that people felt good when they left church. I wanted them to smile and to like me. How many other pastor's out there do you suppose are doing the very same thing I did? I was listening to a podcast of a pastor in Peoria, IL and the first thing he said was, "I want to apologize for the joke I told in last week's sermon. I guess it was offensive to some people and I just want to let you know 'why' I tell jokes in my sermon's. I tell jokes because sometimes, God's Word can be kind of heavy and convicting and I don't want anyone to leave here with a downcast look on their face." Yep, God's Word is heavy and convicting and he wants to make sure no one leaves with a downcast look on their face. That is exactly what I was doing. The problem with that is, God's Word is convicting, and that is a good thing! We need to have our sins mentioned and we need to know what we need to do to be "right" with God. Now that I am saved (truly saved), I can see the errors of my ways. I am ashamed of the sermons that I used to preach. I always spoke with conviction in my heart. I always spoke with much sincerity. I always spoke with a pastor's heart. I never spoke God's Word biblically! If Satan were to put a pastor in your local church -- what kind of pastor do you think he would be? Do you think he would preach nothing but lies? Would he preach repentance? Or would he be preaching from the pulpit telling lots of jokes and telling lots of stories? When I preached, I would tell of the need to repent, but I never taught what repentance truly was. I was more concerned on being liked and being known as the pastor with a great sense of humor! Never again! I now preach obedience to God's Word. I preach repentance and putting your faith and trust solely in Jesus Christ. If your pastor is a joke-teller, please ask him to tell his jokes "after" the service. When you leave a church service remembering his joke more than being affected by God's Word, then you have a problem. I have to tell you...

Satan wants you laughing your way to hell!

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