The Hummingbird

The following is based off of a Children’s message delivered at Asbury on Sunday, May 11, 2014.  It was intended to remind our children that no one is perfect – especially their pastor – and that the answer that God has for is simpler than we tend or want to believe.    Since our children’s messages are not solely for our children, I thought it might be a good one to share…and perhaps there was something in it for us.   Shalom, S.

The Hummingbird
hummingbird number 2
There have been a series of blips in my day to day over the last last few weeks that have taken the form of crisis that needed resolving and as a result have come with all matter of people taking it upon themselves to determine just how I was going to solve of fix their worlds.

Although I tend to like to envision myself as some great problem solver and rainmaker, the truth is I approach everything with a barbarian’s mentality.   I believe that if I exert enough force the problem either moves or I learn to like it.   Picture a rock in the middle of your path; the barbarian solution is to push that rock with every last ounce of your being until it moves.   After you exert every last piece of what you have in reserve, and that rock still stands, its only then that the barbarian begins to realize he or she needs a different course of attack; such as stepping around it.

The Story of Hairy Mary


As my family will attest, I am a story teller.   I love the fine art of embellishment, coupled with a silly voice and lots of uncontrolled facial and body gestures.   If done well it is an art.  If it isn’t, they just shake their head at my weird-ness. 

I love to tell stories, and I have a giant file at work that has bits of pieces of old legends and children’s stories.   Some of those bits and pieces will never see the light of day.  There might be a good piece to them, but nothing that I can make into a whole.  Others are bound to be part of a posting, sermon, or just random conversation.

In the end, the stories I enjoy most come from a world away.   The stories that come from Japan, China, and other parts of Asia are the most fascinating to me.  They remind me that although our culture is so different, we share some common traits.   Among those common traits is the simple truth that can be found in our stories.

One of my favorites is a Taoist story that is often called the Sack…


Finding our Gifts in Pigeon Forge, TN

When I went to school last May, I was in a very economically depressed section of Eastern Kentucky.   This area of Kentucky sits in the midst of Appalachia and is perhaps the poorest section of our country.  

While I was there nothing was comfortable, so mid way through I decided that I needed a warm shower, a comfortable bed to sleep in, and something more than Walmart for dinner.   I decided to spend one weekend and become a tourist.   I left Kentucky and headed 3 hours south to what I was told was the Redneck Disney World:   Pigeon Forge, Tennessee or Home of Dollywood.   It certainly lived up to its expectations.

Late on Friday, I found my way to a Hilton, and fell asleep in that warm bed.  The next morning I awoke and decided I was going to explore the hundreds of tourist shops that catered to all those who made their trek to this happiest place on earth.  

Walking down the street, it was people watching at its finest…and between visiting the dozens of Nascar or WWF themed shops, I decided to claim a park bench, a slurpee, and just watch.    It was there that I watch a man named Jesse and the incredibly odd talent he possessed.

Here is a video of that rather unique talent (as a matter of fact, it COULD be the same man?!):

At the end of his performance, I was surprised at what happened…

He told all the people that watched:

“That he was actually a believer in Jesus, and not only does he come down there each and every Saturday to raise money for the youth of his church, by playing the nose flute…  He will be more than happy to spend some time talking to folks who may be interested in learning more the youth group or about this Jesus character.”

Obviously I had to give something, so I left a ten dollar bill in the man’s hat, and smiled all the way down the street.

Here’s the best part of that encounter:

On my way back, I saw him sitting on a short wall next to a man I was just standing next to as he played, and as I passed him, I heard;  “That’s the Jesus I believe…”

He was talking about Jesus.  I kept walking, and I kept smiling.    If God could use the silliest of Gifts (such as playing the flute with one’s nose), then surely, without a doubt I had Gifts that I can use too.

We all do.  Sometimes they might be hard to see, but if we are willing to think about them, talk with others, and to ask for help along the way, we will see them eventually.   That is part of God’s promise.  I pray that each of us find the soul who’s called to help us see our own unique ones.

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