Breakfast Buddy Bulletin Inserts
Please enjoy these short stories and observations that were previously available in our Sunday bulletins. Each entry has a great message and will not only make you think, but make you smile.
The story of the fake turkey
Back around 2008, I think it was on the radio, I heard a funny story. It's about a humorous prank played on a new employee. You know, it's that sort of innocent initiation joke that livens up a holiday office party. The story was succinctly used as an analogy to point out that a person may unknowingly pass on something false when they actually had the opposite intention of passing on something they thought was true.
"Trinkets R Us" had an annual tradition of setting out a luncheon for the employees on the day before Thanksgiving. Earlier in the week, some employees cleverly crafted a papier-mâché replica of a baked 14 pound turkey and, to add weight, put a small bag of nuts and bolts inside it. Then, at the luncheon, they took a brown grocery bag, sprinkled the inside with turkey grease from the luncheon, set the turkey on an old metal baking tray, and slid the fake turkey inside the bag and stapled it shut. It looked real! Felt real! And smelled real! In a joking mood they presented it to the new guy as a gift. Clyde thanked them much and thought to himself, "They like me!"
Clyde was smiling on his way to the bus stop; his car was in the shop. A few stops later, Donnie entered the bus and sat across the aisle from Clyde. Conversation ensued and Clyde asked, "You folks having turkey for the holiday?"
Naw, we can't afford one. He noticed that Donnie was poorly dressed like someone in financial distress. Clyde, feeling sorry for him, offered, "Would you like to have this one?"
"Sure, but I only got two bucks. That's it."
"You can have this one. I got it for free, and I have another one at home." With the turkey smell stimulating Donnie's nose, smiling he accepted the brown bag. "Well, thank you very very much!"
Clyde exited the bus with a warm feeling like a Boy Scout having done a good deed.
Later, Donnie got home and placed the brown bag on the kitchen counter. While licking his chops, he related how he got this fresh baked turkey from a guy on the bus. His wife flashed him a big grin, but, as she tore open the bag, their smiles turned to frowns. She yelled, "What is this?!" They stared blinkingly at the fake turkey while Donnie felt embarrassed for having been duped. They both now thought badly of Clyde, "How could someone pull such a mean trick?!"
So, what went wrong here? Clyde doesn't know he had been duped; he still thinks he gave Donnie a real turkey. Who would have suspected that such nice guys at the office would have given him a fake? But, it's his fault. If he had been diligent, and just took a few seconds to take a peek inside before handing it off to Donnie, he would have known it was a fake.
A lesson to be learned there is here. You and I do the very same thing whenever we forward emails without first looking inside the bag. It can look real and smell real, and still be untrue.
That goes likewise for posts on Facebook and Twitter. There is a lot of false content and trolling out there on the Internet. Don't keep that junk alive. Don't feed it. Don't pass it on--especially from a stranger. Break the chain. Just because the email you received insults and ridicules someone you dislike or somebody of the opposite political party, that is not a valid excuse for passing on lies and ignorance.
I'm going to give you this very important analogy that will help you discern truth from falsities. How do we get at the truth? We do it just like our judicial system does. Our courts are based on an adversarial opportunity to present their case.
Let's make this analogy personal so that it will sink in more succinctly. Suppose you are brought up on charges. But, you didn't do it. The prosecutor and his team either believe, or seem to believe, that you did the crime. The prosecutors are very good at their job and very good at lying and misrepresentation -- as good as the best Hollywood actors. They do a convincing job of making it appear as if you did it. When the prosecution finishes, the Judge gets up and says, "I think we've heard enough to make a decision" and starts to dismiss the jury for deliberation. Being taken by surprise, your lawyer jumps to his feet and yells, "but you Honor, that's unfair. We didn't get an opportunity to dispute the evidence. We have witnesses and documents that can prove the prosecutors lied and omitted pertinent evidence." At this point, what verdict do you think the jury would return after listening only to one side -- the clever prosecutors? You would be Guilty.
That's what happens when we only listen to one side; we draw wrong conclusions. In this story, we are the Judge and Jury. And the news and pundit media are the Prosecutors and Defenders. To make an unbiased and truthful decision, we must listen to both the Prosecution and the Defense - an honest defense and an honest prosecution. What happens if we listen to only one side? Most times it results in a wrongful conviction or making a wrong decision or supporting a wrong cause or unconsciously accepting a wrong premise.
Some emails when you read them are obviously wrong by their hate filled tirades and false accusations. And, with a cursory inspection you can easily spot the not-even-clever lies. It's mind garbage. We should have enough sense to never forward those.
The chain needs to be broken. It can start now with you and me.
what grows in your attitude garden?
There is more than one kind of garden. We have fruits and vegetables and flower gardens. You and I can each also cultivate a good attitude garden within ourselves. I’m going to show you how by using what we know about earthly gardens as an analogy to explain what I mean.
We all have our own personal idea about what we want in a garden. I have a flower garden in front of my home and two gardens in the back - a 9 by 14 and a raised bed about 6 by 8. That’s feet not inches. I normally plant easy-to-grow stuff like tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, melons, and rhubarb. I grow what I like, but as much as I like burgers, I’ve never found a way to grow Angus beef plants. I’m also able to grow, what I call, attitude plants, but, not in the ground.
Most plants come from seeds. I planted some cheerios one time hoping to get donuts. BIG disappointment, I got nada!
Corn comes from corn, not wheat. What you plant is what you get. And, so it is also in an attitude garden, what you plant is what you get. The ideas and beliefs we entertain in our mind determine what the garden of our mind looks like. Remember that old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” The reverse is also true - good stuff in, good stuff out. Do not harbor hateful ideas of revenge and envy; they will produce attitude plants like envy eggplant and rutabaga revenge. Yuck! They give off stinky vibes that turn others away. And, they also make us do things we regret. But instead, we can plant a balanced attitude-nutritious self-propagating spiritual garden that can be shared and enjoyed. You don’t use Miracle-Gro for that. I like people who grow Let-me-help Lettuce and Happy Day Hibiscus. Good attitude plants give off a sweet soothing glad-to-be-with-you aroma. The way we get good stuff into a spiritual attitude garden is the same way we get good plants into the ground. WE PUT THEM THERE!
My attitude garden always has at least four hardy rows of squash.
1. Squash Gossip 2. Squash Grumbling 3. Squash Selfishness 4. Squash Defeatism
I also have bushes of Thankfulness, energizing heads of Enthusiasm, Leaves of quiet time, and Magic Melons of prayer. A large area is reserved just for lots of Pods of Patience. I devour patience pods regularly; they reduce stress. They’re not all that tasty, but, real necessary for keeping your cool. Some days you just need more patience than others.
You get seeds for good attitude plants by reading the Bible and using this recipe: good books, good preaching, and good people. Stir in some good singing, bake at room temperature and always keep warm. Tada! Good-attitude seeds are already planted. No rototiller needed and no animals were harmed.
But, don’t let your attitude ground get cold. That allows harmful attitudes and poisonous ideas to plant themselves in your garden. Don’t feed them!
For example: You don’t want any Hate-weed nor Holy Hostility or Sourpuss or I’m-better-than-you Turnups and especially not any braggart beans. And don’t eat any fruit from that vine of sour grapes. Others detest that attitude. For weeds in an earthly garden you can spray or pluck them out. For attitude weeds in a spiritual garden you get best results by using God’s recipe described in Ephesians chapter 6. It’s better than Roundup. Arm yourself for the daily battle against all the various attitude weeds by using the Armor of God in verses 11 thru 18. It’s also a great pre-emergence weed killer.
Nourish your good attitude plants in your internal spiritual garden with heaping amounts of thankful submissive attitude toward God and cultivating a friendly helpful demeanor toward others. Remember Jesus died for them also. Anyone who Jesus accepts is acceptable to me also. After all, they are my brothers and sisters in the family of God.
In an earthly garden, we strive to keep out pests like those ground moles, tomato-pillars, and other nuisances. Likewise, in the attitude world, we have weedy opponents named Bored Brain, Vines of Violence, Critical Cabbage, and Strangle Weed trying to drag us down and eradicate our good crops. They create attitude stinkiosity.
Don’t let your adversaries stir your anger. Uncontrolled anger when it has grown and ripened will give you speed and strength and a desire to destroy something or someone. That’s not a successful road map for life or for reaching others.
Let that Dogmatic Dog-weed die. It prevents us from winning over others by getting into unprofitable arguments about tithing and whether the word “day” in Genesis means 24 hours or not. That’s unproductive! People need the good news that there’s a reason Jesus died, and rose from the dead. And he’s coming back! It’s called the Great Commission written in Matthew near the end of the last chapter. That’s what changes minds - not pointless dogmatic discussions. Salvation is not based on having all the right understanding of the Bible. Actually, a person does not even have to be able to read to get Salvation. Feed them spiritual vegetables.
Good attitude seeds will sometimes fall on hard-headed ground, and some on attentive, listening, soft ground. When seeds fall on hard ground, soften that hard head by using the principle of Hebrews 4: 12. The Word of God is active and sharper than any sword.
I have noticed that there is sometimes a need to remove polluted ideas and poisons from an anti-God biased mind, or even a necessity to pulverize some mind concrete. In the physical world you might have to clear a field of soured ground with lime or bulldoze out boulders. In the spiritual world bulldozers and jackhammers won’t work. The right words at the right time, along with sincerity, can be tools that act as solvents and antidotes.
Ask yourself today, what’s growing in your attitude garden? Take a soil sample. Are the words of your mouth too Acidic, or too mambie pambie? This church can help remove that bitter-weed and fill in those holes with Praise Parsley. Continuous weekly (not weakly) spraying and watering is needed by all of us.
It doesn’t have to be spring to plant attitude azaleas.
Start planting today.