Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tater Tots and Me

As you know America has produced many fine inventors in her 234 years of existence: Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and George Washington Carver are just a few of the fine contributors to the American way of life. But by my way of thinking two of the greatest American inventors were Nephi and Golden Grigg. (Did his mama really name her son “Golden”? Maybe she knew he was destined for greatness.)

“Who were the brothers Grigg?” you say.

Back in 1953, Nephi and Golden came up with the novel idea of chopping up potato slivers, adding flour and seasoning, then pushing the mash through holes and slicing off the cylinder pieces which came out on the other side. What came out on the other side was a little bit of heaven otherwise known as “Tater Tots.” The company that the Grigg brothers founded, Ore-Ida, has been selling tots ever since, and today Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of tots per year. And why not--they are crispy, crunchy, and delicious! Napoleon Dynamite is not alone; how could anyone not love tots?

So this week when Karla informed me that she would not be home in time to prepare dinner and that the evening’s duty would fall to me—of course, my natural reaction was to think of the Griggs and their heavenly tots. Ben grilled the chicken; we sliced some cantaloupe; and I baked the tots. We all agreed -- it was a tasty meal.

Unfortunately, about 45 minutes after consuming our lovely dinner, Karla and I were at Ben’s meet-the-teacher night and a powerful headache came upon me. It was a doozy-- an extra, uber doozy. (For the last ten days I was doing pretty well in the headache department. In fact, on the way to the school that night I commented to Karla about how well I had been doing. Those proved to be famous last words because just as we were about to enter Ben’s fourth hour class… POW! Migraine city!). What could have caused such a reaction?

I’ve tried several tactics to curb these nasty headaches one of which is a very restrictive diet. Which as I have mentioned previously means —“if it tastes good I can’t eat it.” Certainly the chicken and the sliced melon did not cause my head to do the “crazy cranium crunch.” I don’t even want to say it…. but could Nephi and Golden Grigg’s wonderful invention “the glorious and delightfully delicious Tater Tot” be the culprit? Say it ain’t so, Napoleon.

When we got home from the school as I found the nearest, quietest, darkest room, Karla found the package of tots and sure enough they contain onions (a big no-no on my list of banned food substances). Who knew? Nephi and Golden put onions into their scrumptious recipe. You really can’t taste the ornery onion. You can’t smell the obnoxious onion. But my noggin knew that buried deep within the tasty, crunchy morsels of goodness was an evil onion and my noggin didn’t like it… not one bit.

The Apostle Paul never tasted delectable Tater Tots and the evil onions of doom contained therein—but he did know about dough and yeast and this is what he warned the churches in Galatia: false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! (Galatians 5:9) He was saying it doesn’t take much bad theology to mess up a good thing. It doesn’t take many lies to get good people off track. Just as it didn’t take a lot of onions to send my head into a tizzy; it doesn’t take much false teaching to lead people astray. That’s why it’s important for me to read the labels of the food I consume (no onions of destruction, please!) and it’s vitally important for all of us to consume the Word of God so we won’t fall prey to false teachings (no heresies please!).

Well, I’ve learned my lesson this week—I won’t eat tots without checking the label first—and I hope that all of us won’t venture far into our day without checking into God’s Word; thereby keeping us free from any faulty thinking and focused on the Truth of the Lord!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"God is really among us"

Yesterday I was reading a passage that we rarely read in our tribe (we rarely read it—and almost never on Sundays-- because Paul is talking about tongues in the passage and most Nazarenes get scared off the topic faster than you can say “Phineas F. Bresee.” Just seeing the word “tongues” gives most of my fellow Nazarenes the “holy heebie jeebies,” but that’s another topic for another day). Paul, in this passage, talks about an unbeliever going to a church service and at this particular service, prophesying is taking place (talk about the “holy heebie jeebies” daily double, this passage might be it—tongues and prophesying. Oh my!) But Paul seems to indicate that prophesying should happen among the believers; and he doesn’t act like this is an odd event at all but rather seems to imply that it should be a common occurrence. Anyway, that’s not my point, instead my point is… Something powerful happens to this unbeliever during this particular worship service—he is convinced of his sins and he proclaims “God is really among you.” (1 Corinthians 14:25)

That’s the phrase that has captured my thinking—an unbeliever saying: “God is really among you.” How often do unbelievers proclaim that about us? When a visitor comes into our service on a Sunday morning is that what they would say first? “God is really among you.” You see, more than a comment on how lovely our sanctuary is or what nice people we are or what nice music we have or even what a nice pastor we have (ahem)—I want every visitor, every time to say, “God is really among you.” And quite honestly, shame on us, if a visitor leaves on a Sunday without that impression.

Will you pray that this Sunday we will have a “God is really among us” experience? That everyone—from the first time visitor to the longest tenured member would proclaim “God is really among us.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wedding Rehearsals

Tonight I will be leading a wedding rehearsal. I stopped counting how many weddings and rehearsals I’ve been at long ago, I am sure this is around my 475,985 rehearsal (or it just seems like that).

Wedding rehearsals are kind of fun. There is a nervous energy in the air. Everyone is getting ready for the big day; and when the dry run is over you get to eat. As the name suggests a rehearsal is a practice. It’s the time to work out the bugs. So by definition things aren’t always perfect at rehearsals. There are a few things that you can count on:

• Someone will be late.
• The bow-on-a-paper-plate bouquet that the bride carries down the aisle is half tacky; half terrific!
• If the Mother of the Bride (The MOTB) isn’t happy; ain’t nobody happy.
• If the Father of the Bride (the FOTB) looks broke; he is.
• If the Mother of the Groom (The MOTG) looks like she is about to lose something and gain something; she is.
• If the MOTB is blubbering away during the rehearsal make sure there are two boxes of tissue on her pew during the wedding.
• The flower girl will walk down the aisle flawlessly one time-- and one time only. It will either happen at the rehearsal or during the actual ceremony—but never both. Never. So if she walks down the aisle like an angel during the practice then beware during the real deal.
• If the ring bearer is under 3 years old, chances are Barnum and Bailey’s grizzly bear would have a better chance to bring the rings forward without turning the wedding into a circus than the toddler.
• No matter how much duct tape you put on the floor to remind the groomsmen exactly where to stand, they will find themselves in the wrong spot during the ceremony.
• There is at least one bridesmaid that should not be wearing the chiffon dress that the bride has picked for the ladies to wear.
• Twenty-two years ago, when I first started officiating weddings the groomsmen had tattoos and the bridesmaids had earrings; that fashion statement has been reversed—weird.
• No amount of reminding the Maid of Honor not to worry about the wedding gown’s train will keep her from adjusting it at least three times on the wedding day.
• Even if the wedding singer has sung the wedding song a bazillion times, he or she will still want to sing their song a bazillion and oneth time at the rehearsal with the microphone.
• If the soon-to-be-bride punches the groom during the rehearsal, that’s probably an indicator the wedding should be rethought (I had a ring side seat for that one.)
• Every soon-to-be-groom wants to practice the kiss (not sure about the groom that got punched).
• If the following people are invited to the rehearsal dinner: the minister, the grandparents of the bride and the fraternity brothers of the groom -- avoid having the frat boys offer a toast during the meal. (Two words: Awk Ward!)

There’s a lot of planning that goes into making the wedding day perfect. I pray that we put as much effort into making our marriages perfect. Much more than one good day; marriages are meant to last forever. With God’s help they can—it’s putting Him first and the couple moving forward through life hand in hand trusting God all the way. That’s my prayer for tonight’s couple; and my prayer for all of our couples-- that we would live by Joshua’s words, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)