A United States Army general speaking in Japan told a story with the punch line, "Show me. I'm from Missouri." His translator knew the audience wouldn't understand, so he said in Japanese, "The general has made a joke and I'll be in trouble if you don't laugh." The people obligingly laughed. But because some things don't translate well, the general had failed to communicate.
I remember seeing a newspaper photograph of three signs nailed to a big oak tree. Their message was obvious. On the top sign were printed the words, "No Trespassing," on the middle one, "No Hunting," and on the bottom, "No Nothing."
It was a bitterly cold morning at the inner-city church. Among the 130 or so worshipers, the pastor took special notice of Ken, a young boy who arrived for Sunday school wearing just a sleeveless T-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes with no socks.
A severe trial is sometimes called an "acid test." This term originated during times when gold was widely circulated. Nitric acid was applied to an object of gold to see if it was genuine or not. If it was fake, the acid decomposed it; if it was genuine, the gold was unaffected.
The anguish in the caller's voice revealed her pain. It wasn't the first time she had called. The reason was always the same. She had said and done some things that hurt her sister badly, and now she was having trouble feeling forgiven.
How would you answer the question, "What is the meaning of life?" Jonathan Gabay of England has published a book containing the answers of well-known individuals to that query. One of them, a church leader, gave an arresting testimony. As a child, he says, he watched his family's black and white TV, wishing that he could get a clearer picture. But he was glad they had even that unsatisfactory set.
During his reign as king, Manasseh sacrificed his own children to idols, ruthlessly killed people, and practiced all kinds of evil. But after he repented and began to worship God, his conduct was radically altered.
"Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again'" (Jn. 3:7). These words seem out of context. We think Jesus should have uttered them in the next chapter of John, when He met the woman beside the well (4:6-26). She had made a mess of her life and might have welcomed a chance to start over again. That's why we put up the sign at the rescue mission, You Must Be Born Again, because it seems to apply to people like her.
One day Charles Spurgeon, the great 19th-century preacher, stood on a London street corner, afraid to cross the road. The street was a bustle of horses, carts, and carriages, with drivers urging their steeds onward at breakneck speeds and no rules of the road to control them. Only when a blind man asked Spurgeon for help did the two cross together in safety.