Silly as a gooseThis is the time of year they are flying.  We were standing on a tee box last Sunday afternoon, and could hear them honking, high in the sky, their erratic V-formation painted on a blue autumn sky.  When you contemplate their magnificence, you wonder why anyone ever came up with the phrase “as silly as a goose.”

For one, the V formation is critical to their migration.  Instinctively they fly this way.  Like some inner voice lines them up. They cannot know that flying in such a way enables them to fly 71% farther and longer than if they flew solo. Each bird creates an uplift that buoys the birds behind.  I wonder how many of us recognize the value of belonging to a church?  I wonder how many people have hung on a little longer, flown a little further than they might have, simply because they were buoyed on by the faith, love, and strength of those friends at their church?

Secondly, there is that honking.  Do you know why they honk?  We may never know for sure, since we can’t talk to the geese, but the best experts seem to believe that it is simply a means of letting the ones in front know that they are still back there.  It’s like they’re encouraging them on.  Think about it. The front goose could fly a hundred miles alone, no one behind him.  But when he hears the honking, he knows he’s not alone.  And in some way, he may be encouraged to fly on.   A well-placed “Amen!” means a lot to a preacher.  And a well-placed “Attaboy!” means a lot to anyone!  We get that at church, don’t we?  “Hang in there!”  “Keep the faith.”  “We love you.”  “We’re praying.”

Thirdly, the leader is not the only leader.  Remember, the point goose doesn’t have the benefit of the uplift from another. He’s in the front.  So he tires much sooner than others.  And when he does, he simply slides out and relocates back down the line, and another slides up to the lead.   There are no “big I’s” and “little you’s” in church.  Look around at how many “leaders” simply step up and do what needs to be done.  No one leader is so critical to the direction of the flock that when he is tired, another cannot step up and lead for a while.  This constant support and encouragement is what makes the Christian church unique.

And finally, when one goose falls out of the flock because he is sick or wounded, he never goes down alone. Two other geese will peel out of the flock and go down with him. And they’ll stay with him until he is well enough to fly on, or until he dies.  And then they’ll either join another flock until they can break off and reach their own migratory route, or they’ll be a flock of three until they arrive at their destination. I think it was Madeleine Murray O’Hair who said the Christian army is the only army in the world which kills off its wounded.  What did she know?  The Christian “army” doesn’t kill its wounded. Much like the geese, it surrounds its wounded with love, forgiveness, and hope.  Oh, there are those on the fringe who are hateful or spiteful, as in any group.  But by and large, Christians stay beside those who are suffering and hurting in life. Like our Lord who promised He would never leave us or forsake us.  We restore. We heal. Because we are surrounded by His love revealed through the love of others.

I love being part of the Christian community.  And the next time someone accuses me of being as silly as a goose, I’m going to take it as a compliment.

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I heard it twice from the same woman in a mall store:  “Thank God!”

She wasn’t actually thanking Him, though.  She was telling her girlfriend how lucky she was they had the pants she wanted in her size. “Thank God!  I’ll look so hot in these at Thanksgiving!”

I smiled all the way up to the food court. I could just imagine her family gathering at Thanksgiving next week, and all her relatives slipping by her whispering, “Girl, you look so hot in those pants.”

Right.  Well, thank God.

It got me thinking about how many phrases we throw out that once had religious meaning, and now are pretty much meaningless.

  • “Thank God.”
  • “Jesus.”
  • “Jesus Christ.”
  • “Dear God.”
  • “Mother of God.”
  • “Holy Christ.”
  • “Holy… anything.”
  • “God bless.”
  • “God in heaven.”
  • “Good God.”
  • “Mercy.”
  • “Hell.”

And that’s just a start.  Think of how many times you’ve heard those phrases used as nothing but swear words.

Well, Thanksgiving, the holiday, is right around the corner. Wouldn’t it be nice to be truly thankful?  Not just to celebrate a holiday, and be glad for a day off from work, but to be genuinely thankful for whatever blessings you’ve found in life.

Are you healthy?  Are you healthier than others?

Are you employed?  Are you financially secure?  Can you at least make it through a few more months?  Are you married?  Is your spouse decent?  Are you free from abuse?  Have you conquered an addiction?  Do your kids love you?  Do you have a friendship with God?  Do you enjoy your church?  Do you enjoy some family time?  Do you have good friends?

Something is right in your life!  Maybe it’s not perfect, and maybe it’s not the way you wish it was.  But there is much right in it.

Be thankful for that.

Really thankful.

“Thank God!”

What does God look like?“You don’t look like your dad!”  I’ve heard that at a family reunion many years ago.  I never knew if they were suggesting something.

But I’d hate to hear this: “He doesn’t look like his Father.”  Notice the capital “F.”  I mean the “heavenly Father.”

Did you know that all of us, regardless of our race, size, age, sex, hair, skills, etc., are “made in the image and likeness of God”?    Look at yourself in mirror, and whisper: “I bear a strong resemblance to God!”

You do.  You are made in His image.  You reflect His glory, just as the moon reflects the glory of the sun. It has no light in itself, but how gorgeous it is when when it is bathed in the light of the sun!

You will live forever, just like God.  And you have the power to give life, and to take it away.

You’re awesome.   But with awesome power comes awesome responsibility.

Some of you have been on naval vessels, and some have been on beautiful cruise ships.  Those magnificent, huge pieces of floating steel are turned by a comparatively small blade called the rudder.  That small thing can be turned too quickly, or too far, and instead of the massive ship sliding smoothly up to the edge of a pier, it can crash broadside and destroy itself or its mooring.

And the Bible compares the tongue to the rudder of a ship.  Translation:  that small tongue can destroy a beautiful life, or it can steer a life over a successful voyage.

What power we god-like creatures have!  With our tongues we can discourage, dishonor, lie, undermine, publish filth, mock, ridicule, exagerate error… literally destroy a beautiful person who was made in the image of God.

Or, with the same tongue, we can praise, encourage, forgive, set free, let off the hook, admire, compliment, embrace, love… and guide a person made in the image of God into the greatness he/she is capable of.

We have that much power!  Because we, too, are made in God’s image and likeness.

The best way to resemble your Father is to show the same kind of forgiveness and love toward others that He has shown toward you.  Were you forgiven much? Then forgive much.  Do you have secrets He helped you hide?  Then help others hide theirs.

Be like God.

You were made to be. Don’t waste His great plan.

For those of you who were unable to attend this year’s Fun Fall Festival, we were fortunate enough to have captured the final performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (in high-definition). Catch the video below: