©02 LeviteContinued from part 2
I had over a month to prepare. But it felt like it came down to the last three days before we left for St. Louis before my sermon really came together.
I even called Mr. Stillwell back and taped him telling me to just preach 'Something on the Old Testament'. With his permission of course.
And that is exactly what I lined out. And brought it in right on my time scale. Fourteen minutes.
Practicing it was more an exercise in speaking in a sing-song voice and keeping time with some rather impressive background music than refining my message.
I asked our church's youth group if they would mind being Guinea Pigs for it the weekend before we left. They thought it was a great idea, as long as I supplied the refreshments.
Six pizzas later, I was given a positive review, and some constructive criticism.
Then Tuesday after the show, we were off to the airport for a commuter flight to the convention.
We were met at the airport by a stretch limmo with a chauffeur and attendant with hot towels and imported chocolates and... Well, we Were met at the airport. By a guy in a minivan who didn't have enough money to get us out of the parking lot, he borrowed three dollars off me so we could pay the gate tab.
"Sorry about that, this is my third trip today and I forgot to get some extra money." He said.
"No problem." I laughed and smiled at Carol and the kids.
We checked into our hotel first and got the stuff up to the room. The view from the end of the hallway was spectacular. We could see the arch, and the stadium, and the old state house or whatever that impressive looking domed building was. The view from our room wasn't nearly as good, unless you like brick walls.
Later we rode a bus to the convention and were met by several of the brain trust of the event. They were all smiles and extended hands.
"Excellent, excellent." One Mrs. Thorbunston from K.C. said to us. I'm glad most of them had nametags with a gold cross and their name on it. I would never have kept them all straight otherwise.
I had a sudden bad feeling about all the friendliness. "OK. What's up?"
Mr. Jones from Effingham made a face, "Well. We were wondering?"
"When do you want me to preach?"
"This isn't the Keynote Address we wanted you to give..."
"That's still on. We need you for that too." Another man said quickly.
Mr. Jones from Effingham continued. "But there is a smaller assembly that needs..."
"When?" I asked the question that was most important.
"About half an hour."
Mrs. Thorbunston from K.C. looked worried. "We heard you were one that was ready to preach anywhere anytime... I had hoped..."
"He is." Carol said with a grin. "All he needs is enough time to get warmed up."
"How long does that take?" The man without a nametag said.
I made a show out of cracking my knuckles. "HARUMPH! Yowza yowza yowza. THUS SAYTH THE LORD!" I said loudly to a few amused looks from those passing by. Then I nodded. "I'm ready. But I left my Bible in the room. Got one I can borrow?"
Mr. Jones from Effingham looked behind us at the vendor floor. Every religious supply house in the US and Canada had a display in there. "I'm sure we can find one."
"You go knock'em dead. We'll look around." Carol said smiling at the chance to do some shopping.
While we looked for a suitable Bible they explained that the group was several Sunday School Superintendents, the message they were expecting to hear was one on modern music versus traditional music. Could I come up with something that might lean that way? These addresses only lasted about ten minutes right before a break. When they came back from the break they'd discuss the issue and the ideas raised by the speaker.
One of them led me to the room where the Sunday School Superintendents were listening to a singer give a rather spirited rendition of one of the newer praise songs. I waited in the hall, then the singer came to the end of her song. A gentleman got up and walked slowly to the small pulpit.
"We were supposed to have a special guest speaker..." He glanced at the door. I waved at him with a grin. "Maybe we do have a speaker after all."
I walked in nodding at the crowd. I had hoped for at least a couple of familiar faces. Oh well.
"I'm not all that special, I'd like to think I'm only a guest because I haven't met all of you yet. And I'm not a speaker. I'm a preacher. So. You just struck out." I put my borrowed Bible on the stand and thanked the young woman that had sang and barreled right into my message.
My message was essentially a string of more or less random thoughts and verses on music in worship.
"The LORD commands us to praise Him in music. That's an accepted fact. Be it just our singing, or a full praise band, or evidently even just listening to gospel music on a radio." I opened the Bible and prayed silently that my memory actually worked.
"Psalm 33. 'Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.' Let us pray." I nodded to them and thanked God silently that I had found the right chapter on my second try. I had thought it was Psalm 32, but it was the next one. No harm, no foul. Then I began the opening prayer for my message.
"Sorry Lord. I'm fresh out of ten string lyres. But please accept my preaching as a joyful noise and a sweet incense to Your glory. We thank you for this place to meet and for the others that share this Precious Faith and the chance to compare notes and borrow other's ideas to make our local congregations better servants for you. Amen."
Now it was time for the deep breath.
"Well. First off. I'm a draftee. I'm supposed to speak at the assembly tomorrow night, but... things got a little twisted around. So this is going to be on the fly. The time I had to prepare for the topic was the time it took to the elevator to get from the first to the third floor." I grinned. "But I got a few ideas. Wanna hear'em?"
"Sure." Said one of the ladies in the front row.
"Good. Here it goes."
Somehow I managed to remember several verses that had to do with singing or music as praise. Then I went back to the 'properly and orderly' verse and asked them if a music service should be a 'battle of the bands' type noise fest. "If we are not supposed to babble in gibberish in church I seriously doubt if we should sing the same way. Which means, of course, your head banging lead drummer may have to tone it down just a touch and they'll have to sing so we can understand the words." I smiled. "But I'm sure the Lord appreciates some of the more lively numbers as much as I do, probably even more. I've heard some music specials in my travels that literally could pass for lullabies. Pardon me, but it was pathetic. Paul tells us repeatedly to REJOICE! If you have to sing The Old Rugged Cross like a dirge because if you spice up the service with The Lord of the Dance somebody might call you a liberal, we need to have a long talk."
I wound it down with the idea that the motivation and intent in the delivery was far more important than whatever was said or played. "Don't get mad at me, I didn't say this, but I do use it a lot. 'If you are doing it for praise of men...'" I let it hang in the air. Then I bowed slightly and thanked them for their attention.
I fled as the facilitator called their break and told them what was coming afterward.
"Mr. Samuel. That was something else." Mr. Jones from Effingham told me as I walked into the hallway. "I got to listen to almost all of it. For no more preparation than you did..." He shook his head. "I don't know how you did it."
"It's just talking about the Word. I guess in twenty five years of being a pew-warmer some of it must have sunk in." I grinned.
Me and Carol had a nice quiet romantic dinner at the hotel that evening.
For exactly six minutes. Then Jay got restless, and Elizabeth woke up and noticed she wasn't being held and so much for romance in St. Louis.
Keynote Old Testament
The assembly was the single largest gathering of the Faithful I have ever witnessed.
The place was every bit as full as it would have been for a football game.
"Some people stay home and drive in just for these services. They don't attend any other part of the convention." Mrs. Thorbunston said to me as I stood off to one side of the main platform while a children's choir did a song.
"And now I give you our keynote speaker for this evening's service. The self-described Lunatic for the Lord! Mister. Robert. Samuel!"
I swallowed hard and walked out waving to the five or six people I knew in the front row. Then I waved to the fifty thousand people I didn't know. Several people from several local churches back home said they were regular attendees of these things. And for the next two years if one of them asked me if I saw them waving at me from row GG in section three of the balcony I said, "Oh, I thought those people looked familiar."
I stepped up onto the podium and nodded and smiled to the very generous applause while I put a St. Louis Zoo sport bottle of water on the pulpit. A functional souvenir from today's outing.
"Good Evening. And the Lord Be Praised that we could find more Christian's than they could wrestling fans or we'd be meeting in the parking lot." After the laugh I asked them to pray with me.
"Amen." I nodded to the sound guy. The tape I had of Mr. Stillwell came to life.
"It's Old Testament Day for our seminars and classes. Just preach something on the Old Testament." He said from the 'drop a straight pen and listen to it ring' sound system.
"Something on the Old Testament." I repeated. "Well. OK." I nodded to the sound guy again. The music started up. I cleared my throat and began. The huge screens here and there lit up with the word 'Genesis.'
"'In the beginning God created the Heaven's and the Earth.' Then Adam and Eve moved out and after the flood Abraham took his household on a road trip to pitch his tent in Canaan where Lot had a bad go of it and the scene with Isaac on the mountain before Israel set up shop in Egypt where Joseph was buried after his brothers did him dirty." Then the screens said 'Exodus'. "The Pharaoh didn't remember Joseph but he never forgot Moses for ten very good reasons. But Moses thought it was time to go so they journeyed forty years in the wilderness where water came from the rock and the bread from heaven and the Law from the mountain. 'Thou shalt Not have any other gods before Me.' Make no idols. Don't take His Name in vain. And while your at it, keep the Sabbath, honor your parents, don't steal, kill, or commit adultery. Quit your lying and don't covet your neighbor's hot rod car. Then they made the Ark and Moses built the tabernacle."
'Leviticus' was on the screens now.
"Make a grain offering and a peace offering to the Lord. And a sin offering for all the wrong you do. Don't eat storks or bugs that can't fly and pork chops thou shalt not eat and thy sons with thee. If you hire a man to work for you, there is a law for that, and if you want to get married or sell a cow, we got laws for that too." I caught my breath and looked up. 'Numbers'. It was about here the audiance figured out what was going on.
"They took a census of all the people of the Children of Israel and numbered them by their father's household and ordered the congregation just so. How many Levites and how many priests and how many princes and this how you take a Nazirite vow. Then Miriam became a leper and died later. And believe it or not, the talking donkey makes her appearance before we have a handful of battles."
The screens went to the next book, and I kept up with them. "In the last of the Five Books of Moses Israel went there, and then went there and they fought everybody they could find across the Jordan. The Ten Commandments make a curtain call because the people seem to have forgotten them and then they circumcised each other and we have another list of stuff you shouldn't eat including rock-badgers and vultures so that must have been a problem." I took a breath. "Moses sang a nice long song praising God but he died anyway. A man the Lord knew face to face."
"Joshua was the son of Nun and he got Moses' job. Rahab the harlot hid the spies and Jericho was taken with the Ark and the trumpets. The Amorites and a whole bunch more bought it then Israel split up the land and they built a bunch of cities I can't pronounce. Joshua finally died and was buried but he had a better time of it than Joseph did because Joseph's bones had been carried around with them all this time since Egypt before they buried him. Then the Lord had to appoint Judges over Israel because they cut off a king's thumbs and big toes and he died in Jerusalem and the people became corrupt. Every chance they got they turned to false gods and married the heathen and set up idols, sometimes right in the Holy Place of the Lord. And then there was a problem with the tribe of Benjamin and their wives and that's a great story, you ought to read it some time."
I nodded and caught my breath again. The screen above my head showed the next book.
"If half the women of our churches had half the faith of Ruth and Naomi then we'd be twice the Church we are now." That brought some 'Amen's from the crowd. "It's a short book, but it ends with the note that these two women of faith founded the family of King David. The next book..." I grinned. "Samuel. Begins with another great woman of Faith, Hannah, his mother, and he was one of the greatest in the Old Testament. Eli's sons were a couple of the worst, and their sins cost their father his life. Saul was a good guy who became a bad guy and learned his fate from a ghost called up by a witch. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, David and his sling get in a fight with a great big guy. Then David has to flee for his life, and gets his revenge by not getting revenge, you've got to read that one too. But David ends up King in book two and sings a mourning song for Saul and Jonathan. But David was humble and prayed to God to make him a good king. And he was for awhile. But even David strayed, and that too is a great story. Then Solomon comes on the scene and there is palace intrigue and this one and that one get in trouble and David ends up mourning another child. We turn the page and see the First book of the Kings. David gets away from the faith a little, and looses his job and comes back and finally he slept with his fathers, that's Old Testament for 'he died'. Solomon puts the kingdom back together and prays to God and becomes the wisest man to ever live in spite of his busloads of wives. He builds a Temple and a palace and has an army almost beyond count and is reckoned one of the greatest kings ever. But even Solomon turned from God and bowed down to idols. But he seems to have gotten his act together before he slept with his fathers. Then the kingdom becomes divided and they fight. Elijah makes a statement on Mt. Carmel, read that too. After assorted wars and we meet good queen (cough cough) Jezebel, there are new kings in Judah and Israel and we have book two which opens with Elijah being taken up to heaven in a whirlwind."
I grinned for a minute. "Now that's the way to leave the scene." I took a deep breath as they chuckled and plunged on.
"Elisha wasn't as showy as Elijah but it says he had a double portion of the Spirit that Elijah had. He healed Naaman in the river and found an axe head and did all sorts of things. You have to read that too! Then there is a smorgasbord of kings and Israel falls and we meet Isaiah and King Hezekiah and the book of the Law is found and read and then we go to Babylon and turn the page and we are in First Chronicles or the Third Book of the Kings. It opens with a whole lot of 'begots' so we can tell where we are, and if you can pronounce Jekamiah and Kiriath-jearim and the house of Rechab, you should read it to me. It tells us about how the Ark was still in a tent in the time of David, and then the treasure and the gates and the officers, and, well, a bunch of other stuff that's not as neat at the war with the Philistine giants with six fingers and toes per extremity, but that's in there too." Deep breath. "In Fourth Kings, or Second Chronicles, Solomon finishes the temple and prays for it and then he sleeps with his fathers. Then we meet Jehoshaphat, yes we do, and a couple more of the 'J' kings later. Other kings of Judah come and go and then Hezekiah restores worship in the Temple of the Lord. He brought back the Passover and destroyed the idols the people had set up. This is one of the great stories of Restoration to God in the Bible, Read it!" I said with emphasis. "But it didn't last, the people get away from God, then they detour into Babylon."
"Whew." I looked up. "We're getting there. I've always thought it odd that Chronicles ends the same way Ezra begins, but why not? King Cyrus of Persia wants the Temple rebuilt, and what King Cyrus wants... We have the count of the priests and Levites that return. The holy items come back and the alter is restored. But some hard headed folk get in the way until one king talks to another king and Darius finds Cyrus's letter and then everybody is on the same page and the Temple of the Lord was finally restored." The screen said Nehemiah. "Nehemiah rebuilt the walls. You ask any Sunday School Student what Nehemiah did they tell you he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. Well he did that, and counted the people, and refused to eat his allowance of food but gave it to the workers on the walls. He also saw to it the various feasts were kept and the people confessed their sins and he brought back the Sabbath observance."
I smiled broadly. "No woman in all the Bible is as beautiful as Queen Esther. I don't care what you say. She put her life, and indeed, the lives of her family and all her people on the line. This is one of the greatest stories in the whole Bible. I know I keep saying that, but if you haven't read the Book of Esther, with Mordecai, and Haman and the plot twists between them. You've missed something."
"'There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job.' He falls on some hard times when the Devil has nothing better to do. His three friends come and chat with him, and they're a lot of help let me tell you. They accuse Job, and Job defends himself, the best part is Elihu waiting until the end to tell them that he waited to speak because they are older than he is. And he thought that their years would give them wisdom, but he says that he listened, but all he heard was a lot of talk and Job answered every one of their charges and to spare, so now it was his turn to speak. Finally Job is questioned by God from another one of those whirlwinds and he cannot answer the All Mighty and he knows it, he puts his hand over his mouth and says he is nothing compared to God. Which is a lesson we all need reminded of once in awhile. Job ends up better off than he was when it all started."
"'Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! Thou hast relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.' David didn't write all the Psalms, but he wrote a sizable piece of them. Most praise God for various things, a few are sorrowful and mourn our lot. Some are about the Word of the Lord and a few foretell the Messiah. This book contains the Longest Chapter in the Bible, and the Shortest, and the Middle of the Bible is in Psalms. Solomon didn't write all the Proverbs, but he wrote a sizable piece of them. 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.' Everything is talked about in Proverbs. Good wives, business management, child rearing, focusing on God, and even that we should be proud of our gray hair." I touched my head and nodded. "OK."
"'Vanity of Vanities! All is Vanity!' A book by a Preacher who evidently had a really bad day. But this book has given us many lines to use, and even a song, 'To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.' And I absolutely love the next to the last verse in Ecclesiastes. 'Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear GOD and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.'" There were several loud 'Amen's.
"Solomon's Song is not for those that think there is no hot and sweaty romance in the Bible. These two people loved each other, and there is no doubt. Although if my wife called me a gazelle or compared me to a fig tree I'd see about getting her to the doctor."
The screens changed to Isaiah. "Isaiah is one of those Old Testament prophets that comes to mind when we think about a prophet pronouncing doom on everybody and everything within reach. He had visions and prophesied about the fall of Judah and sent messages to Ethiopia and others. But they weren't all bad news... He also told about the coming child, Immanuel. His book also gives us more about Hezekiah and Babylon. And Isaiah tells us that in the end, God Wins! Jeremiah is another one that went around condemning pretty much everybody, but he goes to greater lengths to tell us why. Judah had forgotten God. He has the boiling pot vision, and preaches in the Temple gate and compares idols to scarecrows. Then he goes into some history about their captivity and why he ended up down a well and the fall of Jerusalem and the future doom of Egypt and others. Standard Old Testament Prophet stuff. Then Jeremiah writes a sequel to Lament about Zion and the affliction of Israel due to God's anger. But in the end the prophet prays for the deliverance of his people back to God."
Now I needed a quick sip of water.
"Ezekiel had some really great visions; the living figures and the wheels, the defilement of Jerusalem, the Glory of God, the surveyor. And he told some great stories, the boiling pot part two, part one was in Jeremiah, vines and eagles, and others. Then to meet his obligation as an Old Testament Prophet, he has a nice solid batch of judgments against the usual suspects, with a few twists, and ends his book with a description of who's to get what, I've always thought this part is symbolic of the Kingdom to Come, but that's just me. Who else has had the life that Daniel had? Lion's dens, and fiery furnaces, and writing on the wall, and visions of nasty creatures from the sea and all? Wow. And on top of all that, he prays for his people and gives prophecies about the Messiah and gets to meet Gabriel... What a story for one man to live!"
"Hosea is a story about Israel leaving God, and coming back, and leaving, and coming back until God calls them a harlot. Their idolatry is condemned and they are told they will reap a whirlwind. Even though his book is short, Hosea gets a lot of condemnation into it. But he too, promises that in the future, God will love them as His children again." I nodded and panted and went on, the screens said 'Joel'. "It takes confidence to open your book predicting a plague of locusts, but that's what he did. In here we hear about 'The Great and Awesome Day Of The LORD' and the Final Judgement. Amos likes to say 'Thus Sayth the Lord'. Eight in the first two chapters alone! But he also promises restoration. Obadiah also uses 'Thus sayth the Lord' but he can't say it often because his book isn't that long, but he tells us too that the Lord will Win."
I took a deep breath for the next one. "Everybody has heard the story of Jonah and his great fish or whale. But did you realize that all that and the plant that withered too happened in a total of forty eight verses? Then we have Micah. His job description as an Old Testament Prophet is true to form, he has a nice hearty round of condemning all the usual suspects once again. But then, right in the middle of his book he tells of the coming King to be born in Bethlehem, the least of Judah. And Nahum tells of how awesome God is and foretells the overthrow of Nineveh to its utter and complete ruin and ... and... well, that's about it. Habakkuk, 'How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and Thou wilt not hear?' Well, God heard His prophet and Habakkuk tells of the deliverance, once again, of God's people. Zephaniah is another Old Testament Prophet, and guess what? Except the prophecy is against Judah this time. He was the..." I counted on my fingers. "Great, great grandson, I think, of King Hezekiah, and he wasn't real happy about the way things were going around the old homestead. His line was 'Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled.' For not heeding the voice of God."
"Haggai was not exactly an Old Testament Prophet. Yeah, he did his prophesying, and he warned them to consider their ways and predicted a blight on the land. But he also talked up the workmen on the Temple and told them He was with them. Another call to consider your ways comes from Zechariah. '"Return to Me," Says the Lord of hosts'. We have another vision of the surveyor and a branch, and chariots and crowns, and all sorts of things. And he lives up to his billing as an Old Testament Prophet by declaring doom on all and sundry. Another topic he brings up that several of his union brothers also mention is a special doom for false prophets. Malachi has the verse most often heard as a meditation before the offering in our churches. 'Will a man rob god? Yet you are robbing Me!' Yet the first half of the book is spent dealing with the sins of the priests and the judgment on them to come."
I took another deep breath. "There you go... Something on the Old Testament." I nodded as applause slowly built when they realized Malachi was the last book.
The sweat was seriously into my eyes. I was panting. I glanced at my watch, just over twenty minutes, 'not bad for the entire OT'. I whispered to myself.
I nodded at the applause and wondered what to do now. I had only planned on delivering the message, not closing the service. But the MC made no move to come back up on the stage. A piece of advice I had gotten several months ago "When in doubt, Pray" Came back to me.
"Let us thank the Author of the Book in prayer." I said into the microphone. The applause died out. I thanked God for getting me through it and asked Him to bless the audience and give them to time to go back and re-read those great stories and refresh in their minds that all of it was given to us to prepare the World for His Son.
The MC took the hint and walked up the stairs slowly as I prayed. At my 'Amen' he resumed his role and thanked me for presenting the Old Testament as he had never heard it before.
I bowed slightly, and waved, and made a break for it, drink bottle in hand.
I was accosted in the passage behind the stage. The video guy from the convention wanted to process, and sell, tapes of my sermon. I was flabbergasted, but my wife thought it was a great idea.
So I stood there and nodded.
By the next morning my video... Yes, My Video, was being pre-ordered for delivery after the convention ended by people that wanted to play it at home. The audio tape was selling as fast as they could run them off from the master. And some techie had rigged a way to put it and a copy of the Old Testament on a CD so you could play it on a computer and watch the books flash by on the screen as I talked about them.
I was being asked for autographs.
Very distinguished looking gentlemen and ladies from various committees and organizations were asking me to speak to their people in places like Abilene and Syracuse.
My wife thought it was all about the greatest thing to ever happen to us. But then it dawned on her if I was going to fulfill even half the speaking engagements I was being offered I'd be on the road more than I'd be home and I'd only be on the radio live maybe one day a week.
"Art would love that." I said.
She was not amused.
I pulled myself out of the fire. "I can't commit to anything right now. Let me set up a schedule and check with my day job." I said to them.
We left for home the next morning.
But things weren't any calmer there.
The station had been swamped with calls. Well, 'swamped' isn't the right word. They had gotten about a dozen calls in the last couple of days. My answering machine at home was swamped. Its memory was full.
"So you think St. Louis is going to be a power this football season?" Art asked me the next morning.
"They looked pretty good to the local commentators. They've even found a way for their running backs to not trip over their own blockers in the pre-season games."
We discussed that, and St. Louis's rather thin batting lineup as the baseball season came down to crunch time. I even had a review of a fishing tournament on the river.
"Go ahead caller." I said to the microphone.
"Yeah. This is Wilson again. Bob, it's good to have you back to keep Art in line. While you were off preaching he got all off on a tangent about the open wheel auto race in Cleveland."
I looked at Art. He nodded. "Is that so? So what does he know about that kind of racing."
"Not much." Wilson said.
Art jumped in and defended himself until the commercial break.
After the show I told Art about the engagements I was considering and the time I'd be gone.
"Go for it." He said. "Your gallivanting around the country has raised more interest in the program and generated more calls than we've had in a long time. Our web site is taking three times the hits and people are even listening in on it."
"I noticed the show mailbox was full. That's unusual."
Art nodded. "We're going to be getting in an intern just to handle that stuff as soon as they can get one from the college."
"Just because I go out and preach." I said.
"No. It's the way you preach. That raving lunatic stuff you do. I heard part of your sermon at the convention. You've become something of a novelty act."
"Oh." I didn't want to be a novelty act.
Later in my office I thought long and hard about it. The message was getting through, I didn't doubt that. Everybody I talked to after I did one of my 'lunatic' presentations talked first about the dishes or the jumpsuits or the telescope or whatever, but then, then, they talked about the ideas I presented in my unorthodox style.
John the Baptist had an unorthodox style didn't he? And the people listened to him. Jesus didn't operate in a manner approved of by the Ministerium Committee of his local community. Yet He was the center of intense attention by everybody that mattered. Paul drew attention to himself all the way to Rome.
Yeah there were a few of the more conservative members of various churches here and there that dismissed me as a crackpot and never looked past the props to even consider that my message had any merit at all. I'd even had those types walk out when I asked God to clean my dishes.
And, later, somebody would tell me in the fellowship hall that the one that walked out was exactly the type that the sermon applied to.
OK, so I was a novelty act. As long as they paid attention and some of the message got through, and more importantly, the Message was the Good News based entirely on Scripture, so what if they thought I really was a screaming loony? At least they heard the Truth in a way that they might have paid attention to and maybe remembered for more than five minutes.
Two weeks later I sat and watched the video with some friends from my home church. They were spellbound. One of them followed along in his Bible noting every book I referred to.
"Wow." Brenda said. She was the defacto head of the Bible School, even though Mr. Clawson was the named superintendent, she ran the thing. "That was... I don't know what it was. But it was great."
"I wish you would have spent more time on each book." Mr. Baker said closing his Bible.
"But then it would have taken a week. You could do a whole series of sermons on just Daniel or the life of Elijah. The idea was to present everything in the Old Testament, and make people a little curious about some of the things they've forgotten or never read to begin with." I said.
He nodded. "And that it did. I even caught myself reading that story about Eli's sons as you were running through it. It's a good object lesson."
"That was the point of the whole exercise." I said. "To get just a few of the people in the stadium to maybe knock the dust off their Bibles and look up a few things."
Mr. Baker bit his lip, but he nodded. "In that... I think you may have succeeded."
Continued in Lord's Lunatic part 4
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