Yes! It’s back, by popular demand, for the sixth year! It’s the middle of summer. It’s vacation time. Church and school activities may have slowed down a bit. We decided to help you take a much-needed and well-deserved break. This newsletter is filled from top to bottom with fun, with humor, and with an injection of joy for your life. So put your feet up, smile, laugh, and enjoy the Sixth Annual CTA Ministry Focus Newsletter Fun Fest!
The joy of the LORD is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
(NOTE: Much of the material in this edition was taken from the Internet, and authors are unknown.)
Laughter is good for both body and soul! Could you use a smile or some laughter today? Has life gotten too serious? Would an infusion of joy be just what the Lord has ordered up for you? I hope the following potpourri will bring many smiles to your face!
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
Top Ten Things Overheard on Noah’s Ark
10. Did anyone think about bringing umbrellas?
9. Hey, there are more than two flies in here! 8. Wasn’t someone supposed to put two shovels on board?
7. Okay, who’s the wise guy who invited the mosquitoes?
6. Help! I need some Pepto for the elephants, QUICK!
5. Don’t make me pull this ark over and come back there!
4. No, Ham, you cannot eat the pig!
3. . . . And whatever you do, DO NOT pull this plug out.
2. Nice Doggie!
And the Number One Thing Overheard on Noah’s Ark . . .
1. Are we there yet?
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Two men were marooned on an island. One man, quite worried, paced back and forth, while the other man sat back and enjoyed the sun. The first man said to the second, “Aren’t you afraid we are about to die? Or that we’ll be stuck here forever!?”
“Nah!” said the second man. “I make $100,000 per week, and I tithe faithfully every Sunday. Don’t worry, my pastor will find me.”
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While driving in Pennsylvania, a family happened upon an Amish carriage. The owner obviously had a sense of humor, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand-printed sign that read: “Energy-efficient vehicle—runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in exhaust.”
The tips for this month: 1) enjoy serving the Lord; 2) be blessed by God’s Word; and 3) when the world gives you bad news, let the peace, joy, and hope of Jesus turn it into good news!
Meanwhile, whether you’re a pastor or not, enjoy these tidbits!
Good News/Bad News for Pastors
Good News: The women’s guild voted to send you a get-well card.
Bad News: The vote passed by a vote of 31-30.
Good News: The elder board accepted your job description the way you wrote it.
Bad News: They were so inspired by it, they also formed a search committee to find somebody capable of filling the position.
Good News: Your women’s softball team finally won a game.
Bad News: They beat your men’s softball team.
Good News: The trustees finally voted to add more church parking.
Bad News: They are going to blacktop the lawn in front of your parsonage.
Good News: The youth in your church have decided to come to your house for a visit.
Bad News: They’re coming in the middle of the night, armed with toilet paper and shaving cream to decorate.
Good News: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks.
Bad News: You were on vacation.
One More Good News/Bad News Story
The pastor stood before the congregation and said, “I have bad news, I have good news, and I have more bad news.” The congregation got quiet.
“The bad news is: the church needs a new roof!” the pastor said. The congregation groaned.
“The good news is: we have enough money for the new roof!” A sigh of relief rippled through the gathered group.
“The bad news is, it’s still in your wallets!”
And One Piece of Totally Good News
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. . . .
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . .
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:28, 31–35, 37–39
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Isn’t it amazing how many people—including Christians—believe their good works will get them into heaven? It’s kind of like this old joke:
A man dies and hears a voice saying, “Tell me why you should be admitted to heaven.”
The man replies, “Would it help if I told you I was married to the same woman for 50 years? I loved and respected her deeply. That’s worth some points, don’t you think?”
The voice boomed back, “If you’d like. I’ll give you two out of 100 points for that.”
“Two points? And I need 1,000!” Dejected, the man continued, “Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my gifts.”
“Wonderful! One more point.”
“One point!? But I also started a soup kitchen and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.”
“Fantastic, that’s good for two more points,” he says.
Exasperated, the man cries. “At this rate the only way I’ll get into heaven is by the grace of God.”
“Bingo! 1,000 points!”
Ephesians 2:8–9 clearly tells:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Paul follows this promise with these words (v. 10):
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Our salvation is free—to us! But this gift cost Jesus his life. Now the children of God through faith, we are continually being shaped by our Master for service in his kingdom, his family. As we live out the abundant life God has given us, we learn to serve him and others more and more gladly in response to the saving love of Jesus.
Yet even when we trust God’s wonderful gift of new life, it’s easy to let our sinful nature take over from time to time. It’s easy to find ourselves whining and grumbling about this and that.
If we’re honest, it’s easy to see ourselves in this slightly revised version of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5:
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(And Simon Peter asked, “Do we have to write this down?”)
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
(And Andrew said, “Are we supposed to know this?”) Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
(And James thought, “Will there be a test on this?”) Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
(And Philip wondered, “What if we forget it?”) Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
(And Bartholomew said, “Do we have to turn this in?”)
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
(And John complained, “The other disciples didn’t have to learn this!”)
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
(And Matthew asked, “When do we get out of here?”) Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(And Judas said, “What does this have to do with real life?”)
Yes, we are blessed—despite our questions, complaints, and reluctance to follow! Jesus gave his life so we can live forever—forgiven and free. We’ve been saved by grace through faith in Jesus! So now, respond in joy with works of goodness and service.
It has everything to do with real life, you know. And you don’t even have to write it down. The Holy Spirit already took care of that, too! He’s written it on your heart! Serve the Lord with gladness today and always!
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Smiles As You Serve
Enjoy these random funny-bone thoughts as you serve the Lord today!
A new minister had agreed to lead a graveside burial service for a poverty-stricken man who had no family or friends. On his way to the unfamiliar cemetery, he made several wrong turns and arrived an hour late. The hearse was nowhere in sight, the backhoe stood next to the open hole, and the workmen were sitting under a tree eating lunch.
Diligent and feeling guilty for his tardiness, the parson launched into an impassioned and lengthy service over the vault which had already been lowered into the grave.
As he returned to his car, one of the workmen said to the other, “I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years and I ain’t never seen anything like that.”
A Sunday School teacher said to her first graders, “We have been learning how powerful the kings and queens were in biblical times. But there is a higher power. Who can tell me what it is?”
Little Sarah raised her hand and blurted out, “I know! I know! Aces!”
Typos from the church bulletin . . .
Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.” The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.