Archive for April, 2014

Story of the Day for Wednesday April 30, 2014 


Beneath the Dignity of a College Dean


                   The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience of spirit is better than pride.

Ecclesiastes 7:8


A young man, eagerly wanting to be a missionary, applied as a candidate to a mission society.  The examiner told the candidate to meet him at three o’clock in the morning.  On a cold, winter morning the candidate was ushered into the study, where he waited until 9:00 a.m. for his interview.

The examiner was an old pastor.  He sat down before the candidate and said, “Spell FARMER.”  Then asked, “What is three times three?”

After the young man answered these asinine questions, the old pastor was pleased.  “That’s excellent,” he said, “I believe you have passed the examination.  I will recommend you to the board tomorrow.”

At the board meeting the pastor enthusiastically recommended the candidate: “He has all the qualifications of a missionary.  First, I tested him on self-denial by telling him to meet me at three in the morning.  He came without complaint.”

The pastor continued, “Second, he arrived on time. He is prompt.”

“And, third,” he added, “I examined him for patience.  I made him wait in my study for six hours, and he did so without complaint.”

The pastor beamed, “And, finally, I tested his humility by asking him simple questions a little child could answer, and he showed no indignation.”

“I believe,” he concluded, “that this young man is the kind of missionary we need.”

The Bible links patience with hope, love, and trust.  But, sometimes, patience flows from humility.  The writer of Ecclesiastes contrasts “a spirit of patience” with “pride.”


Once, mischief broke out in a men’s dormitory at a small college in Pennsylvania.  The free-for-all in the hallway involved shaving cream, peanut butter, and jelly.

The college dean was summoned.  He went from room to room to ask what happened and who was responsible for the disaster.  Oddly enough, not a single student seemed aware of any raucous behavior in the hallway.

The dean could have demanded that everyone in the dorm be responsible to clean up the mess.  He also knew that he could have summoned the custodian to clean things up.

Instead, the dean left without a word.  He returned shortly with a bucket and brush.  Removing his coat and tie, he set to work cleaning up the mess.

One by one, heads peeped out of doorways.  As students saw what the dean was doing, they soon joined in and offered to help in scrubbing up.

To patiently clean up the aftermath of a hallway free-for-all is, of course, beneath the dignity of a college dean.

That’s the point.

(copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

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Story of the Day Tuesday April 29, 2014 


“Long Suffering” is Not Only Long, It’s…



Walk worthy of your calling, with complete humility and gentleness.  Be patient – bearing with each other in love. 

Ephesians 4:1-2


“Patience” is more than the ability to wait. Fishermen are patient and can stare at a bobber for boundless stretches of time. They are relaxed, comfortable, content.

The biblical virtue of patience, however, involves pain. The King James Version often translated the word for “patience” as “long-suffering” – suffering for a long time.

By the way, what do we call a person who suffers health problems requiring hospitalization?

Here in Ephesians, Paul speaks of patience in the context of our relationships with each other. Love means that we willingly put up with the annoying behavior of others (and hope they will put up with our faults as well.) This kind of patience is more than simply waiting. We are choosing to allow love to transform our attitude toward other people.

John used to be a missionary in western Africa. He needed to fly to the country’s capitol, but the country was so poor, and at war, that they did not have commercial flights available.  His only option was to fly in a military transport plane.

The plane had been gutted. All the seats had been removed so they could cram more soldiers into it. As John boarded the plane he saw it was filled with wounded soldiers who were moaning in pain.  Finding a place to sit, he leaned up against the wall of the plane.


In the sizzling tropical heat, John was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. However, once the plane gained in altitude he began to shiver from the cold. The sweat from his back froze and nailed him to the wall of the plane.

John was acquainted with flying and knew the pilot did not need to fly at such a high altitude. Upset, he demanded that someone come and bring him an explanation.

Soon, a doctor returned.

“This is my fault,” he said. “Many of these soldiers are badly wounded and I have no more medicine to ease their pain. I asked the pilot to increase the altitude of the plane, so that the cold might numb their agony just a little.”

The doctor was apologetic. “I’m sorry for any discomfort this is causing you.”

Well. That changed everything. For the rest of the flight John gladly offered up his suffering for the sake of the injured soldiers.

The cold did not change.  But John’s heart did.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)
(image: http://cdn.lightgalleries.net/4bd5ebf721640/images/42-15133330-2.jpg)


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Story of the Day for Monday April 28, 2014


Trustworthy in Big and Trivial Matters


                   Whoever can be trusted in little things can also be trusted with much, and whoever is untrustworthy in little things cannot be trusted with much.

Luke 16:10


We tend to think of integrity as simply being honest.  Integrity, however, goes far deeper than that.  No one can deny your honesty if you tell them you think their clothes are ugly, or that you think people from other races are inferior, or you hope somebody dies.  But honesty alone does not make you a person of integrity.

Integrity begins with the discernment of what is right and what is wrong.  Adolf Hitler may have been honest in thinking he was a member of the superior race.  But he was wrong.

Integrity also involves the willingness to do what we believe is right – even at great personal cost. Philip Delesalle was the greatest gymnast Canada has ever known.  The gymnastics world honored him in 1992 by naming a move on the pommel horse the “Delesalle.”  In his career, he has scored three perfect tens on the pommel horse.

But in the 1980s, Michael J. Pellowski, in his book, Not-S0-Great Moments in Sports, writes how Delesalle was competing in the Canadian National Championships and was unhappy with his score for his performance on the pommel horse. What makes his dissatisfaction so unusual is that the judges gave him a perfect score!  Philip did not believe his performance merited a perfect 10, so he strode to the judges’ table and convinced them to change his score to 9.85.  That made him much happier.

When we encounter God’s integrity, we discover we can depend on him.  He is trustworthy.  Faith involves learning to do the same. When Jesus taught about integrity, he focused on becoming trustworthy.  It doesn’t matter if it is a big deal or a trivial matter. Whoever is trustworthy in little things will also be trustworthy in big things.


In 1987, the Rockdale County Bulldogs basketball team won the state title.  Their victory was all the more amazing because their coach, Cleveland Stroud, dropped five of his regular players from the team for poor grades.  He was now forced to bring up players from the junior varsity to fill out the team.

Three weeks after the championship victory, school officials discovered that one of those junior varsity players was scholastically ineligible.  He only played for 45 seconds at the end of a game in which the Bulldogs were leading by 23 points.

What would you do?

For Coach Stroud there never was any question of what he had to do.  He informed the Georgia High School Association of the infraction and surrendered the state trophy.

In a press conference, Stroud said that “You got to do what’s honest and right and what the rules say.  I told my team that people forget the scores of basketball games; they don’t ever forget what you’re made of.”

(copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

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Story of the Day for Thursday April 24, 2014 


Discovering Height 


                         For there are two sides to sound wisdom.  

Job 11:6     



On an exam, a physics professor at Washington University asked: “Show how it is possible to determine the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer.”  

One student answered: “Take the barometer to the top of the building. Attach a long rope and lower the barometer to the ground. Then bring it up and measure it. The length of rope is the height of the building.”   

The professor’s colleague, Dr. Alexander Calandra, was asked to arbitrate the issue. The student answered correctly according to the format for the exam, yet how could he be given credit for an answer that did not show a proficiency in physics?  

Dr. Calandra called the student in and gave him six minutes to have another try at the exam question.  The student’s answer was to take the barometer to the top of the building and drop it over the edge – timing its fall with a stopwatch. Then calculate the height of the building using the formula: S = ½ a t (squared). http://sciencecatchup.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/galileo-cannon-ball-exp.jpg?w=620

This still was not the “proper” answer, but the professor decided to give him almost full credit. As the student was leaving, Professor Calandra asked him if he had any other answers to the exam.  

“Oh, yes,” he answered. The student then explained how you could take the barometer and measure the height of the barometer and the length of its shadow, and the length of the shadow of the building and by the use of a simple proportion, determine the height of the building.  

The student offered another option: take the barometer and mark the height of the barometer as you climb the stairs. You can determine the height of the building in barometer units.  

Another solution was to tie the barometer to the end of a string and swing it as a pendulum, and determine the value of ‘g’ at the street level and at the top of the building. From the difference of the two values, you can calculate the building’s height.  

The student’s favorite answer was to take the barometer to the basement and knock on the superintendent’s door.  Show him the barometer and offer to give it to him if he will tell you the height of the building.  


What has Jesus done for us?  We tend to get locked into one mode of answering that question. The Baptists are fond of saying they’re “born again,” while Lutherans claim they’re “justified by faith.”  

The Lord doesn’t limit himself to one metaphor. As we page through the Bible we discover God’s abundant creativity: he said he saved us when we were drowning, that he redeemed us by buying us out of slavery, that, as a kind banker, he has forgiven our enormous debt.  


The building had one, definite height. But the ways to discover its height are abundant.  

(copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

(image: http://sciencecatchup.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/galileo-cannon-ball-exp.jpg?w=620)

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Story of the Day for Wednesday April 23, 2014 


A  Wild Enjoyment in Possessions 


                    Hope in . . . God, who provides us riches for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and extravagant in sharing.  

1 Timothy 6:17-18      



Randy Pausch captured the hearts of many Americans when he realized he was dying of pancreatic cancer, but refused to let his terminal illness break his spirit.  He helped remind us of the priorities that are so much greater than material things.   


In his book, The Last Lecture, Randy recalled the time when he was still a bachelor and bought a new Volkswagen Cabrio convertible.  He went to his sister’s house and picked up his seven-year-old nephew, Chris, and Laura, his nine-year-old niece.  

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/Randy/Randy/PROFILE.jpgTheir mother warned them to be careful in their uncle’s new car. “Wipe your feet before you get in it. Don’t mess anything up. Don’t get it dirty.”  

As Randy listened to his sister’s stern warnings he realized the kids were being set up for failure. Of course they’d eventually get the car dirty – it’s just what kids do.  

Randy opened a can of soda, and while her sister impressed on her kids the need to be careful, Randy slowly and deliberately poured out the can of soda on the back seat of his brand new convertible. He wanted to convey to them the message that people are more important than things.  

He was glad he spilled the soda in front of his nephew and niece because later on Chris threw up in the backseat. The poor boy would’ve felt horrible and guilty, but he had already learned from his crazy uncle that the backseat had already been christened.   


If you bought a brand new convertible, could you pour a soda on the backseat like Randy did? I don’t know if I could. But don’t you wish you could?  I’ve never met anyone who says they value possessions more than people. But, it’s one thing to say it; it’s another thing to live it.  

As much as we want to guard our precious possessions, we should ask ourselves this question: who do you believe finds a wilder enjoyment in possessions – those who live like Randy Pausch, or those who would blow a gasket if a kid gets the backseat of their new car a little dirty?  

Oddly, the more we covet and cling to material things, the less we enjoy them.  


God invites us to be extravagant in our generosity. I hope it’s not irreverent to say that God is obsessive, but, if God is obsessive about anything, it is about giving. He would give you the moon. He would give you his only Son. Invariably, when you read in the Bible about God’s love, you will find him giving you something.  


If you’re like me, and not quite to the point of wanting to pour pop on the back seat of a new car, maybe we can start by taking the next step: keeping a can of soda stashed under our car seat . . . just in case we get in the mood.  

And store some towels too so your passengers don’t ride around with wet butts.  

(copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre

(image: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/Randy/Randy/PROFILE.jpg)


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Story of the Day for Tuesday April 22, 2014 


Let’s Make the Church Together 


                   “I have given them the glory you gave me, in order that they may be one just as we are one.” 

John 17:22          


The tiny town of Donald in British Columbia had only one employer in 1897: the Canadian Pacific Railway. When the CPR decided to move its divisional headquarters west to Revelstoke, the citizens of Donald knew their village was doomed.  

The railroad company offered to move any building in Donald to Revelstoke – free of charge. When the citizens of Revelstoke asked to have St. Peter’s Anglican Church, the railroad company began to dismantle it to move it to its new home.  

Many of the residents chose not to move to Revelstoke with the railroad, but instead stayed in their mountain valley, moving south to Windermere.  


Rufus Kimpton, a leading citizen in Donald, was one of those who moved to Windermere. Rufus’ wife, Celina, dearly missed her beloved church in Donald. 

So Rufus stole it.  

He had the disassembled church shipped by wagon and barge to Windermere and rebuilt. To this day it is named “St. Peter’s Anglican Church – The Stolen Church.”  

While the church was being stolen, however, someone stole the church bell and installed it in their church in the town of Golden – causing their church to be renamed: St. Paul’s of the Stolen Bell.” The citizens of Golden were so delighted with their heist that they held a parade in honor of their achievement.  

The citizens in Revelstoke were upset and demanded the return of their stolen church and stolen bell. The citizens of Windermere were furious and demanded the return of the stolen bell – based on the dubious claim that they had stolen it first.   

For over sixty years, resentment smoldered between Windermere and Golden over the rightful owner of the stolen bell. Then, in 1960, a group from Windermere stole back the 600 pound stolen bell from the church in Golden.  

Officials in Windermere, however, decided it wasn’t right to steal a stolen bell and, since they already owned a stolen church, they returned the bell to the church in Golden.  


Jesus prayed that his followers would learn to live in unity, but sometimes it looks more like his church has divided up into competing teams.  


During a Vacation Bible School, a new student was brought into a teacher’s preschool class. The boy had only one arm and the teacher had no time to prepare his class from making inappropriate remarks to the little boy.  

The teacher had the kids do their usual closing. Interlocking their fingers they said: “This is the church, and this is the steeple. Open the doors . . .” The teacher, to her horror, realized she had done the very thing she feared her kids would do.  

As she stood there, embarrassed, a little girl sitting next to the boy put her left hand up to the boy’s right hand and said, “Davey, let’s make the church together.”  

Why not? 

(copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org andby Marty Kaarre)

(image: http://www.hearditonthestreet.com/kourtney/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/marquis1hands.jpg)

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