Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SPUNOW BAR, ANYONE?


In the midst of my busy day Monday, I was walking through my assistant’s office, and glancing down at the basket she keeps well-stocked with candy, noted a bar I had never seen before. I picked it up and decided to try it. Did you ever eat a “Spunow” bar? It tastes strangely like a “Mounds”, which is what I discovered it was when I began tearing the paper from the bar. If you read my last blog, you know that our lives are presently in a state of disarray, and often up-side-down, and apparently it has affected my perception. Up-side-down or no, it was one of those things that turned my “tickle box” over and I had to share it with you.

Don’t get me wrong, good things are happening, it’s just that they are all happening at once!

For example, take Saturday. We had a great day at the Civil War Days on the Mississippi River’s Columbus/Belmont site. We performed our Mark Twain and Olivia, then introduced President Abraham Lincoln for his address, all before a good crowd of gathered tourists and “re-enactors” in their uniforms. The three day event boasted their largest group ever with an attendance well in excess of the 1000 mark. This was our fourth year to do “Mark & Livi” and it has been a good opportunity to share in a unique ministry.

We drove home feeling good, but exhausted and hot in the costumes. How people back then did so much in so much clothes is still a mystery. Couldn’t wait to get the wig off! Anyway, back home to the house UP-SIDE-DOWN, we procrastinated working on it and took a nap instead. By degrees, the house is beginning to resume a semblance of décor. Not yet though.

Then Sunday was another one of those days when I was called out to one of my churches to “fill the pulpit” for their present interim pastor. I enjoyed the time, felt I was able to connect and help the congregation with their focus on having their new pastor come in December, and encourage them in the work in the meantime. Again, after morning services, back home for a nap and then back for evening services, then it was back home to try to do a few things to the house before “dropping” into bed. Again a good day, but taking the toll on energy.

As I began, “Spunow-bar” Monday came, and I realized that it was the morning for “chubokjagee” exercises with Korean pastor “Michael” at 8 a.m., followed by some fevered activity trying to get my laptop to respond to some very simple instructions. I ended up getting “Michael” to come back from their house next door and do the “tech” thing he does so well. Had a visit from an associate pastor of a struggling congregation that is now beginning to show some renewed life with a new pastor on board. They want me to come in two weeks and moderate and bring the charge at his ordination. Praise the Lord! It did manage to fill up the last free Sunday I had this month so I guess I’ll mail my tithe to my own church this time. They are used to not seeing me for weeks at a time, but that’s the work I’ve been called to do.

Anyway, back to “Spunow” Monday! The pastor left the office five minutes before I was to take my wife and Michael and his wife for lunch at our pastor’s regular Monday luncheon. I was still in my “sweats” from exercise, so I changed in a flash. We had a great lunch with the pastors and wives, then it was back to the office to try and get newsletter work done. Another few calls and I was ready for a break. Then it happened! The SPUNOW was SPOTTED, and CONSUMED amid my RELEASED, PENT-UP LAUGHTER at myself. Ya just had to be there!

You know, every once in a while, in the midst of even good stuff that wears you out, those times of release are precious.

The day was not over, however, by a long shot. As the work day drew to a close, I opened an e-mail from a friend, who had forwarded a devotion from the chaplain I had been talking to at the Civil War days on Saturday. I was in for another “catharsis” that the Lord wanted me to experience. Perhaps another kind of “SPUNOW”! Here it is for your encouragement, too!

THE MOST INTERESTING STORY I EVER HEARD
by Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.

The most interesting story I ever heard was told me years ago by a man over eighty years of age. We were sitting together on a projecting rock of a mountainside in Arkansas. Here is his story:

"I was down in this county during the Civil War. Across on the other side yonder there were hundreds of tents where our soldiers were encamped. Measles broke out, and many of our brave lads died. The epidemic got so bad we stretched some tents further down the valley and moved all the measles patients into these tents. This, of course, was done to protect as far as possible the health of the well soldiers. I was wardmaster in charge of the tents where the measles patients were located.

One night while I was on the ward, I passed a bunk where there was a very sick soldier lad not more than seventeen years of age. The boy looked at me with a pathetic expression and said, 'Wardmaster, I believe I am going to die. I am not a Christian. My mother is not a Christian. My father isn't a Christian. I never had any Christian training. I never did attend church. I did go with a friend to Sunday school just once. A woman taught the Sunday school class. She seemed to be such a good woman. She read us something out of the Bible about a man – I think his name was Nicodemus. Anyway, it was about a man who went to see Jesus one night. Jesus told this man he must be born again.

The teacher said all people must be born again in order to go to Heaven when they die. I have never been born again, and I don't want to die like this. Won't you please get the chaplain so he can tell me how to be born again?'

The old man hesitated for a moment. "You know, in those days I was an agnostic – at least, that is what I called myself. As a matter of fact, I wasn't anything but an old sinner. So I told the boy, 'You don't need a chaplain. Just be quiet now. Don't worry, you'll be alright.' I went on around the ward, and in about an hour I came back to the boy's bed. He looked at me out of such sad, staring eyes as he said, 'Wardmaster, if you won't get me the chaplain, please get me the doctor. I am choking to death.' 'All right my son, I'll get you the doctor.' I said. So I went off and found the doctor, and he came and mopped out the throat of the lad so he could breathe just a little easier. I know the boy was going to die. I had seen many other cases just like his. The boy was so sweet he literally climbed into my heart. He thanked me for my kindness. He thanked the doctor for being so good to him. The doctor and I went away from the bed.

In about an hour I came back expecting to find the boy dead, but he was still struggling. He looked up out of his eyes of death and said, 'There is no use, Wardmaster, I have got to die, and I haven't been born again. Whether you believe it or not, won't you find the chaplain and let him tell me how to be born again?' I looked at him for a moment and thought about how helpless he was in the grip of death. So I said, 'All right, my son, I will get you the chaplain.'

I walked away a few paces and then turned and went back to the boy's bedside. I said, 'My boy, I am not going to get you the chaplain. I am going to tell you what to do myself. Now understand, I am an agnostic. I don't know whether there is any God. I don't know whether there is any Heaven. I don't know whether there is any hell. I don't know anything. Yes, I do. I know one thing. I know my mother was a good woman. I know if there is a God, my mother knew Him. If there is a Heaven, I know she is there. So I will tell you what my mother told me. You can try it and see if it works. Now, I am going to teach you a verse of Scripture. The verse is John 3:16. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." My mother said that I cannot save myself, but if I will believe in Jesus, He will save me.'

I asked the boy to say the verse with me. I started, and he followed with a weak and trembling voice. "For God so loved the world," "For God so loved the world,": "He gave His only begotten Son," "He gave His only begotten Son": ""that whosoever believeth in Him", "that whosoever believeth in Him": "should not perish", "should not perish": "but have everlasting life", "but have everlasting life." 'Now my boy, my mother said if a person will trust Jesus, he will not perish but have everlasting life.'

I have referred the lad to another verse my mother taught me, but he closed his eyes, stretched his hands across his breast; and in a whisper he quoted slowly, repeating some of the same words several times. 'For God so loved the world…He gave His only begotten Son…that whosoever, whosoever…whosoever believeth, believeth in Him, believeth in Him.' Then he stopped and said with a clear voice, 'Praise God, Wardmaster, it works. I believe in Him! I shall not perish! I have everlasting life! I have been born again! Wardmaster, your mother was right. Why don't you try it? Do what your mother said. It works, Wardmaster. This thing works! Wardmaster before I go I want to ask you to do something for me. Take a kiss to my mother and tell her what you told me, and tell her that her dying son said, it works.' I leaned over and kissed him; and then, as he drew his last breath, he said, 'it works.'

The old man, wiping tears out of his eyes and tears out of the wrinkles of his face, said, 'the lad was right. It does work. Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but has now everlasting life. It works. I know it works!'"

The day was a “SPUNOW” day. I laughed. Then I cried. God had turned that candy bar UPSIDEDOWN to get me RIGHTSIDEUP!

BE ENCOURAGED, MY FRIEND.

4 comments:

Jo said...

Funny stuff about the "Spunow" bar!
I also liked the Civil War story...it was touching. You told me on the phone you had quite a day...I can believe it! You've had a lot of interesting days lately. Have a great day, tomorrow!
Love, Sis

Mich said...

Dad!!! Now really! You are showing your "blond" self! That is something I would do!

I also liked your story.

love ya!

Amber said...

Spunow bars are one of my favorites! Very funny!

Celebri-T-Babie said...

I like your 'spunow' story! God is good. It's amazing how His love can reach through each and every one of us to touch others. God Bless!