1) A week or so ago I wrote some words in praise of the incomparable treat known as the Moon Pie. Although you can find it in many parts of the country, it's most popular in the South. When I got to my office at church today, I found this note wrapped around two boxes of "Little Debbie Chocolate Marshmallow Treats":

 

Pastor Ray, I haven't found the 'original' ones yet, but I'm trying. I hope these might hold you over for a while. They suggest drinking an RC Cola with them. A Friend.

I am blessed to have such thoughtful friends who think of me when they are traveling. My best advice for finding a real "Moon Pie"? Go to any truck stop. You're bound to find one there.

2) In my sermon yesterday on 1 Peter 1:10-12, in trying to explain how the Old Testament prophets didn't fully understand what they wrote or how their prophecies would be fulfilled, I compared the prophets to archers, and their prophecies to "arrows of truth." The prophets shot "arrows of truth" that flew high into the sky and then disappeared. The prophets knew only that those arrows would land somewhere in the distant future. I pointed out that many generations later, those "arrows of truth" landed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Evidently one child took my very literally because her mother sent me this email:

Our 7 yr.old attended the last service and I think that the message impacted her

also. After service I asked her about the sermon and she told me that it was

great. She said " Mommy, did you see what those prophets do? They pointed

their arrows at Jesus and then they killed Him".I thought that it was a great

line and I wanted to share it with you.

 

3) This letter arrived today from a high school senior:

I am applying for several colleges in September and need a character reference and personal letter of recommendation. I thought of you immediately because you have known me since I was 3. Thank you for your help. Please call me if you have any questions.

I receive similar requests from our high school seniors every year,and I'm always happy to comply. In the midst of all the things I do as a pastor, helping young people take their next forward gives me enormous satisfaction. And how could I say no to this young man, especially since I've known him since he was 3?

 

4) A thoughtful reader wrote objecting to my contention that Paul Hamm should not give back his gold medal. We had a lively exchange of views. Here is part of my final response to him:

When an ump blows a call, you don't change the outcome of a game.

When a referee misses the call, you don't get to ask for instant replay after the game is over.
When a mistake was made in a subjective sport, and the appeal is not immediately filed, there is nothing to be done.

End of story. Paul Hamm won the gold medal. The Koreans did a fine job as well. Truth be told, the three gymnasts were incredibly close and any of them could have won gold or silver or bronze. But as the Bible says, "Time and chance happens to them all." I had never heard of Paul Hamm before the Olympics. Didn't know he was alive. I'm happy he won, but it wouldn't have bothered me if the Koreans (either of them) had won the gold medal. You win some, you lose some, and sometimes mistakes happen. The late Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys said he slept well at night not worrying about two things: 1) The formula for determining playoff teams, and 2) The calls made by the referees. 

I commend that to you and to me. We both know that any number of bad calls and wrong judgments were made in Athens. Lots of athletes in various sports were upset about calls made by the judges. But that's part of the Olympics. Some are bad judgments. Some are mistakes. Stuff happens. It could have gone the other way. Or the Korean gymnast might have been scored .2 lower on one of his routines (as some have said he should have been, thus removing him from the medal stand altogether. I'm not in a position to comment on the validity of that.). But those things happen. If people can't live with occasional mistakes, and abide by the results of the competition, they shouldn't send athletes to the games.

5) I have started working my way through The American Prophecies, the surprise bestseller by Michael Evans. I hope to have a review online before the end of the week.

6) I just noticed that the podium at the Republican Convention looks a little bit like a cross. Did someone do that on purpose? If so, I'm happy about it.


To sign up for Pastor Ray's free weekly sermon email list, click  here. You can find his daily weblog, online sermons, travel schedule, and other resources at www.keepbelieving.com. You can write Pastor Ray at raypritchard@calvarymemorial.com.