1) While preparing my sermon for this Sunday, I ran across this gem from N. C. Locke in the Biblical Illustrator: "Purity is truth reduced to life."
2) Today's Chicago Tribune has a story about local restaurants where you can find <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/custom/friday/chi-0408200153aug20,1,2980180.story"target="_blank">specific regional cuisine</a> from other parts of the country. One article discusses Philadelphia cheese steak, another New York pizza, and so on. My favorite article features the delectable Southern staple known as grits. Having been raised in Alabama, I know quite a bit about the topic. The article mentions several restaurants that have passable grits, and then settles on Jackie's Place for reasons that are not clear even to the writer. "We don't serve soupy grits, and they're not dry either," according to someone from the restaurant. Grits of course are a true delicacy, best served hot and slightly soupy, with butter and salt and pepper. The variation called Cheese Grits is also very tasty. My sister-in-law Betty has a gourmet recipe that involves shrimp, pine nuts, garlic and grits. It's the sort of meal that you enjoy and then it talks to you for several more hours. You'll probably still be thinking about it the next day. When I came to the church this morning, I asked Bernie and John Sredl if they liked grits. John at least knew what they were. Bernie who is from South Africa had no idea. But you really can't explain grits. They have to be experienced. Grits is not really a food. It's more of a food group, one of the five major food groups, the other four being Coke, brownies, pizza, and hot peach cobbler.
3) I had no idea that trampolining was an Olympic sport.
4) Thirty years ago today my family gathered in Phoenix, Arizona for our wedding rehearsal. That was a Tuesday night. At the rehearsal dinner, we gave the men cowboy hats. I don't recall what we gave the women. My brothers stood up and told jokes while I sat and laughed. My father was my best man, and I remember how proud he was to be part of the wedding. I also recall being worried about how my family and Marlene's family would get along, since they had never met before and came from different parts of the country. I needn't have worried. Everyone could see that Marlene and I were excited and happy, so they were too.
5) Two nights later, we got married. I can't quite recall why we got married on a Thursday night. Thirty years later, our wedding remains the only Thursday wedding I've ever attended.
6) I've been reading Leading From the Middle by William Robinson. He talks a lot about "transformational leadership," which in some circles has become a buzzword. He stresses the importance of leaders constantly interacting with those who follow:
Transformational leaders in the 21st century will be champions of progress because they are authentic, because they are willing and wise adapters, and because they will maintain high levels of interaction with those whom they lead.
7) That's it. Have a wonderful weekend.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.