Preacher, it's not just that we're boring our people by failing to tell them the whole story. We're betraying our Lord and dishonoring God's Word and abandoning the very people we're trying to help.

Years ago, when I was pastoring the First Baptist Church of Columbus, Mississippi, we built a bird house and nailed it to a tree in the back yard. The next Spring our children were excited when the birds built a nest there and elated when they discovered eggs and then hatchlings. Every afternoon when they got in from school, they tore through the house and out the back door to check on these babies.

It was such fun that I told the congregation about that in a sermon on "This is My Father's World," celebrating the wonders of the Lord's creation.

Then one evening when I arrived home, my son Neil met me at the door. "Bad news, Dad." He told how he had come in from school and gone out to check on the baby birds.

"I was staring into the nest and it was so dark in there. I couldn't figure out why I was not able to see the baby birds. That's when I realized what I was actually looking at."

He was seeing the scaly hide of a black snake that had climbed the tree, entered the birdhouse, and feasted on the birds. Our entire family was heart-broken, and yet we knew this was real life.

I went back into the pulpit the next Sunday and preached a message entitled, "I Forgot to Tell You About the Snake." The dark side of the world. The serpent in the Garden.

Scripture tells the whole story. Only when we do also does our message have the impact God intended.

Dr. Joe McKeever is a Preacher, Cartoonist, and the Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. Visit him at