Nov. 1-6, 2010 Story of the Day

Story of the Day for Saturday November 6, 2010

What’s Your “Coffee Image”?



                “You’re not to be like the others. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the leader should act like the servant.”

Luke 22:26   



Howard Moskowitz is a psychophysicist who holds a Ph.D from Harvard. I have no idea what a psychophysicist does, but I’m trying to impress you with his credentials.

Malcolm Gladwell has introduced Moskowitz to the public as the genius who has transformed how food companies market their products.


When Mr. Moskowitz did his research for a coffee company, he discovered something surprising about coffee drinkers.

If you’re a coffee drinker, what kind of coffee do you like? How ‘bout if I tell you: you like a dark, rich, hearty roast. That’s what virtually all coffee drinkers claim they like. And that’s what coffee companies have advertised. Their commercials assure us we will enjoy the “robust” flavor of their coffee.

Moskowitz did countless taste tests with coffee drinkers, and do you know what he discovered? Few coffee drinkers really like a dark, rich, hearty roast!  Most coffee drinkers prefer a milky, weak coffee.


So, what do we make of this? Why do we coffee drinkers think we like a dark, rich, hearty roast, when only 25-27 percent of us actually do?

Have you ever considered that we want to project an image to other people – and that even minor things, like coffee, can be used to establish our character?  (You may not know this about yourself, but believe me, advertising companies have known this for a long, long time.)

Somehow, we think that those who drink their coffee black and strong are stouthearted souls with hair on their chest who grab a pair of pliers when they have a toothache. If, on the other hand, we want others to be aware of our sophistication and discriminating palate, we will go to the coffee shop and order a Bolivian roast, medium grind double latte espresso – easy on the crème brulee.


Before Jesus was betrayed and arrested, he spent an evening with his disciples in an upper room. He was not only their rabbi, they were beginning to realize he was their King.

Yet, Jesus was unconcerned with his image. He got up from the meal to kneel before his disciples with a wash basin and a towel.

After Jesus had inaugurated the Lord’s Supper, what did the disciples do? Luke tells us they got in an argument over who was more important. 

The graphic visual teaching of the foot washing didn’t take, so Jesus put it to them plainly. In the kingdom of God, image counts for nothing.  True greatness is found when we forsake our images of superiority.

Jesus doesn’t want us to impress others; he wants us to serve them. . . as he served us.



(Copyright 2010 by and by Marty Kaarre)



Story of the Day for Friday November 5, 2010

Looney the Loony 



                Those who resist authority oppose what God has ordained and will bring judgment on themselves.   

Romans 13:2     



Joe Don Looney was a rocket.  As an All-American running back for the University of Oklahoma he weighed 224 pounds, and could run 100 yards in 9.8 seconds.   

He never graduated from the university, however.  They kicked him off the team after he decked one of his assistant coaches.   

The New York Giants were fully aware of his problems, but were so dazzled by his talent that they made him their top pick in the NFL draft.   

He missed bed checks, refused to listen to coaches or trainers, and would not cooperate with the team’s public relations department.  He lasted 28 days. 

Baltimore picked him up and he promptly electrified the crowd at his first exhibition game.  He didn’t last the season.  After slugging someone, he was traded to Detroit 

The Lions were so impressed with his running skill they decided to build their entire offensive scheme around him, and talked of a 1000 yard rushing season for him.  His pre-season running stunned everyone.  But, once the regular season opened, the coach sent Looney in with a play for the quarterback.  Joe said, “If you want a messenger make a call to Western Union.”   

Not the thing to do.  

So, now he wore a Washington Redskins uniform.  Then to New Orleans 

And then it was over.  He simply would not submit to authority, and no one else would take a chance on him.  


At times, we get the notion that if we could shake off the authority over us, we could be free.  And, in some cases, this is true.  Some authorities are coercive, oppressive and violent, and do not have our interests at heart.   

But God wants us to respect the concept of authority because it is his idea.   

Freedom is not shaking off the constraints of those in authority over us.  Ask Joe Don Looney.   

Tom Landry, the legendary coach for the Dallas Cowboys explained his role of authority this way: “The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don’t want to do, in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to be.”  Landry drove his players hard, and they loved him for it.   


A college dean once told Elisabeth Elliot that the happiest students on any campus are the musicians and the athletes.  He said the students sitting in the television lounge are “volunteers.”  But, he added, “the athletes and musicians put themselves under a coach or director who tells them what to do.  They delight to do his will.  They are actually having fun.” 



(Copyright 2010 by and by Marty Kaarre)




Story of the Day for Thursday November 4, 2010

Be Faithful in Attending Your Local Service Department


                Two men went into the temple to pray . . . The Pharisee prayed, “God, I thank you that I’m not like other people. . . “  But the tax collector . . . said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

Luke 18:10-13 



Many years ago, in a small Wisconsin town, a widow and her three small daughters were staying away from worship at the Methodist Church. A member talked to the widow about her worship attendance and discovered the woman was too embarrassed to come to church because she could not afford good clothes for the girls.

The member reported this to the Methodist Women’s Circle of the congregation, and the women’s group immediately responded by generously providing the girls with new clothes.

But still the family didn’t come to church.

When they saw the mother again, and asked about her absence from worship, she said, “The girls looked so nice in their new dresses, I sent them to the Presbyterian Church.”


In the old days the church may have been a place to showcase our dress, but I don’t see much of that anymore. But what is always a danger, and never seems to go out of style, is using the church as a place to showcase ourselves.

Pastors from the various churches in a community where I lived, used to gather for meetings. They were good men, and I liked them. But the meetings began to turn into bragfests – each pastor vying to outdo the others in the miracles claimed or the number of conversions. No one dared mention their struggles and failures, or their sins.


Jim Corley wrote in Christian Reader about a conversation he had with his friend, and fellow church member, Alex. Jim found out Alex was reluctant to go to worship because he was struggling in his life and felt he was not being a good Christian example. He felt like such a hypocrite.

So, one day, Jim went to the car dealership where Alex worked.

“Alex, what do you call this part of the dealership?” as he nodded to the area outside Alex’s cubicle.

“You mean the showroom?”

“And what’s behind the showroom, past the parts counter?”

“The service department.”

“What if I told you, “ Jim said, “I didn’t want to bring my car to the service department because it was running rough”

“That would be crazy! That’s the whole point of service departments – to fix cars that aren’t running right.”

Jim then told his friend that the church was not a showroom – where we seek to impress people. Instead, the church is meant to be God’s service department. “Helping people get back in running order with God is what the church is all about.




 (Copyright 2010 by and by Marty Kaarre)



Story of the Day for Wednesday November 3, 2010

Can You Keep A Secret? 



                A gossip exposes hidden things, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.   

Proverbs 11:13     


William White, in his book, Stories for the Journey, relates an old Jewish story that goes like something like this: 

The Teacher took one of his students along to visit a wealthy man. They were seeking financial help for a man who had suffered a heart attack.   

The rich man listened quietly as the Teacher explained the desperate need for help to aid the ailing man. “We are asking for a generous gift,” the Teacher concluded.  

“Who is the sick man?” the wealthy man asked.  

“I’m sorry, but we cannot reveal names. In this case, it would be awkward for the public to know that he needs charity.”   

“If I am going to help this man,” the rich man replied, “I need to know his identity. I am willing to donate one thousand dollars – on the condition that you tell me who it is.  I promise his name will be kept in strict confidence.” 

The Teacher sadly shook his head, “I will not reveal his name.”  

“Then, let me double the offer. Two thousand dollars.” 

The student looked at his Teacher in disbelief as he again refused.  

Taking a deep breath, the rich man said, “Ten thousand dollars.”  

The student could stand it no longer. “Teacher, ten thousand dollars will pay for all his hospital bill. He is an honorable man, and his secret will be safe between us.”   

“A man’s honor is not open to negotiation,” the Teacher replied, as he made his way to the door.   

As the Teacher turned to leave, the wealthy man blurted out, “Please, wait. May I speak with you alone for a moment.”   

While the student stood outside, the rich man broke into tears and said, “Teacher, I have lost all my fortune. I cannot even make my next payment on the mortgage. I have wanted to ask for help, but I am ashamed to let everyone know of my failure.”   

“Ah, now I understand,” the Teacher replied. “You were testing me to see if I could be trusted to keep your secret.” The Teacher assured the man that the matter would be kept in confidence, and that he would also raise money to help him as well.  

After the two left, the student could stand it no longer. “I know he offered you a great amount of money so that you would tell him the name of the sick man. How much did he give you?”   

The Teacher smiled and winked at the student, “Shame on you! You know these things are a secret.”   


Why are we so eager to gossip?  Why do we find pleasure in spreading the secret faults of others?   

I don’t know. But I do know this: there is One who covers all my shame.  And, whatever sick pleasure I may find in spreading gossip, he teaches me a far greater joy in keeping a confidence.   




(Copyright 2010 by and by Marty Kaarre)


Story of the Day for Tuesday November 2, 2010

Rise Again


                Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Even though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.

Micah 7:8   


Leroy and Mike were high school friends who shared a passion for basketball. They both tried out for the varsity, but Leroy made the team, while Mike was cut.

Mike was crushed.

He asked the coach if he could at least ride on the bus with the team for the district tournament. The coach let him accompany them – as long as he helped carry the player’s uniforms.


So, how do you respond to failure?

When I fail, I find it convenient to give up – claiming it is God’s will. I have often felt that, if God is behind it, then I will be successful, and it will be easy.


Over the years, I have begun to realize that Jesus doesn’t share my theology. He told a parable of a widow who kept coming to a judge with the plea, “Give me justice against my adversary.” Again and again the judge ignored her.

Eventually, she wore him down, and he heard her case.

The point that Jesus is making is that – even after repeated failure – we should never give up. The Lord will come to our aid.


In 1976, Ronald Reagan challenged the incumbent president, Jerry Ford. Reagan fought hard to gain the nomination, but in the end, Ford won.

Reagan had lost, but hadn’t given up. At the Republican National Convention, he met with tearful supporters and quoted from an old ballad, “Sir Andrew Barton.”  There is a line in this poem which says:

I am hurt but I am not slain;

I will lay me down and bleed a while,

And then I will rise and fight again.


When, Mike failed to make the basketball team, he didn’t give up. All summer long, he practiced basketball with his friend Leroy Smith. And that next year, Michael Jordan did make the team.

Failure didn’t keep him down. It fueled a fire within him. Jordan says, “It all started when Coach Herring cut me.” 


Do you feel like you’ve stumbled into a deep pit? Invite your enemies to come quickly, because they won’t have much time to gloat over you. The Lord is our light. He heals, he strengthens, he forgives. You can wallow in the pit for a while, but don’t get used to it down there; the Lord intends to pull you out

You’re going to rise again.


(Copyright 2010 by and by Marty Kaarre)




Story of the Day for Monday November 1, 2010


Who Is Taking the Risk?




                The kingdom of heaven is like . . . a man leaving on a trip. He called his servants and gave them his possessions.

Matthew 25:14   



When the Confederate Navy built the first steel-plated warship, Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, nearly went hysterical. What could the North do to counter it? The destiny of the Union Navy rested in the brainchild of a zany inventor, John Ericsson. It’s hardly a surprise that, when Ericsson presented his ironclad ship design, no one was listening. The Monitor looked like “a cheese box on a raft.” The naval board didn’t believe the ship, if built, would even float. Other than the turret, it was mostly underwater.  The oddlooking vessel was only a third the length of a schooner. It had no sails, but ran on steam. And, as to firepower?  Two guns.

Could the Naval Department afford to take such a risk?


There’s no question that stepping out in faith is risky. Tim McMahon put it well when he said, “Yes risk-taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing taking.”

Have you ever burned with a dream? You want to use your talents or possessions in a venture for God’s kingdom.

But you never did it. You were afraid you might fail.


Jesus told a parable about a wealthy man who handed over his money to his servants.   The servants were to do the best they could with the amount entrusted to them. But whose money was at risk? If the servants tried, and lost the money, they weren’t out a penny.


Would it help you to know you really can’t fail?

In our finer moments, we acknowledge that everything we have belongs to God. Not only our salvation, but everything – our time, talents, and money, is His. But, do we realize what we’re saying when we claim this? When we step out in faith, whose possessions are at risk?


Many historical accounts portray the Naval Department as taking an enormous risk in commissioning the construction of the U.S.S. Monitor.  Actually, they took no risk at all. They commissioned Ericsson to build his weird-looking boat – but on the condition that, if it didn’t perform as the inventor claimed, Ericsson would have to personally pay for all construction costs.

Ericsson took the risk.


Don’t be afraid to try something for God’s kingdom. God is willing to take the risk.



(Copyright 2010 by and by Marty Kaarre)


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