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By Kenneth L. Pierpont
Preachers sometimes get spoiled. I know I have been. I have been given baked goods, bags of potatoes, lawn furniture, dinners out, the use of a swimming pool for a week, popcorn, clothing, money, offers of free airline tickets, tickets to sporting events and concerts, garden produce and cuts of meat. Because we have eight children it's common for people to offer us used clothing.
There is one thing, however preachers get that they can rarely use. Zucchini. Is there a difference between a gourd and a squash? Is Zucchini just squash with an attitude or what? If you dry out and Zucchini and hollow it out does it become a gourd then? What is the difference between a gourd and a squash? They say when you live in a small town you wouldn't have to lock your car at all if you didn't have to worry about people putting Zucchini in it while you weren't looking.
Years ago we lived in a rural county in Ohio in a tiny cross-road village called Logansville. The county seat was Bellefontaine about fifteen miles away. That's where we shopped and went to the library and the department store. Three miles away was a village called DeGraff, Ohio. The whole village of DeGraff came to a halt in the late summer for the Gourd Festival.
I read recently of a Road-Kill Cookoff Festival and a Moose Dropping Festival. Fredericktown, Ohio has a Tomato Festival. Fremont, Michigan has the National Baby Food Festival, Mount Vernon has Dan Emmit Days. I guess it really doesn't matter what you call it if you have a chance to all get together in the evening and close the streets and smell peppers and onions frying on the grill and ride the Ferris Wheel high over the town and listen to folk music while you munch on Elephant Eats and Funnel Cake.
Anyway in DeGraff their excuse to celebrate was the Gourd Festival. I always thought it was pretty comical for a whole town to stop everything to celebrate something with no real practical value. And I used to wonder if it was really an honor to be crowned the "Gourd Queen," and what kind of recipes call for gourd? Do they make gourd pie? Gourd bread? Gourd casserole? Fried Gourd? Mashed gourd? Have you ever seen gourd on the menu at a fine restaurant?
It's a little difficult to imagine anything with less value than a gourd. I can't imagine a person getting very attached to one. I guess the object of the gourd festival was to the award the farmer who grew the biggest gourd. But why would you want to waste your time and fertilizer and water and effort on something with the value of a gourd?
I've been doing a little research on this and it really is amazing how many people are able to keep a strait face while they discuss the finer points of gourd enthusiasm. Have you ever heard of the Indiana Gourd Society? They actually have a web site! Amazing. I know all God's created things have a purpose and their own beauty, but you must admit there are so many things that are more important than gourds.
It's easy to get caught up with "gourds" in life. Things that eat up our time a resources but have little real value. We all have done it. It's always been that way. The Old Testament missionary Jonah grew so attached to his gourd that he grieved over its death, even when he was unmoved at the prospect of a whole culture with a death-sentence hanging over its head.
In the King James Version of the Bible, Jonah the prophet went out and plunked himself down on the hillside after his thee-day message of warning to Nineveh. A gourd grew up to shelter him from the hot sun. To his dismay, instead of having the privilege of seeing Nineveh toasted, he watched them repent and experience the mercy of God. Then God sent a worm to cut off Jonah's prized gourd and it died. Jonah was in despair over the death of the gourd. God rebuked Jonah because he cared more about his gourd than he did about all those in Nineveh who were lost. If you read the story in the Bible you see that Jonah was too excited about the gourd when it grew and too discouraged about the gourd when it died. He cared so much more for his gourd than he did for people.
One Saturday night late when by parents were out shopping I watched a movie I've never been able to get out of my mind. It was about an alien invasion. The alien was a fast-growing vine plant that was taking over he world. Nothing could stop it. It was huge and insidious.
Do you have a gourd growing in your life that is taking over and choking the life out of important things?
When the things of God do not stir you
When the glories of heaven do not interest you
When the horrors of hell do not concern you
When the peril of the lost doesn't move you
When the Word of God does not attract you
When the idea of prayer does not draw you
When the House of God does not delight you
When you do not see the other things in your life as a way to perform the will of God,
?then you know that "gourds" have taken over your life.
Write Ken and let him know your thoughts on his story!
Ken Pierpont and his wife Lois live in Fremont, Michigan with their eight children. Ken is the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church. He publishes the Stonebridge Newsletter every Monday morning and sends it free on request. You can read more of Ken's work at www.kenpierpont.com or communicate directly with him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thought For The Day:
"Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one."--Marcus Aurelius
Verse for the Day:
"Be an example for the believers, in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity." --1 Timothy 4:12
Kid's Thought For The Day:
"Half a nap is worse than none."
Parent's Thought For The Day
"A happy childhood is one of the best gifts that parents have it in their power to bestow."--Mary Cholondeley
Coach's Thought For The Day
"The best excuse is the one you never make."
Writer's Thought For The Day:
"I've had plenty of jobs in this world, all of them had their good and bad days, but writing is the only one to which I can go wearing slippers." --Patricia Rice
Deep Thought For The Day:
"If people were not meant to have late-night snacks, why did God put a light in the refrigerator?"
On May 4th, our town was hit by a massive tornado destroying every business in town, most of the churches, some of the schools, many homes which left 38 families homeless, 2 lives and our library. Each of us have searched our hearts to decide what each could do. A group of us started a Friends of the Library. Our purpose is to have books, videos, cds, and anything the library would need when it is ready to open. Our children's story hour had just begun to take off and be a very viable interest for the kids. We would be happy to accept new and very gently used books, etc for the library. We are using my home as a drop off place so if anyone would like to help us, you can send your gifts to our group at:
Friends of the Library
ATT: Judy Bowman, sec
23622 LAW 1020
Pierce City, Mo 65723
The town is beginning to come back little by little. There is hope among the neighbors that day by day, book by book, the library will come back bigger and stronger. If you would like to check out the story of the tornado, type in Pierce City, MO in a yahoo search. When President Bush was here, he told us that there would be help from unexpected places. He was right. The internet readers have been the best responders to our plea, first of all for prayer, and then for library materials. Thank each and every one who does what their heart tells them to do. We are so appreciative. Very humbly, Judy Bowman (sec, Friends of the Library, Pierce City, Mo.) email@example.com
MICHAEL T. POWERS
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever! Love, Trisha Silverhill, AL
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