November 20, 2019

Pastoral Nuggets: Birds, Fires, and Earthquakes

(Note: I originally wrote this column sixteen years ago. I hope it blesses you today.  ~ Brother Aaron)

Some really strange events have occurred in my life during the past few weeks, things I have never experienced before, and things I don’t want to experience again.

The first event occurred about three weeks ago. The Mid-west Ministerial Association asked me to preach at a “tent meeting” they were sponsoring just outside Geneva, Georgia.

Now, there’s nothing strange about me preaching under a tent; I’ve done this several times before. However, the strange part started when I was about ten minutes into my sermon.

A parakeet flew into the tent, and lit on a wire about three feet above my head. Now, except for the one or two times he flew down and tried to land on some poor gentleman’s head, he just stayed there and watched me preach.

Every once in awhile he would lean forward, cock his head to one side, look at me, chirp a few times as if he was saying “amen,” and then return to his normal listening position.

Friends, I don’t know if you know this or not, but it’s hard to “wax eloquent” in a sermon when you have a parakeet perched three to four feet above your head!

For some strange reason there is a tendency to concentrate more on the parakeet than the sermon! In twenty-five plus years of pastoral ministry I have competed with almost everything imaginable in a service. I’ve competed with squalling babies, inattentive teenagers, sleeping adults, wasps, and I’ve even had a few dogs wonder into some of my services. But with out a doubt, this was the first time I competed with a parakeet. And, sad to say, the parakeet won! Oh well!!!

The second event occurred last week at the Big Springs Baptist Church in Big Springs, Alabama, where Brother Scott Hanna is the Pastor. Brother Scott and his wonderful people invited me to come preach their Spring Revival Meeting. Everything was going well until Tuesday night.

When Brother Scott stood in the pulpit to introduce me, he told me that the two chandeliers in the back of the auditorium had just shorted out, and that he just wanted me to know that so I wouldn’t be wondering why the back of the building was so dark while I was preaching. Well, ya’ll know me. I suffer from foot in mouth disease, and the only time I take my foot out of my mouth is to put the other one in! As I was “waxing eloquent” in my sermon, I made a reference to those lights.

I made a statement that went something like this: “Some of you are probably embarrassed that the lights went out while the visiting evangelist was here.  Some of you may be upset with the deacons or church leadership for not preventing this. Well, don’t worry about it; the church could have burned!” Early Wednesday morning I received a call from Brother Scott. He said, “Well, I just wanted to call you and tell you that the church burned last night.” I said, “No it didn’t!” He said, “Yes it did!”

Then he went on to say that by the grace of God it didn’t burn down, and that the damage had been contained to the area of the church where the defective chandelier was located.

The fire did about thirty thousand dollars damage to the church, but again, by the grace of God the fire didn’t destroy the church, and they were fully insured.

The last event occurred at approximately 5:00 a.m. this morning when an earthquake shook LaGrange, Georgia.  My wife has always told me I could sleep though an earthquake. I never believed her – until today!

A bird in a tent meeting, a church on fire, and an earthquake have only one thing in common, that is, they are all events that actually occurred in my life, of which, I had absolutely no control over. So it is with life. The birds, fires, and earthquakes will come. We cannot control this. The only thing we can control is our response to them.

Brother Aaron

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