Friday, September 29, 2006

When a Horse Comes to Church

I have been preaching through the book of James here at Grace and recently, we began chapter 3, dealing with the topic of our tongue and our speech. In verse 3, James likens the tongue to a bit that goes in the mouth of a horse. In verse 4, he likens the tongue to a rudder on a ship. In both cases, these items (the bit and the rudder) are relatively small in comparison to the object it goes with (the horse and the ship), yet it is what determines the direction of the animal and the vessel. So is the case with our tongues.

To illustrate this point that Sunday we decided that if a picture is worth a thousand words, than the real thing must be worth a million words. So as people arrived at church they walked up to the main entrance where a 16-foot Hobie Cat Catamaran sailboat, which has 2 rudders, was on display. Inside the auditorium was a large rudder, big enough to steer a 5-ton ship. And then came the climax. When I got to the verse which talked about the horse’s bit, we brought in a real live horse right down to the front of the auditorium.

The horse’s name was Streamer. First service, Streamer seemed a little bit nervous. Come to find out, this animals’ nervousness had nothing to do with being in front of about 600 people in that service. This horse had other issues. As I explained the teaching from James, this horse turned its rump right to one of the center sections where people were sitting close enough that they could have reached out and touched the animal. He then lifted his tail. You know what’s coming next, right? The folks down front did. One of the men literally bolted from his seat, boldly leaving his family to fend for themselves. Then, before you could say, “Mr. Ed” (For those of you who don’t know it, Mr. Ed was the name of an old TV Show about a talking horse), Streamer unloaded. We had put plastic all over the front where the horse would be, just in case. Streamer is obviously not paper trained. He missed the plastic completely.

It just so happens that our Media Producer (Tim Reedy) picked last Sunday to start experimenting with putting the video of each sermon on the internet (right now it is only audio). If you copy and paste the following link you can see it: mms:// It is the video of that Sunday’s sermon. The horse is introduced at about the 28 minute mark and the “incident” happens at about the 30:40 mark. Don’t worry! The person behind the camera knew when the horse lifted its tail to move the camera away so you won’t get too grossed out.

Please keep in mind that this is the beginning of an experiment so the quality of this video is not what it will ultimately be. And in case you are wondering why I am wearing the Ohio State jersey its because this was the Sunday after the Buckeye victory over Penn State. Fortunately, Tim edited out all the booing that took place when I first walked up on stage.

By the way, second service, Streamer did just fine except when he looked up and saw himself on the screen, he thought it was another horse and started neighing real loud. Streamer is no “Mr. Ed!”

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