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Name: Mark
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. One Man Show: Who’s Your Lord Really? — November 27, 2012
  2. One Man Show: One Word Can Change Your Life — November 26, 2012
  3. One Man Show: God Doesn’t Give White Elephant Gifts — November 23, 2012
  4. One Man Show: 10 E-Z Steps to Becoming an Ungrateful Wretch — November 21, 2012
  5. One Man Show: Getting Ignored-Not Just for Church, Anymore! — November 20, 2012

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Nov 27 2012

One Man Show: Who’s Your Lord Really?

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Our President has been compared to the Messiah. Now Jamie Foxx has confirmed it.

At the 2012 Soul Train Awards on Sunday night, the actor/funnyman whipped up the crowd with this Sunday morning-like invocation:

“It’s like church over here! It’s like church in here. First of all, give an honor to God and our Lord and Savior, Barack Obama. Barack Obama!”

His remarks have whipped up another crowd consisting mostly of conservative Christians. Bill Donahue, President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, called Foxx’s statement “startling,” adding that “it just goes to show that even though Obama did not succeed in stopping the oceans from rising (as he promised to do in 2008), he did succeed in convincing Jamie Foxx, and no doubt legions of others, that God exists. Whether God can survive an ACLU lawsuit accusing him of violating church and state grounds remains to be seen.”

If you’re expecting me to pile on Foxx or slam President Obama, you will be disappointed in this post. Oh, make no mistake: I found the actor’s statement to be strange at best and shockingly offensive at worst. There is only One whom we should call “Lord and Savior,” and He rules in the heavenly realms, not in the Oval Office (II Pet 3:18, Col 1:16). But the point of today’s post is to push Christians (including me) on whether our behavior matches up with our mouths. We easily call Jesus “Lord”–do we really mean it?

Do we spend more time chatting on Facebook than talking to God?

Is dust collecting on our Bibles, but the TV program guides on our nightstands dog-eared with use?

Do we make excuses on why we can’t give to church and charity, but have no problem dropping big bucks on something we really want?

Did we trample people on Black Friday, but just couldn’t find the energy to go to church on Thanksgiving Sunday?

Do we say we fully trust God, but worry incessantly about the future, stew about what might happen?

Does your tongue spew gossip and profanity, or praise and encouragement?

The English word for “worship” is actually a contraction of “worthship,” an ancient term meaning “to ascribe worth” or “give honor to the honorable.” Do we give true “worthship” to our Lord and Savior by doing what He prizes…or are we just saying so to please ourselves and the crowds?

Photo courtesy of stefan through stock.xchng

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Nov 26 2012

One Man Show: One Word Can Change Your Life

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Yesterday at First United Methodist Church in Killeen, TX, I unveiled a new script simply entitled The Word. I wrote it to match Rev. Jeff Miller’s upcoming Advent preaching series with the same title.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t write the script. It was written long ago by prophets who “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (II Peter 1:21) “The Word” was entirely based on THE Word. As the stirring strains of the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme filled the sanctuary, I slowly walked down the aisle with the words of Genesis on my lips:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

The notes of Thy Word gently came up and I moved into Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” From there I simply quoted scriptures about God’s Word.

The effect on the congregation was profound. One woman in the third service bowed her head and lifted her hand in worship. After another service, a man came up to me with tears in his eyes. “That was so powerful,” he said. A woman shared that her 13-year old son, who normally slumps in the pew and sullenly crosses his arms, sat up and smiled as I read the string of scriptures.

It got me to thinking about the power of words. As I state in my Advent devotional book, Just One Word, there is also power in a single word:

“Walk down the street and hear a cop yell FREEZE and I bet you stop dead in your tracks. Or you’re sitting in a crowded auditorium and someone shouts FIRE, you will find yourself sprinting toward an exit even if you hate exercise.

A track coach motivates a runner with the command, “GO!” A hungry teenager bounds down the stairs when he hears his parent call out “DINNER!” A mother calms her fussy baby with a soothing “Hush.”

Bible culture knew the power of one word, too. Do you remember the story of the Roman centurion who approached Jesus because his servant was bedridden? The Lord announced that He would go to the officer’s home and heal the servant. But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Instead, just say the word and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8)

Just say the word.*

What one word would you use to describe your identity in Christ? I grew up with an abusive father whose favorite put-down of me was “Dummy.” If I didn’t understand something he was trying to explain, he would snap, “What are you, a dummy?”

God has changed that word to “Son.”

Your word might be “Healed,” “Fearless,” “Beloved” or “Restored.” Whatever the word is, it has come from God, and that one word describes a life that will never be the same.

*Just One Word (c) 2011 by Mark Winter

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Nov 23 2012

One Man Show: God Doesn’t Give White Elephant Gifts

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Yesterday, my extended family converged at my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. After we had stuffed ourselves fuller than the turkey, we held a White Elephant party. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a gift exchange where you try to get rid of some worthless piece of #&*! in your house. Participants pick a number from a hat and, when their turn arrives, they grab a wrapped present and unveil it for all to see. If you don’t like your gift, you can give it to someone else and “steal” theirs.

There were some goofy surprises, including a mannequin head with a unibrow and straw hat with a neon-orange clown wig attached to it. My brother-in-law actually stole the head from my nephew, announcing, “This thing will make great target practice.” I ended up with a big bag of promotional items from a local bank, where my niece works.

Later that day, as I was popping Tums, the festivities got me to thinking about our tendency to exchange God’s gifts for the lesser gifts of the world. The shelves of heaven are stocked with such glittering treasures as love, wisdom, joy and peace. We receive these gifts and then, when life takes a turn for the worse, we swap them for bitterness, bad habits, anger, earthly distractions. We can’t seem to believe that holding on to God’s gifts will actually make us better people in the long run.

Look around the rooms of your soul. Are there some items that you need to take to a White Elephant party? Will you be glad that you got rid of them? Will you want them back? Or, this time, will you believe that the God-gift in your hands should occupy a permanent place on the mantelpiece of your heart?

“All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.” (James 1:17) NET Bible®

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Nov 21 2012

One Man Show: 10 E-Z Steps to Becoming an Ungrateful Wretch

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Thanksgiving is upon us, but don’t let that stop you from being an ungrateful wretch. Here are ten easy steps to tapping your inner ingrate:

1. Do not publicly appreciate your loved ones. If you have a spontaneous desire to say “I love you” or write a tender note, squash these sentiments immediately by reminding yourself that they know you care–you don’t have to get all mooshy-gooshy with them.

2. Treat someone’s ear as the complaint department of a large store.

3. Every day, remind yourself of what you don’t have and be jealous of those who have what you want.

4. Treat the giggles of small children as intrusions into your quiet, ordered world.

5. Do not “say grace” before a meal. You bought the food and cooked it. Thank yourself.

6. Throw stuff at computers and TVs that don’t work. Cuss heartily while you do it.

7. Hey, why are you smiling? Put that frown back on!

8. Keep in mind that there is no blessing so large that you can’t find some fault in it.

9. Do not give your time or resources to another. Remember, you can’t spare anything and aren’t happy about it.

10. Above all, do not thank God for anything. After all, what did God ever do for you except create life, beauty and love?

(Woman with Sour Expression pic courtesy of imru2b12 thru stock.xchng)

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Nov 20 2012

One Man Show: Getting Ignored-Not Just for Church, Anymore!

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Would you talk to a tall, balding guy in a sweaty jogging suit if he wandered into your church on a Sunday morning? Most people didn’t when I did that very thing, years ago, at a small church near Dallas. In fact, two women glanced at me like I was the Unibomber and quickly skittered away. I had showed up to perform my skit, “Emmaus Exercise,” a modernized version of the story in Luke 24:13-35.

After the service, as we ate obligatory potluck in fellowship hall, the aforementioned ladies glided up to me with toothy smiles and drawled, “Why didn’t you tell us you were the guest preacher earlier this morning? If we had known who you were, we would have talked to you!”

It must be human nature to avoid people we feel are “different.” Just the other night, before a performance of The Forgotten Carols at the Artisan Center Theaterin Hurst, TX, a castmate told me a similar story. After each show, the actors line up in the lobby to greet theater patrons on their way out. In one of the last scenes of the musical, this woman comes onstage as a biker chick—black bandana, Harley T-shirt, leather leggings, the works. She noted that the patrons happily greeted all the actors except her. Most offered a nervous glance before skipping her to talk to the other performers. Interestingly, this woman is a happily-married Mormon mother of six kids, about the nicest person you would ever want to meet. She doesn’t even own a motorcycle; probably wouldn’t know how to start it if you gave her a key and the owner’s manual.

So it’s not just within the four walls of a church building that you can be ignored or rejected. But out of all the places in the world, why is the church even on that list?

Biker Chick photo courtesy of snnellis via stock.xchng

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Nov 20 2012

One Man Show: Five Questions I’m Glad the Interviewer Didn’t Ask Me

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When you go in for an interview, you want to look your best. That’s why I shaved, flossed and even wore shoes before I showed up at the Women’s Bible Study at St. Barnabas United Methodist Church in Arlington, TX last Sunday. As the ladies gathered around a long table, Pennie Boyett, a seasoned reporter and journalism professor, produced a legal sheet of questions.

“Gonna ask me anything embarrassing?”

Pennie shot back, “I hope so.”

Fortunately, she didn’t. She had invited me to talk about my new Advent devotional book, Just One Word, which the women are going to use for their December study. Pennie asked me about my church background, how I was called into the ministry, where I got the inspiration for the book–nice softball questions. I’m so glad she likes me or I could’ve gotten questions like this:

  1.  ”How did you rope your wife into marrying you?”
  2.  ”Have you ever thought of hairplugs?”
  3. “I saw you recently in a community theater production. Would you like the name & number of a  good acting coach?”
  4. “Who did you vote for in the presidential election and why in the world did you vote for him?”
  5.  ”Do you think your book will make a significant impact and, if so, how long have you been harboring these delusions of grandeur?”

Thank goodness for friendly journalists. By the way, if you would like to order my book, you can visit the website of ONEMANSHOW. Buy a lot of copies and I’m that much closer to getting hairplugs.




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