NOT FOR SUNDAY ONLY, Weekly Issues 1995


Commentary by David Sisler

Columns from 1995

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  • The Last Piece Of Green Hubba Bubba
  • Having searched through a dozen states, three foreign countries, and countless stores, I am convinced -- I own the world's last piece of green Hubba Bubba bubble gum. I don't know how I came to own the last piece left in the world, but it now has assumed an almost sacred status. A lot of things are like that -- especially in the Church.
    (December 30, 1995)

  • A Christmas Card
  • I apologize for not sending you a Christmas card. Please accept this electronic version. Be warned, however, it has no gold foil and no Holy Family with cherubic smiles or polished halos. Instead, the picture on the front is of a teen-aged girl, pregnant before marriage, drenched in sweat. She has just pushed her first born child into the cold night air of an unheated, smelly barn. The baby is still covered with afterbirth and blood.
    (December 23, 1995)

  • The Promise Of Tuesday
  • In last Christmas' hit movie, "Star Trek Generations," there was a running joke -- the promise of Tuesday. The tractor beams will be installed on Tuesday. The photon torpedos will be loaded Tuesday. The medical staff will arrive on Tuesday. You may be waiting for the promise of Tuesday.
    (December 16, 1995)

  • To Temper Hardness
  • Sometimes you have to stand back in order to see up close. What happens when zeal becomes intolerant and forgets to be compassionate.
    (December 9, 1995)

  • If Only
  • If only. How many broken dreams, dashed hopes and crushing frustrations are summed up in those two words? "If only" was a curse thrown one day into the face of Jesus. And the people who said it were right.
    (December 2, 1995)

  • Back To The Future
  • Worth magazine says it is the financial wave of the future, the very newest thing in investing: dying broke. The idea no longer is to leave a large inheritance for your children. Spend it now; don't leave it for the heirs to fight over. There is an option no stock broker will guarantee, but one you should investigate.
    (November 25, 1995)

  • Looking At Home Through Different Eyes
  • Elena Vladimirovna Borisenko was 19 when I met her three years ago in her hometown of Samara, Russia. When she graduated from college this summer, we flew her to America -- fulfilling her life-long dream. Watching Lena, and listening to her, as she explored a little bit of America, my pride in my own country swelled.
    (November 18, 1995)

  • The Consequences Of Forgiven Sin
  • Most people want to be able to live like hell and still go to heaven. If you don't believe that statement, ask any dieter if he has ever bought, or ever wanted to buy, a product which promised he could eat as much as he wanted and still lose weight. There is no accountability. Eat, drink, and be skinny.
    (November 11, 1995)

  • Success
  • I am rich, therefore, I am blessed.
    I am poor, therefore, I am blessed.
    Two lies, each millennia old, but still told today. What is the real measure of success?
    (November 4, 1995)

  • Indispensable
  • I remember telling a friend a number of years ago -- and saying it rather proudly, in fact -- "I am the most important person in my wife's life." And then, for a time, I forgot how very important she is to me.
    (October 28, 1995)

  • Out Of Control
  • You may not understand the reasoning of a 60-year-old Russian woman I know. Standing on the shores of the Volga River, listening to the frightening rantings of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, she said, "We were better off under Stalin." Her society, her world, as she knows it is out of control. She is not alone.
    (October 21, 1995)

  • How Much Forgiveness?
  • Cindy Hartman of Conway, Arkansas returned home from a shopping trip and walked into a burgular. She dropped to her knees and asked the burglar if she could pray for him, she wanted to ask God to forgive him. The burglar signaled an accomplice, "We've got to unload all of this. This is a Christian family and we can't do this to them." Can you forgive that much?
    (October 14, 1995)

  • What They See
  • You say you are a Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ. How can you prove that?
    (October 7, 1995)

  • Enthusiasm
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world, owes its triumph to it. Nothing great has ever been accomplished without it." What is "it" and how do you define "it?"
    (September 30, 1995)

  • The Call
  • You can't attend church for very long without hearing a speaker warn about the threat of wordliness creeping into the Christian life. Is it necessary to write elaborate rules to protect the Church?
    (September 23, 1995)

  • Suspend Intelligence?
  • In order to be a believer in Jesus Christ, is it necessary to suspend intelligence? What part does good old-fashioned common sense play in assessing spiritual claims?
    (September 16, 1995)

  • Finishing Power
  • September 6, 1995. The day the unbreakable record fell. They said no one would ever break Lou Gehrig's consecutive game record, but Cal Ripken, Jr., did just that. It is easy to start. It may not be so easy to finish.
    (September 9, 1995)

  • Divorce And The Pastor
  • The marriage of Charles and Anna Stanley is in trouble. Statistics show that as many as 60 percent of marriages today will end in divorce. If those statistics are correct, many marriages are in trouble. But when divorce threatens the parsonage, is it different than for the rest of us?
    (September 2, 1995)

  • Forgetting Is Easy

    Do you remember your own birth? Things that were said? The way you were handled? The slap that encouraged you to breathe? Forgetting is easy. Remebering is hard. Remember, in the time it takes you to read this column, 15 babies will die.
    (August 26, 1995)
  • An Example?
  • Yankee Stadium may be called "The House that Ruth built," but for 18 years, it was "The House that Mantle Filled." When we heard he had died, every baseball fan recalled his or her favorite Mickey Mantle stories. I remembered four home runs I saw him hit. And I remember him talking about being an example.
    (August 19, 1995)

  • Listen!
  • Most of us are not good listeners. What we have to say is simply too important to listen to anyone else.
    (August 12, 1995)

  • The High Price Of Stubbornness
  • You would not be surprised if a man built a fence to keep his neighbor's cattle out of his own field. But would you think it strange if the neighbor built a fence to keep his cattle away from the first man's fence? Forrest Gump would have a field day with that scenario.
    (August 5, 1995)

  • For The Sake Of Having
  • Can you imagine a team and its fans cheering, "We're number 2! We're number 2!" Would Jesus celebrate second place? Would Jesus advise someone to settle for mediocrity?
    (July 29, 1995)

  • Grateful For Pain

  • We've been lied to by preachers who have told us God does not want us to suffer distress of any kind. The story of Kimberlie Patek shows another side.
    (July 22, 1995)

  • Memory

  • Rajan Srinivasan Mahadevan can recite the value of pi to 31,811 dgitis without a single error. The feat takes him almost hours. But the greatest memory feat of all time is not the feat of remembering. It is one of forgetting.
    (July 15, 1995)

  • Accountability

  • Maybe injuring and killing people with a car while under the influence of alcohol is different from taking a shotgun to your parents or cutting people to pieces and having sex with the remains. Maybe. Maybe if we did not excuse any aberrant behavior...
    (July 8, 1995)

  • How You Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm

  • State lotteries, national lotteries, and now on-line lottieries. Legalized gambling is taking a new turn with the Internet. Odds are we're gambling away our morality.
    (July 1, 1995)

  • Time For A 'Hissy Fit?'

  • When Bob Dole criticized the entertainment industry, Time magazine said the good senator had a "hissy fit." As a nation, it may be about time for a good one.
    (June 24, 1995)

  • In Spite Of The Risk

  • Sun tans, not wearing seat belts, "safe sex", smoking, drinking and driving -- in spite of clear warnings, people still ignore dangers at their peril.
    (June 17, 1995)

  • Windfall

  • Read any good t-shirts lately? I liked the one which begged, "God, please let me prove to you that I can be trusted with winning the lottery." There is an undeniable lure of the windfall.
    (June 10, 1995)

  • What Kind Of Peace?

  • There is no United Nations contingent responsible for enforcing inner peace.
    (June 3, 1995)

  • Doughnut Holes

  • Doughnut holes. You know they are there. You can see them. They have form, but absolutely no substance. You'll starve eating doughnut holes. So much of what passes for preaching today is a lot like doughnut holes.
    (May 27, 1995)

  • When Winning Is Losing

  • Pobeda! The Russian observance of the end of World War II offers a sobering perspective on the price of victory.
    (May 20, 1995)

  • Mistakes To Avoid On Mother's Day

  • In case you are thinking about doing something really stupid, like showing your wife -- the mother of your children -- how important she is to you, I have a few suggestions that will help you avoid the temptation. Just so you'll know.
    (May 13, 1995)

  • Whose Standards?

  • When U.S. News & World Report released its report card on the instances of sex per hour on television soap operas, none of the big three networks received a "G" rating. NBC was the cleanest, and that's like being a little bit pregnant.
    (May 6, 1995)

  • The View From The Window

  • This column is one of my personal, all-time favorites. It is a ... no, you'll have to read it.
    (April 29, 1995)

  • Practice, Practice, Practice

  • I collect church signs. I've often wondered if as much care goes into preparing the Sunday morning sermon as goes into the pithy messages which preach to the vast drive-by congregation.
    (April 22, 1995)

  • Behold!

  • When Pilate said, "Behold the man!" did he realize what he was saying?
    (April 15, 1995)

  • He, The Jury

  • Your Honor, we, the members of the jury, find the defendant guilty. Seven of us find him guilty as charged, three of us find him guilty as they come and two of us find him guilty as sin.
    (April 8, 1995)

  • Where Is Your Confidence?

  • For all possible circumstances, put confidence where it will do some good.
    (March 25, 1995)

  • The Treasures Of The Snow

  • Depending on the season where you are, you may have to use your imagination for the snow, but the Bible has some suggestions.
    (March 18, 1995)

  • Getting Away With Murder

  • The defense said confessed child killer Susan Smith was crazy when she strapped Michael and Alex into their car seats and watched as the car,and her sons disappeared into a lake. Do you want to kill your child? Modern science offers four legal ways to do it.
    (March 11, 1995)

  • What Would You Say To An Alien?

  • If an alien spacecraft landed in your back yard, what would you say to the ship's occupants? Omni magazine recently posed that intriguing question.
    (March 4, 1995)

  • The Danger Of Becoming A Millstone

  • Talmadge Haddon Barclay can always be counted on to be solidly behind any position that is in total opposition to pastoral leadership. Maybe you go to church with him. Maybe you are his pastor.
    (February 25, 1995)

  • My Gifts

  • During the five years I have been writing this column, I have introduced you to my family. You would never suspect from those glowing, heart-tugging, and sometimes downright sappy vignettes that I live with a family of dirtballs!
    (February 18, 1995)

  • Will Someone Explain It Please?

  • Do you remember when first class postage stamps increased from 29 to 32 cents? Stand in line with me, and eavesdrop on an interesting bit of complaining.
    (February 11, 1995)

  • I Can't Stand The Pain

  • If a pregnant rat gets help in dealing with pain, humans certainly can.
    (February 4, 1995)

  • Discipline

  • In America we say public school education is failing. We blame the curriculum. We blame the administration. We blame the teachers. We should blame ourselves because we have let our teachers down.
    (January 28, 1995)

  • The Graciousness Of God

  • The grace of God provides answers when even the right quesitons seem in doubt.
    (January 21, 1995)

  • Which World?

  • Trying to have the best of both worlds leaves you with the best of neither.
    (January 14, 1995)

  • A Ministry Of Mistakes?

    Michael English was on top of the Christian music world. His records were best-sellers. His peers honored him with a "Dove" award. Then he confessed to committing adultery with a married woman, and he returned the Dove. Put the focus on restoration -- not downfall.

    This column was updated April 4, 1997. Please read the rest of the story.

    (January 7, 1995)
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