Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bible Busting Bulletins and Stokes in the Margin

My Bible cover is getting harder and harder to zip closed - I have flashes that soon my husband will have to sit on it like an over-stuffed suitcase just so I can get it to church and back. Edward bought it for me as a gift about a year before we moved up here, and since then I’ve kept all of my Sunday church bulletins (or more accurately, teaching notes) in it, at whatever page was the focus of the sermon or message.

I actually went through them all this morning (what else do you do with 26 inches of snow outside your door and covering your TV’s satellite dish) and found that, with well over 200 bulletins bulging out of my Bible, about a quarter of them are in the Old Testament and the other three quarters in the New Testament. There are nearly 20 message notes from my old church in Florida, Creekside Alliance, but the majority of them are from Pastor David R. Stokes’s sermons at Fair Oaks Church.

Although over a year ago Edward created a special filing system where I could keep all of my sermon/teaching notes by Bible chapter so they’d all still be in the same order, I resist taking them out of my Bible. I love sitting down for the Sunday sermon, looking in the new bulletin to see where we will be today, and opening up to that page in the Bible to be reminded what I learned from this passage before from a previous message.

If they were tucked away in a very well organized 3-ring binder on the shelf, I might miss my weekly reminiscing of Stokes-isms in the margin. I realize I’m biased here, but Pastor Stokes is an amazing preacher. And, as great as his messages are, and how catchy the alliterations in his teaching notes are, sometimes there’s real gold in the margins: the spirit-led Stokes-isms that flow from the pulpit, but weren’t a part of the outline so you franticly jot down them in the margin.

Here are some of the nuggets I found in my margins:

~ Faith is conviction based on revelation. (Lather, Rinse, Repeat series)
~ The next time you feel like your leader isn’t pleasing you, ask yourself if they are pleasing God. (Detour series)
~ The L.S.D. of the Bible – Lust brings forth Sin, Sin brings forth Death. (Notorious series)
~ Trials are placed in your life by God to draw out the best in you; Temptations are placed in your life by evil to draw out the worst in you. (Faith series)
~ F.E.A.R – False Expectations Appearing Real. (Guilangriefear series)
~ Lust: any desire that is out of bounds or out of balance. (You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out series)
~ Be content with what you have, but never with who you are. (Chapter 11 series & Worship series)
~ Conviction is constructive, guilt is destructive. (For Crying Out Loud series)
~ Tactics without strategy = business without purpose. (Current Events & Coming Attractions series)
~ Sometimes when you get into ritual, you get away from reality. (Worship series)
~ The will of God – nothing less, nothing more, nothing else. (Wasted Series)
~ Can’t afford to tithe? Do the math… you’ve spent more than 10% of your income on bad choices and what did it get you? (Wasted series)
~ You don’t have to wander too far to get outside the Will of God. (Wasted series)
~ Sin is spiritual leprosy. (Marvel series)
~ The shortest distance between the human heart and the Truth is a story. (Grace Anatomy series)
~ Repel sin through insulation, not isolation. (The Others series)
~ Seasons of loneliness are unavoidable, even for the faithful and committed. (The Gospel According to The Beatles series)
~ If you spiritualize without spiritual eyes, you’ll find spiritual lies. (The Flip Side series)
~ What a person does is what a person believes, regardless of what he says. (Church? Why Bother? series)
~ To the extent you are working for God, you are fulfilling the purpose of your salvation. (The Flip Side series)
~ Works are not the root of salvation, but the fruit of salvation. (The Flip Side series)
~ The only part of your salvation people see is what you do, not what you think. (The Flip Side series)
~ The closest thing a believer will experience to Hell is this Earth; the closest think a non-believer will experience to Heaven is this Earth. (Rabbit Ears series)
~ People are incurably religious – if you’re not worshiping God, you’re worshiping something. (The Flip Side series)
~ Some people are “dating” spirituality, but not willing to get married to it. (Faith series)
~ Motivation without implementation equals frustration. (Faith series)
~ Embrace the pendulum – finding deeper joy in deeper crisis. (Faith series)
~ Success is not what you are compared to someone else; success is what you are compared to what you could be. (Add It Up series)
~ Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. (Add It Up series)
~ The greater the purity of your heart, the greater the clarity of your vision. (Simply Worship series)

There were a few others I couldn’t make out and a few that, out of context, I couldn’t figure out (on one of them I had “Cool Hand Luke” written next to a chapter:verse) but there are some of my Stokes-isms from the margin.

Did I miss any of your favorites?


tracey said...

great post lauren! reminded me of a lot of good stuff!

ML Yost said...

Thanks, Tracey! Been meaning to post that for a while ... took a good snow storm. :-)

Anonymous said...

You are very blessed to have such an inspiring pastor! I just got rid of my old, old, bible and got a new one - the "Mosaic" bible. I do this only every 15 years or so, and it always is difficult to part with all the memories of that old bible. Instead of saving bulletins, I have little worksheets from studies and sunday school lessons, etc. They make for good bookmarks.

Whisper said...

This is very nice, and inspiring. And most importantly, true. Thanks.