Thursday, February 11, 2010

Long Live Eutychus ... Again!

Eutychus. It's a name that, to the best of my knowledge, has only been used once. (Take note Chris and Laura. It's under used and available.) It seems that he was this guy written about in the book of Acts. Chapter 20. Verses 7 - 12. Paul was preaching (not so unusual) up in this 3rd floor room. The lamps were lit. The windows were open. The place was full of people. I guess it got warm and Eutyhcus sought fresh air from a perch on a window sill. Problem is, Paul kept on preaching. Midnight came and midnight went. He preached on. In his deep slumber poor Eutychus lost his balance and fell out of the window. As fate would have it he fell "out" rather than "in." Three floors down.


Paul ran downstairs and found him dead on the sidewalk. Vegas odds would have it that Paul would have said, "Serves you right." and gone back to his preaching. It seems to me that he stepped out of character when he stretched himself out on the corpse, hugged him, and then called the life back into that increasingly cold lump of clay. Then they all went back upstairs to celebrate the resurrection of Eutychus with communion and, you guessed it, more sermonizing from Paul. He spoke about the great acts of faith until after dawn. Paul might have been full of compassion, he might have exercised grace, but he didn't learn his lesson.

I spoke on the story of Eutychus at Towerview last Sunday. The sermon was aptly titled, "Boring You To Death." And I just can't get him out of my mind. Several people seem to have the same problem. But they have thrown an odd slant onto it by sending a link to a newspaper article to me. I'll give the credit to a friend, Brant Dixon, because he was first. Here is a brief summary of the article as copied from

"Melbourne, Feb 8 (ANI): Boredom can actually kill you, a new study has revealed.

To reach the conclusion, researchers at University College London looked at data from 7524 civil servants, aged between 35 and 55, interviewed between 1985 and 1988 about their levels of boredom. They then found out whether they had died by April last year. Those who reported feeling a great deal of boredom were 37 per cent more likely to have died by the end of the study, the researchers found."

There's more but I think you get the drift. So what is the moral of the story? Well, I think those of us who stand up to teach God's Word have an obligation to NOT bore people with it. Grant it, Eutychus was probably in an oxygen deprived room and it was after midnight. But still. When God instructed me to speak on this subject He brought the phrase to mind, "Let my people go!" I have been a little long winded lately.

I'm reforming.

So for all of you Eutychus wannabees out there, that's good news. But let's not forget the obvious. Only YOU can make certain that you are living in the flow of the Spirit in a way that brings life and energy to your daily routine ... much less to your Sunday worship experience. We haven't heard the last of Eutychus around Towerview. Pastor's don't preach on his story very often. But he's captured my attention and my imagination. Fortunately we have sealed windows and they are only three feet off of the ground. But it is still wise for those who spend much of our lives "doing church" to remember ...

boredom kills.

So let's get it right.

Monday, February 08, 2010


In the beginning there was Dave. All of the friends that came before Dave really did not count. I was too young, as were they. We did not know what friendship was about. Dave lived 4 houses to my right as I was navigating the first part of my teenage years. He looked more like me than my brother did and so everybody assumed that we were brothers. We kind of were. Brothers of the heart. We would play catch for hours and never get tired. When my real brother would beat me up (which was not an infrequent occurance) Dave would run home and hide. He said he was afraid that my brother would mistake the two of us and beat him up instead of me. That made sense at the time and I never held it against him. Dave was in my wedding years later. The last time I saw him was when he came by my apartment to introduce me to his fiancee. There was no way on the planet that Dave should have been marrying this girl. He was either in to her for big money or it was going to be a "sympathy marriage." I never saw or heard from him again.

Next came Kling. Kling was short for "Klingensmith" which was his last name. His first name was John but I don't remember anybody ever calling him that. Kling and I went to college together. He was about 5 years older than I and served as a helicopter mechanic in Vietnam. Together we went to Trinity Christian College. Our team mascot was the "Trolls." If you picture a troll in your head and add 50 pounds to him you will know exactly what Kling looked like. Beard and all. He liked to have fun. His on-campus job was in the maintenance department. That gave him keys to everything students are not supposed to have keys to. One chilly morning the campus woke up to the smell of a nice fire in the chapel fireplace. That was not unusual. What WAS unusual was that the smoke was billowing from a toilet which had been cemented to the chimney of the administration building. I remember knowing instantly who had done it. Everybody suspected but nobody could confirm anything. Kling and I went to a local restaurant one day to grab a bite before evening classes. He chose the New Brunswick Stew. One thing about Kling is that he had cornered the market on Oshkosh over-alls. It was pretty much all he ever wore. Well, Kling did not finish his stew on this particular evening and I watched as he poured the remainder of it into his bib pocket. I was not shocked. I knew Kling. I figure he wanted it for a late night dorm snack. I WAS shocked when we went to pay for our meal. He stood at the glass counter with the cash register on it ... and began heaving the big deep heaves of a man about to regurgitate. He leaned down until his head almost touched the glass and made unmistakable "hurling" noises... while he unbuttoned his bib pocket and allowed the remaining stew to flow out. The he stood up, wiped his mouth, dropped a five on the counter and strolled out the door. Kling was in my wedding too. That was the last time I saw him. I heard he lives in Utah someplace.

I have a history of making interesting friends.

Most of them come, stay for a while, and then go.

Grace was a dainty woman in her sixties and she made chainsaws. Hoss was a TWA pilot who could not stand on a chair to change a light bulb because of his fear of heights. Mike was a messianic jew who swore at 5,000 teenages because one of them threw a light bulb into the street from the window of a hotel room on the 20th floor. He was not sure which one did it so he swore at them all.

I think you get the picture.

My favorite friends are the ones that stick around. For years. Many years. Oh, they might move a thousand miles away but they are still around in that surprise phone call one evening kind of way. They manage to find their way by my house every now and then and they always have a spare bedroom available when I am in their town. Some of them live nearby. We try not to take each other for granted but I know that we do. Otherwise we would hug more often and linger a little longer across the table from each other. It is part of life to do that. We don't mean to. It's just that our busy lives are constantly hounding us to get up and get something done. If you are reading this you are probably one of those friends or maybe a stranger that just dropped in to see what is going on. (Not much.) And if you are one of those friends ... you know it. I am tempted here to start listing names but if I did I would miss somebody very important to me for sure. And I do not want to do that. Never.

There are at least two tests of real friendship. One is found in what you do today. The other is found in whether or not you will still be around tomorrow. It works both ways and so I am equally responsible. I am not listing those tests in hopes that you will measure yourself. I am listing them so that I can remember to do well in grading the guy I call "me." It hurts when a friend lets me down. It hurts much worse when I let a friend down. I can forgive the friend much more easily than I can forgive myself.

And by the way, if you are a current friend and you do something really weird ... I already know it. I just didn't mention it because ... well ... a real friend wouldn't tell on you. But if you dump me ... you are toast in my next blog.