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I’m a Word Farmer

Again, since I’ve been so busy as of late (with the move to Georgia and the new pastoral responsibilities), I’m going to share my most recent (re)post on Proverbial Thought. It is certainly applicable.

Proverbial Thought (& More)

Proverbs 12:14

“A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompense of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.”

Word Farming

It should come as no shock to anyone that I use words on a daily basis. I talk, write, sing, preach, teach, and even counsel second-graders on my school bus regarding their poor dating choices (but that’s a different story).

I am a word farmer, and my mouth could be compared to one of those big machine-thingys (non-farmer terminology) that spreads seed across a field. From morning till evening I am like a John Deere pulling a seed drill (farmer terminology), planting row after row of something that should grow.

The hope is that whatever I am planting will produce a good harvest. And if I am planting good seed, then I will be satisfied with the “good fruit.”

Don’t Work, Don’t…

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Life Lessons from the School Bus (#10) “Tennis Balls”

Crazy Obstacles

Back when I first trained to drive a school bus, all drivers were required to complete an obstacle course. I don’t know what they do these days, but one obstacle that I had to overcome it worth remembering – the tennis ball row.

The obstacle course was tough enough, but one test that we had to go through seemed totally off the wall. It was the last test, the last trial, the last obstacle of the day. All one had to do was drive a school bus across a parking lot, but without touching any tennis balls. What’s the catch?

The right side of the bus, front tire and rear tires, was to go between two rows of tennis balls, the spacing of which only left 2 inches of clearance. In other words, you only had at most 2 inches on either side of the widest part of the back tires. Touch a tennis ball and you have to start over. Go over the tennis balls – you fail.

Really, I could see how this exercise taught precision driving skills, but what was the point. When on earth was I supposed to encounter a bunch of yellow balls on the highway? Little did I know, a day would come when I would see first-hand the purpose for this lesson.

The Real Test

A few months into my driving career, I was asked to fill in on a route in the county. The route I was put on took me way out into farm country…tobacco country. After picking up a few kids, my directions led me down a gravel road, way out amidst acres of Kentucky no-man’s land. It wasn’t too long until I came upon a creek. The only way to get across the creek was to drive my 15 ton bus over a homemade, log and plank bridge.

You have GOT to be kidding me!” was the first words out of my mouth.

“No, this is the way we always go,” said the boy noticing the terror in my face.

Trembling in my driver’s seat, my muscles hardly willing to obey my brain’s idiotic commands, I slowly began my crossing. Middle of the way through, as the bus was slightly rocking back and forth, I could see that my tires were barely on the wooden planks that lay across the logs. Then it hit me – “That’s why they had us drive through those tennis balls!

The next thought that came into my mind was, “If they had told me what they were training me for, I would have found another job.”

Life Lesson

The reason for the lesson may not be obvious until the need for application.

“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” -James 1:3-4

Sometimes we are called by God to go through tests and trials which we don’t understand. What we need to realize is that God knows what is ahead of us, what bridges we may have to cross.

Let Him do what He must to train you for the road ahead. You may be the one responsible for carrying someone over to the other side.

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Life Lesson from the School Bus (#9) “Making a Way”

Trying to Merge

Have you ever tried to merge into traffic, only to find that everyone else is in a bigger hurry than you? Try convincing a bunch of motorists on their way home that your school bus needs to jump into the flow.

Every time people see my kid transporter attempting to enter traffic from a side street, they say to themselves, “Oh no! I can’t get stuck behind a bus!

So, without any compassion for me and my nerves, they pretend that they don’t see me. Better yet, they hold up a hand, wave slightly, and give me a look that says, “Sorry, but my schedule is too hectic to let you in front of me.” Jerks.

Making a Way

That’s when a school bus driver has to be proactive…he has to make a way into traffic. By being assertive with 35,ooo pounds of diesel-powered intimidation, one can MAKE motorist slow down and be polite. Making a way into traffic is possible because of a simple fact of life – getting put on the local news for hitting a school bus full of children is NOT in one’s best interest.

Life Lesson

God can make a way, when there seems to be no way.

Isaiah 43:16, 20 – [16] Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; … [20] The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

When God chooses to do something, nothing in heaven or on earth can stop Him. God can make a way. No decree of man or law of nature is an obstacle to the LORD of creation. If God has told you to go somewhere, do some work, or reach some person, even if the way seems impossible, He is God…He will MAKE a way.

Are you going through a valley? Are you on a stormy sea and can’t see past the waves? Do you think that there is no hope, no way out of it this time? Trust in Jesus – He can make a way, where there seems to be no way. He can give rivers of hope in the midst of your wilderness.

Hope you enjoy this short video of a beautiful song by Don Moen.

 

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Life Lessons from the School Bus (#8) “Stop”

Stop Signs

If there is one thing that makes me angry enough to spit nails, pound a steering wheel, clinch my teeth, and silently whisper vulgarities under my breath, it is this:

People who run school bus stop signs!

Honestly, I would like to know what goes through the minds of these idiots. What causes them to act so carelessly? Are they just careless, or are they blind? Should they even be behind the wheel of a vehicle?

I can’t tell you how many times it has happened to me while driving. One time, believe it or not, a motorist (older white male) came around from behind me on the side of the service door! Let me make that clear, the driver came from behind and passed me on the side the kids get out! He came within a few feet of hitting three middle-schoolers!

What do you do in a situation like that? Well, what wanted to do was chase him with the bus and pin him to a guardrail with 30,000 pounds of yellow furry!

What did I actually do? I called him an unflattering name that referred back to him possibly not coming from a woman who was married at the time of his unfortunate birth. That was all I could do. He got away before I could get his plate number.

If you are one of those slimy pieces of human debris that think it’s OK to run a school bus stop sign, especially if you have an important date, or just can’t stand the thought of being held up another minute – God is watching. Yep, that’s what I said, scumbag. Every time you think you are so special that you can skirt the law, run the stop sign, and go your merry way, God is watching you. When I can’t get your license plate number, God has got YOUR number, bub.

And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. – Mark 9:42 KJV

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. … Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. – Matthew 18:10, 14 KJV

You should stop and think a moment. Every time you flagrantly drive through a bus stop, you put children ask risk. You make your priorities more important than the lives of little children. Do you think that for one moment Heaven is on your side of the argument? Do you think that risking running over one of “these little ones” is any different than “despising” them? Do you believe in God? Keep running those stop signs and you will learn the lesson of the day…

Life Lesson

You will eventually reap what you sow (what goes around, comes around).

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. – Galatians 6:7 KJV

Sometimes children are told to “sow their wild oats while they’re young.” I can’t think of a more stupid piece of advice to give anyone! That is like saying, “Do everything wrong while you can, but don’t worry, it will never come back to bite you in the rear end.” God says, “Don’t be decieved by these idiots, because you will reap a harvest from the seeds you plant.”

The same can be said about those who run bus stop signs. Just keep it up, but one day you are going to get what is coming to you, especially if you hit one of those children.

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Life Lessons from the School Bus (#7) “Try the Spirits”

“Stripped”

Bob “Apple” Smith, a bus driver for the county, has a lot to explain. A quick look at his bus will let you know why. It is stripped. Stripped of EVERYTHING!

According to Bob, shortly after dropping off the last of his children, he made a quick “personal” stop. It was during his “personal” stop, which took longer than he anticipated (probably due to the excessive amount of jalapeños Bob insisted to be put on his eggs for breakfast), that vandals supposedly stripped his 88-passenger ThomasBuilt bus.

“Once I was finally able to finish my business,” Bob said, “I went back outside and said, ‘I’ll be d—-d!‘” He went on to say, “Those little hoodlums worked quicker than piranhas on a pig!”

The Link

No wonder, Bob had parked his bus in one the most notorious places in town. For months the police have been answering calls from stranded motorist who could do nothing more than cry after doing their “personal” business. Fortunately, an unbelievable link may have been found.

After investigators did some research, Bob was not the only one who had eaten eggs at a particular diner on Downtown Street. It seems that more than one patron of “Slick Sam’s” had eaten eggs before having to stop just blocks away to make an emergency “deposit.” Coincidentally, those same patrons had their automobiles stripped.

The only problem for Mr. Smith is the additional time it would have taken to strip the large bus. Some are questioning whether or not there may be seeds of deceit at his “Apple” core. It was not long ago another driver, Margaret “Snoopy” Jones, overheard Bob say, “I am tired of this job, but I’m not going to quit without getting a medal.” Ms. Jones insists he was speaking code, meaning “metal” when he said “medal.” This is still under investigation, but questionable, however.  It seems that  Ms. Jones has a record of saying, “Bob was always the ‘bad Apple’ in the bus driver barrel.”

Life Lesson

For heaven’s sake, don’t believe everything you read.

A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. – Proverbs 14:15 NIV

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. – 1 John 4:1 KJV

Sometimes things like this can be seen as funny (I hope), but many are sadly deceived in issues that have eternal significance.  The Bereans did not even take the Apostle Paul’s words at face value. They “tried” his words by comparing them to Scripture (Acts 17:10-11).

You see, no buses got stripped by vandals, and you could easily prove this by doing a little research. As matter of fact, the bus in the picture was stripped, but only for spare parts (it had an engine fire that made it too expensive to fix).

But so many people will take anyone’s word, believe any hearsay, and hold to any old rumor or fable rather than take the “noble” route of the Bereans and “search the Scripture.”

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Life Lessons from the School Bus (#6)

“Say it with Boldness”

There comes a time when even a little kid may decide he’s had enough. Essentially, that is what happened not long ago on my bus, and even a few thousand years ago on the plains of Judah.

The Story

You see, for some reason, a few older elementary children kept aggravating a little kindergarten student named, let’s just say, Bill. Every time Bill would get on the bus, the first words he heard were, “Hey, you got your Beyblades?” Every day, every morning, it was the same question: “You got your Beyblades?” [If you don’t know what “Beyblades” are, just click the word.]

After a while, it started getting on my nerves. It wasn’t so much the constant asking, but the constant trashing of the English language.  It was never “do you have,” or “have you got?” No, it was always “you got?” Poor little Bill never made a sound. He would just walk quietly to his seat.

Finally, about the time I was about to say, “Will you illiterate examples of prenatal abuse put a sock in it,” little Bill made his unexpected stand.

The Stand

Early one morning, shortly after a beautiful sunrise, I drove up to Bill’s house, turned on my warning lights, engaged my brakes, and opened my service doors, causing red to flash. Barely more than 3 feet tall, Bill had to grab hold of the rail as he struggled to make the climb up the staircase, each step a third his size. With each step you could hear the young scholars, those brilliant word-smiths, those elementary-school Einsteins, query from the seats inside,  “You got those Bayblades? You got those Beyblades?” Then, when his ascension was complete, he stopped and stood defiantly in the front of the bus, feet shoulder-width apart, fists clinched and placed on his waist. Without any warning, he demanded…

“SHUT THE F*** UP!”

“Whoa!! HO there, little buddy! Dude, what did you just say?!” I said, “Sonyou need to sit down…you can’t say stuff like that…I will talk with you in a few minutes.”

I had never heard, nor seen a little child with so much bravado. Like biblical David facing a bus load of mentally-challenged Goliaths, Bill decided he had heard enough. With the confidence that his words would be heard; with the confidence that just the right combination of words would demand respect, he stood on his soap box and demanded attention, never showing a hint of fear or intimidation. Without question he made his point. The other kids were shocked and silenced. Sadly, however, somebody taught him to talk that way.

Life Lesson

When you take a stand for what you believe, don’t act cowardly or intimidated. Be strong in your convictions and speak with boldness. Being meek and mild has nothing to do with being milk toast. Cowards do not deserve respect, nor an audience.

Even though little Bill chose to use inappropriate language, his indignation, expressed with boldness, earned him my respect. I couldn’t help but admire him. After becoming weary of taunting words (on and off the bus), he felt it was time to make a stand, which made me think of the story of David, the shepherd boy, who told a 9-foot tall Philistine warrior to “shut up.”

“[Who] is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” – 1 Samuel 17:26b NKJV

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. “This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. “Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.” – 1 Samuel 17:45-47 NKJV

Because we live in a post-modern, relativistic society, bold speech is more likely to be labeled “hate speech,” than admired. The reason is that many consider truth to be ever-changing and subjective, not universal. So, when a person dares to speak with boldness what is believed to be an absolute truth, the “Goliaths” may continue to laugh, threaten, and continue in their taunting. Regardless, when Truth is on your side, there is no reason to be ashamed, or afraid.

May we all learn a lesson from little Bill’s outburst. When the time comes to make a stand, do it like you mean it. No matter your size or your age, your education or your status, when you stand for what is right, don’t be afraid to say, “Listen to me!” And when we do feel afraid, there’s nothing wrong with asking for boldness. Pray as the Apostle Paul did, “[That] utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” – Ephesians 6:19-20 KJV

 

 

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Blog Post Blitz Coming!

This is just a quick announcement.

Tomorrow (July 18th, 2019) I will be publishing 11 posts, 10 of them in 5 hours. The first one will come at 9am (eastern), then a final one will come at 2pm.

All of this is to celebrate and commemorate my school bus driving career coming to an end. Tomorrow will be my last day on a school bus.

Next week: Full-time pastor.

So, I hope the blog blitz is not overwhelming.

Enjoy!

The future’s so bright I had to wear shades! Or, maybe it’s my shirt?

 

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