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"A cheerful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22 NIV).
Back when our feet didn't touch the sanctuary floor (in a pew, that is), we knew that the church was nothing to laugh at. But, admit it, then and today, there are those times when pew-to-pew solemnity can't prevent our funny bones from kicking in-even with near-blood-producing lip biting and horrific visions of family tragedy.
What this oversize collection of old, new, and not so true church rib-ticklers has going for it, is the recognition that whether we worship in high church fashion, easygoing informality, or any place in between, we have at least one thing in common-we like to laugh. Contrary to our parents' opinion, the devil doesn't make us do it. The good Lord implanted the funny bone as surely as He did our souls. Let's enjoy it!
You'll not find any of those "There was a priest, a minister, and a rabbi" jokes in this section-there are just too many of them; golf gags have been limited to two.
The clergy has always and will always be a target for good-natured ribbing. Their fabled foibles, like sleep-producing preaching and only Sunday work will always be good-natured jabs for the pew-sitters to level. It's all good fun. Pass on some of these golden oldies to your spiritual leader. Laugh together and strike a bargain, though, that you never become a sermon illustration.
Anyway, as Mark Twain's non sequitur goes, "Sacred cows make the best hamburger."
A Penny Saved ...
Hoping to help his church save money, Pastor Jones decided to paint the church exterior himself, but all he had on hand was one bucket of paint. So he collected a bunch of empty buckets and some water, which he used to thin the paint enough to cover the building. Then he spent the whole day painting.
That night it rained and washed off all the paint. The pastor was so discouraged and asked God, "Why ... why Lord, did you let it rain and wash away all my hard work?" To which God replied, "Repaint and thin no more!"
And Nothing but the Truth
Friend: Say, Pastor, how is it that you're so thin and gaunt while your horse is so fat and sleek?
Pastor: Because I feed the horse and the congregation feeds me.
A Golf Joke
Pastor Teefer found himself wondering whether there were any golf courses in heaven. He even began to ask the question in his prayers. One day, in answer to his prayers, he received a direct answer from on high.
"Yes," said the heavenly messenger, "there are many excellent golf courses in heaven. The greens are always in first-class condition, the weather is always perfect, and you always play with the nicest people."
"Oh, thank you," responded Preacher Teefer. "That really is marvelous news."
"Yes, isn't it?" replied the messenger. "And we've got you down for a foursome next Saturday."
A clergyman took a well-earned holiday and decided to go to one of those large golf resorts where Arnold Palmer often played.
As the minister approached the most difficult hole on the course, the caddie said, "When Arnold Palmer plays this hole, he uses a three-iron and says a prayer."
"I'll certainly give it a try," the preacher remarked. But when the ball landed in the water, he said, "I guess the Lord didn't hear me."
"He probably heard you," the caddie said, "but when Arnold Palmer says his prayers, he keeps his head down."
A very upset minister walked into the fish market. "I want you to throw me four big fish," he said to the clerk. "Just toss 'em to me."
"But why toss them to you?" the fishmonger asked. "Can't I just wrap them and give them to you like everyone else?"
"No, sir!" yelled the preacher. "Do just as I say. So if anyone asks me if I caught any fish today, I can truthfully say, 'Sure did. Caught four big ones!'"
Prayer for Safety
A nearsighted minister glanced at the note that Mrs. Jones had sent to him by an usher. The note read, "Bill Jones having gone to sea, his wife desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety."
Failing to note the punctuation, the cleric startled his audience by announcing, "Bill Jones, having gone to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety."
Board Chair: Pastor, why did you fire your secretary?
Pastor: She couldn't spell. She kept asking me how to spell about every other word while she took dictation.
Board Chair: I suppose you couldn't stand the interruptions.
Pastor: No, it wasn't that. I just didn't have time to look up all those words.
Pastor: I need a secretary who can spell. Can you spell Mississippi?
Hopeful Secretary: The river or the state?
Mower and Mower
Pastor Sampson was making visitation rounds on his trusty bicycle, when he turned a corner and came upon a young boy trying to sell a lawn mower. "How much do you want for it?" Sampson asked.
"I just need enough money to buy a bicycle," the boy explained. After a moment of thought, the preacher asked, "Will you take my bike in trade for it?"
"Mister, you've got yourself a deal."
The preacher took the mower and began to crank it. He pulled on the cord a few times with no reaction from the machine. The preacher called the boy over and said, "I can't get this mower to start."
The little boy said, "My dad says you have to cuss at it to get it started."
Pastor Sampson replied, "I am a minister, and I cannot cuss. I have been saved for so long I don't even remember how to cuss."
The little boy look at him with a sparkle in his eye, "Just keep pulling on that cord, and it'll come back to you."
New Pastor Warranty
It has come to our attention that the pastor you received was shipped with a slight defect-he is not psychic. Because of this, you must observe certain procedures to ensure optimum performance.
It is necessary to inform him of any members who are hospitalized.
If someone you know is in need of prayer, the pastor must be told, or he won't know.
If you are in need of a pastoral visit, you will get best results if you ask him.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause.
A mother called her son on Sunday morning to make sure he got out of bed and was ready for church.
"I'm not going," he replied.
"Yes, you are going, so get out of that bed!" his mother demanded.
"Give me one good reason why I should go," said her son.
"I'll give you three good reasons. One, I'm your mother, and I say you're going. Two, you're forty years old, so you're old enough to know better. And three, you're the pastor, so you need to be there."
Decaf or Regular?
Every Sunday morning at the same point in the service, Pastor Fred left the platform for a brief time to talk to the kids in children's church. One new member didn't understand what was going on, so following the service he observed, "Preacher, you are the first pastor I ever saw who takes a coffee break during the service."
The postman had just delivered Reverend Smith's mail. As the cleric opened envelopes and pulled out letters, he was surprised to unfold a sheet of paper that bore just one word, "Fool." The next Sunday he announced, "I have known many people who have written letters and forgot to sign their names. But this week I received a letter from someone who signed his name, but forgot to write a letter."
Good news! After hundreds of years of ministers, a model pastor has been found-one who will please every church member.
He is twenty-six years old and has been preaching for thirty years. He is tall, short, thin, heavyset, handsome, and has one brown eye and one blue eye. His hair is parted in the middle (blonde), left side (dark and straight), and on the right side (brown and wavy).
He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all his time with older folks. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work.
He makes fifteen calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing the lost, and never leaves his office.
A Grave Error
A minister on vacation was reading his hometown newspaper. He was stunned to come across his own obituary. Shocked, and not a little upset, he immediately telephoned the editor.
"I'm calling you long distance about the report of my death in your paper yesterday," he explained with great indignation.
"Yes, sir," came the calm reply. "And from where are you calling?"
The preacher was visiting a man in prison. "When you were tempted," asked the minister, "why didn't you say, 'Get thee behind me, Satan!'?"
"I did," replied the prisoner, "but Satan said, 'It doesn't matter who leads, since we're both going the same direction.'"
When a traffic cop pulled over Pastor Johnson for speeding, the minister reminded the officer, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." The cop handed the minister the ticket and quoted, "Go thou and sin no more."
Reverend Nick: I worry so much, I can't sleep at night and have terrible nightmares.
Reverend Rick: That's nothing. I'm sleeping like a baby. I wake up every three hours and cry.
Delivering a building fund-raising banquet speech on the night of his arrival in a large city, a visiting minister told several anecdotes that he expected to repeat at meetings the next day. Because he wanted to tell the jokes over again, he requested the reporters to omit them from any accounts they might submit to their newspapers.
A cub reporter, in commenting on the speech, ended his piece with these words: "The minister told a number of stories that cannot be printed."
Truth or Care
One Sunday morning Pastor Bob advised his congregation, "Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. In preparation for my message. I want you all to read Mark 17."
The following Sunday the reverend asked for a show of hands from those who had read Mark 17. Every hand went up. Pastor Bob smiled and announced, "Well, Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying."
My Protestant clergy friend was speaking with a Catholic priest and wanted to establish a solid friendship. He spoke of many things and felt it was going well, but in an instant he undid all the good he'd done: He asked if Father Paddy's father had been a priest, too.
The Reverend Billy Graham tells of a time early in his ministry when he arrived in a small town to preach a revival meeting. Wanting to mail a letter, he asked a young boy where the post office was. When the boy had told him, Dr. Graham thanked him and said, "If you'll come to the church this evening, you can hear me give directions on how to get to heaven."
"I don't think I'll be there," the boy replied. "You don't even know how to get to the post office."
The minister of Grace Church phoned the city's newspaper. "Thank you very much," he said, "for the error you made when you printed my sermon title on the church page. The topic I sent you was 'What Jesus Saw in a Publican.' You printed it as 'What Jesus Saw in a Republican.' I had the largest crowd of the year."
Excerpted from THE WORLD'S GREATEST COLLECTION OF CHURCH JOKES Copyright © 2003 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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