Poisonous Mushrooms


Time for serious talk. I'm furious. Had dinner with friends and our conversation gravitated towards a mutual friend. I was surprised they recognized the hypocrisy. John (not his real name) is a great orator who could spit out verses and dissect scriptural passages with the profoundity of a theological professor. But John's actions with a woman who is not his wife cancelled any respect we had for him. He is so desensitized he doesn't recognize the folly that everyone else sees. His "woman" is equally oblivious to the ethical line they have crossed. It is these kinds of self-centered narcissistic hypocrites who have shooed away the spiritual seekers. Can you blame the non-believers for their distrust towards Christians? Can I apologize for them? We're not all like that.

After our dinner, I looked at the man in the mirror and saw "warts" visible only to myself. To some degree I am just like John. I am not what others see. I wear my mask so well. I suppose we all do. Sure, we Christians use the trite excuse that we are a work in progress. Really? How long can we use this scapegoat? Most people reform only after they are caught in their sin. But maturity demands we overcome our secret pleasures regardless of anyone knowing they exist. I am humbled when I count the scars of my old warts long gone. The only reason I am even able to face my demons is because of my God who gives me strength and puts me in my place.

If you are among those who observe my faith from a distance, if you're searching to find that perfect church, don't waste your time. A perfect church doesn't exist. The church is composed of imperfect people. If there were, you couldn't join it. There are many Johns fooling themselves and trying to change on their own strength. And it isn't about following rules either. It isn't about membership in a religious institution. It isn't about head knowledge. It starts with humility and about being open to criticism. It's about faith and a change of heart.

One important observation: Imperfect people do not equate to a non-existent God. HE is real. If you truly seek him, you will find him. I believe I did. My many "scars" can prove it.

Hope I didn't weird you out. Just felt like I needed to defend the good people out there.

Wisdom from Mike of New York
Words of Wisdom

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
--- Bertrand Russell

Thanks to this week's winners:
Jennifer of New Jersey; Tom of Pasadena; Mike of New York; Janette of Hong Kong; Naomi of North Hollywood and Cheryl of Temple City.

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"Don’t follow their example. For they don’t do what they tell you to do ... Woe to you, Pharisees, and you other religious leaders. Hypocrites!"

--- Matthew 23: 3 - 13

Poisonous Mushrooms
Contributed by Don of Kelowna, B.C.

She wanted to serve her guests mushroom-smothered steak, but she had no mushrooms and no time to buy them.

Her husband suggested, "Why don't you go pick some of the mushrooms that are growing wild down by the stream?"

"No, some wild mushrooms are poisonous."

"Well, I see animals eating them and they're OK."

So she picked a bunch and washed, sliced and sautéed them for her dinner.

Then she went out on the back porch and gave Spot, their dog, a double handful. Spot ate every bite.

All morning long, she watched the dog.

The wild mushrooms hadn't affected him after a few hours, so she decided to use them.

The meal was a great success.

After everyone had finished, her daughter came in and whispered in her ear, "Mum, Spot is dead."

Trying to keep her head about her, she left the room as quickly as possible, called the doctor and told him what had happened.

The doctor said, "That's bad, but I think we can take care of it. I'll call for an ambulance and I'll be there as quickly as I can. We'll give everyone enemas and we'll pump out their stomachs and everything will be fine. Just keep them calm."

Before long they started to hear the sirens as the ambulance tore down the road.

The Paramedics and the doctor had their suitcases, syringes, and a stomach pump.

One by one, they took each person into the bathroom, gave them an enema, and pumped out their stomach.

After the last one was done the doctor came out and said, "Everything will be okay now," and with that he left.

The hosts and the guests were all weak and knackered sitting around the living room when the daughter came in and said to her Mum, "I can't believe that guy!"

"What guy?"

"You know, that one who ran over Spot, he never even slowed down."

5 Lessons from an Older Woman
Contributed by Jennifer of New Jersey

She walked up and tied her old mule to the hitching post.

As she stood there, brushing some of the dust from her face & clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand & a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old woman & laughed, "Hey old woman, have you ever danced?"

The old woman looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No, I never did dance... never really wanted to."

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned & said, "Well, you old bag, you're gonna dance now," and started shooting at the old woman's feet.

The old woman prospector – not wanting to get her toe blown off – started hopping around.

Everybody was laughing. When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun & turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old woman turned to her pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun & cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air.

The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the sounds too & turned around very slowly.

The silence was almost deafening.

The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old woman & the large gaping holes of those twin barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old woman's hands as she quietly said, "Son, have you ever kissed a mule's butt?"

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No M'am ... But...
I've always wanted to!

There are a few lessons here for all of us:

  1. Never be arrogant.
  2. Don't waste ammunition.
  3. Whiskey makes you think you're smarter than you are.
  4. Always, always make sure you know who has the power.
  5. Don't mess with old women; they didn't get old by being stupid.

Luminous Mountain Dew was a fake

Thanks to Jody of Silver Lake, Los Angeles and Sarah of Burbank, CA who pointed out that the Mountain Dew alternate lighting trick was a hoax. Sorry for not checking before hand. I don't drink much soda anymore so that's my excuse. Sorry about that.

Videos of the week: (click on the picture)

Cooper Loves Ice Cream
Contributed by Naomi of North Hollywood, CA

Why WOmen Have Handbags

It's summer time. It's the season for ice cream.Some people savor the moment and lick it up while others gulp it down. Why, even dogs love to eat that stuff. See different eating styles of these 2 dogs.

Magician in Tutu
Contributed by Naomi of North Hollywood, CA and translated by Janette of Hong Kong

Karen Carpenter sound alike

Naomi sent this Chinese video link and requested a translation. I passed this task to Janette of Hong Kong. Janette sent this: "With the help and guidance of her mother, Yan-yan Ma, a 21-yr old lady from Dalian, China, brought a unique performance to a reality TV talent show called "The Amazing Chinese". Yan-yan's performance, titled "Dreamy Paris," awed both the audience and the judges. Yan-yan hoped that through her performance on the TV show, she could help her mother's dream of performing on an international stage come true. One thing which you must not overlook is Yan-yan's costume. It was sewed by her mother, who is a professional magician, stitch by stitch." Isn't it great how two continents can cooperate via the internet? Thank you both!

When it's Not Your Time
Contributed by Tom of Pasadena,

World Cup Commercial

The pounding music adds to the intensty of this video collection. It's scary because this is real and death was a hair's breath away. Oh, the things we take for granted. Never doubt we have a merciful God.

The Claw
Contributed by Cheryl of Temple City, CA

Nike Commercial

Some people can ride The Claw. Not me. I've had motion sickness since I was a kid. I remember my Dad took me up on a ferris wheel and I was crying the whole time. He didn't realize my brain couldn't take it. He thought I was just being difficult. I threw up. And he never took me on a ride ever again. It wasn't his fault. It's really sad considering Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm are just a few minutes away from me. Here's another one

Classy Street Performance: You Raise Me Up
Contributed by Cheryl of Temple City, CA

Big Disco Dancer

Something about this man's performance brings a lot of class. What a voice. What a presence!
Cheryl: "this guy had a GORGEOUS voice! His rendition will send chills up and down your spine!"
TGIF guys!


Loved your comments on Hypocrites. A friend told me once he stays away from Church as it is filled with hypocrites. I told him I am one that attends every week [and I need him} to assist me in seeing the faults I possess [so I can do] something about them. Tis more a hospital than a place for the pure to gather.
I am constantly amazed at the wisdom contained in Scripture and how the meaning has a different slant at the age you encounter it.
Keep up the good works and let us all strive for perfection though we may never reach it. Thanks!

Tom of Pasadena

Thanks Tom. As we seek perfection in Christ, we should not be discouraged. Rather we should enjoy the journey which we know we will never reach in this lifetime. And we should try to encourage others to join in this wonderful adventure called life.

Hi, Raoul:

I really appreciated your devotional "Hypocrites in Our Midst." I too have problems with people who "talk the talk" but don't "walk the walk." But admittedly, there have been times I've pointed the finger at someone else -- without looking at the 3 fingers that are left pointing back at me! And I must plead "guilty as charged" to ignoring my own "warts" -- until I look in the mirror!

Thank you again for the timely -- albeit sobering -- reminder!

TGIF! :)

Cheryl of Temple City

Thanks Cheryl,

We all need to check ourselves every once in a while.

I just got a phone call from one of my subscribers and he too knows of someone in leadership position in his church who is being unfaithful. He didn't know what to do.

I told him that if he doesn't have a relationship with him, he should not confront him. Instead, he should tell someone who has authority over him ... someone he is accountable to ... to speak to him. If he doesn't do anything then he too is guilty of perpetuating that "sin." We need to nip it in the bud --- for his sake and for the sake of the church.

""If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back."
--- Matthew 18:15

Wish you'd chosen another name for your mythical friend.

John of Rancho Palos Verdes

Sorry about that John. Yours is such a common name.

--- Raoul

I like the way you took a stand against hypocrites who act like pharisees. And of course the "magician in tutu" was astounding. And like you said is a wonderful example about 2 people in different continents can collaborate. It's like the story of your TGIF... reaching out to different nationalities to make people happy and for awhile be part of a world of men. Congrats! This TGIF has proved its worth.

--- Dette of Mindanao, Philippines

Thanks for your praises.
I was wondering how many people would unsubscribe because I talked about a very sensitive topic but no one has done that so far. It seems they appreciate my sincerity and my vulnerability. When you bare your heart out in the open, it takes a lot of guts. No wonder I love my readers --- they take me as I am --- warts and all.

Interesting that you picked up on so many aspects of today’s edition.

--- Raoul

I recognize the place where Martin Lukens sang. It is in front of the tourism office in downtown Maastricht, Netherlands. I was just there last March when my daughter graduated from Maastricht University.

--- Rey of Simi Valley, CA

Thanks Rey,

My wife and I were guessing it had to be a Germanic country. Now that mystery is solved.


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