January 2, 2013
Happy New Year to all in the blogosphere. 2013 is going to be a great year if you have the right attitude and motivation. My motivation is driven by what I find in God’s Word, the Bible. I know some who read these things are not big Bible believers and some are skeptics, and some are on the fence about what you believe. But I happen to believe it and think that it is quite a motivational book when understood and taken in context.
This year I thought that I would try to share more of that with you. This does not mean that you will always agree with me, although you should, but I hope that it will challenge you to think about a few things, especially things like eternity and whether or not we need to be concerned about it. I invite feedback and criticism, after all, nothing sparks a good debate better than the Bible. All I ask is that you keep it clean and keep it open for thought and discussion.
Each year I try to read the Bible from beginning to end. I have been doing this for about 20 years now and most years have been successful. Every time I read it I find something awesome and refreshing and I learn something new. I have had to change my mind on some stuff because I better understood the whole thing and have had to eat some crow because I did not understand things as well as I thought. But one thing has always been true; I have never found a contradiction that could not be explained or could lead me to believe the Bible is wrong. There are still plenty of things that I can’t explain, but nothing that I can’t accept.
So this year as I read through it again, I am going to share some of my findings and ask some questions and who knows, maybe I will give some answers. I am going to be blunt and give evidence or at least attempt to give some logic and every now and then I may even have to say that I just don’t know the answer. The reason is, I think I have more and better answers from the Bible than most are getting from elsewhere, especially when it comes to trying to prove that God does not exist and that the Bible is not scientific. I think you may be surprised by what I might share over the next year.
God has always been a source of controversy. No one was around when He created it all, so skeptics says it was an accident. Most who disagreed with Him have already died and although they know the truth now, can’t argue anymore. Those who are still alive can’t prove He doesn’t exist any more than I can prove He does. And, God does not need to proven to be God. I will leave you with this to close out this blog. Not believing in God will not stop you from meeting Him. If I am wrong, it really doesn’t matter. But if you are wrong, eternity is riding on it.
Thanks for an awesome 2012 and thanks for following me into 2013. It is going to be a great year! The year of the blog!
October 25, 2012
I try to stay away from political stuff when I blog, but this is a subject that I think defies logic. Voter ID requirements seem to be a source of conflict. I just don’t understand it and here is why. From what I understand, the argument against requiring an ID to vote is about people who may be poor or live a long way from a place that issues IDs and therefore it is a hardship on them and risks disenfranchising them. If that were the case, I can see the point of the argument, but something about that does not make sense.
Voting is not something that everyone can do. You must be 18 to vote. You must not be a convicted felon. You must be a legal US citizen. You must live in certain districts to vote on certain races like county and city races. Without some form of ID, several of these requirements can not be verified. I think if the laws are on the books they should be enforced. I do not want a bunch of 15-year-old kids deciding the local school board or the president of the US. I don’t want someone who lives in another county deciding who represents me on the county council. I don’t want someone who is not a citizen of this country deciding who is our president. Call me crazy, but I can see the reasoning behind these laws.
But my argument is not against the laws, but against the logic of how difficult is is to get an ID for some people. I know that there are some in society who have a more difficult time than others when it comes to matters like this. It does not matter the race of the person, it is a matter most often of health, wealth (or the lack of), and age. I know these things can make doing anything more difficult. But here is my question, how long does it take to get an ID if you need one? Even if it were to take months or even a year, elections don’t come around that often and we know that most state and national elections happen every two years. Even under the worst cases, with that much time, and knowing the law requires it, anyone could get proper ID.
And what about other laws that require ID. For instance, you must be 18 to purchase those evil cigarettes. Every store that I have ever been to in the last 10 years says that they ID everyone before they will sell them a pack of cigarettes. Sure, if you are an 80-year-old man, you can buy them without an ID. Common sense says that he is older than 18, but what about that poor person who is in a wheel chair who wants a pack of cigarette and he is 18. Do they have to show an ID? Is that okay? Is it discrimination? That person has to have a proper ID and from what I remember, people purchase cigarettes quite often and I do not remember anyone ever claiming that proper ID to purchase cigarettes or alcohol as being disenfranchised.
I have to show proper ID to get the power in my house turned on, board a plane, drive my car, get into some buildings, catch fish or shoot deer and any number of other things that happen daily. But for some reason, getting an ID to vote, something that happens at best, annually, and something that has definite consequences if abused, is looked upon as evil and even racist by some. Try to get into a labor union meeting without proper ID. Try to get into a nightclub without proper ID. Try to get into Canada without proper ID. It won’t happen. Quit trying to vote without one.
June 15, 2012
One week from today is when I head to Cuba for my mission trip. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be going back and how appreciative I am to all who helped to make it possible. Over the past few months my church and my friends have helped me to raise the money needed to go and with my personal obligations added to it, it has provided all of the expenses of the trip. THANKS!!!
We leave next Friday and I am taking the week off before I go to tie up loose ends and spend a little time with my wife. Because of this I will probably not do any more blogs until I return. Once back, I hope to share some amazing stuff about my trip. There is so much that I hope that will happen that I may need the whole week when I return to tell everything. But until then, this is it.
So here are some things that you can do while I am not blogging.
1. Go back and read my blogs that have made you mad in the past. This will give you a chance to see if you were just having a bad day. It will also let you reconsider why you may have disagreed with me. I am sure that I was right and you were either having a bad day or need to change your mind.
2. Go back and post something nice in response to my blogs that you originally ripped me apart on. I don’t expect you to apologize, but you can at least say nice things, especially since I am going out of country. Those of you who write mean responses to my blogs probably do it out of frustration because you know that I am right and this will give you a chance to say that.
3. Go back and read my blogs that you liked and write another raving review. Maybe you liked my blog so much that it left you speechless the first time and now you have had time to think of something wonderful to say about my blog and/or me.
4. Send my blogs out to everyone that you think will enjoy reading them. I like having people follow my blogs. For a long time I blogged to myself and although I always thought they were brilliant, I finally got tired of writing the blog and the response.
5. Send my blogs out to everyone that you think will despise reading them. I enjoy those of you who get irritated almost as much as I enjoy the positive ones. By sending them stuff that irritates them, I am sure they will look for me when I get back with a sense of excitement as they can’t wait to tell me welcome home.
Finally, while I am gone, you can pray for my safe travels and that God is able to use me to help the folks of Cuba. No matter how much I know I irritate some of you, I still appreciate your reading my blogs. I love the positive feedback and the negative and I don’t take anything too seriously. But I do know the power of prayer and no matter who you are, I will accept your prayers and appreciate them. I look forward to my trip and even more to getting back to the greatest people in the greatest country in the world.
Thanks for all of your support, and God bless you all.
June 4, 2012
My last blog of last week was barely posted when I started getting replies. The very first reply was supportive and joking in response to my rebuttal of an article that I read on how we would have people living on Mars by 2023. So I could not wait to see more replies. Much to my surprise, they began to get nasty. Imagine my feelings, as fragile as they are, and how they must have hurt with some of your responses. There must have been a disconnect between the humor and sarcasm toward the article that I was writing about and the people who thought that I was being hateful and disrespectful to “green” people and the occasional vegan. To those who had their feelings hurt and might have been offended, I am truly sorry and will be very careful to never offend little green men from Mars again. No, wait, I mean “green” people who think that batteries are somehow better for the environment than my gas guzzling truck, which I love.
To the vegans who were offended or had their feelings hurt; I am truly sorry and will be very careful to never offend little green men from Mars again.
My dad once told me that if you had to explain a joke then it was not a good one or that you told it bad. My dad left off another possibility…Maybe the audience is too stupid, no that isn’t how you spell what I am trying to say. Umm, Maybe the audience is too self righteous…no that isn’t how to say what I am trying to spell. Well never mind. I guess some people just don’t appreciate or can not understand my supreme intellect when dealing in humor or they are too focused on themselves to be able to understand sarcasm. Either way, it was a fabulous blog filled with great jokes and sarcasm.
I love “green” people. I once sent a whole box of batteries to a the recycling place after I found out they don’t work if you mix them in the gas tank of your lawn mower. See, two attempts at being green in one failure. I even give some of my tax money to support the two electric recharging stations that are at the county park and no one can park there except people who own electric cars. I have seen one parked there in the months since they were installed. I am not sure if it is because people can’t afford electric cars or can’t afford to drive them after paying way too much for them or maybe they ran out of battery power before they got to their free electric charging station that I am helping pay for. You know, I was just thinking, I bet the won’t have that problem on Mars.
I love vegans too. In fact we have one that comes to our church. She is so cute when she gets angry. But I checked with her and she said that everything that I said in my blog was perfectly said and that she wouldn’t change a thing. At least that is what I think I heard her say. But I would have no problem with a meatless Mars; seriously.
I am glad that I got to clear all of this up and everyone is now happy again. I knew it only take one more blog to fix what you were thinking. Thanks for being so patient with me and for understanding. I do feel much better now. So to celebrate I am getting in my truck and driving to the farthest store in town that sells beef jerky and I am going to come home and eat it while I crank the AC down a few degrees so that I can enjoy it after I finish running all of that bad gas out of my lawn mower.
One last thing…I heard absolutely no complaints from talking robots, Klingons, or Romulans. I appreciate them more and more with every blog.
May 9, 2012
Yesterday was crazy on Facebook with people going back and forth about the NC amendment concerning marriage. Needless to say, people are passionate about this subject. I want to address a couple of things concerning this.
First, I hate it that the church gets such a bad rap on this subject. But you can’t complain about what happens when people who are supposed to show the love of God, show the ugliness of humanity. God does not hate people. He hates sin. Sure, that means that sin must be defined and that there are people who do not agree with how it has been defined, but God is the one who calls those shots. God loves people so much that He allowed His Son, Jesus to die for those sins and receive full acceptance as His children. He made it possible for any human, no matter if you are gay or straight, rich or poor, black or white, to be forgiven and receive eternal life. As His people, we are to represent Christ by showing compassion and love and not by acting as judge and jury. I believe if the church would spend a little more time cleaning up its own back yard we wouldn’t have such a hard time when we try to clean our neighbor’s.
Second, I hate it that people who don’t believe in God get so upset at people who do. They quote the Bible, and it is often quoted very much out of context, as if it should mean something because they use it and not when Christians use it. They tell Christians that we shouldn’t force our beliefs on them, yet they have no problem trying to force Christians to accept what they believe. They act as if having no God makes them better judges of humanity than those who have a God. Sadly, all we humans can do is make a decision to believe that we are special in nature and enforce some sense of morality and laws. Because we are not of the same minds on this, there will always be issues of disagreement.
I have a good friend who is a professing non believer and we are probably on as different ends of this argument as two people can get. Yet we respect each other enough not to let this disagreement hinder our friendship. I have said a few things that he probably takes offense to and he has done the same with me. But, at the end of the day, we can’t wait to play cards together each month. That is what friends are supposed to do. But I want to conclude this with something that I think we would agree on.
He serves his fellow-man very unselfishly. He holds friendship high in his beliefs of what is important. I would like to think that he would agree that I do the same. What we need to do is address the issue of can we make a difference that helps those that we feel are underprivileged. Believers and non-believers can be involved as fellow citizens to do our part to help others. I know that the church has traditionally helped those in need. Sadly it has gotten more recognition for opposing issues than solving problems. Jesus would never do anything but love people and meet their needs. He relied on His love to change people’s hearts and cause them to want to listen to His teachings.
I do not believe that the real issue is gay or not gay, married or not married. I believe that the real concern is who a politician can get to vote for him. I would like to see the people of this great country start telling politicians that we don’t need them to baby-sit us. We need them to provide a safe and productive place for all Americans to raise a family, regardless of its make up. We, the people, should take care of our fellow-man and if someone is hurting, comfort them. If someone needs help, help them. If I as a Christian help those who Jesus helped, I will be helping anyone who needs it, not telling them that they are wrong and deserve to be in the place that they are in. If All Christians will do that, maybe there won’t be a need to have people who don’t believe quote the Bible to us. And maybe more will learn the love of God instead of hearing of the wrath of God. Yes, God is a God of love and wrath, but that is for another blog.
People who get involved in others lives for the purpose of other’s well-being will be passionate. Let’s keep the real situation in the forefront. We can and should all help. And yes, there might even be a way to disagree on a definition or an issue and still help our fellow-man as believers and non believers alike . That is my intent. What is yours?
May 8, 2012
I don’t usually blog about stuff that is controversial or things that people can possibly disagree with me on, but today I am going to. In my neighbor state of North Carolina they are voting on an amendment to the state constitution that will make marriage between a man and a woman the only legal and recognized form of marriage. It has been very interesting to listen to the talk about this issue. Some people get all freaked out about it and the arguments are often to the point of being ridiculous and even funny. My favorite is the one that says, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. How silly is that? We all know that Steve was not created until after Jesus walked on water.
I figure that sometime between now and the end of the week I will get asked what my opinion is about this, so I am jumping ahead of the game and putting out my blog before I am even asked.
My opinion is just that, an opinion. I am not the final authority, although I should be. Things would just be so much easier if everyone agreed with me. My opinion is not really an opinion but rather a question. What has been the definition of marriage for as long as there have been marriages? Merrian-Webster Dictionary has given this definition for as long as it has been in print: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. There is a 2nd definition that includes same-sex marriage, but it was added within the last 30 years or so. There was a time when no one would ever think of marriage any other way. For thousands of years that is what marriage was. If two people lived together, as lovers, that did not mean they were married. In some states there was a provision under the law called common law marriage, so that people who shared an estate for many years had certain rights, but it was not an official marriage to those people. Why do we need to change the definition? Perhaps there should be another descriptive word for same-sex couples who legally or ceremonially join as a couple.
If we change the definition of marriage because someone doesn’t like what it means, where do you draw the line? The definition of a word that is as old as marriage should not offend people. It was never meant to. I don’t like the word bald meaning no hair, so I think I want it to mean I have hair. Change the definition and I am still bald.
The real argument is not about a definition, but about civil rights afforded to two people who live together. Why not just change that law instead of the definition of the institution of marriage? I could care less if that happens. But we all know that it goes deeper than that. Marriage is something that most people relate to a religious argument. The only religion that I have personal knowledge of and its teaching about marriage is Christianity and from what I understand, it too describes marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Many of the laws in most civilized countries have a religious foundation, including murder and stealing. But many laws have no religious bearing what so ever. Traffic laws for instance have nothing to do with a religious teaching at all. They are made by man for man (and women).
My point is this. If people of the same-sex want to be legally equal in the benefits and rights given to a couple of opposite sex, then make a law to give those rights. Don’t change the meaning of marriage. It has meant one thing for far longer than this modern argument has been going on. Our country has a system in place to help those who are overlooked, by-passed, or even purposefully mistreated. Legislators can amend constitutions and correct injustice, but it doesn’t have to be done by changing a definition. We did not change the definition of slavery to free those who were wronged, we changed the law. A slave is still someone who is owned and controlled by another human.
So that is my blog on the controversial subject being voted on in my neighboring state. Remember that I said that it would be better if everyone agreed with me. Don’t make things difficult, just agree. And by agree, I mean, think like me, act like me, be like me. Later I may try to come up with a word that we can use for same-sex unions that I like. Until then, I will only use marriage to describe a man and a woman, legally able to file taxes as married people. Don’t be hatin’; its my blog.
April 2, 2012
I had the honor of doing a wedding this weekend for a young couple. Weddings always make me reminisce about that special day for me long ago. It is hard to believe that this year I will celebrate my 32nd wedding anniversary. My wife is a very lucky woman. I am a very special man, and she knows it.
I was just reading 1 Corinthians chapter 13, which I read at every wedding. It describes real love, the love of God and gives a definition of love that does not mention warm fuzzy feelings. This is what it says:
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1 I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal.
2 I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don’t have love, I am nothing.
3 I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don’t have love, none of these things will help me.
4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.
5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.
8 Love never comes to an end. There is the gift of speaking what God has revealed, but it will no longer be used. There is the gift of speaking in other languages, but it will stop by itself. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will no longer be used.
9 Our knowledge is incomplete and our ability to speak what God has revealed is incomplete.
10 But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will no longer be used.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways.
12 Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me.
13 So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the best one of these is love.
I want to love my wife like this.
I may have just finished my greatest blog ever.
March 30, 2012
It can happen to you! Winning the Mega million lottery is the dream that everyone is talking about today. 500 million dollars and growing. I have not been into a store yet today that sold lottery tickets and there has not been a line of people buying their tickets. I heard one guy saying that if he won, he would be sure to find a church to give some money to so that God would be happy. I gave him my card. I did not tell him that God could not be bought off.
All of us have fantasized at one time or another about what we would do with millions of dollars being given to us. New cars, new houses, dream vacations, and God all top the list. Many Christians make deals with God in order to increase their odds of winning. They say stuff like, I would pay off the church debt, or I would help missionaries around the world, or, and this is my favorite, I would make sure my pastor gets a million or two. I tell my congregation all the time that if they win, tithe. Giving 10% of $500 million would be $50 million for those who are wondering. With that, we could accomplish all the for mentioned prayers.
If I won, I am sure that I would give a lot to the church and to missionaries, and of course, I am the pastor, so I would make sure I have a couple of million. I write this just in case God reads my blog and it helps increase my odds of winning. But in reality I am not counting on becoming a multimillionaire any time soon.
So many times we think that money is the key to happiness. Sure it can help, but I know of lots of rich people who died miserable. I have never been rich but I have been very happy for most of my adult life. One thing I have found is that rarely money has had much to do with my true happiness. That has come from family and friends and my faith in God. Rarely has there ever been a bad situation that depended on money to restore my happiness. Don’t misunderstand, I like money and it can be a tool to reach happiness, but in no way is it the source of happiness.
Matthew 16:26 What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? When Jesus spoke these words, he was challenging us to think past what this world has to offer. In 18 years as a pastor I have never been by someone on their death-bed who wished that they had worked more or made more money. Most say they wished they had done more to make a difference in others lives. Most say that they are anxious about what they might face after they die and hope that God is merciful because in contrast to what they know the Bible teaches, they have fallen a bit short.
No one can say for sure what happens after we die. But here is a fact that no one can deny. Money will mean nothing after we are gone. So while we are here, perhaps we should look into what we can do to gain happiness in things that money can’t but rather the things that relationships offer, and yes, I will try to find our happiness in something eternal, Jesus Christ.
So if you win the lottery, take care of others, especially us poor pastors. But don’t rely totally on it to give you joy and beware of the friends and family that you will meet that you never knew you had.
Sincerely, your friend and brother… if you win.
If you don’t win…Sincerely, just some dude writing a blog.