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We Should Listen to Our Elders...

I don't know if any of you are familiar with the Fruitcake Lady or not, but she appeared ever so often on The Tonight Show. She reminds me a lot of my great-aunt Mary Jo, or Jo-Jo as we called her. Just to warn you, she does use some bad language - but of course, so did Jo-Jo ever now and then! Hope you enjoy!


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The Apocalypse is Upon Us! #2

A continuation from this post...

Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 were letters from Jesus addressed specifically to 7 different churches which existed at the time the Apostle John was alive. In effect, we are getting to read Jesus' emails to each of these churches. Here's a brief synopsis of what each letter said:

Ephesus:

Jesus chastised this church because it had "departed from your first love." The original Greek word for departed literally means "divorced." Basically, this church had become spiritually complacent.

Smyrna:

This is the first church Jesus doesn't admonish. Jesus warns this church of coming persucutions and encourages them to remaing strong and faithful. Their reward will be the crown of life - eternal life untouched by spiritual death.

Pergamum:

This church had within it certain people who claimed to be Christ-followers but were participating in idolatry and sexual sins. Christ warned this church to repent or face judgement. Those who repented would be rewarded by Christ Himself.

Thyatira:


Like Pergamum, this church had serious problems. Specifically, a woman "prophetess" was leading its members into idolatry and sexual immorality. Jesus announced his judgement upon these individuals was coming soon unless they repented. For those who did, Jesus would reward them.

Sardis:

This church was on the verge of becoming spiritually dead. They were a hypocritical church - longing for the recognition of being Christ-followers but severely lacking in living it out. Jesus warned them to repent or else.

Philadelphia:

This is the second church that Jesus doesn't admonish. They were being obediant despite being persecuted. Jesus encouraged them to remain strong and promised them victory over those persecuting them. He also promised to spare them from "the hour of testing" the rest of the world will have to endure.

Laodicea:

This church was full of self-pride. They were a wealthy, prosperous community and had become too dependent upon material possessions instead of Christ. Jesus pleaded with this church to humble itself and repent.

To sum it all up, the word "repent" was repeated seven times. Jesus makes it plain He will not tolerate a complacent attitude towards sin in His Church. This reminds me I need to do the same in my life. I think our churches do a great job of preaching the grace and mercy of Christ, but a lousy job of preaching about our personal responsibility to turn from sin daily. It's as if the word repent has become a Christian's curse word or something. Repentance takes time, sometimes a lifetime. The point is to be continually in the process. And for those who overcome, the reward will be worth it!

Thoughts?






Odd, Quirky, Silly, and Just Plain Fun Factoids

OK. Not a terribly serious post today. Rather, I decided to have some fun. Today I thought I'd share a few silly facts about me, with the hope you'll comment back with some silly facts about you. Ready to play?

  • Whenever I get ice out of the ice tray, I ALWAYS drop at least one ice cube. EVERYTIME!
  • I have to have my khaki pants and dress slacks hung on plastic hangers. No wires for the pants! And yes, I change them out to plastic once they get back from the cleaners.
  • Whenever I go into Wal-Mart or Target, I HAVE to look at the pens. I may not buy any, but I at least have to see if there are any I don't already own. I can't leave the store until I do.
  • Latest and greatest additions to my iPod are: Paramore's "Riot," The Very Best of Hall & Oates, and Genesis: Turn It On Again (Greatest Hits).
So there you go. Your turn.

Acting and Marriage Vows



There's a great story I read this morning about Kirk Cameron. Basically, he has made a commitment not to kiss anyone but his wife, especially while acting. You can read about the story here.

Here's what I like about this story:
  1. Kirk wants to honor God with his marraige.
  2. Kirk wants to honor his wife above all others.
  3. Kirk has a plan to do both #1 and #2.
  4. Kirk is not afraid to stand-up for his principles. I like the fact that he wouldn't kiss the actress playing his wife in his new movie, but rather kissed his "stand-in" wife. In my opinion, it probably made the kiss more believable as well.
So, what do you think? Should married actors/actresses think twice about kissing someone other than their spouse on-screen?

The Quest for Security

Let me just say this to start - this world is not safe. Before you label me a "Debby Downer," let me flesh that statement out a little bit.

Over the past few weeks the Stock Market has been taking a nosedive. Understandably, this has a lot of people upset and on edge. There is great concern about our nation's economy and whether or not we are headed towards another Great Depression.

This November, we will be electing a new President for our nation. It's clear there is passion for the nation on both sides. There is also, in my humble opinion, a tremendous amount of fear and worry that the "other side" will win the election. Repubs are scared to death the Dems will win and vice versa. Each party only sees gloom and doom if they don't win.

My friends, this world is not safe. It was never meant to be safe. We can not place our security in the things of this world, for it is not our home. The one thing we can be sure of is this: God will be on His Throne whether the Stock Market completely falls apart or the "other side" wins this election. God is Sovereign over all of it. Trust in Him, not in these other things.

Confession time: God is stretching me big time in my "quest for security" in my finances. Lately, I've noticed my mood fluctuates with my bank account. When I deposit my check, I'm a happy camper. At the end of the month when things are a little tight, I'm a grump and worrier. This must break the heart of God big time. After all, He is still the same God when my bank account is full or low. Where is my hope? In God or money?

Repenting and chasing Him all the more today.

How about you? Where do you naturally drift towards for security?

Creature of Habit

I went and got my driver's license renewed this morning before work. Now I'll be honest, I know a lot of people pay extra special attention to their driver's license picture, their hair, make-up (girls), and such but I do not. Not an especially important matter to me, just a piece of plastic I need in my wallet so that I may enjoy the privilege of operating a motor vehicle in the State of Oklahoma. I knew I was going to be taking a picture, however, so I randomly chose a shirt out of my closet that I knew was clean (meaning one that didn't have any food stains on it) and headed out the door. Today that shirt happened to be a yellow polo shirt with blue horizontal stripes.

So while I'm waiting for the Tag Agent lady to type in all the necessary information into the computer, I whipped out my expiring driver's license and looked at the picture. I couldn't believe it! In the picture I had taken four years earlier I was wearing.....wait for it..... a yellow polo shirt with blue horizontal stripes! It wasn't the same shirt, but it looked very similar.

Moments like this are a reminder to me that I have the capacity to be predictable. Repeatable. Habitual. Stale. Especially in my personal daily walk with Christ. Honestly? Jesus could probably say that I've been wearing the same "shirt" for some time now and I know He'd love for me to make a "wardrobe" change for the better. Starting today.

What's your "go-to" shirt? Where, in your walk with Christ, do you need to freshen up your "wardrobe?"

Out and Open...and What Now?

If you haven't heard by now, last week Ray Boltz announced he was a homosexual. Yes, "Thank You" Ray Boltz said he was gay and has been for his whole entire life. You can read more about it here.

There have been several bloggers give their two cents about it, like this one. Personally, I'm amazed at some of the comments left on others' blogs about this topic. It certainly appears as if We, The Church, are quite divided on this issue. So I figured I might as well weigh-in too. Here's some of my thoughts, and as always, feel free to chime-in with yours too.

1) I want to first say that I have many friends who are gay, and everything I am about to say I have said to their face with all the love of Christ I had in me at the time of our conversation.
2) Homosexuality is a lifestyle of choice, not birth. God doesn't make someone gay as much as He would make someone a child-molester or murderer. These behaviors are all choices made by the individual, and as such carry consequences.
3) Homosexuality is clearly defined in Scripture as contrary to God's will. Therefore, it is without question or debate sin. See this, this, and this.
4) Just as homosexuality is a sin, so are heterosexual perversions, i.e. adultery, prostitution, etc. GOD HATES ALL SEXUAL SIN.
5) Homosexuality can be overcome, with the power of God, through faith in Jesus Christ.
6) The overcoming may take time, if not a lifetime for some. The point is, they may need a helping hand to keep them strong and motivated during their battles.
7) We, The Church, should support any and all who are battling this sin nature.
8) Oftentimes however, The Church does a very poor job of doing this (#7) - which breaks the very heart of God.

The problem I have with the Homosexual Agenda is this: they are attempting to force upon us an acceptance for their behavior. Once they are "out", they are proud of their lifestyle. They show no remorse for their actions, because they don't think it's wrong or sinful. If someone disagrees with them, that person is a "hater" or "intolerant." My friends, we can not be afraid to stand up for the Truth. However, we can't beat them over the head with it either. Don't be discouraged or afraid to speak the Truth in love. Because, after all, that's all anyone wants in this life - to be loved - even homosexuals.

Thoughts?




Where Were You?

September 11, 2001.  It's one of those days we will always remember when, how, and where we were at when we heard the terrible news.

Me?  I had worked the evening shift at the hospital September 10th, which meant I had gotten home around midnight.  Fortunately, I had the next day off and I was looking forward to getting some errands done.  I remember getting woke up by the phone ringing that morning, but I don't remember exactly what time.  I remember being a little upset that someone not only woke me up, but that they called so early in the morning.  That person was my wife, who was at work.  She asked me if I had been watching the TV and if I knew about what was happening in New York City.  I quickly turned on the TV just in time to see the second airliner fly right into the second tower.  I immediately went numb.  The rest of the day was spent on the couch, in my boxers watching, crying, praying, seething, and hurting for all of the lives affected by such a cruel act of terror.

Seven years has gone by so quickly.  So, where were you?  What's your story? 

I'm All About Shattering Taboos...

OK. I'm ready to just put it out there. I'm sure I'll get some criticism. Fine. I'm sure I'll get some comments. Even more fine. I'm hoping to generate discussion - that's the whole purpose of a blog, right? With that said, I want to shatter the politics/religion taboo (you know, the two things you don't talk about in a public setting) by revealing my choice for President and why.

This isn't an attempt to sway your opinion. This isn't an attempt to stump. All I'm doing is telling you who and why. I welcome your comments that agree/disagree with my decision. After all, iron sharpening iron isn't necessarily a feel-goody experience is it?

First and foremost, even though I'm giving this ticket my vote, I do not agree 100% with their agenda for the future. I like some things from both candidate's platforms. As far as my choice is concerned, I tend to agree more with one than the other, however.

Secondly, I am excited that both candidates profess a genuine faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I realize this doesn't mean they are perfect in their morality, after all, who is? I'm not choosing because I think one is a "better" believer than the other. That's being judgemental.

Third, I feel both candidates would bring "change" to America. Either way, this election will be monumental. Either we will have the first President with African heritage, or we will have the first female Vice-President in the history of this nation. America will never be the same no matter which party wins.

So, who am I voting for? McCain and Palin.

Here's why:

First, McCain is a true-blue American. Obama grew up for most of his childhood outside the continental American states (he moved to Hawaii two years after it achieved statehood at a time when there still was a huge anti-American sentiment present and then the Islam-majority country of Indonesia). As a result, I feel he lacks, for lack of a better term, a certain amount of "American pride" that only comes from growing up in America.

Secondly, McCain is a champion for the unborn. He and his wife even adopted two girls from Mother Theresa's orphanage who most certainly would've died had they not done so. Obama's voting record on abortion is radically more liberal than even that of NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, one of the nation's most powerful pro-abortion lobbying organizations. If you've kept up with my blog at all, Michele and I have just adopted a baby girl whose own life was in the balance shortly after her conception. I can't imagine my life without her. I simply can't give my vote to someone who won't fight to defend the unborn.

Thirdly, McCain has sacrificed his own body for this nation. He has shed his own blood for this nation. He has literally had his bones broken from torture for this country. His body is a testimony of his self-sacrifice for this country. Obama says America needs to come first, McCain has lived it.

Finally, McCain is more experienced to lead this nation. Obama announced his candidacy a mere 143 days after being sworn into office in the U.S. Senate. He had 143 days of work experience under his belt and then decided he could run this country? You couldn't become the chief of surgery with 143 days of surgical experience. You couldn't become a CEO of a Fortune 500 country with 143 days of business experience. You couldn't become a space shuttle commander with 143 days of astronaut experience. I have been a pharmacist for 8+ years now. I am a much better pharmacist today than I was after being on the job for only 143 days. Why? Experience. Obama may one day lead this nation, but right now, his lack of experience as an executive leader is a major reason why I can't vote for him.

So, there it is. What are some factors playing into your decision for President?

Oh, Did I Mention....

No, your eyes are not deceiving you..I decided to upgrade the layout of my blog.  Hopefully, it will generate more looks as well as stimulate more comments.  Anyway, hope you all enjoy!

What do you think?  Like?  No like?

The Apocalypse is Upon Us!

So my LifeGroup has embarked on a journey together through the book of Revelation. I'm quite proud of them, because they suggested studying this very complicated book of the Bible. To help, we are using this study guide by John MacArthur. Growing up, I don't recall a whole lot of teaching about or from this enigmatic book. So, I thought I'd blog some thoughts as we go through it each week and invite all of you to comment (hint, hint).

Chapter One:

I'm struck how Jesus is contrasted in Revelation 1:13-18 to this prophesy of the Messiah. Philippians 2:6-8 (I like the way The Message says it) reveals Jesus' mindset in transitioning from his heavenly form to human form. So basically, Jesus took off his crown, his robe, his power and strength, and laid them down - the NASB says He "emptied Himself" - to become one of us - weak, frail, powerless, vulnerable, human. Can you imagine if the Queen of England suddenly decided to become a commoner? Not only that, but what if in doing so she then declared everyone in England royalty, worthy of sitting on the throne of England? Can you imagine? This, my friends, is exactly what our Jesus has done for us.

Wow!

I'd love to hear your two cents.

"The Faith of Barack Obama"...my review

I have finally finished reading this book by Stephen Mansfield. It was provided to me by the good folks at Thomas Nelson, and I want them to know I appreciate the opportunity to give my thoughts and comments about it. I also appreciate their patience as I wanted to read this book thoughtfully and thoroughly before commenting. With that said, here goes!

Prior to reading this book, I had a lot of questions about Barack Obama. What knowledge of Obama I had was what had been filtered down to me from friends, colleagues, and the media. Was he or wasn't he a Muslim? Is he or isn't he a born-again Christian? What are his beliefs, and how do they shape his politics and worldview? Why was his pastor in the news so much? After reading Mansfield's manuscript, I feel like my questions were thoroughly answered.

What I appreciated most about Mansfield's approach was his dedication to portraying the faith of Obama without any hint of bias or prejudice. While Obama's public statements of faith compared with his voting record often elucidates criticism, Mansfield refrains from doing so. Neither will you see any glimpse of Mansfield's own personal opinions about Obama's faith and political ideology. This, in my opinion, adds tremendous credibility to Mansfield as an author, and I applaud his integrity.

Mansfield skillfully paints a picture of how Obama's upbringing, education, and career path helped shape his faith and politics. For to truly understand the man, you must first understand what and/or who helped shape that man. Obama's life is a kaleidoscope of influences and experiences. He is a child of mixed races; his mother was caucasian American and his father was a Kenyan. While his mother was an atheist, his father and step-father were Islamic. His childhood was spent primarily outside the continental United States in Hawaii, which had just achieved statehood, and the Islamic-majority country of Indonesia. Heading into his college years, Mansfield reveals Obama was lonely and empty. Being "different" from his peers growing up left him wondering "Who am I?" and "Where do I belong in this world?"

Finally, Mansfield details how Obama came to have a relationship with Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He spends a great deal of time ellaborating how Obama's occupation as a community organizer led him to attend Trinity United Church of Christ under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It was under Wright's tutelage, that Obama came to a decision of faith in Jesus Christ. Mansfield steered well clear from type-casting Obama's faith. However, he did objectively describe the "black theology" espoused by Rev. Wright from the pulpit. Undoubtedly liberal and in many points heretical, Rev. Wright's theology helped shape Obama's young and growing faith for some twenty years. Despite being controversial from the pulpit, Wright has led Trinity to become an instrument of social outreach and ministry in the Chicago community. Without a doubt, Obama's faith was created, molded and empowered from his association with Trinity and the Rev. Wright. It is this faith that Obama unashamedly claims guides his every political decision.

Overrall, "The Faith of Barack Obama" is a very good book. It is well written. It is very apparent Mansfield did his homework and was thorough in his interviews. I would certainly recommend anyone wishing to have a better understanding of who Barack Obama is "behind closed doors" to read this book.





Warning! Super Dad Alert!

Here I am all geared-up and ready to go to the OU vs. Chattanooga football game. Yes, I know. Dead sexy look for me.