Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Lord Jesus, Come Quickly

Tonight I, like 150 million other Americans, found myself watching the results of Presidential Election. As I have watched the results come in, though I have really not been surprised, I have sat and watched with great sadness as it seems the United States we have known may never "be" again. In an unusual way, this night has given me a kind of surreal feeling as so many voted to move this country to a decided "leftist" philosophy.

It seems that the economy and the poor approval rating of President Bush were the main driving forces of this election. The issues of "National Security" and defending our freedom were cast aside. The great moral and ethical issues which plague this nation have been discarded. That being said, I suggest that several things will happen in the not to distant future which might make the Obama supporters wish they had known him better.

In the next four years there will be an attack on the unborn like we have not seen. It may rival the hollocaust. With the new President's support, the Defense of Marriage Act will likely go down in flames. The armed service people who have given their heroic efforts, energy, and expertise, will be called home, quite likely, in disgrace and failure because the new commander in chief has little or no idea of how to defend America or fight a war. The "far-left" Congress and the "extremely left" President will engage on a program of tax and spend which have all those working Americans (who cast the vote) laboring 6 or 7 months of a year to pay the government. We will pay those taxes so the government can take the money of working people and "spread it around" to those who refuse to work. Additionally, the USA will probably begin the transition to "socialized medicine" which will be a disaster in the nation. (As an aside, we will never fix our healthcare until we quit viewing heathcare as a system and properly view it as a "business"). Finally, eye has not seen, nor has ear heard all the liberal policies, programs, and taxes which citizens will see during the next four years.

Gosh, just writing about these few things which cause such sadness for America have made me deeply distressed. Now, I know God is still on His throne and I am aware of Habakkuk 1 where God told the prophet, "I am doing something about which you will be totaly shocked. An ungodly army will come and teach your people, Judah, a lesson." My fear is that God is doing the same to America. My prayer for my family and fellow Amercians is this; "even so, Lord Jesus come. And do it quickly.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Praying for a Miracle

I am about to finish reading a very enlightening book. It is not a book that gives good news, but it does reveal the disturbing truth about life in the USA. As I have read (slowly) this book, I have "stepped up" my prayers for this great nation.

This book is written by David Kupelian and is entitled, "The Marketing of Evil." Mr. Kupelian's research reveals the trek of our country's downfall and makes the strong case as to how "Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts" have sold us corruption disguised as FREEDOMS!! This is incredible, but hardly arguable. Think about this; a premeditated-scheme or strategy was developed and implemented to convince citizens that crime is a ' constitutional right', that sin is really alright, and that all the evils (as taught by the Bible) are really issues of tolerance and acceptance.

In one of Kupelian's final chapters he refers to Francis Schaefer's 1984 book entitled "The Great Evangelical Disaster" in which the word, "accomodatation" seems to be the order of the day. Schaefer bemoans that fact that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has unwittingly became a part of the problem by accomodatating the disintegrating culture rather than being authentic, Christ-like change agents.

When taken in the cultural context of the cultural bent in 2008, we can now see and understand the difficult and dire situation in which we find America. We are on the precipice of a disaster like we have never before experienced in this great nation.

We have serious problems and, it would seem, because of the unfairness found in our "mainstream media" very few good, honorable, and KNOWLEDGABLE people will step forward for fear of being unfairly judged and criticized. We have serious problems and need serious and skilled people to lead.

Our economic woes need economists, not politicians. Our healthcare problems needs experts, not politicians. In fact, on our security front it would seem that while politicians are bantering, our men and women are risking life and limb to face an enemy overseas in order that we don't have to face them again on American soil. We have enough politicians. Certainly, change is the order of the day.

Now. enter our two presidential candidates. One is a relativelnewcomer to the national scene and the other a long-time public servant. The former has great eloquence in front of a crowd, the latter is not real comfortable in front of a crowd. The former is a polished likeable person, the latter is a little gruff and rough in his delivery. The former is a left wing extemist as is confirmed by his voting record, the latter is more of a centrist--reaching across the aisle on more than one occasion.

NEITHER CANDIDATE seems to have a REAL COMMMAND of the problems we face in America or REAL PLAN of how to lead this nation through and out of our financial chaos. This is my observation from the two debates, much reading, and of course, the biased news reports on TV. Both candidates seem to have a knack for half truths and overstating their opponent's fault as well as their own strengths.

In the final analysis, I have already decided for whom I will vote even though I have my doubts whether he will win or not. But it seems to me, that whoever is the next president, we need to pray that God would perform a miracle in His life, in the lives of voters (citizens), in the life of our Congress, and even in our world.

Without a miracle of God, I'm afraid the GREATEST NATION TO EVER RISE TO POWER (the USA) may be in her twilight years.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Where did the real Newscasters Go?

Blogging is not one of my prioirities of life. Yet, as I see it, a blog allows for self expression. There is a reason why I have deliberately chosen to not blog for almost a month, that reason is, "I have been watching and listening."
Personally, I prefer for my blog to focus on spiritual, ethical, and even moral matters. After watching the events on the national political scene, there are many things which are good and bad, great and sad, as well as other things which demand our attention.
It has been interesting to watch the development in National Political arena.

Finally, the veil has been pulled back and all of America has become a witness to the "Liberal Bias" of the National Media. To watch and listen to the ABC ("A Barack Channel"), NBC ("Noone but Barack Channel"), MSNBC ("McCain Stinks, Negate Barack's Critics"), or others leaves one to clearly understand one simple truth; "the national press is no longer a reporter of the news, but has become a well-oiled machine for promoting the liberal agenda in our nation."

While Mr. Obama has been on the "trail" for over a year, he has received less scrutiny than Mrs. Palin has in one month. It is a sad day for America when a plain talking, person next door gets the third degree while a polished politician gets a free ride.

Personally, I have been thankful for Fox News. Case in point; "Last night on the news I saw a clip which was cut short by "some" networks, but played in full by Fox. The cut short version looked bad for the McCain-Palin ticket while the full clip conveyed an entirely different message.

My prayer is that the citizen (voters) of this great land will not allow the liberal bias of the media to sway their vote, but that they will seek beyond this tanished brand of coverage offered today and discover for themselves the truth behind the candidates (Obviously, we will not get the truth from some of the more recognized media outlets). I applaud MSMBC for making a few changes to attempt to regain some hint of objectivity. After all, isn't that what a news organization is suppose to do? Be objective and report the news without prejudice or opinion? Many "shouting shows" exist for the purpose of opinions. (By the way, just because one person can outscream another while in front of a camers does NOT necessarily make the loud screamer correct.)

Just as surely as this country needs some real STATESMEN to stand up for the country, this country also needs some real NEWS REPORTERS. As we all know, a STATESMAN is one who puts country above his personal agenda and does what is right, regardless of the next election. A News Reporter is one who reports what happens without the commentary.

Wonder where these men and women have gone?

Friday, August 08, 2008

You Can Run But You Can't Hide

It is rumored that, in the 1940’s, on the eve of his fight with Billy Conn, boxer Joe Lewis uttered the phrase as “You can run, but you can’t hide.” While I am neither a boxer nor a “boxing-fan”, it requires little imagination to know that this statement was sent as a warning to Joe’s opponent.
Every time I read the story of Jonah this phrase comes to mind.
At the beginning of Jonah, God calls him to go ‘across the tracks” to a place called Nineveh and preach. The truth is this; God is still speaking to His crown creation today (that would be you and me). God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so “IF” He called people in the Bible days, He’s still calling people today.
God wanted Jonah to go northeast to Nineveh but Jonah decided to go SOUTHWEST to Joppa! Think about that! Jonah went exactly opposite of where God told him to go. I’m wondering if that sound familiar.
Thinking he could “make an escape” from God’s call, he left and with every step he took, he went down. The Bible says or infers, He went “down to Joppa, down to the boat, down in the boat, down in the sea, and ultimately – down into the belly of the fish.” If he truly thought he could get away from God, he certainly had arrived. Jonah possibly felt he was hidden so that not even God can find him. You and I may well think that our lives, our decisions, our conversations, and even our place in life are out of the sight of God. However, never forget that God even knows the number of hair on your head.
IN the final analysis God knew where Jonah was. He had watched every painful step Jonah took yet He NEVER took any action UNTIL Jonah called out to God in prayer.
Whatever is going on in your life remember God knows, even if you are running, and He loves you enough to respond. But He is waiting for you will to ask Him.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Men

"It was the best of times, It was the worst of times," and with those two phrases Charles Dickens begins his classic and well-read work "A Tale of Two Cities."  In this lengthy read one discovers love, hate, sacrifice, tragedy, and much more.  In an oversimplified analysis the warning goes to London, England to be wary of the American Revolution because it could treat them like the French Revolution did Paris, France.  

There is much to be learned anytime someone takes the time to compare 2 types of anything (I.E. cities, countries, cultures, empires, and even people).  The investigator will learn what "to do" and, more importantly, what "not to do."

The Apostle Paul identifies the two most influential people to ever walk the face of the earth.  In 1 Corinthians 15 he calls them the "First Adam" and the "Last Adam".  The question is this; what did these men leave on earth as their legacy.  Still tracking Paul's writings, in Romans 5 we discover the legacy of each man.

The first Adam was literally born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  Created by the very hand of God, given life by the very breath of God, given a perfect wife from God, a cushy job to TEND (not work) the garden, and then he got to "hob-knob" with God (He walked with God in the cool of the day).  Think about it, perfect man, perfect world, perfect woman, perfect job, and perfect relationship with his creator.  Now for the punch line; there was only one rule!!  (My teenagers would have LOVED that!!)  In spite of all he had going for him, Adam suffered a "manhood problem."  

Into this perfect life there slipped in an unexpected, unwanted, and unsavory guest.  Old Satan was disguised as a friend and/or an inhabitant of this perfect world.  While Adam's wife (later called Eve) was deceived, Adam knew better.  When Eve needed Adam to be the man God intended, He bailed out.  He became passive, irresponsible, and lacking courage.  Instead of exhibiting leadership and taking a stand against that which he clearly knew was wrong, he simply stood, watched, and went along (to get along).   The result? 
Sin Invaded the World.  And the assault continues today.  
Sin is very Important as it brought it's child to live here.  What is the name of sin's offspring? Death.  Adam died socially, spiritually, and began to die physically the moment he disobeyed.
Sin is an Infectious disease and has now spread to all of mankind.  

This is the legacy of the First Adam.

1 Corinthians 15 tells us there is a vast difference between the First and Last Adams.  The First was a Sinner, the Last was a Savior.  The First was of earth, the Last was of Heaven.  The First BECAME a LIVING BEING, the Last BECAME A LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT.  

Jesus, the Last Adam, was our gift from the Father given to us to save us from our sins.  He brought and extended grace.  Romans 5 speaks of grace in at least 5 different dimensions.  He speaks about the grace of God, the Grace of Jesus Christ, the Overflow of Grace, Grace Multiplied, and ends with the ETERNAL REIGN OF GRACE!!

For the person outside of Christ, sin reigns; for the person who knows Christ, grace reigns.  

The first Adam is the "Man of Sin"; The last Adam is the "Man of Salvation", so the question becomes "which man are you following?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

FIREPROOF! Sherwood Pictures did it again!

Throughout my years I have been marginally involved in media production (I.E. Video, Television , Radio jingles, etc) and have always believed that this medium of communication has been largely overlooked as a means of sharing the gospel. Now I do remember some 30 years ago the FILM ministry which was available. While good film were made and used by some churches, reaching outside of the church and on to the "BIG SCREEN" was rarely, if ever achieved.

It is exciting to see God do a work which can only be ascribed to Him. Sherwood Baptist Church and Sherwood Pictures have indeed made a mark on this nation for Christ. Alex and Stephen Kendrick have allowed God to develop the talent for writing GREAT SCRIPTS and producing GREAT FILMS.

Candidly, while I love the story-line in "Facing the Giants" and know the far-reaching impact of this movie, the story-line in their first project (lesser known) is perhaps as strong, if not stronger, than Giants. "Flywheel" tells a story which needs to be told. For anyone who has not purchased and viewed this movie, my recommendation is to do so TODAY!! HOWEVER, as they say, "THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!"

A couple of days ago I was invited to a premier of the newest project out of the heart of the Kendricks and this great church in Albany, GA. FIREPROOF will open in between 700-800 theatres across this nation on SEPTEMBER 26. It is time for God redeemed people to come shoulder to shoulder and PACK OUT theatres houses! This movie speaks to the number one problem in America today, that is, the disintegrating home. Within this storyline viewers will witness a troubled marriage, angry mates, temptation, honesty, integrity, relationship of parents to grown children, the importance of good friends, and much more.

This is a clarion, Macedonian-style, and emphatic call to EVERY PASTOR, LEADER, TEACHER, DEACON, and BELIEVER; FIREPROOF can and will change lives!!! But it can do this, ONLY if there is grass roots support among God's people to fill every house where it is shown. The first weekend it opens means EVERYTHING to it continuation.

Please check this out, you'll be glad you did; http://www.fireproofthemovie.com/

Friday, May 16, 2008

Of the Judges, for the Judges, and BY THE JUDGES

Today I am troubled. Troubled by a country and culture which is seemingly attempting to rewrite history and thus plunge this nation into a free fall from which she may never recover. It is sad to say that our nation does not seem to possess the "deep-thinking-intellectual" men as we did in the early days of this great country. Anyone who has taken the time to read our foundational documents (I.E. the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, etc) find it amazing that our founding Fathers said so much and used so few words. It is increasingly interesting to note that the "interpretations of these documents in our day" given by OUR deep-thinkers(?) are almost always diametrically opposed to the interpretation given by the very men who penned these documents. We saw this happen again yesterday in California when their Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, overturned not just the law but, THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. It was as recent as 2000 that Proposition 22 was passed (in Calfornia) by over 60% of the voters. Read the simple text of Proposition 22 :

“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
The only metropolitan area which voted against 22 was, you guessed it, San Francisco. Here's the big rub; "The seven men on the Supreme Court over-ruled the will of the people." Inasmuch as history tells us that "as California goes, so the rest of the nation will follow", this ruling might well put our great nation on a course which parallels the last days of the Roman Empire.

At the risk of being a bore, let me remind us of several historically documented truths;

We find in The Declaration of Independence the concept of "the consent of the governed" and that when any "form of the government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the PEOPLE to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Governement." Reading this makes me wonder why legal and learned people have not taken action with respect to the Judicial misconduct being witnessed today. The duties of the Judiciary are to interpret and uphold the law, NOT ESTABLISH LAW, that is the responsibility of the Legislative branch of government.

If the Declaration of Independence does not serve a strong enough motivation to see the error of the courts, then perhaps a reminder of the 10th Amendment (still in the Bill of Rights) might do the trick. Now remember, the framers of the Constitution ranged in age from the mid 20's to the early 80's. We have all ages of men who worked out the verbiage and yet managed to keep it simple. Here is the simple, overlooked, and I believe misinterpreted, wording of this amendment;
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In legal terms it appears we see this as the POWERS OF THE STATES (or to the people). However, with the attitude surrounding the rest of the document, it is my sincere belief that if 24 year old Charles Pinckney or 82 year old Ben Franklin (the seemingly youngest and oldest of the writers) were alive today, they would reverse the emphasis on the 10th commandment. Based on an honest assessment of the "original intent" the USA is to be a nation "of the people, by the people, and for the people." It truly seems that we have made our land a nation "of the courts, for the courts, and by the courts" and for some reason, our leaders refused to hold our Justices accountable for "legislating from the bench."

Having scanned the 172-page decision, several things are obvious to me. First, with almost every written decision of any court at any level we see the simpliest of circumstances, situations, and even the core elements of our society being masked under hundreds of pages of useless provisions, language, expressions, and terminology, designed to confused the average person. (My personal opinion about this is; this is done to make us need attorneys - but that discussion will have to wait). Next, the written decision is trying to find a way to legitimize a behavoir which the majority of voters have labeled illegitimate. Next, they try to cloud this moral issue with other issues which are more "civil" than "moral" in nature. Finally, it seems that the 4 Justices (get this 4 people) who, by admission of the written opinion, are changing years of legal understanding, more than one "vote" of the people, and numerous legislative action, are simply attempting to make a name for themselves.

Presently I am reading an interesting book by Gordon McDonald entitled, "Who Stole My Church?" Right now I'm asking, "Who stole my nation?!?!" These are truly sad times.

My prayer for our nation is that the good and godly men who have access to our system of juris prudence will become proactive in the righting of our Court system. If not, the future of this nation is dim.

Admittedly I have a belief deeply grounded in the teachings of our Lord, that "homosexuality" is a sin, a perversion, and an abomination before God. (without question, this was the belief of our founding fathers even though revisionist historians now recant this truth) An honest study of history will reveal that every society who has "embraced" this ungodly lifestyle eroded from within. This death is not quick, is not painless, but it is inevitable.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Who Am I?

The late Rusty Goodman penned the words to my mother's favorite gospel song. It is entitled "Who Am I?" The chorus to this song shows great introspection and self evaluation when it says:

Who am I that a King would bleed and die for?
Who am I that He would pray, "not my will, Thine Lord."
The answer I may never know, why He ever loved me so,
That to an old rugged cross He'd go, for "Who Am I?"

Candidly, it seems that this attitude is lost on most today. From the pulpit to the pew to the playgrounds in America, the prevailing attitude seems to be that we do God a "favor" by giving Him a few hours on Sunday morning. If we are a cut above, He can have a little more time on Sunday evening. If we are SUPER Christian, we'll participate on Wednesday services or Tuesday outreach. The bottom line is that by our actions, many times it appears that whatever we choose to give, He should gladly take and be thankful.

In His book "The Knowledge of the Holy", A. W. Tozer begins the first chapter with these words, "what comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing to us." What a statement!! Think about this for a moment at a new level; Whatever my concept is of God, whatever picture I draw, whatever image my mind conjured up when I think about God EXPOSES my concept of God.

Truthfully, we all tend to make God in OUR IMAGE as opposed to remembering that HE made us in HIS likeness. Consider today who He is, what He asks, what He expects, what He is worthy of, and then be renewed about His greatness, goodness, supremacy, and vastness; and you (like me) will become so overwhelmed that we will indeed respond differently to Him...and our question will be, "Who Am I?"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Following God

As a believer in Jesus, the goal of life is to "know and follow God through the Lord Jesus" and yet, what does that mean? The truth is that everyone seems to have their own version of what this means.

For some, it means to live good, treat others good, take care of your family, be kind to nature, and generally be a good ole boy (or girl).

To others, it means to add "love" into the equasion. The confusing thing about this (at least for me) is that "love" is either undefinable or is subject to much debate. Suffice to say that most who believe following God constitutes being "good" and having a "loving" spirit would add that this type of love is just a "live and let live" or "go along to get along" or even "peace at any cost" type of thing. This is a pretty interesting concept.

The reason this concept is so interesting is because it is totally opposite of the life and lifestyle of the one who followed God more closely than anyone else ever has or ever will. Jesus of Nazareth knew God intimately, followed God's will sacificially, and loved completely, yet His example is far different than anything we seem to promote today.

Jesus was indeed always loving but He had and held to a set of standards. In fact, not only did Jesus keep the standards God laid forth in the Ten Commandments, but He "raised the bar" to a new level. For instance, in the Ten Commandments God writes, "Do not commit murder." Jesus said, "If you hate your brother, you have commited murder." In the Ten Commandments God says, "Do not commit adultery," only to have Jesus follow with "If you look at a woman to lust after her, you have committed adultery in your heart."

All of this being said, the concept of following God is not left to our imagination, our concepts, or our guesswork. God has given us His word, His plan, and His method of following Him. What kind of God would make His creation "guess" at how to know HIM? The Bible is God's Inspired truth to us. It reveals life. It reveals a plan. And it reveals a purpose for each of us. Following God is made much more simple when we "read the instructions."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Roy Morgan

His name was Roy Morgan. For over 60 years he has been a "preacher." He was a spiritual giant with a heart about the size of Texas. I've only known him and Miss Jean for a little over 2 years, but have loved every minute that I have spent with them.

Bro. Roy was a man of "dry-wit" and an incurable desire to preach the word. It's official, he retired from the active pastorate 3 times!! During the past 2 years he has been a member of Hueytown Baptist and has spoken for me on several occasions. Each time our congregation was blessed by the wonderful wit, the deep spiritual truths, and sincerity of character with which he communicated.

Last night, God called him home. The Bible says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints." Certainly this time God has called home a true saint.

Years ago I wrote a song for which the words are the chorus are appropriate today;

When I walked through the gates,
He was waiting for me,
The sweet son of God,
Lamb of Calvary.
When He opened His arms to bid me welcome,
His nail-scarred hands were all I could see.
When I walked through the gates
He was waiting for me.

I know the Lord Jesus welcomed Roy home and with a smile said, "Well Done."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Moses Is Dead

My great memory of Charleton Heston is seeing him "part the Red Sea!" As a child, I remember how awesome it was when he raised his hand, God's rod, and that powerful voice to say something like, "See the Mighty Hand of God." (What followed was and is a great tribute to a great God.) During his lifetime, Mr. Heston portrayed several Biblical characters and it always seemed that he did it in a very authentic way. As we all know, this past week at 84 years of age, he passed from this life into eternity.

Reading the article of his passing - saddens me as I considered the passing of something more important than an actor. It seems to me that as this generation passes from the scene so have many of the moral and principles which were the foundation of our culture. Mr. Heston and his wife were married 50+ years at his death. (How long has it been since this has been the norm instead of the exception?) It is a sad note which reminds us that a few years ago a well-known actress stated on a talk show that she believed any marriage was successful if it lasted 3 years. Ouch. How times have changed.

Here's my point for the day. The Biblical character Moses came down the mountain withthe 2 tablets in his hand which contained the law of God. The screen version of Moses (Charleton Heston) did the same. Those Ten Commandments have served as the centerpiece for every legal code which has been penned and today in our "enlightenment" we have chosen to discard that which has guided us for so long. As I have said before, it is more than a little interesting to note that this decalog is engraved above the head of the Supreme Court Justice's chair who presides over a "Court of Judges" who have decreed that no "other" government agency could display this important set of principles.

Seems to me that more than Moses have now died. Maybe we should have a day of mourning for Mr. Heston because of his keeping the truth alive on the big screen. But perhaps it is fitting that we have a day of prayer, mourning, fasting, and repentance about the neglect of the Ten Commandments.

Monday, April 07, 2008

What's Next?!?!

If you are over 45 years old, you (like I) may have difficulty believing what is happening in this country. For the better part of 200 years in the good ole USA we had a commonality of belief about the guidelines for a healthy culture. Candidly, not everyone was a fully-committed and developing follower of Christ, but society enjoyed some basic tenants of belief which guided public policy with respect to ethics and morals.

About 45 years ago it began to change, and change it did! When my children were growing up they used to sing a song entitled, "Living Life Upside Down." At the risk of sounding like an OLD FUDDY-DUDDY that song epitomizes the culture of our day. Consider this; THAT which was, for thousands of years, considered evil, today is not only acceptable but expected. In fact, if you talk to the right people, this aberant behavior is not just expected and accepted but it is unavoidable!! Wow! How far we have fallen.

Honestly, I thought we had experienced the apex when the "FORD MOTOR COMPANY" chose to financially support the "Homosexual Agenda" to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. After many months of declared boycott by the American Family Association which paralleled months of decline in sales, I am glad to say that Ford (America's Auto) has changed their policy in this regard and has now stepped back from their strong support for this agenda. The word is YEAH!! We have come a step closer to protecting our children, right? WRONG!! Just when you think it cannot get any worse, IT DOES!! Okay, here it is; Exit the money from the Ford Motor Company and;

Enter the money and influence from the fast food giant of the world, McDonalds!! It will serve each of us well to see the amount of money and influence they are giving to this same Homosexual agenda. Not only is it surprising, but it is sad.

Back to thinking about the USA of days past; there was a time in this country when we knew it was our divine assignment to protect those who were unable to protect themselves. I hope you will do your homework on this issue, write a nice but very firm email to McDonalds, and let's work together to protect our kids. IF we don't get this movment halted, wonder what will be next?!?!?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Where are we (the USA) headed?

When one considers the heritage of this country, the present day culture is almost amazing. Just meander through the historical monuments in Washington, D.C., pay attention to the engravings of our forefathers, and the obvious conclusion is that the founding fathers of this nation had a deep faith in God and deep trust in the Bible. For instance, above the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court hangs an indelible engraving of the Ten Commandments. This is only one of many illustrations of the desire from those deep thinking writers of our national documents to keep God's word center stage in this nation.

So how is it that we now live in a society which believes in tolerance for everyone and everything except God and the Bible. In the early days of America the Bible was THE text book for the teaching of reading to young students in public school. Today that same Bible is not really allowed on the school grounds let alone in the classroom. Just exactly how did this happen? Who was it that decided "love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself" would warp the personality of children? Who made the determination that pornography and homosexuality are rights guarenteed by U.S. constitution? And now, a judge tells moms and dads in California that they are not fit to educate their own children? Just exactly what is happening?

Add to this the fact that we are facing a Presidential election in November without a candidate which represents the rank and file people in this country. This election is somewhat frightening. Without a miracle we may wind up with a President who either will not or cannot defend our nation and/or has little regard for human life. It seems like we are going the same way of every "Empire" before us. History tells us that these were not defeated by an external power but rather they decayed from within.

This year, like none other, the words of Alexis De Tocqueville a famous French statesman who traveled to America in the 1830’s to discover the REASONS for the success of this new nation, conceived in liberty, ring in my ears. Here are the words which stick in my mind;

"I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom. The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other. Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts-the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims."

My hope is that we can learn from these famous words of this French visitor of days gone by. And my prayer is that we will then heed these words and change the direction of this great nation.

"There is a way which seems right to man, but the end is destruction."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Making it through

Years ago I heard a preacher pontificate; "every person in this room is in one of 3 places. They are either in the middle of a storm, coming out of a storm, or about to enter a storm." At the time I didn't really believe my ears, however, a few more years of life convinces me that this axiom is absolutely true!

However, most of us have unrealistic expectations about life. We actually expect things to go smoothly and are surprised when "the train jumps the tracks." If you and I honestly review our lives, we are required to admit that trouble surrounds us. So how do we make it through?

Jesus' half-brother, James, gives us a clue. In the book which bears his name, the scripture records, "count it pure joy when you fall into various trials and testings." Two things are noteworthy from this verse. First, it is not "IF" but "WHEN" we get in a storm. Next, we need be view the reason for this struggle with joy. Why is this? Because the next verse says, "it will help us grow and mature". Understanding this principle from Holy Scripture can help change our outlook on life's circumstances. Amen.

Friday, March 21, 2008

EASTER!

Of all the days that should be days of rejoicing, praising, and even worshipping, it should be Easter! Much more than bunnies, candy, eggs, etc, this day is about our Lord Jesus. It was this day that He made a way for our redemption and justification!

Redemption & Justification-- hmm - now there's two big words, whatever do they mean and better yet, are they just religious words or do they apply to "me?" Well yes, they both possess a tremendous application to us all.
Redemption, by definition, means several things. Here are a couple;
1) It means to "buy back." This meaning should remind us that God designed each one of us to have a close, intimate, and personal relationship with Him. We are His by creation. However, when sin came into the world through Adam in the Garden, we lost this relationship. You see, God is a good love, but He is also a God of purity and thus, cannot allow sin in His presence. Upon sinning, both Adam and Eve were barred from the Paradise which God had designed for them. Yet, right at that point God put into action a "buy back" plan. It was and is Jesus.
2) It means to "set free." Since the time of that original sin, all of mankind have been born captive to sin. This means our sin nature will indeed pull us down. It means that our fleshly desire cause us to consistently do things which are outside of God's perfect will. For the man who is outside of Christ, give him a choice and most of the time, he'll choose for himself, for instant gratification, and to sin. In Christ we are "set free" from this captivity. Jesus came to set the captives free.
Justification, by definition means;
to make us right. Think about this. Jesus was killed for our sins and HE was RAISED FROM the dead for our Justification. What a mighty God we serve.

In Jesus we have redemption through His blood because at the right time God sent Jesus to redeem us and the very reason Jesus came was redemption.

Death to life, captive to free, wrong to right, it is all bound up in this wonderful time of year, Easter Time! Let us not let this day pass without thanking God for His perfect gift of Jesus.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Will the Real President Please Stand Up!

We are early in this election year and already I'd like it to be OVER. Years ago, there was a movie in which a candidate withdrew from the election and suggested that the majority vote for "none of the above!!" Man to have that option!! Yet, to vote for none of the above means two things; 1) It means you vote with the majority. To abstain from voting in protest is tantamount to giving the majority your vote. 2) It means to not vote. With respect to one candidate, a vote of "present" is not an acceptable position. It means you're sticking your finger in the air to see which way the wind of politics is blowing and then your cast you sails to go with that wind. It means you're sitting on the fence---all you get from riding the fence is splinters.

Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in time we can make a difference if we don't give up. To not vote is to give up. Let us remember that our system of "democracy" as a republic is built on the fact that everyone has a voice, and that voice is his or her vote. No where in the system is it written or explained that "You are supposed to VOTE for the winner," but rather it is highly communicated that "You are to VOTE your CONSCIENCE" and then, accept the majority's decision.

What I would like is to have a "Statesman" to run. A true "Statesmen" is one who puts the office, the welfare of the country, and the greater good ahead of any political gain. In the absence of a true statesment, we are called to make a decision among a group of candidates--none of which are the best choice. May God give us wisdom to do so.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Really Don't Understand

In many ways, I feel like one of the most blessed and fortunate men to ever live. No, life has not always given me all that "I" wanted, but it has certainly given me more than I deserved!!

Back in 1994 I moved to Biloxi, MS, as pastor of the Bay Vista Baptist Church. Spending 6 years with that wonderful congregation and being able to stay in that "area" for another 5 years had and has its little perks. For instance, the friends established on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are friendships which will last a lifetime. Some of the best people I know live down there.

Being the golfer that I 'try to be' and loving golf as I do, Billy and Sheryl Applewhite (both golf professionals) became like family to us. We spent time in their home, they spent time in ours, we played golf together, fished together, and we even lived in their 'house' for a year! Needless to say, this is a relationship which we value greatly.

Along our journey, Billy and Sheryl have introduced us to some tremendous families. One of these families was Lowery and Kandi Anderson. In 1995, Lowery came to Bay Vista on a Sunday morning to sing for us. And SING he did. We were truly blessed by His ministry. Although the Anderson's were not in vocational ministry, it was obvious that God had a special place of service for both Lowery and Kandi.

Since that first meeting in 1995, I have counted it an honor to call this family friends. It has been a joy to have watched with Spiritual Excitement as Kandi has become involved in Christian Radio and as a Women's Speaker. Something which she continues until today.

Lowery (been trying to figure out how to spell his nickname. It's pronounced "loud" without the "d". Yet, "Lou" is not right nor is "Low" right...so, here Lowery is, once again, being unique - GRIN - way to go, Lowery) as I was saying, Lowery's story is one of personal, professional, and spiritual growth beyond what most of us can even imagine. Although he did "have a ministry", it did not become vocational in nature until he became worship leader at a really good church on the coast, Michael Memorial Baptist.

However, Lowery was so multi-talented and multi-gifted that one could sense his being a worship leader was only a temporary stop in his life. In fact, God had placed a calling on Lowery to preach, and preach He did. It was in 2003 that he was called to his first pastorate, Bel-Aire Baptist in Gulfport was the place of his calling. At that time, this church was a fairly small congregation averaging about 115 in Sunday School and 350 in worship. Compare that to this; In 2007 the church averaged over 235 in SS and over 600 in worship. During these years, they baptized over 150 people and had over 450 people to unite with the church. What a legacy!

This morning I learned that God called Lowery home. Although distance has separated us for several years, had we been reunited, the relationship would have picked up right where it left off, that was Lowery. From what I understand, what started out as symptoms of pneumonia or flu was discovered to be terminal cancer. Not only was it terminal, but it was quick.

Lowery's response? "I'm in a win-win situation. I stay here with my wonderful wife and kids, lead my wonderful church family, and serve my Lord here - or - God takes me to heaven. I win either way." While I do understand the attitude given to Lowery through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, I don't guess I totally understand this situation at all.

Yes make no mistake, I believe in the sovereignty of God, trust the truth of Romans 8:28, and know that God's timing is always right. It just that, when a 56 year old man, who has been healthy as a horse and strong as an ox for all these years, leaves us so quickly, I find myself wishing God would give me a little more insight into what "HE'S" up to. He a good God and can be totally trusted, I guess I simply wish HE would trust ME, with a little more info.

For my part, I offer my love and prayers to Kandi, the family, and the friends (who number in the thousands). Plus, I rely on God's word for comfort and understanding, "Now we see in a glass darkly, then face to face. Now, we know in part---then, we will know as we are known." Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly. Shalom.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Remember, Repent, and Return

One of the great part of being a Pastor is seeing God changing people's lives. There are those who come to faith in Christ and their lives are transformed by the power of Christ. These changes are those which make the angels in heaven rejoice. (In human terms, that would mean "throw a party"). We are designed to have a personal relationship with God. When we come to Christ through faith we find forgiveness, new life, and this personal relationship with God. According to His word, the ONLY way to have a personal relationship with God is in Jesus Christ.

These days my heart has been blessed by the repentance, confession, and renewal of some who have known the Lord for a long time. They have, for one reason or another (most of the time "accidentially"), allowed their relationship with the Father to grow cold & stale AND NOW, they have heard God's voice and responded to His call.

Honestly, all of us who know the Lord have been right there! Today, it is not about how cold our hearts have been, but about the call of Christ to remember, repent, and return. This is the call given in Revelation 2 to the Church in Ephesus and it is the call which resounds today.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Just wondering

Recently I sent out one of those blanket emails which I happened to think was "right on" (actually, delete most of them). This one was about the 10 Commandments' place in the history of the USA and gave information relative to some of our founding fathers and their attitude towards God, the Bible, Christianity, and even religion in government. Candidly, I carefully selected (or at least I thought I did) my receivers from my list of "friends" and sent it out with a reference to one of our "Presidential Candidates". You guessed it, less than 6 hours later I had a blistering response from one of my "friends". This "friend" was all over me for such propaganda and went on to literally denegrate the philosphies and impact of those leaders who established this great nation. So I sit and I wonder.......

Can a person be "Christian" politician and consistently vote for the murder of babies? Or to give "Civil-Rights" special status to people who live in the sin of homosexuality? Can a person serve as a "Commander in Chief" of a nation which he refuses to repect, salute, or even acknowledge the Flag?

I'm not saying YES nor NO...I'm just wondering....We all BETTER wonder because November is coming!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Hueytown Community Revival Meeting

Most of us remember (in years past) of attending "Community Revival Meetings." In fact, we even had a name for those meetings. We called them "Crusades." The preachers who were invited were always well-known. Billy Graham, James Robison, and E. J. Daniels are but three from a long list of "Mass Evangelists." Many times these events were held in "Football Stadiums" and people came from miles around to attend this event. (Personally, I remember my church group driving over 3 hours to hear Billy Graham). The super part of these meetings (this picture which is still etched in my mind) is hundreds of people making decisions for the Lord.

Sadly, today those meeting are viewed as a "relic" of days past. Yet, in good ole Hueytown, Alabama, last week we saw (what I believe) to be the beginning of a renewal of this revival effort. Many of the congregations in and around this community came together for a meeting such as this. Admittedly, there were several differences from those in days past.

First, this meeting was NOT held at a "ballfield or some other neutral" location, but at Pleasant Ridge Baptist church. Cudos to Bro. Rick Patrick and the entire congregation of PRBC for being such outstanding hosts. Next, we didn't just have one GREAT preacher, but five. Next, we did see many people make decisions for Christ (AMEN!!)...Next, there was a great spirit exhibited by everyone in attendance, the music was good, and the fellowship was outstanding.

Finally (and possibly most excitedly) the local pastors will gather the week after Easter to evaluate and plan for the next one. In a day when many say "believers do little but fight", it is my prayer that this effort will grow into something very special that together we will work to build the Kingdom by changing people's lives for both time and eternity.

Amen!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Choices

Many years Christian Singer Luke Garrett sang these words, "Some say life is just a series of decisions. We make choices, we live and learn." Others reminds us that our life is a sum total of the choices we make. Literally, we make dozens of decisions or choices every day and with each choice we make a direction, a path, and a course is charted.

Additionally, each decision invokes its own consequence. The truth of this is found in the Biblical laws of sowing and reaping. You know those laws, there are three of them. First, you reap exactly what you sow. Next, you reap later than you sow. Finally, you reap more than you sow. The seed we sow in this life is directly impacted by our decision or choices.

Sadly, we spend most of our time focusing on things which have little significant and little meaning. Yes, these things "SEEM" to be important at the time, but candidly those things which are seemingly "SO IMPORTANT" noone will even remember in 6 months.

We are faced with a huge choice today. This choice is "what will I do with the Lord?" Will I simply give Him my Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and maybe even Wednesday evenings? Or will I develop a personal relationship with Him?

As I have said many times, though I don't understand it---Jesus literally died to have a relationship with me and now He's left it in MY Hands. I have a choice in the matter, it is my decision to make. (Now, everywhere you just read "I", "ME", and "MY" can be substituted with your name. My prayer is that we will make the right decision.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Unity and Harmony

Since announcing that I am blogging every Monday and Thursday, it seems that world makes a valliant attempt to "fall apart" on these days. While I am not making the grade by being unquestionably consistent in my postings, at least I am becoming more frequent in my posts. I hope they offer some word which enlightens or encourages.

Recently there was a meeting of "a New Baptist Covenant (NBC)" in GA which boasted some very "high profile" leaders. Among the more recognizable names were two former US Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. In President Carter's address he called for "unity around the gospel." This has proved very interesting for me because it seems that any true unity must have ONE GOSPEL at its center. With all due respect, it would seem that the message of the Bible is very much dissimilar from the gospel of President Carter.

I am sorry to say this meeting of the NBC is made up of people who have already left the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The SBC is a cooperative group of believers who are identified by their conservative belief on the Bible. To state it simply, "the SBC believes the book." If the Bible says, "homosexuality is sin" we believe it. If the Bible says, "A deacon must be the husband of one wife," we believe it. If the Bible says, "Life begins at conception," we believe it.

Some may ask "why can't you make exceptions in the non-crucial issues" and the answer is found in a simple question. "Here it is, "Once we start changing one word of God's book, where do we stop?" And the answer is, "we would never stop." Either we believe it's God's word or we believe it's not God's word. If it IS His word, then it is holds all the secrets, principle, and needs for life. If it is not His word, then it needs to be completely discarded.

For me and my house - we choose His word. My hope and prayer is this; before anyone dismisses the Bible as the "ramblings of many men of days past" they will investigate the truth found in the history of the Bible. Everyone who has made this investigative journey in an honest and open-minded way, has walked away with an awareness that the Bible is God's and was written by the God of the Bible.

If we desire unity, harmony, and peace, we must unite around the TRUTH that has never and will never change. Our task is not to change it to fit our culture but rather to change our culture to fit it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Really Disappointed with an Influential Leader

Admittedly, the politics of this presidential campaign added to what might be called a "lack of real options" is disheartening. From the top 4 candidates who are battling for the 2 nominations, it appears that those who have a passion to see this country restored to her former glory have been all but left out. Candidly at this point of the process, I have no clue who will get my vote. Lookinig down the list of candidates, each one of them seems (at least to me) to have serious flaws in their philosophy and direction. In other words, "their views do not fairly and accurately represent my views."

While this may sound a little narcisistic, the truth is this; everytime we cast a vote we attempt to elect someone who represents our way of thinking. THIS IS, after all, the American way. Those in Washington are merely a "representative" of us in the "heartland." Let us keep this thought in mind this year.

Now, for my disappointment. One of the people I have come to highly respect, admire, and truly appreciate has now, I believe, initially sent out the wrong message to his literal thousands of watchers (followers). For me it was both saddening and disappointing to read that Dr. James Dobson made the announcement that if a particular candidate became the Republican nominee, he would probably NOT VOTE. Maybe I agree with Dr. Dobson about this candidate (we certainly agree on most of the others) but for him (and his followers) to refuse to participate in this American process is to abandon the very country which he has for so long, attempted to restore. Even if we don't have our first, second, or third choice, on the ballot, to totally by-pass voting is out of step with what the Bible teaches us about being good citizens.

Years ago a close friend "informed" me that I "wasted my vote" because I chose to vote for an individual whom I knew would probably NOT win. I was astonished to say the least. When we reduce our participation in the election process to only "vote" for the winner, we have taken much away from the process. Voting for the winner should not be as important as voting one's conscience. BUT WHATEVER THE CASE, WE MUST VOTE!!

My prayer is that Dr. Dobson (and his multitude of followers) will NOT abandon the American process, but will participate, even if the prefered individual is not on the ballot. My prayer is that anyone who reads this blog would NOT abandon their personal responsibility and priviledge. My prayer is that we work our best to be assured that this great nation has the best of the leadership available. Candidly, whether I like it or not, when we step into a voting booth the only leadership which is available is on the ballot. All the rest have been, for one reason or another, been weeded out. Is our process perfect? NO! Does it sometimes seem unfair? Without a doubt. Does the best person always receive the nomination? (What a question!!) Absolutely NOT!! However, with all its warts, wrinkles, and blemishes, it is still OUR PROCESS. (Just a reminder; many countries would love to have this luxury) Let us mae the best decision possible. It will only happen when we stay engaged (even IF "OUR" candidate didn't make the final ballot), remain true citizens and believers (Romans 13), and do OUR BEST to make sure the WORSE doesn't come. BLESSINGS.

Monday, February 04, 2008

What this country really needs is................

One of the things that I have NEVER been is a political activist! In fact, you might think me "un-American" or something, but I don't do politics. When I think of politics and Christianity the joke which I enjoy with one of my friends who is a politician. (Sorry Mike) The joke goes like this; One day at lunch a man stood to speak to a civic group. He began, "I'm a Christian Politician." From the back of the room, he was interrupted by a gruff voice saying, "Make Up Your Mind!!" (yea, I'm grinning)

Make no mistake. To be a believer in the politcal area is (in this day of time) a decision to put your life on the line. Yet, being a Public Servant is exactly that. Over the years we have watched as one politician after another has fallen prey to the lure of "special interests". Honestly, the most "special" of these "interests" are "self", "number one", "me". Sadly, in the past 50 years many politicians come on the scene with great promise and then be snatched off the scene by one type of personal struggle or another.

Today I submit that what this country needs is fewer professional politicians and more "Statesmen"! It is worthy of note that the founders of this great country conceived a system of government whereby a man would represent his state or district for a few years and then return home, having fulfilled his "public service". It would seem that those deep thinking Fathers of Democracy never dreamed of "Public Service" being a career, and a lucrative one at that.

The Politician (at least it seems to me) is all about "winning the election". As we have witnessed in days past, most of the time it does not matter "what" you have to do to achieve the win, just as long as you "get the win". And once in office, it is almost as if, the politician has no opinion of his own. More than once have we heard the commentators speak of an elected official who seems to "stick his finger in the wind" and then goes the way of the latest poll.

The Statesmen, on the other hand, is one who can be counted on to cast his vote for the "greater good" instead of personal gain. He is one who not only looks "into" an issue, but does his best to look "through" the issue to discover what is best for our Nation, State, County, City, or even Community. My prayer, in this year of presidential election, that God will raise up some true statesmen. Candidly, the options we have are quite frightening.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Church Growth or Church Health

It was in the early 1970's when I first heard the "term" CHURCH GROWTH. Honestly, at that time I didn't know a movement even existed. But what I did know is this; everything I read about church growth makes sense (and today, in large measure, still does) because Jesus' words were about "an ongoing construction process" that for whatever reason He invited, insisted, and even expected us to be involved.

For years now there has been an evergrowing emphasis on "Church Growth." We have read books, heard tapes, been to conferences, and tried our best to catch the wave. While without any apology I have a biblical conviction that every local church should be alive and growing (both spiritually and numerically) perhaps we should re-examine our goals, aim, and yes, purpose. During the "State of the Church" address this year, I challenged us to focus on Church HEALTH as opposed to Church Growth, because a "HEALTHY" church will be a GROWING CHURCH. The object is health and the outcome is growth and not the other way around. This is eye-opening for me.

It will surprise many to know the place and the person who convinced me of this truth. Although it has taken over 18 months (I'm a slow learner) to get my hands around it. In May of 2006 I was priviledged to attend a conference at Saddleback Church in Southern California. There, I heard and met Dr. Rick Warren. Although the press has been unkind to Rick, without hesitation or reservation, he guided us to think about leading our churches to be "Spiritually Healthy" and trust God that the growth would come.

Candidly, after praying through this thought (for 18 months), I have come to 3 inescapable conclusions;

1) God desires every church to be spiritually healthy.
2) God desires every believer to be spiritually healthy.
3) The only way to have a healthy church is to be filled with healthy believers.

In publication today I have found at least 18 different lists of characteristics which would seemingly define a heatlhy church. A careful study of all these list shows that only 2 of these lists mention "prayer" by name. Another couple refer to things like "passionate spirituality" or "personal disciplines" or even "experientially focused on God" to point us to prayer. But it seems to me that we are truly confused as to what a "healthy church" would actually look like.

While we can take anyone of these 18 lists, apply them to a local church setting, and improve the condition of the church, I would argue that the results would not necessarily be a healthy church. As I understand God's word, it is unrealistic to believe that without addressing the personal lives of the individuals who make up a group called the church, it is possible to bring that body to a state of true health.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

Okay, maybe they are not so little, but certainly they are leading.

Last night (1/27/08), the students at HBC led a service in which they shared about their recent camp experience. For most of us in the church, we have heard these reports many times before. At times, these service get into a "contest" of who can be the funniest, who can say the "craziest" thing, or even a testimony to the food and "van ride."

However, last night seemed to have a deeper and more spiritual sense than in times before. This time we heard about relationships being forged, spiritual relationships. We heard about getting to know God on almost a "first name" basis. We heard about laying things down on the altar. We even heard one teenager being brutally honest and talked about her heart, or her feeling of not having one.

Of all the comments of the night, this moment of total transparency was used by God to speak to every person in the house. To think that a young person can share the most intimate part of her innermost being with a church family is almost beyond belief today. As a church family, we all felt helpless to "do" anything to ease her pain, but we did offer a prayer and ongoing support for spiritual and emotional healing.

For me, I left the service a little hurting and deeply encouraged. Talk about "mixed emotions", well, I had them. My heart was hurting because of the questions racing through my mind. "Why do students have to get away from the "church" in order to have an experience like this?" (While I do understand the spiritual principle of "retreat", it seems to me that the assembly should always be a retreat from the world.) "Why do the students come back and share such a soul stirring message about God changing their lives only to slip away in a couple of weeks?" "How can I assist our Students in Maintaining a "hot-heart" for God even here at home?"

The questions for me are seemingly endless. Yet, I am encouraged. Maybe because of this experience the student will find the strength to change the church. Maybe they will step forward and continue to move toward spiritual maturity and lead the church membership on that journey with them.

Seems to me, that once you have "tasted that the Lord is good", you never want to settle for second best. Lord, Make It So!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A NEW Start

Okay! One of the more popular commitment songs of the church is "I Surrender All"....Well today, I guess that I am surrendering. Until now, I have avoided the regular, routine, even the recurring, habit of blogging. However, I will stop dragging my feet and admit this is the "21st century way" of communication (for now)....Guess I will attempt to get on board this train before the NEXT TRAIN comes along.

Today is Thursday, January 24, 2008. Unless hindered in a big way, it will be my goal to post a blog on Monday and Thursday of every week. The goal will be to speak about current events, offer words of advice (that should be good), the culture, the church, and the life of a believer.

Although it is difficult to believe, this first blog in my new committment is a word of caution for all emailers and bloggers. There is much bad or bogus information on the cyber-superhighway which, I believe, is placed out there to make people look, shall we say, not so smart. A prime example is the bulk email which I receive at least 4 times every year about the well-known atheist "Madeline Murray O'Haire" being at it "again." In this email (as you well know) is an empassioned plea to write the FCC about something or other. (the last I received was an attack on the show "Touched by an Angel" which according to my information has not been in production since 2003) The problem with this email is that MS O'Haire is dead and her organization (at last check) was defunct. Yet the emails go on.

The most recent email I received (and I have received it no less than 6 times in the last month) was about the musing of Jay Leno relative to President Bush and this country. Candidly, from time to time I have watched Jay performed over the last 15 or so years and as long as he keeps his humor "clean" he is pretty funny. However, the statements credited to him in this email certainly didn't sound like him at all. Just my opinion, but I could hear Bob Hope giving these words like I remember him giving many words of patiotic support in years past.

In checking out this email, I found the true source of this writing. His name is Craig R Smith of the World Net Daily news. To read this column in the original form, click on his name. The original date is November 6, 2006.

After reading Mr. Smith's column, I challenge you to go to a google and search with these words "Leno blessed are we." Yes, I did this and literally, both laughed and cried at what I found.

Without writing so much that no one will ever read it all, it seems that all the links, which contain articles, blogs, comments, and other responses to Mr. Smith's column CONFIRM just how spoiled we are as Americans. We have much that we should be thankful for and yet, we continue to defend our right to be pampered and coddled.

Here is the payoff for me; All these words both affirm and confirm for me what the Bible teaches when it says, "the heart above all things is deceitful." In times like this I am reminded of how many times in scripture we are told to not be deceived, and particularly "self-deceived."

The answer for our struggles in this nation will only be found in the heart of the individual. According to the Bible (and my experience) all of mankind needs a heart transplant, one given by our Lord Christ.

I offer us two challenges; 1) Let's check out every tidbit of info BEFORE we pass it along, and 2) Let's make sure our heart bears of the marks of Christ, who, while standing firmly on the truth did so with a heart of love and compassion.

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