Drawing the Line

I’m a Christian.

But I’m also a daddy.

I don’t like it when my little girls cry.

If you want to find out how spiritual I am at any given moment, just make my little girls cry.

I may disappoint you.

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Filed under Christian Living, Life Lessons, Parenting

Scrutinizing the Meatball Story

Preface

The way this post came about is simple: it’s my daughter Haley’s birthday. How is that relevant? Well, there’s a classic Italian restaurant in our town called Provino’s where you can eat free on your birthday (with proof, of course).

provino's

Image Credit: Provino’s

Thinking of Italian food, my wife started in with an old, familiar children’s song, “On Top of Spaghetti.” It only took a couple of lines before Haley, little Miss Observant, started picking apart the whole meatball-getting-blown-off-with-a-sneeze thing.

I had to join in.

Observations

The following observations and questions submitted, had they been used shortly after the incident, would have proven early on that the whole meatball story was a fabrication – a lie.

It is our contention that “On Top of Spaghetti” has been used as a pattern by children seeking to fabricate their own explanations for why food disappears from the table and ends up either on the floor, eaten by the family pet, or outside under a bush.

Please accept the following for consideration:

1. Who sneezed? Who is this “somebody”? Were they ever held accountable for contaminating a person’s meal?

2. How old was the person eating spaghetti and meatballs? Does the song encourage young children to consume choking hazards? Should it be banned from pre-schools?

3. How hard does a person have to sneeze in order to blow a meatball off it’s cheese-covered perch? Even more, what nasal velocity would be required to dislodge a meatball from it’s settled location with enough force to cause it to roll off the table and onto the floor? The blast required from the sneezer must have been severely traumatic due to the air pressure that must have been required to remove a meatball from its resting place. Was any medical attention needed?

4. If the meatball in question was subjected to enough force to blow it from the table, onto the floor, out of the door, and out into the yard, wouldn’t the rest of the spaghetti have been disturbed? Why no mention of that?

5. The song describes the meatball rolling off the table, hitting the floor, then rolling out the door. It would seem that…

a) Since the meatball in question was admittedly covered with “sauce,” the sauce would have caused considerable resistance, thereby increasing the wind speed necessary to propel the meatball.

b) It is nearly impossible to imagine how a meatball being propelled by a blast of wind could have “rolled” and fallen to the floor, after which it is said to have continued to roll, without first becoming air-born.

6. Was the person eating spaghetti living in the United States? If so, was he/she living in a barn? Why was the front door open? Someone must have never heard about flies.

7. Before the meatball in question ended up under some kind of bush, it is said to first have rolled through some kind of garden. What kind of garden? Were there no other plants which could have impeded the meatball’s rolling progression? Again, what kind of propulsion would have been necessary for this to happen?

8. It is said that by the time the meatball came to rest under a shrubbery, it was “nothing but mush.” It would seem, then, that the collision with the bush must have cause the damage; “mush” does not roll.

9 . According to testimony, the “mush was so tasty, as tasty could be…” So, was the meatball disturbed after coming to rest? Was it tasted after rolling into the garden? Was it the meatball or accumulated fertilizer that was so tasty?

10. Lastly, it is said that the tasty, meaty projectile grew into a meatball tree (each meatball covered in sauce) in less than a year. This is questionable because,

a) Seeds never grow into fruit-producing trees in less than a year.

b) Sauce is a condiment, not integral with the meatball itself.

Conclusion

It is clear to my 14 year-old daughter and myself that the person who lost his/her “poor meatball” is attempting to cover up a crime. The explanation given for the missing meatball is too incredible to believe, and therefore must be the result of a spur-of-the-moment, child-like fanciful attempt to disguise the willful hurling of a meat product as an accident, thereby attempting to lay the blame on someone who sneezed.

Happy birthday, Haley! Keep thinking things through!

A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies. … The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. – Proverbs 14:5, 15

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Filed under Food, General Observations, Humor, Parenting, Relationships and Family, wisdom

Recalling Sunday Morning

Dark and early this morning I was feeling discouraged, a little down. I needed to vent a little, to share my feelings in a vulnerable sort of way. Some of you let me know you would be praying, and I appreciated it.

The service went well, the sermon was from the Lord, and I felt the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit as I preached.

Many times, when I am at my weakest, the temptation to feel defeated overwhelms me. What I have a hard time describing is the weighty burden of the task ahead, a task with eternal implications. No one can convince me that in my own strength I can effectively expound the living Word of God and connect with a multi-generational congregation. To do so is akin to feeding 5,000 with just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish.

That’s why I rely on Jesus.

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:21-23

 

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Filed under Faith, God, ministry, Preaching

Sunday Morning Dread

It is Sunday morning…early Sunday morning. It’s after 1 am in the morning and I am sitting here at my computer not wanting to go to sleep…not wanting to face tomorrow…the sooner I go to sleep, the sooner I must wake up.

Oh, you’ve got to be asking, “Anthony, I thought you were a pastor! Why don’t you want to face Sunday morning?”

Some of you…you know who you are…are reading this and thinking, “I can’t wait to tell somebody so they can tell somebody so they can tell his deacons, he-he-he.” I hope the Lord gives you an incurable case of the fleas.

Others know the struggles, the weariness, and the feelings of inadequacy a pastor endures. A few of you know what we’ve been going through, lately. A few of you understand it’s not about what we can do, but what God can do through us; therefore, encourage one another as you see the day approaching (Heb. 10:25).

But if I know that God will work through me, despite my weakness and frailty, why dread the morning? Why not look forward to the Lord’s day?

It’s because I’m human; I don’t want to fail. Many times the Spirit moves in ways we never see, but men want to see results, numbers, baptisms, etc.

Murmuring wearies me, too. Remember when Moses struck the rock?

But it’s not about me, is it? No, it is about the One who died for me, forgave me, called me, filled me, and wants to use this cracked, tarnished, chipped, and leaky vessel of clay to pour out a blessing unto His flock.

If the Christian did not sometime suffer heaviness he would begin to grow too proud, and think too much of himself, and become too great in his own esteem.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

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Filed under Do not judge, Faith, ministry, Preaching, self-worth

Standing Sure In a Crumbling World

World Events

Let’s get real for a moment, shall we? The world seems to be coming apart at the seams right now. Russia and Ukraine are fighting; Israel and Hamas are fighting; ISIS is trying to take over the world; airplanes are crashing or being blown out of the sky; new diseases are popping up everywhere; and more former Disney child stars are choosing to cry out, “I don’t want to be a role model!” while exposing their bare behinds.

Face it, the world is going to hell in a hand basket and Toto has already jumped.

But seriously, as bad as the world is, it’s not like we have Nero for a president. Oh, but wait! America isn’t the only country in the world, you know, and Christians are being killed as often today as they were in the first and second centuries (along with anyone who refuses to yell “Allah Akbar!” as he beheads his sister).

Life Goes On

But even as we look around at a world in turmoil, does that mean we must forget about living? Sure, the temptation might be to down a bottle of Prozac and curl up in a ball, all the while waiting for the first warhead to hit your town.

However, kingdoms rise and fall and nations come and go, yet children still need moms and dads, strangers still need a kind word, and the way we live is still important.

As a matter of fact, right before another group of people’s world was about to be turned upside down, Jesus Christ gave some timeless instruction on living from a hillside (The full text can be found in Matthew, chapters 5-7). His words still apply today. Below are a few excerpts:

 

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” 

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 

Jesus then concluded his sermon with the following encouragement…

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” – Matthew 7:24-25

Though the world might be falling apart, we don’t have to. 

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Filed under America, Christian Living, current events, the future

Forsake Foolishness, Or Else

A Lost Post

It has been a while since I last wrote a new post for ProverbialThought.com, but in the process of re-posting entries I found that Proverbs 9:6 had never been addressed! Not only was it not published on the blog, but it never made the book! (Click HERE to purchase) That’s terribly embarrassing, especially since all of the editing that has been done. How did we miss it?

Therefore, this is a web exclusive!

Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. – Proverbs 9:6

Forsaking

The first word in this verse is an imperative: forsake.  It’s not a word that suggests temporarily turning away, but abandonment. To forsake something is like saying “to heck with you,” turning on one’s heels, walking out the door, slamming it, going to the airport, buying a plane ticket, arriving at the destination, then burning one’s passport.

Why are simple words hard to understand?

Foolish

If you have been reading Proverbs at all, even the least bit, you should be aware of what foolishness is. Foolishness is man’s wisdom, not God’s. Foolishness is acting stupidly, even when you know there is a better way. Foolishness is rebellion, selfishness, seeking one’s own way, and never caring where the road leads, just as long as the trip is fun.

The “foolish” we’re commanded to forsake could be a combination of things. The “foolish” could be people, ideas, actions, philosophies, worldviews, attitudes, etc. There are foolish friends, foolish plans, foolish job opportunities, foolish desires, and foolish dreams – all of which lead down a bad road.

Forsake the foolish, and you might survive; don’t, and you’re in trouble.

The Way

The “way of understanding” can be interpreted as the “right” way, or even the way on which wisdom has already walked. It is the way in which people walk who walk in wisdom, seek wisdom, and love wisdom.

When we walk in the “way of understanding” we consider the consequences of each step and the direction we are going. The direction is a 180 away from foolishness.

Living

But why is it that so many are more likely to hold on to the “foolish” rather than travel in the way of understanding? Instead of walking out the door and leaving the old ways behind, why is it that so many are more apt to slam the door from the inside, lock it, and turn up the music? The reason is based on one’s understanding of “living.”

playstationOne beer company is famous for touting the “high life.” Another shows people partying away the night saying, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Everything from hotels to video game systems have encouraged consumers by promising, “This is living!”

Funny. Even kind of ironic, I must say. It’s hard to go down any path when you’ve locked yourself inside with computer game.

Timely?

Yes, this post is technically 2 years late. On the other hand, God knew exactly who would be writing it and what would be going on. As my daughter Katie looked over my shoulder and read the proverb about which I was to write, she said, “Well, that’s timely…”

This week we’ve dealt with foolishness, the foolish, and an unwillingness to forsake it. I have personally witnessed a close family member, blinded by a lack of wisdom, detail a specific plan for destruction. I’ve even faced down a foolish physical threat. Foolishness…simply foolishness.

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. – Proverbs 16:25

Forsake foolishness and live, or shut the door and die. The way is up to you.

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Filed under blogging, Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Life Lessons, wisdom

“But Some Doubted”

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. – Matthew 28:16-17

Have you ever doubted? Sometimes it’s the wise thing to do. 

Many people have placed faith in Jesus only to lose that faith later, like when they find out the Jesus they thought they knew was not who he claimed to be. Are you one of those?

Believe it or not, even some of the disciples of the real Jesus found themselves doubting when they saw Him face to face after His resurrection. In the book of Matthew we read that on one particular occasion, after meeting up with the disciples at a pre-determined location, most worshiped, but “some doubted.”

Wait! How is this possible?! Weren’t these the same guys who saw Jesus appear to them when they were hiding, afraid for their lives (Luke 24:36; John 20:19)? Even doubting Thomas finally believed (John 20:28), so who were the the ones doubting in Matthew 28? Could it have been one of them? Possibly, or maybe even one of those who may have tagged along.

Here’s what I think happened. The disciples were gathered together, Jesus miraculously appeared, and before He could speak the crowd began to worship Him. Some, however, were a little skeptical; they had seen things before, including fakes, charlatans, and impostors. Who was to say what they saw was really Jesus Himself?

What convinced the doubters, then? I believe it was when Jesus spoke.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. – Matthew 28:18-20 

It’s not like this was the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples, causing not only doubt, but also stark terror. Remember when He walked on the water?

And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. – Matthew 14:26

It took Jesus speaking to calm down the frightened boatmen…

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. – Matthew 14:27

Is it possible that some of the disciples present when Jesus met up with them on that mountain had a right to be skeptical? I mean, hey, wasn’t Jesus himself who earlier warned the disciples that “false Christs” and “false prophets” would arise, deceivers so convincing that, “if it were possible, they [would] deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22)?

Matthew doesn’t exactly say what happened to those who doubted, but I have my suspicions. I believe it was when Jesus spoke that their doubts disappeared. On the other hand, if they still doubted, maybe they were only there for the bagels and mountain air.

Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. - John 10:25-28

It was never Jesus’ plan to convince to the world of who He is by physically appearing to everyone. As a matter of fact, Jesus told Thomas, “because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

The Word made flesh (John 1:1) gave us His Word (the Bible). When in doubt, read and listen to His voice.

 

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Filed under Apologetics, Christian Maturity, cults, Faith, God, worship

Sexy Selfies

Dear, dear friends, subscribers, groupies, stalkers, and trolls… (by the way, I hate all the links that WordPress is randomly adding to the text!)

Today I read a blog post I just had to share. It dovetails so nicely with an older post of mine about “Prostitots.” 

By: Kristen Clark
Photo credit: www.flickr.com | Shandi Lee (as found on Girl Defined)

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com | Shandi Lee (as found on Girl Defined)

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, clothing, Culture Wars, General Observations, Guest Posts, Parenting

Holy Hip Hop!

I rhyme, but I don’t rap. Call it a cultural thing, a matter of taste, or whatever – you decide. But even though there are a few exceptions, I just don’t like rap “music.”

lecraeNow, I have heard a lot about Lecrea, but do I have to enjoy his art? No. My daughters like his stuff, but I can’t stand it. Sorry. A lot of people love Steve Martin’s comedy, but not everyone loves his banjo picking (which is incredible).

Nevertheless, it’s not as much about the style as it is the message and intent of the artist. The following video from RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) does a great job with this subject. A question about rap music in church is asked by someone during a Q&A at James Madison University. It’s worth watching.

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Still Awake

It’s 1:30 a.m., my wife is out of town, and this is how I feel.

“Still Awake”

The dog is asleep under his blanket

The crickets are playing their third song

The rhythmic ticking from the cheap kitchen clock

Keeps time as I muddle along

With my typing, spacing, deleting

Of words that seem right, then wrong

It’s late, but I’m doing my best to take stock

Of the reasons I’ve been awake so long.

It’s not so hard when I leave her at home

I guess I tend to focus on the task when I’m gone

But when she leaves I feel disconnectedphoto (28)

There are things to do, but I feel misdirected

I need her more than she needs me

I don’t want to go to bed, it’s hard to sleep

The hotel bed is not her spot

The bed at home is where she’s not

I don’t want to roll over and…well… fear

I just like it better when she’s here.

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Filed under General Observations, Relationships and Family