The Arrow Is Launched (My Daughter Is Going to College)

As a Parent

As a parent, it is very difficult to let my daughter go off to college.

Frankly, it feels like my heart is being ripped out, much like the first time my heart was broken by a girlfriend when she left me. It’s a painful feeling of loss, something that can never be cured, fixed, or done over.

Katie Baby Picture June 96Katie is my firstborn daughter. I was there at her birth…changed one of her first diapers…rushed her to the hospital when she was sick…threw a dog (Spot) across a room when he bit her…cried when she got injections…rejoiced when she accepted Christ…cheered her teams to victory and protested in defeat…cried again when I had to discipline her…listened with amazement at the first song she wrote…felt like a rock star when I played with her on stage…felt like an un-spiritual pagan when she spoke of her walk with God…bristled with anger when she got a boyfriend…and said, “That’s my girl” when she intimidated her own youth director at church.

Now, she’s grown up. There’s no more time. She’s leaving. My heart is breaking like never before. The pain is real.

As a Christian Parent

I once posted a comment on Facebook about my feelings. But the things people kept telling me had the same general theme: “She will be fine.”

IMG_3010Let me set the record straight. I KNOW she will be fine. I KNOW she will be OK. You don’t have to tell me that someone will be there at college to look after her, because I know darn well she can take care of herself! I am not worried in the least about her safety, her relationships, what she may or may not get into, or anything like that. She WILL be fine because she is prepared and God is with her. I am not going to worry. My problem is simply the fact that she is leaving.

But you know, that’s what children are supposed to do, right? They are supposed to leave, to get out of the nest, etc. What kind of parents would her mother and I be if we never prepared her to be a God-fearing adult? She was an arrow in my quiver, and now’s the time to let her fly.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. – Psalms 127:4-5 NKJV

As an Archer

Fellow parents, let me tell you exactly why I am not worried about my daughter, Katie. First, when she was just a baby, I dedicated her to the Lord. I covenanted with my wife to raise her in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” To the best of our ability, we have done just that.

Secondly, we have done with her as a warrior does with his arrows. We kept her safe and protected, just as the arrow is protected in the quiver. Just as the warrior makes sure the flights on his arrow are straight, we made sure she learned the Truth (John 14:6) so that she could navigate through the winds of life toward her specific target. Like the shaft of the arrow, we trained and molded her character. And like the all-important arrowhead, we made sure Katie was as sharp as possible, as effective as could be, to make her mark on whatever target was propped in front of her.

Katie with guitarNo, I am not worried; I am painfully proud. I have prepared a weapon for God’s glory, one that is now leaving the bow in flight toward her God-given goal. I have done all I can do, including aim her in the right direction. Now that she is on her way, I have complete confidence she will stay on course.

Train up a child in the way [she] should go: and when [she] is old, [she] will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Confront the “enemies in the gate,” Katie! Victory is yours!

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Homeschool, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Up-coming Posts

For several weeks my brain, or at least the part that initiates writing, has been numb. I have been wanting to sit down and write about things that interest, concern, or humor me, but life has had a Novocaine-kind of effect. All I’ve been able to do is look at my computer and then say as shake my head, “I’m too tired.”

There are, however, a couple of things about which I want to write, especially within the next couple of days. One has to do with my daughter going off to college. Another has to do with going to church on Sunday nights. On top of that, I am working on finishing another book I’ve been working on: a shorter, mostly humorous collection of thoughts from driving a school bus.

I did recently write about Robin Williams. I would like to share a few more thoughts regarding depression, suicide, etc.

By the way, just the other day a young lady – a teacher – came up to me and personally thanked me for the first volume of Proverbial Thought. She said it made a big impact on her life and drew her closer to God. Seriously, now THAT’S a compliment.

Please, friends, try to go to church somewhere this Sunday morning (if it’s not already Sunday morning where you are). And, if possible, go somewhere to church in the evening.

Until my brain gets a little more feeling back, may God be with you all!

Oh, and please pray for those being killed because of their faith, looted because of race, and sold because of their gender.

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Thoughts On the Death of Robin Williams

Mork

My earliest memories of Robin Williams are of him battling with Fonzi on “Happy Days.” Later, I always wanted to have some rainbow-colored suspenders (before rainbow-colored things took on a whole new meaning), just like Mork from Ork, the character Williams brought to life on the hit TV show “Mork and Mindy” (btw, I had a crush on Pam Dauber, too).

Mork, evidently, was the quick-thinking, ultra-intelligent alter ego of Robin Williams. It was difficult to tell whether or not Mork was Williams, or if Williams really was an alien from outer space. He was brilliant.

Loss

Losing Robin Williams was a kick in the gut. I mean, he has been part of our culture for over three decades, 30+ years! Even though some may righteously brush his death off as just another celebrity gone from the stage, he was a genuine human being with a truly God-given talent to make people laugh.

I have lost money before. Once I lost a $100 bill. Oh, I cried, but I never felt a piece of me get yanked out soul. Even though I lost that $100 bill, there were others like it in the world. Robin Williams, however, was exquisitely unique, a singular work of art formed by the Master. There will never be another like him.

Depression and Suicide

It seems that for years Robin Williams battle depression. For many, especially those who have never had to go to counseling, they think of this battle as insignificant. But I have been there, and believe me, I have the t-shirt. As a matter of fact that “demon” still bites at my heels from time to time.

Apparently, Robin Williams committed suicide. He has been called a “coward” by a few. But what’s most concerning for me is that some in the Christian community (of which I belong) have been all too quick to attribute Williams’ suicide to a Hollywood lifestyle, drugs and alcohol, or just a life of sin.

Here’s a shocker: even Christians can become depressed AND commit suicide.

There were two times in my life when I came close to suicide, the closest being when I was a teenager – I literally had the weapon in my mouth when my dad knocked on my bedroom door to see if I was OK (can you say “divine intervention”?).

Depression can come upon one unexpectedly, even when life seems perfectly fine and happy. Now, I ultimately believe that depression is a tool Satan uses, but I don’t believe it is simply a creation of his. The onset of depression can be the simple result of overworking, too much pressure, poor diet, or physical pain. Depression is NOT a Hollywood demon that attacks the godless.

And when it comes to suicide, all it takes is one getting to the point where he/she feels hopeless and out of control. It can even be the cry for attention from someone who only wants others to recognize his or her pain. I am not quoting a text book; I am speaking from experience.

The Answer

What is the answer? Is there any help for those suffering with depression or considering suicide? Of course! Frankly, one doesn’t necessarily require biblical counseling or direction founded in a Christian worldview to find help. However, I personally feel that when we look to the Bible we can find more than enough strength for the weak, more than enough comfort for the hurting.

Let me just stay that it is unfair to judge Robin Williams when we don’t know what was in his heart. All we can say at this point is that regardless of circumstances, there is always hope in Jesus Christ. Despite our self-evaluations, His sacrifice proves our immeasurable worth. Despite our earthly circumstances, the purpose and future He offers can fill us with hope and expectation. However, we don’t know, at this point, from what well Robin Williams drew his strength, his hope, and whether or not he ever drank of the Water of Life.

“At times I wondered how a perfect God could ever understand

The pain I feel when I know I’ve failed time and time again

I wondered how my Lord could know all the loneliness I feel

He never felt this painful shame, no wounds of sin to heal

But that was what the cross was for!

There, in love, He opened Heaven’s door.

His own Father had to turn His face from the sin our Savior bore.

What He never knew, there He became,

And all the guilt He bore the same.

How could He understand the sinner’s place?

That was what the cross was for.”

- Anthony Baker

 A final note…

There is an Enemy, the father of lies, who loves to bring pain through heartache and loss. Never forget that even though suicide may be the result of our own faulty perceptions, Satan loves to be the one distorting reality. Remember, he is like a roaring lion, roaming about, always on the prowl, seeking whom he may destroy.

Never underestimate a powerful enemy, but rest in the victory won through an empty tomb.

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Filed under current events, Do not judge, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials

Don’t Be Nice

I have an idea…

Let’s make the Enemy mad. Sound good? Now, keep in mind I said “good,” not “nice.”

Sometimes being too nice is not good.

Doing what is right and godly takes guts; always being nice is for cowards.

Being good may demand being bold and courageous; being nice may keep you huddled in a cave until the bad guys quit looking for you. I say, do what’s right, even when doing what’s wrong is easier. Do what’s holy, but do it in love.

Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. – 1 Peter 1:13-16 HCSB

You may make the Devil and his friends angry, but Jesus didn’t die to make us nice…just holy.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Culture Wars

Real-World Apologetics (Jack Knows “Jack”)

This is probably going to be the longest post I’ve ever published, but I didn’t write it.

Apologetics

The body of this post was copied (with permission from both parties) from Facebook. On the day I read it I was so impressed that I asked if I could just re-post the whole thing on this blog.

Jack Seiler is a pastor who obviously has a heart for his people and a love for truth. But instead of remaining in some “ivory tower,” Pastor Seiler is all about getting down where the rubber meets the road. He uses Facebook to directly engage others with the Truth of God’s Word, especially in the realm of apologetics (defending the faith).

What made this particular Facebook entry so impressive to me was the length to which Jack went to respond to Amy North, a former congregant at the church he pastors. But more than being well-written, it was a wonderful example of how a Christian should respond to genuine questions – with love, humility, and patience.

The following Facebook conversation is a direct copy of the original. The only thing I did was adjust the format a little.

[Jack Seiler]:
A point of interest to me is the contradiction within most atheists and even agnostics. They directly and/or indirectly claim to have a corner on reason, yet seem to be irrational and highly emotional when confronted with reason contrary to their supposed conclusions. Then, in turn, they are unwilling to consider and forcefully ignore the point.

Man cannot survive as man without an ultimate anchor and reference point for what he calls “reason.” Dismissal of dialog does not justify any position of this great a significance, and when eternal gain or loss is the proposed outcome of reaching or not reaching a reasonable conclusion, refusal to consider the possibility of a loving God in Christ Jesus based on emotional disappointments is not only intellectual suicide, its just plain dishonest.

Amy Lang North
As an atheist it seems to me the practicing religious clans do exactly the same which u ponder upon. According to – well, you – man cannot survive as man without an “ultimate anchor” — really? Says- you? I have considered the reason behind my decision as well as sat in the pews of many a church throughout my life so far — listening — and thinking – and have drawn a conclusion to abandon the cult of “religion by human stories” and “I know it all” sermons that dictate that there is only one way – I respectfully ask how do you with you human capabilities know? Or how do u decide u have the authority to tell everyone else – “this is THE only way?” Maybe it is the religious that stubbornly judge the atheists as shallow and ignorant who think they have all the right ways/answers.

Amy Lang North
As an atheist it seems to me the practicing religious clans do exactly the same which u ponder upon.

Pastor Jack:
**No doubt. Willful ignorance abounds in every corner! That is another subject I have taken aim at and am happy to address. Christian apologetics has been around for a very long time but it seems to me that the “rank and file” Christianity of today is largely shallow and unstudied. However, this willful ignorance is not confined to Christians. But for now, here we are . . . and I am glad you have taken interest in making some very thoughtful points.

Amy:
According to – well, you – man cannot survive as man without an “ultimate anchor” — really? Says- you?

Pastor Jack:
**Well put and a good question.

Actually no . . . this is not simply only according to me. But please allow me first to clarify and complete what was said. “Man cannot survive without an ultimate anchor and reference point for what he calls ‘reason.’” This is not just an isolated view from little old me. This is a philosophical argument that has been around for a very long time. And it is playing out in the world around us in an undeniable fashion.

All reasoning is based upon underlying presuppositions. Have you ever listened to two contrary positions debated? Both individuals believe, within their reasoning, that what they believe is right and rationally sound. Both individuals had a starting point from which their reasoning process began. Yet because these presuppositions were different they came to contrary positions. For most, it is not because their process of reasoning was right or wrong but because their presupposition was right or wrong. Certainly, some have defective reasoning, but that is a different story from what I am addressing here. Starting from an absolute brings unity, meaning and purpose even in diversity. It gives man a “rallying point” if you will. How we arrive at an absolute I will discuss latter on.

In the world around us we have seen the process of the dismissal of the moral absolutes (which is a very broad statement, I know, but I will define later as well) of God as the presupposition in reason. As this has happened we have seen before our eyes the destruction of the United States and chaos in the world . . . . which is escalating at break-neck speed. Confining my focus on America, the divisions are multiplying and have become diametrically opposed and irreconcilable and increasingly hostile one to another. Each position, such as pro-life/pro-choice; liberal/conservative; Democrat/Republican; Sodomite/Straight; etc. etc. etc… has a line of reasoning which each one separately regards as completely sound, yet the conclusions are totally opposed. I’m not here to argue for or against any of these positions right now (though I certainly have my positions firmly ensconced). My objective here is to point out that the presuppositions in each line of reasoning determines the conclusions.

So, in answer to your first objection I state once again: Man cannot survive without an ultimate reference point and anchor for the process of reason. He will, ultimately, destroy himself. And I am not an isolated voice!

Amy:
I have considered the reason behind my decision as well as sat in the pews of many a church throughout my life so far — listening — and thinking – and have drawn a conclusion to abandon the cult of “religion by human stories” and “I know it all” sermons that dictate that there is only one way

Pastor Jack:
***Being the Pastor of one of those churches you attended for a short time I am deeply ashamed of myself as a Pastor and teacher and sorry that we left you in such a questioning position and added to your lack of satisfactory answers. I must take responsibility for missing the mark in ministering to your intellectual needs. This is not an excuse, but it is a very difficult task to find a balance in reaching those who are simple and would neither be interested nor able to follow what I am talking about right now, and those who have the need to be satisfied with further depth. I don’t want to sound insulting or discourteous to anyone, though at times I am taken this way, but some people enjoy swimming deeper than others. The beauty of the Gospel is that it can and does satisfy the simplest mind of a child and meet the intellectual needs of the philosophical giant.

It appears from what you have said here that one of your presuppositions are becoming apparent. The phrases, “Religion by human stories” and “I know it all” sermons” seems to be coming from an underlying position that man in some way discovered or invented God and/or that Christianity is just another man made mythology. I certainly understand the thought, because I also took that position at one time. I am wondering if you are more of an agnostic than an atheist. Are you saying that God does not exist? or that God is not knowable?

If you are saying He does not exist, the same burden of proof rests on you that you would ask of the theist. If you are saying that he is not knowable, I believe you are correct from our present human perspective. Unless God reveals Himself and His will we are left with a God Who is unreachable and unknowable. From my perspective, knowing that there IS a God is a logical conclusion based on the evidence of existence itself. Knowing Who He is and what His mind is, however, is another matter altogether.

As I said . . . unless He reveals Himself and His mind! This is something else that needs to be addressed here . . . and I plan on it.

Amy:
– I respectfully ask how do you with you human capabilities know? Or how do u decide u have the authority to tell everyone else – “this is THE only way?”

Pastor Jack:
A very intelligent agnostic (I think he would categorize himself agnostic at any rate) person very close to me once said that he believed it was arrogant to think that we have figured out God and what He wants. It appears that you are coming from the same direction. If his statement were true concerning the basis of Christianity I would whole heartedly agree. But the reasoning is based on an erroneous premise. Here is where I want to pull together the thoughts I have proposed. I hope you don’t mind the length of what I am going to attempt to discuss.

First, simply stated, Christianity is not man reaching to God to discover Him or figure Him out. It is a revelation of God TO man! It is not man in his pride and strength dissecting God and testing Him in a tube on his philosophical bench. Man CANNOT know God unless God reveals Himself to man. It is God condescending to man to seek and to save that which was lost, revealing Himself incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ . . . Crucified and risen from the dead. I intend on expanding this thought but wanted to state it here for the sake of keeping the direction of the given knowledge of God in focus. The direction of the knowledge is from Him to us, not from us to Him.

As for there only being one way…..
The teaching of exclusivity is not confined to Christianity. Without going into long drawn out details, even the atheist claims exclusivity. So I suppose the same question could be leveled in your direction . . respectfully. Even those who claim there are no absolutes make a self-defeating statement in their claim. In reality, every line of reasoning is making the claim of an absolute whether they like it or not.

First let me deal as briefly as I can with the claims of Christianity and why, outside of the proposed authority of the Bible (which I also shall discuss), they are intellectually sound and exclusive of all other positions.

There are 4 questions that need to be dealt with in the minds of every human being.

1. Origin (where do I come from? . . and everything else for that matter!)
2. Meaning (Why am I here?)
3. Morality (How am I supposed to live?)
4. Destiny (Where do I go,, if anywhere, from here?)

These are questions every human being who has ever lived and thought has had to cope with. These four questions need to be answered in two ways in order to meet universally satisfactory standards:

1. Every question must correspond according to truth; either by empirical form of measurement and/or the logical reasoning process. (It must make sense)
2. When these four questions are answered, the answers must cohere and not be incoherent. (They must work together and not be contradictory)

Correspondence and Coherence
I guarantee you that ONLY in the Judeo/Christian world view will you find these four questions answered with corresponding truthfulness and with the coherence of a world view. And these answers have stood the test of time an adversity being as relevant to man today as they were thousands of years ago.

All of the world views in existence can very basically be grouped into three categories: (All positions can be categorized under one of these headings)

1. Only the universe exists (Naturalism and Atheism)
2. Only God exists (Eastern religions and spiritualism-many forms but they all boil down to this)
3. Both God and the Universe exists (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)

It is relatively easy to subject each of these categories to the above tests. Number three is the only position which passes these tests. Then we examine the three positions contained within the third category with the same criteria and discover that Christianity is a continuation and fulfillment of Judaism, and the third, Islam, destroys itself in its own contradictory nature of the god it proclaims and the self-evident nature of the intrinsic value of human life.
I realize there is much that can be detailed by way of shared questions and dialog here, but basically stated in examination of one’s presuppositional standards this is how one comes to a factual position to start with.

What is happening in the system we are now seeing overtake and destroy what we have come to know and enjoy in life is the replacement of rationally sound suppositions with emotionally based motivations. Facts are no longer considered . . . just how one feels about it. Truth is no longer a matter of thesis/antithesis (if one is true the opposite is false), but a supposed matter of synthesis. But even the proposition of “synthesis” is disintegrating into this post modernistic cesspool. Truth has become a matter of opinion and force. Life has no intrinsic value because the only thing that sets human life apart from insect life is the posit of man being created in the image and likeness of God. The emotions we have as human beings are reduced to meaningless electro-chemical functions accidentally falling into place in a mad dance of atoms. To say to your wife or child “I love you” has no more value than saying “my back itches” or “I have a headache.” Both are nothing more than hormonal secretions and the functions of a machine. Man cannot and does not live this way. He assumes that love, ethics and some form of morality have value but without something to GIVE it value it is an empty romanticism with nothing to refer to for a coherent reason.

I love my children and grandchildren and I know you love your children. Do you not understand that it means nothing if there is no God? I know why I love them and I know what its value is. Do you?

On to the nature of revealed truth from God.
First the nature of revelation is not just propositional, it is embodied . . . it is incarnated. But I would like to deal with the propositional side because that is really the point at hand. It is a very important issue because on this hangs just about everything the Christian believes, and it is shameful to know that so many Christians don’t possess the understanding to articulate it.

There is something about the enscripturation process that is very important. Because truth is primarily a property of propositions. When you look at the Bible, it is a very distinctive book. Unlike Buddha’s teachings, which are little sermons of Buddha. Or the Koran, which is the utterance of one man and the compilation of it posthumously. This takes 66 books from about the mid 1400’s BC all the way to the first century; 29 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament, and there is a single thread going through all of it. The collusion factor would have been impossibly incredible to bring this about. For example, going back to the prophecy of Isaiah, writing 700 years before Christ, to talk about the virgin birth, Micah speaking of the city where He would be born, Zechariah talking about the way the Messiah would ultimately be crucified, take these writers most of whom were not contemporaries, talking all of the converging lines of evidence, the hundreds of prophecies, and bring them into the Person of Jesus Christ . . . it would have taken an extraordinary stroke of genius to retroactively bring all of that to the convergence of one single Person! If falsification were possible you would be able to do so rather quickly. That has been attempted by many over millennia but to no avail. Even the supposed “new” documentaries and arguments in the latest books are nothing more than old rehashes of debunked attempts from the past.

(Just a quick side note: it is very interesting to note that so many who have set out in an attempt to disprove Scripture have actually become believers, and there have never been any death threats to those who seek to malign the Bible. Yet the thrashing of the Koran by authors like Salman Rushdie, which rather conclusively discredit Islam and its not-so-holy book, end with proclamations of vicious death to both him and his family. Can you imagine if a trash book and movie like “The Da Vinci Code” come out concerning Islam? The Islamic zombies would go into meltdown mode faster than they are now.)

After 2000 years of Christ’s incarnation, and 3500 years since the enscripturation process began, no book has been more studied, no book has been more scrutinized. No book has changed the lives of countless millions. No writing of any atheist has changed a drunkard into a saint. No book written promoting atheism has lifted a broken man from the gutter and set his feet on solid ground. NO atheism has given hope to the hopeless or purpose to the destitute.
I will bring you 1000 men changed and made right by the Christ of the Bible if you can bring me 1 saved from a life of broken sin by atheism.

Yes . . . I am deeply sorry that these truths were not presented clearly or to your satisfaction in any of the churches you attended . . . including my own. I take that seriously to heart. But rejecting God, specifically Jesus Christ, because of these lacks of answers really didn’t change anything in your life. Pains were still there . . . life was still happy one minute sad the next . . . answers were still absent . . . purpose was still transient . . . death is still imminent . . . and ultimately all that you hold dear has no intrinsic value or meaning.

I know that there are many more question that cannot be answered in one discussion, and it is not possible to address every objection that would arise while reading this. However, I am more than willing to continue exchange in dialog. I feel that I have failed you in my responsibilities as a minister of the Word of God, and if you . . . then how many others? If nothing else I am being spurred to be more concise and address the needs of the soul with more awareness.

Amy:
Maybe it is the religious that stubbornly judge the atheists as shallow and ignorant who think they have all the right ways/answers.

Pastor Jack:
I will repeat what I said in the beginning . . . no doubt that unjust judgment abounds and is in no short supply in every corner. May God help me not to do what he condemns. It is only because God has revealed what is right that anyone can know it and be definite about it. God has the right answers . . . and the real arrogance is in rejecting what He reveals.

Amy:
And ps I do enjoy reading what u write bc ur writing do give me things to think about.

Pastor Jack:
You have always been nothing less than respectful to me Amy. I appreciate that . . . not everyone is! Lol. I hope that what I have laid out here is understandable and also gives you food for thought. It is my wish that you would truly come to know Christ as Lord and Savior and find the relationship with Him that He so deeply desires to have with you.

PS
There is so much more I wanted to say concerning the inspiration and recording of Scripture, but this has already taken me many hours to write and I need to rest.
Thanks

Conclusion

So what do you think? No pulpit banging, as many would expect. No all-cap YELLING and calling Amy all kinds of derogatory names. Just a calm, organized explanation and defense of one’s beliefs.

My advice? Try to be a little more like Jack.

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Filed under Apologetics

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