I Step Out

Guided by the Wind…

Listening to His voice…

Foundation never failing…

I step out, carried, led…

And if I fall, 

I’m already in His hand. 

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Broken: Hope for the Hopeless, Depressed and Discouraged – #Sermon of the Week

Anthony Baker:

This topic is near and dear to my heart, for I, too, have struggled with depression. God bless the pastor who is willing to follow the leading of God and relate Biblical truth to this issue.

Let my friend, Chris Jordan, know what you think of his post and sermon. I know it will be an encouragement to him.

Originally posted on New Life:


(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)


  • To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.

HUMOUR INTRO: When our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first, the car, playing golf – always something more important to me. Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house. I was gone only a minute, and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said, “When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway.”…

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Perception and Reality

The Way We See It

If I have heard it said once, I have heard it said a thousand times, “perception is reality.” And each time I hear it, besides vomiting a little in my mouth, I ask, “Oh, really?”

“All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits” (Proverbs 16:2).

Eye equipmentWhat is it with man’s twisted view of reality and truth? Where do we get the idea that reality is what we perceive it to be? Is truth really relative to our own perception of the way things are? Just because a person believes something to be true doesn’t make it true, only believed.

Have you ever argued with someone who is color-blind over the color of a tie? Have you ever tried to convince someone dying of thirst that it’s not really water, but a mirage? Have you ever tried to convince a 3-year-old that germs are real and that hands need to be washed before eating? Some people think they know what they see, but they don’t.

Clean Drunks

Several years ago I was unfortunate enough to transport a bunch of college kids to a sorority party. It was unfortunate because long before some of them ever got on the school bus they had already been drinking.

The place they were going to was up a mountain. About 5 minutes into the trip, about the third or fourth curve, one girl decided to vomit on the window, down the inside wall, and between the seats. It was all liquid, all alcohol, and all nasty.

A few minutes later she felt she was ready to go party some more! I mean, hey, in her eyes she was perfectly clean! The only problem was that we (everyone on the bus) could tell she was soaked…in other words, we weighed the “spirits.”

(FYI, when attempting to be a gentleman, please remember to wear rubber gloves when holding the arm of a drunk college student as she stumbles out of your bus. Just saying.)

God Sees Everything

When it comes to self-perception, reality is what God sees. He not only sees the outside, but the heart is bare before Him. As the proverb says, a man may consider himself clean, which is his own perception of reality, but the Lord knows what’s really going on.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

It is foolish for men to try to justify their sinful, dirty actions before a holy God. It is foolish to depend on our own perception of what is right and wrong. Our eyes only want to see what makes us look good, not evil.

That is why we need God’s wisdom.


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Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee

When the morning is young and the air is still cool, 

I drop off the children at the local high school.

From there I proceed to a place down the road and

Stop for some coffee where the arches are golden. 

image (1)

Medium in size, no sugar, two cream in, 

The brew of the bean insures I’m not dream’n 

I converse for a moment as I sip my caffeination 

Then resume my duty of pupil transportation. 

The morning brightens, children disembark

I check the seats, head home. Now I’m parked.

Another morning is over and now sitting in the holder

Is a cup less filled, and Phil looks older.

image (2)

And the coffee is colder.

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Seminar Suggestions Needed

This Saturday I will be one of several seminar speakers speaking at a teen youth conference. I was asked to talk to these young skulls full of moldable mush about the subject/topics of writing, blogging, social media, etc. However, now that the time is getting close, I feel overwhelmed by my inadequacies in these things! 

Contrary to what many may think, even though I’ve been publishing 3 blogs for several years, written one book and co-written another, written a few songs and a handful of poetry, prepared umpteen hundred sermon outlines, and made decent grades in seminary, I don’t really feel like the expert these teens deserve. For that matter, do teenagers even care about writing? Most I know don’t write; they communicate with symbols, emoticons, illiterate grammar, and “efficiency” spelling (example: “u ther? 2 bad! C8nt cm. 2 bzy. L8tr :-)”) 

What can this old man teach a bunch of gamers and drama queens about writing and blogging?  I’d love to hear your suggestions. 

Thanks :-) 


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What to Wear to Church?

“What to Wear to Church?” has consistently been the number one search entry leading people to this site. What does that tell you?

If you’ve never read my thoughts on this before, this is the post all the search engines bring up. It was originally written in 2010 and has been re-posted a couple of times, but it has been updated.


A while back I was asked to be the guest speaker at a larger, more contemporary church. Out of respect for each other, the pastor of that church and I jokingly discussed what I should wear. You see, he never wears a suit, while I almost always do. His congregation has become more “contemporary,” while my congregation remains more “traditional.” So, to make me comfortable, the pastor told me whatever I wanted to wear was fine. Therefore, I will compromise – I will probably wear a sport coat, khakis, and flip flops…not really.

The way I dress to go to church may not be the way you dress. My style may not suit your tastes, nor yours mine. But the fact of the matter is that unless you’re totally too liberal, or don’t go at all, you wear some kind of clothing to church, correct? Well, have you ever wondered if what you wear to church is appropriate?

Below are some of my thoughts on the subject.

It’s Not About You

If you are planning to attend a worship service where God is supposed to be the center of attention, don’t dress like a clown! Or, in other words, don’t dress like you’re the star – going to church shouldn’t be a fashion show.

Some cultures believe people should come to church in clothing that could damage someone’s retina. Gettin’ “fancied up” is what’s expected. But it’s this type of clothing, in most cases, that draws attention to the congregant, not Christ. My advice is to stay away from neon suits and flashing bow ties. Church clothing should be a covering, not a calling card.

Show Some Respect

Some people think it is totally appropriate to wear enough jewelry and feathers to keep pawn shops in business and all geese naked. Others think it is completely acceptable to look like a drunk that slept in an alley all night (no offense to the drunk). Neither shows a sense of respect. The first steals God’s glory, while the second implies God’s house is no different than anywhere else.

Here’s a couple suggestions. Try going to a White House dinner looking like a hobo or a hippie from the 60’s. Receive an invitation to tea from Queen Elizabeth and show up looking like you just got out of bed and never took a shower. Unless you’re a bona fide rock star, or simply Bono, security personnel may escort you to a private room to “get acquainted.” Therefore, if dignitaries of earthly kingdoms demand respect, why shouldn’t we offer it to our Heavenly King? Is God not greater than Obama? (clear throat)

Beware of Legalistic Standards

However, whatever you wear, don’t be too quick to judge another’s spiritual condition by what they wear. Only God knows the heart.

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. – Rom 14:4 KJV

Sadly, I have been around many believers who consider one style of clothing a sign of spiritual maturity, while another style a sign of spiritual waywardness.  And you know what’s funny? It doesn’t matter which side of the spiritual tracks, there’s always somebody looking at another thinking, “They’re not right with God.”

Legalism cuts both ways, dear friend. For example, I have been to churches that ridiculed any woman who wears pants, or a man who never tucks in his shirt. On the other hand, I have been in congregations that blatantly condemned all dress and tie-wearers as right-wing, self-righteous, fundamentalist, nut jobs. In both cases someone judged another’s spirituality based on outward appearances, alone. In both cases one group’s set of standards were being used as a guide to what is spiritual behavior and what is not. That’s LEGALISM!

Believe it or not, the most modern, non-denominational, praise-and-worship-style congregation can be just as legalistic as the narrow-minded traditionalist. I may not prefer to preach in blue jeans on Sunday morning, but I’m not going to condemn someone who does. Likewise, when I don’t wear a suit and tie on Sunday night, I am not going to condemn someone who dresses like he’s going to a funeral.

Context, Context, Context

Ultimately, how you dress should be determined by the context of your community. Small, rural congregations might not feel comfortable dressing for church in the same way a metropolitan First Baptist may. Similarly, churches in depressed economies may adopt different dress codes than upwardly mobile societies. The key is to be respectful, honorable, and considerate of the holy moment at hand. Whatever fits that bill is good enough.

Just keep this principle in mind:  Grace accepts, Maturity develops, and Love constrains.

Don’t make appearances the only thing about which you’re concerned. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is far too important a message to be drowned in petty arguments about whether it is appropriate to dress up for church, or go dress-casual. Many people in the world have to worship Christ underground – literally. Dress codes are the least of their worries. Additionally, the drug addict who needs hope and help may not have any clothes left that he hasn’t already sold to get high. The single mother of five that walks into your church may have barely enough energy to survive, much less do her hair.

Do all things to the glory of the Lord, but keep things in perspective, OK?

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism [or be legalistic]. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? – Jam 2:1-5 NIV

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Filed under baptist, Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Christian Unity, Culture Wars, Do not judge, legalism, wisdom, worship

Girl’s Volleyball: a Lesson In Encouragement 

Girl’s Volleyball

There are a lot of sports out there, if you haven’t noticed. However, few of them can compare to volleyball. Sure, a lot of sports utilize inflated balls and nets, but volleyball – girl’s volleyball – is something altogether different.

My daughters have played volleyball for several years, causing me to spend many a day at practices and games. The result, at least for me, is that I can now point out several things that make this sport unique.

  • Anyone from the stands can become an official with a flag, even if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • The games are usually more exciting than any major league sport, especially baseball, but admission costs are practically nothing, if anything.
  • Somebody somewhere convinced somebody that girls need to wear indecent shorts in order to compete.

and then most importantly,

  • It’s always appropriate to encourage your teammate, no matter how well or how poorly she performs – even if her poor performance costs you a game.


Seriously, I don’t know what it is about girl’s volleyball that demands girls slap each other on the rear every time they…

  • Score a point
  • Spike a ball
  • Miss a return
  • Look the wrong direction
  • Fall on the floor
  • Run into the net
  • Watch a ball fall to the floor without even doing a bloody thing to stop it.

But they do it, no matter what…it’s this incessant need to pat each other on the bottom every ten seconds and say, “Good job! Good job!”

Aside from the rear end pats – which, incidentally, my daughter refuses to do and refuses to receive (thank the Lord!) – what would it be like if each one of us tried to encourage each other each day, even when we mess up?

I mean, seriously? So many people don’t even want to get in the game anymore, much less face stiff opposition. If you teammate is trying, doing his/her best, and is willing to stick it out, that’s far better than being a quitter, wouldn’t you agree?

“They helped every one his neighbor; and [every one] said to his brother, Be of good courage.” – Isaiah 41:6

So, dear Christian, keep playing, keep fighting…the game isn’t over. Just keep your hands to yourself, if you don’t mind. ;-)

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