Kids Spitting and Truth Telling

The following is what I am planning to make the last entry of my new book. Tell me what you think.

“Unexpected Truth”

Every once in a while a bus driver, or anyone for that matter, may find himself saying, “I didn’t see that one coming!” In other words, every once in a while something happens; somebody says something that you would have never imagined. Let me tell you about one of those “once in a while’s.”

Spitting Accusations

Kids are always doing stuff to each other to be aggravating. You have probably witnessed children throwing spit wads, taking items out of another’s book bag, or hiding a child’s shoe right before her stop. No? Well what about spitting on each other?

Oh, yes, children are well-accustomed to spitting on each other, especially boys. Now, they never admit to doing it; they usually blame it on the one kid with no salivary glands. But there was this one time when a boy on my bus accused a girl of spitting on him when she actually didn’t. How do I know that she didn’t? She showed me proof!

So, “Jack” hollered from the back of the bus, “Mr. Baker! ‘Jill’ spit on me!” Before I could rationally respond, another voice came from the back, the voice of the accused, crying, “No I didn’t – he’s lying!” Since I was in the process of driving and there was no place to pull over and deal with the situation, all I could do at the moment was respond with a simple request: “STOP SPITTING!”

A moment passed, then Jill came up to the seat behind me (which is dangerous and against the rules, by the way). “Mr. Baker,” she said in a tone laced with disgust, “I did not spit on Jack; he spit on himself after he spit on the seat.”

What?” I asked. “He’s spitting on the seat?! That’s gross!”  Incidentally, this is one of those times when I find it appropriate to ask: why do people of any age find enjoyment in recreational spitting? Why waist perfectly good saliva when there’s nothing necessarily nasty to expel from one’s mouth?

Anyway, a moment or two later, Jack came up to share his side of the story. “Mr. Baker, Jill did spit on me! See my shirt? See, this is her spit…she spit on me! See?”

I couldn’t argue with what I saw. There, as plain as the marks on a Dalmatian, were wet spots where something liquidy had collided with his shirt. Somebody had spit on him.

“Jill!” I yelled, “Why did you spit on Jack?” From the back of the bus came an insistent reply, “But I didn’t! He spit on himself just to get me in trouble!”

The Truth Comes Out

Where’s Solomon when you need him? Why can’t school buses be equipped with portable DNA equipment? How was I supposed to determine who spit on whom? How could I prove who needed to be punished with a stern warning and a verbal reprimand? The answer came in a way I never would have dreamed, but I will never forget.

“Mr. Baker…” Jill had made her way back up to the seat behind me, again while I was driving. “Jill, you need to sit down!” I told her.

“But Mr. Baker…” Let me just pause here to try to describe Jill’s way of saying my name. Jill spoke with a slightly non-emotional, matter-of-fact, drawn-out southern drawl. It sounded more like “Miiis-turr Buh-ayyy-kurr…”

“Mr. Baker, I didn’t spit on Jack; he spit on the seats and then on himself to make it look like I did it,” she said. “But I didn’t, and I can prove it.”

“Really,” I asked.

“Yessir,” Jill replied. “You see, Jack was eating green candy, and the spit on his shirt was green – mine is not…SEE!

At that point, just around my right shoulder, came the arm of a little girl. Attached to that arm was a palm, and in that palm was half an ounce of spit – yes, spit! It looked like a blob of clear silicone!

“It wasn’t me that spit, ‘cause my spit is clear, seeeee Mr. Baker?”

I couldn’t argue with her. She proved her point. There was the proof puddled in the palm of her hand, clear as day. I nearly threw up.

Life Lesson

We may not like it, but sometimes the truth is hard to stomach – and nothing like what we expected.

The simple fact is that truth isn’t always pleasant; more often it is nasty. No woman wants to hear the truth when she asks, “Does this dress make me look fat?”  No man wants to hear the truth when he asks, “How did I do with the laundry?” But sometimes the truth has to be told to make a difference. Unfortunately, to play off the words of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, many can’t handle the truth.

For example, there is a saying that goes, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Do you know where that saying came from? It comes from Jesus. He said, “If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:31-32). The part that is hard for many to stomach is the part where He says, “If you continue in my word…” In other words, in order to know the truth that will set one free, one must be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Some say that truth is relative, that it changes with the circumstances of life. Others have said that there is no truth, only perception (Gustave Flaubert). However, without truth there can be no lie, no wrong, and no remedy for the spit on some kid’s shirt, not to mention the darkness in our hearts. But when we follow Jesus, we can rest assured there is Truth to know, for He said in John 14:6, “I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE…”

Route Suggestions

  • When faced with a tough situation, one that demands you make a wise decision, ask God for help. James 1:5 says, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God…”
  • Don’t ask someone to tell you the truth about how you look, how well you’re doing your job, etc., unless you’re willing to hear the truth.
  • Don’t “kill the messenger.” If someone does try to tell the truth, don’t get angry when they say the dress makes you look fat. Just get angry because they weren’t sensitive enough to change the subject.
  • Read the book of John in the Bible. Make a list of the claims that Jesus made. Was He telling the truth? For the atheist or agnostic, that may be a truth too hard to handle, but it can set you free.

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Filed under book review, Faith, General Observations, Humor, Life Lessons, salvation

Top 7 Reasons Why I’d Like to Go Back to Disney World

The following are seven reasons why I’d like to go back to Disney World in Orlando, Florida – tomorrow, if I could. Sure, there are other places I want to visit, but the following reasons are why I would like to go back to Disney, even if I could go other places, too.

This is NOT a commercial. Just random-though blogging.

If you know anyone with connections, give them my number.

7. Bragging Rights

Let’s face it, if you can afford to take your family to Disney World, you either know how to save or have more money than your neighbor. Seriously, have you priced Disney lately? If I went I would take my wife and daughters and stay in the park (which is the ONLY way to go). We’re talking between 4 and 5,000 dollars for a family of four!

6. It’s been too long.

The last time we went was in 2007. We went that year because I won the trip by winning a dance-off at a motivational seminar. Yes, I danced like an idiot in front of 5,000 people and got a standing ovation, destroying my competition. My wife said I’d never pastor a church in Chattanooga after that showing, but we got a trip to Disney and my performance never made it to YouTube – so there.

5. The atmosphere.

If you have never been to Disney, then you have no concept of quality control. If you have ever visited any other theme park or amusement park, once you set foot in Disney World you will immediately notice a difference: I call it “atmosphere control.”

Disney is all about image. Everything is kept in top-notch condition and service is wonderful. There is a purposeful, intentional striving toward maintaining a specific mood throughout the multiple parks. From the smells to the music to the people, everything is meant to illicit happiness and warmth. Is it sorta like brainwashing and mind control? Maybe, but it works – and it takes your mind off of the real, chaotic world.

4. The “rides.”

Anyone, young and old, can have fun at Disney World. There is so much to see and do, especially when it comes to the rides.

Now, when I say “rides,” don’t automatically assume I’m referring to roller coasters and such. The rides at Disney are so much more than that – sooooo much more. For instance, in the Animal Kingdom (one of the massive parks at Disney) one of the rides involves loading up into a real truck and going on a real safari! I’m not talking about some cheesy vehicle attached to a rail transporting you around a zoo. Honestly, the last time we were there, our truck had to slow down, even pause, as a real giraffe decided to take its time walking in our path!

Other rides include Soaring, which will make you swear you are really flying in a hang glider over an orange grove in California; the Hollywood Tower of Terror, which will make you believe you are in the Twilight Zone – for real; and a space ship simulator that comes with real air-sickness bags – because it’s that realistic!

Below is a link I found with the video of what is shown inside the Mission Mars ride. Believe me, it is totally intense. This ride is built on a centrifuge that can go from 0-4 g’s in 2 seconds! THAT’S why it’s so realistic! And all the while you are inside what looks and feels like a real space ship capsule. AWESOME!

3. EPCOT

My favorite place to visit in Disney World is the World Showcase in EPCOT. If you never visited another country, or if you’d like to pretend you’ve visited 10 of them in a day, then the World Showcase is for you. For example, walk into a Mexican pyramid and you will be transported to a star-lit courtyard in a small, Mexican village. There you will find shops, a restaurant, vendors, and street musicians playing songs about cockroaches and big hats. Or, if you would like to visit China, there you would be surrounded by color, flowers, and unbelievable acrobats.

Each “country” in the World Showcase is staffed by people from that country. If you go to Italy and want to eat at the restaurant, then real Italians are going to serve you. The same goes with Morocco, France, Canada, England, Germany, etc. When we ate in England, the Beatles were playing across the street as I tried to understand my waitress – I asked her, “I know you’re English, but can you speak English?”

2. The resorts.

No joke, if you ever get a chance to go to Disney, stay in one of their resorts on-site AND get the “meal plan.”

I am not exaggerating when I say that you could spend your entire trip to Disney just visiting the resorts and hotels on the property. Each one has a different theme, its own attractions, and get this – when you stay in one, you can visit them ALL! Also, unlimited transportation to and from the park, and all the resorts, is INCLUDED!

And when it comes to the food, oh my gosh! You will never regret purchasing a meal plan. Trust me on this one. Without it you’d have to be double rich to purchase separately what is included in the plan. And believe me, you don’t want to miss out on being able to order whatever you want off the menu in places like the Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom.

1. I need a vacation. Really.

I am tired of hearing about ISIS, Ebola, elections, and healthcare. I need a dose of non-reality. I need an imagination fix. I want to feel like a little kid again, if only for a week.

Anyone else want to go?

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Filed under General Observations

Overtaken vs. Granted

Scary Things

There aren’t many of things that scare me now that I am an adult. However, as a child I lived in dread of a lot of things. I was afraid of vampires, clowns, Russians, and girls with cooties. Now I know that vampires can be killed with a good flashlight (the handle part, that is) and Russia is less of a threat than China, I think. However, clowns and girls are still a problem.

On the other hand, I used to love to fly in airplanes, drink from unwashed soda cans and public water fountains, and drive sports cars at ungodly rates of speed down curvy mountain roads. Now, as an adult, I know that it takes a long time to fall from 30,000 feet, germs are everywhere, and deer have a habit of walking in front of good drivers.

But the biggest thing is that most of the scary things in life are either in my mind, or avoidable. I have no fear of them eventually catching up with me. If killer bees get too close, I’ll just move. The wicked, however, have no such hope.

Gonna Getcha

The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted. – Proverbs 10:24

I like the way the NIV translates the first part of this verse, “What the wicked dreads will overtake him…” This proverb is telling us that the wicked are running from something, while the righteous are running to something. And more than that, whatever the wicked are fleeing from will eventually catch up.

What do the wicked fear? What will eventually overtake them? A few things come to mind: being alone, pain, loss, falling, and death.  Huh…coincidentally, all of those will be present in hell. Go figure.

Gonna Grant It

But for the righteous…the ones who know every good gift is from God, the ones who know grace can’t be earned…their desires will be granted.

Amazing, isn’t it? What does the righteous desire? To be loved. To be healed. To have treasure that won’t decay. To be caught up. To have eternal life. Wow! Everything that heaven will bring!

But there’s one more thing: the righteous will welcomed into the presence of their greatest Desire – Jesus.

Don’t run from Jesus. Run to Him. Make Jesus your desire.

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Filed under Christian Living, Faith, Life Lessons, Theology

Feedback Needed! Don’t Be a Snotty Susie!

The following is an excerpt from a new book I am trying to complete within the next few days. It will be called Life Lessons from the School Bus. Let me know what you think. Marketable? Funny? Gets the point across? 

“Losing Marbles”

Once there was a little girl on my bus who cried over everything, especially when she didn’t get her way.  She ended up losing her marbles.

Snotty Susie

One morning this little girl – let’s just call her “Snotty Susie” – was crying about how everybody hated her.  Seriously, not two minutes after getting on the bus she started in with her caterwauling (the howling or wailing noise a cat makes). For the next 15 minutes the rest of the kids tried to console her, but all she kept saying through the sniffing, slobbering and crying was “Nobody wants to be my friend! Everybody hates me! WAAAAAH!

Fortunately, we reached the elementary school before everyone went deaf from the crying. Then, just as “Snotty Susie” was stepping off the bus, a little boy who had gotten off in front of her looked back and said, “Nobody hates you, Susie; we just don’t like you.”

At least the little guy was being honest.

The Great Giveaway

Well, that afternoon, when the elementary kids were getting on the bus to go home, “Susie” got on first and sat on the front row. “Would you like a marble, Mr. Baker?” she asked. “No,” I said, “I have plenty.”

What kind do you have?” she asked. “The round kind,” I replied.

Then, as the other children entered the bus, just as soon as they walked past her, she would ask, “Would you like a marble? You can have it for keeps. EVERYONE! Get your FREE marble, if you WANT one!

I asked, “What are you doing? Why are you giving away your marbles?” She said, “Because I am going to MAKE them like me.

Honestly, I felt sorry for the poor little girl. No one had ever taught her how to make friends.

Life Lesson

When we treat people poorly, and then try to buy their friendship with shiny trinkets, we end up losing our marbles.

“Snotty Susie” usually had a bad attitude about everything. She regularly talked mean to other kids, made fun of them, and then cried out in emotional pain when someone wasn’t nice to her. No one wanted to be her friend because she was NOT friendly! She couldn’t even buy friends for a day.

The saddest part was that I picked up a handful of marbles after all the children got off.

Route Suggestions

  • King Solomon said, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24). How can you be nice to someone today?
  • Don’t try to buy your friends. If you do, you’ll just go broke (marble deficient) trying to keep them.
  • Don’t let anyone buy YOUR friendship. Be a real friend to somebody who’s a marble short.

[UPDATED IN AN ATTEMPT TO BE LESS SOPHOMORIC. I HOPE IT WORKED.]

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Filed under book review, Humor, Life Lessons

A Prayer For My Daughter At College

The Text

Yesterday I got a text from my daughter who attends Bryan College in Dayton, TN. She spoke of how stressed she was, of how little sleep she was getting, and how she misses the simpler life at home.

She sent a picture to me. It was a picture of the back of her left hand. On it was a reminder written with a Sharpie. She said:

Katies HandI’m killing myself trying to remember everything. I went to bed with this on my hand. Then I got it on my blue sheets and my face. But at least I made it to class this week.

Later she wrote:

“My emotions are going haywire…because I am so stressed. Yet, at the same time I don’t feel stresses in some areas…And those are the areas I leave out…”

I responded with:

“I haven’t been praying for you like I should. I’m sorry. But I will.”

The Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the mercies you have shown to my family and me. Thank you for my family, including the opportunities you have given us. In this case, thank you for providing the place and the means for Katie to go to school. Thank you for the opportunity she has at Bryan College.

Now Lord, I have been to school and have gotten my degrees, but I have never walked in my daughter’s shoes (they’d hurt). Her emotions are different. Her dreams are different. Her likes and dislikes are different. But one thing I do know is that she loves you with all her heart and wants to honor you with her success. Please help her to do that.

Lord, I am her earthly father, but you are her “Daddy God,” her “Abba.” You opened the door for her to go to Bryan. You provided the scholarships to pay for the tuition we could not afford. You gave her the gifts to sing and play music. All I did was watch over her and instruct her in Your ways while she was under my roof. Now she is completely in Your hands. Watch over her and grow her into the godly, intelligent woman you want her to be – for Your name’s sake.

Katie is stressed out, but doing her best. She wants to be the model of integrity and honor, but some other students are making it difficult. Give her the strength to stand strong on her principles and counsel her with your Spirit when she’s confused or questioning what to do.

Father, you are the One who gives peace. Your Son is the Prince of Peace. As Katie has willfully taken your yoke upon her, make her burdens light as You pull along side her. Give rest for her soul and mind. Reassure her with the peace that all things work together for the good, to them that love you and are called according to Your purpose.

And dear Lord, help her to keep things straight in her head, or in a datebook, or on her phone, or whatever. Waking up with permanent marker on her face before class can’t be helping with the stress level.

In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

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Filed under Faith, Life Lessons, Parenting, Relationships and Family, Struggles and Trials

Richly Blessed

Getting Rich

You can turn on the television any time of the day or night and hear things like…

  • “Call right now and I will send you a free brochure detailing how you can learn to give me money to learn how to become wealthy like me!”
  • “For a limited time only, you can receive my secret for success for only $199.95!”
  • “Sow a $1000 seed of faith into this ministry, and God promises to bless you ten-fold, show you favor, and magically replace the tires on your Buick.”

Then there are other commercials on television, along with ads of all kinds, that promote the “fun” of gambling…

  • “Somebody’s gonna win – it might as well be you!”
  • “If you love excitement and fun and joy and all that stuff, nothing beats the fun of thinking you may become a millionaire as soon as you scratch the silver stuff off a paper card!”

Everybody wants to “get rich quick.” Nobody wants to have to work for it. Everybody wants to get lucky in Vegas.

Going Broke

The sad truth is that so many people who become wealthy over night turn right around and lose it all. Many who become millionaires in an instant go bankrupt almost as fast. The result is depression, loss, rejection, desperation, and even suicide.

Jesus posed a question in Mark 8:36.  He asked, “What good is it to gain the whole world and still lose your own soul?” Even when you have it all, you can still be completely broke, even destitute.

Richly Blessed

Some of the happiest people in the world are the poorest. I have seen people in the poorest parts of eastern Europe who had more joy and peace than the richest millionaires in Hollywood or New York. The reason is that many of the poor were believers in Christ, and in Him they were blessed. They were rich in mercy and love. They had all they needed, and they were content with what God gave them.

On the other hand, I have known the rich who always wanted more and were never happy.  Their wealth added sorrow upon sorrow. They knew nothing of the “blessing of the LORD.”

It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it. – Proverbs 10:22 NASB

Being richly blessed by God doesn’t always involve being wealthy, but it does include what money can’t buy – the ability to enjoy what one has without regret, or sorrow.

A Prayer

Jesus, thank your for your blessings. Help us to focus not on the passing wealth of this world, but the treasures laid up above. You know what is best for us, so help us to trust you. Remind us that seeking anything outside your plan will only result in added sorrow.

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6 Ways You May be Raising Your Kids With an Oversimplified Faith (Re-blogged)

Important!

Every once in a while I lay aside my own thoughts and substitute them with the thoughts of those more brillianter than me, such as Natasha Crain at ChristianMomThoughts.com.

This morning I had planned to write about the new atheist churches (Sunday gatherings) popping up around the country. I was going to share some observations meant to encourage you to go to a real church, especially if you are a believer (if atheists believe gathering together in “community” is important to combat the effects of loneliness, why do Christians think they can “forsake the assembling” of themselves?).

But instead of writing a post about what was on my mind, I am going to share a post that  - well, the idea has been on my mind for a while, but this beautifully sums it up. This is a VERY IMPORTANT post!

Please, especially if you are a parent, pastor, or youth leader, READ THIS! (click on the picture)

oversimplifiedfaith

 

Now, after reading what Natasha Crain wrote, what are we going to do about it?

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Filed under Apologetics, blogging, Culture Wars, Faith, Parenting, Relationships and Family, Theology, World View