Tag Archives: Holiday

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.

6 Comments

Filed under General Observations, Relationships and Family

Mother’s Day Song

Happy Mother’s Day

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day. However, I don’t know many songs, if any, written specifically for this holiday.

My Mother, Grandmother, and Me

My Mother, Grandmother, and Me

I have a wonderful mother. My wife is a wonderful mother, too. Therefore, I find it unfortunate that there are no songs we can sing in the same way we gather around as a family and sing Christmas carols.

So, a couple of years ago, because of the shortage of Mother’s Day carols, I wrote one. Learn it, love, and share it!

With your help, generations to come will gather around that last slice of pie, that tinseled load of laundry, or whatever item chosen to symbolize motherhood, and sing a song for mothers everywhere.

The Mother’s Day Song

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. – Exodus 20:12

2 Comments

Filed under music, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Monday Monkey (The Least of These)

He’s Alive!

Well, not exactly, but you know what I mean. Mr. Monkey (a.k.a. Buddy) is back with a new video for Christmas. And this time he actually talks! Sorta.

Mr. Monkey has been resting for a few months on my suit rack, allowing my brain to regrow some creative neurons. I hope you think the wait was worth it.

Christmas Spirit

Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, the Savior of the world, so what better way to express the “spirit” of Christmas than by showing compassion to those in need? God, in His mercy and grace, gave sinful man the most precious gift He could give, His Son. Therefore, in all our giving, shouldn’t our gifts mirror the first Gift?

We should keep in mind that the whole reason Jesus came was to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to the lowly and outcast, the poor and downtrodden (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18). At the very least, if we are to say we have the “spirit of Christmas,” shouldn’t we be seeking out those in need, not heaping gifts upon gifts on top of already over-blessed children?

This year, make an effort to show grace and compassion to someone outside of your family, someone in need, and especially someone in need of love. After all, isn’t that the real message of Christmas? When you do, keep in mind, it might be Jesus your giving to (Matt. 25:40).

“The Least of These”

Leave a comment

Filed under animals, Christmas, Monday Monkey

Other Reasons to be Thankful

Normal Reasons

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, including all my friends and blog subscribers all over the world! For even though Thanksgiving is an American holiday, we all have reason to be thankful. After all, for most of us, things could be worse.

I am not going to go into detail and recount the history of the Pilgrims or the reasoning of George Washington’s proclamation. I am not going to talk turkey, Indians, or Sacajawea, either. If you want to read about all of those things, including the godly, religious heritage of our nation that the atheists and humanists are trying to sponge away, then take the time to visit other blogs which are carrying the torch of freedom.

Essentially, everyone should be thankful to God for his grace and mercy, no matter the country in which they live. Americans should be grateful for the rare freedoms we still have, despite the current administration’s attempt to presidentially-mandate them away. And on top of that, each of us should be thankful for health, shelter, food, and any family or friends we have.

But there are other reasons to be thankful…reasons you may have never thought of. Let me give you a few.

Other Reasons

DSC_0543First of all, you all should be thankful you don’t have to dress up like an elf in order to pose for Christmas card pictures for your oldest daughter. As you can see, even though Lily and Henry are the cutest grand-dogs any man could have, there is a slight sense of humiliation being experienced by all.

Secondly, you could be thankful you are not a dog, especially a dog that is forced to dress up like a little Santa Clause.

Third, you should be thankful you do not have green hair. Even though my little dogs know me, and even though Lily and Henry like me, they don’t like men in green wigs.

Fourth, be thankful you are not an elf. Their big, pointy ears are hot, and the bells they wear can be distracting while preaching on Sunday.

Other Reasons (cont.)

If you don’t have any other reasons to be thankful on this day, then at least be thankful for the following:

  • You don’t have to worry about being chased by dinosaurs, vampires, or creatures from the Black Lagoon (except in Wal-Mart).
  • Sharks are rarely found in swimming pools.
  • Miley Cyrus is not dating your son (and that you didn’t throw out your hip when you tried to “twerk” in the privacy of your own home).
  • Your eye doctor, dentist, etc. is not a unicorn.
  • You don’t taste with your hands (but you could tell who didn’t wash after going to the restroom).
  • You didn’t vote for “change.”
  • You are not a turkey or a cranberry.

Seriously, though

“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.” – Psalms 105:1

“Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” – Psalms 106:1

Leave a comment

Filed under America, animals, Christmas, Food, General Observations, Humor, Relationships and Family

Fake Fire

Conclave 2013

This weekend I went with our youth pastor, Daniel Ziegenmier, to Conclave 2013, “a training conference to equip and rejuvenate your youth ministry team.” The great thing was that it was here in our home town, not across the country. 

camp fireWhile strolling through the exhibit hall where various ministries had booths and displays, I came across this neat fake camp fire. The flame in the middle was made of a fabric that fluttered above a silent fan and colored light. From only a few feet away it looked real.

It would have been nice to have one of these back in 1984. There would be less emotional scars.

High School Play 1984

In my junior year of high school the junior/senior speech class wrote and performed a Christmas play. I had a part in everything, from acting to writing and prop design. It was the prop design that had serious flaws.

The Stage

The play was held in the auditorium of Hamill Road Baptist Church in Hixson, TN. The set took up the entire stage where the pulpit usually sat, along with most of the choir loft. It was a big production in a very nice, carpeted church.

Hamill Road had light blue carpet…really nice, comfortable, flammable carpet.

The Set

In one of the scenes the cast went Christmas caroling, so there was a set complete with houses and front doors.

Following the caroling, all the cast went to a house to sit around and talk about the Christmas story. There they drank hot chocolate as they sat around a fire place…

…a fire place in church.

The Prop

It essentially came down to 2 or 3 other guys and myself. We had to figure out how to build a fireplace that looked real enough, but didn’t actually burn wood or gas. Unfortunately, we had no prior special effects experience.

I don’t know if it was Jeff DeHart, Brian Gibson, or myself who decided it was a good idea to take a candle, lay it on its side, notch it out, and expose 3 to 4 pieces of wick. I don’t know who it was, but one of us thought that we could light a candle in front of tin foil, surround it with dry wood, and make it would look like a burning fire place.

Did you know that when you notch out a candle, pull out the wick, light it, and let it burn during a 10-minute scene that the flame would eventually burn through? Nobody told us!

The Fire

I was proud of all of us. Like true professionals, when the fire hit the carpet…that beautiful, baby-blue carpet…we were able to smack the floor with our hands to the beat of another Christmas carol. Nearly in a panic, knowing our semester grades were on the line, not to mention our eternal souls, we put the fire out with our bare hands. Our parents didn’t have a clue.

Providentially, the next to the last scene involved the death of a character and a real casket. Without going into much detail, the layer of smoke created by the fire became a special effect worthy of an Oscar! It was beautiful!

For some reason the air conditioning system didn’t come on, and the smoke spread out like a sea over the congregation.  When the rented spotlight in the back came on, the exposed smoke made the congregation look like an eerie cemetery full of dressed-up headstones. I got chills.

Epilogue

Well, we got a standing ovation and an “A” for the project. Unfortunately, because the play was so well-received, we were asked to do an encore.

That’s when the church burned down…

Just kidding.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, General Observations, Humor, Independent Baptist, Life Lessons, ministry

Blues and Better

Post-Christmas Blues

At some point in your life you have probably experienced the “blues” after Christmas. You know, those sad, melancholy feelings that come after all the expectations of Christmas day are over? They’re the “now what?” feelings.

Well, it took a while, but sometime this afternoon I began to feel depressed and kinda sad. In one way I was glad everything was over, but then I was also sad that there was nothing more to look forward to.

Next on the list? Clean house, clean carpet, paint a cabinet, plan sermons, clean a garage, wash windows and blinds, and wonder how to repay what we just borrowed to make people happy for one day.

Post-Christmas Perspective

But if you have experienced the blues after Christmas, be thankful. Being sad that the expectations of this world only bring temporary happiness is a good thing – actually, it’s a great thing! It means that there is something else…something more…something better…something that won’t get old the next day…something that will leave you never having to wish for anything ever again.

C. S. Lewis wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

The post-Christmas blues are just reminders that I haven’t made it home.

“I’ll Rise”

Several years ago I wrote a song talking about a place better than this one, a place called Heaven. This year, standing beside a Christmas tree and surrounded by crumpled wrapping paper, my daughter wanted to sing it.

You can believe that this world is all that there is, and that’s OK. If you are right, then an infinity of nothingness won’t bother either of us. However, since no experience in this world, even the best Christmas present, can satisfy for long, I am going to assume there is better place, somewhere beyond the “blues.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, Faith, Future, Relationships and Family, the future, Uncategorized, World View

A Christmas Wish

Lists

Christmas wish lists can be really amusing. Recently a mother of a needy family gave me a list of requested items for her children. I was told that the children would be happy with anything. Really? Would her children be happy with chalk, a box of Crayons, a wooden train, and a slinky? What about a stick?

Today’s children are more spoiled today than ever before. Not only do they want the newest toys and gadgets, but the toys and gadgets they want are more advanced than anything Captain Kirk used.

Wishes

And then there are the wishes that people make around Christmas time. Some people wish for world peace. Others wish for Michael Jackson to return from the dead to do a benefit concert for world hunger.

Teenage girls have the most annoying wish lists. They usually involve a prepubescent rock star who thinks he’s tough taking them on an exotic date to an awards show at Nickelodeon. If not that, then it’s sparkly vampires carrying them off into a never-ending twilight. Gag me with a spoon.

My Wish

So what’s my wish? My wish is that things would just go back to the way they were when this picture was taken.

Other than for the goofy safety glasses, I looked pretty cool!

Back in the late 80′s and early 90′s I worked for a company that serviced nuclear facilities. My job involved flying on commercial aircraft all over the country. And whenever I flew on a new or different airliner, I asked to take a picture of the cockpit.

Here, the pilot actually told me to sit in his seat and wear his hat while he took the picture. What’s even more incredible is that while I was sitting there the engines were still running. He told me to put my hand on the throttles while the engines were still running!

Can you even imagine this happening today? Not hardly. That’s why I wish we could go back to an earlier, more trusting day and age; long before 9/11 and the jerks that ruined everything.

My Hope

Well, even though things may never be the same again, there will come a day when peace will fill the land. There will come a day when men’s swords are beaten into plows. But that day will only come when the Prince of Peace assumes the throne.

When He came before, He came as a humble baby.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

 The next time He comes, things will be a little different.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:” – Luke 1:32

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” – Matthew 16:26-27

 What a Christmas that would be!

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Christmas, General Observations

Thanking and the Thankee

I’m Thankful For…

So many people will be celebrating today (Thanksgiving) by starting off sentences with the words, “I’m thankful for…” Traditionalists will say it before carving a turkey. Vegans will say it before carving a large piece of vegetable protein disguised as something they secretly wish they could eat. Children will even say it just to please their grandparents and to be assured an extra scoop of Cool Whip on their pumpkin pie.

But one thing’s for sure, being thankful implies the influence of an outside source and suggests things could have been different, despite a person’s will. And even though it might sound crazy, being thankful suggests there is someone to be thankful to.

Thankful to Whom?

Maybe you have never stopped to think about it, but being thankful for anything is pretty ridiculous when there is no one to be thankful to. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary* defines “thanks” as  a “plural noun…an expression of gratitude…another way of saying THANK YOU.” So, who is the “YOU” that you are thankful to?

According to many of the stories I have heard, especially in public schools, the original celebrants of Thanksgiving were thankful only to the Indians (Native Americans). According to many accounts, the Pilgrims were so happy that the Indians provided them with food and land that a party was necessary. So, in other words, the first “thanks” of Thanksgiving was given to Squanto and the Wampanoag people.

That’s not totally correct.

Thankful to God

Like those who celebrated in 1623, I am thankful to God. Unlike the common history lessons, the Pilgrims recognized the true Source of blessing.

“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

‎ Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.”

‎—William Bradford, Ye Governor of Ye Colony

If I am going to be thankful, I am going to be thankful to the “great Father…who has granted us freedom to worship [Him] according to the dictates of our own conscience.” As a pastor, I will lead my congregants in praise to the “Almighty God for all His blessings.

What am I thankful for?

I am most thankful for those things which I could not have had if it were not for the grace of God. Among those things are mercy and forgiveness; a family; a peace that passes all understanding; joy unspeakable and full of glory; and even a love for my enemies.

I am also thankful for and to those who serve this great nation, putting their lives at risk for my (and others’) freedom.

I am thankful for and to those who enforce the laws and keep the peace here at home, and for those who brave dangers to rescue us from harm.

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” – Psalm 107:1

And ultimately, I am thankful for all the blessings which I do not deserve, including all of you who read this blog, even those who do not believe a word of what I am saying.

One More Thing

One more thing…being that I have some Cherokee blood in me, I understand that Thanksgiving may not be a Native American’s favorite holiday, but the principle of thanksgiving remains. When we give thanks, whom do we give thanks to?

“All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.” – Psalm 86:9 

“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” – Psalm 117:1 

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;” – Revelation 7:9 

One day, when all is said and done, we will all stand before God and give thanks, for He is the God of us all, despite what we have done to each other.

*Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 11th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Christian Living, Culture Wars, Faith, God, Thanksgiving, worship

Happy Mother’s Day ;-)

It’s Here

If you are one of the unlucky, unfortunate, or predestined to be elected to forget Mother’s Day, I’m sorry. Either by choice or design, you should have marked your calendar and set an alarm.

However, if you forgot, there may be hope (if you are a subscriber to this blog and read your email). Because this is being posted so early in the morning, you should have time to do some stuff before you see your mother (or your children’s mother), either at church, dinner, the nursing home, Wal-Mart, or place of incarceration.

A few last-minute suggestions…

  1. Get up right now, put down your smart phone, or stand up from your computer, and make her (your mother/wife) breakfast. You may even have time to brush your teeth before you say, “Good morning!” Or….
  2. Quickly sneak out of the house and drive to your nearest 24-hour gas station (that’s petrol, for you Brits). There you should locate a fine selection of plastic-wrapped silk roses (to keep them fresh), Doritos, lottery tickets, “genuine” lead crystal figurines, and NASCAR air fresheners. Or….
  3. Draw a hand-made card in an attempt to appear sweet and child-like to cover the fact you forgot to buy one. Then, when you give it to her, create a story about how you “can’t wait till she gets her surprise.” That will give you time to figure out where you are going to take her to eat, and how much you want to spend. OR….
  4. Learn the following song that I wrote just for mothers. She will love it. “Mother’s Day” 

But Seriously

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (Prov. 31:30 ESV). May all mothers strive to fit that description.

7 Comments

Filed under America, Christian Maturity, Humor, music, Uncategorized

Defining a Fool

April Fools Day

Today was the first time I actually preached a sermon on April Fool’s Day. Can you guess what it was about? Can you guess what I discussed?

Even though atheists think we are being smug and “snarky” by quoting Psalm 14:1, I believe the one who thinks there is no God really is a fool. But what I think matters little in the scheme of things. What matters to me is what God thinks. That is why I came up with a list.

What is a Fool?

What is a fool?  Believe it or not, Scripture lists several characteristics of a foolish person. The following is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. So, why not do this Jeff Foxworthy-style?  

You might be a fool if…

  1. You are always right in your own eyes (Pr 12:15).
  2. You despise instruction (Pr 1:7; 15:5).
  3. You are unteachable (Pr 17:10; 23:9; 26:11)
  4. You’re always running your mouth, getting into trouble (Pr 29:11; 18:6-7).
  5. You are always trying to find yourself (Pr 18:2).
  6. You make fun of sin (Pr 14:9).
  7. You’re always meddling in other people’s business (Pr 20:3).
  8. You are a shame and a burden to your parents (Pr 17:25).
  9. You deny the obvious because the truth is inconvenient (Ro 1:18-22).
  10. You deny Jesus because you think the cross is foolish (1 Cor 1:18).

Don’t be a fool.

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Maturity, General Observations, Life Lessons, Preaching