Letting the Amateurs Steal the Show

I have been doing watch reviews on YouTube for around 8 months, I think. You can be the judge, but I think I’m getting better at it. At least I hope so.

But for this week’s video I decided to put one together quickly because of time constraints. In the process my oldest granddaughter, Emma, wound up being my co-host.

Enjoy 🙂

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Filed under hobbies, Relationships and Family, watches

My Mid-Life Crisis

How are you? How are you doing? What’s up?

How do you respond when people check up on you? Do you respond differently to different people? Do you give different answers, some more transparent than others, depending on whom you can trust?

Well, I trust you. Yes, I do. For one reason, you are actually reading this when so many others couldn’t care less. You care enough to get past the introduction.

So, how am I doing? Not well.

I think it was my wife (I can’t remember) who asked me the other day, “Are you having a mid-life crisis?” “Maybe I am,” I replied. I haven’t researched it, so I don’t know. However, I would bet that a definition would include a picture of someone that looks eerily like me.

For one thing, five decades worth of mistakes, miscalculations, stupid decisions, and squandered opportunities continually plague my memories. It’s not that I sit around and meditate on my past until I think of something depressing; they are triggered by ordinary things like a store at the mall, a movie, a song, a smell, an event, an expression, etc. I can drive down one road and be hit with 10 regrets in the span of a mile.

Secondly, there’s all the things I could have done and should have done. Have I accomplished anything? Of course. But when I am in a group of others who’ve accomplished anything similar, I feel like a fake, an imposter. I should be able to fit in, but now I never feel worthy.

I’m not a spiritual giant or anything. I’m not that great of a speaker. I have a very hard time praying. And, based on my cumulative experience, I’m a lousy pastor. Yet, that is all I’ve ever really wanted to be. I wanted to be “man of the Book,” a man with worn knees, a figure behind the pulpit my children would tell their children about.

But here I am, pushing 56 years old, a new employee in an automotive factory, with no savings, no home, a literal antique car to drive, and no real desire to pastor another church.

Simply put, I don’t know who I am anymore. For that matter, I’m not sure I ever did.

I don’t know where life is going to find me 5 or 10 years from now. However, even though I may never be a leader of anything, I can strive to be a good follower of Jesus.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Depression, old age, maturity, self-worth

I Need Help

Hey guys, I hope you are all well. I’ve not written for a while, but I’m OK.

But I do need your help. I’m trying my best to raise awareness and support for a ministry that is near to my heart, but I keep hitting brick walls. How do I get the word out? The only way to raise support is to get the word out to more people, but I’m at a loss on how.

I would appreciate any help or advice. God bless.

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Filed under fundraising, Pakistan

“There is no god.”

Recently I saw a bumper sticker – actually, it was on the rear of the car, on the PAINT! – that stated in simple black and white, “There is no god.”

I guess, because it was meant to strike at the very core of what I believe, along with every other person with a positive view of the existence of deity, it caught my attention, so much so that I took a picture with my cell phone.

But instead of getting angry or indignant – I mean, what’s the use? – instead, I started thinking about the statement itself: there is no god.

The significance of the little “g” instead of a capital one should not be overlooked; it was certainly intentional (I am supposing…and I’m going to be generous in my assumption, here…that the creator and user of the sticker were cognizant of the theological implications). To have used a capital “G” instead of a small one would have only addressed the existence of the personal being whom we collectively refer to as “God.” Therefore, whether the God of Christianity or not, the creator and user of this sticker could not limit their four-word statement; it had to be all-inclusive. To only say that there is no God (with a capital G) could leave open the possibility that there is, still, other gods.

But this does raise at least one question that I will also assume the users of this sticker are prepared to answer. Were they actually referencing the words of the God of the Bible? Was it a brilliantly disguised doctrinal declaration? In Deuteronomy 32:39 we read:

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.” (Emphasis added)

If so, instead of assuming the sticker “There is no god” is an atheistic statement, should we infer a pro-monotheistic, Judeo-Christian intent? I mean, words matter, right?

But a second question came to mind shortly after the first: Where’s the evidence?

You see, for the longest time, even from the Bible days, there have been those who not only question the existence of God but ask believers for evidence that supports the existence of God. “Show me the evidence” has been the first and most successful weapon in their arsenal, for it has often silenced and reduced, even intimidated believers into all they could bring to the table was a non-scientific, faith-only kind of argument. However, it shouldn’t be so!

“Where’s the evidence” should not be an exclusive question from the atheist or agnostic; believers should be quick to ask the same thing. If the sticker is meant to be a dogmatic statement, and we can only assume that it is, where is the evidence that supports such a declaration?

Now, here’s the thing: if you want to use the same condescending, arrogant, elitist response that the atheists use, whatever the sticker’s owner says, no matter what they present as evidence for their conclusion, your only reply needs to be, “Well, that’s not evidence,” or “That’s not good enough.

What’s so funny, you see, is that there IS evidence and it’s all over the place for BOTH sides of the argument! As a matter of fact, the crazy thing is that it’s the SAME evidence! The key to the argument before the judge and jury is how the evidence is to be interpreted. For example, in a murder trial you may have a truck load of evidence such as bloody carpet, a gun, a body, fingerprints, DNA, powder residue, personal effects, and eyewitness statements. But depending on the ability and the agenda of the lawyer using the evidence, what should be a key piece that leads to conviction ends up being a parody of the whole trial. Anyone remember the bloody glove and the saying “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”?

But then there’s another thing. Why is it that those who insist there is no god can at the same time be adamant that extraterrestrial life is a statistical necessity? Where’s the logical consistency in that?

I mean, if the universe is so infinitely huge that it is juvenile and arrogant to think we might be the only ones living in it, considering the untapped depth of research into things like quantum physics and parallel dimensions and the constantly repeated statement of “This might change all we know about da da da…,” who is more arrogant, the one who says, “Based on the preponderance of evidence, I personally conclude that there must be a Creator, for the universe, as complicated and beautiful as it is, could not have come into existence out of nothing or create itself,” or the one who can sum up all knowledge in a bumper sticker that says, “There is no god.”?

Fortunately, my wife won’t let me put stickers on our cars.

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Filed under Apologetics, General Observations, God

I Should Be in Hell: My Pre-Salvation Testimony (on video)

I’m going to go ahead and tell you something upfront – this story has a twist.

If you have not already read the post I first published a few years ago, then this will REALLY be worth watching.

But even if you have read the post on which this video was based, I would still ask you watch it and share it. Thanks 🙂

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, Witnessing

The Doctrine of Separation (Video Version)

What I did was take the text from the paper I wrote years ago, which I also turned into a post and a page on this blog and do a video version of it.

There were a few places that could have been and should have been updated, but I left things mostly as they were for simplicity’s sake.

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Filed under baptist, Christian Unity

Why Some People are Legalists

A new video based on a post I first published in 2010.

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Filed under baptist, Christian Maturity, grace, Independent Baptist, legalism

“Not For Sale” Metropolitan

Just down the road and around the corner is a yellow Nash Metropolitan. I don’t know what year model it is.

I don’t know how long it has sat there in the yard, but it’s been there a long time.

One day a few weeks ago I drove by it on the way out and thought to myself, “I ought to try to do a painting of that.” So, as you can see, I did!

I changed the background a little and left out personal things belonging to the homeowner, but the tree and the car are as they are, just there.

I can only imagine how many people over the years have knocked on the door of the house and inquired about purchasing the old Nash only to here, “Well, it’s not for sale. I plan on fixing it up one day.”

Yeah, right. Heard THAT before.

So, after doing this painting, I’m considering doing more of other kinds of automobiles.

Any suggestions?

Any “not for sale” stories you’d like to share?

“Not for Sale”

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The Benefit of Darkness

Some people will insist that a Christian should never go through a dark time in his life. The idea is that “joy unspeakable” should empower a perpetual smile even in the middle of imminent doom.

What’s more, it’s the people in the Church who most often criticize the discouraged and depressed, treating them like whatever is bothering them could not be bad enough to challenge their faith, that is, if their faith was genuine.

It doesn’t help, either, when the rest of the world’s problems are weighed in the balance with ours. It’s like, “There are people being burned alive for their faith and you’re having a spiritual identity crisis?” It’s no different than saying, “If you think YOUR pain is bad, you should feel MINE.”

There’s songs and sermons galore about persevering through the storms of life and coming out stronger on the other side. There’s even much talk about joy in the midst of sorrow, about peace in the midst of spiritual attack. But what I don’t think I’ve ever heard is a recognition of the value or benefits of the “dark” times we may experience.

When I say I’m in “a dark place,” what does that mean? For different people it can mean different things, of course, but what do you typically think about? What do you associate with dark places?

I’ll tell you what I’ve seen in the dark places: anger, regret, sorrow, resentment, bitterness, resignation, self-doubt, self-hate, weariness, loneliness, helplessness, worthlessness, and a “deaf heaven” and “bootless cries” (to borrow from Shakespeare). It’s probably not necessary to tell you of the thoughts that accompany such darkness.

So how could there be any benefit to such darkness, such despair? How could there be any value to such moments? Well, I’ve wondered that, myself. Yet is our God not sovereign? If truly redeemed, am I ever out of His hand?

There exist rare and refined elements which offer solutions to problems yet to be discovered. In other words, there are things that, until they were discovered, we didn’t even know we had a need for them. Sometimes these things are discovered in the remains of previous failures.

I have come to believe that the strongest faith is produced in the dark, when all appears lost, when all efforts have failed, and when there’s nothing solid left on which to stand. Faith is then the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

The strongest faith can only be found, not in just weakness, but when there’s no strength at all.

When I’ve messed up so much and so many times that I’ve not even a single seed to plant in a dry field with no rain in sight, faith is the evidence of the crop to come.

The benefit of darkness is the failure of myself and the hope of Him who will not let me go.

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Filed under Depression, Faith, self-worth, Struggles and Trials

Five Things I Expect from a Sermon

Not long ago my wife and I visited a particular church for the first time. I don’t want to tell you where it was or who did the preaching because what I’m about to write is not flattering. And should I tell you where we went, you might think what we experienced was the norm, when it might have not been.

Believe me, I know what it is like to be judged by one poorly delivered sermon. Heck, I’ve even been misjudged by an expertly delivered and totally biblical sermon! Therefore, I don’t want to disparage a pastor after hearing him only once.

However, what I expect from a preacher is rarely delivered these days. Honestly, it’s like every time a new preacher steps up to the pulpit, the voice of the Dread Pirate Roberts whispers in my ear, “Get used to disappointment.”

What I typically receive is a topical sermon based on a topical series that starts with a text and only comes back to it when mentioning the sermon title.

Sadly, what I have grown accustomed to are “how to” sermons loosely based on biblical principles but often drawn from Scripture verses taken out of context.

But what is it that I expect? Not much, just five simple things.

  1. WHAT I EXPECT… are sermons that exegete the Holy Word of God, even without artistic and often unnecessary alliterations.
  2. WHAT I EXPECT… is a preacher who will take the Bible, read it, explain it, then make application, not the other way around.
  3. WHAT I EXPECT… is to be wowed and amazed by the wonderous, Holy Spirit-inspired, inerrant Word of God, not the delivery of the one tasked to preach it.
  4. WHAT I EXPECT… is a sermon that treats passages from the Bible as revealed Scripture, not just supporting references.
  5. WHAT I EXPECT… is nothing more and nothing less than what we read of in the book of Nehemiah. There we read of when Ezra built a “pulpit” of wood (a raised place from which to be heard) and, along with a few others, opened up the long-forgotten Law of God and read it to an attentive, standing crowd.

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

Nehemiah 8:8 KJV

If the above verse isn’t clear enough, the CSB renders it, “They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read.”

When you add application to the above formula, that’s when you get good preaching.

That’s what I expect.

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Filed under General Observations, Preaching