Category Archives: Life Lessons

Undeniable Waiting Room Truth

Like Rush Limbaugh or Jethro Gibbs, you may have your own list of “undeniable truths.”

Or, like me, you may have nothing more than an unorganized list of life truths haphazardly stashed away in the cluttered files of your brain.

But as I sit here in a waiting room waiting to be called back for an ultrasound to my throat, one of the undeniable truths of life I’ve noticed in the past is equally true here today…as other patients and I wait…and wait…and wait.

Undeniable Truth: The more boring and dated magazines there are in a waiting room, the longer the wait will be.

Pick up a magazine you actually WANT to read and they’ll call you back 10 seconds in.

Am I wrong?

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Filed under General Observations, Life Lessons

Endurance: What We ALL Need!

The following video was recorded Saturday morning last week at the Tennessee Baptist Bivocational Ministers and Wives Retreat in PIgeon Forge, TN.

(BTW, I recorded this on my iPad mini, and at one point I dropped it… sorry)

This final message of the retreat, delivered by Roc Collins, was meant for us pastors and ministry leaders, but it’s a message that all of us should hear – more than once.

If you are facing a discouraging time, or if you are at a point when you feel you can’t go any further, I beg you to watch this sermon. If you are not encouraged, I’ll give you a full refund 😉

Seriously, this was a fantastic, uplifting and challenging message from which all of us can benefit, especially in this time we live.

God bless! Endure!

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Displaying Masculinity With Photos

Since it is a topic of hot debate these days, I figured I would keep the boat floating in the stream a little while longer and write a little more about the subject of masculinity.

Except today I’m going to do it from a laptop in the passenger seat behind my wife while she’s driving – it’s a long trip.

And I’m going to do with with pictures – like the one I just took of my computer before I typed this sentence 🙂

By the way, as of this moment, after nearly 10 years of blogging, I’m only at 49% of my memory limit with WordPress, so I’m not worried about the amount of photos in this post.

Anyway, I was thinking about masculinity and how it’s displayed, and that’s when I decided to search back through my phone’s photos. I thought it would be interesting to post some pictures from my life and share what I though was “masculine” or “manly” about them.

Some of these photos might fit a stereotype you don’t like. Some may make you scratch your head. But if I was to tell a young boy what it means to be a man, and if I could show him through some of my own pictures, this is what I would say.

And please understand, I’m not trying to make this all about me… I’m just making observations.

A real man is one who makes a commitment to one woman for life and remains faithful, treasures her, and makes her laugh.

Real men don’t shame their mothers; they make them proud. This is me with my mother and late grandmother who died last year. It’s called honor.

A real man is humble enough to wear a tie he doesn’t like because his wife and daughters do.

Fun. A real man has fun with his kids. He makes memories for their sake, not just his. This was during the last total solar eclipse. Awesome!

 

I love my girls. I’m proud of my girls. Both this picture and the next one are of me with my girls when I escorted them to a purity ball in Hopkinsville, KY. I know what some people think about promoting purity (abstinence), but I really don’t care – I’m a dad.

Masculine men let their daughters know they are loved, no matter what. Even if they disappoint me, I will still love them. But a real man – a masculine man – will be his daughters’ hero, protector, and defender of their honor. And no joke, their lives are more precious to me than any boy who’d hurt them. Be warned, guys – and that’s not hyperbole.

On the day that this picture was taken, we dropped Katie (the one on the right) off at college. When I got back home and walked by her empty bedroom, I cried like a baby for 30 minutes. Real men can cry when there’s a reason to cry, and that was one of them.

Nearly 6 years ago I finally earned my Master’s degree. This is my wife, all three daughters, me, and Mr. Monkey (he was an honorary graduate). I’ve still got a lot of room to improve, but a real man is one who finishes what he starts; he makes a commitment and follows through. I started college in 1986…I finally got my B.A. in 2011, my M.Min. in 2013. I’m still working on my D.Min., but I’ll get there.

This is a Ford flat head V-8. I think the essence of manhood is being able to work on something, to fix things. In my opinion, every man ought to rebuild an old engine at least one time in his life.

And speaking of working on cars, every man should teach his kids how to take care of things on their own. He should teach them how to be responsible and not always have to depend on others to fix their problems. Here I am teaching Haley how to change out a windshield wiper motor on her Acura.

You can be a real man and remain calm, cool, and collected when teaching your children how to drive. A masculine man doesn’t have to lose his cool.

There are cowards and criminals who use guns. But here in America, a masculine man isn’t afraid to teach his daughters how to shoot, even a Colt .357 Magnum revolver. My girls prefer a man who likes the smell of gunpowder and has wrists at least as strong as theirs 😉 2nd Amendment all the way in this house.

 

Real men, masculine men, admit their fears, but then they do what needs to be done – like getting on a roof to tar leaking shingles.

 

I think a good sign of masculinity is being able to handle big machinery. An added sign of masculinity is being able to teach others how to handle big machinery without getting killed or killing others. This is me at the bus garage one summer while training new drivers.

Not the best picture, but this is me in uniform as a chaplain for the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. My definition of a real man, a real leader, a masculine man, includes being a servant. This is a voluntary role, but a needed one. Those who put their lives on the line for us need people to have their backs, too.

Masculinity is not devoid of humility and meekness. This was during a VBS when I agreed to let kids who won a contest treat me like an ice cream sundae. The cherry on the top was a literal cherry on the top.

Masculine men don’t avoid going to the doctor when they need to, but they don’t act like babies, either. Real men – masculine men – keep a “stiff upper lip” and do their best to keep others encouraged, even when they might be scared themselves.

This is me in Zimbabwe with Mr. Monkey. Real men, masculine men, aren’t too proud to get down in the dirt to put a smile on a child’s face.

Real men, masculine men, treat all of God’s creatures with respect and care. This is Nugget and me (Nugget went missing a couple of years ago and I still miss him). He always looked forward to going out on Saturdays for coffee and a treat from Hardee’s or McDonald’s.

Real men should at least try to grow a beard at least once. It’s a right that none should deny, even to non-Calvinists. But being masculine doesn’t mean you should let small woodland creatures take up residence on your face.

It takes a real man to get into a cold lake to baptize somebody. Of course, it takes a real man to be willing to be dunked in the cold water, too! But on a different note, in many places getting baptized in public can cost you everything. Therefore, this wasn’t as big a deal for me and this brother as it is for others. Good to keep things in perspective.

Katie and I recorded a video on Facebook Live. We played “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms.” I don’t know what’s exactly masculine or manly about this, but standing in a public park playing hymns takes nerve these days.

This was from Jan. 16 of this year…from when I took the stage with Katie for her final song of her senior recital. All I can say is that I must have done something right to have been asked by my daughter to step on stage during a formal recital at a university and play guitar for her. A real man doesn’t make his kids ashamed of him but earns their respect.

Masculinity demands that a man take charge and kill the bugs. The women folk shouldn’t have to. That includes carpenter bees trying to destroy the house. The face of a warrior.

Masculine men aren’t afraid to have friends, especially the kind who keep him accountable – iron sharpens iron. This is me with two of my blogger brothers, James Neff and Wally Fry. Real men. True friends.

Real masculinity will exhibit some form of competitiveness. It’s just in a man’s nature to be the warrior, the fighter, the competitor. We need fewer men who hand out participation trophies and more men who compete to win – or at least root for a team that wants to. Go Braves!

This is from when Building 429 stopped by a local Cracker Barrel and I legalistically misjudged them (I wrote a post about it). This is Katie posing with them after I admitted my sinful error and asked for their forgiveness. Real men, masculine men, aren’t afraid to admit when they’ve done wrong.

This photo was taken of me when I prayed on the steps of Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC, after the deadly shooting. Real men shouldn’t be afraid to pray in public, especially in places where reconciliation is desperately needed.

 

Lastly, here I am in front of the church where I am Pastor. Genuine masculinity demands that a man be bold, courageous, and unafraid to speak the truth, even when the truth is hard to hear. Jesus was our greatest example of manhood, but there was also Paul, John the Baptist, and a host of others. Their brand of masculinity is what I’m striving for.

I’m just glad I had a dad that taught me what it meant to be a man. He was a consistent, loving, meek, humble, trustworthy, honorable, hard-working, self-sacrificing, faithful husband and man of God.

That’s about all I’ve got to say. Hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures.

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Filed under Christian Living, Culture Wars, current events, Family, General Observations, Life Lessons, Marriage, Parenting, politics, Preaching, Relationships and Family, Witnessing

Blind Leading the Blind (A Life Lesson)

It’s been over a year since I drove a school bus, but there’s a strong possibility that I will once again be getting behind the wheel very soon. I would appreciate your prayers regarding this situation.

In the meantime, here is a true story of something that happened nearly 10 years ago, along with a little advice.

And remember, you can find a lot more stories from my school bus days in my little book, Life Lessons from the School Bus.”  


 

“Blind Leading the Blind”

Do you know what a “small bus” is? Maybe you know it as the “short bus.” Either way, it is a bus on which the physically and mentally handicapped ride to school. Fun, fun, fun.

One day I was filling in on what was called a “Special Needs” route. Being that I was not familiar with where all the stops were, it would have helped to have someone on board, like an attendant, to give me directions.  You see, even though drivers are supposed to write out directions, the ones that get left for the sub drivers aren’t always up-to-date. Attendants regularly help with the “rights and lefts.”

Oh, I’m sorry! You need to know what an “attendant” is, don’t you?

Usually, on all “Special Ed” routes, there is what is called an “attendant.” This is the person who rides along to watch the kids in the back, making sure they stay seated and buckled in, ensuring their safety. However, many times the attendant’s job consists of being cursed, spit on, puked on, drooled on, kicked, and even looked at “funny.”

Anyway, I did not have an attendant this special (pun intended) day. I had a list of directions, but they were pretty vague. I might has well been driving blind, cause I was totally in the dark. I needed a little help. Then, I pick up my first student…maybe she could help me?  Nope….she was blind.

Me: Good morning. How are you doing?

Girl: I am doing great! You don’t sound like our regular driver. You filling in for him?

Me: Yeah, and I wish he had left better directions to get where we need to go. I wish I had some help.

Girl: Don’t worry, I’ll keep you on track. (EXCUSE ME!!)

Me: (Puzzled) What are you going to do, whack me on the back of the head with that stick? (Yes, I said it.)

“Life Lesson”

When the “blind lead the blind,” nobody gets picked up; nobody rides; and the Destination is never reached.

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. – Matthew 15:14 KJV

Teachers of the Word, be mindful of your doctrine…

Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. – 1 Timothy 4:16 NKJV

Followers of the Word, be mindful of your teachers…

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. – 2 Peter 2:1 KJV

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The World Was Better When There Were Saturday-Morning Cartoons

It is Saturday morning, and believe it or not, I don’t even know what time it is. I know it is later than 6 a.m. because there is sunshine outside, our two little dogs have already made their pleas to go potty.

But had I been, let’s say, 10 years old (that was back in the 70’s), I could at least tell you what hour of the morning it was, and that would have been based on what cartoon was showing on one of only three – yes three – television channels.

For several years when I was young, my family did not own a television; it was considered too worldly. Unfortunately, what might have been a “tool of Satan” back then has now become nothing less than a porthole-window view of the sea of filth into which the ship of our culture is sinking. Just pick your channel (or porthole) – there are hundreds of them.

But back in the 70’s there were at least some good cartoons on the air, so my parents didn’t mind me staying over at my grandparents’ house on Friday night… so that I could wake up to Rocky and Bullwinkle the next morning… at 6 a.m.

Back in those days, there was no Cartoon Network or Adult Swim. Cartoons were only shown early on Saturday mornings, that was it. And if a kid didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn, he’d miss the best shows. The later the morning got, the more cheesy (even for that time) the cartoons became. If he woke up too late, the only thing he’d get to see would be local programming (gag!).

I miss the days of pre-Scrappy Scoobydoo; the predictable and comforting theme music drawing me into another rerun of Bugs Bunny; and the pre-scandalized Bill Cosby teaching me about junkyard life through the voice of Fat Albert. I miss thinking the dinosaurs actually looked real on the Land of the Lost, and I really miss learning about the Constitution and grammar from School House Rock – I can still remember the song that taught the Preamble… Can you sing it with me?

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, secure domestic tranquility-ee-ee-eeee, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare [and then], secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”

Kids used to wake up early on Saturday mornings, grab a bowl of sugary cereal, then sit down in front of a console television for a few hours in order to be entertained, even educated! Then, awake and on a slight sugar high, they would walk away from boring TV to run outside where they would ride bikes, build forts, throw lawn darts, shoot BB guns, or anything else to stay out of the house.

Saturday morning used to be a highly-anticipated treat, one from which you did NOT want to get grounded. Now it’s just another day – where the hours bleed into another…and kids sleep through it.

Change happens, but it’s not always for the better.

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Things to Do In 2019: Avoid Anger

Start With Scripture

I know, you’re probably going to be tempted to skip over the verses below, but do yourself and me a favor by taking a few seconds to read them…

  • He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city. – Proverbs 16:32
  • Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the bosom of fools. – Ecclesiastes 7:9
  • Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31 CSB
  • Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: – Ephesians 4:26 KJV
  • If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18 CSB

Notice that the Bible addresses getting angry. And from what I read in the above verses, it’s generally not a good thing.

But let’s be fair, anger is not a sin; it’s selfish and unrighteous anger that’s a problem. That’s the type of anger I want to avoid.

Why Be Angry?

Look, I make no claim to be an anger management expert, so I’m not going to pretend to know every reason people have for getting mad. However, if I look at my own experience, it’s pretty easy to determine that I get angry over things I either can’t control or hurt my entitled feelings.

Think about it, how often is it that we are legitimately wronged by others? Are not many of the times nothing more than inconveniences? Delays? Obstructions to our plans? But if our plans have been given to the Lord, and He is the One who “directs our paths,” are we not then being angry while God is at work?

Now, being honest, there are some things which deserve a righteous anger, such as dirty politics, sex trafficking, divorce, abortion, etc. Heck, I might even have a right to get angry when people at Hardee’s never give me jelly when I order a “jelly biscuit,” even though “jelly biscuit” is clearly an item on their menu. But even a righteous anger can do us damage if we hold on to it and become bitter.

Avoiding Anger

The key for me this year will be to give everything to God and let Him handle it. I mean, even when I’m done wrong, is He not the one who is being sinned against? He’s the One who wrote the Law, not me.

And, sure, anger may come looking for me and leave me no other options, but it will be up to me as to whether I hold on to it and play God, or just be like Elsa and “let it go.”

But I must admit, I don’t know why they always ask if I want jelly with a sausage biscuit and never give me jelly for a jelly biscuit!

Calm down, Anthony. Let it go*.

 

*Go ahead and start singing the song…I know you want to.

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Questions You Should Ask Before Making a Resolution

Dear friends,

Every once in a while I find myself challenged by my own words, even convicted. The sermon I’m attaching below is a good example.

Back in 2014 I preached a sermon having to do with making resolutions, and as I listened to it today, my heart was broken; I’ve not accomplished my goals.

This sermon was recorded, as many of them were at that time, with my iPhone 4 sitting on the pulpit. Funny thing, some people actually thought I was reading my sermons from an app!

But I’ve done what I could to better the audio quality, and I would love for you to listen. This message is one that needs to be heard and heeded, for if Jesus set His face toward Calvary, there are some things we should set our faces “like a flint” towards.

Click on the link below, then after you listen to it, tell me if it challenged you like it does me.

God bless!

Questions to Ask Before Making a Resolution

“Eight Questions To Ask Before Making a Resolution”

  1. Do I need to make any resolutions?

There is nothing so fatal to character as half-finished tasks.” – David Lloyd George

  1. What has God called me to do? (John 6:38)
  2. Where will I be at this time next year if nothing changes?
  3. What should I do that I know is right, but will cause others to mock me?
  4. Will I be willing to be held accountable?
  5. Will my determination be visible?
  6. Will I rely on my own strength?
  7. To Whom will the glory go when I succeed?

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” – Col. 3:23

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