Category Archives: Life Lessons

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, and Katie – who is on her last day of college fall break – has already asked me, “Whatcha doin’ today, Daddy?”

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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Filed under America, Culture Wars, General Observations, Life Lessons

“Alive, Alert, Awake, and Enthusiastic!”

As we both walked into the office this morning to clock in, a fellow bus driver asked me, “How are you doing this morning?”

I replied to my co-worker’s genuine inquiry with the following affirmation: “I’m alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic!”

“What was that?” he asked.

“I said, ‘I’m alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic!’ There’s even a song about it.”

“You know,” my friend said, “I think I’ve heard that song before, now that you mention it. But who would sing a song like that?”

“Somebody trying to convince himself it was so,” I answered.

As a matter of fact, I was on a month-long mission trip to Romania back in August of 1992. Every day was long, and morning always came too early, so the “enthusiastic” song was often sung as we fell out of our beds and stumbled outside looking for some form of coffee (usually the kind boiled in a big pot over an open fire). We would sing the words with a hint of sarcasm, yet the simple act of singing them – while feeling anything other than alert and awake – somehow brought a smile to our mutually tired and grimacing faces, eventually making us exactly what we sang…alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic.

That is one reason we sing Christian songs in church, or in our cars, or even when we are tired, sick, or discouraged. But it is not so that we can convince ourselves of something that might be true, or that we wish to be true; we sing because the Word of God IS true!

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. – Colossians 3:16

I sing “Amazing Grace,” not because I hope He is gracious, but because His grace is new every morning, and there is more than enough for ever need!

I sing “The Solid Rock, ” not because I’m standing on shifting sand, but because my hope is truly built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness! Therefore, despite the teetering foundations of man-made institutions, I don’t have to worry about sinking – He’s got this!

Sometimes the nights are long, and we get weary. At other times we may hate to see the break of day for fear of further struggles which may sap our strength.   But in those moments of weakness a song of praise can give access to a Strength outside our own, making the downtrodden and discouraged “alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic!”

Songs of Truth will rebuild your faith, renew your strength, and restore your enthusiasm! So, even though others might ask, “Who would sing a song like that,” sing my brothers and sisters! Sing!

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Filed under Christian Living, Christianity, Faith, Life Lessons, music, Struggles and Trials

No Home Down Here

It is just after midnight on Monday morning. I’m in bed, ready to go to sleep, but something is keeping me awake a little longer, and it’s the sting of something my youngest daughter said.

Haley said, “I don’t want to live in another house…I want a home.”

You see, she had come home from an over-nighter with some friends, and it was their house that got her attention. She noted the artistic way the place was decorated; the years of family photos that graced the walls; even a special area where one daughter’s paintings hung for all to see.

We live in a parsonage, the second one in ten years. The last place we lived was only a temporary stop until this parsonage was livable. All other places we’ve lived during her first 7 years of life were rentals.

The fact is, sadly, we live in a house, but we don’t have a home. My 17 year-old daughter has never lived in a place where family would always be, put down roots, and call it our own. We are nothing more than transients.

That’s the life of a bi-vocational pastor and his family, just trusting the Lord to keep a roof over our heads till we are asked to leave or God opens a door. Not very glamorous, for sure.

But, to be honest, there’s a lesson that’s not been lost on me during all this. Simply put, nothing on this earth will last forever, not even the deed to a home. No matter who we are, we’re all pilgrims in this world. As a matter of fact, living in a borrowed place down here just reminds me of how this world is not my home, I’m only passing through.

No, I don’t own a home down here, but at least I know where my real home is. One day I’ll go there, and you’re all invited. I bet my daughter will even be impressed with the way the Builder decorated it.

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Filed under Life Lessons, ministry, Relationships and Family, Struggles and Trials

A Practical Example of Legalism

It’s Friday the 13th, but I’m not worried about luck – the God I serve goes before me, guides my steps, and  holds my future in his hands.

But instead of writing much for today, I decided to put together a quick video this morning.

I hope you like bright orange 🙂

 

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Filed under legalism, Life Lessons

Keep Silent and Hate Your Soul

“Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.” – Proverbs 29:24

Bewrayeth

When was the last time you used “bewrayeth” in a conversation? I don’t know if I have ever even seen it in a crossword puzzle. But before we go any further, let’s make sure we understand this old English word.

According to Strong’s Concordance,  the Hebrew נָגַד (nagad ) occurs 370 times in the King James Version. Besides “bewrayeth,” nagad is translated most often as “tell,” “declare,” and “shew.” Therefore, it is safe to conclude that “bewrayeth” carries with it the idea of making something known or telling it the way it is.

So, then, what does “bewrayeth’ have to do with partnering with a thief and hating one’s soul?

Partners

First, it must be understood that a partner in crime is just as guilty as his other partner in crime. The one driving the getaway car and the one laundering the money are just as guilty of bank robbery as the one who takes the bag of cash from the safe.

Are you a partner with a thief? Do you recoil at that question? Stop and consider that if you know of someone committing a crime, no matter how small, then you are just as guilty if you keep silent. For instance, do you know of a man who beats his wife and yet have never reported the abuse? If so, then you are enabling him to do his dirty work, which makes you his partner in crime.

Self-Haters

The hard thing to grasp is that when we try to stay out of something by remaining silent, we are not doing ourselves a favor. So many people will witness a wrong or learn of a crime, but keep silent in order to protect themselves. But even though one may stay out of the spotlight or courtroom, the one that “bewrayeth it not” hates his own soul.

What is a worse form of hate: to hate one’s body, or hate one’s soul? Which is worse, the fear of jail time or eternal damnation? Simply put, there are deeper consequences for “not getting involved” than for speaking out in the face of evil.

 

(The previous was adapted from a post I wrote on 1/01/14 for ProverbialThought.com entitled “When Silence is Self-Hate.”)

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Filed under Bible Study, community, Life Lessons, self-worth

Cold as Hell?

The other morning it was a brisk and refreshing 55 degrees on my school bus. I had not yet turned on the heaters before picking up one group of students, and that’s when one highly-intelligent, highly-literate teenage girl said,

“Damn! Turn on the heat! It’s cold as hell!”

I took no time in responding, “You know, I think hell is a little hotter than this.”

Here’s what I’m going to start doing. Every time someone uses Hell as a descriptive adjective, I’m going to consider it an open invitation to share the gospel. When someone says “cold as hell” or “hot as hell” I’m going to say something like:

“You know, it’s funny that you should say that, because from what I’ve read, specifically from those who’ve actually been there or seen it, Hell is much, much worse than you’re describing…and I’m glad I won’t have to go there! You want to know why?”

There are also those who commonly use the descriptive of “funny as hell.” To those I will reply:

“You know, what’s really funny is that something could be ‘funny as hell,’ because from what I’ve heard Hell isn’t funny at all. Do you actually believe in hell?”

Honestly, if we really want to share the gospel with people, we can find the opportunities.

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Filed under Faith, Life Lessons, ministry, Preaching, salvation

Wednesday Workday Words

Training

As you folks probably already know, I’m a school bus driver. But in case you missed it, I am also a school bus driver trainer (BTW). So, on a regular school day I drive my usual route in the morning and evening, but train new drivers in the middle (3-4 hours).

Part of the training, as you can imagine, is getting out on the road and driving. I don’t drive; I sit behind and beside the trainee, of course, coaching as necessary. The fun part is when I take trainees on demanding and dangerous roads.

The challenging task I selected for today was going up and down a curvy mountain road… and it was as enjoyable as expected.

What Kind of Instructor?

As we were going up the curvy, mountain road, and as the new driver was beginning to get comfortable with the long wheelbase of the bus, he edged the right front tire across the line…right where the road was damaged…right next to the edge…right next to a few-hundred-foot drop!

Thankfully, the school bus trainee was also an experienced truck driver, so he didn’t over-correct by jerking the steering wheel (a mistake which actually contributed to the infamous “Woodmore” crash here in Chattanooga).

Nevertheless, I was calm, cool, and composed. That is when I said the following words…

“If you do that again I guess I’ll become a flight instructor.”

Praise the Lord, we made it back down to the valley without needing wings 🙂

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Filed under General Observations, Humor, Life Lessons