Category Archives: the future

Beware of False Cookies

A little Wednesday wisdom from way back when. This post was first published in June of 2011. 

The Chinese Restaurant

This afternoon, after Sunday morning services, we went to a Chinese restaurant. There with some of our youth and their parents, we made multiple trips back and forth to the only kind of bar a Baptist is expected to frequent – one that has food.

Usually I eat a little of everything at a Chinese restaurant, except sushi – that stuff is just plain nasty. But today, because I decided I had not eaten fish in a long time, I felt compelled to stay with just one subset of the universal set of oriental cuisine: seafood…(how’s that for a math reference?). I’d had my share of deep-fried battered chicken, beef, and whatever.

Sweet and Sour What?

On a side note, have you ever stopped to think about how much trust one puts in the food he is eating? Just because a label says “Sweet and Sour Chicken,” does it mean “Sweet and Sour Rat, Cat, Snake, Penguin, Leopard, Iguana, etc.” taste any different? From what I have been told, everything not pork, beef, or duck tastes like chicken. Put enough breading on little pieces of meat and it’s all the same.

I say let’s become legalistic about this issue, if nothing else. Certain meats should have certain shapes, or at least keep the skin on it. How else are we supposed to know what has been deep fried and covered in some exotic sauce that smells so good you forget your neighbor’s chihuahua went missing. Everything chicken should look like a chicken or have a feather sticking out of it. If I’m gonna be eating rattlesnake, at least give me a rattle to take home and play with. If they don’t start doing this, I may have to quit eating at Chinese restaurants and stick with the BBQ place – you know, the one conveniently located next to the emergency animal clinic?

Edible Fortunes

Seriously, I can’t stop eating at the the  Numba Won Happy Mandarin Peking Garden of Panda Love Restaurant. Where else could I find a cookie with wisdom? Chinese Restaurants are the only places I know with fortune cookies, and somehow they really know me.

Now, some people open up a fortune cookie only to find stupid stuff like, “The sky will be blue for you today, unless you cloud it with doubt.Riiiight. Like, could you be any more vague?

On the other hand, my wife got one today that said, “Soon you will inherit land.” What? From whom? If she has a relative that has land to give away that’s not already promised to whiter sheep, then I’ll be really amazed. But mine are different. Mine are…

Scary Fortunes

One time I was just finishing up my road training before I started driving school buses in Tennessee. I went to a Chinese buffet for lunch, after which I got a fortune cookie. I am not lying, the piece of paper said, “You are about to enjoy success at a new job.” But what was more creepy was the Chinese word of the day was the word for “school bus.” N o  j o k e !

Today was another example of scary cookie wisdom. Would you believe that it knew I was a pastor? Would you believe that it knew I like to speak in front of large crowds? Amazingly, it knew that I am “the center of attention” whenever I am in a crowd (which is true at least three times a week). What is it supposed to mean?

False Cookies

It means that even a stupid cookie can get something right every now and then, especially if the statement enclosed is vague enough. On the other hand, it should be a reminder that there are forces at work in this world trying to deceive those with “itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3).

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

“For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.” – Mark 13:22

Don’t believe ’em, just eat ’em.

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Filed under baptist, Food, Future, General Observations, the future, World View

There Are Better Rewards

Earthly Rewards

img_5245I am not exactly an Olympic champion, but I have received a few rewards/awards in my lifetime. A few of those are pinned to my bright orange vest that I wear while driving a school bus.

As you can see, I have been a very safe driver over the last few years. The pins on my vest represent my good works, my lack of accidents of any kind – even bumping another bus in the parking lot (which what cost me a perfect record 8 years ago) – and are worn quite proudly.

However, after the Woodmore accident where 5 children died, our county is probably going to get rid of the company I work for, even though what happened was the responsibility of just one driver. Therefore, beginning with next year, who will even care about those pins? They will probably end up in the same place as my Promise Keepers lapel pins.

Heavenly Rewards

The most important and enduring rewards are those which God gives us. Those are the ones we should strive for, the ones when acquired will never pass away…or get stashed away in some forgotten jewelry box drawer.

One way we can gain rewards from above is to remain faithful, even when times are hard. When people persecute you and revile you for your faith, for following Jesus, stand strong; you have something waiting for you when you cross the finish line!

Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. – Mat 5:11-12 

And I bet what you’ll be wearing will look a LOT better than Dayglow Orange 😉

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Filed under Christian Living, Life Lessons, the future

2017, Here I Come!

My Short List

You knew it would come sooner or later, right? Well, this morning I wanted to throw together a short list of things I’d like to do in 2017. Don’t call them “resolutions,” just things I want to do or accomplish.

  • Read through my Bible more than once. Part of that will consist of reading through many of the books in a single sitting.
  • Finish reading some books I started last year… and the years before.
  • Pray “evening, morning, and at noon.”
  • Take my wife to Ruth’s Chris for the first time (maybe for her 50th birthday in February?). But that will depend on whether or not I find another job.
  • Lose some weight.
  • Build a bed frame for my daughter, Haley.
  • Change the brakes on every dadgum vehicle we own 😦 At least we have transportation, true? Well, as long as we can keep up the payment, that is.
  • Bring honor and praise to Jesus. The last thing I want to do is be an embarrassment to His name.

Some Video

Now, just to finish out this first post of the year, I want to leave you with some video moments from my trip to Zimbabwe last year (August). That was truly the highlight of my year, and I do appreciate all of your help getting there.

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Filed under Christian Living, Countries, Future, Monday Monkey, places, the future

Escapist or Expectant?

As I was lying in bed this morning, shivering in the cold – the house is like a dadgum freezer – I proceeded to do an mental inventory. No, it wasn’t an inventory of all the things that need to be organized and packed for our upcoming move in a few days. I wasn’t even thinking about all the bills that need to be paid with money we don’t have (that’s a growing list too depressing to think about). Actually, it was a mental inventory of pain. 

It’s the last day of 2016 – this is the last post of the year – and with every day that passes I’m acquiring a new pain. As I lay there covered up, not wanting to get out of bed, I came to the realization that there was not one part of my body that didn’t hurt – literally. 

I’m not yet fifty years old, but I hurt from head to toe. Seriously, I’m looking forward to that “new body” the Bible says I’ll have one day. Maybe that is why I’m not as critical as I used to be of certain hymnals that have more songs about heaven than other, more weighty themes. Maybe it’s because I wake up and go to sleep with pain that I look forward heaven a little more than my younger, healthier theologians. 

One of the criticisms leveled at Christians is that we are “escapists” (i.e., those who care more about escaping this world than saving it). Sometimes we are accused of being so “heavenly-minded” that we’re no earthly good, all because we believe there’s a place to go after the cares of this life are over. Well, I’ve got news for everybody: I’m ready to go!!

No, I don’t want to die. No, I don’t want to give up on reaching the lost in order to selfishly escape to paradise. However, with each new day that passes by…with every New Year’s celebration that comes and goes…I’m that much closer to my faith becoming sight. …And no more pain. 

No, I don’t want to escape, but my expectations are pretty high. I’m looking forward to what God has in store for those who love Him… and believe it or not, that includes 2017. 

Happy New Year, my friends! 

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Filed under current events, Future, the future

Blues and Better

The following post was originally posted in 2013. The truth of it is even more relevant today.


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.”

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

13 Things I DON’T Want To Do In 2017

From a Sermon

Four years ago I preached a sermon to close out the year of 2012. The following 13 points were what I decided I did NOT want to do in 2013. The same could be said for 2017.

Unfortunately, numbers 10, 11, & 12 are the only ones I’ve not done; the rest were failures. Just goes to show you why a preacher needs to preach to himself more often.

I Don’t Want To…

1. Believe another politician. Why did I ever? I won’t do it this year, that’s for sure. Even if he/she is telling the truth, how would I know? Let God be true, and every man a liar, especially those running for office (Romans 3:4).

2. Eat more in one sitting than the average family in Africa eats in a week. (Prov. 23:21; 21:17)

3. Lie, cheat, or steal, even when it’s socially acceptable. This is especially important during tax season, but there are many times we lie to each other, deprive each other, and take what isn’t ours. Have you ever told someone you were “fine” when you actually weren’t? You lied. Used two coupons instead of one, just because the cashier didn’t notice? You stole.

4. Be angry.  Anger rarely solves anything. Angry people are miserable and always finding fault. Angry people turn a leisurely drive into a demolition derby. “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

5. Whine or complain. What do I have to complain about? Really?

6. Tell people how stupid they are. I don’t understand why some people act the way they do, but I need to be a little more understanding of idiots, morons, ignoramuses, and bone-headed nincompoops. They must answer to God, not me, for their actions (Rom 14).

7. Add another x to my large. I can’t afford any more clothing. Even now I must wear Hawaiian shirts year-round because nothing will stay tucked in. I mean, seriously! The last thing I need is to expand the “temple.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

8. Lose another favorite sock. I can’t figure out how it happens, but something has to be done.

9. Waste time.  Today I listened to my two girls play with a new ukulele. They laughed and sang.  Soon they will be grown, and there will be no more music, games, or bedtime stories. “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4).

10. Get a divorce.  Many do it because the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence. They don’t realize the unnatural stuff has a nasty aftertaste. I want to stay with the woman God gave me. Who could be better than a gift from God?  “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Proverbs 5:18).

11. Give one more dollar to a guy on the street….without offering the gospel as a condition. If he wants a dollar, then fine. I’ll give him $5 if he lets me tell him about Jesus.

12. Be on a reality TV show. So many people say, “Anthony, your family would make a great reality show.” I say, “Yes, I know.” However, it ain’t gonna happen. The world isn’t ready for it.

13. Forget to pray. I don’t pray enough. More is better. What I need is to follow David’s example and pray morning, noon, and evening (Psalm 55:17). I shudder to think how much I’ve given up by forgetting to spend time with God.

James 4:17  “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

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Filed under Christian Living, Defending Traditional Marriage, Divorce, Do not judge, Future, God, Life Lessons, Preaching, Relationships and Family, scary new year, the future, Uncategorized

Now What? (My Post-Election Thoughts)

It’s Over!

For practically a year and a half our nation has been focused on November 8th. First there was all the primary drama. Could Hillary hold off Bernie? Could 16 Republicans ever produce a candidate? From the very beginning it was clear this was going to be an election like no other.

Then came the general election campaign. Talk about twists and turns! To begin with, who would have thought we’d end up with two candidates so fatally flawed? How did either survive as long as they did with all the scandals each had to endure? Totally amazing.

But it’s over, now, praise the Lord! No more media spin; no more celebrities getting naked or offering sexual favors in return for voting for Hillary; no more talk of swing states and the electoral college; and no more talk of things that divide us.

Sorry, I was kidding about that last part.

What Is NOT Over

Sure, the election cycle is over for now, and Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. However, some of the very things that divided this nation during the election will still be sources of discontent in the future.

  • Immigration. Just this morning on my school bus I literally heard African-American teens talking with each other about their fear of being sent back to Africa. One of them said, “Well, if they don’t send us back, they’ll make us wanna go.” If blacks are talking about being sent back to Africa (which is ludicrous), imagine the what many Hispanics are discussing this morning!
  • Nationalism. Many are afraid of America becoming another Nazi Germany. Personally, I believe their fears have little basis in reality. However, there are certainly some who believe America should no longer be a “shining city on a hill.” They want America to cede her strength and position in the world to international authority. Because of this, tension between proud patriots and liberal leftists will remain high.
  • Gender revolution. The LGBTQetc community has enjoyed nearly 8 years of un-restrained success in pushing through their agenda of social change. Now that they’ve had their way for so long, how will a Republican White House, Senate, and Congress now secure the rights of Christian businesses and such without suffering the rainbow wrath?
  • Entitlements. If our national debt is ever going to be addressed, rampant entitlement spending must be brought under scrutiny. But, just like I heard four years ago on my school bus, I heard it again today, just about a different Republican, “He’s gonna take our food stamps away!” Well, if you don’t really need them, and if you’re just selling them, then they should be taken away. However, nobody wants to starve anyone, people! But continue that lie and there will always be tension.
  • Health Care. President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act has been anything but, yet how do we now completely repeal something that completely destroyed everything, and now has so many low-income unhealthy hooked? One way or another, this is going to be a big struggle in the coming months.

Moving Forward

As I see it, this election has done two things: it has proved one thing, and offered another.

First, it has proven that an overwhelming amount of Americans are tired of corrupt government and want someone to do something about it.

The main reason Trump was elected – in my estimation – is that the majority of our people were tired of government going against the will of the people, never acknowledging it is WE who elected them, and it was time for an outsider to flush the system.

To be clear, our system of government does work, it’s just been clogged up and getting worse for a long while. There should be no “political class,” only elected Americans serving other Americans like our founding fathers intended. Trump was elected to get things “flowing” again.

Second, this election has offered the American church a reprieve, a short breather, a small window of opportunity in which to prepare for what will inevitably come in the future.

What concerned many in this country such as myself was the clear and present danger that Hillary Clinton posed toward our freedom of religion. Others have scoffed at my concerns, but they chose to ignore (or interpret differently) the overwhelming evidence of precedent. Looking at the way things have “progressed” in America over the last 8 years, it was easy to see the policy track a Clinton administration would take. In my estimation it would have taken only 5 short years until thousands of churches would have been forced to close their doors due to gender laws, and many pastors would have been forced to either curb their speech, or face fines or jail time. All I did was look at the natural progression of things.

But because Clinton was not elected, the American churches have been given an opportunity to start making adjustments: one example would be preparing for our tax-exempt status being removed. Let’s be honest, barring another great spiritual awakening in this country, the time will come when another president is elected who will find it politically expedient to punish a segment of society that refuses to accept and affirm the gender-bending, sexually-immoral agenda of many on the left. Like Joseph of old, we should be preparing now for the famine to come.

Keep Praying

Some of you made it very clear you were praying before this election. Well, whether you voted for Trump, or not, now is NOT the time to stop praying!

President Elect Trump is not a perfect man, as we know. So, pray that God will make him humble and dependent upon Him. Pray that he will select wise and godly counsel to surround him as he’s forced to make decisions that will affect us all, even the world.

Pray that civility will be restored to this broken and fractured nation.

But above all, pray Psalm 9:20… “Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men.”

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Filed under America, politics, the future, wisdom