Category Archives: wisdom

The Elephant In the Kavanaugh Hearing Room

My friends, we are going to disagree on different things, and whether or not Justice Brett Kavanaugh should be on the Supreme Court of the United States is probably one of them. Some (well, a few) people I highly respect think voting for Judge Kavanaugh to be confirmed is insane, and that we should at the very least be doing an additional FBI background check into the allegations of rape as presented by Dr. Dianne Ford.

Then, there are others like myself who think it’s insane to believe that the whole fiasco being spread across the airwaves and social media is an example of the worst Washington, D.C. has to offer those who are pro-life, support traditional definitions of marriage, and did not vote for Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election.

However, one thing has been an integral part of both testimonies: ALCOHOL.

Let me go on record, if I haven’t already, by stating that I do not believe it is biblical to categorically claim that consuming beverage alcohol is a sin; there is no scripture that says it is, only those of which some may attempt squeeze out an implication (they eisegete rather than exegete). However, there is plenty of scripture that clearly spells out the dangers of unwise consumption and abuse of alcohol, all of which is sinful and destructive.

For just a moment, would somebody stop praising Dr. Ford for being a brave victim while I back away while I temporarily back away from defending the qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh? Why were these people allowed to publicly consume alcohol when they were teenagers? Why did Kavanaugh’s upper-crust high school yearbook glorify teenage drunkenness like it was a right of passage? Where were all the adults when all these supposed drinking parties took place?

Who drives their 15-year-old daughter to a party where alcohol is going to be consumed and then does nothing about it when she comes home smelling like booze?

What is so wonderful about teenagers knowing the names of drinking games?

And, Judge Kavanaugh, you were proud to remain a virgin until marriage, but nowhere in your study of Scripture was it obvious that drunkenness could lead to situations in which you might find yourself asking, “What did I do last night?”

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has conflicts? Who has complaints? Who has wounds for no reason? Who has red eyes? [30] Those who linger over wine; those who go looking for mixed wine. [31] Don’t gaze at wine because it is red, because it gleams in the cup and goes down smoothly. [32] In the end it bites like a snake and stings like a viper. [33] Your eyes will see strange things, and you will say absurd things. [34] You’ll be like someone sleeping out at sea or lying down on the top of a ship’s mast. [35] “They struck me, but I feel no pain! They beat me, but I didn’t know it! When will I wake up? I’ll look for another drink.” [Pro 23:29-35 CSB]

Guilty or not, the elephant in the room is the foolishness of those who think alcohol played no part in this. It did – big time. And the footprints are trackable through the ruined lives who abused the stuff.

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Filed under abuse, Alcohol, America, current events, politics, wisdom

Call It All James

This morning (Sunday) I am beginning a new sermon series through the book of James. It will be a verse-by-verse expository series and one that I’m excited about.

If everything goes well I will be posting recordings of the sermons on my “Sermon Archive” page. I’d like to post them on the same day they’re preached, but editing takes a little time, so give it a day or two (like Monday or Tuesday) before expecting to see them.

UPDATE: Click HERE to go to the Sermon Archive page.

One of the main themes – if not THE main theme – in James is the idea of enduring while having our faith tested. So many people get discouraged when their faith is tried by circumstances, yet James reminds us to “count it all joy” (James 1:2).

Another reason James writes is to offer practical instruction on displaying a living faith through what we do. James argues that “faith without works is dead,” meaning that a living faith does something.

So, in this upcoming series of sermons, as I try to exegete the letter of James to those “scattered abroad,” I hope you will be encouraged to keep your faith as you work it out for others to see.

If you don’t regularly attend a church, and if you’re a little skeptical of the big TV-type ministries, I would encourage you to visit the website of the church where I pastor. Go to http://www.SouthSoddyBaptist.org. It’s not a big website, but it’s growing in content – simple, basic stuff meant to encourage and keep things real.

Have a great Lord’s Day!

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Christianity, Church, Preaching, wisdom

10 Tips for Having a GREAT Monday!

10 Tips for Having a GREAT Monday!

  1. Wake up. Yeah, I know this might sound like a given, but some people have the habit of sleeping through the whole day just to avoid it. Don’t do it! Wake up! Seize it!
  2. Don’t check the news, Facebook, or Twitter till at least lunchtime. Listen, I am an information junkie, even a smartphone addict, so I understand the hankering to tap those colorful little icons – just don’t do it today (Monday). If war has broken out, you will find out through other means; you don’t need to click on Fox or CNN or Yahoo News. If you got comments and likes in the middle of the night, don’t worry – Facebook will keep them on ice for you. The only thing you need to check before 7 a.m. is blog states and anything WordPress-related.
  3. Pray before you pee. I’m serious about this, folks. If you get out of bed and go to your earthly throne room first, it won’t be long before you forget about checking in with the Heavenly Throne room. Even if you have to tell Jesus: “Lord, I want to thank you for another day to serve you and bring you glory, but I will talk with you about some other stuff just after I get through in the bathroom,” do that. I’d rather you acknowledge your creator first than forget to thank the One who gave you Monday.
  4. Eat whatever you want for breakfast. I mean, hey, it’s Monday…just eat something and get on with it. You already have enough stuff on your plate to make you dread Monday, so why not make Monday-morning breakfast something to which you look forward? Pancakes, Fruity Pebbles, donuts, cake, pie, pizza, chocolate gravy and biscuits, cookies, waffles, and pure sugar are all legitimate options. Just make sure you include coffee.
  5. Read your Bible. Look, even if you don’t want to sit down with your leather-bound KJV or your plastic-covered NIV, find some way to consume the Bread of Life before your day gets going – you’re already going to be eating enough junk.
  6. Wake up to a catchy song for your alarm. If you have a smartphone that wakes you up, and if you can set your alarm to be a song, download Gloria Estefan’s “Conga” and shake your body out of the bed. It works! seriously!
  7. Tell your spouse you love her/him before you leave the house. Believe me, it makes for a better Monday… or Tuesday… or Wednesday… etc.
  8. Plan a God hunt. What is a God hunt, you ask? Determine that even though Monday’s can be depressing, determine to look for God working in some way. Make a game of it! See if you can beat last Monday’s record.
  9. Don’t forget to brush your teeth. Bad breath will guarantee a bad day. Wishing you’d remembered to brush your teeth will aggravate you all day. So, don’t forget.
  10. Don’t dress in the dark. Yes, if you want to have a GREAT Monday, make sure your clothes match before you head out for the day. Either that or ask your spouse how you look.

BONUS: Don’t let your wife ask you how she looks; there is no way to have a good day once that happens.

There you have it! Hope these tips help!

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Filed under General Observations, wisdom

Vizzini Says

This morning, after reading a response to a comment I left in regard to a post from a wonderful young blogger, I created the following meme (or as someone I know calls it, a “mee mee”).

You can go visit Courtney at 1 Timothy 4:12 Girl and share some encouragement – she’s obviously been missing out on some things.

Anybody got a DVD you could mail her?

Thanks 🙂

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Filed under blogging, wisdom

I Did the Crane Kick. Yes, I did!

I’m still going to do a review of “Cobra Kai” on YouTube and then post it here on my blog, but first, this

The Karate Kid

Did you go see “The Karate Kid” back when it came out? I did! As a matter of fact, I went on opening day, June 22, 1984. Believe me when I say it made a profound impact on my life.

“Cobra Kai” just came out on YouTube last month (May 2), and it is worth subscribing to YoutTube Red just to watch all 10 episodes of the first season (I’ll talk more about that in the video). But before my youngest daughter was able to appreciate “Cobra Kai,” she needed to watch “The Karate Kid.” After that, she got a better sense for why “Cobra Kai” got me so pumped.

But what my daughters can never fully understand is what I felt when that movie came out. To them, it’s just a movie, but to me, it was a lot like real life…because I was a Karate Kid.

The Karate Me

Back around 1982, I think (maybe ’81), I started taking martial arts. My first lessons came from a man who worked at the hospital with my mother. As a favor (even though he did charge a fee), he took me on as his only student. For several months I trained with him at his house in a big room where he also sewed sails for sailboats.

The first style of martial art I studied was not Karate, but Hawaiian Kenpo. Training would start with a run through the neighborhood and then some wooded area, then some stretching. After that, we would work on various techniques meant to harm one’s attacker. Enough said.

After a few months with my initial instructor, he moved away and left me starting over. It was shortly after that that in 1983, a new Karate dojo opened up about two miles from my home. Walter Ward, a Marine combat veteran from the Vietnam War, became my new instructor (sensei). He was affiliated with Ben Kiker’s United Karate Studios in Dalton, Georga (Great people, btw. Highly recommend them).

I was Mr. Ward’s first paying student. The only other students at the time were his niece and another kid (if I remember correctly), and they went for free. This is one reason why “Cobra Kai” resonates with me, but you’ll need to watch the first episodes on YouTube to understand.

Real Tournaments

You may not have known this, but in order to make the movie set appear more realistic, the people who made “The Karate Kid” actually held a real Karate tournament during the filming of the last scenes. The “extras” in the crowd not only came to see a movie be made but to watch their own kids participate in a real competition!

Therefore, when I went to see the movie, so much of the tournament part struck a chord with me. You see, I had already been competing in martial arts tournaments and had won several awards. And, as a matter of fact, I had already been training for a tournament that was to take place the very next day!

Now, About That Kick

According to the directors, producers, actors, and stunt coordinators (including the guy who played the part of the main referee, Pat Johnson…9th-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and affiliate of Chuck Norris), the “crane kick” was totally “bogus.” In other words, it was a made-up kick meant to look good on screen.

In other words, it wasn’t supposed to work in a real-life competition.

But it did.

Remember that tournament I was supposed to go to on Saturday, June 23, 1984? The tournament that took place one day after the opening day for “The Karate Kid”? Well, evidently one of my opponents hadn’t yet seen the movie… mwwahahaha!

Sooooo… Right off the bat, as soon as I squared off with my opponent and the judge said, “Fight!”, I made use of what has now become cinema legend. I took the position of the crane stance, one leg lifted, then waited for the unsuspecting fool to walk right into a front snap kick to the chest (no, I didn’t kick him in the face – that would have been illegal).

I scored the point and later won the fight! It was awesome!

Then everybody saw the movie.

Oh, well. It worked once, though 🙂


NOTE: As I mentioned above, I did most of my martial arts training with United Karate Studios. My dojo was in Chattanooga, but the main dojo was/is in Dalton, GA. I wanted to give them a shout-out. With UKS I learned respect and self-control. I learned how to fight, but I never had to – because I also learned how to walk away from one. It’s been over 30 years since I’ve worked out like back in those days, but what was instilled in my mind can be drawn upon in an instant.

It’s been a long time, but people with true character never change. I’ve got a feeling that Ben Kiker’s United Karate is still every bit the real-life “Miyagi-do” it was when I did that fantastic crane kick 🙂

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Filed under fitness, self-worth, wisdom

A Long 179 Hours (5 Years After the Fact)

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 5 years since I finally finished my Masters in Ministry. The following was first published in January of 2013. On a side note, I also received the seminary’s Theology Award – yay me!

Woo Hoo!

Finally, at the end of this spring semester, I will be graduating seminary with an M.Min. It has been a long time coming, too. As a matter of fact, there are people who were born after I started college who already have doctorates and are practicing medicine!

Nevertheless, even though it is not a Doctorate of Divinity or a Doctorate of Philosophy, it is still an accomplishment. It is an accomplishment that has been brought about by the accumulation of 179 credit hours. If you add to that the hours I completed that were not accredited, I would have close to 225!

How Long?

But what does all that really mean? How long did it take to complete 179 hours? Seven and a half years? Far from it, my friends. Far from it.

The average college student, if he didn’t do anything else, could have completed all of the above hours of courses in 6 years.  Add in the total amount I have taken and an average student could have done it all in 8 years, if not sooner. So, when you stop and look at how long it took me, well, let’s just say I am not average.

Here are a few points to put things in perspective…

  • 1971 Press ReleaseRegGas was less than $1 per gallon. The year after I graduated high school, a friend of mine and I took a 1971 Chrysler Imperial on a road trip from Tennessee to Florida. That car could only get 200 miles to a tank of gas, and we still had money to spend.
  • Cassette Tapes to Clouds. When I first started college I was so excited to get a Pioneer cassette deck for my 67 Mustang. Now, my iPhone can hold more music than I could have afforded to own in the 80’s.
  • Bag Phone to iPhone. The first cell phone I used was bolted to the floor of a truck and had a rotary dial, not buttons. The first cell phone I owned came in a bag with a battery four to five times the size of an iPhone. I couldn’t always afford to talk, but I would hold it up to my ear while driving (it was legal to do that back then), especially in the dark, just to show off.
  • Typewriters and Printers. Most people don’t remember typewriters, but I had to use them in high school. Later, after the advent of personal computers, I was able to snag a Tandy 1000. But do you remember those old printers that used paper that had to be guided on rollers? It would take 10 minutes to print a 10-page paper! Still, it was better than typing.
  • Textbooks to E-books. When I first started college an e-book was unheard of. Now textbooks are offered for iPads, Kindles, and phones. I still prefer something with paper, however.
  • Babies to Baby Makers. I have been going to college for so long that babies born when I started have already graduated college and started families! Those babies are now older than the age of girl I was dating in 1987!

It has been a long 179 hours, that’s for sure. Sorta reminds me of eternity. The big difference is that I’m actually looking forward to eternity 🙂

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Filed under Future, General Observations, Life Lessons, wisdom

After-Christmas Gifts

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11

Late-Comers

Part of the Christmas story can be found in the book of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament. There, in chapter two, we read of several wise men, Magi, who followed the star till it rested over the place where the young Jesus was living.

But what most people fail to notice is that only the shepherds came to visit Jesus while he was still a baby in a manger. The Magi came later, once they were living “in the house” and Jesus was a “young child.” And, based on Herod’s decree that all male children 2 years old and younger should be killed (Matt. 2:16), Jesus could have been a toddler up and walking.

Simply put, generally, every manger scene protested against by atheists is not a faithful representation of the Christmas story. How ironic is that? But I digress…

The Gifts

When the Magi came to Bethlehem in search of “he that is born King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2), they brought with them three very rare and valuable gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They were not random gifts, but ones with specific political, spiritual, and practical importance; they were meant to recognize a literal, earthly, but also heavenly King.

gold frankincense and myrrhGold was a universally recognized precious metal, symbolic of all wealth. Frankincense was a substance primarily used as incense, but also mixed with other substances to create the holy anointing oil placed on high priests and kings. Myrrh was a substance used for things ranging all the way from cosmetics and antiseptics, to perfuming the living and embalming the dead.

According to Matthew 2:11, the Magi fell down before Jesus, which would have been an appropriate response when in the presence of royalty (and these men knew the difference). But the wise men did more than fall prostrate before royalty, they “worshiped him.”  This young king was more than just “King of the Jews,” but the long-promised Messiah, and they offered their gift to the Son of God.

Are You Wise?

As long as I can remember there have been sermons preached during and before Christmas entitled, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.” The sermons focus primarily on the seeking leading up to Christmas, but rarely, if ever, on the gifts given after the celebration is over. But today is different.

Today, I am going to ask you to consider three gifts we should give, now that the birthday celebration is over.

  • Gold. Gold represented wealth. In your worship of the King, will you give Him your wealth? In reality, God owns everything, including everything He loans unto you. But with your heart, are you willing to lay everything that is most valuable to you at His feet?
  • Frankincense. Frankincense represented worship. Would you be willing to fall down before Jesus, or do you hold back some of your Frankincense in reserve? Are there idols in your life – people or things – for which you reserve a little of that anointing oil, making those things lords of your life? Would you be willing to make Jesus Lord of all? Will you worship him without reservation?
  • Myrrh. Myrrh was symbolic of the beauty of life, from beginning to end. Would you give to Jesus everything that makes you happy? Everything that brings you hope? Everything that is sweet-smelling? Everything that hides your faults and failures, disguising your true self? Would you give Jesus your life? He can do more with it than you can do on your own.

Returns

For several days after Christmas people will stand in line to return and/or exchange unwanted gifts. Many will trade what others gave them for something they want more. Others will just ask for a refund or in-store credit.

Rest assured that when you give your gifts to Jesus, he will not return them, exchange them, or re-gift them next year. But will you, once you realize what you’ve given, want to take something back?

Don’t wait for a New Year’s resolution. Now that Christmas is over, be like the Magi and leave everything at Jesus’ feet, then “depart…another way.” Once you give Jesus those three gifts, you’ll never be the same.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christmas, God, Love of God, salvation, wisdom, worship