Category Archives: World View

When you hear the sound of the trumpet…

Nearly seven years ago (Oct. 28, 2010) I wrote the following post. Now that a new school year is upon us – and now that I’m actually pastoring in Soddy Daisy, TN, it seems appropriate to be reminded of some some things that are as true today as they were back then.


Last night (10/28/2010) I had the honor to participate in an event of community prayer.  I was invited to speak by a student at Soddy Daisy High School.  If you don’t know what happened, a whole bunch of people gathered together in the park to celebrate our right and freedom to pray, even though it was recently mandated that prayer be stopped before football games.  This meeting was organized by students who decided enough was enough.

In my closing remarks (I spoke for 7 1/2 minutes) I brought up the story of Nehemiah, specifically a part in chapter 4, verse 20. Nehemiah, in response to threats from enemies intent on stopping them from rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, set people on the wall as lookouts.   Being that the wall was big and spread out, and being that there were few people, Nehemiah came up with a plan.  He said :

“The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall.  Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there.  Our God will fight for us.” Nehemiah 4:19-20 NKJV

To me, and I am just little ol’ me, there should have been a lot more people present last night.  Why?  A trumpet was sounded for the body of Christ to come to the aid of not only Soddy Daisy, but for all of Hamilton County.  An attack on our freedoms, as both Christians and Americans, has come to our soil.  Why is it that our schedules and programs and our own sections of the wall are more important than stopping the enemy somewhere else?

Last night was your typical “Wednesday night prayer meeting” night.  Besides the fact that prayer is rarely the object of attention at a lot of these meetings, what would have been wrong with jumping in the church bus and heading to where the trumpet was sounding?  Where there may have been 500+ at this event last night, there should have been 1-2000.  Why were they not there? Because it was more important for local congregations to remain safe and snug in their own little sections of  “the wall.”  

Here was a prime example of LEGALISM in action, for many did not want to participate in an event that featured speakers who weren’t part of a particular denomination.  

Here was a prime example of LAZINESS, for it may have been difficult to get people together to go somewhere on a weeknight, especially if it wasn’t to Ryan’s (the local steak house) or the bowling alley.  

Here was a prime example of DENIAL, PRIDE, and APATHY, for there were others who did not attend because they either didn’t think there’s a problem, it wasn’t their idea, or they just really didn’t care.  Folks, what has been “typical” needs to be trashed.

This past Sunday I told my congregation that I would be in Soddy Daisy on Wednesday night because a trumpet had been sounded.  I went to stand in the gap with my brothers and sisters who cared enough to make a public stand against the tyranny of a few over the wishes of the people.  

In the future, when other trumpets sound,  I pray that the churches of our county and our country will rally together in defense of the few walls we have left in this nation… a nation that, for now, claims to be “under God.”

May our God truly fight for us, for we don’t seem to want to fight for ourselves.

…Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses. – Nehemiah 4:14

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Filed under baptist, Christian Living, Christian Unity, General Observations, Independent Baptist, legalism, Southern Baptist, World View

There IS Purpose

I have posted this before (the last time in 2014), but it’s just as relevant today as ever.


To Begin With…

The world is in a state of turmoil. Pain and suffering are everywhere. Worry and fear are some of the more common emotions among men and women these days. In the midst of all this unforgiving stress, the hurting need comfort; yet, where are they to find it?  I believe that comfort can be found in the belief that this world is not the result of an accident, but design. I believe that there is more to life than what we can see. I believe in a Creator. I believe in God. This belief gives me comfort in the midst of pain and suffering.

But…

Many (but not all) scientists, however, do not believe in a Creator, so they pursue meaning and purpose through the discovery of new things, improving mankind’s situation, and better anticipating the future of the universe. Even though great scientists of the past viewed science as a means to further understand God’s creation, leading them to give God praise for His magnificent design, many modern scientists see the universe through a naturalistic worldview. They tend to comfort themselves in the supposed fact that this universe, made of matter, is all that there is – nothing more. They reason that since life is just a natural process and that matter is all that there is, what does it matter (pun intended) if there is no purpose to life? To the naturalist (the typical scientist), it is all about the here-and-now, occasionally sprinkled with purposeless wonder and meaningless awe.

Science?

A recent “scientific” study was conducted that shed some interesting light on the reasons why people choose to believe that there is a Designer of the universe, rather than purposeless existence after death. Just consider the title of the study: “Death and Science: The Existential Underpinnings of Belief in Intelligent Design and Discomfort with Evolution.” (Tracy, Hart, Martens) This study showed that when faced with the ultimate reality of death, most choose to find comfort in the belief that there is a design to everything, which would suggest purpose, rather than hold to Darwin’s theory of evolution. When faced with what was called “mortality salience,” even the unreligious tended to be “uncomfortable” with the theory of evolution. The conductors of the experiment were amazed (I found it perfectly logical), even indignant at times (which I thought was funny). Sadly, the researchers who conducted the study were obviously predisposed to atheism and the idea that the universe is un-designed. Surely they included themselves in the category of “certain individuals who are more deeply invested in the scientific worldview (e.g., scientists),” and, like Carl Sagan, viewed “naturalism as providing human life with meaning and purpose.” (Tracy, Hart and Martens 10)

Only a fool could look at a working machine that had every feature capable of performing a particular task and call that machine a random collection of atoms without purpose or meaning. Even the Psalmist said, “the fool hath said in his heart, [there is] no God.” On the other hand, the logical person would conclude, at some point, that the universe machine must have been designed by a Designer. To illustrate this, William Paley (1743-1805) used a pocket watch as an analogy to describe what one should conclude when he looks at the universe. Like a lone watch found on a beach, the universe should be to the observer an intricate work of art made for a purpose. People that are logical also see themselves as instruments of purpose, because they can recognize things that bear the marks of design. Why should it be a surprise to anyone, that when faced with death, the need for meaning would be important to the same, thoughtful, logical observer? “When we see evidence of intelligent design…we naturally assume that an intelligent designer was responsible for constructing the object.” (Phillips, Brown and Stonestreet 78)

Ten Words

The Christian can find his whole sense of purpose in the ten words that make up Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The Christian scientist can also read these words and find confirmation to his observations. It is the naturalistic scientist that looks at William Paley’s watch analogy (teleological argument) and comes to the illogical conclusion that “chance plus time” created a beautifully intricate machine out of nothing.

If the universe is Godless, and it was not designed for a purpose, then meaning is irrelevant. The thing that is designed for a purpose, even if only to amuse, has a purpose, which gives meaning to every aspect of its being. Something that was not designed, created, or brought about either in reality or in the abstract, exists, at best, by accident. There is no purpose inherent within an accident (accidents are by definition unplanned), unless, of course, the accident was caused. If an accident is caused, even if it was not purposeful, then it was at least caused, was it not? So, either way, it could be argued that whether the universe was designed or came about by accident, there was a Something that brought it about, for both are objects of a Creator, else neither would have existed.

Waxing Philosophical

In conclusion, I would now argue that if the universe was either designed or the result of an accident, and if both design and accident have to have a cause; and, since accidents usually don’t result in the promotion of life-sustaining details, but rather carnage; and, since the universe mirrors best an intricate machine full of life; therefore, it must be designed, not an accident. If, then, the universe was the product of a Designer, then there must be a purpose inherent in the design. In other words, there is a reason for everything we see. It may be hidden somewhere in the workings of this great machine. Or, it could be found in the revelation of the Designer – the Bible.

There is, according to Scripture, a purpose for everything. Even amidst all the turmoil of the Vietnam War era a song came out by a group call The Byrds entitled, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The lyrics included a line from Ecclesiastes 3:1 which said, “a time to every PURPOSE (emphasis mine) under heaven.” To everything there is a purpose, even though it may not be plain to the observer. For example, unless they are meant to be a prank, buttons and levers on a machine usually have a purpose. Even if they don’t do anything, they had the purpose to illicit a response of some kind from the observer. That being understood, if there seems to be any design to the universe, wouldn’t it make the most sense to assume there was a Designer? If there was a Designer, then there was a purpose for the design. And the Bible says that the purpose, if for no other reason, was to cause “…all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him [the LORD]. For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast.” – Psa 33: 8-9 KJV

God made everything for a reason. You have a purpose. There IS hope in Jesus Christ.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. – Psalm 31:24 KJV

Works Cited

Tracy, J. L., J. Hart and J. P. Martens. 2011. Death and Science: The Existential Underpinnings of Belief in Intelligent Design and Discomfort with Evolution. PLoS ONE. 6 (3): e17349.

Phillips, W. Gary, William E. Brown and John Stonestreet. Making Sense of Your World, A Biblical Worldview. Salem, Wisconsin: Sheffield Publishing Company, 2008.

Here is a link to the Institute for Creation Research article addressing the study mentioned above: http://www.icr.org/article/6039/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+icrscienceupdate+%28Science+Update+from+ICR%29&utm_content=FaceBook


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Filed under Apologetics, God, Uncategorized, World View

June 6th… Would We Do It Again?

d day

Seventy-three years have passed since the pride of the Allies, 156,000 strong, stepped out of landing craft and jumped out of airplanes into the mouth of a monster ready to eat them alive.

Seventy-three years have passed since young men from America, England, and Canada (and we must not forget Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland) landed on beaches called Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

Seventy-three years ago, long before the fancy rock-climbing walls which are so popular in today’s health clubs and gyms,  the 2nd Ranger battalion “led the way” up the 100 ft. cliffs of Pointe du Hoc.

Seventy-three years ago, on the 6th of June, 2,499 American and 1,914 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4,413, gave their lives for the sake of freedom.

Seventy-three years ago men were stepping on the backs of their comrades as they sloshed through red water, breathed in the mist of war, and wondered if they would live to see the ground only yards (meters) in front of them.

On June 6, 1944, seventy-three years ago, it was said of those who landed:

They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio broadcast, June 6, 1944

It is the 6th of June, 2017, but are we still a people with the stomach to liberate? If we were the ones living seventy-three years ago, where would we be today?

Ask those in pajamas talking on free smart phones. Ask the protesters who don’t even know why they protest. Ask those who are burning the American flag because “America was never great.”

image

It cost a lot to buy seventy-three years of freedom. Would we do it again?

If not, God help us.

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Filed under America, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials, World View

Atheists on Christianity

I wrote the following post back in 2010. Because of some recent conversations and comments, I thought I’d re-post it for this Monday morning.

You know, I was just watching some videos of atheists firing all their best shots at Christians and the belief that there is a God. One such video that you could watch on YouTube is of a debate put on by ABC. The Christians were Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, but I can’t (or don’t care to) remember the names of the others. If there was anything more evident than anything else, it was the snarky, condescending, teenager-ish, even (may I dare say) “b***hy” attitudes of the atheists.  Their attitude was typical of people who hate being told what to do (just like juveniles that argues about everything, even when they know they’re wrong).  It really just made me sad.

Then I looked down at my shirt…

At this moment I am wearing a T-shirt that shows all of the more common, recognizable religious symbols of the world. In the middle is a cross, the symbol of Christianity. What a stark contrast to all the others is the cross! A symbol of death for crimes not committed. A symbol that used to stand for shame, but now for the One who bore our shame. He didn’t have to, you know. What other symbol represents that?  What other symbol offers forgiveness from the very One that suffered unjustly?  What other symbol cries out, “Agape!

Atheism and all of its relatives are on the march, emboldened and encouraged by a world that wants to have it their own way. They are vicious and brash.  They have a chip on their shoulder because of all that “sinner” stuff.  “Even if there is a God, who are you Christians to say you have the only way?” they ask.  

But guess what, this isn’t Burger King; “this is my Father’s world,” and His rules apply. God (the Christian God) will have the final say. And, just like my shirt says, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.”

Just say’n.  

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Filed under General Observations, Uncategorized, World View

Happy Earth Day 2017

Embracing Diversity

Let’s face it, I have a wide variety of people who follow this blog. They range from the ultra right-wing conservative branches of the political and religious spectrum, to the left-wing, tree-hugging,  tofu-eating, god-hating leftist trolls who do nothing all day but listen for billy goats to cross their pitiful bridges. Obviously, with that kind of readership, I’m going to offend somebody, no matter what I say.

Yet, I embrace this diversity! My arms are extended and waiting to offer hugs to anyone and everyone who would let me show love. I may not affirm your lifestyle, and I may disagree with what you believe, but at least I care about you.

That being said, I know someone is going to be offended by what I’m about to write. However, there’s always another day and another blog post that you can enjoy. As the climate fluctuates, so do the posts of this blog 😉

Another Earth Day

A lot of melted glacial water has floated to the ocean since the first days of Earth Day celebrations. Predictions have come and gone, and yet the world is still flowing right along. A little warmer, maybe, but still here.

Early predictions from the first Earth Day in 1970 guaranteed that we would not be around until the year 2000. Some predictions had the world ending by 1985. Yet, here we are in 2017 and nothing much has really changed.

Do I believe that the earth might be a little warmer than it was in 1970? I guess it could be. I mean, I haven’t really been checking the temperature every day since I was three years old. But what I do know, is that we still have four seasons every year. Just like it’s always been, seasons change, and so will the epochs of nature.

If global warming is truly a thing, do I believe that man is contributing to it? No, I don’t. It has been warmer, then it got colder (they called it the ice age). Then, for some reason, long before man used coal and gasoline-powered engines to industrialize the world, things got warmer! Man had nothing to do with it!

A Proper Perspective 

What I do believe is that God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He created both the earth and day, and night, and time, and matter, and us. This is His world, not ours; but we are to be good stewards of what He has given us to manage.

I do not believe it is the Christian thing to do to waste resources, t0 pollute the environment, to run crazy with all of our self-pleasing pursuits at the risk of damaging creation. God cares about his creation, which is why one day He will remove the curse that is upon it because of sin. However, because creation belongs to the Creator, it is not the creation that we should be worshiping; we should be celebrating the One who made it.

If kept in the proper perspective, World Earth Day could be a good thing. On the other hand, if all it is meant to be is an anti-capitalist, anti-God, celebration of a deified planet, one where humans are taught to be the scourge of the earth, rather than the epitome of creation, you can keep it!

In reality, I sort of feel like paraphrasing the apostle Paul when he was writing to the church at Corinth: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you” (1 Thessalonians 5:1).

Just take care of what God has given you, praise God for it, and leave the season changing to him (Daniel 2:21).

PS, here’s a great article for today by reporter John Stossel. 

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Filed under blogging, community, current events, General Observations, Global Warming, Weather, World View

Bumper Stickers

The following was first published in 2010…7 years ago! I sure do miss that car. That was a “preacher’s ride” if ever I saw one. Now I drive a white mini-van. What has the world come to?

“The Ride”

My wife will not let me put a bumper sticker of any kind on her car.  Even if she was driving a rusty Chevy Vega which desperately needed the qualities of something with adhesive properties to keep her bumper stuck to her car…”no bumper stickers!”

Not so with my steed.  Staples and zip ties already hold parts of my car together; sticky things are no biggie, you see.  Really, what I mean to say is that “The Ride” is not too good to advertise TheRecoveringLegalist.com, even though my wife thinks her car is too special.  HA!

Bumper stickers are something akin to free advertisement…

…They promote whatever you want other people to know about you and what you think, or for that matter, how well your kids think.  Plastered to the back of a rolling billboard, they catch the eye of total strangers who have the random chance to find themselves behind you and I in traffic, or who catch a glimpse in a parking garage.  Some people, I have come to realize, are advertising more than they know, for some bumper stickers betray a hidden (at least to the owner of the car) stupidity.

There are so many bumper stickers that scream “MORON!

Here is one that I saw.  What a profound question.  Why do we kill people that kill people?  Could it be that we don’t want them to kill people again?  Could it be that they deserve to die for taking an innocent child’s life?  Could it be that there are those out there on parole who would love to shoot your stupid…..(calm yourself, Anthony)…..well, they would love to steal your car and leave you beside the road in a ditch, then drive away with your false advertisement on THEIR bumper.

The one that I would have to say gets me the most, maybe because I see it the most, is COEXIST.  I just love all the little symbols that are used to make up the happy little plea for love and harmony.  Too bad what it tells me is that the owner of the car is a blooming idiot, at the very least, or somehow an ostrich has learned how to drive with his head in the sand. 

The message behind the little sticker is really, “Hey you Christians!  Can you quit being so narrow-minded and hateful?  Don’t you know that we all just want to get along, but you keep screwing it up?”  All religions are the same, you know, or that’s the idea.  We are all worshiping the same god, just by a different name, or so they say.  All paths lead to heaven, it’s just that some choose to take a shortcut by blowing themselves to Allah in the name of Jihad…is that so wrong?

Tell that to the “C”

I like the following verse. Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy…”  As Christians, we should be speaking out about the goodness and mercy of our God, not trying to seek favor with false gods by “COEXISTing” in perfect joy and mutual admiration. 

People in this country have the right to free speech and to freedom of religion, but if you haven’t noticed, we are in a real religious war.  The “C” doesn’t like the “T” or any other symbol in that bumper sticker.  If you’re going to put something on your bumper, make, it something that points people down the narrow road, not the wide one that leads to destruction. 

Show your intelligence and advertise your faith…just don’t be tacky and weird about it…or then we get back into the looking-like-a-moron thing that my wife so desperately wants to avoid.

Now here’s an idea for the “perfect” bumper sticker!

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Filed under America, Apologetics, Christian Living, Christian Unity, General Observations, Uncategorized, World View

Size Shaming? Or Just a Lie?

Ticked Teen

Colossians 3:21 (KJV) says, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Therefore, unless absolutely necessary, I try not to make my youngest daughter, Haley, mad at me.

Not only do I not want to see her discouraged, but she has a grudge-holding characteristic comparable to an elephant with an attitude – she never forgets, so neither will the offender. Maybe it’s just a female thing.

Anyway, Haley would be upset with me if I didn’t follow through with a promise: a promise to write about the craziness of the same size of clothing being labeled as different sizes. Here’s the post, Haley…I’m writing it.

4 Pants, 4 Sizes

Haley came into the office area where I was sitting at my computer. Draped over her arm were four garments; each one was a pair of pants, all the same length, and all having the same circumference around the waist. Man (or woman), was she ticked.

“Would you look at this!” she huffed. “Why do they do this?” she asked. At that point she held up the four pair of pants, waist to waste, and then asked, “Do these look any different?” Well, honestly, to my male-chromosomed ocular orbs they looked exactly the same, which worried me. Should I answer, or not?

“Well,” I began cautiously, “they all do look to be the same size, I suppose.”

“Exactly,” Haley replied, “but now look at this!” She then proceeded to show me the various tags attached to the inside of each garment, and I’ll be dang if every one was different!

Haley was frustrated, and I can understand why. Let’s just say somebody asked what size of pants a guy wears. If he answered “36,” you could go to just about any clothing store and find a pair of jeans, size 36, and the waist circumference would be comparable to any other brand or make of pants for men in the same size. For guys a 36 is a 36, end of story.

Not so for women’s clothing. Why is that?

Perception is Reality…Change the sizes! 

As best as I can surmise, women don’t like to be called “fat.” Therefore, the larger the number attached to the size of a garment, the lower the self-esteem, especially when asked what size she wears.

When I asked my wife about this, she informed me that women’s sizes today are a lot larger, but the numbers have stayed the same. In other words, if we were to compare a size 8 from today to a size 8 from 20 years ago, we would find today’s size 8 a lot bigger than the 8’s of the past.

To put it another way, if it makes you feel fat to wear a size 24, then fitting into a size 12 will make you feel like you’ve lost 150 lbs. It’s all about perception.

One big problem with this kind of thinking, however, is that no matter how often you redefine something, the objective standard of the bathroom scale never changes. 

And neither does God’s Word. 

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Filed under clothing, General Observations, Relationships and Family, World View