Tag Archives: Holidays

Christmas IS the Gospel

This month will see a lot of Christmas sermons preached, and if you actually go to church somewhere, you might actually get to hear some 😉

But if you aren’t planning on attending any church services this December, or if you just can’t get enough of sermons on the subject of Christmas, I would encourage you to listen to the one I’m attaching below.

Several years ago (2012) while pastoring at another church, I delivered a sermon entitled “Christmas Is the Gospel.” It was recorded on my iPhone that was sitting on the pulpit, so don’t expect too high a quality of production.

Why did the angels tell the shepherds what they are about to hear was “good tidings”? Pick up a Bible and turn to the book of Luke, chapter two, and follow along.

Listen: Christmas IS the Gospel

And remember, “sharing” is caring 🙂

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Filed under Christmas, God, Preaching, salvation

Not Just for Americans

As I sit in bed with a laptop on my… lap…duh… I can’t help but wonder if anyone will have the time to read this post. I mean, really, it’s Thanksgiving!

Oh, I just said I’m lying in bed, but don’t think for a moment it’s because I’m being lazy; I was up with my wife, daughters, and sister till 2 a.m. getting ready for today’s Thanksgiving meal.

People talk about how many calories we consume on Thanksgiving, but when you think of how many calories are burned during the preparation, I think it all evens out.

But the whole reason I’m taking a moment to write is because Thanksgiving shouldn’t be an exclusively American holiday. Sure, the historical basis for the actual Thanksgiving holiday is unique and should be celebrated, but the call to be thankful should be heralded across every land.

Without question, Americans will consume more food today than much of the world will see all year. Unfortunately, the whole idea behind having a feast to celebrate God’s blessings will be lost on most. As I have heard just this morning, the main thing people have been stating as the meaning of Thanksgiving is “to gather with family” and be “thankful for friends.”

However, if nothing else, what we should be being thankful for are blessing that span every continent and people group. Both the poor and the rich, the slave and the free, the sick and the well, the forgotten and the famous have plenty to celebrate.

We are loved by God. So much so that He made a Way for us to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ.

We are the recipients God’s mercy. How often has the Righteous One withheld His hand of judgment? Do you ever stop to think how close to hell each of us really could be if not for the mercy of God?

Grace! Amazing grace! It doesn’t matter where you are from, America or Zimbabwe, even Paradise, California, God’s grace is there and in superabundance. Where mercy is not getting what we deserve, grace is God’s unmerited favor shown toward those who can offer Him nothing.

The ones sitting around a table eating turkey are not different than the child in Haiti eating mud cookies: without God’s grace we would be eternally lost. This world is not all there is, and what is waiting on the other side will far outweigh the sufferings and sorrows endured during this life – and the only reason we have hope is because of God’s grace.

Yes, I’m thankful for the fact that today I can sit at a table with my wife, all three of our daughters, my sister who’s here visiting from Germany, my son-in-law, and a friend or two. I’m thankful for the fact that we are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a large meal, including turkey and dressing. But even if all we were having was a cold bowl of cereal and decaffeinated coffee, God has been good.

Thank you, Lord, for all you have provided, but thank you most of all for your grace. May you be praised.

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Filed under America, Thanksgiving

Happy President’s Day!

Happy President’s Day, for what it’s worth.

However you celebrate it, I hope your holiday (if you’re out of work or school) is not hampered by allergies. Allergies are unpatriotic.

Oh, by the way, I only realized I had the American Flag hanging improperly AFTER I made this video and deleted the original “film.” Oh well, you get the point. It’s been 3 years since I made this Monday Monkey video, so there’s no going back now.

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I’m Sorry, but It’s Mother’s Day

The Gripe

My dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to read the sometimes uncaring and cold-hearted commentary of a man without the “wo”;  a male without the “fe”;  and a testosterone-producing, horsepower-loving, father and husband who sometimes leaves the toilet seat up – on purpose. But that being said, I am not completely insensitive.

For example, I love kittens and puppies, the laughs of little children, and the occasional chick-flick. But more to the point, I understand that for some women, Mother’s Day is not the happiest day of the year.

Just the other day someone shared with me a link to an interesting and eye-opening article, An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day). I read it, thought about it, and got it. The only problem is that I (the pastor) am not the only one who contributes to the whole Mother’s Day celebration – mothers do!

If dad forgets to say, “Happy Mother’s Day, dear,” the wife gets her feelings hurt and then there’s Hades to pay. If the kids forget to say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” or forget to make a card out of noodles and Elmer’s glue, start handing out the tissues and Xanax. If the pastor forgets to make a big deal out of the holiday, or forgets to purchase carnations to distribute at the end of the service, then some little old lady will be demanding a special meeting to discuss his replacement.

So, as one who’s congregation is made up of more women than men, by a large – not a good word – significant percentage, what in the name of Oprah am I supposed to do???

The Plan

Here’s my plan: I will try to please everybody.

Mothers, we love you. Single women, we love you. Wives without children, we love you. Single, expectant mothers, we love you. Women who’ve lost their children, we love you. Women who want to have children but can’t, we love you. Those of you who had an abusive mother and still nurse the scars, we love you. Women who have adopted or are foster parents, we love you. Women who teach and mentor kids that are not your own, we love you. And what’s more, ladies, God loves you and understands your story more than any earthly man, even more than Dr. Phil.

Now, to those of you who just hate kids and want nothing to do with them, well… I guess I can’t please everybody, after all.

The Song

So, I’m sorry, but it is the Mother’s Day weekend, and some traditions must go on. Each year on this blog I post one of the best Mother’s Day songs ever written, if not the best; I can’t help it if it doesn’t please everybody.  Just understand it was written by a half-brained male with frequent-stayer points at the Dog House Inn.

My Mother :-)

My Mother 🙂

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Filed under current events, Humor, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Happy Atheist’s Day!

Steve Martin wrote a bluegrass song (well, he sang it on stage with the Steep Canyon Rangers, at least) about atheists not having any songs. It was funny. I even saw him sing it live a few years ago.

On the other hand, Christians have several holidays we celebrate. There is Easter (just around the corner), Christmas, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Lent, Boxing Day, All Saint’s Day, Good Friday, and a few others.

What do atheists have? April Fool’s Day!

But wait! Don’t atheists celebrate other days as well? Sure they do! Besides celebrating Christmas and Easter in their own godless ways, atheists are said to observe at least ten (10) other holidays when they’re not trying to ban crosses from roadsides, or mangers from public lawns.

  1. Earth Day – This is the day when atheists can pretend to have a god, name it Maya, and celebrate its existence as they try to preserve it.
  2. Solstice – When the planets all line up, or when the days and nights get long, atheists can celebrate the complexity of an intergalactic machine that made itself.
  3. Arbor Day – When even the loneliest atheist needs love, they can hug a tree.
  4. Mothers and Fathers Day – Hey, even atheist have parents. They didn’t come from monkeys, you know.
  5. July 4th – The perfect holiday for the American atheist who is happy his ignorant, bigoted, racist, religious Forefathers (along with a couple of intellectual agnostics) decided to start a new country founded on free speech and the freedom of religion. It gives him something he can fight against, which is practically everything they stood for.
  6. World Health Day – Cause even atheists hate getting the flu and AIDS.
  7. International Talk Like a Pirate Day – Arrrg! Who doesn’t enjoy talking like a mythical version of a murderous criminal of the sea, right?
  8. El Día de los Muertos – This is a Latin holiday, the Day of the Dead. Atheists love to reminisce about those who have gone on before, keeping their memory alive…because that’s all they’ll ever have.
  9. International Coming Out Day – Because closets are for clothes, old video tapes of NOVA, and apprehensions.
  10. Richard Dawkins’ Birthday – It’s sorta like Christmas, but without the virgin birth, nasty mangers, hope, and angels. There’s plenty of worshiping, however.

But seriously, no holiday is more fitting for the atheist than April Fool’s Day. After all, isn’t it the fool who says in his heart there is “no God” (Psalm 53:1)?

So, HAPPY ATHEIST DAY!…within reason, of course. 😉

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Filed under Humor, World View

Christmas Monkey Recap

It’s late in the day, but it is still Monday. So, why not a Monday Monkey episode?

Actually, this is a video I made for Christmas 2012 (I think). My wife, Valerie, should have gotten an Oscar for the “scream.”

I promise, more Monkey videos are on the way. Promise.

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Filed under animals, Christmas, Humor, Monday Monkey, Relationships and Family

90 and Kicking

Grandmommy

“Grandmommy” is my wife’s grandmother on her mother’s side.  Her actual name is Helen, and we celebrated her 90th birthday with a big party at our place (in the fellowship hall of our church – I’m the only guy on the block with a gym in his back yard).

grandmommieIt was a real treat to be able to take part in such a rare occasion. 90th birthdays don’t come around too often. As a matter of fact, living to 90 is nearly 20 years beyond the average. So, it was a privilege to be able to play music with my daughter as she sang for her great-grandmother.

One of the greatest moments (in my mind) was when Mr. Monkey sang happy birthday. Of course he would only sing when my face was covered. For some reason he couldn’t sing when I was looking.

Another great moment was when she sat there staring at the candles as they slowly burned, dripping melted wax onto the icing of her cake. “Make a wish, Grandmommy!” they would say. “I don’t know what to wish for,” she replied.

“How about another 90 years?” I suggested. Nervous laughter, like an “lol” that is never really “out loud” filled the room.

New Family

lisa and husbandBesides getting to celebrate a birthday, I got to meet a wonderful young couple, Ian and Lisa, who is now part of the family. Both of them are graduates of Liberty University and love the Lord. We had a lot of things in common, even though I was 20 years older. They even laughed at Mr. Monkey, so how bad could they be, right?

Crosses

cross with copper wireAs I was talking with Lisa I found out she had a website and business. She makes little cross necklaces out of horseshoe nails. Below is a link to her website. Check it out, and if you buy anything, let her know you found out about her on this blog.

Visit Nailed4Christ.com

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Christmas Is the Gospel

The first Sunday of December brought with it many sermons about Christmas, I am sure. Riverside Baptist Church was no exception. The message this morning had to do with Christmas, but especially the “good news” of Christmas…the Gospel.

You may never have the opportunity to visit our little church in Chattanooga, but today I am going to give you an opportunity to hear what I preached. The recording isn’t fancy, but it is understandable. I recorded it on my iPhone…the same one I used to record Mr. Monkey acting like a fool (or is that me?).

Pick up a Bible and turn to the book of Luke, chapter two, and follow along.

Listen: Christmas is the Gospel

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Monday Monkey “Happy Birthday” (Episode 30)

Woo Hoo! Happy Birthday!

Yep, it’s my birthday. I am 45 years old. 45 years ago one woman was given the honor to be my mother.

Will there be cake? I don’t know. Will there be presents? I don’t know. Will there be donations sent in from around the world to the Keep Anthony from Being Poor fund? I don’t know.

What Matters

Aside from a loving family and a roof over my head, what more could I ask for? Riches? No. A new car? Uh, no. I think I have been pretty blessed. And what’s more, I have something that no one else in the world has…

I have a monkey that can sing “happy birthday” to me.

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Filed under Humor, Monday Monkey, Uncategorized

The Season Begins

So, Thanksgiving is behind us. All the cooking and Pilgrim costumes are a thing of the past. Of course, there are still plenty of leftovers to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, late visitors, desert, bedtime snacks, brunch, and dog treats.

Now, all we have to do is look forward to the holiday renowned for peace (clearing throat in a sarcastic way).

Black Friday

For the first time ever, I actually went shopping in the early-morning hours of Black Friday. I could not convince my wife to stay in bed until the crowds were finished assaulting each other after waiting hours in the cold for the stores to open. No, we had to get up and stand in line for something they had only 50 of, even though we were 150th in line.

Eventually, after whining enough, my wife agrees to drag us to the mall. There, the stores had already been open since 4am, so the stampedes were essentially over. Everyone had a pleasant, cheerful attitude. The rest were already being booked at the county jail.

I have an idea for next year. We need to go stand in line where the first 50 customers get a new iPad3 for $25 and do some witnessing. I bet if we do our best Ray Comfort/Kirk Cameron impressions for a few hours, we’d either have a whole new congregation of believers, or we would be martyred for our faith. If not that, we would be sure to move up in line.

Recording Friday

I heard on the news that yesterday actually set some records. How ironic is that? I made a record (well, I recorded something).

Yesterday, my daughter and I recorded a radio program to be broadcast this Sunday. It was unusual to have my daughter, Katie, on the program, since it is usually a time for me to preach. Nevertheless, it was pretty cool to interview her and talk about what God had showed her in His word.

While we were in the recording mood, Katie wanted to record a song. Actually, it was a medley – “This is My Father’s World / What a Wonderful World.” I am including it in today’s post. Hope you enjoy it.

This Is My Father’s World Medley

 

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Filed under God, ministry, Relationships and Family, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, Witnessing, worship