Tag Archives: Joel Osteen

Thursday Thoughts

It’s another Thursday – and a cold one! – here in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  It was a whopping 5 degrees Fahrenheit this morning, and that’s cold enough to make Joel Osteen preach on hell to get warm. [Laugh, I know you want to]

The weather leads me to the first of one of my short thoughts for the day…things I want to write about, but don’t want to take the time to go into much detail…

Comparisons between the North and the South. 

I am getting really weary of people making fun of how we Southerners deal with snow. They make fun of us because we make such a big deal out of a “dusting,” while Yankees take their kids to school on bobsleds. Give it a rest, you lutefisk-loving haters of state’s rights!

Believe it or not, I have driven in Rochester, New York while there was 6-inches of snow on the roads. But that is totally different from driving on asphalt covered with a quarter-inch of ice.

 

Screen grab from Dr. Oz's website

Screen grab from Dr. Oz’s website

Dream Analysts (with freaky-colored hair)

This week I saw a segment on Dr. Oz that featured a “Certified Dream Analyst.” Giiiiive meeeee uuuuhhhh breaaaak!

Patient: “I have this dream where I am falling.” Analyst: “That is your body responding to you being out of control in your life.”

Patient: “People chase me in my dream, and I can’t get away.” Analyst: “That’s a classic sign that you are running from something in your past, or something you don’t want to deal with.”

Patient: “I keep having this dream that I am in school.” Analyst: “Your body is trying to teach you something.”

What a joke! After the first person’s dreams were analyzed, I figured out how to do the rest. How much does this pay?

Continuing Education

preaching magazineEven preachers who preach all the time (i.e., me) need to continue learning. It never hurts to seek ways to improve what you do, to hone one’s skills, even if you already do it well. That is why I was happy to see my first copy of Preaching come in the mail. My oldest daughter, Alicia, bought me a subscription for Christmas.

Never See Eye-to-Eye

A recent Facebook conversation reaffirmed an already sad realization: there are some people with whom I will never, no matter how much I try, see things eye-to-eye. For example, a preacher named Jon Dabill and I got into a long, long exchange over the issue of KJV-onlyism.

Fact is, he was wrong…I was right. What more can I say?

Oh, I know! I could say, “This is my opinion based on serious, objective study and a scholarly approach toward the original texts.” On the other hand, Jon would say, “You can’t trust the originals, just the perfect King James version, so phooey on all your study! You gonna trust scholars, or the Bible?”

Personally, I prefer truth. If a word in the KJV could be changed to better convey the original meaning of the passage, even the translators of the KJV thought it should be so (see their letter to the reader in the introduction to the KJV). Jon said, “I could care less what the translators believed.”

Well, there you have it. Another Thursday, and more stuff to think about. 

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Filed under baptist, blogging, General Observations, legalism, Preaching

Shark Week

Hogging the TV

This week has been nothing but shark, shark, shark. The Discovery Channel has been airing its annual series called Shark Week, and it has been on 24/7 in the Baker house.

As a matter of fact, unless a program being aired on Shark Week is a repeat, or unless it has been recorded, one can forget watching anything else until our girls are fast asleep dreaming – about sharks.

Honestly, it totally amazes me that so much programming time can be devoted to sharks. I mean, seriously, how much more has been learned since last year? How many more people have willingly swam with sharks just to have video of their stupidity shown to the world? Nevertheless, until Shark Week (and recordings thereof) is over and the girls are through with looking as Great White teeth, I’ll never get to see Joel Osteen’s pearly whites again.

Something Different

Now, it was already difficult to make myself go into the ocean. Ever since Jaws came out, you can forget me ever skinny-dipping at night in the surf (I used to do that a lot when I was 2 or 3). But Shark Week has made me even more aware of how deadly some of these sharks can be, especially the Great White.

sperm whale warningBut you know what, I’ve been getting a little tired of hearing how big and bad sharks are. They aren’t the baddest guppies in the ocean. As a matter of fact, things can get a lot worse than a shark warning. How about a sperm whale warning?!

A friend of mine posted this picture on her Facebook page. Roughly translated it reads,

Sperm Whale! Stay the heck out of the water! For get the sharks; they’ve already been eaten! Stay at least 30 yards away from the beach or you might end up like Captain Ahab. There is no such thing as “Whale Week” on the Discovery Channel, so don’t act like a fool.”

You do know what a sperm whale is, don’t you? It’s a 35 ton, 60 ft.-long mammal with teeth that weigh a pound each, and has been known to sink ships. It’s more than a match for a wimpy 16 ft. shark.

Image Credit: Encyclopedia Britanica

Image Credit: Encyclopedia Britanica

The Point?

So, what’s the point? Oh, I don’t know. I just thought it was funny to see a warning for sperm whales instead of sharks. But on the other hand, it does make me remember something my dad used to tell me: “No matter how big you are, there’s always somebody bigger, and tougher.”

The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. – Isa. 2:11

Stay humble. The moment you start feeling confident in you sharkiness, a whale might have to come along and teach you a lesson.

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Ashamed?

Sometimes I’m Ashamed

Of my past. Do you have a past? I do. We all do. And I have done many things in my past of which I am ashamed. Some things I did while I was an unbeliever, but others were after I had become a Christian. My past haunts me. Does yours?

Of course, on a positive note, one’s past can prove beneficial when rearing children. For example, my children are not totally sure if I was a secret agent, a hired gun, or a former special ops helicopter pilot who had his license taken away for excessively brutal conduct. They will never know for sure, either. The “not knowing” helps keep boyfriends away.

Of my accomplishments (or lack of). Have you ever stopped to compare yourself to others? Bad idea. There are always going to be people who can do what you do a lot better than you ever could – some before they even start elementary school.

I am a preacher, a pastor, an aspiring writer, etc. I am also 44 years old. Have you ever looked at what preachers of yesteryear were able to accomplish by my age? Don’t even start with Jonathan Edwards, Wesley, or even Billy Graham. I have been faithful, but I have little by way of accomplishments to show for it. For crying out loud, I haven’t even written one book!

Of my education. At 44 years of age I am working on my Master of Ministry degree. Guys younger than me are teaching in the seminary, for Pete’s sake! By the time I receive a doctorate, I will need full-time hospice care.

What could I have done if only I had gone to school earlier instead of working, getting married, learning about life, having beautiful children, or experiencing God’s grace? I mean, I could have been a pastor at age 20! Now that would have been shameful.

Of my lack of discipline. There are some people who wake up two hours early in order to pray. If I tried that, I’d have to be on my knees at 3 a.m.! I rarely even get to sleep until after 11 p.m.!

There are some who read at least one book a week. There are others who do all this and run, ride bikes, climb tall mountains, hunt mountain lions, and keep a spotless house. I hate them.

Seriously, I am ashamed at my lack of discipline. As a pastor, a pillar of society, I should be an example of what a disciplined person should look like. But I’m not. I struggle for every minute of sleep I can get. Sad, isn’t it?

Of my appearance. If I had the previously mentioned discipline, the kind that says, “Hey, I have a long day ahead of me, so how ’bout we go run 5 miles before breakfast,” I would be a stud. Before long I would look like a Green Beret, or Joel Osteen (with less perfect teeth). Instead, I look more like a tall Danny DeVito who has a thing for monkeys.

Yes, I can be ashamed of a lot…

But Never of the Gospel

I thank God for being able to use a weak, inadequate, undisciplined, uneducated, unattractive fool. As a matter of fact, it is only because of the gospel that I can accept my shortcomings, putting everything behind me, and look forward to what lies ahead.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. – Romans 1:16

Only through someone who admits his shortcomings can Christ bring glory unto the Father. If I had it all together I might take all the credit, but I can’t. If there is anything good in me, it is because of Jesus (Rom 7:18; 2 Cor 3:5).

One last thing. Many times I am tempted to feel ashamed of myself. Nevertheless, even with my lack of accomplishments, etc., I know that God is not ashamed of me. And if He is not ashamed of me, then maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I just need to keep walking and looking ahead, hoping for the day when I will be home.

But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. – Hebrews 11:16

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