Tag Archives: New Year

Beginning a 10-Part Series

Happy New Year (2019) to everyone! 

If I was rich, and if I had a secretary who brought me coffee and handled all my correspondence, I would have sent every one of my followers a Christmas card and a New Year’s card – but I’m not rich and I don’t have a secretary, only my wife. She put water in the coffee pot for me this morning, but I’m not going to push my luck.

So, I hope all of you have had a blessed season, even though I wasn’t able to express my feeling with a Hallmark.

The Starter Sermon

Last Sunday, the last one of 2018, I preached a sermon entitled “Things I Want to Do In 2019.” It was a 10-point sermon, but it only took 30 minutes to preach. Unfortunately, it didn’t record! Oh well.

So, what I want to do is take the points – the individual things I want to do – and spread them out over the next couple of weeks, unpacking them in a little more detail than time allowed me to do from the pulpit.

Now, in all honesty, I don’t know if this series will interest anyone or gain me a bunch of hits, but I feel it needs to be done for myself, if no one else.

As it’s been said many times in the past, if you don’t write down your goals you’re unlikely to reach them.

As a teaser, here is the basic outline I’m going to follow:

“Things I Want to Do In 2019”

James 4:17; Colossians 3:17, 23

  1. Lose an “X” in my clothing. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  2. Avoid anger. (Ecclesiastes 7:9)
  3. Avoid whining and complaining.  (Phil. 2:14-17)
  4. Show a little more mercy, compassion, and grace. (Rom 14).
  5. Don’t take time for granted.  (Psalm 144:4).
  6. Strengthen my marriage.  (Proverbs 5:18).
  7. READ more, starting with my Bible. (Ps 119:105, 140; John 17:17)
  8. Never preach another boring or routine sermon.
  9. Pray. (Psalm 55:17)
  10. Win One More. (Proverbs 11:30)

So, may God bless you and and be with you this year. With God’s help we can do more than we think possible.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Bible Study, Christian Living, Christianity, Future, Preaching

Resolutions to Avoid in 2019

Just for the fun of it…and maybe as a reminder to myself…I created a list resolutions…

A list of resolutions to AVOID… at all cost.

In other words, if you resolve to do the following, you may not live through 2019 (not in good shape, at least).

10 Resolutions to Avoid in 2019

1. I resolve to leave the seat up every time I go to the toilet as a sign of my manly rights.

2. I resolve never to say I’m sorry – unless I mean it, of course.

3. I resolve to read the Bible only when it’s projected on the big screen, and only on Sunday mornings, provided there’s enough free coffee and muffins beforehand.

4. I resolve never to waste any more food, especially that last donut or piece of pecan pie.

5. I resolve to limit my prayer time to blessings over food, when called upon at church, and the next time the cell phone bill is due.

6. I resolve to be more trusting of the government.

7. I resolve to spend more time at work and less time with my family.

8. I resolve to change my spouse’s mind, or else.

9. I resolve to keep more to myself and avoid other people.

10. I resolve to keep everything exactly the way it is right now.

So, what do you think? Are there any you would like to add?

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, current events, Future, General Observations, Humor

13+ Things I DON’T Want To Do In 2018

Based On a Sermon

Five years ago I preached a sermon to close out the year of 2012. The following 13 points were part of that sermon: what I did NOT want to do in 2013. I reposted the list last January for 2017.

Unfortunately, numbers 10, 11, & 12 are the only ones I’ve not done; I failed on the rest. Just goes to show you why a preacher needs to preach to himself more often. Did I hear an “amen”?

But this is a new year, and all I can do is try again. The only difference is that for 2018 I’m going to take my 13 and raise me 5. Therefore, here are 13+ things I DON’T want to do in 2018.

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.”

Nor do I want to…

14. Have another rotator cuff surgery.  Honestly, this has not been as bad as some people said it would be, but it’s bad enough. I seriously do NOT want to go through this again.

15. Preach another boring or routine sermon. Honestly, what excuse do we have to preach anything that’s not engaging, exciting, or exalting? How dull do we have to be – or how little do we really care – to deliver the life-changing Gospel in such a way that the hearer would yawn??

16. Assume the new blue toothbrush is mine. I don’t even want to talk about it.

17. Move again. We moved twice last year, and we not even done! If I have to move again, it’s going to have to wait till 2019, not a minute earlier.

18. Waste another God-given opportunity. I’m getting too old to waste any time (and I have less than I did 5 years ago). But aside from time, I don’t want to waste any opportunity God gives me to do anything, especially tell people about Him.

 

Look for “20 Things I Want To Be Perfectly Clear In 2020” two years from now.

3 Comments

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

It’s Going to Be a Good Year

Happy 2018!

It is the afternoon of the first day of 2018, and I am looking forward to what’s ahead. I can only hope what lies ahead are things that will bring me happiness, but I can’t assume; some of the things that bring us the most joy are not always the things that initially brings us much happiness.

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to being happy more often than not. I mean, even in the hard times and through seasons of disappointment, do we not have a choice? Can we not find a way to rejoice in the positive instead of dwelling on the negative?

For example, when I left the surgeon’s office the other day after getting stitches out of my shoulder, one of the nurses spoke to me. As I passed by with my arm in a sling, probably a little pale from the stress of it all, he asked, “Are you doing OK?” I paused, looked back, and replied,

“You know, there are people in the world who have to use their toes to brush their teeth. I don’t have to do that, so I guess I’ll be OK – it could be worse.”

And that’s really it, isn’t? Most of the things we complain about are really nothing more than first-world problems. Most of our unfulfilled dreams and expectations could be traced back to desires that most of the world would find laughable, if not absurdly immoral. Most of you who are reading this could be much worse off than you are in every area of life, everything from finances to relationships, or from health issues to housing issues.

Heck, if you didn’t have to ride an hour on an unsafe, crowded bus in 90-degree weather, all just to get to a place where you could stand in line to get access to a computer and internet, then you are automatically better off than hundreds I saw do just that in Zimbabwe.

I have a Savior who loves me and wants to commune with me, even when I forget He’s there. I have a God who is there every morning before I wake, painting a one-of-kind sunrise just for me! I am able to witness and experience the incredible complexity of nature, all with senses designed to recognize them and give glory to their Creator! I am blessed!

So, this is going to be a good year! I just know it! All it will take is recognizing what I have, as opposed to what I don’t have. I could even go a step further and recognize what I don’t have, as opposed to what I could be enduring.

This is the [YEAR] that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be GLAD (i.e., happy) in it! – Psalm 118:24

Our newest game – a cashless “Monopoly.” Scary, really.

….even if in the first game of the year I play with my youngest daughter, Haley, she completely decimated me and obtained complete control of everything. Good for her! 😉

4 Comments

Filed under Future, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials, the future

Resolutions to Avoid in 2018

Just for the fun of it…and maybe as a reminder to myself…I created a list resolutions…

A list of resolutions to AVOID… at all cost.

In other words, if you resolve to do the following, you may not live through 2018 (not in good shape, at least).

10 Resolutions to Avoid in 2018

1. I resolve to leave the seat up every time I go to the toilet as a sign of my manly rights.

2. I resolve never to say I’m sorry – unless I mean it, of course.

3. I resolve to read the Bible only when it’s projected on the big screen, and only on Sunday mornings, provided there’s enough free coffee and muffins beforehand.

4. I resolve never to waste any more food, especially that last donut or piece of pecan pie.

5. I resolve to limit my prayer time to blessings over food, when called upon at church, and the next time the cell phone bill is due.

6. I resolve to be more trusting of the government.

7. I resolve to spend more time at work and less time with my family.

8. I resolve to change my spouse’s mind, or else.

9. I resolve to keep more to myself and avoid other people.

10. I resolve to keep everything exactly the way it is right now.

So, what do you think? Are there any you would like to add?

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, current events, Future, General Observations, Humor

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.”

5 Comments

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

Lying Athletes?

My Analogy

Last night I shared with my congregation the following analogy:

Let’s just suppose I told people I was a member of Riverside Sports Gym. And let’s just suppose I said to them, “Look, I’m an athlete!” What do you think people would think? All they would have to do is look at me (all 215 pounds) and conclude that something about my statement wasn’t very honest. People could rightfully judge my statement by what they see.

An athlete is one whom, by definition, is athletic. With a gut like mine, how could that be possible? If asked to prove my athlete claim, shouldn’t I at least be able to jog a mile or two, do 20 or 30 sit ups, or something like that? Or, is it possible my profession of athleticism was only wishful thinking, if not a bold-face lie?

On the other hand, is is possible that calling myself an athlete would be accepted as a valid profession…if it was sincere…and if I had a totally different understanding of what a true athlete is. 

My point was that a lot of people may have joined a church and have a membership card to prove it, but that doesn’t make them any more a Christian than joining a gym makes them an athlete.

Disciplines

Beside joining the gym and signing up for the team, what determines the difference between a true athlete and one who just claims to be? Discipline.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:12-13

A genuine follower of Jesus Christ should be one who lives in such a way that others SEE their salvation. To “work out” one’s salvation is to not keep it hidden on the inside, but bring it to the surface, evident to all. It’s like the sweat of an athlete; it comes to the surface when we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.

An athlete will take advantage of his gym membership, use the weights, run on the tread mill, and all that stuff. He will discipline himself to go at least 3 times a week (if not more) and spend a certain amount of time on some things, more time on areas in which he’s deficient. On top of that, a real athlete will exercize outside the gym, too.

A Christian should be like an athlete (as the Apostle Paul has hinted – see 1 Cor. 9:24-27), acting with discipline, staying in shape, growing stronger, shedding excesses, turning into what would appear to be the outward evidence of an inward determination.

Prayer, church attendance, worship, meditating on God’s Word, thanksgiving, forgiveness, compassion, contentment, kindness, encouragement, love: these are the spiritual equivalents of push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, jogging, cardio, and weight lifting. It’s what “athletes” do.

Will Power

But you don’t have the will power? Strange that you should say that. Was is not Philippians 2:13 that said it is God who works in us both to WILL and to DO His good pleasure?

Honestly, many of us need to make sure of our “gym” membership. More than that, we need to make sure our claim to being on the athletic team is legitimate. Because, if we are nothing but overweight, out-of-shape wannabe’s with no desire to do better, just wasting away in our own undisciplined, broken-down bodies, what does that say about the Life that is in us?

Work Out

I have one of these. I just need to use it!

I have one of these. I just need to use it!

In 2016 I want to work out more (I NEED to). This temple of the Holy Spirit needs a total renovation! But even more, I also want to “work out” my spiritual life. I want there to be more evidence that I take the race before me seriously, like I’m actually out to win it, not just run it.

My thanks to all of you who’ve read my blog this year (2015). Now, as we head into a new one, let’s challenge each other to not only run the race of faith, but run as those who want to win (1 Cor. 9:24). Let’s not lie about our spiritual fitness; let’s be athletes worthy of victory!

Happy New Year!

1 Comment

Filed under Bible Study, Christian Living, fitness