Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BookTuesday: Shameless self-promotion

No, that is not the title of a book, although perhaps I could write one as a companion volume to my book on humility when I get around to it. Seriously, who writes a book on humility? You would have to write it, stick it on the shelf with a note that you are nowhere near qualified to publish it, and then have it published after you're dead.

Actually, I'm using my own blog to push my own effort at a book. No, it's not published by some of the great publishers that you see me review books for. Rather, it's self-published through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing.

Here's the whole story: we started listening to Christmas music a little bit after Canadian Thanksgiving, so that the age-old rule of "No Christmas Music Until After Thanksgiving" could be followed. Then, in early November I was thinking about the Advent season as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.

And how we always seem to have trouble finding a devotional guide to use for our church. They are either too fluffy or too intense, too wordy or too much outline. Never quite "just right." So I decided that, since my main job as a church leader is teaching, I would write one.

So I did. Now I have much greater respect for people that finish full-length books, because this short one nearly killed me. I wrote a small piece titled Advent Reflections 2011: The Gift Cycle. I intend to do this again next year, but I will most likely start sooner. Like February.

The goal is present a Bible-centered devotional for six days a week for the four weeks of Advent. It's the goal of several other books, so it seemed like a good goal for mine.

How can you get this book? Here are your options:

If you have a Kindle, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it if you would go through this link and purchase it for 99 cents. That is the lowest I could price it on Amazon. I would love for anyone who likes it (or loves it) to rate it on Amazon as well, but you don't have to. I will personally guarantee you this: if you buy it and do not think it was worth the money, email me through the address in the book and I will mail you a dollar. You'll get your money back and a penny for your thoughts.

Advent Reflections 2011: The Gift Cycle

Some of you do not have Kindles. I understand that. Some of you do not have 99 cents. I understand that, too. So, in a move destined to be panned by marketing folks the world around, here is the link to the full document in PDF format. The webhost I use gives me free storage and access up to a certain point, and if I pass that point (it's like 5 GB a month) I'll have to hope for enough Kindle sales to break even.

I do ask this: if you have kind, helpful feedback, send it to the email address in the book. I want to do this again next year, but I want to improve from this year. You can see the spots I miss.

And if you like it, whether PDF or Kindle, will you go to Amazon and review it for me? A little buzz this year might help me for next year's project.

Thank you very much for reading my blog and my little book. Have a great day!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sermon Round-up November 27 PM

Audio link here

1 John 4:7-11

I. Love?

     Looking out for another above yourself.

     Treating others as God has treated you.

II. Love shown at Christmas

     Not in presents

     In the manger

III. Love shown in Christians

     Guess who does the work now?

     God does through us.

Find someone to love, to show love to, to be the reflection of the incarnate God this year.

Make it a habit.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for…Day 5

Here's another brief list of things I'm thankful for, building on this list from earlier.

11. I'm thankful to live in farming country. We get to see the process of how rice, soybeans, and corn go from seed to field to combine to trailer. Then we eat the stuff we buy in stores.

12. I'm thankful for grocery stores. A friend and I were due to go hunt yesterday morning. It was raining. We stayed home. Guess what? Neither of us will go hungry for that, because we can buy cows. That's a good thing.

13. I'm thankful for meat processors. Well, maybe. If I shoot a deer, I'm glad that all I really have to do is haul that thing to a guy who will turn dead deer into usable meat, instead of me doing it.

14. I'm thankful for the Internet. Good job, Al Gore. Oh, wait…all of the people at DARPA, not Al. We get the opportunity to interact with people that we can't see or be with since we can connect digitally.

15. I'm thankful that, in the midst of all the chaos and commercialism, it is not only advisable to slow down and thank God for what He's blessed us with, it's possible. It's simply a matter of choosing to do so.

16. I'm thankful that our one basic Thanksgiving tradition remains unchanged: the menu can and should change every year. This year? Cheap seafood! That's right, not that fancy "fresh salmon" or "fresh shrimp." These salmon patties were caught, canned, uncanned, chopped, and refrozen last year by a mega-commercial operation. And we're going to eat them this year! The shrimp were caught and frozen who knows how long ago---but they have no skin, which is probably why they were easy to catch.

17. I'm thankful that we have endless, pointless debates to pick whatever candidate we think thinks and acts better than the other ones. After all, we could have to take to the streets to depose crackpot dictators, only to have to take to the streets to depose the people that replaced them.

18. I'm thankful that there are people who try to do what is right, even if they're undertaking a task that makes Sisyphus look successful.

19. I'm thankful that freedom is so prevalent in this country that a nut who puts on a Bigfoot costume to scare people, then takes it off to interview people about what seeing Bigfoot felt like, then posts the videos online is told to get a permit for that. And then gets angry because getting a permit violates his free speech. Take a look around a globe, dude. Free speech isn't about performance art stunts for YouTube for most people. Buy the permit.

20. I'm thankful for maps. I'm in a room with four maps on the wall, with more to come. I can learn about places I'll probably never go. But it's fun to know.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BookTuesday: December 1941

There are some great and wonderful book reviews out there. Then there’s a few that aren’t so good.This one is hopefully better than the not so good, but, honestly, it’s a little clich├ęd. Essentially, my review of this book is this: this is a great book for those of you who like books like this but if you don’t like books like this book, you won’t like it.

Now, would you care for some details? I thought you would…

December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World
The book is December 1941 by Craig Shirley. It is an historical work, non-fiction. It runs to 544 pages of text, followed by nearly a hundred more of footnotes. That’s the place I’d like to start.
Shirley’s goal with this book is to present the state of America and the world during, surprisingly, December, 1941. The month starts with the United States not in World War II and ends with the US in it. There, I’ve given away the whole plot.

Actually, what Craig Shirley has accomplished is what most history writers are striving for. He’s taken the story that he assumes his readers know and made it interesting enough to read 544 more pages about it. His work here addresses the mindset of the people of the US and the world in those times.

A large portion of his research, based on his own words and the copious endnotes, is from the news reports of the time. It’s not just the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, but the Emporia Daily Gazette from Kansas and the Bismarck Tribune from North Dakota
The work moves steadily, but the reader can feel the chaos. The country was mostly expecting to get involved in the war, but the feeling was that we would decide when, probably 1942, and where, most likely Europe first. The bombing of Pearl Harbor changed that notion, and it took time to sort out how to respond.

Further, the reader can draw from this book the sense of despair in the nation. Early December reflects a country that was doing better after a decade of depression, and that perhaps expected to enter a Great War like they had a generation before: on our time, to get in it, finish it up, and get home. By December 31, there was practically no reportable good news.

Shirley, though, finds some of the good news to report. He reports how the manufacturing turned quickly to full-steam war production, how the American people began to make the greater sacrifices necessary, and how recruiting and the draft swelled the ranks. He also highlights the beginning of technology development and shifts in tactics to modern warfare.

In all, for the history buff or World War II student, this book is excellent. Does it have a broad-market appeal? Perhaps not a giant one. It does help put a fuller face on the events of the time and presents history that melds cultural, biographical, and military, which is no small task. I think it would appeal to anyone with a curiosity for the time frame.

I highly recommend it.

Edit: Forgot this link:  Craig Shirley appears on @Morning_Joe to 
discuss the book. http://t.co/Bch7O8dX

Free book received from the publishers in exchange for the review via the Booksneeze program.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sermon Wrap Up

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AM:  http://bit.ly/tOy2By (preferred) or http://bit.ly/u66X2l (alternate)

PM: http://bit.ly/dhg1120p (preferred) or http://bit.ly/dha1120p (alternate)

AM Outline: 1 John 3:18-24

Thankful for:

1. Assurance of Salvation: found not only in word but in our hearts

2. Assurance of truth: that we know that we can know something, that's something to know, you know?

3. Assurance of provision: that we know that we will always have what we need to do what He wants

4. Assurance of direction: that we know that He wants us to do certain things and that we ought to do them!

5. Assurance of completion: that He will finish the work and come back for us.

PM Outline: 1John 4:1-6

Don't believe everything....or everybody

1. There are deceptive spiritual forces involved.

2. There are deceptive people involved.

3. There is only one source of truth:

The Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Test what you hear: against the Word of God.

2. Test what you feel: against the Word of God.

3. Test what you plan: against the Word of God.

Thankful for…Monday Morning

No, I’m not really thankful for Monday Morning. Well, maybe I am.

You see, Sundays are big days for me. As a pastor, much of my week is about being ready for Sunday. First of all, there’s the study and preparation to preach two services. Then there’s the fact that many times, I don’t know of a problem either in church organization or church family matters until Sunday. So, being ready for Sunday takes some effort.

Honestly, though I love it. But I am thankful for Monday mornings. Not because I sit here and gloat over how great a day it was yesterday. I think it was, most of the time. I preached what I thought I should preach, did my best to answer people forthrightly and honestly, and tried to adjust plans as appropriate. There’s no undoing any mistakes or errors I may have made. I can apologize for them and then try to do better.

I’m thankful for Monday mornings because I get to do it again. I head back to the Bible for coming messages. Back to the books for learning. Back to preparing for the week’s challenge. It’s a good thing. Because Monday Morning means the slate is mostly clean.

Plus I’m thankful for this, as I always ought to be: we had church yesterday. Anybody that wanted to come, could come. The police weren’t watching for us, the army didn’t stop us. There were no major restrictions on what I could say, what I could preach, or what we sang.

And that is something to be thankful for. For those of you who didn’t go to church, guess what? You can be thankful that nobody made you go. There’s places that you can’t do that. You don’t get to choose to not participate.

Now, I think you ought to go to church. For lots of reasons. But there’s no way that I will say anybody ought to make you.

And that’s a freedom we should be thankful for.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankful for…Day 3

There's a difficulty when it comes to writing up Thanksgiving posts. If you leave out the obvious, people wonder if you're really thankful for the basics of life or if you are assuming you're entitled to them. List them and you can seem disingenuous at best and smug at worst…

I've only rarely had problems worrying about being called smug. I don't list these to be arrogant or to say that I'm a better person than you are for these. I am a better person than I would have been without these things. So, here we go:

1. I'm thankful I was raised in a home with my two biological parents who were married the whole time.

2. I'm thankful that I grew up with a church habit that required multiple trips a week. Even if I consider whether the church I lead would be ok without a Sunday night organized service, my brain immediately starts to suggest ways to use that Sunday night for church stuff.

3. I'm thankful that I have never lacked for owning a Bible.

4. I'm thankful that I have never lacked for books. Ever. Real books, and now Kindle books, but books in general.

5. I'm thankful that, alongside that lack of lack for books, I was shown that reading was both fun and profitable. I still love to read.

6. I'm thankful for the Atari 2600 we had and the hours spent playing Missile Command with Dad.

7. I'm thankful for the Commodore 64 with its cartridges and tape deck and amazing 8-color printer. There's a lot I don't grasp in computing these days, but I don't fear the digital.

8. I'm thankful for the saxophone that I never should have gotten rid of. I never played sports. Well, except that one baseball game that landed me in surgery, I didn't play. I played sax. I was a Boy Scout. Those things were enough.

9. I'm thankful to have grown up in a home with firearms. I was raised with an awareness of the danger, the power, and the proper use of a handgun, rifle,and shotgun. I am not terrified by prospect of teaching my kids to use them, either.

10. I'm thankful for being forced to get an education. I didn't want it most days…but I'm glad I wasn't given a choice.

That's the first 10 I can think of…there are dozens more.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful for Part 2

What am I thankful for today?


That precious few of my deadlines really impact anything.


More tomorrow! Those few real deadlines are beating me to life today!


Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful for Day 1

Intro: In an effort to be focused on Thanksgiving for the next week, through the annual observance of Thanksgiving Day here in the United States, I'm going to find some things to express thankfulness for. This is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive: if you're not thankful for the same things, that's fine. If you think I left something out, that's fine. If you think I'm nuts to be thankful for what I'm thankful for, that's fine. 'Nuff said.

Today's Thankful expression is this…

I'm thankful for Day 1. No, that's not a misprint in the title of the post. I'm thankful for beginnings. For the possibilities that they bring, for the hope that springs from them.

I'm thankful that, looking back, on Day 1 God demonstrated that His Words alone are necessary. As we're going through science with the kids, we're reading a book on energy. It's humorous because it's British and so words like color are spelled colour and it uses the metric system with real measurements in parenthesis.

It also points out that nearly all usable energy on this earth originated with the Sun. That big, fusiony ball of hydrogen, helium, and plasma with its big 'ole iron core, that Sun. Plants photosynthesize that energy and it becomes our food. Heat, warmth, and then the idea of solar energy—it all comes back to the sun.

Back to light. Back to day 1.

I'm thankful that at Day 1, God put into play the forces needed for human life.

And that before Day 1? God was well aware of His plan for the redemption of human life.

Because, for me, Day 1 is a beginning. For God, day 1 is just a marking point in eternity. That He is ready for it.

And for a little music to expand the thought, this video is Mark Hall talking about Casting Crowns' song Already There.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homeschooling Thoughts Post 4

Yep, we're back on this topic. I'm not trying to be a one-trick pony, but I want to get this done and go find something else to blog about.

One of the common discussions in Christian homeschooling is related to being a Christian witness in the community. If you're not a Christian, you're probably not all that concerned with the idea---and will likely be bored silly by the following. Read on, though, if you like.

The most frequent condemnation that Christians who choose to homeschool receive from other Christians is this: Since Christians are supposed to be "salt and light" in the world and tell others about Jesus, are you not abandoning the mission field of schools by holding your kids out?

Here's the first response, and it's a kind of a knee-jerk defensive one: I will take that question seriously from anyone who has left their career and gone into public education so that they, as Christian adults, are working in the mission fields of schools. Not from those who live in church offices, not from those who work in banks, and not even from those who chose teaching for the summers off. For those who have chosen to go into and chosen to remain in teaching for the purpose of spreading the Gospel.

Why? Because if you aren't doing it yourself, you really have no business telling me it's a need. That's actually one of my personal pet peeves in ministry and American Christian behavior: those folks who know exactly what everyone else should be doing. If you are so passionate for the lost kids in schools, then go yourself and don't tell me to sacrifice my children to what you won't do.

For those of you who are curious about the more well-thought responses, here are those:

Well-thought response part one: Christians are, indeed, commanded to spread the Gospel and be salt and light in the world. That command is given to Christians. None of my children at kindergarten were bound to that command. Or at first grade. Two of them are at this point, and we certainly wouldn't want any of them behaving contrary to Gospel-centered life, but there's no way my youngest is commanded to be a missionary. He's not even a Christian at this point.

Let's think a little further about this: I am a Southern Baptist, and we have a process for appointing missionaries that involves examining spiritual maturity, preparation for the challenges, and long-range support. That's what would be required for me to be a "missionary" in far away places like Little Rock as well as foreign nations. Yet a child is qualified to tackle the mandated-atheist environment of a government school simply by living in the district?

Now, this shifts and adjusts as children come to faith, become young adults, and grow in the faith. Some parents have chosen, together with their maturing teens, to enter the school system for that purpose. I do not know what choice our family will make when those days come for us, but those of you who chosen to do that, you have my respect.

Well-thought response part two: the world is more than the school room. Not being in the school room does not deny homeschool children the opportunity to be involved in Christian life and witness. There are people that Christians can seek out and interact with during any time of day. A parent can be available and can help shape the situation to protect both the child and the opportunity to be salt and light. After all, this is about honoring God and we don't want it go screwy because we let an 8-year-old do something they weren't capable of. You wouldn't do that in the kitchen or the deer woods, right?

This comes back to not being involved in Fort Homeschool that never interacts with the world.

Which is a choice that has to be made if you're homeschooling. It's very easy to lock down and never leave the house. Shut door, shop for groceries online, and keep the bad people out.  Except you can't do that. Reach out and build the opportunities.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BookTuesday: Decision Points

Today for BookTuesday, I’ve got the autobiography of President George W. Bush, Decision Points. It’s published by Broadway Books, but I received my copy free from Waterbrook/Multnomah. Here’s the Amazon Link where you can get paperback, hardcover, or Kindle versions:

Decision Points

Right now, the only Presidential legacy more divisive in this country than President George W. Bush’s is President Barrack Obama’s legacy. If you want to stir up a fuss, wildly praise one or attack the other and then you’ll either hear rampant support from those who agree or vicious response from those who disagree.

Naturally, similar bickering has followed President Bush’s personal memoir, Decision Points. It is an autobiographical retrospect focused on the President’s eight-year term of office, though it touches on his pre-presidential years in the first 80 pages and recounts his post-White House time in a brief wrap-up.

In all, this book is about President Bush’s view of the events that occurred within his Presidency, from the Florida recount to walking out of the Oval Office on Inauguration Day for President Obama. He gives his views of the decisions he made and some of his reasons behind those decisions.

He does sound defensive at times through this book. This is hardly surprising: after attempting to be a strong leader during a crisis, he was often criticized for his decisions. The crises, though, rarely offered the opportunity to explain his decision-making rationale. Presenting that information now will naturally seem defensive. In truth, though, if I wrote a memoir of a previous ministry role or two, I would sound pretty defensive—criticism brings that out in many people.

The overall effect of this book was to make clear what many people thought during the opening years of the “War on Terror:” the US Government was at a complete loss of how to deal with it. President Bush virtually admits to feeling uncertain about what to do, but there was no one else that was prepared for the situation either. Rightly considered, prior Presidents, including his own father, had not truly faced terrorism alone and when they had, they had backed down from a confrontation. Moreover, clearly the rules were being made up as things went on: most of the “rules” had to do with international relations and very little clear about how to handle extra-national combatants.

Note that actually, the rules of war allow for non-uniformed combatants captured in civilian areas or non-combat areas to be executed simply for their presence under certain circumstances (Third Geneva Convention, Article 4) and President Bush could have simply adopted this idea and had any al-Qaeda fighter shot dead. He did not and rather had to adjust and re-adjust the rules of war and rules of engagement because the existing rules simply did not address the situation adequately.

The writing in this book is easily comprehended. President Bush does not try to bury the reader under odd lingo or jargon, and speaks straightforwardly. Many a blogger and preacher, myself included, could borrow from that habit. Some have stated that a ghost writer had to have done this: if so, then either President Bush had the wisdom to pick a good ghost or he writes well enough that his elitist critics can’t acknowledge he did it. Either way, the book’s in his name, so he’s responsible for it. (Look up Randy Richards’ dissertation on Paul’s use of an amanuensis for more info.)

This book well records President Bush’s view of how he handled the major decisions of his time in office. It provides his rationale, and it is easily accessible. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to get past the foxy hagiography or the timely demonification of him. Get the info from the horse’s mouth and make your decision about his legacy from there.


Disclosure: Free book in exchange for the review. Second: I no longer participate in Amazon Affiliates, so I receive no income if you click through and buy the book.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sermon Wrap-up Nov 13

First, a bonus:

I didn't preach on 1 John 2:26-27. In this section, John addresses that he has written concerning those who are trying to deceive. It's a few important points about Scripture:

1. Scripture is there to help us avoid deception. Of course, this only works if we read it.

2. Those who immerse themselves in Scripture will find that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the anointing of God in their lives, helps them understand what matters.

3. If we abide in the Word, the Word will abide in us. In this, the Holy Spirit brings us the understanding of the Word and we grow as disciples.

Now, to the sermons: (Subscribe to the auto-feed here)

Morning Sermon: Audio Link here

Text: 1 John 2:28-3:10

Theme: The Father's Love

Date: November 13, 2011 AM

Location: FBC Almyra

  1. Father's love

    1. Given but not deserved

    2. Known but not understood

    3. Purifying but not destructive (to what matters!)

  2. Practice of sin

    1. Sin is destructive (um, yeah)

      1. To us

      2. To others

      3. To the fellowship of believers

      4. To the fellowship with God

    2. The habit of in

      1. Is evidence of the absence of God

        1. We cannot stand to continue in sin if God is in us

        2. A pattern of sin results from either ignoring the Spirit and the Word or from a complete absence of them both

      2. The contrast with 1 John 1:8

        1. We cannot claim to have never sinned

        2. We cannot claim to not need washed clean by the blood of Christ

        3. We cannot, however, claim to be abiding in Christ if we continue to choose habits of sin

      3. Understand 1 John 3:9 this way:

        1. We can not sin

        2. Rather than We cannot sin

        3. For the believer, we have the ability to choose.

  3. Close out: 1 John 2:28

    1. Abide

    2. Remain

    3. Be

Evening Sermon Audio Link

Text: 1 John 3:11-18

Theme: Love

Date: 13 November 2011 PM

Location: FBC Almyra

  1. Love

    1. We are not going to get any from the world

    2. We are not going to get any from the Devil

    3. We ought to be giving to our fellow believers

    4. We ought to be giving to the world that needs to hear about God

  2. Love

    1. In deed---if there is no action there is no love

    2. In truth---if there is no truth there is no love

      1. That means we cannot lie to receive love

      2. That means we cannot ignore the truth to receive love

      3. That means we cannot ignore the truth and give love

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lost in thought

I spend no money at all to subscribe to the RSS feed at Shorpy.com. What is Shorpy? It's a website that posts various old pictures. They call themselves the 100-year-old photo blog. I love it.

I want you to click this link and look at this picture and then come back:

Shorpy.com Pic of Old Soldiers at Gettysburg Reunion

(I can't find an embed code and don't want to break their copyright to copy and paste it.)

This picture came across on Veteran's Day, 11/11/11, and it just kind of stopped me. Pictures are worth a thousand words, they say, and with this pic I think that's short a few thousand.

Here a man sits, some 50 years after a battle, and he's writing a letter. Behind him are others from that same battle. They sit, outdoors, beside the tents they are apparently staying in, in hard wooden chairs.

I wonder about this man. What else did he see from July of 1863 until 1865? Who did he lose in the war? How has peace been for him?

What does this man who likely walked to war, walked through the war, and walked home when it was done think of the cars in the streets? The electric lights?

How does he feel about the changes in society? That there are no slaves but that equality is elusive to many? That women are agitating for the vote in those years?

Does he read the news out of Europe and worry about the future?How will he feel in the next few years about the Great War?

I wonder. Apart from context, he looks like a Grandpa. One of those Grandpas that sternly tells something, but whose eyes twinkle at moments. Who tells you to not spoil dinner and then sneaks you a piece of candy.

He sits alone, but you can see he's writing a letter. To whom? I don't have graphics power enough to read his writing. Seems like it would be wrong anyway. What does he say? After 50 years, is he writing about forgiveness? Is he writing his friend whose war wounds kept him from traveling? His friend that never came back? His grandchildren? Telling them that war and hard times come, but they go, and the pain is shared by many.

If you look at the caption, you see that it's a joint reunion of the Great Army of the Republic and of the Confederate Army. Other sources show this happened, and that especially by the 1900s when this picture is taken, there was little animosity between the groups. There was simply the remembrance of shared time and misery and victory and loss.

Then, if you look closely, you'll see his badge shows him as a veteran of Virginia. How does he feel? He fought on the losing side. Yet in the end, life turned out alright. Does he note that Billy Yank isn't near as bad as he once was? Does he reflect on how the world is better without the slavery?

He looks tired but not bitter---worn but not defeated.

I wonder what his name is, what his story is—whether he knew what good had come from his life, his legacy…

I see this, though: certain things are worth fighting for (ending slavery certainly makes that list), but when the war is over, find your common ground. Rebuild your lives and share the world with all you can. God has not limited the grace He bestows upon us, and let us be certain to pass as much on to others as they need. Grace is something that you'll never run out of just by sharing.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Quick hits week ending 11/12/11

Note: yes, there are very serious things in this world. No, this blog post itself will not address those things. Read real news.

1. Colons are an important part of linguistic health. Make sure yours is in the right place. For example, the tweet that said "Lessons from Hezekiah: 7 things you need to know" was a valid sentence. The one that said "Lessons from Hezekiah 7: Things you need to know" does not reflect anything Bible-related.

2. The SEC is expanding to 14 teams. At this point, our knowledge of geography is failing us because the apparent plan is to put Missouri in the "East" division. This being despite the fact that Missouri lies to the west of every SEC school except Arkansas, LSU, and Hog-fodder. Here's my suggestion: move Alabama and Auburn to the East Division. Put Vanderbilt in the West Division along with the new schools. True, West will be Arkansas or LSU for a long, long time---but that will give the East some real football.

3. Friend Anthony posted a tweet this week that stated: Whenever someone starts a sentence with "It's a fine line between…" 9 times out of 10 it's really not.

With all due deference to one who studies at the feet of the esteemed faculty of Southern Seminary, here's my responses:

A. It's a fine line between sushi and bait.

B. It's a fine line between clearing a yellow light and getting mailed a ticket by a traffic camera.

C. It's a fine line between a BIC G2 .38 and a Bic G2 .5 (ink pens.)

D. It's fine line on the thermostat between comfortable and "The preacher's out to freeze us!"

And, since it's a fine line between full humor and beating a dead horse, moving on….

4. It's nearly Christmas. Order stuff from Despair.com early to avoid optimism later.

5. I wonder about odd things at times. Like Friday when we talked about the Baptism of Jesus with the kids at lunch. My mind immediately jumped to Jesus walking on water later on. I was picturing John looking up and saying "Look, if we're going to do this, You've got to come down in the water!" That may not be a good joke, but there it is.

6. On that same discussion, my 8-year-old is apparently as clear on the Trinity as some great theologians and famous preachers: 3 persons, 1 God, no, you can't fully explain it but that doesn't make it not true. Plus, they all exist at the same time. 10-year-old thought modalism, the belief that God changed into Jesus who changed into the Spirit was funny. Kids make good theologians sometimes. We should let them.

7. It's now November and the GOP candidate race now features yet another different face at the top. Here's the facts: we start this nonsense too early and nobody knows yet who they would vote for so it's silly. Back up the primaries to April-May-June, conventions in July-August, then campaign. If a candidate has a record to run on, then there really is adequate time to look at that record. If they don't have one, then that's obvious too (plus, that's proven no bar to election). Spare us.

7a. Or, at the least, let's only do it this early if both parties are having primary challenges. Even if it's a nut, can we get a Democrat to challenge President Obama? Maybe 1 or 2 viable Democrats and an army of loonies on the side? That's 3 real candidates and then a bunch of people vying for Cabinet posts. Except the 1 nut who is going to be Ambassador to Hashima Island.

8. Book mention of the week: I read a lot, and you patiently skim the reviews I write. There's other good books or worthwhile books, so each week I'll mention 1 or 2 here. First book mention: Christian America? edited by Daryl Cornett. It provides four fundamental views on the impact of Christianity on the founding of the United States, from the full-out Christian view to the eclectic/secular view. Each view is written by one of its own proponents, and the other three contributors provide rebuttals to the method and opinion of the others. It is well worth your time and rises, on the whole, above the fighting rhetoric of many works on both sides of this issue.

But, please, read the whole book. Some will get incensed by one view and put it down and miss the value here: a generally well-rounded discussion.

That's all folks. Enjoy your Saturday, and may the Bulldogs rise to meet the Tide and the impossible happen for the Hilltoppers! Woo! PIG SOOIE!!

More importantly: Battle of the Ravine Saturday, 1 pm. Ouachita has a perfect conference record in the Great American Conference and can get on the path to a D-II National Championship with a win. They'll have to win this thing called playoffs to win it, which none of you BCS/SEC people understand for football, but that's ok. GO REAL TIGERS!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

Today is Veteran's Day. That it's both 11/11/11 in the US and 11/11/11 in Europe is entirely coincidental.

What is Veteran's Day? It started as Armistice Day celebrating the end of the War to End All Wars. Then, the next War came along. And then a few more that weren't quite so big but just as dangerous for those who fought in them and left widows and orphans and childless parents just as much.

So, what was a day to remember those who fought one war has since become a remembrance for the veterans of all the wars fought since 1775. (Lexington and Concord happened in 1775 and we mark those as the American Revolution. The country's a tad older than we claim.)

It is a good time also to think about where we are as a country. To consider what we've got and how we got it.

We live in a country with some seriously divided politics. Lots of people are more than a little concerned that the President of the United States is more than just a bad President. They're concerned that he will ultimately undermine the freedom and liberty that we've had for over two centuries.

Other people are holding long-term protests that started because of the excessive power held by the wealthy in this country. It's hard to say if that's still the focus, but that was the starting point.

Here's the rub: most of the first group? We own guns. A few own lots of guns. The second group? In many cases, like in Little Rock, the police negotiated with them to relocate their protest after a few days because of the law.

Now, there's some kooks in the first group that have planned and attempted wrong-headed things with their weaponry. And some kooks in the second that have done damage and are really just anarchists in disguise.

But in the long run, the first group is waiting until November 2012 and January 2013 to have a new President. Rather than organizing militias on the square as our Founding Fathers did, we're looking at the varied candidates and seeking to get the votes to correct what we see as the wrong direction.

The second group is, really, out for the same thing. They want the people they support, that they elected to stand for the principles that were claimed in the election. And the governments that they protest? They've negotiated, conversed, and only had isolated incidents of excessive (but still non-lethal) force. True, there have been places that the whole protest has gone crazy and government response has been more forceful, but in general: the NYPD hasn't cleared Zuccotti Park with machine guns and bayonets.

And it is because of the veterans that have fought from Lexington and Concord down through the ages, the ones who stand guard at the DMZ in Korea, the ones who seek the enemy in Afghanistan, and the ones who put the supply lines together from bases here at home. From the Rangers at Pointe du Hoc to Merrill's Marauders, to the 54th Massachusetts and to the Marines that stormed Tripoli, the Berlin Airlifters and the Navy SEALs, Minutemen and Minuteman Missile troops.

Because of these men and women, from draftees to volunteers, A1Cs to Fleet Admirals with Lance Corporals and Captains between, we get to fuss and fume in this country. We complain about the cost of running water or the stagnation in Congress or that it's too hard to be a millionaire or that the 99-week unemployment has run out.

And darn few of us go to prison for it. Mostly it takes actually doing something damaging to go to prison. Fewer still are killed for it. We actually have "Riot Police" in America that deploy with big shields and tear gas and sticks. Other countries? They put their army in the street with tanks and machine guns.

Their so-called presidents cause opposition leaders to disappear. Their peaceful gatherings are not negotiated with but gunned down.

So, from the Tea Party to the Occupy Wherevers, from the GOP to the Democrats, from the Libertarians to the Constitution Party, from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to the Theocracy Movement, let's try something today:

Set it aside. Thank a veteran. Thank a lot of veterans. Think about what they have lived and died to put in front of us all: the freedom to disagree and to guide a nation peacefully. And let's do it. We are capable of finding a way.

After all, if a group of odd-assorted riflemen in Massachusetts (who has guns in MA now?) can release freedom, if it can defended from enemies foreign and domestic, and if it's worth cheering the hope of freedom around the world, should we not be striving to make it work here?

Let's do this. Blood was spilled, lives were lived that we could. Do we dare spit on the opportunity we've been handed?

I dare not.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A lot of writing—1000 posts

I accidentally clicked on "Send to Blogger" this morning on a Google Reader post when I intended "Send to Buffer." So, I canceled that and then actually logged in to Blogger to ensure I didn't steal Michael Hyatt's post this morning. I like to post links for other people's blogs, but I certainly never want to just repost their work. After all, most of us measure whether we're making an impact by two things: comments and traffic. No comments, no traffic, that means we're wasting our time. And if I re-blog his post, I get his traffic. That's not fair to him.

Long intro to this point: I looked at my "posts" list on the Blogger dashboard, the area from whence I can control my blog, and I see that I have 999 blog posts. Two caveats: no, none of them endorse Herman Cain's tax plan; yes, one of them is a pre-scheduled book review for next week.

That, however, makes this blog post #1000 on my own blog. I've guest-posted a few times and places, but this makes 1000.

If I had paid attention, I would have made a huge deal about this, given away something (maybe not), and focused my topic about making your efforts matter and some such nonsense.

I didn't even realize it until this morning, when I'm already behind because I like to post early and I'm posting late. So, I haven't looked to see what the "most popular" post has been or "most commented" or anything else.

It does have me reflecting on this, though—for some time, my goal has been to average 500 words per post. Some are shorter, like the Monday sermon round ups. Some are longer, like yesterday's. The average may run about 500 words, though, so we'll use that.

500 * 1000= 500,000. 500,000 words. One half-million words on the blog, written and delivered. Factor out book reviews, which are probably 20% of the blog. 500,000 * .8= 400,000.

A good book runs between 80,000 and 125,000.

If I had written as diligently but piece by piece to write a book, I'd have written 3 of them. Or a book and a dissertation, and I'd be a Ph.D.

Instead, I'm a blogger. Which is not really a bad thing. I enjoy venting my thoughts out into the void. The thoughts run a little scattered, but they are what they are. I think I'm finding my rhythm in writing, but not perfectly yet.

So, to those of you who have been through the 5-plus years it's taken, thanks. I'll try to get to 2,000 a little quicker. Maybe 4 years or less. For newcomers, welcome aboard. I'm not the world's most amazing blogger (that link is here) but I try not to disappoint.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homeschool Part 3

It's an ongoing series with no determined ending. I dropped "Reasons" from the title because it's not always about the whys or why-nots, sometimes I want to hit methods, problems, obstacles…

Here is one of the top challenges when it comes to homeschooling your children: social skills. It's the major question asked by family members, was the subject of a 5 minute diatribe by a pediatrician who criticized us for homeschooling during a routine visit, and one of a conscientious homeschool parent's major concerns. If your kids only spend time at home, then how do they learn to relate to other people? How do they learn to get along with folks?

Well, #1: family is people, after all—and when you live with your classmates and teacher, there's no chance that you get to just ignore someone being obnoxious and escape via the Yellow Bus. You're stuck. So, the first response I have is this: if they are never out of the home, they're still learning to deal with people, because home has people in it. And, seriously, you always get along with your siblings and parents and never have to sort out differences? Really?

#2: Beyond that, the next answer is generally obvious, but as a result, gets overlooked: they are not always at home. Now, some people get too extreme and really do build Fortress Homeschool from birth to 21, and they deserve their own post for this: Yikes. You scare me. Get out more.

But most of us are not home all the time any more than a "stay-at-home parent" stays at home. Yes, there are specific times that schoolwork is done at home, but then there's: interacting with the people at the library; interacting with people at daytime church or community events; going to zoos, museums, and other educational places when these places are not so crowded you can't learn and you actually talk to experts while there.

After all, at school, what should they be doing? Listening to their teachers and doing their work, right? That 30-minute math lecture isn't introducing any social skills beyond the "sit and listen" skill, and we can replicate that at home.

#3: Ah, but the other times at school, kids learn to interact and behave like kids their age. Yes, and the ones that never grow up beyond junior high school become Congress people of both parties or perhaps hold other political offices. This is a question of goals and the best way to reach them: is the goal for my 10-year-old to act like a 10-year-old? For 1 year it is. Then it is for her to mature and act like----an 11-year-old. And so on. All with the goal of her becoming a mature, functional adult that relates to other adults.

Which is where social skill time is often spent: with adults that recognize that kids aren't quite there yet, but help them get there. Homeschoolers that aim for the best do try to get their kids out interacting with the wide array of people that are in this world. Because very few people spend their time interacting with a single maturity set, a maturity set that is just like theirs. Except the aforementioned political office holders who never grew up past junior high.

#4: This is an important aspect of this question (unlike the "learn to act your age" which is nonsense, because being 10 isn't a life skill): what about interacting with people that are not like you at all. For example, we are white, middle-class (basically, though our income runs much lower than average in that class), Baptist-type Christians. Do our kids spend any time with Latino, wealthy, Buddhists?

Um, no. Because there aren't any people in that demographic in Almyra. Of course, there aren't in the DeWitt School System feed area either. A few responses: 1: Just because you're in the same school doesn't mean you interact. I am Facebook connected to high-school classmates from different ethnic groups but we didn't hang out much in school. Most of the white kids hung out with white kids, and so on---you know why? Kids are immature and socialize with people they have commonalities with. When I got into band, I socialized with band nerds. Honestly, band nerds came from all walks of life and multiple ethnicities. Nobody cared: we were all band nerds. Skin didn't matter much. We only knew who the Jews were because they got the extra holidays, and you could see who was African-American, Latino, or white but it didn't matter for that time. It mattered other times, but not when band was our common bond. All said, being in a government school doesn't guarantee a child learns to appreciate all ethnic groups or has multi-racial friendships. It can just reinforce stereotypes and group dynamics of hatred.

Response #2: We also don't stress that no one is shoving other religious views down their throats. Oldest child is getting older and reading more diverse books. She's learning to interact with ideas and think critically about all of them. And just as I would rather a person who wanted to judge Christianity start with the Bible itself rather than many Christians, so most beliefs are best understood starting with the writings about them. We don't hang out with any Buddhists, but we've got books that introduce the belief system. Likewise, there aren't many minority families in this community, but our church is working with a minority church in a neighboring community to do things together. That helps. Our kids know (or will know) Frederick Douglass and Robert E. Lee and U.S. Grant and Phyllis Wheatley. My son loves the book about the Tuskegee Airmen. They are huge fans of the work of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver---and it comes to them as no surprise that great advances in science come from women, African-Americans, Arabs, Jews, Asians----none of whom get a "month" but all of whom fit into the flow of history.


In all, there is effort required for our kids to fully grasp the social skills they need---but looking back on my years in school, my parents had to retrain a lot of what I learned at school anyway. So, again, why send them to learn things that they don't need and that we'll just have to redo? Seems like a silly waste of time and tax money to me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BookTuesday: Sherman

This week for BookTuesday, I have the next installment in Thomas Nelson’s The Generals series. It is Sherman: The Ruthless Victor by Agostino von Hassell and Ed Breslin. The series editor is Stephen Mansfield. Here’s the cover and Amazon link:

Sherman: The Ruthless Victor (The Generals)

General William Tecumseh Sherman has a mixed legacy, especially down here in the South. Allowing for the need to be direct and strong in war, General Sherman went above and beyond with his decision to incinerate Atlanta after it was captured and other choices to wreak destruction that was incidental to victory. Much of what I have previously read of Sherman has sought to either vilify or sanctify his legacy. The effort to spin, one way or the other, his legacy has tainted those readings when trying to understand the man himself.

This brief bio, though, did not disappoint in trying to explain Sherman and leave the reader to judge his decisions. It’s not the most exhaustive work on Sherman that you would find, at 192 pages it can’t be. Yet it peaks into Sherman’s childhood and opening efforts in adulthood.

Through it all, the authors, Von Hassell and Breslin, strive to present Sherman’s successes and failures. They seem to find many more failure than success, and not being a Sherman expert, I can’t tell if that’s bias or fact. What they paint is the portrait of a man who is never quite balanced. His childhood is rocky, his early marriage is rocky, his first careers are failures, his military career is a roller-coaster…

And then he heads out to both conquer and punish the Deep South as the war draws to a close. Not over slavery: Sherman, according to the authors, was actually pro-slavery. He was just pro-Union more and had the connections to rise in the Union Army quicker than the Confederate Army.

The book also addresses the post-war life of Sherman and how he lived out the fame he won during the War. It is, like other books in the series, a short introduction. It is slightly more in-depth than scanning a Facebook page, but not like reading deeply on a subject.

A further word here on faith: part of this series has been a look at the faith and religious beliefs of each general. That was an interesting light to shine on MacArthur and Pershing. There’s not much to shine that light on in Sherman, and the authors wisely do not attempt to manufacture the information.

General Sherman is quickly examined here. For a casual reader with some curiosity but not much time, it’s a good start.


Disclosure: Free book from Booksneeze, the Thomas Nelson Publishers Book Review Blogging Program. No influence asked, no preference given.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 6 Sermon Wrap-up: 1 John 2:18-25

I used the same text morning and evening: morning focused simply on the phrase in 1 John 2:18: The Last Hour.

AM Audio Link is here

PM Audio Link is here

Subscribe to the feed link is here for iTunes or any other Podcast receiving software.

Text: 1 John 2:18-25

Theme: Last hours and Antichrists

Date: November 6 2011 AM/PM

Location: FBC Almyra

  1. The Last Hour

    1. Time is short

      1. For distractions

      2. For repentance

    2. Enough has already been seen

  2. Antichrist

    1. Replacement

    2. opposition

  3. Separation

    1. Isolation

    2. Schism

  4. Abiding

    1. in the Son and the Father

    2. These two are inseparable

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Quick hits w/e 11/5/11

Quick hits w/e 11/5/11

  1. Economy: Unemployment is down some. That's good news for the people who found jobs. Still at 9%, with a decent but unquantifiable chunk either underemployed or that have given up, and with gas locked above $3 and milk higher, it's not going to change much. People that have just enough to buy food aren't buying much else. Black Friday worries me this year: how many fights are we going to have over discounted junk this time?

  2. Food: How is vinegar “bottled at peak freshness?” Really? Vinegar is fresh? And what's with the expiration date on sour cream? What does it do, turn fresh?

  3. News: Only in America do you get these headlines on the same page: “Pastor to defy ban on prayer at schools” and “City to ban naked dining.” What a country! (Apologies to Yaakov Smirnoff). Yep, we have banned both naked dining and prayer. Although, to be honest, I can still pray calmly at home or silently in public and gladly know that naked people won't be at the Cracker Barrel. Still, a little odd there.

  4. Sports: today's LSU-Bama game has more hype than a presidential campaign. Which makes it a nice distraction from the nonsense that is the presidential campaign. Anyone think it will somehow not live up to it? LSU's bus breaks down on the way to Tuscaloosa or something odd that delays it?

  5. More Sports: There are other games besides Tigers v. Elephants. Pigs v. Chickens is on at the same time. I'll take Pigs, assuming the second half goes as planned.

  6. Wondering: why would it be appropriate for a school to fully explain Hanukkah but not Christmas? They're both religious, aren't they?

  7. Books and business: Thomas Nelson is going to be purchased by the same parent company that owns Zondervan. And this is the same company that published under its own name, HarperCollins, Rob Bell's Love Wins. There could be some interesting inter-departmental meetings at this one, folks. Second to that, allegedly HarperCollins refused to publish Metaxas' biography of Bonhoeffer due to perceived factual issues, but then Nelson published it. So, what happens now?

  8. On a related note: Nelson's Booksneeze is really the premier of wide-open free books for bloggers programs. I hope that doesn't end, because HarperCollins (and Zondervan) have a tendency to be more stingy.

  9. Ann menu planned for the next two months. This is good. I now have to make the “sneak bad-for-me snacks” plan fit into the schedule!

  10. Soybeans into soy sauce is not a process I'm interested in doing. It looks, well, disgusting.

  11. There's a combine in front of my house right now. I love the country.

  12. There are peas sprouting in my garden, and winter-hardy carrots as well. If this works, I won't be buying vegetables for another couple of months!

  13. I changed blog layouts, but I don't know if I like it or not. Mainly because I rarely look at it. Let me know if you just absolutely hate it, ok?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Q&A on the #ABSC

It's been a busy week with the ABSC, so I didn't get my book review written, with apologies to President Bush, his memoir will have to wait a couple of weeks. I also did not get this week's "Does it matter?" written, so I can't post it either. I thought that, for the sake of the curious, I'd give you some background on the meeting I spent the first half of my week in so you'd know a little more about it:

1. What is the ABSC?

The ABSC is the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

2. What are you, a politician? That's no answer: what is the Arkansas Baptist State Convention?

The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) is really two things. The first is this: a 2 day meeting, with a 1 day pastor's conference, that happens nearly every fall. It is made up of messengers that are sent by various churches that participate voluntary in the ABSC. This participation is based on a level of assumed like-mindedness in belief and goal. The ABSC is the meeting that makes adjustments to plans, goals, and when necessary, stated beliefs.

The other usage of ABSC is the collection of churches that could participate in the meeting if they wanted to, throughout the 365 days of the year. So, the ABSC is the voluntary associations of churches within the state of Arkansas that share plans, goals, and beliefs based on the Constitution and By-laws of the ABSC.

So, the ABSC is both a meeting (convention) and a year-round partnership.

3. When you say "assumed like-mindedness in belief and goal" what do you mean?

The Constitution and By-laws of the ABSC gives as the purpose of the group this: to assist the churches…in fulfilling their mission, and to encourage cooperative support of and involvement in our worldwide mission enterprise. Further, the ABSC officially uses the 1963 edition of the Baptist Faith & Message as a doctrinal guideline for the activities of the ABSC.

What the ABSC does not do is investigate every last detail of every church that wants to participate. The ABSC declares those two aspects and that regular Baptist churches in sympathy with those items are permitted to send messengers to the Annual Meeting (part 1 of the above definition). It is typically assumed that a church that is willing to contribute financially and participate in activities is of like-mindedness. However, there is a procedure for investigating if a church does not belong among the ABSC and ending their participation.

Churches are not required to copy and paste the identical purposes or beliefs of the ABSC, but generally are expected to agree with the spirit of those beliefs. After all, why else do you want to be a part?

4. Isn't there a 2000 Baptist Faith & Message? Why don't you use that?

Yes there is. However, the ABSC has not adopted that statement. There are differences in the two, but the major doctrinal expressions remain the same. Having been in Georgia in the time the BFM2K (shorthand for the new BF&M) was adopted, I do not know what happened regarding changing to the 2000 from the 1963. However, Baptist life is marked by independence, so nothing requires the ABSC to use the same faith statement as the SBC.

5. Why are people at the ABSC called messengers?

The terminology reflects an important concept: the people that attended the meeting were messengers from the churches. In this, they were selected by the church however the church chose to select them. The ABSC does not vet individual messengers: a committee at the meeting assists with making sure each person presenting themselves as a messenger is approved by their church, but the ABSC does not get involved with the process.

Also, the messengers are empowered by their churches to vote per the messenger's conscience. They are not expected to call home for instructions, but instead to act as they believe God is guiding them through the Bible and their own understanding. There is a general pre-published agenda for the meeting, but additional business can come up---and must be addressed when it does. Since most of our churches operate under a congregational principle, you can't get a spur-of-the-moment church decision, so the church sends trustworthy messengers whose judgment should be trustworthy.

6. Was there any major controversy at the ABSC?

Not really.

7. Who can present business at these meetings?

Any credentialed messenger. Including my 8-year-old daughter if she had registered this year, which she didn't because I forgot to give her the messenger card with her name on it.

That includes nominating officers like President of the ABSC and being nominated to those positions. Any one that is a member of a participating church is eligible to serve on a committee or as an officer.

8. What changes as a result of the ABSC?

Various things: some folks go home encouraged and help their church move forward in obedience to Jesus Christ. Some folks go back and increase their financial support, enabling missionaries to do more ministry work. Some go and plan trips to help the Children's Homes or BCMs.

We also register opinions on issues, in things called resolutions. Nothing changes by way of resolution, but it does express an opinion if anyone wants to know what Arkansas Baptists think. Finally, we approve the budget for the whole ABSC and the trustees that will guide agencies and institutions for the year. If we elect good people to those jobs, then places like Ouachita Baptist University have further opportunities to thrive.

9. What did you do the whole time?

Mainly, I spent time helping a committee or listening to the good preaching that's interspersed between business sections. I also spent time getting ideas from other ministers and trying to pass along some encouragement to hard-working folks that needed it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Homeschooling Part 2

More on homeschooling, starting with why nots and whys.

1. We do NOT homeschool because the local school system is guaranteed to turn our children into hedonistic disciples of materialism, greed, and sensuality. Schools and peers within them have a great measure of influence on children, and as school days and school years get longer, that influence will certainly grow. For a lot of kids, their parents have disconnected from them and the school is the primary influence, but that is not the fault of the school system.

There is no guarantee from homeschooling that our children will not find evil influences anyway. Just as an example, Hello Kitty is not purely evil but it's not a cartoon character we bothered introducing our children to. We introduced them to VeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins, Scooby Doo and to the important cartoons: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Taz, and the Road Runner. No prohibition on Hello Kitty, but no family effort for it. Meanwhile, my middle daughter became a Hello Kitty fanatic simply by exposure from friends. Guess what? If my child at 4 can find Hello Kitty, a homeschooled kid at 15 can find drugs or alcohol.

It's not a complete protective bubble at home anymore than it's a guaranteed sewer at school. We do not homeschool them because their morals will definitely collapse at school.

2. We DO homeschool them because we want to strengthen the moral influence we have on them related to drugs and alcohol. Some of that is related to raising, just a little, the age of initial exposure. What do I mean? I learned about drugs at school. In the effort to teach us to "Just Say No," my elementary school brought in a police officer with a demo kit to show us drugs and tell us to reject them. In fact, the only marijuana I've ever held was given to me by a police officer in elementary school. It was in a sealed baggie and he was right there, but that's the only time I've seen it and held it.

I don't remember if that was 4th or 6th grade. Guess what? My 5th grader is being taught about what is healthy right now, being taught self-control, and taught about long-term consequences. Does she get it all? Not hardly. She's 10. We're building a foundation. But she doesn't have to hold the stuff she doesn't need to get that. We've held that innocence a little while longer.

We want to equip our kids to make good choices, make right decisions. To that end, we keep them at home and teach them at a better pace that fits them. We also want to be the primary influencers of our children, so why give them to someone else for the bulk of their waking hours?

Sermon from May 19 2024

 Good morning! Yesterday we talked about Simon Magus. Didn't actually hit on the sin of simony, because we don't really see it that ...