Friday, December 28, 2007

Idol Worship and Idle Worship

IDOL -vs- IDLE I raise this issue up because they are probably the two biggest problems in church today.

IDOL WORSHIP - was warned against in passages like Exodus 20 (10 Commandments), all throughout 1-2 Kings and so forth. God specifically said "you shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water. You shall not worship them or serve them, for I the Lord your God, am a jealous God..." (Ex. 20:4-5) With this in mind, what kind of idols are there in church? I can think of many "idols" that get more attention (which is worship in my opinion) than God does. Money, Power, Pews, Worship Styles, Technology, Food, Social Interaction, etc. are some idols we have made and placed in the church. Of course some things are not material but they are an idol nonetheless. I was walking with my lovely wife the other day and passed by a catholic church. we decided to walk around the church and see what it looked like. Beautiful! Catholic churches are some of the most elegant of all worship buildings. The problem is that it (the building and its contents) are being worshipped. in the parking lots were statues of different saints and people have placed wreaths and flowers by their feet as if something spiritual happens because of it. Idol Worship! Why place a flower at the feet of a handmade statue when you can place all your sins, worries, and cares down at the Jesus' feet?

IDLE WORSHIP - "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot I will spit you out of my mouth..." (Rev. 3:15-16) This was written to the church in Laodicia in Revelation. It gives the illustration of the water supplies in Laodicia which came from other cities via channels. By the time the cold water reached the town it was lukewarm and disgusting, as was the hot water. God want our best, not our lukewarmness. Our corporate worship has become lukewarm in my opinion. We come to church, sing some songs (and only worship if the music plays with our emotions the right way) give some money if any at all, listen to a speech, and go home. Did that sequence of events describe your church? I hope not! So what's worse...Idol or Idle worship?

Inspiration & Spirituality Aisle

I was shopping recently in a certain Bookstore that is Noble and reminds you of a farm yesterday when I happened to notice that the "New Age" books are now on the "Spirituality" aisle! Interesting...what do they call "Christian" books? It's on the "Inspiration" aisle. Why is this? Have you noticed the squatting of this crap having the same terminology and relevance to be placed on the same aisle? Your thoughts?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Some Random Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts about the year in review, New Year's resolutions and goals.

This year was a year of transitions. I moved from my job at the funeral home to being back in full-time ministry at Bayshore Baptist Church in Bradenton, Fl. I am now the Youth and Music Minister here. Check out what FUSION is all about by clicking here.

I am now 26!

I enjoy life a lot more than before!

during this past year I have become more inquisitive on politics and society due to the fact that I had a 3000 dollar tax bill this year and got curious as to how government spends money. now I'm addicted to talk radio especially the Schnitt Show.

I began writing my book about Death this year but have put it off for some time now. I need to finish it before I die.

Jessica and I had to put our beloved cat Lucy to sleep due to the fact that she couldn't fight her infections and she was starving herself to death. (Lucy lost her immune system due to a herpes infection at birth)

We were given a cute little cat named Millie and we are growing to love her just as we did Lucy

Well, that's about all I can say about that...Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Herman the German

Thanks to Dave over at The Outflow for this amazing picture of Herman the German Bunny. Click Here to see.

The Truth Video

Due to the rush of the Christmas season, I have not been able to bring much new material to my blog. In the mean is an awesome video you should watch. To see the here.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Movement In The Church # 2

It happened again! The Holy Spirit moved in church today. This morning's service was the Adult Choir Christmas Cantata. The choir was doing amazing and the narration was just said about the salvation message and the "tear jerker" song of the Cantata titled Bethlehem Morning was being sung while 3\4 of the way through...the power shut off completely in the church! Our sound systems, C.D. player, lights, everything went dead! We kept singing and didn't miss a beat! It was the most amazing sound my choir has ever made! We got through the song and The church was applauding was the time in the musical for the invitation so I turned around and laughed a bit with the congregation but then gave a salvation message and prayer. Our power came back on and we were able to sing our Finale with all the lights and beautiful banners carried by some of my youth. After the end of the song I turned around to a standing ovation and tears from many in the crowd (even grown men!) The choir was on the verge of crying as well during that final piece.

This was truly the best experience I have ever had as a Music Minister!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Slam It In Gear...Pedal To The Metal !

These past few days at church have been spent getting things going and finishing projects started in the past. The FUSION LAB remodeling took a back seat on my priority list and needed to get done and get done right! John from my church has worked with me all day these past few days in getting things done!
Things in our church property is getting organized, rooms cleaned out and functional for ministry, and new strategies are being planned for the betterment of how Bayshore Baptist operates.

On top of all this...The Adult Choir Christmas Cantata is this Sunday morning,the youth are having their Christmas party Saturday night, Christmas Candlelight Service is next Sunday, Christmas in Miami, New Year's Eve Lock-In with the youth at church, and Winter-Jam in January!!!

I feel God rewarded the efforts in working in the youth room because we had a record attendance of 7 youth @ FUSION (yes I celebrate those awesome numbers) I had two girls that couldn't normally come due to dance attend tonight and they said that the times are changing for Wednesdays!!! Hopefully they can come from now on! Thanks God!!!

I feel it's time for Bayshore to "SLAM IT IN GEAR AND GO PEDAL TO THE MEDAL!!!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Joel Osteen

Hey readers...I recently have been preparing to study about this whole Joel Osteen controversy thing going on in the Christian circles. First and formost...I don't preach "Prosperity Gospel" but have been faced in my church, friends, and other bloggers about whether Joel is a pastor or not. There is an excellent article on Colossians3:16 blog about this so I figured it appropriate to link it here. It definitely is worth your time as you know I don't link posts that often on this blog. To read it...Click Here

Monday, December 10, 2007

Searching For God Knows What Book Review

Well I finally found some time this week to finish Don Miller's book "Searching For God Knows What" It was fact, I couldn't put it down once I was able to spend time with it. The holidays have taken all my personal enjoyment time away from me.

In this book, Miller raises a few points about the value of stuff, status, riches, competition, etc. for the human race. He even uses the idea of an alien coming from outer space and observing the differences between humans and aliens. Although this is quite comical, some good thoughts were addressed. Why do humans care so much about impressing other people? All that matters is a relationship with our creator, not being in constant competition with another person. Another theme Miller focused on was that of the life of Jesus, the Gospel of Jesus, and the prophesies fulfilled by Jesus.

If you have not read this book do it! If you've never read any Don Miller books...DO IT!!!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Excuses! Excuses!

As I'm writing this I am recooping from a energy-draining night at church...a good kind of energy drain though! I was asked to fill in for the pastor tonight which means leading the singing and then going right into a sermon. (all this after an hour-long budget discussion meeting) The subject of my sermon was "Stop making excuses to God"

We have all made excuses for not doing something God told us to do. We give excuses like:

1. Too Tired
2. Too Busy
3. Not enough money
4. No time
5. Someone else will do it!

That last excuse is what I focused on tonight as I illustrated the point with the account of Moses and the burning bush in Exodus 3-4. Moses was told by God to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites free from slavery! To make a long story short...Moses told God to send somebody else because he didn't feel adequate enough to do it. Quit making excuses to God, get of your butt, and do what God wants you to do!!!

I had each person tonight write down an excuse that they have personally gave God before. I then had them come forward and rip it up and throw it in a trash can I had placed on the altar! The response was amazing! who would have thought that throwing away garbage was an act of worship but it was! Our excuses belong in the trash! God is bigger than any excuse we come up with so start believing it people!!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Who Am I?

Who are we really? Do you ever feel like you don't know what your identity is? It's like someone who changes clothes multiple times a day to fit into what they are doing. They might be in sports wear, preppy style, formal, or naked! Sometimes we can get confused about who we are. Moses asked God "Who Am I?" when he was instructed to go to Egypt. (Exodus 3:11) God calls us to do mighty works on earth and we always give Him excuses. We tell Him we are not adequate enough just like Moses did.

The truth is that if we are sons and daughter of God, then our identity, power, authority, etc. is in Jesus. Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Stop giving God excuses, find who you are in Christ, get involved in the Body of Christ as it says in Ephesians 4:1-16

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Near Death Experience?

Well it's been a week now since I got the news that I was near death! I went to get new tires on my 99 Dodge Intrepid last Thursday when I started smelling gas. The tire place checked it for me while they changed the tires and noticed I was leaking fuel. I took it right away to the mechanic I know down the road. After he looked at it, he realized it was amazing the car hadn't literally blown up while I was driving it. Apparently, the gas line going into the engine had cracked open and was leaking fuel directly on the exhaust pipes!!! Well I'm glad that God looked after me in this situation. The fuel line has been hard to get and my car is still in the shop. I'm thankful I'm still alive...Now I'm praying God will provide the money to fix it as it will be at least 300-400 dollars for all the repairs.

update! the final bill was $422.06 (donations would be helpful!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Launch Time For Jessica

Hey everyone! It's happened...Jessica (my wife) has launched her new blog. Go check it out. It's called The Walk add it to your blogrolls because she is going to have some really awesome thoughts on there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My Favorite Hymn and Praise Song

So going along with yesterday, I thought it appropriate to talk about my favorite hymn and praise song. Of course I love almost all the hymns and a good majority of the praise songs two stand out to me.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

This hymn is probably my favorite. The words go as follows:
A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing.
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe
His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate
on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.
were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing:
dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus it is He,
Lord Sabaoth His name from age to age the same
and He must win the battle

And tho' this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us.
we will not fear for God hath willed His truth to triumph thro' us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him
his rage we can endure, for lo his doom is sure
One little world shall fell him

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them abideth.
The spirit and the gifts are ours, thro' Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also
the body they may kill, God's truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever!

It is true we are in a daily spiritual battle. Martin Luther wrote that hymn by the way. No matter what struggles, foes, wars, or principalities of darkness may come our way, God's truth abides in us that we will overcome them because Christ has overcome them.

Let My Words Be Few (I Stand In Awe)
This song is very moving to me. When I was learning the guitar I wanted to write amazing songs. The love song was always the hardest to write. Here are the words:

You are God in Heaven, and here am I on earth.
So I let my words be few
Jesus I am so in Love with You.

And I stand in awe of You, Jesus
Yes I stand in awe of You.
And I let my words be few,
Jesus I am so in love with You.

The simplest of all love songs I want to bring to You
so I let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with You.

Wow...It's great to know that we don't have to come up with some amazing, smart, heart-melting words of affirmation to make God feel loved. All we have to say to Him is "I love You" I especially love the lyric...the simplest of all love songs...that says it all.

So there you have it. Two completely different styles of music, but one act of worship. Tell me your favorite hymn(s) and praise song(s)

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Movement In The Church

A rather remarkable thing happened in the services at my church yesterday...for the first time, I felt like the Spirit was moving among the congregation during worship! I added a few "contemporary" songs in the sets and they (congregation) took to them rather well. I was surprised to see hands being raised and worshipful expressions on people's faces. It got me thinking last night as I was sleeping about the whole "traditional" vs. "contemporary" music battle in the church.

I love the old hymns, I love praise music just as much; but most of all I love God-honoring, and worship-worthy (I'll get into that later). I heard a good quote from a speaker on this subject once. He was a pastor and was confronted by some old-time, hymnal loving deacons that they don't like the new stuff the "song leader" (I hate that title) was singing in church. The pastor asked the deacons..."When did worship become all about what you like???" I liked that because it is so true. Many people have worshipped the song style and not worshipped God through the songs.

I make it a point to explain that the hymns we sing today were once the new "contemporary" songs of the day when they were written. In fact, many tunes that hymn words are sung to are not even Christian but secular tunes! In my studies in hymnology I even learned that some of the tunes in our hymnals were actually bar\tavern dance tunes!

Here's a question for you...When you turn on the radio, do you hear the same music over and over again for years and years (excluding oldies stations) No, people come out with new music for people to listen to...Does God want to listen to oldies all day long in Heaven? Although oldies can be goodies, I think that God wants to hear some of the new stuff because He wrote the music anyways when you think about it! I'm going to spend some time in my postings on this subject of worship and the many aspect of it. Hope this is helpful to you all.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Couldn't Help But Listen # 2

Yesterday I was enjoying another tea from Starbucks. Although the conversations were not as shocking as before, here's what I observed. I play guitar...I have been playing for about 8 years now. I say that to say this...don't bring your guitar to Starbucks and serenade people trying to enjoy life sans off tune singing of Metallica and Collective Soul classics. The instance of this particular socially ignorant group of guys brought back annoying memories of college. It seemed everywhere you went on campus there was someone, or group of people strumming away...the cafeteria while I was cramming for Dr. Lee tests, the gym, the dorm lobbies during football games, etc. My issue is not that I hate guitars, but please don't subject everyone to it in a public place!

Another interesting observation I had was from a Starbucks employee on her cigarette break. It kills me that Starbucks would allow their employees to go outside, sit next to customers and smoke. The image of sophistication goes down the drain when the first thing a patron sees is the employees wafting smoke in their faces. employees should have a designated place out back to do this. I also don't like hearing about their urine test results from last week! no...I'm not kidding! This employee said something else that related to the "Name Brand Association" of Starbucks. While she was on the phone with her friends, she never mentioned she was "at work" when people asked her location...she said "I'm at Starbucks" Starbucks has become a lifestyle, a household name, etc. that even the employee didn't refer to it as work! I thought that was interesting.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"Baby Grace" Murder

Wow...I don't normally link too many news articles but this one is just appalling to me. Where is this world going when we would kill a child for not saying "please" or "Yes Sir"? ...Warning, if you have small children this might make you cry. Click here to read the story.

An Addition, A Subtraction

Some changes to mention here at Modern Day Thomas. You will notice that Jessica is no longer combining her thoughts directly here. She has expressed the desire to create her own blog. I will link it as soon as she gets it going. I love you Babe!

We have a new addition to our household! Back in October, our cat Lucy was put to sleep (you can read why in "In Memory of our Precious Princess Kitty") well...another adorable little feline has caught our affection. "Millie" has been with us for a few weeks and is starting to get used to her new surroundings and getting fixed too!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Little Rain or Global Destruction?

Was The Genesis Flood Universal?

Absolutely!!! How? Why?

Here are some points to consider why it wasn't a local flood:
1. The Need for an Ark - If the flood was local, there would be no need for an ark at all. Noah could have just walked away from the area to be destroyed.
2. The Size of the Ark - Why was is so big if it would only need to withstand a localized flood?
3. Why bother with animals? - No need to save animals that would be living in another part of the world already! The Bible says that birds were collected also, showing the global flood proof.
4. Mountains - A local flood could not raise waters 20 feet above the mountains...the water would spread out not up! How is it that they have found marine fossils on Mt. Everest?
5. God promised no more floods to destroy earth- If this is so why do we have Katrina like floods, Mississippi River Floods a few years ago...The promise was that of a universal flood, not local flooding.

Just some points to ponder...coming up, some objections to the Global Flood belief.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A follow up on my Young Life Rant

Every now and then I am humbled. Looking back on my previous bash on Young Life probably was a little pre-mature and nicer words could have been used. For that I apologize to Young Life as a whole. After speaking with an anonymous YL leader from another part of the country he assured me that their ministry is Christ honoring and evangelistic. No ministry organization is perfect, mine is definitely not either...I guess I just got a little heated about this conversation I heard. From now on I will confront the brother\sister first before lashing out on my blog.

Morgan Freeman Does A Good God

I watched the movie Evan Almighty the other day and really enjoyed it. Bruce Almighty was very funny too. For some reason I think they (holloywood) did a good job in picking Morgan Freeman as God. Evan Almighty had a few non-biblical additions to the story but that was expected. The reason I am writing about this is not to say that God looks like Freeman or that Christians should watch these movies for deep spiritual insight, but I want to get back into some theology\Apologetics postings about the creation and flood accounts in Genesis.

The Flood...How did Noah get all the animals of the world into an ark?

Doubters' Question Mark:

1. Too many animals for one man and family to gather, take care of, and house on the ark.
An Answer:

1. Unlike Evan Almighty, the Bible did not say two of every animal in the says two of each "kind" of animal, bird, creature that crawls on the earth (Genesis 6:19-20). This word "kind" refers to the classification system we use today to identify animals. It is possible that Noah only had to bring two dogs, two cats, two cows, tow hippos, etc. Noah didn't have to bring two golden retrievers, two labs, two bulldogs, etc. because we know that through breeding these different "types" are made available. So, Noah did have a bunch of animals, but not as many as normally thought.

2. About the gathering of animals...Noah didn't have to go and find them...God said He'd bring them to Noah! (Genesis 6:20). This was one thing the movie got right! It was rather comical to see all the animals follow Evan (Noah) to work!

Coming Up...Was the Flood Universal or Local?

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Couldn't Help But Listen # 1

Every now and then I sit outside Starbucks (for tea only...there coffee sucks) or I'm at the finest coffee establishment in the world, JavaMoon Coffee just enjoying myself when it happens....There is always some person who is oblivious to their surroundings and blares out a conversation for the whole place to listen in on. Most of these conversations aren't worth listening to but a few can be quite interesting. I do not make a habit of eavesdropping, but we all have been in situations where we couldn't help but listen. Thus this post series I will start today and continue till eternity upon hearing something enlightening by someone who thinks their conversation was private and meaningless. I now take you back to Saturday night Nov. 24th, 2007. I was sipping on hot tea at Starbucks outside and a couple of friends who hadn't seen each other in a while sat in the next table. My ear tuned in when they started talking about going to Bible School and becoming a Young Life Director. If you don't know what Young Life is consider yourself blessed because it has always reeked havoc on youth ministries here in my county. Young Life is a "Youth Group" that travels from church to church in a region. Having attended them and talked with leaders, I can say that my opinion of them is nothing more of a glorified popular, rich-kid social hangout that focuses on events and having fun instead of getting in the word of God and worshipping him. Listening to this wannabee leader I heard him say that while he was in training, he went on "mission" to this one high scool, he then said that he played basketball with some of the kids later and then bought them beer and drank that night at his house!!!!! Wow!!! I wanted ever so badly to throw my boiling hot English brew in his face for doing that. My views on drinking are not that it is necessarily wrong or unbiblical, but to give it to minors while trying to be their spiritual mentor is absolutely appalling to me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Is Your Church On The List?

grabbed this link from Think Christian. Pretty interesting to see what is around us. The post was really dealing with mega-churches in general so check it out. To see the list of Mega Churches click here (it may take a while to load)

My Cup Has Overflowed

Last night was our annual Thanksgiving Service at church and there was a very touching moment when a lady in our church who is battling cancer got up and read this poem. It really makes you think how someone who is very sick can still feel blessed.

I've never made a fortune and it's probably too late now;
But I don't worry about that much, I'm happy anyhow.
And as I go along life's way I'm reaping better than I sow;
I'm drinking from my saucer 'Cause my cup has overflowed.
Haven't got a lot of riches and sometimes the going's tough,
But I've got loving ones around me and that makes me rich enough.
I thank God for his blessings and the mercies he's bestowed;
I'm drinking from my saucer 'cause my cup has overflowed.
O, remember times when things went wrong my faith wore somewhat thin;
But all at once the dark clouds broke and sun peeped through again.
So Lord, help me not to gripe about the tough rows that I've hoed;
I'm drinking from my saucer 'Cause my cup has overflowed.
If God gives me strength and courage when the way grows steep and rough,
I'll not ask for other blessings I'm already blessed enough.
And may I never be too busy to help others bear their loads;
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer 'Cause my cup has overflowed

I hope this is encouraging to you this Thanksgiving Holiday...mmmmmm turkey dinner tomorrow!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

On to Psalms

For my normal readers, I have been going through the Bible from cover to cover and a few weeks ago I posted how I was struggling to get through the book of Job. Well I did finally finish it. I don't know why I get so weird when I read that book. The problem is not the length or anything but the content. Everytime I read about Job I am reminded of the foolishness I have when I worry about things like money, friends, work, the future, etc. Job never cursed God in his sorrow and pain. I have done it way too much. This past week I was in Daytona, Fl. and thought it very ironic that the same day I finished Job, I heard a sermon from Job by one of the speakers! It brought a fresh insight into how to read it the next time I venture into it. Well now it's on to Psalms and Proverbs! (wow...I'm half-way there!!!)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Moving Forward

This is what the ladies in my Bible study went over this Monday:

Remember the song that said "Oh be careful little mouth what you say"? Well, Proverbs 18:21 reminded me of this section of the song because it says: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Are the fruits of your tongue bringing death or life?

That was the big question. We are going to look at three areas of doubt and see what we can do to yield fruits of life.

1. Sickness. There are so many people with ailments and I cannot explain why one has cancer and the next guy is seemingly healthy. What have come to know, though, is that my God is greater than any sickness. Matthew 8:17b says "He took our illnesses and bore our diseases". Also, the Lord's prayer was recently brought to my attention in a new light. It says: : "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven." Jesus said on Earth as it is in heaven. Well, in heaven we are physically and spiritually restored, right? We cannot let the enemy taint our minds anymore. God is bigger and stronger than our infirmities!!

2. Do you think that you lack faith? Romans 12:3 says that God has given each of us a measure of faith. Stop doubting your abilities to be who God wants you to be. You are already there. We all need growth, but God wants your willing heart. I believe that our mind can be our biggest obstacle in life. I know that it is one of mine. I am always trying to understand/figure out what God is doing. I really must stop and spend more time on who He is. He is sooo much bigger, stronger, and loving than we could ever imagine. He has already given you faith, just rest in knowing who He is.

3.Do you have bondage/defeat in areas of your life? 2 Cor. 3:17 says"Now the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." and 1Cor. 6:19 says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, therefore we have freedom. Don't you doubt it either because John 8:36 says "So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed." Are you going to argue with God?

All of this is for a point. We spend so much of our time focusing on our problems instead of focusing on God!!

I heard the analogy recently that speaks of a man who was driving his car while only looking through the rear view mirror. If someone was doing this, what would happen? It would probably lead to death or serious injury, right? Well, now that we know that there is freedom from sickness, lack of faith, and bondage, we cannot go on living like we do not know this. It will lead to our destruction. We must look out onto the road ahead and move forward. Don't live your life looking in the rear view mirror only seeing your past defeats, sins, and anything else that is holding you back. Look to the Lord to guide you.

I leave you with one last statement: "Stop telling God about your problems, and start telling your problems about your God"!!!! (read John 14:8-15 it is full of truths that relate)

I hope this makes sense to all!! LoVe -JeSsIcA =) Ps-Grammy and Mom, that picture is for you. I cannot wait to see my mommy on her birthday!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Not So Popular Bible Characters #6

Onesimus - The book of Philemon
I hope you read the whole book of Philemon (it's only 25 verses) because if you did, you will notice a real life prodigal son story! Onesimus was a slave\servant of Philemon who was a close friend to Paul. Onesimus ran away from his bondage and took refuge under Paul while he was in prison. Paul counsels Onisemus to return to his master and face his discipline.

Relevance: Some thoughts I gather on this man are that he had great courage to first flee his slavery, and then return to his master. Also, Onesimus ministered to his "fellow brother" Paul (v.16). Do we help build each other up or spend our life tearing each one down? Do we care about the past life of a believer, or help them deal with the future? Do we have the boldness as Onesimus had in facing his past in order to make things right? Something to think about!

I'm Back From Convention

Hello everyone,
I'm back now from the Florida Baptist Convention in Daytona Beach, Fl. and ready to tackle the pile of papers, messages, and bills on my desk. Fusion should be great tonight and I am looking forward to Grind, Grub, and Golf Day this saturday.
The convention went well and overall it was an enjoyable time with great music, preaching, and meeting old college buddies from BCF. The business meeting part was quite boring to be completely honest with you, but it was necessary.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Gone Fishin...I wish!

Well I am off to Daytona for the week due to the annual Florida Baptist State Convention. I should be back to post about all my adventures on thursday! Anyways, have a great week everybody!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Dull Men's Club Monthly Celebration #1

Ok all you Dull Men out there...I have the dull men's club link below on my blog. Each month has their own unique emphasis. This is a funny site to peruse when you are bored. NOVEMBER is

Celebrate the FIG Month!

The Not So Popular Bible Characters #5

Moving on to the New Testament, An interesting story comes from the account of :

Simeon - Luke 2:21-35 read it here!

Simeon was a very righteous and devout man (v.25) and what must of been awesome in his life was knowing that he would get to see the Messiah before he died. I can imagine everyday was filled with wonder and expectation for the coming King of Kings. One day while he was in the Temple, it says the Holy Spirit moved him (v.27) and he knew the Christ was there! Simeon then blessed the child and gave a message to his parents about Jesus' future (v.34-35).

The relevance: Why did God give Simeon the honor of prolonging life until the Christ came? Perhaps it was because he was righteous, holy, a true worshipper of God. Simeon had to have daily anticipated the Lord's coming! Do we? Does the Holy Spirit move us in ways He moved Simeon in the Temple? The Holy Spirit is always trying to move us...we don't always yield to Him! I'm not prophesying on the return of our Lord in our lifetime or anything like that, but are you anticipating it? Think about it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Not So Popular Bible Characters #4

Ashpenaz - (Daniel Chapter 1)

In the book of Daniel, we see the capturing of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar (cool names huh?) anyways, Ashpenaz was the chief of all the king's officials. He was ordered to bring some of the Israelite men to be royal servants and such. Daniel was one of them. Daniel and his close friends Hananiah (Shadrach) Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abednego) did not want to defile themselves with the unclean food at the palace. Ashpenaz was afraid he would be killed if they didn't follow the orders but Daniel gained trust in Ashpenaz (v.9). Ashpenaz allowed Daniel to test the diet for 10 days and they were more healthy and nourished than all the others!

The relevance here is that Ashpenaz was not a believer but gained compassion, trust, and liking towards these men. What was it that made him change? I think that Daniel and his buddies were very respectful, obedient, etc. and Ashpenaz remembered that. We as Christians are constantly being watched by unbelievers. They want to see if we really live the way we believe. Ashpenaz saw the truth in these men, do others change their way of thinking based on your life? Think about it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Not So Popular Bible Characters #3

Obed – (Ruth 4:13-22) read it here

Obed was interesting due to who he was born to. The story of Ruth is an awesome story of redemption, faith, and perserverance. It is a picture of our Lord redeeming us and providing our every need. Obed was born to Boaz and Ruth after Boaz became kinsmen redeemer to her. Obed then went on and was the father of Jesse who was the father of King David! The lineage of Jesus can be traced back through Obed and Ruth. Another interesting tidbit about the name “Obed” it means “Worshipper” Are you Obed? Do you worship the One true God? (Obed-Elohim) or the world (Obed-World???) I don’t know the Hebrew for world in case you were wondering.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Good to Great Book Review

I received this book at a pastor's luncheon a month ago and decided to thumb through it. To be honest with you...the book didn't do much for me. It's a basic ten step outline book with too many illustrations and not enough author input. I can't stand it when authors don't write on their own thoughts. Illustrations are vital to makes points come alive from time to time but come on writers...every point and sub point doesn't need one! To save you time, all you need to read is the 10 steps headlines: Great Christians...

1. Think Great Thoughts
2. Read Great Books (ironic isn't it)
3. Pursue Great People
4. Dream Great Dreams
5. Pray Great Prayers
6. Take Great Risks
7. Make Great Sacrafices
8. Enjoy Great Moments
9. Empower Great People
10. Develop Great Habits

The Not So Popular Bible Characters #2

Ham - (Genesis 9:18-29) read it here

This is one of my favorite stories because Christians are too embarrassed to talk about it because of Noah being a drunk naked man!

After the flood, Noah planted a vineyard (v.20) and when the harvest came he made some wine and got drunk on it! (I'm sorry but this wine must not of been grape juice if he got drunk) anyways, about Ham...Ham walked in on his father while he was passed out naked on the floor and he didn't do anything to hide the shame. Ham went and told his brothers. Shem and Japheth covered there father with a blanket. When Noah woke up (probably with a hangover!) he cursed Ham and decreed that his descendants will be slaves to the other brother's descendants!
When we see someone we care about doing something stupid, sinful, etc. what do we do? Are we like Ham and tell others about it? or are we like Shem and Japheth that realized the problem, helped the individual, and did not involve themselves in gossip or mockery. Something to think about!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Not So Popular Bible Characters #1

O.K. readers, I'm embarking on a journey for the next few weeks on Bible characters many have either never heard of or haven't payed much attention to. The reason I am doing this is first, they are in the Bible for a reason, they teach us great truths, and in some ways are just like me and you today. I hope to add a new one each day (except weekends) while also entering in any other post I feel I want to share. Hope you enjoy it! And the first contestant is.....

Ehud - (Judges 3:12-30) click here to read passage!

This man is one of my favorites so I'll start with him. If you read the passage, you are probably wondering what's so great about him...all he did was murder a morbidly obese king. The thing I love about this man is that the Bible does not say he is talented in many ways, good-looking, rich, or popular among people. Look in verse 15. Ehud is given the adjective "left handed man" that's it! God called Ehud to deliver Israel because his special gift was his left hand! Because of his uniqueness, he was able to hide a dagger\small sword in his right thigh (the normal soldier wore in on the outer left thigh. The guards didn't notice he was "packing heat" (no concealed permits needed back in those days!)

THE RELEVANCE : God can use you for his purpose! Each of us are created uniquely for His glory. Many times we wish that we could sing like someone else, be famous, speak better in public, etc. when all we need to do is use the abilities and talents God gave to us. The only thing special about Ehud was that he was left-handed and look what he did!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'll Pass on the Mass!


Thanks to Martin Luther on this day 480 years ago...We protestants broke free from the Catholic Church! To learn more about the Reformation click here. Don't celebrate Reformation Day with trick or treating, costume parties, or scary movies...instead, fire up some sausage, heat up the sour kraut and read Luther's 95 Theses as a bed-time story! HAPPY REFORMATION EVERYBODY!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ten Steps to Consider

I read this list today from another blog called the outflow. This is really cool. Hope you enjoy it.

10 Tips For Preventing Scandal
1. Live a humble, transparent life.
2. Stay open to correction.
3. Audit your actions regularly.
4. Stay in touch with the real world.Ministry is about loving people. But you will never develop compassion unless you are close enough to the grass roots to smell the poverty, lay hands on the sickness and cry with those who are in pain.
5. Don’t allow people to make you a celebrity.
6. Make family a priority.
7. Live modestly and give extravagantly.
8. Don’t build your own kingdom.
9. Develop keen discernment.
10.Maintain your spiritual passion.People who experience moral failure almost always lose their spiritual passion first.

Not only are these tips good for preventing scandal but they are just good principles to live by. Living this type of lifestyle is what God is calling us Jesus Followers to.
What do you think? Would you add to the list?

G.I. Joe the Non-American Hero?

Well I was listening to Glenn Beck this morning and was pretty mad as he was at Hasbro's desire to change the emphasis on the classic G.I. Joe's "Real American Hero" to "Global Integrated Joint Operative Entity" WHAT?????? An "American" company is going to rid itself of being American! The new G.I. Joe will answer to the UN! Beck sees the danger in making our kids grow to love the U.N. and answer to them and not being American! Shame on you Hasbro...I don't have kids but I along with Beck will not support (buy anything) from them. How can you as an American support American companies like this who are throwing away our Pride, Heritage, and Dignity? Let's hurt Hasbro this Christmas season by boycotting them...maybe they'll change!

"I hate Hasbro...and the U.N."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stuck In The Book Of Job

Hey guys! I think I had mentioned before that I am reading the Bible straight through from cover to cover. I have studied all the books before but actually have never taken the time to read them in order. All the books aren't necessarily in chronological order but I think the reader gains a deeper understanding of the New Testament by reading the Old Testament first. After all, Jesus was the fulfillment of the O.T. so why is little emphasis given to it? I seldom hear sermons based on Old Testament passages. I try to incorporate the O.T. with the N.T. fulfillment when I preach.

For that last few weeks I have been stuck in the book of Job. Besides the fact that it is a very long book and I've read it before, I have had difficulty getting through it! This book is probably one of the vital, must read, spiritual uplift anyone can lay eyes on in the Bible and I'm just not motivated to finish it. I have had no discipline in my spiritual life lately. I hate excuses but I do have some. I have been so caught up in the events of my ministry to set aside time alone with God. for the last few weeks I had been stressed out about my cat's failing health and then dealing with putting her to sleep. Perhaps the biggest excuse is that I have been too lazy. Looking back for the past few weeks, I have spent time watching T.V. I have spent time online, reading magazines, playing Guitar Hero 2, etc. but have had no desire to dive more into God's word and finish the challenge of reading the whole Bible.

Distractions are a tool that Satan uses to tempt us to fall. Laying all excuses aside, it is time to get refocused and finish the race. Sometimes it takes something like a pet's death to make you realize how much of your time was devoted in the care of it and how little time you actually spend alone with God. Is anyone else struggling with distractions or having the desire to get into God's word? What are some things you do to keep yourself on track?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In Memory of Our Precious Princess Kitty

Lucy Marie Blackrick 2005-2007
Lucy Marie Blackrick – Born March 17th 2005 (St. Patrick’s Day) left us eternally October 25th 2007 in Bradenton, Fl. Lucy, a domestic short-haired multi-color house cat will be missed by all who loved her and took care of her. Although your time here on earth was cut short, your life will go on in memories never forgotten, pictures scrapbooked, and hairballs to be found in future cleanings. Lucy’s life was that of constant struggle, being orphaned at birth she was adopted by her loving parents Bill and Jessica Blackrick, both of Bradenton, from the Humane Society of Bradenton, Fl. Lucy lost a three month fight for life from her immune deficiency disorder. Lucy was very fond of taking naps, chasing bugs, smelling flowers, looking out the window, cuddling under the covers at night, and playing fetch with her toys. Her purr could be heard from across a room and her nose was very cold and wet when she kissed. Her cuteness and very lady-like personality will be deeply missed. Lucy always enjoyed new company and would always want to be the center of everyone’s attention and lap! Lucy’s favorite foods were tuna, liver, and chicken. Her favorite T.V. show was “I Love Lucy” her favorite song was “Forgetful Lucy” by Adam Sandler. Lucy lived up to her name which means Light. Lucy brightened each day for everyone she loved on. Lucy’s family wishes to thank all the doctors and staff at Pet First Animal Hospital for their dedication and hard work. Lucy will be cremated and services will be private. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Humane Society of Bradenton, fl. Final arrangements entrusted to Belspur Oaks Pet Crematory.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Loving The Creation Is Causing People To Get Burned

O.K. guys I might get some nasty comments from some tree-huggers out there but here goes...

I was listening to The Schnitt Show yesterday afternoon on my way home from the office and an interesting view on all the fires in California was being discussed. Schnitt had a California firefighter on the show talking about the problems and how bad things were. There is no doubt that this is a huge problem, but what caught me and Schnitt for a surprise was that it all could have been prevented if it were'nt for orginizations like PETA, GreenPeace, etc. who oppose ANY controlled burns and brush clearing!!! They claim that it is an unnatural process that hurts the creation and animals living there. This firefighter claims they have stopped about six years worth of brush clearing and this "Dead Drop" is now adding up and is fueling these fires out of control. "Dead Drop" is all the leaves, trees, brush and so forth that dies and falls to the ground. Over builds up and if it catches fire...well...look at California. Especially in the Sierra area...people built there homes just inches away from the trees not wanting to cut down any and clear a safe barrier for their home from the forest. Now look! If you want to see more about this interview or about the very controversial Schnitt Show I have a link on my blog can even tune in and listen sometime.

My point in all this is that activists have become huge worshippers of the creation and not the Creator! Since they have allowed there beliefs on nature to overrule common sense and safety, people are losing there homes and there lives are threatened. Stop worshipping creation or you might get burned!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Getting Away From Distractions

Well Jessica and I are back and attempting to recover from taking our youth group camping this past week! Even though we both are exhausted, it was a awesome time! Some highlights and funny things that happened was the late-night hike in the woods (it's always fun when you get a youth to hide back in a bush and jump out and grab someone...ahhh the ear piercing screams!) Of course there were campfires and S'mores! Swimming in an alligator habitat was fun and fearful at the same time! The last night we were there it stormed and my tent and another one of the guy's flooded out! Needless to say I crammed all the guys in one tent and I literally slept under the stars and was awoken by raccoons only twice!

Amongst all the craziness, wetness, lack of sleep and stress, the more important thing that took place was the bonding of our group with each other and with my wife and I. We had a total of eight youth come! (for those of you think 8 is no big group was only 2 youth in July!) I had some cancellations at the last minute which could have brought the total to 10. It's awesome to see numerical growth but that is not nearly important as spiritual and relational growth in the group. My church supports me in this philosophy of youth ministry and they are just as excited as I am.

During the camp-out we took time to focus on getting away from the distractions in life and think about those less fortunate to have all the luxuries teens have today. There's no better setting than in the middle of the woods with no electricity, video games, computers, ipods, television, phones, or radios to learn about focusing on God's purpose in there life! We live our lives with countless distractions. Work, family, money, politics, and even church eats away at our time alone with God. Our distractions become our idols! Let me challenge you to spend three days without any electronics, phones, etc. and spend that time alone in God's word and prayer just like my group did this past week!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Be Back Monday

Bye everyone...Jess and I are off to our camping back monday

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sound Off Campout!

Hey everyone...I haven't been able to spend much time lately posting new material and I apologize. I have been preparing for a campout with FUSION this week and things are getting crazy! As of Sunday, my total for youth wanting to go went from 5 to 12 !!! wow! I don't know if they all are actually going to go until Wednesday Night but it is exciting to see a group finally have some numerical growth along with the spiritual.

This campout with actually be a fasting time from all media devices like video games, cell phones, ipods and such. The time spent away from media will be turned into discipleship. We leave Thursday after school and will be camping till Saturday. Hope no one gets eaten by alligators!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Monopoly -vs- The Lottery

I got lucky today at McDonald's...Two free McFluries and a Free Breakfast Sandwich! Basically for the price I paid for the meal I got the equivalent in free food for later! This reminded me of a debate in one of my theology classes about gambling. Most Christians will agree that gambling is sin. It is! Is going to McDonald's and buying certain products for the chance to win food, money or other prizes any different than going to the store and buying a lottery ticket? I don't think it is but I have never heard a Christian say I won't play the monopoly game and try to win the million bucks! Part of my debate in class was about the stock market investing and gambling. I understand that Jesus told the parable about the servants and the money they invested (Matthew 25:14-30) so investing is not against the Bible. But is being a bad steward of your investing a sin? The stock market as we know is not a stable investment (Great Depression ring a bell?)
The correlation I am making is that if Christians are willing to put there money in a stock with the "chance" it will make them money, then what is the difference in putting money in the lottery, dog races, or a weekend in Vegas? Obviously the issue is the addiction to gamble. Aren't people addicted with finding the last game piece on monopoly? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Little Warning!

Well I've never had any trouble with the law before...that is until today! I was bored with my usual airport viewing area so I decided to look around for a better spot. I found an awesome place behind an empty hangar! Well I parked my car and was able to see the planes actually glide down the strip and even could see which terminal they steered towards. I was carelessly talking to Dan Browne on the phone for about 10-15 minutes when I noticed the Sheriff's car coming my way rather quickly. Ah Crap! I knew I was going to be in trouble. Apparently Airport Security noticed me and called the cops! I was lucky to just get a verbal warning not to come back here and I apologized. To be honest with you, I don't think the sheriff really cared but you know how the FAA is!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Numbing Down?

This past Saturday Jessica and I went to Sarasota Jungle Gardens Park for a time of relaxation and fun. We both had a great time watching many different animals. Jessica even got to hold a 4 foot alligator! The most interesting thing for me was the flamingo exhibit there. These flamingos acted like they didn't even care about the human presence. I was actually able to sneak up on one while it was sleeping! After it woke up it gave a very nice pose for my camera!

This got me thinking that these wild birds who are instinctively afraid of humans have been numbed due to overexposure. Are we as humans the same way? We have been exposed to the world so much over the years that we are becoming like the flamingos and not fearing sin, immorality, injustice, and evil around us. We are not to love the world or the things in it says 1 John 2:15-17. I love the illustration on how to boil a frog. If you wanted to boil a live frog you can't simply drop it in boiling water because it will feel the heat and jump out immediately. You have to place him in cold water and gradually raise the temperature to boiling and he will never jump out. We humans have been slowly boiling in this world and are getting more and more numb to the spiritual battle that is before us. Don't be like this flamingo!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sit Down, Shut Up, and Enjoy the Ride!

Hello all! This is my first post on my own. You will be reading about what we went over in the Bible Study I lead on Monday Nights for women. I pray that it speaks to your heart also.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth."

The title of this note comes from some great words of wisdom imparted from my dear friend Lisa Mead. One day I was complaining about all of the things that I wish I could be doing for God and wishing I were on a faster track to finding true joy in Christ. That is when Lisa flat out said "Just sit down, shut up, and enjoy the ride". Immediately I was flustered by this comment and her boldness, but then I realized she is so right!! This is what all of Psalm 46 is speaking of.

Do I want God as He is, or do I want to fit Him in my box? I want Him as He is!!! Why do I doubt Him continually? In this chapter of the Bible, we are reminded that God has all power and authority. We should not be looking to this world for stability or to our own visions for encouragement and passion, we should be looking to the Lord, God Almighty. "Therefore we will not fear, though the Earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea." (v.2) "God is within her, she will not fall." (v.5a) We have to choose to stand firm in our relationship with God and say:"I know that He will provide for me in the way that will glorify His name best, and I am okay with that. I do not need all of the things of this world. All that I need is my relationship with the Lord!!

"I am currently reading a great book entitled The DNA of Relationships by Dr.Gary Smalley. The chapter I am reading now specifically deals with the common misconception that if we are in Christ everything will work out just as our heart wants it. This is not necessarily true because God's plans are greater than our own. Chapter 9 in the previous mentioned book says: "So let me say it one more time. I have no magic pills. No secrets of guaranteed relationship success. Even so, I do have some solid and strong reassurance for those who may feel uneasy at the thought of a world without guarantees. I feel so confident because the reassurance comes straight from God's Word. And it drips with sweet serendipity:
'Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! He will make me as surefooted as the deer and bring me safely over the mountains.'" Habakkuk 3:17-19
I pray that these verses help give you the desire to change the way you view life. We need to view in the spiritual and not in the natural!!

Lord, please strengthen our relationships with You!! We want to have our focus only on You, and not on the things of the world which continually fail us. Lord, we love You and thank You for your promises to us. We know that You are who You say You are, and we praise You for it!!! Amen!!
-Written By Jessica =)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Aren't All AddictionsThe Same?

My Addiction is Coffee...ooohhhh I'm a minister that is an addict! Why am I not being scolded at church for visibly guzzling half a pot of joe each morning? Church has warped their theologies into believing that some addictions are more evil than others. An addiction to caffeine or chocolate is no worse to God than Alcohol or even Sexual addictions! The addiction wagon rolls through my life each day as it does with everyone. I have a hard time hearing people in my church or even abroad that judge alcoholics, drug addicts, smokers, people dealing with pornography, etc. when they battle with addictions too. Sin is sin, anything that devotes our time, health, or money from being Christ-Centered is an addiction. Are there good addictions? Absolutely! We should be more addicted to Scripture, Prayer, and meditation on God than any substance on earth. Can some addictions be good and usefull for God? Yes! drinking coffee and conversing with strangers at a coffee shop like I'm doing right now as I got this idea for this post at Java Moon can be a wonderful tool for God. What are your addictions? How can you use them for good?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Bird Watching...Well Big Metal Bird Watching

Lately I have been taking my lunch break from the office and driving down to Sarasota\Bradenton International Airport (which is only 2 miles from my office) and watching the birds fly into town and land. You might think I'm crazy for religiously parking my Dodge Intrepid right in line with the landing strobe lights making sure the jets pass ever closely to my vehicle. Perhaps its the rumble I feel when the engines' exhaust hit my car, perhaps the noise level, perhaps the excitement and awe that I have whenever I contemplate the achievements that have been made in aviation in the last few years. Perhaps I just want to get away from the ordinary sitting in a Mcdonalds with 20 other strangers gnawing away at their dollar menu items. I enjoy, and need, for that that matter the time away from all interruptions and endless planning for church. The airport has been my place to not only think about airplanes and how I wish I took the licensing school when I had the chance, but a place I can think about God.

Do you have a place you go to when you need to be alone? Jesus went on his own to pray for others and for himself (Matthew 26:36-46). I often wonder where God would go in this world to "get away" and watch the birds. What place on earth did God set aside as his most prized piece of creation in which he finds the most pleasure by gazing on it? Some stake claim on it being their home state, while others claim it to be on a mountain top or the ocean floor.

God doesn't need to get away from it all because unlike us humans, He can handle all the pressures of the world. Perhaps He gave us wondrous things, places, views, and even airplanes to help us appreciate life a little more.

God want us to spend time with him alone as much as possible. How else can you truly get to know someone unless you do? Find that spot that no one else can bother you at, look around in creation, marvel at God's work and enjoy life to the fullest.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Graham Formula Book Review

As often as I can I enjoy reading a good book. This one wasn't that great but had some truths that need to be affirmed to everyone. The overall theme of this book was about the dangers of "alter call" evangelism made popular by early evangelist like Billy Sunday and Charles Finney. This book addressed the need for personal counseling of individual while leading them to a "born again" experience. Salvation is more than "coming down the isle" and reciting the "sinner's prayer" it is a decision of the heart that transforms the life of the individual. Pat McIntyre uses the Billy Graham formula that SALVATION + COUNSELING + FOLLOW UP = DECISION and that only about 25% of these result in a true salvation experience.
The issue I have with some of this guy's beliefs are that he feels that all evangelism holds true to this model and that someone can't truly be saved by saying a prayer. He states that he has a hard time believing that a missionary can preach one sermon and a whole tribe converts! I refer to the thief on the cross who only asked for Jesus to remember him in paradise! Did Jesus tell him he must go through counseling and have a follow-up before he would be saved? NO!!!
Evangelism is different for everyone. Some people need years of counseling before a decision is made, while others only need to hear the gospel once for it to change their lives forever. I will agree that it is vital to the life of new believers to receive discipleship from a church but to say that a true decision is only made by the above formula is wrong. What's your view on evangelism?

Monday Morning Quarterback

Some Let Downs...Some Joy!

Auburn vs. Florida ...well, all I can say is...that Auburn somehow did it again, but must I remind everyone that they were the only ones to beat us last year and we still are National Champions!

Awesome Job Bucs! 3-1 and looking good. Too bad about Cadillac Williams though.

NL EAST CHAMPIONS !!!!!!!!!! OH YEAH!!!!!!!!

Click Here to read about the exciting comeback!

Friday, September 28, 2007

The week in review

sorry that I don't have much to write about today as I have been too busy to study for my articles. Here's all I did this week.
Sunday - had church
Monday- studied all day for my book and then stayed at church till 8:45pm waiting on Jessica's Bible Study to finish.
Tuesday- Planned for FUSION and for the music on Sunday
Wednesday- had FUSION and 5 kids showed up! then had a good choir practice
Thursday - My Day Off!!! - slept in till 10:30, fed the cat and went to lunch with my mom, came home and finished Vixen 03 and started Night Probe. Had dinner at parents and went to the mall with Jessica and mom, and sister.
Friday - paid bills
Saturday - Funeral for a church member (Florence Smith) from 2:00-?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The World Is Your...Oyster Cracker?

O.k. This morning I was in our church's kitchen waiting on the stale Maxwell House coffee to brew so I can officially wake up when I saw it! On the counter was a box of Oyster Crackers from Publix that someone had left for some reason. Well it was a philosophical statement on the bottom of the box that intrigued me. "The World Is Your Oyster Cracker!" What could that possibly mean? I asked Pastor Ron to take a stab at it as he walked in and only got the same puzzled look I had. Going about my business this morning, all I can think about is how is my world like an oyster cracker. Was this some stupid saying they put on the box to get people's attention (it worked) or does it hold actual philosophical relevance? I want your opinions on this matter.
Possible Interpretations:
"You are what you eat?" well I am not an oyster but I am a Florida Cracker!
"The world is salty, flaky, and good with clam chowder?" hhhmmmm.
An oyster cracker is used to add flavor to a soup or salad so can we say the world adds flavor to our lives? What if you don't like oyster crackers? do you hate the world then? Maybe the answer isn't just about the cracker but whatever someone loves in life is considered to be their world! Is your world an oyster cracker?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Marrying Your Sister?

Who did Cain marry? Did Cain marry his sister? Why are these questions relevant to our daily life?

I like to ask questions that aren't normally raised to get you to think about what and why you believe the Bible and God. This question has been raised by sceptics of the authenticity of the Bible saying that Leviticus 18-20 states that it is unlawful that anyone should marry his sister. If Cain married his sister...this contradicts God's law and so the Bible is not true! Wrong!!!
Many Christians try to explain that there might have been another race of created people but this is contradicting to the truth that we are all descendants of Adam (Gen 2:7, 1 Cor. 15:21-22). The truth is that yes, Cain DID marry a sister! It is not clear which one or exactly when the marriage was but it is true. Adam and Eve had a total of 33 sons and 23 daughters! for the human race to survive they needed to marry their own relatives and reproduce. When you think about it, we are all brothers and sisters, we are all from "one blood"
So what about that law? My answer to people who raise such a stupid question is get your timeline straight! The law of Moses wasn't written yet during the period of creation and the fall. Abraham even married his half-sister Sarah (Gen. 20:12) and God blessed his life and made the covenant that a great nation will rise from his seed! The laws were not given until about 400 years later with Moses.
So when you hear someone discrediting the Bible as truth because of issues like this...don't try to make up some answer to fit, read the Bible, study the history, and find the truth. "always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope in you" 1 Peter 3:15

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

God's Sovreignty in Disasters

I listened to this interview with John Piper on the blog: Pilgrim In A Foreign Land it is very lengthy but good if you have the time. It helps answer the question why do bad things happen to good people like the tsunami victims. click here to listen
comment on what you think!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Forgiven Again

I had the great pleaseure of meeting with Jack Price the owner of Prism Music Publishing this past tuesday morning. I with about 15 other worship leaders and choir members got to sit in and sing some of the new music being published for churches. Besides that awesome fact that the actual owner of the company cares enough to teach us the music shows how great this music is. One song we looked at is titled "Forgiven Again" here are the words (chorus in bold)

I'd left my family, the love I had known,
I couldn't believe how calloused I'd grown.
The I woke up one morning in cold freezing rain
and said I'll go back where I caused so much pain.
Just in sight of the place where the lane meets the road,
the Father was waiting to carry my load.
His big arms were open to draw me to Him;
Forgiven, Forgiven, Forgiven again!
If you've broken the trust and betrayed your best friend;
If you're lost and confused, wondering where it will end;
There's a way you can know that wherever you've been
you can make your way home and be forgiven again!

It's an awesome truth that no matter how far away we may run from God, his big arms are there open to accept us back into fellowship with him! Jesus knew while on the cross that we would sometimes doubt him, run away and deny him. Not only did he experience the physical anguish from the nails and the beatings but the emotional burden of his children rejecting him. He died so we can be forgiven, and stay forgiven!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Break In @ Church

Sometimes I wonder what goes on in the minds of criminals that drives them into doing what they do. I am quickly reminded by God that we are all sinners and we are living in the law of sin in us and the fact that no human is "good" (see Romans 7:14-25). No matter how good you may think you are and how good someone else might be the truth is that we are ALL capable of doing evil, criminal things.

We had apparently had a break-in at our church over the weekend. The thieves did not steal money, electronics, etc.they stole food! Our fellowship hall is not under the security system so our huge commercial fridge stocked with meats for Wednesday Supper, milk and juices, and other various kitchen supplies were wiped clean! It's like a college fraternity came home for the weekend. WHY? Why they broke in for food i don't know. Are humans getting so corrupt that not even a church is safe from violence? I see it in the news all the time with the recent shootings and fires during worship. It is sad that the one place people can turn to for assistance now has to have a high-tech alarm system to keep people out.

I agree that it is important to secure the valuables that are a part of God's House. The issue is that the CHURCH HAS NOT DONE ITS PART IN KEEPING OUR SOCIETY FROM BEING THIS EVIL!!!!! Now its coming back to bite us (sorry for the food pun) in the butt!

on a side note...I'm pretty mad that they got my chocolate donuts!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I'm Back and Running

Hey guys...I am back from the FOCUS conference and it was awesome! I learned alot about building relationships with youth and not youth ministries. more of that to come.

I got back Saturday to find out that i will be preaching tonight in church due to the death of the pastor's mother. I have a funeral tomorrow morning for my piano lesson teacher when i was in school, I have a meeting with the high school activities director, a choir music reading conference tuesday in Lakewood Ranch , FUSION on Wednesday, and a See You @ the Pole Rally on Saturday! ...welcome home Bill!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Signing Off for the Week...maybe

Well this week is finally coming to an end! as mentioned earlier I will be gone from town for next week. I can almost see the emerald coastal waters swarming with fish hungry for my bait. i can smell the aroma from the many wonderful restaurants like Tom's, Bayou Joe's, and Coram's. I can imagine the sleepless nights due to late-night Walmart runs, 2-2-2's (if you don't know what that is you are not from P.C.) and trying to catch a run of Spanish Mackerel downtown while sipping Hot Chocolate!

Aaahhh...i can't wait for some relaxation.....wait...oh yeah there might be some conference thingy i have to go to also!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

getting ready to focus

Well it's only Wednesday afternoon and it has been a stressful week. The effects of handling two ministries (youth and music) at the same time has its difficulties every now and then. It is so easy to lose focus on what the big picture is. It is easy to let one problem effect the other ministries. It seems to me that i wasted yesterday. I am ready for a retreat next week in Panama City, Fl. Lifeway is holding a Youth Pastor Conference and i will be attending it with my friend Dan Browne (Jesus & Java). The theme is "Focus" and will help us ministers to focus on the important things in ministry and help build meaningful relationships with youth. I'm looking forward to the teaching and worship by Charlie Hall Band as well as hangin out in P.C. with some old friends.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Wonderful Time in God's Creation

To go along with my creation emphasis i want to share some photos from this past Saturday. I took my adult church choir to Dayspring Conference Center in Parrish, Fl. This campground is on the water and away from everything. how can anyone think that all this beauty that is on earth not have a divine design?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's Back

I am so excited that the wait is over!!! I can now enjoy salmonella free Peter Pan Peanut Butter!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gotta Get Out by 12:00 p.m.

Warning...this is a vent! I recieved a note (anonymous) in my mailbox at church Sunday and it's been bugging me with what it said. here it is:

"I think you as the music director should consider shortening the amount of time for the singing, which in turn will give the pastor more time for his sermon so that he will not feel rushed and run the service past noon. In fairness to the pastor, he should be starting his message at or about 11:15 a.m.

Thank You.

AAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!! sorry...well, no I'm not really. First off, I am not a "Music Director" I am a "Worship Pastor" you don't call the pastor a "sermon speaker" do you? Secondly, we don't (we shouldn't) just "sing" in church, it's worship! Read the Bible and understand what worship is and how long "services" were in Jesus' day! Maybe we should bring our lunches to church like many did back then and sleep at the church until all was said and done and not because it's getting close to noon. Personally, I don't wear a watch in church for this purpose. I don't care what time it is when worshipping. It's a spiritual immaturity to tell God we only have an hour and fifteen minutes for you this morning. It's also immature to say that a sermon is more important than the's all worship! This note was probably from some guy who doesn't like to sing and only comes to hear a message. I guess there isn't too many messages from Psalms he\she would enjoy if they don't care about worship through song.
anyways...that's my venting for the day!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Focusing on Creation Doubts

The first emphasis this blog will focus on is the doubts people have toward creation and how we came to be. Everyone from time to time has wondered if The Creation account can be accurate with scientific "discoveries" of evolution. There has even been an emphasis to add an evolutionist view with the creation account; that is to say that God created the beginning substances and allowed evolution to form the rest. I've got one word to describe this view...RIDICULOUS! actually there are other words but...I am Christian! I will be posting articles and thoughts on how biblical creation is the correct view and how creation actually explains scientific phenomenons!
7 DAYS??? OR 7 AGES???
Much from this article is from the Answers Book by Ham,Sarfati, and Wieland.
a reason why God did not create the world in geologic ages is that sin entered the world at the fall. This means that the evolutionist view of diseases killing off weaker species, bloodshed, killings, etc happened before The Fall. If this is true then the whole message of the Bible is undermined and worth nothing.
The whole idea of a "day" meaning millions of years only came about since Darwin's time and when science was threatening the biblical view. Christianity started making the Bible fit with Evolution. The Hebrew word for day here in Genesis is yom and there are different meanings for it in the context of Scripture. However, every time in the O.T. (Old Testament) that yom is with a number..."sixth day" it means a literal 24 hour period. Just like in Exodus 31:15-17, God lays out the foundation of a 7 day\24hour a day week.
"For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested."
posts to come....Debates on literal day translation and why it even matters!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Doubting is not new...but this blog is!


we have all doubted our faith from time to time and that's ok! We as humans will always ponder the how and why of God, life, death, love, etc.

This blog is dedicated to the Modern-Day Thomas person! (Thomas was the "Doubting Disciple" in case you don't know) I wish to post thoughts of my own and others that are beneficial to helping us doubters understand God better.
Of all the people I've read about in the Bible, Thomas sticks out to me the most. I have never heard many good revues or praises about Thomas because of his "doubts" and "questions" Why is that? He was a disciple that Jesus chose to walk with him. I think that Jesus specifically wanted Thomas to be with him because so many of us struggle with doubt and can relate with him.
It is true that we are living in a world that wants answers. We tend to doubt things we can't see or touch and Christianity seems to be losing this battle of the mind. It shouldn't be this way. I hope this Blog will be a blessing for all of us that have doubts from time to time!