My favorite part of The Voice

It’s at about the 50 second mark. Sixteen-year-old Jacquie Lee’s time is almost up and none of the super star judges have activated the switch to turn their chair around, signaling approval of Ms. Lee’s performance. If none of them turn, her journey will be over in less time than it takes to change classes at school.

Christina Aguilera’s hand hovers over the button.  Time is nearly gone as she finally pounces on her button, convincing Blake Shelton to rapidly follow suit. Both chairs spin around to a smiling young lady. She has been accepted. She has received the approval of people who could propel her into stardom. Continue reading

If the blind lead the blind, both fall into a pothole.

source:wfmj.com

Salt truck succumbs to a pot hole in nearby Youngstown, OH (source:wfmj.com)

It’s not like I haven’t been around potholes before. But, they’ve been extra bad this year. I’ve had conversations with co-workers who agree that it seems far worse than in the past.

As it turns out, we’re correct.  I read online that in 2015, the state of Ohio has been sued 256 times for automobile damage caused by these gaping craters – the most ever. Our local newspaper even has a “Pothole Patrol” so commuters can report the location of the most cavernous routes and whether or not they have been repaired. However, we have seen potholes before, and you’d figure that drivers would have some idea how to navigate them.

On my way to work last week, I took my normal route, which had birthed and expanded potholes overnight. At many points in a one mile stretch, cars slow to a crawl to safely maneuver a pothole minefield. I was at one of those points, and a driver behind me was in too much of a hurry to worry about the potential damage to his vehicle. 

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The LGBT sentiment is godly, in a way

Choosing between God and Gay

 

I saw this posted on facebook yesterday and it has stuck with me.  The tone isn’t combative. The sentiment portrays a basic human need: to be accepted for who we are.

I’m not sure what rock I’ve been under, but this is the first I’ve heard of Vicky Beeching. From what I’ve learned about her from the internet, she seems like a lovely person who isn’t out to pick a fight. Her web site describes her: “. . . with warmth, humour, an ivy-league mind and striking honesty Vicky communicates a message of authenticity, challenge and self-development, much of which is drawn candidly from her own journey.”

In her interview with the BBC after the announcement about her sexuality, she noted that she stayed with the church because she thinks that disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean you can’t associate with them.

Wow, it looks like we’d get along swimmingly.

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Zach, the fish whisperer

A fish photobomb

A fishy photobomb

My intent was to get a picture of the bigger fish.  Zach, my 11 year-old, will have had that fish for two years this April. Goldfish are supposed to live like what, a few months? I’ve always thought that pet stores sell goldfish as bait or as a starter fish for kids interested in getting an aquarium. So, when we bought Zach this fish for fifty cents almost two years ago, we didn’t invest in gravel, plants or other fishy stuff. We didn’t think he’d last that long.

A few months later we bought the smaller fish because Zach was worried the first fish was lonely. They’ve been bowl mates for about a year and a half.

My wife and I can’t believe they are still alive. Zach doesn’t clean the bowl as often as he should, though it looks darker in the picture that it actually is because the room was dark. However, he never forgets to feed them each night. In the early days I would ask Zach at bedtime if he’d fed the fish. But, I could never remember their names so I’d just refer to them as famous duos in history. Zach stopped correcting me about a year ago.

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Does God have regrets?

deflate-gate-patriots-colts-memes-5

Sorry, not the best quality pic, but it’s funny!

 

Do you think the New England Patriots regret deflate-gate?

It’s widely accepted by sports outlets that the team intentionally deflated their footballs 2 lbs. less than NFL regulations for the AFC championship game last Sunday. This gave them an advantage of greater ball control in the cold, wet conditions.

The Pats ended up destroying the Colts 45-7, and many claim that the indiscretion was insignificant to the outcome of the contest. Maybe so. Or . . . maybe not. Who can tell how many fumbles or incomplete passes were averted? And if it didn’t make much of a difference, why did they do it?

I’m less than a fan of the Patriots so my opinion is biased. They are consistently in the playoffs, and they have been consistently caught being unscrupulous. I know there’s a lot of moolah involved, but what about honor? What about winning without an asterisk next to your accomplishment? Continue reading

Jesus was made perfect. So, he must have been less than perfect, right?

 

Photo credit: Jilles / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo credit: Jilles / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Short answer: yes.

Perhaps it wasn’t the smartest idea.  I introduced the question posed in the title of this post to the young adult Bible study at Evangel Baptist Church for one of the first studies I led for them.  The look on Brian Barth’s face – a young man who studies the word and is faithful to it – was priceless!  He didn’t know me yet and was deeply concerned that I was bringing some kook teaching into the lives of our young adults.  We can laugh about it now, right Brian (tee-hee)?

But, it’s a question that is valid.  Hebrews 5:8-9 says, “Son though [Jesus] was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. (NIV)”

Lest you think it’s a mistake, the Biblical author says it again in Hebrews 7:28, “For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. (NIV, too)” Continue reading

How to wash feet with your hair

Photo credit: Princes Milady / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Princes Milady / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Okay, the guys in this picture haven’t figured out how.  Have you ever washed someone’s feet?  How about spending a year’s salary on the perfume and using your hair as a cloth?

Steve Lewis is a good friend of mine who had the courage to lead the Bible Study at our house last week.  He did great research on John 12:1-8, the story of when Mary, the sister of Lazarus, washed Jesus feet. He pointed out that Mary washed Jesus’ feet and the Lord responded by saying her act would be remembered for all time. If it pleased God that much, we should do the same. So our group discussed how we might be able to have the courage to wash Jesus’ feet with our hair.

Since we can’t do what Mary did literally, we needed to get at the essence of what she did so that we could replicate that. Steve challenged us to view this scene from Mary’s perspective. With facts provided by Steve to lead the way, our group came up with these steps:

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Why punish yourself more than God does?

Photo credit: Josef Grunig / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Josef Grunig / Foter / CC BY-SA

People can’t make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them.  That’s a concept that has helped people who struggle with poor self-esteem to develop a healthy outlook about themselves.

What if the reverse of that concept could be useful as well? I don’t mean that I can only make someone else feel bad if they let me do it (though that is true).  But what if it’s true to say that other people can’t make you feel good about yourself unless you let them?

Guilt is a powerful emotion that is unnecessary for Christians. When you were saved you were freed from all the burdens of sin, including this one.

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Glenn Beck didn’t do his homework

Photo credit: Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Foter.com / CC BY-SA

God never punishes us.  That’s what Glenn Beck said on the radio on Friday, November 9.

There are some who classify him as a right-wing nutter.  I listen to his show (obviously) from time to time whenever I’m in the car between 9 am and noon.  I listen because he can be very funny.  He and his team make some good points as well, though I don’t agree with everything.

Somebody I had coffee with last week noted his own propensity to challenge the validity of everything he heard.  He was apologetic. I assured him that his approach was a good thing as long as his purpose was to search for Truth instead of making truth fit his desires.  I told him that because I’m the same way, and I’ve learned that this approach is far better than to just accept everything someone tells you.

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A nuance to nostalgia

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph...

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph Tidemand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry because I continually make the same mistake in my spiritual journey – and it throws me off.  But it’s so easy to do!  Especially during the Christmas season.

Sadly, nostalgia is waning in this great country. But Christmas has remained a great theater for remembrances of the good ol’ days. Is that by your design? We are drawn to Christmas, perhaps subtly, by more than an excuse for extravagant spending. I think that maybe adults still have a child in them who desires, whether they know it or not, for these great gifts than only you can give to them.

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