Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pilgrim's Map of the Day

Yes, I am aware that it has been quite some time since I've posted anything. All I have to say is newborn + 2 other children. My time has been very precious but I am now back and I hope you find something that brightens your day in today's map.

* First off, who doesn't enjoy a website that shows terrified children. In the spirit of Christmas please follow this link to the Sun Sentinel and their tribute to children who cry when having their picture made with Santa.

* This is great. See if you can name this song. Be patient with it because when you figure it out and see how it was done you will be amazed.

* This is actual video from the Auburn press conference introducing Gene Chizik as head coach : ). WOE EAGLE!!!!


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Announcing Kip Darcy Brumley

So, I usually think some about what I write before I begin typing but I am not doing that today. I am primarily making this post today to announce that at 10:32 pm on Nov. 27 (yes, Thanksgiving day), the lovely Joy Alvarado Brumley gave birth to a 7 lb 1 oz happy and healthy baby boy that we have named Kip Darcy Brumley.

To my sons Ethan and Luke: I don't know if you will ever read this and I know I have tried to express this to you in words but I am so proud of both of you. I realize you guys are only 7 and 6 but the way you have handled your new baby brother and shown interest and concern in him already shows me that Kip is very lucky to have both of you as big brothers. Both of you are not only on your way to becoming the leaders that I have talked to you about, but already are great leaders for a baby brother who is going to look up and mimic the two of you. You guys make your mother and I so happy and proud.

To my wife Joy: I love you. I know the fear and health concerns that you have endured with all of your pregnancies but you rarely showed it and have looked to God for courage and strength. Your example of faith is something that I bask in and I feel so lucky that God chose to put us together. I can't think of anyone else I would want to spend my days with. As we embark on a new journey with a new child please remind me to spoil you, care for you, work for you, and to keep my eye on Christ. You mean the world to me and I thank you for bearing the burden that has now become our third happy and healthy son.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Post - 2008

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. As I prepare to start my day of feasting and spending time with family I thought that I would just make a listing of the people in 2008 who I am thankful for begin a part of my life and stemming growth in me. I thank all of you for who you are.

  • Joy Brumley - My wife. You have accepted me and deal with me despite my many flaws. You are a wonderful wife and mother and have inspired me to grow spiritually in ways that I can not put into words. As you prepare to deliver our third child this Sunday I have to tell you how amazed I am by you. Thank you for sticking by me and for showing your love to me.
  • Ethan and Luke Brumley - My sons. The two of you have saved my life by becoming my life. I cannot think of a greater gift than to get to watch the two of you grow. You both are perfect and I tremble at the fact that I get to call you sons.
  • David Brumley - My father. No other person has taught me more about charity and long suffering than you. Thank you for laying out such an admirable example before me.
  • Linda Brumley - My mother. Your kindness and willingness to put others before yourself is something that I will never manage to live up to.
  • The elders of Kingsville Church of Christ - My mentors. Thank all of you for your devotion to God. Thank you for your support in ideas that others and myself want to try to advance the gospel. Your thoughtfulness and desire to follow New Testament principles keeps the gospel burning at our church.
  • Jason Jarrett - My deacon. Jason, I see the fire that is burning in you and I admire your courage greatly. From your willingness to make the decision to home school to your great ideas to bring groups of Christians together on days other than Sunday or Wednesday, I am impressed. I learn from you and hope to continue growing with you.
  • Amber Jarrett - My mirror. Your willingness to admit flaws and to look to God for the answers is what true Christianity is about. I have learned much from you this year and you have given me courage to look deeper into my soul for what needs fixing.
  • Michael Burks - My friend. Michael, thank you for your willingness and ideas in helping out with our youth program at Kingsville. Thank you for your honesty and hope for a better tomorrow. I hope to continue growing with you.
  • Anthony Lindley - My children's friend. Thank you for the work that you have done teaching my children on Sunday morning. I know that they have learned from you about being a Christian man. You have made a lasting impression on them and on me for your willingness to make and follow-through with tough decisions.
  • Linda Real - My muscle. Thank you for your strength. I have watched you for years fight for Jesus but I have never seen you fight like I have this year. Your strength is amazing. Thank you for the honor of asking me to eulogize your husband who I loved and miss.
  • Anita Real - My teacher. Since childhood I have learned from you and John. Your lessons that I have applied in my life have gone much further than what I learned as a child in your Sunday School class. As Christian spouses, parents, leaders, and workers I have known none better. Thank you for the honor of speaking at the funeral of the toughest and greatest Christian's funeral I have ever known.
  • Will White - My brother. Will, I can not think of anyone who has had a tougher year than you. Still you have managed to navigate 2008 with a smile on your face and hope in your heart. Thank you for your example and friendship.
  • Matt Thigpen - My past. Matt, I look at you and the life you have chosen and I see the life I wish I had chosen when I was your age. Thank you for your toughness, desire to serve, and love of Christ. Thank you for allowing me to grow with you.
  • Ryan Gallagher - My missionary. Ryan, you are truly doing the work that Christ set before us. I see the effect of your efforts on our mutual youths and I am amazed and happy that Christ has chosen this road for you at this time. Thank you for being willingness to serve, your great ideas, and for your support in what we are trying to do in this small part of the world.
  • John Paul - My friend. Thank you for your honesty, desire to change, and what you are doing. You are not only making Max and Emily's world a better place but mine as well. I'm fighting with you.

I am sure I have left people off this list that I need to thank and everyone who I contact each day plays a huge part in me getting to where I want to be. I would be remiss if I did not thank Jesus Christ as well. You love me and that is all I need. Thank you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Isaiah Chapter 4 - an observation

I have recently begun a very in depth study of the book of Isaiah and am privileged to be able to have my Sunday School class of young adults help me in this study. We just completed chapter 4 and I'd like to share some of my thoughts on the book of Isaiah up to this point.

When I first started studying chapter 4 I thought to myself that it would be a quick and fast study as it is only six verses long. Two hours in I realized just how wrong I was. While it may be short, this chapter is packed full of thought provoking ideas as well as the introduction of Isaiah's prophecy regarding Jesus the Messiah. I would like to focus on that aspect today.

In chapter 4:2, Isaiah states that a branch of the Lord was coming. This branch was to be Jesus and is a fulfillment of much Old Testament prophecy regarding the Messiah rising from the "tree" of David. Not only is there a branch but it will bear fruit that will bring glory to those still faithful to God. The fruit mentioned here is the gospel. So, the gospel will come from the branch that is Jesus. Later in the chapter the Holy Spirit is also mentioned as something that will come with this branch. So, in Isaiah chapter 4 the people of Judea are told that Jesus Christ is coming with a message and a spirit that will change the world forever.

As the chapter progresses, the love and care of Christ is said to be like the cloud that covered and led the children of Israel while they wandered the desert. This branch that Isaiah foretold is also going to provide a coverage for its people. Verses 5 & 6 tell us that this branch will serve as a canopy that will protect from heat during the day and will protect us from storms and rain.

As I read this my mind went back to the first chapter of Isaiah when he tells the people of Judea that they were making a mistake by taking pride in the oaks of the Gentiles. I would like to focus on just how beautiful and seamless this book of Isaiah is by discussing this matter of the terebinth further.

The terebinth tree is one which provides great shade and was often found in cemeteries in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. It can be compared to a oak tree. Leafy and strong, the terebinth is a very good tree. Many of the people of Judea had taken to pagan Gentile worship which sometimes took place in cemeteries. Those hearing this message at the time knew what tree Isaiah was speaking of and had indeed taken comfort in the shade that these trees provided. Metaphorically, the shade provided is the level of comfort felt in the beliefs of their religions.

As Isaiah continues in chapter 1 he warns that the people of Judea who had strayed from God were doomed to become like the terebinth tree whose leaves wither away. This is an interesting point to me because he does not say that their beliefs would become like the terebinth whose leaves wither but that they would become so. This makes sense though. If nothing else, what does a shade tree shade? Itself of course and if the leaves of that shade tree fade away then there is no shade to be had but also none to share. The people of Judea were to become totally unprotected as well as unable to protect anyone else (read chapters 2 and 3 to understand how God would make the people of Judea unable to protect themselves). God was to make not only them personally, but their religion totally useless (a tree with no leaves, a garden with no water).

Enter the Messiah in chapter 4. The tree that the people had loved was now useless and how does Isaiah introduce the Messiah? As a new tree, a new branch that grows from what was once the glorious family tree of King David. A tree that not only the people could glory in, but that God Himself could find glory in. This new tree would provide all needs. Jesus would provide shade, protection, and fruit that those who come to that tree can find pride and honor in. The fruit is a gospel message that gives hope to the hopeless. The shade from heat that those of us who venture into the world daily for work experience in gossip, spite, bad words, and persecution. Protection from from the storm and rains that come from the loss of loved ones, the loss of jobs, illnesses. This branch which is Jesus Christ would provide all while at the same time rendering all other trees and beliefs useless (read Romans for more insight on how this happened). What a glorious God we serve and what a blessing it is that we have the book of Isaiah to draw understanding of a Messiah that has come but that at the time was yet to come.

The question then becomes one of introspection. Do I take glory in trees that are not of God? Do I bask in the shade of my worldly status or do I find solace in serving others? Do I sit beneath the shade of God's word daily for reflection or do I spend that time underneath the flickering lights of television? Do I care for my own personal relationship with that branch daily in prayer or do I go long periods of time thinking that without my care and input that tree will still be there when a storm comes? Have you sought Jesus and asked for his protection, love, and fruit or are you following useless matters?

To those who read this and are Christians, please leave comments discussing times in your life that Christ provided you with shade, fruit, or protection.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"You Can't Handle the Truth!"

Without a doubt, one of the all time most memorable lines from cinema in the past twenty years came from Jack Nicholson in the movie “A Few Good Men.” When pressed in a court martial hearing about the practices of the military Jack Nicholson’s character bellows out “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!” He was referring to the fact that while all of us want to feel that we are safe in this world because our military protects us, this security comes with a price. Sometimes things have to be done that many of us don’t want to know about and would not want to get our “hands dirty” doing. It is a thankless job that is done not for gratitude but for purpose.
In Luke 17, our loving Jesus reminds us that we as Christians have a duty to serve Him and His purpose in our lives. We don’t do this job to receive gratitude from Him, our Master, but for purpose. In verses 7-10 Jesus explains that our life is one to be spent in service (WORK) for Him. Jesus reminds us that this is a thankless work in verse 9 and that we are foolish if we expect payment from Him prior to His needs being met. Even then, we are not worthy of payment because we are simply doing our duty.
This sounds so different than the prosperity gospel that is so prevalent today. Today, and I fear even in the Church of Christ, people are being taught that they simply need to be baptized, come to church, and quit their bad habits and that Jesus will pour His blessing upon them. I call foul! This teaching is not in line with Christ’s teachings. Christ is using the parable in Luke 17 to forewarn us that if we expect to meet Him, it’s time to get to work. Our mission is one of duty, not namesake. If we want to be member’s of Christ’s kingdom, it is time to get to work.
So, the question then arises over why are we not teaching this from our pulpits, mission fields, Christian publications, and Sunday School classes? I fear that the answer is that like Jack Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men” we are telling believers and non-believers alike that “You can’t handle the truth.” Are we afraid that if we really tell people what is required of them after baptism that our numbers might drop? Is our faith in Jesus really so weak that we believe we have to withhold the actual truth about the narrow gate in order to get people to accept Him? Have we allowed the gospel to become so sugar-coated with political correctness that our churches are now full of members who will walk out should we tell them they are not doing enough to advance Christ’s mission for us? Where are the men and women who will stand up in love and honor and tell our brothers and sisters we see slipping away from the field of duty that they are hindering Christ’s return? All of us are unworthy but none of us have a right to ignore our mission.
Imagine with me: You are standing at the throne of our loving and most powerful God on Judgment Day. God then inquires from you about not only the community around you and those who are lost but those of your home congregation. God may ask “Why did you not tell Jack and Jill that you thought they could do more to help in spreading the gospel? Why did you not tell them they were disgracing the cross by thinking they had done enough for Christ’s kingdom? Why did you not sew these people I put at your feet?” How will God respond when you answer “I didn’t think they could handle the truth?”

This post and many similar posts regarding Christian's missional call may be found at

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"A lot of anger and a lot of hate on both sides"

Below I am posting a link to a video. This video is news coverage from a gay marriage (Prop. 8) protest in which a woman tried to express her Christian views. While the imagery is shocking, one thing stood out to me. As the video closes, the news anchor says "The is a lot of anger and a lot of hate on both sides." My question to him would be this: How can a woman carrying a cross and then after having it ripped from her hands simply folds her hands in prayer be showing anger or hate? What do you take from the anchor's comment? Does he have a motive?

Here's the video link.

Click here for a more in depth and organized report that sheds more light on the matter. This is truly disgusting.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Prayer to Share

I sent out an e-mail this morning to all my friends who I either know or feel pretty sure they have active prayer lives (if you got that e-mail this morning and I'm wrong then I don't know you as well as I thought; something's wrong with that). I was asking for their prayers for my wife and our yet unborn third son. Joy and I were pretty convinced that today was the day that the doc would take the baby as Joy has started having contractions and has felt the baby drop. Long story short though, no baby today. Joy and I are not very good OB-GYN's.

Many of the people I sent that e-mail to sent us well wishes and promises of prayers and we are more than grateful for each and everyone. Seriously, we love you guys and you all make up who we are. One reply stood out though. It was from my Aunt Wanda and it brought me to tears as I read it and I think it will touch you. This is a great model of a prayer for any family who is going through anything and I hope that you can remove the names and replace them with your own or others who you know need prayers. These words come from a woman who heard the gospel call and spent time in Africa as a missionary and whose husband gave his life doing the work of the Lord. I think that is why they mean so much to me. Enjoy:

“Lord, in the precious name of Jesus we lift Joy and Kip up to you now. You see Joy’s pain and the prelude to Kip’s birth, and you have them both held close to your heart at this time in their life’s journey. Father, we stand with her husband before you asking for intervention. Will you guard Joy and Kip as they move through the birth process and keep them safe. Will you touch Joy with your healing hand of Mercy and relieve her of the pain that she is enduring---give her rest, Lord---sweet and deep, as she prepares for Kip’s birth. Will you speak to Dave and show him ways to lighten her load and share her journey. Give Ethan and Luke a quiet spirit so that she is able to rest when she needs to. Will you enable them to get moved into this house with a minimum of distress and upheaval, experiencing the joy in the gift of a larger home.

We love you Lord, and we trust you. You loved Joy before Dave loved her, and you promise to hear his prayers on her behalf as her husband, joined to her in covenant relationship. Help both Joy and Dave to keep their eyes on Jesus, loving you with a true and faithful heart. Bring their friends around them at this time to meet their needs and increase their joy! Thank you, Lord for your love and mercy and your constant faithfulness to your children. Our eyes are on You.

Hallelujah! Our God reigns!!”

Pilgrim's Map of the Day

* Jim Martin does a great job of making one think about their behavior/character in this piece he has written over a A Place for the God Hungry.
* Feel secure in this great nation of ours? Read this article sent to me by Jason Jarrett and then ask yourself if you feel secure about this nation's "great wealth?" Further, what is the collateral? Answer = your freedom.
* I am not going to say anything about this video but just watch and make your own conclusions. Make sure you watch from 3:15 on.

* Got your future tied up in an IRA or 401K? You might want to quickly reconsider that as they are going to be targeted for "redistribution." Read here for more.
* In pathetic news: Read this article about the LSU fan who shot and killed two Alabama fans over a football game this past Saturday.
* Can you tell the difference between The Bible and the writing(s) of Shakespeare? According to Mental Floss I can only do it 80% of the time. Take this fun Bible or The Bard quiz.
* Do you know the story of Jean- Dominique Bauby? Here is a brief article about him and the ideas that stem from his courage. This story always motivates clients in group therapy sessions.

Friday, November 07, 2008

What if Starbucks Marketed Like the Church??

This is a great video that I found on Trey Morgan's blog (a great blog you should check out). I thought it was quite funny. Remember, satire is only funny when draped in truth. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mistake Becoming a Blessing

Ever found yourself somewhere you do not belong? Ever think you were in the right place only to realize ten minutes later you are in the wrong place? This is what happened to me last Friday night.

Last Friday night my father, two sons, and myself went to our hometown's final football game of the season (which they won and ended their season undefeated, NICE). I really enjoy going, not so much for the football, but for the fact that I get to spend some time with my dad plus Ethan and Luke get to play with their friends during the games. As I mentioned before, Hamilton won the game over a Christian school whose band played Black Sabbath's Paranoid, Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train, and Metallica's Enter Sandman for their halftime show. I got quite the chuckle from that one. During the romp, the p.a. man made an announcement that Hamilton Church of Christ was hosting the Fifth Quarter at Maywood Christian Camp following the game. Now, let me explain. Ryan Gallagher, the fantastic youth minister at Hamilton Church of Christ, requested my churches assistance with the fifth quarter (a meeting of young Christians for fun and worship following football games) during this upcoming football season. Unfortunately, my church was unable to assist and I really felt bad about this because it is such a huge responsibility. Ryan has handled it expertly but still, I feel bad. Well, when I heard that announcement at the football game I thought to myself that it would be nice to show my support to Ryan and his mission for Christ by going with my sons. So, there on the spot, I decided that we would go.
The football game became a blowout and was decided by the opening moments of the third quarter. Well, I asked my dad if he was ready to leave, which he was, and we gathered the boys and left. I dropped dad off at home and decided that we would just head on out to Maywood and maybe spend some time with Ryan and help whoever was prepping the event. I told Ethan and Luke our plans and they were busting at the seams to get there (they LOVE Maywood).
So we make the ten minute drive to Maywood and at the entrance there is a sign pointing to where the fifth quarter was being held so we kept driving and as we rounded the corner that hides the pavilion there my heart rejoiced as I saw maybe 80 to 130 people sitting there. As we neared, I rolled the windows down and my sons and I were embraced by the unmistakable warmth and sound of pure a capella worship. I was thinking to myself: "This is great!!! I can't believe that Ryan is having this good a turn out at these things. The games not even over and look at all these people. I am so glad we came." I said to Ethan and Luke, "This is going to be awesome," as we pulled into a parking place by the pond. As quickly as possible we all exited the vehicle and began walking to the pavilion and I said to Ethan and Luke, "you hear that singing, that's what Heaven will sound like. Please make sure you behave and sing when we sing, pray when we pray, and listen when someone is speaking about Jesus."
We say down as the song leader started singing "Here I am to Worship." What timing! Here we were and I was more than excited to worship my lord with such dedicated young Christians. As we sung I noticed some of the young people were reaching their hands up to Heaven as they sang. I thought to myself, "wow, Ryan even has the kids from The Ramp here. I didn't know the kids from there knew how to sing harmonies." As the song leader sang a few other songs I began to look around. I quickly noticed that I did not recognize any of the faces there. Where was Ryan? What about Kay? Callie? Kalyn? I didn't know any of them and the few I made eye contact with didn't seem to recognize me too much later despite my best Hi-How are ya head nods. Then the song leader said "It's so great to be here this weekend..." Weekend? I thought the fifth quarter just lasted a couple of hours. OH NO!!! I was in the wrong place. The fifth quarter was somewhere else. I didn't even have an exit strategy.
Then it happened. Then my realization that I wasn't in the wrong at all occurred. The song leader stopped singing and asked all there to bow their heads. He then proceeded to lead the congregation in a beautiful ACTS prayer but not just by speaking. He calmly and quietly spoke to us while we prayed and led us through what sort of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication we should lay at out loving God's feet. He kept the prayer on a level that young people could relate to and I was touched by his sincerity. My confirmation that I had been blessed in my error was not complete though. It was complete when I peeked with one eye to make sure my sons were not hanging from the poles or cutting up. As I peeked my senses were flooded with one of the most beautiful images I had ever seen. Beside me, on this frigid night sat my two sons, both with their heads bowed and hands clasped praying a prayer to God. No, I could not see their minds or hear what they were praying, but I know that they were being led in prayer by this fantastic young man who was serving the Lord on this night and that they were making meaningful and sincere communication with our God. I realized that I was not out of place, WE were home. This was where we belonged. No, that IS where we belong.
Following the prayer I simply stood up, took my sons by their hands, and we walked away. We got back in the car and saw another sign that pointed to the fifth quarter. It was up by the putt-putt dream course. I came to find out that it was actually a club from Freed Hardeman University whose worship we encountered (that sounds so much nicer than interrupted). All I can say though is that what I initially viewed as a mistake was actually a blessing. If you were part of that club who met at Maywood on October 31, 2008 please allow me to thank you. You blessed my family and I hope that all of you continue to grow in the Lord. To the worship leader specifically, thank you. Please continue to share your talent and be bold in your ability to bring people to the feet of the throne. Please, if you read this and you were part of that group or know someone who was send them this link as I would love to share with them the blessing that nothing but their simple worship poured on me.

Pilgrim's Map of the Day (with a MUST-READ article)

Well, eventhough many of you who I know read this blog may be disappointed today over a certain election, we must continue to travel on. Hopefully this map of links will help get us there.
* Hey Christian Americans: wanna continue to blame the Democrats and the "liberal agenda media" for abortion in the United States? STOP. Jill Stanek points that the real reasoning that abortion continues to be allowed in this nation lies at the foot of the church. READ THIS COMMENTARY!!! Life will not go on.
* Ever think about how important your friends are to you? Jim Martin has and points out that importance in this excellent writing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

An Election Day Prayer

Dear God,
You are so wonderful. You have filled my life with happiness and joy even though I do not deserve it. You have blessed even though I have made choices in the past that were worthy of your punishment. I am unequipped to fathom the depths of your love, knowledge, and power. You have shaped the world around me to be one in which I can glorify you and have given me the wisdom to know that I must. You are amazing.
I come before you today as a sinner who falls short in so many areas each day. Specifically today I confess the sin of not trusting in you totally. God I have allowed myself to be caught up in the political fervor of our age and of not allowing my faith in you to shine through when discussing the election. Father, when trying to inform people of the facts in this election I have failed to remind people, including myself, that a true faith in you should prevent any fear or concern over what will come on this earth. I have allowed my unfaithfulness to be covered behind the guise of fear for my children's future and I have not taken the time to explain to my children that no matter what happens, it is Your great and Holy will. I have failed to take the opportunity to share my faith in You during each individual conversation I have had regarding this election and I have not reminded my fellow Christian brothers and sisters that no matter who is elected we are commanded by You to respect and follow that man or woman. Please forgive me Father.
Holy God, thank you for allowing me to live in a country where I can pray these words with no fear of state repercussions. Thank you for blessing my life with a wife and children who not only help me to love You but who I can see You in. Thank you for giving me this much time on this Earth and for making Yourself known to me and giving me a mission. Thank you for Your Holy word and the knowledge and comfort that is provided within the Bible. Thank you for giving me a church family that listens to Your will and that strives to make Your presence known on this Earth. Thank you for making me part of the kingdom. Thank you for the blood of Your Son and for it's ability to not only restore me but all who are willing to come to You with a humble heart.
Father, I ask You today to please bring me closer to Your will. Give me the peace to know that no matter what happens in the election of today that Your will is shining through and let me know Your continued will for me as an individual in this nation. Father, please help me to remember that my citizenship is not in this town, state, country, or world. Please help me to remember. Please help me to serve. Please help me to remain respectful of my country's leaders and to allow Jesus Christ to shine through my attitudes and words used when discussing such. Father, please allow my family to continue to grow in Your grace. Father, help me to love you, make me a servant, and use me up for your purposes.

In Jesus' holy and pure name

Monday, November 03, 2008

Pilgrim's Map of the Day

Here's today's map:

* Check out this post over at ...And Another Thing and let me know if you too can see the idol worship. Make sure you read the listed scripture.

* Should elections matter to a Christian? Listen to Brian Nicklaus' thoughts on this matter in the sermon he delivered at Echo Lakes Church of Christ.

Neal Boortz Sums it Up

Tomorrow is election day and for the first time in the 13 years I have had a right to vote I am actually afraid of the outcome. I do not use the term "afraid" lightly. I have a genuine fear that my walk through this pilgrim land is soon to meet a resistance.

Today I feel it necessary to post a writing by Neal Boortz. What you will read below are a series of FACTS that Neal posted today that any voter who wants to consider themself INFORMED should read. Enjoy:

I chose that opening line rather than "what's the use." Election day is tomorrow, so there's definitely a chance here to prevent perhaps irreparable harm to our Republic ... maybe not a huge chance ... but a chance.
Never in the last 100 years has someone so completely inexperienced and so far to the left been so close to becoming our president. It is beyond imagination that we've come to this.
I really don't have the time before I go on the air to craft (if that's the word) a lengthy narrative on this campaign and the importance of our vote tomorrow ... so we go with bullet points. They don't necessarily flow together all that well ... but each gets a point across that is, I think, important.
Who knows ... maybe someone will read some of these points and tell themselves that they just can't pull the trigger for this dangerous leftist when they get into the voting booth. Others will read this and just have their feelings about how much trouble freedom and economic liberty in this country are in totally reinforced.
--One question about Obama that has never been satisfactorily answered is "What has he ever accomplished?" The best his supporters can come up with is "He was elected to the U.S. Senate." So was John McCain ... several times. Besides, take a look at his election. He had two opponents self-destruct with scandal. The GOP had to go to Maryland and talk Alan Keyes into moving to Illinois to run against Obama. Trust me, that win was no sterling accomplishment.
--Don't argue with me here. You'll lose. There is NO constitutional right to vote in a presidential election. We're going to learn in a few days just how smart our founding fathers were in this regard.
--Obama is a product of the Chicago political machine. Several times during his political career Obama had a chance to either cast a vote or make a statement against the corruption that permeates Chicago's machine. Never – not on one occasion – did he do so.
--The fact is, Obama has benefited from corruption (Tony Rezko?) but has never fought it.
Do you know how Obama won his first election in Illinois? He had campaign operatives go to the voting office and work hundreds of hours pouring over petitions to have his opponents thrown off the ballot. I guess that means that this is the first real election battle he's ever been in!
--I guess it's just me, but all this time I thought that the government used its power to seize property ... i.e., to tax ... in order to fund the necessary and appropriate functions of government. Now, under Obama, we've learned that one of the appropriate functions of government is to take from those who have and give to those who have not. I prefer a different phraseology: Take from those who achieve, and give to those who achieve not. Karl Marx was of a like mind.
--Obama's "spread the wealth around" mantra means that he believes that we do not leave our homes every morning to work for ourselves and our families. We leave our homes to work for the government. We belong to government, not to ourselves. The government will determine how much of the money we earn we deserve to keep .. the rest goes to people the government believes to be even more deserving of the fruits of our labors.
--Obama's candidacy would have faltered before an educated electorate. Why do you think Democrats love government schools so much? Do you want examples? I've got examples.
--Obama says he's going to give tax cuts to 95% of Americans. Americans don't realize that over 40% of their numbers don't pay income taxes; and since they don't realize that, they aren't asking themselves how Obama can give a tax cut to someone who doesn't pay taxes.
--Obama has effectively change the definition of "tax cut." From now on any government handout to any worker is a tax cut. Changing this definition may well be one of their greatest accomplishments in this election and that new definition will cause us problems for decades.
--Obama constantly rants about those dirty corporations who shipped "our jobs overseas." An educated voter knows that those jobs belong to the employers, not the employees. Workers look for jobs. Employers with jobs look for workers. Pretty simple, really.
--Obama also tells us that 95% of small businesses out there will not have their taxes increased. The only reason this line works is because our government educated voters cannot grasp the idea that it isn't the percentage of small businesses hit with tax increases that counts; it's the percentage of small business employees represented by the unfortunate 5% that counts. Tomorrow thousands of workers – perhaps tens of thousands of workers – employed by what we call "small businesses" will cast a vote that, a year or so down the road, will cost them their jobs.
--Over the weekend Obama promised to bankrupt the coal industry if they tried to build any more coal-fired power plants. Can any of you think of a time when any president has ever made an overt threat to bankrupt a large American industry?
--Obama says that his "cap and trade" policy for controlling greenhouse gas emissions is going to cost electricity prices to "skyrocket." Oops ... there goes some of that middle class "tax cut." Guess he'll have to transfer some more wealth to help his constituents pay the increased price.
--There are literally millions of Obama supporters out there who think that once Obama becomes the president their lives are going to become sweetness, roses and light. One woman at an Obama rally
--Remember Obama's 30-minute infomercial? If a foreigner with no knowledge of our country or our people were to see that program they would think that America was a country mired in abject misery and depravation. Thanks, Obama, for the nice positive message.
--How long after the election, whether Obama wins or loses, do you think it will take for that America-hater Jeremiah Wright to surface?
--The top 10% of income earners in this country pay over 70% of all income taxes. The top 1% of income earners earn around 19% of all income, but they pay almost 39% of all income taxes. When these people don't want to give up a larger share of their earnings Obama call's them "selfish."
When someone is content to sit on their butts and wait for Obama to transfer some wealth from someone else to their pockets they are not "selfish."
--Every one of the points I am bringing up here is "hate speech" to an Obamacon.
The great Democrat goal is to have more than 50% of the voters living, at least in part, on the efforts of the minority of voters. When we pass that tipping point ... and we're nearly there ... game over.
--In every election since 1952 Democrats have told the voters "vote for the Republicans and they'll take your Social Security away." In every election after 2008 the Democrats will say "Vote for the Republicans and they're going to make you pay taxes." Then if Obama wins again, in every election after 2012 Democrats will say "Vote for the Republicans and they'll make you pay for your own Social Security and Medicare." How long before we hear: "Vote for the Republicans and they'll make you work for a living!"
--Obama will definitely destroy your right to be armed outside of your own home for your own protection. The question is whether we count the time until he accomplishes this in days, weeks, months or years.
--Do you see now why politicians, especially Democrats, aren't fond of the FairTax? Without playing his tax scam and wealth envy card Obama would have been toast by Super Tuesday.
--Surveys in Israel show that 76% of Israeli citizens want McCain to win. American Jews will vote for Obama by pretty much the same percentage. What do Jews in Israel know that Jews in America do not?
Peter Nicholas is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He has been traveling with Obama for almost the entire campaign. Nicholas writes "After all this time with him, I still can't say with certainty who he is." Nicholas doesn't know him, but so many voters are so sure they do.
--Obama wants a national civilian security force that, in his words, is "just as strong as our military." Who would they serve under? What would their mandate be? Would they be unionized? (oh HELL yes!). Would this be like the Soviet Union under Communism where neighbors ratted on neighbors for anti-government statements? And what does he mean "as strong as our military?" Would this national civilian security force have nukes? Tanks? Fighter planes? Are we just talking about a glorified national police? (Show us your papers!)
--Obama has talked about reducing spending on our military. One leading Democrat Senator has suggested a 25% spending cut on defense. Do you feel comfortable with that? You do know that all of the savings would be spent on buying votes, don't you?
--Do you home school your children? Obama has called home schooling a fraud. Put him in office and you'll be putting your kids back in government schools for their indoctrination.
--Do you run a small business? If Obama wins start planning immediately to lower your work force. The best way to do this would be through efficiency measures and temporary staffing agencies. Not only is Obama going to make it easier for your workers to unionize ... he's going to expand onerous measures such as the Family Leave Act. You will end up paying your employees a good portion of their salary to lay out for weeks on end.
--Maybe you shop at Wal-Mart. Get ready for higher prices. Obama's instant unionization bill will surely result in the unionization of Wal-Mart's workforce. In fact, as much as Democrat politicians hate Wal-Mart, it's safe to say that Wal-Mart is target number one. The result? Higher prices for you. If Obama can call a government handout a tax cut, we can call higher prices a tax increase. This will be Obama's tax increase on the poor and the middle class

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Million Thanks

WOW!!!! That is all that Joy and I can think to say. WOW!!!! because of the outpouring of gifts, love, and individual talents on display at Kingsville Church of Christ tonight. With Baby Kip less than one month away the ladies at Kingsville held Joy a baby shower tonight following church services. The amount of gifts given is extraordinary and we will be without want for quite some time now. How blessed we are to be members of the Lord's kingdom and to be part of a community who takes such pleasure in helping one another. Also, thanks to you guys who helped me load the SUV down with all the gifts. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pilgrim's Map of the Day

A running list that is updated throughout the day with links that I feel will help us get there.

* First off, this may be the most important video that you watch all day long.

* If you are a parent or involved with children in any way this link will lead you to an article that points out that we could be raising the most spineless children yet.
* Take a look at Matt Dabbs thoughts on the future of the Lord's church at this link.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Dragnet

It seems that we often become so caught up in theology, interpretation, and doctrine that we often forget the very force behind our faith. How can we forget Jesus? How can we forget the most missional being in existence? I cringe as I write this, but the answer is: very easily. It seems to me that we get so caught up in being "the" true church that we begin worrying and studying matters that have no bearing on what Jesus commanded. We teach the plan of salvation but we don't teach what Jesus, in his limited words left for us, taught.
I caught myself a few months back allowing my desire to be right and able to defend any doctrinal issue with any member of any denomination to forget the very reason that I wanted to become a Christian in the first place. I found myself trying to figure out how to break this cycle and the next thing I know I was knee deep in a study of Christ's parables. It is in these stories of Jesus that the very essence of what this blog is about is set forth. An overwhelming majority of them contain this message: The church is here to be missional.
In no parable is this message passed on more succinctly than the parable of the dragnet. Found in Matthew 13: 47-51(please read these verses, many of us think these parables are the "milk" discussed in 1 Corinthians but to me they are the "meatiest" parts of the Bible), Jesus tells those listening to his voice at the time that the kingdom of heaven (i.e. THE CHURCH) is like a dragnet thrown into the ocean, picking up anything and everything that it crosses. Could Christ have been more specific regarding what He, not Paul, Peter, James, Alexander Campbell, Calvin, C.S. Lewis, but HE, the Lord and Savior, expected from His true church? Christ is telling us to be missional and bring all to Him. Drag the deepest depths and bring them to the shores that His Father created. This is what being missional is all about but sadly Christ somewhat addresses what happens in the church today as this parable continues.
Christ reminds the listeners that once the the dragnet of the fishermen in his parable is filled and it gets to shore that they then sit down and separate the good from the bad. This makes sense right. The fishermen would keep what they can use and can fulfill and sustain them and cast what is useless away. Sadly, this is where I see a disconnect in too many churches with what Christ is teaching here. To be able to understand what I am trying to say here you have to understand that if we placed ourselves in this parable, we aren't the fishermen or the dragnet. We are the fish. Ask yourself how low did the dragnet of the church have to scrape you to shore? Granted, once to shore, or in the church we do serve a dual role, but in the end, we are still the fish. The church as a whole is the dragnet. This misunderstanding or just refusal to obey Christ is what is keeping many churches from becoming missional.
We want to become the sorters. We want to become the ones who pass judgment on who is worthy to be brought to shore. We want to be selective about who we invite to church or to group Bible studies. We all have our selected "buddies" from church that we go out to dinner with because we have decided to go ahead and deem ourselves worthy to stay ashore but those others still have too much work to do. We want to roll our eyes or sigh when the somewhat special needs individual in our church gets his turn to lead the devo on Wednesday night (assuming the church even thinks that he or she wants to be asked to participate in a leadership role in worship of our Lord). To do these things is wrong and is a direct violation of Jesus' teaching.
How do I know? Verse 49. Jesus tells us when his fish will be separated good from bad and it has nothing to do with mankind. Jesus tells us that His angels will do the separating. The angels will separate the evil from the just. This does not mean there will be a separation of the church from the world. In context, Christ is saying that the wicked IN THE CHURCH, will be removed from the just in THAT SAME CHURCH. That is assuming that we haven't already done such a bang-up job of taking care of the angel's duty that this is even needed.
In conclusion I want to make one last point about this parable. Jesus pointed out that the dragnet was not brought to shore until it was full. Christ then uses one of those great Biblical phrases; so it shall be. The dragnet of the church will not be brought to shore until it too is full. Isn't that what being missional is all about? Are we not commanded to be filling up the dragnet that we are caught in at the same time. How can the dragnet ever become full while we are just lure fishing for the kind of fish we want. How can it become full when we keep scaring off the fish? Then again, maybe some are scared of what will happen when it does become full. I know this, if you are truly following Christ's example and commands to be a missional disciple of His, there should be no doubt which vessel you will fall into.

Please check out this post and other similar ones by like-minded Christians at www.missionalconversation.wordpress.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Book Review: Churched by Matthew Paul Turner

I can think of no greater honor that a blogger can receive than being asked by a publisher to read and review a book for a book's blog tour. Not only do you get a free copy of a first edition book (I have a thing about first edition hard backs), but you get to lay eyes on something that is new before others. What's not to like about that?

Such was the case with the new novel Churched by Matthew Paul Turner (http://www.matthewpaulturner.com/). This book takes the reader 30 years back in time to look at Matthew's youth growing up in a Fundamentalist Baptist church. From the opening story that Matthew tells about his modern day conversations with the Pentecostal pastor who has stopped believing he can speak in tongues, I found myself snickering often while reading this book.
Matthew pulls no punches when discussing his fundamentalist church youth and how ridiculous he thought most of it was as a child. Needless to say, time has not healed those wounds. Matthew's remembrances of Jesus-shaped cookies, saving a seat for Jesus on the school bus, and fear of his pastor had me reminiscing often about my own time spent in church as a young and impressionable boy. Anyone who reads this book and who grew up in church will more than likely read something that snaps you back in time to your own experiences as a youth in church.
I am not sure if it was purposeful or not, but about two-thirds through the book the laughter dies down and Matthew Turner gives the reader a real glimpse of the effects that being raised to fear God has had on him. Matthew reveals to the reader a teenager who, although he is doing everything his church has told him to, still feels unworthy of God's love. Further, Matthew wanted to see the love of Christ in his parents. Matthew discussed the fact that he really wanted his parents to tell him that they saw what he was doing and that they were going to point out exactly how they were proud of him instead of where he was falling short. This time never comes and Matthew writes about a discussion he had with his mom as a graduating senior when his mom has to ask Matthew if he knows that she is proud of him. How sad that because a gracious God was not taught to this young man that he grew up wondering if he was not only good enough for his parents, but for God.
I walked away from this book thinking about how people too often hide behind laughter when they are uncomfortable. As I read the latter parts of this book I could imagine Matthew battling with himself about how much to reveal about his true feelings and confusion that was instilled in him. As the book closes Matthew tries to raise that guard of humor back up but it never fully hid him for me and I walked away from this book feeling sorry for Matthew.
Most disappointing was the fact that Matthew failed to heed his own advise. Matthew writes about a lesson a teacher once taught him about knowing that there is poo mixed in with your desert. If you knew that, you would not eat the desert, was the point and it was used to illustrate how one unclean ingredient can ruin an otherwise good thing. I found myself thinking back to that illustration when Matthew expresses his views on the Bible at the end of this book. Matthew continues to believe that because the church and people in the church he grew up with were imperfect, so is the word of God. I just hope Matthew writes another book when he discovers that the only solution to his continued confusion about God is in the Bible. I grew up as a Church of Christ preachers kid for goodness sake, but I don't blame God for the confusion I felt and handled incorrectly. My wish is that Matthew will stop writing about wanting hope and will start reading about getting hope. Now that is a book I long to read.
I would not recommend this book to a younger person but for the sake of novelty and memory I would definitely recommend it to my peers. This book was a fun journey for me and has motivated me to make sure that my children are not living in fear of God but wonder, amazement, and praise.
If you would like to purchase or read more abut Churched, follow this link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400074711

What Does Socialism Sound Like?

"Under socialism all will govern in turn and will soon become accustomed to no one governing." -Vladimir Lenin
Listen closely to what this man is saying. If you vote for him anyway let me go ahead and thank you in advance for collapsing our democracy.

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." - Winston Churchill
"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” - Alexis de Tocqueville

Friday, October 10, 2008

Obama the Messiah???

Attention Christians. I have great news for you all. Louis Farrakhan believes that Obama is the Messiah. This is a quote from a recent speech Farrakhan, a leader of the Muslim religion, gave:
"You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring
about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth.
And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn't care anything about. That's a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear,
and the Messiah is absolutely speaking."
Here is a short video of that speech:

The word Messiah when discussed in Christian and Jewish circles of course refers to the Christ Jesus or the anointed deliverer of the Jews. This is not a word that is thrown around lightly in the Bible and there are only a few times it is used. The word originally meant one who is anointed by the Lord. While Christians believe that Jesus Christ has come the Jewish religion is still waiting for the Messiah to come to Earth. We as New Testament Christians are to be taking the example of the original 12 disciples and proclaiming as Andrew did to Simon in John 1 that "We have found the Messiah..." (A personal note here: Ryan Gallagher if you are reading this know that your discussion of Andrew being one of your Biblical heroes is still fresh on my mind and I thank you for that). How can you as a Christian proclaim that you have already found the Messiah and that he has saved you and then turn around and place a vote for someone the world is telling you is the Messiah.
In a spirit of optimism, let's assume that Farrakhan is talking about the secular view and definition of the word Messiah. This definition of course is a zealous leader who is anticipated to serve the role of a liberator or savior. So exactly what is Farrakhan saying that Obama is going to liberate us American people from? The last time I checked we have equal rights and opportunities in this country so the is no need to liberate from oppression. There are no slaves who need liberating. There are no dictators who we need relief from. So exactly what then?
Perhaps Farrakhan believes that our nation needs to be further liberated from Christian ideals and beliefs. The same beliefs that this country has been founded on. The same beliefs that members of Farrakhan's religion wish to kill us for. Perhaps he believes that Obama is going to serve the role of the Muslim liberator in America. What do you think? Are you thinking at all?
It's time to get smart Christian men and women. I do not think that I am reaching too far by saying that a vote for a man proclaimed by Muslims to be the Messiah is a vote against the Messiah who has already bled and died for your sins.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Gospel of Inclusion part 1

I sat and watched someone try and convert a person today. They tried to convert this person to the Gospel. Unfortunately it was the gospel of inclusion. The conversation went something like this:
"There was this charismatic evangelist named Carlton Pearson who went to do some mission work in Africa. While there, a young American boy saw a native African child who no one had ever taught the gospel to. The American child looked to Carlton and asked 'why does that boy have to go to hell?' This caused this once well thought of and highly influential minister to rethink what he had been taught and what he had been teaching. He then decided to invent a new theological thought. One of inclusion."
I was eating my lunch while I was listening to this conversation unfold in front of me and I almost choked as I sat and listened. The man delivering this message must have noticed that I was turning green with disgust as he said, "I knew you wouldn't like this." I will post my response to that comment at a later time. For now, let's take a closer look at this line of thought named Inclusion Theology.
Allow me to preface any further writing with the fact that by no means am I judging Mr. Pearson or his followers. As many in several religious communities have called him and his theology "heretical," I feel that doing so would not show any graciousness but only exacerbate the problem that I do believe Pearson was attempting to address when he set out on this mission. My hope is that someone will read this planned series of postings and either choose to avoid or remove themselves from what does not line up with the One Truth we are promised in scripture.
So what is this controversial theology? What is the problem? Why is an older white male in rural Northwest, AL attempting to convert people in this area to this line of thinking? Hopefully we can find the answers together.
For today, allow me to just lay out the basic points of Pearson's Gospel of Inclusion. In the following days we will break down each point and find if and where the flaw lies and why this may be dangerous. Carlton Pearson's Gospel of Inclusion teaches:
  1. Christ's death and resurrection made it possible for all of humanity to share in an eternal heavenly glory but that there is no necessity to man to repent of their sins and follow any plan of salvation.
  2. Know it or now, like it or not, all of mankind's destiny ends in heaven.
  3. The is no need to believe in Jesus Christ in order to spend eternity with Him. Due to God's grace there are no conditions to salvation.
  4. Only willful sinners who have been saved already and then intentionally reject Christ will be separated from God in eternity.
  5. There is some type of hell that is helpful to ministry teachings but we don't need to teach it because we don't want God to seem intolerant or angry.

This is what I came up against today and what caused me to thirst for truth that could only be quenched by God's Holy Word and time in prayer. In the next post on this matter I will take a closer look at the first point above and hopefully assist you in arming yourself with Scripture to fend off this relatively new doctrine.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pilgrim's Map of the Day

*This is a great mash-up of The Dark Knight and Toy Story. I thought of my friend's son Tyler when I watched this.

*Take time to read Jim Martin's brief writing on steps to living a gracious life.

* Make sure you watch this video regarding Obama's ties to the Kenyan governement and his Muslim radical relative who has allowed and supported genocide in the country. The end poses a very serious question that should be answered before anyone votes for Obama.

*Finally, make sure you read this article about perception over at Stoned-Campbell Disciple. Warning: do not look at the picture below the title for too long or your head will explode as minde did.

"I'm Taking My Ball and Going Home :("

Have you ever seen someone do something so ridiculous that while they are doing it you are left speechless. I think the medical term for this is stupitongue displacia. This happened to me last night.
I have the privilege of coaching a group of 6-9 year old boys and girls in soccer and last night was our next to last game of the season. Our team only has one loss all year so yes, we are really good. I have nothing to do with that by the way. Our opponent last night was a group of kids from a nearby town called Winfield, AL. This team was pretty good but to say the least they were way over coached.
To make a long story short, there was a disagreement about one of the rules and as soon as I voiced my concern over what was going on, one of the coaches for the other team grabbed his ball, his child, and walked away from the field. He was not seen again the rest of the night so I am assuming he literally took his ball and went home. Now this guy was probably in his mid-40's but he literally took his ball and went home because he did not get his way.
I felt so bad for the kids on the opposite team as well as my own team. Here we are at an event meant to be for the children and the adults are imposing their will on the activity. Further, what was this man teaching these kids? He was telling his son and the kids on that team that when you don't get your way or you don't like what is going on in life, you just quit. I voiced this to the remaining coach of the opposite team after the game was over and he agreed that the man should watch his actions and maybe avoid children's sporting events all together.
Regardless, our team WHACKED the other team after this happened and the final was 8-1. Also, I was able to use the incident as a teaching tool for the our team and pointed out to them that no matter what problems or worries we are having we don't want to be quitters.
Let me also make one last comment here. I am so proud of the way the kids on our team conduct themselves. I think it would not be bragging to state that of all the teams we have played this year that our team is the best. Minus one game where our kids walked around (my fault because I warmed them up too hard) we have beaten the socks off of every team we have played this year. This fact has led to animosity by kids on the other teams despite the fact that our kids don't gloat, brag, or rub the huge victories in the opponents face. My team has been pushed, pulled, kicked, spit on, and called names (especially the minority child on my team, nice going parents). Through all this my team has not reciprocated but rather heeded my advice and let their game talk for them and used the other kid's disgusting behavior to fuel their desire play the game the right way and have fun doing it. These kids are an example for all of us and especially us as Christians. When we are shocked by the ways of the world let us not react in kind but rather use it to fuel the fire of our call to discipleship and have fun doing it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pilgrim's Map of the Day

Hello all. I hope that you find something informative, funny, or uplifting to point you in the right direction today.
* First off, LISTEN CAREFULLY!!! This video contain one Samantha Power. She has been one of Obama's chief foreign policy advisers and will be an important part of an Obama administration. In this video she is calling for the destruction of Israel. If you are Jewish or believe that the Jews are still God's chosen people you would have to be beyond foolish to cast a vote for Obama.

* No, I am not a fan of Ole Miss but videos like the one below remind me of how happy I am to be from the south. C'mon, Elvis and SEC football....it doesn't get much better.

Check Your Inventory

We had an interesting conversation yesterday in Sunday school regarding remembering to confess our sins. Basically a question was asked regarding not remembering all the sins you commit during a day and never asking forgiveness of God for those sins. If you are having this problem, the solution is quite simple. We should never carry around an inventory of sin. As Christians we are commanded to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). If we are doing this, we should never fail to confess our sins to God. We should immediately know when we sin and immediately ask God's forgiveness for each particular sin. If you say a word you should not say, STOP, and pray for forgiveness. If you have a thought or look at a member of the opposite sex in a lustful way, STOP, and ask for God's forgiveness. If you catch yourself gossiping or slandering someone, STOP, and ask forgiveness of this sin. If we do this and apply this to our lives we will not be able to build up a sin inventory and we can rest easily knowing that we have shown God our recognition that he is God and we are merely flawed humans.
In Psalm 32 David speaks of the burden of unconfessed sins. David reveals in his prayer that when he failed to ask forgiveness that he felt older, he moped and complained about the burden, and that God's hand caused him to have less energy. This may be the self-diagnosis of depression in the Bible but that's a new discussion all together. As I read that chapter I can think of times in my life when I have naively attempted to hide or mask sin in my life. Perhaps you can think of sins in your life that you have failed to confess to God and can relate to David's writing here. If so, drop to your knees and pray for God's forgiveness. Begin repairing that relationship with God. Perhaps many of us need to have a fire sale of our sin inventory in order to avoid the eternal fire that unconfessed sin is promised.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Worth Sharing

So there are some things that happen during the day that I feel needs to be shared. As I was working with a client this morning and we were discussing his spiritual confusion that has caused as well as stemmed from his addiction to illicit drugs. This client was saying something that I have heard several times before from other clients. He was discussing the fact that when he was going through opiate withdrawals and in the floor of his bathroom he cried out to God to help him and relieve his pain. He went on to discuss the fact that he now finds himself angry at God for not answering that prayer at that time and for his having to come for treatment and therapy. He discussed the fact that he believes but that he also does not believe.

At this statement I stopped him and began discussing the chaos that can ensue from being stuck between belief in a higher power and disbelief. Chaos in life is one element that leads to addictive behavior and illicit substance abuse (click here to view a slide show regarding the elements of addiction). As I discussed how this lack of resolve in his spiritual life is keeping chaos in his life and how dangerous this is, he stopped me. He said to me, "I just thought of something. Coming here was the answer to my prayer. I have never realized that before." I was speechless at this insight my client had just shown. So much so that I immediately dismissed him. I told him to leave my office and to leave that thought open the rest of the day. There was nothing that he and I could have done the rest of that session that would have mattered more.

I hope that we all can learn from this client. No, we don't always get exactly what we want when we pray but God does always answer our prayers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pilgrim's Map of the Day (this one includes the BEST COMMERCIAL EVER)

Hello everyone. I hope you are having a great day. I hope that as you follow today's map through the internet you find something that makes you smile, think, or look closer for God in your life.

First off a riddle? What do you get when you combine two of my favorite things in the world (Star Wars and Golf)? Answer: The best commercial ever. I laughed hard at this one.

Follow this link to Jim Martin's post on why we have such a problem with solitude.

Are you struggling to understand what happened to Fannie Mae? It basically boils down to giving money to people for things which they can't afford in the first place and then being surprised when they do not feed you back. Watch the video below for more insight into the politics of this matter.

This link is a great post that shows how we as disciples of Christ are to see the world around us and how to define those we are reaching out to. Must Read.

Finally, being a member of smaller churches has led me to love the communal and group effort that must be put in for anything to be accomplished. Here is a great post from Trey Morgan discussing what have become known as "Super-Churches."

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Direct Threat

Well Christians, it has finally happened. The terrorist organization Al-Queda has threatened us directly. No more can the media say that the terrorists hate America because of our "loose" morals, our occupation of other lands, or our economic blessings. Al-Queda has finally threatened us as Christians and our Christian founding dircetly.
In the latest video to be released by Al-Queda a threat of violence is made toward "the forces of the Cross and their apostate agents..." The forces of the Cross? Unless they are talking about the Red Cross or the U.S. Air Force they must be talking to me. I am part of Christ's kingdom of heaven and as I read those words I felt as if the deviant who spoke those words was speaking directly to me. I felt him saying to me, "you believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, I'm going to kill you." If you are a Christian that is what he is saying. Al-Queda knows that this is a nation founded on Christian principles and they hate us for that reason alone. The question is, are you surprised? Are we not warned numerous times in the New Testament that this is what will happen? Are we not instructed on how to handle this? For a lack of time and a desire to move forward in this writing the short answer is that we are to pray for our enemies. Have you prayed for Al-Queda today?

As stated, it was no surprise to read a direct threat from a Godless people toward Christians but what was interesting was the other half of their threat. If you look back at who was addressed in the threat there is an inclusion of the "apostate agents" of the forces of the Cross. This threat addresses all of those throughout our nation who are trying to remove themselves and our nation from the protection of God. A good definition of an apostate is one who once believed or was part of a certain tenet and who may have participated and protected its beliefs but for some reason has chosen to withdraw themselves from that system. In other words it is someone who has lost their faith. We are now a country of apostates. Everyday people in our nation are trying to remove God from currency and public landmarks. Our scientists are striving to disprove that God created this world. Our fellow brothers are dismissed and shunned for having faith. The reason: apostasy. My question is if even the agents of evil in Al-Queda can recognize that this is a nation founded on Christ and His values, why can't these apostates?
Sadly, the psychology of apostasy is one that is based on intellectual unbalance and once one chooses to leave a faith they begin to do everything they can to intellectually justify their reasoning. They turn to man and their own reasoning to fill the void that their faith once filled. Are we not warned against this in the Bible? Are we not told of the flaws that stem from this action? Would God allow our nation to come under attack as it has if not for the apostasy that is taking place in our nation? Let's look at the Bible for answers.
Should we continue to live under Old Testament law we would have a duty to seek out these apostates and personally stop (by stop I mean stone) them. Deuteronomy 13 addresses this matter thoroughly and warns the children of Israel against what is happening in our nation today. God warns that when it seems the whole world is turning away from faith and toward something that seems more magical that it is actually a test of the faith of those of fear God. I think of the parable regarding the separation of wheat and tares when I read this. God tells us that when this is happening that we are to continue to walk after God, fear Him, and keep His commandments. He also warns that the apostate will be put to death. The reason for his death sentence being that the sole reason he is speaking is to turn one away from God. The apostasy taking place today has not purpose other than to turn you, the Christian reading this, away from God. Hold fast. God is sending the justice that only He understands upon the apostates of this nation.
Knowing that this problem would be one to contend without even to this date we as New Testament Christians are also given instruction on how to deal with this. As a matter of fact, this subject alone is given an entire book in the Bible. Jude 1 speaks of apostasy in a very clear and easily understood way. When Al-Queda threatens the apostates of the Cross let's look at who Jude 1 says they are talking about. From Jude the apostates are men who have crept in unnoticed and who have denied the one Lord God and the one Jesus Christ. These are men who have chosen to leave the abode of Jesus Christ and now chase after sexual immorality and have been set forth as an example of what happens when this is done (think AIDS). These apostates defile the flesh (sado-masochism), reject authority, and speak down regarding our dignitaries. These men grumble, complain, and chase their own lusts, speaking flattering words to people to gain advantage for themselves. These people cause division because unlike Christians, they are not filled with the Holy Spirit.
These apostates are taking over our nation. Our nation built at the foot of the Cross. Sometimes it takes someone to point out our faults when we cannot see them. This threat from Al-Queda should be a warning that the outside world no longer sees us as a United States but rather as a nation divided between those who are still at the foot of the Cross and the apostates who have left that protection. Be warned Christians that these apostates are bringing damnation upon this country and God will continue to allow this nation to be torn from the inside out until these trend stops.
What can we do? Again, let's look at Jude 1 for the answer. Jude 1: 20-22 tells us 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. There is the answer, we maintain out relationship with God and bring as many back to the Cross as we can.
Christians, we have now been directly threatened by terrorists. This war our nation is now involved in is and always has been a Holy War. We are hated because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Prepare for men to say that the way to win this war is to renounce Jesus Christ's teaching. Fortunately this is a war that you and I can win without firing a shot. We must turn to God, show Him our faith through prayer for our nation, our families, and our enemies. You have not been threatened. You have now been persecuted. Turn to God and allow him to answer this threat.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Fear of September 11th

Today is the seven year anniversary of the horrible terrorist attack on the United States that took the life of so many innocent American citizens. As I think back to that day there is one word that explains what I felt that day: fear. I can vividly recall the events in my own personal life that occurred that day. My life was going great. I was preparing to finish my last semester at Faulkner University and had just been accepted into law school. Joy and I had our first son just three months before and things seemed to be going really well. I felt like I was on top of the world. Joy had already left for the day and I was getting myself ready for school and Ethan ready to go to daycare. As was my custom, I had Fox & Friends on the television and was listening when I heard them speaking of a plane crashing in the World Trade Center. I stopped what I was doing and went and looked at the television to see the extent. I remember they were discussing the fact that it was some amateur pilot in a little plane and how this was simply "an accident." Then it hit. Right in front of my eyes, on live television, I watched as a passenger airline slammed into the other tower. My jaw dropped and I picked Ethan up and held him as tight as I could. I can still remember the silence on the television as even the reporters were left momentarily speechless. What happened the rest of that day in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania has been well documented and still causes me to cringe at the simple thought. I sat and watched these events unfold live on television that day. I skipped school and wanted nothing more than for my wife to come home so we could be together as a family.
The fear I felt that day was a feeling I did not remember at the time. I felt paralyzed. Here I was holding this beautiful three month old baby boy in a world that had just fallen apart in front of my eyes. I was literally waiting for terrorists to kick down my door. I was that uncertain about what was going on. I, as I am sure many Americans did, prayed throughout the day for peace, reassurance, and to wake up from what I had just seen. The only comparable fear I have ever faced in my life prior to and since that day is the fear I used to feel as a child when I would try to imagine not only eternity, but eternity in hell. I never want to feel those feelings again and when I think to how I lean on God for understanding and courage today as opposed to then I believe that my reaction to those events would be totally different.
Since that time I have made a firm commitment to Christ my King. It is not a commitment in word only, but one in heart and deed. It is not a commitment to Christ to simply sure up my own salvation, it is one to serve Him so that others can learn to not fear the evil of this world as well. It is a commitment to pray that Christ will not destroy our enemies but will touch their heart and use them in the service I am in. It is a commitment that tells me that even when I lose battles daily I need not fear Christ's wrath as long as I confess my sins and work to do better. It is a commitment to serve Jesus Christ, love Jesus Christ, and remain dead unto myself and wants for Christ. I write that knowing that this proclamation can bring on tests of my resolve (Hebrews 1:2,3). I welcome them as I want to be the example, succeed or fail, that Christ chooses to make. I no longer feel the fear that I felt on 9/11, but rather the courage, commitment, and spirit of service that only Christ and the Holy Spirit can provide. I think back to great men of God such as Isaiah, Moses, and Jeremiah and the documented fears and self-perceived short comings that they felt. Then I read the words that God speaks to them and how he removed their fear. God has done the same for me. God has removed the fear of this world full of terrorists, murderers, spite, and persecution and has replaced it with a fire for Him and His work. I was baptized years before 9/11/01 and I ask God to forgive me for being afraid on that day that he would not care for my family and I. Christ has washed that sin away and I am no longer afraid. Are you?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

YES, MORE COWBELL + Pilgrim's Map of the Day

One of my favorite all time Saturday Night Live skits is the "More Cowbell" sketch starring Christopher Walken (Walken was an edit as I initially posted this as Christopher Reeves. What is wrong with me?). Well, I just happened upon a link to a website today that allows you to take any song you like and not only add Cowbell, but also add Christopher Walken. I played with it some and here are some of the songs I added Cowbell to. You can find this application here: http://www.morecowbell.dj/

Make your own at MoreCowbell.dj

Make your own at MoreCowbell.dj


*For starters, make sure you read this article and ask yourself the questions posed. I know it hit me square between the eyes.
* Here is a video that sadly demonstrates what some of us allow our prayers to dissolve in to. I hope my prayers don't sound like this to Christ.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sharing the Blessings

The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. 10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. 11 Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people. 12 When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble. Psalm 9:9-12
I tell myself and others often that if you look around, you will always see someone who has it worse than you do. Never has this been more obvious to me than yesterday as a contingency of Christians from three separate congregations of Christ's church came together to feed and comfort evacuees from Hurricane Gustav's destruction in Louisiana. This was a great effort and one which made me thankful to have the example of Christ to follow. These three small churches, Kingsville Church of Christ, Detroit Church of Christ, and Sulligent Church of Christ, were able to prepare and serve enough food to serve over 150 men, women, and children and have enough left for seconds. Two things stood out to me:
1. When we as Christians band together great and marvelous things can be accomplished with little preparation and planning. We tend to fall into a trap where we think that even the smallest ministry effort takes arduous planning and thought. What does that say about our faith that we don't believe that anything is possible through Jesus Christ. This effort these three churches made was planned and accomplished in less than 48 hours. It honestly went off without a hitch. Further, there is a mind set among smaller churches (you know, the ones that primarily make up the kingdom of heaven) that we do not have enough members or man power to "pull off" extraordinary efforts. This can be true. Thank God we can call upon other members of the kingdom from other congregations to help. We can work together and still consider ourselves autonomous.
2. Treating someone as Christ would can go further than any pamphlet, sermon, television broadcast, or extravagant meeting. Christ tells us what we do to the very least of people we do to Him. I met the least yesterday and I can testify that treating them with a sincere and unreserved kindness touched them and made them curious about what I was doing there. How do I know? One of the people there asked specifically for more information about this Church of Christ. This curiosity was sparked by nothing more than a group of Christians who long to serve Christ who acted on that calling.

If you would like to see photos of this effort, click here.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Is everyone ready for my 2008 college football season prediction? I want to get this down so that we can all look back and see that I was right at the end of this season (or I can delete this post if I was wrong). I accurately predicted that Florida would win the Nat'l Championship in 2 years when Urban Meyer was hired so I like to think I know what I am talking about. Here goes:

Auburn Tigers will face the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game.

The winner of that game will play for and win the National Title.

That is all I know and I know it is not specific but if you gamble on these predictions (which you should not do by the way) I will expect a kick-back.

Book Review: Lord of the Flies

This is a book I read as a kid but after seeing it in an episode of ABC's Lost I have had a desire to read it again. I finished early this week and I must say that it is strange how our views of things change over time. When I read it as a child it was little more than a book about boys stranded on an island who got into trouble. As an adult though, this book typifies the struggle of man to overcome evil when there are times each day that we realize that we are alone with an internal struggle to do good or do wrong.
The very title of this book explains what is hidden inside the words. Lord of the flies is derived from the Hebrew name Beelzebub, a name that man has given to Satan. While there are many themes in this book, I would like to focus on just this one aspect. The Lord of the Flies really only has a very small role and is mentioned only a few times in this writing but all of the intentional atrocities committed by the boys on the island stem from a group of the boys propping the Lord of the Flies up (read the book to understand) and then one young man, Simon, having an encounter and dialogue with the Lord of the Flies. Just like Eve and the fall of man.
It is after Simon communicates with the Lord of the Flies that he loses his mind and wanders into the the hands of those who have been filled with blood lust after propping up the Lord of the Flies. While there is more to be said on this book and this specific matter, as I read the story of Simon falling into the perils that the Lord of the Flies led him to, I found myself thinking to my reading of Proverbs and in particular Proverbs chapter 1:

10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; 13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; 14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse” 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; 16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.

As I said earlier, there are many themes that could be touched on but that is just one that stood out to me. Rather you have or have not read this book, I would recommend reading it. This book will move you and make you look at yourself and how you would handle a similar situation.