cropped-sdc11122.jpgI finally found a parking place downtown. Regretfully, the spot I found was a couple of blocks away from the restaurant. I thought the walk would not be difficult, boy was I wrong.

Instead of walking to the corner to cross the street, I decided to jay-walk thinking I could save a couple of seconds if I just crossed right there. That was my first mistake.

Mistake number two followed quickly. I neglected to look back to the intersection one more time. If I had, I might have seen him. But I did not look, so I did not see him. Honestly, I think he ran the stop sign, but I have no proof.  All I really know is that I heard him before I saw him in his large truck with dark tinted windows.  By then I was already half-way across his lane, right in his path! I thought I could hurry across and let him pass behind me, but he swerved right to avoid me putting us on intersecting paths. I stopped in my tracks, made a beautiful cut that a college running back would envy and headed back toward my truck. However, just as I reacted to avoid him, he swerved back to his left to avoid me, not knowing I had turned around. I froze in place, not knowing what to do. Then I heard the sound of anti-lock brakes and his tires grab the road. He came to a sudden stop only inches from me.

Then the situation intensified. He rolled down the driver’s side window and I knew he was angry! I worried about what he might say or do.  I was ready to apologize and admit my fault. Then this squirrel leaned out the window and yelled, “It’s not as easy as it looks is it!”

I know you are thinking, “Slow down on the coffee this morning, buddy.” You know this story is not true, I don’t jay-walk.* The squirrel’s point is still valid. The proverb often attributed as an Native American proverb is still true, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.”

Today consider what others might be going through that lead to the choices they made or attitude they display. Allow them some grace from you. That unruly customer may be under stress at home or work. That obnoxious co-worker may have a family member struggling with cancer, or maybe they received a diagnosis themselves and have not told anyone.

Possibly, just maybe, Jesus had things like this in mind when He said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them. ” (Matt 7:12).


*Okay, squirrels don’t drive, but if they did. . .

One Week

one-weekDear Lord, today is Sunday,
A day that’s dear to me.
And we gather with Your Church,
So each your Grace may see.

Dear Lord, today is Monday,
A long week starts anew.
At work, or school, or at home,
Let our focus be You.

Dear Lord, today is Tuesday,
Another day to serve.
To see Your kingdom growing,
As we go out with verve.

Lord, today is Wednesday,
The middle of our week.
May we pause with gladness,
Your blessings in life seek.

Dear Lord, today is Thursday,
The work week nearly past.
Help us truly know and see,
The blessings we’ve amassed.

Dear Lord, today is Friday,
The weekends almost here.
Give us strength to conquer,
Our sin, our pride, our fear.

Lord, today is Saturday,
Your comfort we do seek.
To help us and to guide us,
In strength when we are weak.

© B. Scott McCown, October 24, 2016

A Presidential Post

A quick “Google” search did not confirm nor deny the following story. Maybe I should call the History Detectives . . . But I digress.


James A. Garfield was a preacher, Civil War general, Congressman, Senator, ancestor of a friend I had in middle school, and the 20th President of the United States. History will never record the full impact of his presidency. President Garfield like Lincoln before him died at the hands of an assassin only six months into his term of office.

One story circulated about President Garfield concerns a group of party leaders coming by the White House to see him and discuss a bill they thought Congress should pass. Imagine their surprise that morning when the President said, he had an appointment that morning and could meet with them that afternoon.

According to the story the leaders inquired what appointment could be more important than this piece of legislation?

Garfield, the story claims, stood up and walked to the door, took his hat and cane in hand, and replied, “Gentleman, I have an appointment at the Lord’s table.” Then he left with Mrs. Garfield and went to a Sunday morning worship assembly not far from the capital.

True or not, maybe we can learn a lesson. Surely our activities and interests should not keep us from making the time to assemble with others to worship our Lord.


Post Script: Where are politicians with such a focus today? And where are the Christians in America?

Today for Today


Sometimes I fall into the habit of failing to appreciate the present.  Sometimes I reflect too much time on the past when it was “the good ol’ days.”  At other times I focus my attention to the future when things will be better, and I will have more to appreciate.  I also regret the past and find myself anxious about the future.

I think you probably do too.

We need to learn to live one day at a time, to seize the day while it is today:

  •  There are opportunities to serve – TODAY.
  • There are people to encourage – TODAY.
  • There are blessings from God to enjoy – TODAY.

Forget about yesterday.  Do not wait until tomorrow.  Decide what type of person you want to be TODAY!

Everyday we live there are opportunities and blessings.  Everyday we live is a day to enjoy.  The Hebrew writer quotes the same phrase from Psalms three times in two chapters, “Today if you hear His voice . . .”  In the middle of those quotes in Hebrew 3:13 he says, “But exhort one another everyday, as long as it is called, “today,” . . . “

  • Take time to serve someone in some small or grand way – TODAY.
  • Take time to show someone appreciation – TODAY.
  • Take time to reflect on God’s blessings – TODAY.

What will you do with today?

Sinner’s Anonymous

When I was a much younger minister, a young person I attempted to help spiritually, had a battle with an addiction. This young adult tried to fight their addiction, but ended up needing help, beyond what I or the church leaders could provide. With their parent’s guidance and the help of local counselors they checked into a clinic in a distant state. Along with other guidance this young person endured a 12 Step Program.

At that time in my life, I knew about Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other similar programs, but I did not know the 12 Steps. When this young person returned from the program, they brought me a copy of their 12 Steps. You may be familiar with them or maybe not. The more I look at these the more I realize the wisdom of these steps and how we as Recovering Sinners can benefit from some form of application. I propose the following “Twelve Steps of Sinners Anonymous:”

  1. Admit I am powerless over sin and that my life is unmanageable on my own (Rom 3:10-23).
  2. Understand that there is a power greater than myself that can and is willing to restore me to sanity (righteousness) (Heb 11:6).
  3. Make a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God in Christ (2Co 5:17).
  4. Make an fearless and moral inventory of myself (2Co 13:5).
  5. Admit to God, myself, and to another person the exact nature of my sinfulness (Jas 5:16).
  6. Be ready for God to remove all the defects of my character (2Cor 5:21).
  7. Ask God to remove these defects (Luk 13:3, 5, Act 3:19).
  8. Make a list of those harmed by my actions and be willing to make amends (Mat 7:12).
  9. Make direct amends to these people whenever possible (Mat 5:23-26).
  10. Continue to take personal inventory and promptly admit and when I am wrong (1Jo 1:7-10).
  11. Seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact and relationship with God, praying for His wisdom to help us in times of need (Heb 4:15-16, Jas 3:17).
  12. Having a relationship with God in Christ that heals our sin-sick soul, I make effort to carry this message to others who struggle with sin in their lives (2Ti 2:2; Matt 28:18-20).

Hello, my name is Scott and I am a recovering sinner. A sinner in need of and thankful for the Grace of God.

Looking for a Way Out

I once heard that as W.C. Fields approached the end of his life, a friend saw him reading the Bible.  When his friend inquired as to why he was reading the Bible, Mr. Fields replied, “I am looking for loopholes.”

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day knew the words of their canon.  They knew what the prophets wrote and what the writings said.  These men knew the Law of Moses.  But they seemed to look for the wrong things.  Like Mr. Fields, they looked for loopholes or at least they read scripture with the blinders of their preconceived ideas.  Jesus chides them in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think in them you have eternal life; . . .” What?  I thought the Law, prophets, and writings were from God and taught how to live for God?  Yes, but they missed something.  They saw the regulations, but missed the focus.  Jesus continues, “. . . and it is they that bear witness about me.”

Jesus is the focus of Scripture. John narrows the message of scripture to eight words, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14). He is the focus of what we as Christians call the Old and New Testaments.  If you are reading the Bible to look for a loophole, there it is — Jesus and the sacrifice He made for your sin.  The loophole is simple.  He paid the price you and I cannot.  He paid that price of death for us.  By grace He freely offers that blessing that we receive by obedient faith (Eph 2:8-10;    Titus 2:11-3:7).

Jesus is THE answer!


Are You Hurting?

ponderingI don’t know you or maybe I do. I do know that you are going through a stressful time or are facing seeming insurmountable difficulties at work. If not at this moment, you have recently, or will soon.

I suppose we ask the same question when we or a loved one struggles with health issues or passes away. I know a young couple who is taking their newborn off life support this morning. They are strong, but they are hurting.

At times like these we ask aloud or at least in our minds, “Does anyone care?”

The truth is that there are many who care. I can think of 5 individuals or groups that care about you.

Who Cares?

  1. Your REAL friends care.  Your real friends are those who may not know what to say or exactly what to do, but they care.  Sometimes they step back and wait for you to ask for help because they do not want to intrude, but know that they care.  As the Bill Wither’s song says, “For, no one can share those of your needs, that you won’t let show.” Remember “Better is a friend near by than a brother far away.”
  2. Your family cares.  I readily admit that family dynamics differ depending on your family, but I honestly believe that deep down family truly cares.  Brothers and sisters may appear to be emotionally impenetrable but beneath the veneer is a heart that cares.  Jesus’ physical brothers (James and Jude) eventually came to see that He was the Messiah.
  3. Your Creator cares. God cares enough to give us a world to live in, that is just what we need and more.  He cares enough to send rain and sun.  He cares enough to provide for our eternal salvation.  Which brings us to our next individual.
  4. Your Savior cares.  Oh yes, He cares.  Peter reminds us to “cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us.”  He cared enough to sacrifice Himself for you so that you could become righteous in Him (Eph 5:22-33; 2 Cor 5:21).
  5. I care.  I may not know you yet, but I learned to care and love from my God and Savior.  I care about you and your well-being.  I am not alone.  Ask around, you will find there are a lot like me in the world we live in.


King of the Mountain


Growing up near Pensacola Beach, Florida the sand dunes in this picture were a great place to play king of the mountain or in our case, “King of the Sand Dune.”  If you were a child, you know the game.  You climb the hill and defend your territory from all contenders.  The only rule:  do what ever it takes to stay on the top of the hill.  As the middle child of three boys — I played this game a lot.

I thought about that game while reading through the book of James.  “Submit to God, RESIST the devil and he will flee from you . . .Jam 4:7″

The word resist is a military term that means to hold your ground.  To play king of the mountain with Satan.  He will do all within his power and resources to gain the upper-hand, but you cannot let him.  This is an eternal life and death struggle and you must stand strong.

Paul uses similar language,  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness . . .Eph 6:10-14″ “Stand firm, stand, withstand” —

I get the idea we are to resist!

One more passage.  A passage that gives me assurance that I can successfully (victoriously) hold my ground.  “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1Cor 15:57-58).”

Keep fighting!


What Are We Going to Do?

Work in progress

Have you ever said or acted in a way contrary to your stated convictions?

Have you ever, at any time in the past or maybe even in the present, behaved in a way that was or is contrary to godliness or living Christ-like?

Have you ever become caught up in a group conversation and spoke what you should not have?

Have you ever tried to cover-up your mistakes, sins, or crimes against God or man?

Welcome to the club! Get in line right behind me. Just save a place for the rest of the sinners like me including those running for President.

If you watch American political news, are around other people in the US for more than five minutes, or have any type of social media account, then you know how sinfully terrible (maybe that should read “terribly sinful”) the other party’s candidate is – even those candidates from the parties that the media seems to ignore. How could you vote for ____________?! Don’t you know what they have done?! Did you see the video?! Did you hear the recording?! How can you support someone like that?! NOTE: I am not proud of any of our nominees.  I did not cast my vote for any of them. I am not even proud of the way the one I voted for in the primaries has handled himself since then.

Believe me when I say that the reason quality people do not run is that they are painfully aware of the skeletons in their closet that they want to keep there. If they do not have skeletons, well . . .  never-mind, we all have skeletons. There was only one perfect individual and even He had people accuse Him of all sorts of criminal and nationally subversive activities. He was, after all, a leader of splinter cell group of 12 other tight nit followers and multitudes of others who hung on His every word. He was dangerous! Let Him live and He would have changed the world. (Oh, yeah, they put Him to death and He changed the world anyway.)

Back to you and me and our  – ummmm – problem. “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.” (Rom 2:1 NLT). I am not perfect. I am a sinner with a past.

Do Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Darrell Castle have sinful behaviors in their past and present? YES! Am I highly disappointed and disillusioned by what they all have done or said? Definitely. Can these things be a hindrance to their performance as the President of the United States? Likely. Can we get a do-over on the nomination process? I wish! But who would we get?  Whomever those nominees might be would probably be more of the same; they would be sinners with a past and a present.

What are we to do?

I will answer that indefinite question with a few answers because I am not sure what you are asking.

  1. What am I to do about my sin (what are you to do about your sin)? Find forgiveness at the cross and the shed blood of the Savior Jesus the Christ.  He came into the world not to condemn, but to save. (John 3:17). Clothe yourself with Christ (Gal 3:26-27),  give up the guilt, and let God’s Grace teach you how to live godly lives (Titus 2:11-14).
  2. What are we do to about the sins of our potential President? Lead them to forgiveness in Christ, if we have the opportunity. Pray that someone does. Pray for them to humble themselves before and submit themselves to God. (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
  3. What are we to do about our choice in the voting booth? Remember that ourgovernment-of-the-people-by-the-people-for-the-people-shall-not-perish-from-the-earth government is not a one man or one woman show. We have three branches of government: 1. Executive (President), 2. Legislative (Congress), and 3. Judicial (Supreme Court) that work in a system of checks and balances with the goal of keeping our nation on track. Remember that they each answer to the true government – the people of this nation (Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed – Declaration of Independence). We must hold them accountable.
  4. What are we to do about the juxtaposition we are in? We as a nation created the mess we are in over time. We will have to take time to correct what our apathy created. Before and on November 8, 2016 look deeper than the individual and look to the party platform (core beliefs) then vote the one that best aligns with your values. Look at the fact that the next President will appoint and the next legislators will approve at least one if not more Supreme Court Justices. Vote according to whom they will likely seat.

Personally speaking, I am ready for this election to be over and the dust settled. Then we can begin picking who will run in 2020. Maybe by then we can have a renewed and restored vision for our nation.




A Start to the Week

Will you join me in prayer?


God our Father,

In our world, wars begin and wars end.

In our world, economies strengthen and economies weaken.

In our nation, Presidents come and go.

In our nation, laws change with the passing of time.

In our world, what is “in” today is “out” tomorrow.

In our world, good is becoming evil and evil is becoming good.

But You, O Lord are steadfast; unchanging.

Help us to depend on You.

In Jesus’ name,