What Happened to Peace

This post is cathartic. Who am I kidding? Much of what I write is to help me think through

and work through my emotions and to improve my walk with God.

Sometimes, life hits hard. My brother’s diagnosis of cancer and his passing last week are a major blow. I know he has relief from cancer’s pain and the problems of earth now. That is comforting. But the gut-punch still hurts.

Then yesterday, a young man who was friends with many at Parrish Church of Christ – where I was minister for 15 years – died defending his home and trying to identify those whom he caught robbing him. Lyle was a teenager when I moved to Parrish. He often worshipped with the Church at Parrish. I loved seeing him, Beth and their baby – small child now. His affectionate nickname was Big Guy. He was big; at least 6’4″ and strong. He used that nickname in his business as owner of Big Guy’s Tires. He worked hard to provide for his young family. Now he is gone.

A violent death. The alleged thieves, shot into his truck as he tried to at the very least identify them to law enforcement. The alleged thieves crashed their own truck not far from where Lyle was shot. Within minutes Sheriff Deputies found one of them still in their truck and a K-9 Unit found the other hiding in the woods not far from the scene.

Life hits hard!

What happened to peace? What happened to the brotherhood of mankind? Where has the sanctity of life gone? Did we every really have it?

I know where to find it. It being “peace that passes understanding.” Peace is in the “Prince of peace.” Peace with man starts with peace with God. Peace started with God and now peace on earth begins with me. Will you pledge to join me?

-Scott

Alone, Lonely, or Choice

IMG_1173I met him one fall day. I sat watching him more than the game on the field. He came in alone with two soft drinks and two small popcorns. He sat one drink on the seat beside him and began eating and drinking the other. I watched as the other popcorn and drink sat through the first quarter. No one sat with him.

He was dressed nicer than most around him this early fall day. Yet, he seemed lonely.  I wondered about the empty seat; Did it belong to him? Was it for a friend who was meeting him? What was the story of the seat?

Curiosity got the best of me, I had to know. During a long network timeout, I made my way to this gentleman. I asked if he was saving the seat for a friend. “No, it is my wife’s seat. We have been to every home game since we were students and started dating in 1952.” He breathed a deep sigh, “She passed recently, so I am here alone. We always bought two cokes and two popcorns.”

I wanted to communicate my sympathy.  I was touched by his tradition and love. I chocked on the words, and he continued.  He told me about all the wonderful people they had met. The stars they had seen play. He talked about her favorite players and how much she loved The Million Dollar Band. He talked about the good years and the not so good years of their beloved Crimson Tide. He talked about hopes for the season that was unfolding. sixty-four years of history, sixty-four years of love of a team and a love as a couple.

Tears came to my eyes. “I am sorry you are hear all alone. I am sure you had friends or family that could have come with you today.”

“I do,” he said, “but they are all at her funeral.”

OKAY, Okay, I made that story up. It did not happen. 

I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and I know enough fans to think it could happen. Football is a priority. Many plan their fall schedule around their favorite team including away games and neutral site games. They put a lot of time and money into “their team.” I am not too far from this myself. I may not go to many games or travel, but I am always watching or listening to the games, and I watch the rebroadcasts during the week.

Priorities.

There is an observation I have made about people. We have time for the things we want to do. I may not have time to mow the yard, but I have time to watch a three hour football game. I may not have time to study and pray, but I have time to go to the beach, lake, hunting club. I don’t have time to prepare to teach a class, but I have time to go to the gym. I don’t have time to visit the sick, hospitals, or homebound, but I have time to read novels and magazines.

I am taking inventory.

I am looking at me.

I am asking myself,

“What do I consider as priority?”

Paul teaches that Christ is not looking to be first simply be first in our life, but that as a child of God, Christ is TO BE our life (Colo 3:4).  All we do is for Him. Are you and I living that way?

-Scott

 

Morning Motivation

motivation

The question of the day on the radio this morning was, “What motivates you?’

Thinking this through and listening to some of the callers answers, this is a wide open question. I almost want to take a camera and microphone around campus and around town and ask random people. I wonder, “what answers would I get?”

  • Graduation
  • Grades
  • Scholarships
  • Employment opportunities
  • A Paycheck
  • Spouse
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Political issues
  • Environmental issues
  • Honesty
  • Morality
  • Love

The list could potentially be endless.

What motivates me?

The apostle Paul gives a couple of answers:

  1. Heaven – I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Phi 3:14
  2. Christ’s love – For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Cor 5:14-15

As I look back on my life, from the time when I recall first beginning to have more responsibility for my actions and when I began consciously making choices for future, I see one overarching motivation. There seems to me one thematic unit that guides what I chose then and what I choose now.

I see this motivating factor in my choice of friends and activities in Junior High and High School.

This motivation played a role in who a tried to date and who I continued to date.

I see this same motivation in my choice of college and career.

I see how this thematic unit influenced who I asked to be my life-long partner in life – my wife.

This motivating factor played a role in the way we raised our son.

It moved me from ministry position to ministry position.

It is what drives the Morning Drive.

I can sum my motivation up in a few simple words that are not original with me, I have heard them from many others in my nearly 50 years of life.

What is my motivation?

“But for the grace of God, go I”

Grace. God’s amazing grace. In all fairness, I think that is what Paul was saying as well.

What motivates you?

-Scott

Prove It!

Do you recall the “prove it” challenge from your childhood. I variation of “I dare you!” Your group of friends would start boasting about what you could do, how fast you could run, how far you could jump, how high you could climb in the tree. Then someone would call your bluff, “prove it!”

You were done for. You had opened you mouth and now you had a choice: 1) suffer the consequences of backing out and offer the “I was kidding” or “what time is it, My mom wanted me home by (whatever time it happened to be). I will prove it later, or 2) die trying to do what you said you could do.

During my college years, I heard an account of a certain event from the 13th Century that told of Crusaders entering villages and towns looking for heretics. If accused of heresy, you had an opportunity to defend yourself and to prove your allegiance to Christianity or be put to death.

As a side point, allow me a disclaimer. I do not condone what these men did, supposedly in the name of Christ. God and Christ had little to do with the actions of these men. History shows that men seeking power and fortune used and abuse Christianity (or a form of it) for their own advantage and not to spread the gospel of peace that scripture records. Now back to my original intent.

According to some accounts, when the Inquisitors came to Toulouse, France, they came upon a certain individual who lived just outside the city. He was a laborer by trade and would walk through the streets crying out to the crowds these words, “Listen to me, citizens! I am no heretic: I have a wife, and sleep with her, and she has borne me sons. I eat meat, I tell lies and swear, and I am a good Christian. So do not believe it when they say I am an atheist.”

For the record, I understand that this man died at the stake persistently insisting he was a good Christian and Catholic.

Remembering this story started my wheels turning this morning.

  • How would one prove they were a Christian today?
  • If asked for the reason for the hope you have, what would you say?
  • If asked to prove you are a Christian, what evidence would you submit?

You say you are a Christian?

Prove it!

-Scott

One Thing

20

Only one thing.

If you were told you had to vacate your house and other than the clothes you wear you can only take one thing, what would that one thing be?

I have thought long and hard about that question. The noble part of me wants to answer a Bible. The nostalgic side of me wants to answer a photo album. The adventurer in me would want a camera. The practical side says to take a 72 hour bag with toiletries, clothes, a blanket, phone charger, extra cash, and a Bible tucked inside. The protector in me would like a gun.

One thing is not very much. . . . But one thing is a lot.

The rich youth that asked Jesus about inheriting eternal life only lacked one thing. But that one thing was too much for him to deal with. (Luke 18:18-23).

Let’s change directions. What if you could ask for one thing from God. What if God promised to grant you one request, dream or wish; what would that one thing be?

Fame? Wealth? Wisdom? Health? Long life? A good family? Courage?

One thing?

The psalmist considered this question and answered this way,

“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple” Psalm 27:4

That is a great answer!  One thing is important. The one thing I want in life and in life eternal is to be with God.

What about you?

-Scott

When Wrong Makes Right

WhenIn today’s political environment; in this day of violence and unrest; in this time of economic struggle for nations, states, counties, cities, and towns; in times like this I begin to think about how I can help.

What can I do?

What can we do as individuals and as groups to bring relief to the suffering, the oppressed, the mistrusted, and the uneducated? What can we do as a society?

Some say we can go to any length to help.

Local banks and big businesses have lots of cash and we have the right to carry weapons, so could we legalize armed robbery as long as the robbers give some of what they take to homeless shelters and pay taxes on what they keep to support law enforcement?

As population grows we are putting a strain on the resources the earth provides. Is it time to set an age limit and euthanize those who reach that age so that we protect our resources and make room for the next generation? Just think, this will save Social Security, Medicare, and we can set a birth tax to help pay for the costs of euthanizing seniors.

With population growth, we need more housing and places for our cars, should we “They take all the trees and put them in a tree museum and charge the people a dollar and a half to seem them?” Should we “pave paradise and put up a parking lot?” (Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell)

NOTE: I do not believe that any of the above are appropriate – even though cutting down trees to build more building instead of renovating what we already have is legal in most areas.

Yet I see many Christians acquiescing on other, yet similar, issues that politicians propose. I know Christians in dry communities who voted for alcohol sales under the guise of raising community revenue. I know Christians who are for legalizing certain narcotics to raise taxes.  There are other issues that we are giving in on.  It is not too late to stand up for what is moral and right.

Wrong is NEVER right!

I leave you with the words of the prophet Isaiah,

“Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
 who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21

-Scott

 

 

Ten Rules for Life

Like many of you, I have been doing a whole lot of thinking about our current culture of 10mistrust, violence, hate, and prejudice. I honestly feel sorry for society. Many have seemingly lost hope. Many are acting in ways that are only exacerbating this volatile climate.

While what I am about to share is not perfect, I find these ten rule helpful.  They are in many ways the rules that I use to guide my life. I think they work.  I do know that I have any enemies. I think I am well trusted and liked. I have not been in any real fights since that one time at the bus stop in 4th grade unless that time the principal saw me in a one hit fight with my best friend in 8th grade – while I am on the subject, I am really sorry I hit your jaw that hard. Back to this list of rules. The point is that they are working for me and I have a really good life.

Ten Rules for My Life!

  1. Respect the Creator and His Word.
  2. Love your family.
  3. Love your neighbor.
  4. Work hard at what you are doing.
  5. Respect authority
  6. When in authority – respect those under your authority
  7. Laugh often.
  8. Be honest – to a fault.
  9. Try something new when you have the opportunity.
  10. Be an example of what is right, even if you think no one is watching.

-Scott

BTW – I am sure others have said similar things. Any similarity is simply because I learn from others and incorporate what I learn into my life.

 

How to Know God’s Plan

  • If God leads me to it He will lead me through it.gods plan
  • If this is God’s will, then I will endure.
  • I guess this was in God’s plan for me.
  • I don’t know why God planned for me to go through this.
  • God must has more for you to do, that is why you survived.
  • They finished what God planned for them to do, so He took them home.

I hear these and similar phrases more and more each day. “How can I know what God wants me to do in my life?”

I know these are people of faith, that are sincerely wanting to do God’s will. After all Paul tells us, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17). I do not want to be foolish in God’s eyes, so I need to know his plan for me!

What is God’s plan?

I want to share a few verses and some advice that will help you determine God’s plan for you. What I will share is what you can use to determine what you should be doing and what you should do in the future.

Jesus gives the answer, “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31).

Love God with all that you are.

Love your neighbor with the same intensity that you love yourself.

What does God have planned?

  • He did not and does not plan the day of your death – He may know when that will be, but He did not set the date.
  • God did not plan for you or your loved one to battle that disease or disaster. Those things simply are a part of a physical world. He is there to carry you through to healing, recovery, or on eternity.
  • God does not have written down what job you should have to please Him, nor did he preplan your soul-mate you should marry.
  • He did not make you straight or LGTB.

You and I choose our life’s direction based on both our heredity and environment and must discern our the choices we face and make the choice we find consistent with the Word of God and how we should live as God’s children.

What God wants is for us to do? “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

That is God’s plan!

-Scott

Adventures in Life

Monday afternoon, Amy and I left with Bill and Brenda Rayburn to attend a funeral in Jennings, Louisiana. The drive is approximately 6 hours one way, so we stayed overnight in Baton Rouge. Other than some thunderstorms (one we were in for over an hour on our return drive yesterday) the drive had all the typical things you would see on an interstate drive including an accident and a near accident (all involving vehicles other than the Rayburn’s).

The main purpose of this trip was to attend the funeral of a sweet lady (Ester Kibodeaux) and to support her daughter, son-in-law, and son (Dan and Gerri Moore and Ron Kibodeaux) as they buried this Christian mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

weidmansWe broke the trip up with three meal stops and as a group decided to avoid the national chains and find “local” places.  Our first stop was Ky’s Bicycle Shop in Slidell, LA.  A great local Cajun-American restaurant.  Our meals included Amberjack, Sausage and Chicken Gumbo, and an Oyster Po-Boy. If you are ever in Slidell look them up! Our second meal stop was on our return trip. We pulled off the interstate in Lafayette, LA and found The Olde Town Grocery. Our selections were Shrimp Salad, Oyster Po-Boy, and Shrimp Po-Boys. This quaint little place is next to the campus of UL-Lafayette, so get there early to get a seat. Our third and final stop was in Meridian, Mississippi at Weidmanns. Weidmanns is Mississippi’s oldest restaurant and dates back to 1870. This was another wonderful stop. Our table had Shrimp and Grits, bowls of Seafood Gumbo, Lobster Rolls, fried Portobello Mushrooms, Creole Cabbage and Salmon, fresh dinner rolls, Blueberry Crumb Pie, and Praline Bread Pudding. If you live near Meridian or travel by this is a great stop.

But this is not a food critic or restaurant guide blog, this is a blog about living as a Christian. Our fellowship with Bill and Brenda as we travelled was wonderful. We talked about life, about church, about mission work, about Bible classes. Amy and I came home encouraged by spending 31 hours (minus sleeping time) with another Christian couple. Maybe the Hebrew writer has more than worship assemblies in mind when he writes, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb 10:24-25).

During the funeral message, the other presider made a statement that I had heard before, but had not really let sink in. He said that on our earth when the sun sets in one place it rises in another, and death for the Christian is similar. The sun may set on our earthly existence, but we find a sunrise as we enter paradise. That brought to mind a message I heard on the radio recently. The speaker made this statement about life: “We are not walking in the land of the living toward the land of the dying, but we are walking in the land of the dying toward the land of the living.”

Don’t live like you are dying, you are dying, so live to live with God eternally.

-Scott

Netiquette

Image (1)This is a guest post from Amy – my favorite teacher and my wife! She prepared this for the Wednesday night Ladies Class and asked me to proofread it. After reading it I asked her if she minded me sharing it with you.

Netiquette Rules

“Netiquette” are the manners everyone should follow when communicating online.

  1. Remember that the person reading your comments is a real person with the same emotions as you.
  2. Remember “whose” you are. You wear the name Christian.
  3. Remember the “permanent” nature of the internet. Nothing is ever really deleted. If you can’t type it and leave it…don’t type it at all.
  4. Remember to follow the same guidelines you follow in your everyday behavior while you are online.
  5. Be nice and pleasant while online. (Review Rule 2). Don’t post flame-bait.
  6. Avoid flaming, or posting in ALL CAPS. (There may be some exceptions, but that should be evident in what you post.)
  7. Avoid sarcasm. Sarcasm is easy to misinterpret even when spoken. Just imagine how much harder it is when they cannot hear your tone of voice.
  8. Use emoticons. These little pictures can help convey your feelings.
  9. Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes online. You may need forgiveness one day.
  10. Always follow Colossians 4:5-6 in all words, whether spoken or written: “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

-Amy

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