Tuesday, December 28, 2021

At the Gas Pump Today

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT  DUE.  Yes Biden did that and so much more. How and where do we get these stickers? Answer: Amazon

Friday, December 24, 2021

G-Boy Sends This Wonderrful Lego Video: WW1 Christmas Truce, 1914


Twas the Night Before CHRISTIANS


Monday, December 20, 2021

Advent---The Virgin Mary's Magnificent, Revolutionary, Dangerous Song of Praise, The Magnificat

DID YOU KNOW, The Magnificat was considered a dangerous song of praise in some countries? To wit: Revolutionaries, the poor and the oppressed, all loved Mary and they emphasized her glorious song. But the Magnificat has been viewed as dangerous by people in power. Some countries — such as India, Guatemala, and Argentina — have outright banned the Magnificat from being recited in liturgy or in public. It's easy to see why, especially in countries with a caste system and great pockets of poverty.

LUKE 46-55, The Magnificat:

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 

47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 

48 for he has looked on the lowliness of his servant. Henceforth on all generations will call me blessed; 

49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 

50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 

51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 

52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;

 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 

54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,

 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Sunday, November 21, 2021

A Psalm For Kyle Rittenhouse, To Be Repeated Now and Going Forward


PSALM 124 

1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say; 

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:

Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:

Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.

Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.

Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.



While there is a collective sigh of  relief that Kyle was exonerated in the outcome of a trial that should never have been, this young man has many challenges in front of him.  His life will never be the same. This psalm should remind him, and us, that we survive now and always by the Grace of God.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sunday, Prophet Amos Pronounces Judgment for God on Modern Countries

From Amos 2

WOE TO CHINA. In this century she has butchered fifty million of her own people in the name of equality. Proud and haughty, she maintains an officially atheistic stance, persecuting the church while that church, nurtured by the blood of the martyrs, has in half a century multiplied fifty times. 

Woe to Russia. In the second decade of this century she embarked on a massive social experiment that resulted in the deaths of more than forty million people. She subjugated nation after nation, so certain was she that the tide of history was on her side. She became excellent at producing the “revolutionary man,” but could not produce the promised “new man” of Marxist thought, and so hid behind illusions and lies until her economic incompetence brought her down. 

Woe to Germany. Privileged to serve as home to some of the greatest Reformers, she became extraordinarily arrogant intellectually, and in this century started two world wars that wreaked death and havoc, including the horrors of the Nazis, on countless millions. Today she builds excellent BMWs but has a materialist soul, worshiping nothing greater than the deutsche mark. 

Woe to Great Britain. At one time ruler of one-quarter of the world’s population; inheritor of some of the greatest Christian thought and literature ever produced, she became ever more proud and condescending to the nations she colonized and the people she enslaved. Having repeatedly squandered a heritage of the knowledge of God, she thrashes around directionless and degraded. 

Woe to Canada. She likes to think of herself as morally superior to her nearest neighbor, while hiding under the U.S. military umbrella. Sliding toward a moral abyss, her Supreme Court issues decisions that are as morally corrosive as any in the Western world, while the English-French factionalism drives toward enmity and breakup for want of courtesy and respect from both sides. 

Woe to the United States. She prides herself on being the only world power left, but never reflects on how God has brought low every world power in history. Her cherished freedoms, so great a heritage, have increasingly become a facade to hide and then defend the grossest immorality and selfishness. To the nation at large, no issue, absolutely none, is more important than the state of the economy.

 This is the reasoning of Amos. In Amos 1, he circles around the pagan neighbors, articulating the judgment of God. Here in Amos 2, he moves to Moab, Judah (“Canada”), and finally brings it home to Israel. Israelite audiences would begin with smug contentment during the early parts: how would they end up? And understand: the sequence of my “Woes,” above, could have been rearranged to end with any country—with your country. 

From Read the Bible and The Gospel Coalition


2:1 Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Moab,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,1
  because he burned to lime
    the bones of the king of Edom.
  So I will send a fire upon Moab,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Kerioth,
  and Moab shall die amid uproar,
    amid shouting and the sound of the trumpet;
  I will cut off the ruler from its midst,
    and will kill all its princes2 with him,”
      says the LORD.

Judgment on Judah

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Judah,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they have rejected the law of the LORD,
    and have not kept his statutes,
  but their lies have led them astray,
    those after which their fathers walked.
  So I will send a fire upon Judah,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.”

Judgment on Israel

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Israel,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they sell the righteous for silver,
    and the needy for a pair of sandals—
  those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth
    and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
  a man and his father go in to the same girl,
    so that my holy name is profaned;
  they lay themselves down beside every altar
    on garments taken in pledge,
  and in the house of their God they drink
    the wine of those who have been fined.
  “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them,
    whose height was like the height of the cedars
    and who was as strong as the oaks;
  I destroyed his fruit above
    and his roots beneath.
10   Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt
    and led you forty years in the wilderness,
    to possess the land of the Amorite.
11   And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,
    and some of your young men for Nazirites.
    Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?”
      declares the LORD.
12   “But you made the Nazirites drink wine,
    and commanded the prophets,
    saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’
13   “Behold, I will press you down in your place,
    as a cart full of sheaves presses down.
14   Flight shall perish from the swift,
    and the strong shall not retain his strength,
    nor shall the mighty save his life;
15   he who handles the bow shall not stand,
    and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself,
    nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;
16   and he who is stout of heart among the mighty
    shall flee away naked in that day,”
      declares the LORD.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Exemplary Leadership Qualities of Nehemiah In the Old Testament


Nehemiah 5:14-19

Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. 15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. 16 I also persevered in the work on this wall, and we acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17 Moreover, there were at my table 150 men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 Now what was prepared at my expense for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people. 19 Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.


Thought for the Day

What sort of leaders do we want? So often when an individual reaches a position of leadership in politics, business, and alas, in church life, there is a tendency for it to go to their head in some way. Some become bullies, others narcissists, others still feather their own nest, and for many their pride takes on a flavor that leaves a very nasty taste in everyone else’s mouth. Reaching the top of the tree can turn men and women with the highest values and most selfless motives when they set out, into a parody of what they used to be. Not so with Nehemiah. There are no other named political leaders who are privileged to be authors of one or another part of Scripture – but Nehemiah is, and this short passage describes the principles that shaped his twelve years of governorship. There was no freeloading in his administration, and he probably left office a much poorer man. The reason for this was that he was concerned for the wellbeing of the people as they were seeking to establish a firm foothold for the Jews back in the Promised Land. Not only that, but he and his men took off their shirts, rolled up their sleeves, and worked alongside Jews from every background rebuilding the wall that would guarantee the safety of Jerusalem and the LORD’s Temple. Now there is no reason why someone in leadership should impoverish themselves when they take on their responsibilities, but a lot of the ways they might enrich themselves might be highly questionable. What was behind Nehemiah’s approach to leadership? He was a man who knew the Hebrew Bible, and no doubt he had meditated, prayed over, and pondered upon the words of the prophet Micah written three centuries earlier:

He has told you, O man or woman, 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)

We do well to measure ourselves as well as those who lead us in the nation, the state, our business life and religious life against this standard.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

New P&G Video Portends More Imminent, Widespread Shortages and Should Concern Us All



This horrendous president that the liberals and Trump-haters have elected is wrecking our country in the most profound ways possible and, I fear, we ain't seen nothing yet.  Not even close. And what we can get in the grocery stores etc. will be more and more expensive. Prepare now as best you can, while you can for this perfect storm.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday: The Reformation of English, How William Tyndale's Bible Translation Transformed Our Language



IN THE LATE SUMMER OR FALL OF 1525, sheets of thin sewn paper bounced across the English Channel, hidden in bales of cloth and sacks of flour. They passed silently, secretly, from the Channel to the London shipyards, from the shipyards to the hands of smiths and cooks, sailors and cobblers, priests and politicians, mothers and fathers and children. De-clothed and un-floured, the first lines read,

I have here translated (bretheren and sisters most dear and tenderly beloved in Christ) the new Testament for your spiritual edifying, consolation, and solace.

And then, a few pages later:

This is the book of the generation of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son also of Abraham . . .

Here was the Gospel of Matthew, translated from the original Greek into English for the very first time. The entire New Testament would soon follow, and then portions of the Old Testament, before its translator, William Tyndale (1494–1536), would be found and killed for his work.

Reforming English

For centuries past, a normal Englishman might have thought God spoke Latin. England’s only legal Bible was a Latin Bible, translated over a millennium prior by the church father Jerome (who died in 420). For them, the Psalms were simply the songs of a foreign land. The Ten Commandments rumbled toward them with no more clarity than Sinai’s thunder. They knew, perhaps, that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us — but apart from bits and snatches, they had never heard him speak their language. Until now.

Over the following years, some would burn this book, and some would be burned for it. Some would smuggle this book into England, and some would cast it out. But the book itself, once translated, could not be forgotten. Illegal or not, the English Scriptures would find their way into English pulpits and English hearts, reforming England through its mother tongue.

And along the way, another reformation would take place — a reformation often overlooked, and yet, one could argue, just as far reaching. Tyndale’s translation would reform not only England, but English; it would shape the future not only of English religion, but of the English language. As biographer David Daniell writes, “Newspaper headlines still quote Tyndale, though unknowingly, and he has reached more people than even Shakespeare” (William Tyndale, 2).

Dangers of Translation

From a distance of five hundred years, we may struggle to grasp how the English Christian church could possibly oppose the English Christian Scriptures. For, amazingly enough, it was the church that banned and burned this book. The Catholic authorities of Tyndale’s day offered at least two reasons.

First, translation is inherently dangerous. In the early 1400s, a generation after John Wycliffe (1328–1384) had published the first English Bible (translated from the Latin Vulgate, however, rather than the Hebrew and Greek), the Constitutions of Oxford declared,

It is a dangerous thing, as witnesseth blessed St. Jerome, to translate the text of the Holy Scripture out of one tongue into another, for in the translation the same sense is not always easily kept. . . . We therefore decree and ordain, that no man, hereafter, by his own authority translate any text of the Scripture into English or any other tongue . . . and that no man can read any such book . . . in part or in whole.

The priests and magistrates of Tyndale’s day enforced such laws with a vengeance, sometimes burning Christians alive simply for possessing the Lord’s Prayer in English. An English Bible, of course, posed more danger to a corrupt church than to a common Christian. Even still, such was their position: translation was simply too dangerous.

Our Rude and Rusty Tongue

Apart from translation itself being seen as dangerous, however, the idea of an English translation was considered “ridiculous.” “The English language, when Tyndale began to write,” says Daniell, “was a poor thing, spoken only by a few in an island off the shelf of Europe. . . . In 1500 it was as irrelevant to life in Europe as today’s Scots Gaelic is to the city of London” (The Bible in English, 248).

Though English sufficed for everyday communication, Latin dominated the highest spheres of life. Magistrates wrote in Latin. Professors wrote (and taught) in Latin. Literary works appeared in Latin. The clergy conducted their services in Latin. How then could the Bible be translated into English?

A poem from John Skelton, written in the early 1500s, captures the supposed absurdity of an English translation:

Our natural tong is rude,
And hard to be enneude [revived]
With pullyshed terms lusty;
Our language is so rusty,
So cankered and so full
Of frowardes [awkward words], and so dull,
That if I wolde apply
To wryte ornately,
I wot not where to fynd
Terms to serve my mynde. (273)

Such a rude and rusty tongue could not carry the oracles of God. Or so the authorities thought.

Bible for Plowboys

William Tyndale grew up, along with every other boy his age, hearing the word of God in Latin. The Lord’s Prayer did not begin, “Our Father, which art in heaven,” but “Pater noster, qui es in caelis.” And like some other boys his age, he spent his school days preparing to speak that Latin word as a priest to the next generation.

But he never did — or at least not for long. We know few of the reasons Tyndale grew weary of a Latin-only religion and began to burn to read the Bible in English. Perhaps he noticed that, of all Europe in the 1520s, England alone had no legal vernacular translation (Bible in English, 249). Perhaps he heard about — and even read — Martin Luther’s groundbreaking German Bible, published in 1522. Perhaps he noticed all the Catholic corruption that only a mute Bible could endorse. And perhaps, as an extraordinary linguist himself, he heard far more potential in our English tongue than did the church of his day.

We do know, however, that when twentysomething Tyndale heard a certain man say, “We were better be without God’s law than the pope’s,” he answered, “I defy the Pope and all his laws. . . . If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough, shall know more of the scripture than thou dost” (William Tyndale, 79). The gospel of the Scriptures, Tyndale knew, “maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy” (123). But how would the plowboy sing if he understood not a lick of that gospel?

And so, Tyndale began to translate. He went first to London, to see if he could find any support for his work close to home. Finding none, he left London for the continent, and there set to work on a translation that would give the plowboy not only the Bible, but the Bible clothed in an English so fair it would endure for centuries.

Tyndale’s Translation

In the judgment of one scholar, Tyndale “was responsible almost single-handedly for making the native language, which at the start of the sixteenth century was barely respectable in educated circles, into the supple, powerful, sensitive vehicle it had become by the time of Shakespeare” (The King James Version at 400, 316). Another goes so far as to say, “There is truth in the remark, ‘Without Tyndale, no Shakespeare’” (William Tyndale, 158). Under Tyndale’s pen, English grew from callow youth to mature man, capable of expressing the subtleties and profundities of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.

But how did he do it? By focusing all of his linguistic genius toward two great goals: “First,” Daniell writes, “to understand the Greek and Hebrew of the original Bible texts as well as it was then humanly possible to do. Secondly, to write in English that above all, and at all times, made sense” (92). Accuracy and clarity were Tyndale’s hallmarks, and they made for an English at once strangely new and strikingly familiar.

Moses Speaking English

First, Tyndale’s commitment to accuracy gave his English a strange newness. A foreign flavor clung to his English phrases, as if his language traveled abroad and came home with a new accent.

Sometimes, readers felt the change in the totally new words Tyndale coined to capture the meaning of the text. Intercession, atonement, Passover, mercy seat, scapegoat — these are all Tyndalisms, the work of a wordsmith in his forge. Alistair McGrath comments, “It can be seen immediately that biblical translation thus provided a major stimulus to the development of the English language, not least by creating new English words to accommodate biblical ideas” (The Word of God in English, 61).

Tyndale forged not only new words, however, but a new style, especially in his translations of the Old Testament. Striving for literalness, he crafted a kind of Hebraic English, as if Moses should speak English in the patterns of his native tongue. For example, strange as it may seem, the simple construction “the+noun+of+the+noun” — “the beasts of the field,” “the birds of the air” — came into English through Tyndale’s translation of a Hebrew form called the construct chain (William Tyndale, 285). Tyndale could have fitted this Hebrew form into existing English syntax; instead, he invented a new English form, and thus adorned our English with Hebrew robes.

“Following the syntactic contours of the Hebrew,” Robert Alter writes, “achieved a new kind of compelling effect, at once lofty and almost stark” (The King James Bible and the World It Made, 136). And more examples could be listed. The influence of Hebrew on our language (and to a lesser extent Greek), Daniell argues, is nothing short of “immense” (William Tyndale, 289) — and the credit is largely due to Tyndale. By grasping the original languages so tightly, he brought much of them back into English, to our great enrichment.

Scripture in Plain Language

Alongside that strange newness, however, was a striking familiarity, born from Tyndale’s commitment to clarity. His English may have traveled abroad, but it never lost touch with its roots — and particularly its Saxon roots.....

Please read the whole fascinating article.


Thursday, October 28, 2021

John Tamny: The Proposed Billionaire Wealth Tax Will Force Wealth to Flee the US



THE RON WYDEN'S billionaire's tax would, if implemented, tax liquid billionaire assets: stocks, bonds and cash. On its own, this presumption is an impossibility. It is because billionaire equity wealth (think Amazon) is invariably arrived at after countless rallies and plunges. Except that the story gets worse. Not only would there be no reasonable way to tax unrealized gains that frequently bring new meaning to volatile, a wealth tax of this kind would force public companies private as a way of avoiding the tax. As for future entrepreneurs, regardless of their own political leanings there's no way venture capitalists would invest in concepts rendered exponentially riskier by a tax on unrealized gains. Basically the tax would force outside the U.S. the very human and financial capital necessary to create wealth in the first place. In other words, this tax isn't happening. The opinion piece can be found  here.


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Early Sunday, Early Fall


37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you. 42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.” 45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” 53 As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, 54 lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say. 

Thought for the Day

What was in the Pharisee’s mind when he invited Jesus to dinner? Did he expect some reflected glory from this amazing local preacher and healer, or maybe he wanted to show off his home, or perhaps he wanted to get one up on the others he invited? Perhaps he expected Jesus would be a well-manner guest and turn a blind eye to anything that riled him. If that was his expectation he had read Jesus wrongly. The Pharisees and their fellow travelers had finickity rules and regulations when it came to religious cleanliness – especially at mealtimes. He watched all these cleansing rituals going on around him, perhaps getting cold looks because his involvement was merely cursory, then he launched out with a series of woes to the Pharisees and the scribes gathered there. Matthew records that he said to folks like these You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! (Matt. 23:24), and what he saw happening at that dinner table was precisely this – at the very least, majoring on the minors, but a lot of it that had degenerated into a religious and spiritual kind of one upmanship. Put simply, they were hypocrites – a word which is Greek can be directly translated as play acting. They used rituals and seemingly spiritual actions to gloss over what was really beneath the surface of their lives. It was a ‘look at me, can’t you see that I am more spiritual than you?’ What Jesus said to the Pharisees he says also to us today – which is one of the reasons this incident is recorded in Scripture! 

Thanksgiving and Intercession for the Day 

We praise God for spiritual disciplines, and pray for grace to use them appropriately. 

Collect for the Day 

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Collect for Fridays found in Morning Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer 1979)

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sunday: Finally Calming, Clearing Waters All Around


Please take a few minutes to reflect and pray on these verses from Paul's letter to the Ephesians: 

Ephesians 4: 17-24 - "With the Lord's authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They don't care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed. But that isn't what you were taught when you learned about Christ. Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness--righteous, holy, and true."

Monday, September 20, 2021

Another Deluge, High Waters, Fallen Trees and No Power

THE MOON just came up as rain clouds went away for the time being. 

Temperatures are cooling toward fall.... And our flag is still there....barely.....at least for now.....

Jesse Watters Chronicles the Horrific History of the FBI's Cover-Ups and Abuse and How It Failed America

ONE OF BEST REVIEWS OF FBI abuse of its power and mandate to protect the American people I've ever seen. Jesse Watters in this edition of Watters' Words hits the ball outta the park. Well worth listening to. We ignore at our greater peril.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Phil Robertson Gives Today's Scripture Reading and Sermon

Psalm 1,  King James Version 

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Sunday, Pastor Mike Atkins Preaches @ Community Bible Church in Highlands, NC, On the Second Half of Grace


AFTER YEARS OF PASTORING IN JACKSON, WYOMING at River Crossing, Mike and Patty Atkins have moved to Cashiers, NC. I'm so glad they are closer to Tennessee so we can continue our special fellowship and friendships. Mike preaches here from 1 John 2:


 2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 

 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 

3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 

 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 

 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 

6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 

7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. 

 8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 

9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 

10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 

11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. 

12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. 

13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. 

 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 

19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 

20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 

22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 

25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 

28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 

29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

What Made the Waverly Flood A Catastrophic Fresh Water Tsunami?

NO ONE DENIES THAT 15-17 INCHES OF RAIN falling in 6-8 hours over a big area, some of it 300' higher than than the town of Waverly, would be devastating to anyone or anything on or near the little creek that runs through the town.   

Still, Waverly, Tennessee was established on the floodplain of little Trace Creek in the early 19th century and has endured many flash floods over the years. It's always managed to bounce back. But the nearest complete washout of the town almost two weeks ago was of such  magnitude, it may never come back completely to its former glory.

I've heard a number of residents who lost family members, friends, homes,  possessions say they want to relocate and never rebuild in Waverly. Who could blame them?

What could have possibly  made this flood so much worse than all the others? 

First,  the raised railroad bed running alongside the little creek acted as a levee---with few, if any large culverts to release the growing water pressure--- which held back the rapidly  rising rainfall on Trace Creek for miles upstream as it dropped some 300' from McEwen, TN.  

Then there a railroad bridge downstream with  bridge abutment that got so clogged with debris that it became a  Hoover-like dam for water held in by the railroad levee.  

The railroad bridge 'dam' held the humongous rising water heroically until  pressure built up so exponentially that it  finally exploded in a violent wall of water descending like a ticking time bomb on the town of Waverly.  Some of the raises railroad bed finally  exploded under the train tracks, letting the wild water through and destroying the tracks above.

Downstream in Waverly, anyone or anything not already on higher ground was doomed for destruction in a matter of minutes as the wall if water raced down the now unimpeded creek.

I'll be back later with a few more thoughts.  Meanwhile,  this town and its people need all the prayers and help it can get.

(Below is  a photo of the raised railroad bed upstream near McEwen  with little Trace Creek on the right beneath the railroad, and the highway to the left.) What could possibly go wrong?   

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Sunday---Oldies But Goodies As Worship Music

AT A LITTLE BAPTIST CHURCH IN BURNS TONIGHT THIS FABULOUS COUNTRY/GOSPEL MUSICIAN PLAYED IT AS WORSHIP MUIC AND BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN. It's been a long and harrowing week and after a more serious service today at a big church in Nashville, I loved, loved it! Lots more where that came from. May God have mercy on people stranded with nothing in Waverly, TN now awaiting more massive rain and flooding from hurricane IDA, and our people awaiting rescue in Afghanistan. Only You, Lord, and You alone can make the darkness bright....

Friday, August 27, 2021

An Idea : Get a Guranteed Noise Maker and Start Honking!


 I HUMBLY SUGGEST THAT EACH OF US CONSERVATIVES WHO ARE APPALLED at the Biden 'administration's' botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and mayhem at the border organize and participate in a weeks long horn-honking protest in each state capital and on Capitol Hill in Washington. It's to get Biden and his pathetic enablers out of office sooner rather than later. It should be pushback advocating state enumerated powers be taken back from the insulin-resistant obese federal government. We can no longer tolerate the power grab by executive orders, dark bureaucratic shennigans and amending gargantuan budget bills in the middle of the night. It's dark, unconstitutional and won't be tolerated any longer. Starting at the White House and going up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, it should be loud, persistent and ongoing. Bring your earplugs and start honking. This is a fitting tribute to the late Phil Valentine who stopped Tennessee from having a state income tax with a honking protest at the Tennessee capital. IN ADDITION, why not bring trumphets to the party as in The Battle of Jericho. Horns with trumphets---what mayhem! Fighting mayhem with mayhem. We will not, we can not be silent any longer. Stop messing around and complaining and start honking! Be creative.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

How To Help Victims Of The Waverly Flash Flood/Tsunami


AT LEAST 18 people -many of them children - were killed when a flash flood/tsunami tore through Humphreys, Hickman, Houston and Dickson Counties early Saturday morning. The city of Waverly was the hardest hit as 17'' of rain fell in the area in several hours. An unknown number of people were killed or are still missing. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed or totally vanished from the town in the rushing water. Hundreds of people have lost everything, including homes and businesses. 

These people and the town need our ongoing prayers.  There has been a huge outpouring of donations of food, clothing, and supplies of all kinds given to several churches in Waverly and spokespeople are saying they simply can't handle anymore at this time.  Volunteers are needed to help with the cleanup.  Bring your bulldozers and come on!  Food trucks have come in from Nashville, and THP,  National Guard and TWRA officers, some from Memphis, are serving round-the-clock in town to guard what's left from looting.

Right now,  I would say contributing money to the organizations below for starters is the most urgent and appreciated support most all of us can do. Outpourings of help on all levels has been overwhelming,  heartwarming and miraculous. There will be more ways to donate in the weeks to come.  I personally am donating through a local church.


  • The Humphreys County Sheriff's Office said anyone who would like to donate items to those displaced from their homes can go to the National Guard Armory in Waverly. It is located at 1421 US-70.

Gifts made to the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund will help families impacted by the severe storms and flooding. Grants will be made to nonprofits providing vital services both immediate and long-term. CFMT’s work helps free nonprofits up to concentrate on delivering services while the organization “connects generosity with need” and our community sets out to rebuild lives.

Again,  I would donate money to a cause that will use it on the recovery of people's shelter and lives.

May God have mercy on these hurting people and towns.


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday, Exhuberant Psalm 27 With Commentary

UPDATE:  Thank you  to friends from all over for checking in today to see if I was still on dry land.  Indeed, I live on high ground in Burns, a village 24 miles west of Nashville.  However, 29 miles due west of me is Waverly near the Tennessee and Duck  Rivers and the people there and surrounding towns in that watershed are desperate for our prayers and relief of all kinds in the aftermath of devastating flash floods.  It's hard to fathom 17'' of rain falling in several hours.  These are low-lying wetland areas to begin with, prone to flooding easily.  The area's devastation  is epic. Please pray for them....

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM  READ THE BIBLE, A Daily Devotional With Commentary For August 20:

 27:1   The LORD is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
  The LORD is the stronghold2 of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?
  When evildoers assail me
    to eat up my flesh,
  my adversaries and foes,
    it is they who stumble and fall.
  Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart shall not fear;
  though war arise against me,
    yet3 I will be confident.
  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 inquire4 in his temple.
  For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
  he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock.
  And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies all around me,
  and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
  I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
  Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
    be gracious to me and answer me!
  You have said, “Seek5 my face.”
  My heart says to you,
    “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”6
    Hide not your face from me.
  Turn not your servant away in anger,
    O you who have been my help.
  Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
10   For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the LORD will take me in.
11   Teach me your way, O LORD,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
12   Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.
13   I believe that I shall look7 upon the goodness of the LORD
    in the land of the living!
14   Wait for the LORD;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the LORD!



Psalm 27 shares some themes with its nearest neighbors (Pss. 26, 28) but is more exuberant than either.

(1) The Lord is my light (Ps. 27:1–3). Light is an evocative figure for almost everything good: truth, knowledge, joy, moral purity, revelation, and more. Here the word is linked with “salvation” and “stronghold” (Ps. 27:1); light is associated with security. David faces enemies who attack him like a pack of wolves, but if the Lord is his light and salvation, David will not be afraid. With a God this sovereign, this good, this self-revealing, this delightful, how will he not also be our security?

(2) The Lord is my sanctuary (Ps. 27:4–6)—in the double sense that the word has in English. On the one hand, the theme of the first three verses continues: God is David’s sanctuary in the sense that he is David’s protection, his stronghold: “in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling” (Ps. 27:5). But on the other hand, this “sanctuary” spells infinitely more than mere political security: “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life” (Ps. 27:4). This does not mean that David entertains a secret, impossible desire to become a Levite. Rather, he has a profound passion to live his life in the presence of the living God. That is the locus of security.

(3) The Lord is my direction (Ps. 27:7–12). David does not envisage his relation with God as something static, but as his lifelong pursuit. Moreover, he understands that this pursuit simultaneously shapes him. If he seeks God’s face as he ought (Ps. 27:8), if he begs for mercy so that God will deal with him in compassion and not in wrath (Ps. 27:9–10), then he will also learn God’s ways and walk in a straight path (Ps. 27:11). This cannot be said too strongly or too often: to claim that one is pursuing God without concomitant reformation of life and growing conformity to the ways of God is wicked and dangerous nonsense.

(4) The Lord is my hope (Ps. 27:13–14). However true it is that God is the believer’s refuge, sometimes in this broken and fallen world it does not feel like it at the moment. The truth is that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. Often he demands that we wait patiently for him: his timing is perfect. His vindication of his people often takes place in history (Ps. 27:13), but rarely as soon as we want; nevertheless his ultimate vindication is priceless. “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (Ps. 27:14).



Saturday, August 21, 2021

Saturday Sadness: Our Friend Phil Valentine Has Died


 UPDATE: CATASTROPIC FLOODING 25 MILES TO THE WEST. Please pray for the people in these low-lying lands in the Tennessee River drainage which have so much destruction and loss of lives. 

IT'S AN INCREDIBLY DREARY DAY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE. RAINING CATS AND DOGS. And as thunder booms and lightning streaks across the afternoon skies, flash flood warnings scream on my phone. Then the sad, sad news of Phil Valentine's death earlier today spreads like lightning. Phil's long 37-day fight with COVID in Williamson County hospital finally has ended. Thousands have been praying for Phil and his family. Now a pall of sadness descends on all those family and friends who loved and knew the conservative talk show host on and off WTN SuperTalk Radio. He was husband to Susan, father to boys and friend to many. He will be greatly missed. The heavy rain on the roof accentuates the sadness. It's raining in our hearts.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

A Few Words About the Pathetic, Chaotic, Impotent Biden Administration's Desperate Turn Tail From Afghanistan


EVEN THOUGH I've taken time off the blog clock recently to spend a few smoky weeks in hot, dry Wyoming as well as to enjoy time with my children and grandchildren recently moved to Tennessee from Texas, I, like every sentient being, haven't been able to escape the non-stop bombardment of news from our southern border and from the frenzied US military drawdown in Afghanistan---both compliments of the Biden administration's laissez faire incompetence and wishful thinking.

 Mark me appalled, but not surprised after watching the growing chaos at our southern border. 

Regarding unfolding tragic events in Afghanistan, I listened carefully to president Biden's speech Monday in which he reiterated his determination to stand by his decision to leave Afghanistan lock, stock and barrel by golly---blah, blah, blah. But all Biden's faux tough-guy rhetoric was really meant to deflect our attention from the REAL issue at hand which is HOW to accomplish this in a calm and focused way that saves thousands of American and Afghani lives and billions of dollars of US equipment?  Instead we saw the desperate shocked and panicked reality from the Taliban's rapid takeover of the country over the weekend and the frantic reality that the US had no exit strategy whatsoever to deal with the widespread terror of the Afghan people.  So everyone ran like hell to the exits.. 

This reality is truly shameful. But the optics were completely devastating:  streets clogged with cars and panicked people,  desperate men clinging to transport jets taking off in a last ditch effort to escape death and execution at the hands of the Taliban and then falling to their deaths after being blown off the behemoth jets.  This was an eerie reminder  of the horrific deaths of  people falling from the World Trade Center during 9-11 almost 20 years ago.

Biden tore up President Trump's strategic plan for withdrawal and took terrible advice from his feckless generals in the military..  Trump was one of the first to criticize Biden for his incompetence:

Trump’s knock on Biden’s speech comes after he called for the current president’s resignation, accusing him of running “out of Afghanistan instead of following the plan our Administration left for him.”: Joe Biden gets it wrong every time on foreign policy, and many other issues. Everyone knew he couldn’t handle the pressure. Even Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, said as much. He ran out of Afghanistan instead of following the plan our Administration left for him — a plan that protected our people and our property, and ensured the Taliban would never dream of taking our Embassy or providing a base for new attacks against America. The withdrawal would be guided by facts on the ground. After I took out ISIS, I established a credible deterrent. That deterrent is now gone. The Taliban no longer has fear or respect for America, or America’s power. What a disgrace it will be when the Taliban raises their flag over America’s Embassy in Kabul. This is complete failure through weakness, incompetence, and total strategic incoherence.
Additionally, Don Surber weighs in brilliantly:
Thanks to Joe Biden, the Taliban returns to power stronger, more secure, and well-equipped to wreak havoc on anyone in the world of their choosing. He turned over military bases and the records of those who helped the CIA and the USA, which now allows the Taliban to collect and torture thousands of those who foolishly trusted Biden and the USA. It did not have to end this way. President Trump gave Biden a plan to evacuate Afghanistan, saving lives and dignity, while not arming the Taliban with the best equipment in the world. He learned from the Fall of Saigon, which happened on Biden's watch as a senator. America left behind equipment and people who helped us. Worse, we left behind our own children, the GI babies who were ostracized by society. Donald Trump was determined not to do that again. Biden did it anyway. President Trump told Miranda Devine of the New York Post what his plan was. He said, "We were going to not let people get slaughtered. I wanted to get out. But you have to get out safely and you have to get out with respect." His plan was an American one in which women and children leave first. He said, "All civilians were going to come out before the military. Everyone should have been out before they took our military out." Amen. The richest men on the Titanic went down with the ship. That is how honorable men behave. Our soldiers are honorable. They would have been the last to leave. And they would have left no equipment or base behind. President Trump said, "I was going to close this ridiculous embassy they spent a billion dollars on and move everybody out." He also said, "I was going to blow up every military base [before we left]. I was going to take out every single piece of equipment. I said, ‘I don’t want anything left [apart from] leave each soldier a gun." But it was Trump's plan and Biden is a Washington lifer. And they are all little mean girls like Nancy Pelosi, who tore up President Trump's State of the Union address.DC is a huge echo chamber. In the early 1970s, they let Saigon fall. Nearly a half century later, they let Kabul fall. Dear world: Never trust America again. We are run by petty little girls who raise wastrels who have a charity pay for their weddings (Chelsea) and do coke, meth, and hookers (Hunter). Biden gave an incoherent speech to defend withdrawing from Afghanistan. That is not the issue. We know it had to end. The issue is how he withdrew. He left behind billions of dollars of equipment, thousands of Afghanis who helped us, and some of the best military bases in the world.

Way to tell it like it is, Don. Biden  had no plan except to tear up Trump's strategic plan. Worst of all, he has no honor He has no leadership.  And he hasn't a clue.  How much worse can it get? In the eyes of the world America is weakened and up the creek, rudderless without a paddle.  Dark days ahead.

But never fear,  Biden has empathy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Piper Again: Living the Mysterious Paradox of Joy In Suffering

BELOW IS HARD, adult wisdom.  But isn't following Christ letting His spirit live in us and and mature us to the maximum beyond tantrums and self-pity?  Isn't it all for our ultimate, eternal joy? Yes, easier said than done.

Here's the link and listen:

IN THE FALL of 2012, Bethlehem Baptist Church hosted a very powerful and memorable conference on disability. It was titled “The Works of God Conference: God’s Good Design in Disability.” The entire event was God-centered and inspiring and faith-building. I encourage you to watch it all. But in that conference, there was one particular bit from John Piper’s contribution that really stood out to a podcast listener who sent us the clip to feature on APJ. Here in this section, Pastor John is applying the testimony of the apostle Paul, when Paul said of his life that he was “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing — it’s a paradox and a miracle and a mystery. And it needs to be applied to our lives, as Pastor John does here.

I’ve got a concluding statement and five brief applications. The conclusion goes like this: God is so sovereign over the disasters and the disappointments of our lives, that he is able to make every one of them serve our everlasting joy. He is so sovereign over all the disasters, all the disappointments of our lives, that he is able to take all of them and make all of them serve our everlasting joy.

This sovereign grace is the ground of your joy in sorrows — not after sorrows, but in the sorrows of deep disappointment. So, the Christian Hedonist does not merely pursue joy after sorrow; he pursues joy in sorrow, in disappointment. The watchword of your life then becomes “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”

Sorrowful Yet Rejoicing

Now, here are five implications or applications of this. And it really is quite profound what happens in a church when this takes hold, and what happens in you and your family.

1. You will be free from pretending.

If you experience this paradox of emotions — sorrowful, yet always rejoicing — you will never have to pretend again. Your sorrow will be real. Your joy will be real. You won’t ever have to be ashamed of saying, “I am very sad,” because your sadness will not contradict or exclude being very glad.

2. You will survive under the heaviest suffering.

If you experience this paradox of emotions — sorrowful, yet always rejoicing — you will be able to bear the weight of sorrow that is inevitable in this world of sin and brokenness. The joy you know in the very moment of heavy sorrow will keep the sorrow from crushing you. It doesn’t make the sorrow less weighty. By strength, it makes the sorrow less destructive. So, the second one is this: this experience, without minimizing the sorrow, prevents it from destroying you.

3. You will enter others’ sorrows and joys.

If you experience this paradox of emotions — sorrowful, yet always rejoicing — your sorrow will not ruin the joy of others, and your joy will not offend the sorrow of others. This is delicate. This is the way we want to be, right? You want to walk through life in and out of relationships that are either sorrowing or rejoicing, and you don’t want to ruin them. You don’t want to hurt anyone. You don’t want to offend the sorrowing. You don’t want to rain on the parade....

Your joy will be deep, with its roots in the springs of God’s grace, the very same grace that sorrowing souls need. Your joy will be rooted down in grace, and it will understand grace as what people need, and you’ll have discernment as to how to bless them. Your sorrow will not be morose, gloomy, self-pitying. I’m speaking to myself mainly here. This is my battle. I am defending sorrow in this message. I’m not defending moroseness; I’m not defending gloominess; I’m not defending self-pity — I’m hating those in myself.

This sorrow that you have will have real love in it, and love cares for the good of others, so that you don’t ruin their party. I just think there’s a huge amount of selfishness in sorrow that walks into a happy room and says, “Y’all wouldn’t be happy if you knew what I knew about me.” And you just ruin it. You just spread your gloominess everywhere. So, you’re the center of the universe here? Get a life. You don’t have to ruin this party. Jesus can sustain you for an hour tonight. He can put a smile on your face. He can have you play some of the games. And then you go home and cry some more. That’s not hypocrisy — that’s love, because it’s different.

The sorrow that is being sustained by interpenetrated, simultaneous joy is of a different kind than worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow has so much selfishness in it. And godly sorrow is real sorrow, but it’s just been changed, profoundly changed by this underpinning of peace and contentment and satisfaction and joy in a sovereign God, so that when you walk into a broken situation, your sorrow enables you to sweetly empathize, and when you walk into a happy situation, your joy rises to enable you to be a part of it.

And people will watch over the long haul. They won’t miss your pain if you’re real. If you’re walking in a church’s life and you’re just living a normal life, week in and week out, they’ll know your situation, and they will love you for not raining on the party, and not being glib and silly at the funeral.

4. You will worship with the aroma of Christ.

If you experience this paradox of emotions — sorrowful, yet always rejoicing — the ministries of your church, from the worship service, to the youth group, to the ministry of disability, will be free from silliness and trifling, and will have the aroma of Christ with his wonderful paradoxes. Your ministries will have the aroma of Christ, who wept over Jerusalem like this: “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42). And yet he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children” (Luke 10:21). He wept and he rejoiced over the same city because of the same condition. What a strange Savior.

We need people like that in the world who are inexplicable in worldly categories. We need church services that people walk into and there is joy here, but it’s quite serious. But the seriousness is not heavy. It makes people say, “I can’t figure this out here. This is different.” And many, many thousands of our churches are throwing this away in the name of being cute or clever or slapstick or like the latest TV show or movies or anything to make it feel like something familiar. You don’t want them to feel familiar. You want them to be stunned, as if God had showed up from another world and created something new on planet Earth — not the latest movie or the latest comedy or the latest talk-show host. Why would you want to have the people feel at home with that? You want them to taste something so stunningly strange.

“If you experience this paradox of emotions — sorrowful, yet always rejoicing — you will never have to pretend again.”

So, that’s what I’m trying to do: just talk about the strangeness of the Christian life. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing — what does that feel like on Sunday morning? What does a youth ministry feel like? What does a disability ministry feel like when that paradox, that strange miracle, has taken hold? The spirit that will pervade your church will be joyful seriousness and serious joyfulness. It won’t be morose. It won’t be miserable. It won’t be self-pitying. It will have a profound gladness about it.

I don’t do many welcomes anymore because of my present transition, but I used to stand right here, and at the downtown campus, and welcome the people every Sunday. I loved it. I loved to have that little informal moment, because in the pulpit I’m “Mr. Authority,” and down here I’m Daddy in the living room. And I was so profoundly aware: I’m going to welcome these people in such a way that those who are coming out of the funeral and out of the wedding feel good about this moment.

That’s impossible. Isn’t that wonderful, to have an impossible job? You know what it makes you do? Pray. It makes you desperate, makes you want miracles to happen. “Let me have a demeanor down here so that the hurting can say, ‘He knows,’ and the ecstatic can say, ‘He knows; he gets it,’ and everybody knows they have a Daddy in heaven who gets it.” If you catch the paradox of these emotions, it will affect your whole church.

5. You will look like Jesus.

And the last one is this: if you experience this paradox of emotions — sorrowful, yet always rejoicing — the beauty and the worth of Christ will be exalted, because he is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him.

And if you’re always rejoicing, there’s always some flavor of his excellency in your life, some flavor of his worth and his value and his beauty. There’s something about you that means you’re loving Jesus, you’re valuing Jesus. He’s precious to you right now, with all the tears flowing down.

And on the other hand, the tears that are flowing and the genuineness and the authenticity of your sadness show you’re not out of touch with the ugliness of sin in this world and the horrors of its effects in human life. You’re not out of touch. You’re not glib. You’re not silly. You’re not superficial. You’re not blind. You’re not naive. When you get that in one person, the joy reflecting the infinite worth of Jesus and the sorrow reflecting the ugliness and the horrors of sin, you meet somebody more like Jesus, and you want to be like them.

Show Us More, Lord

So, we end. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing — may the Lord work this paradox, this miracle. And please don’t over-read this man. I speak as one trying to understand and do this as a dad, as a husband, as a pastor right now. I’m speaking over my head. I’m saying words that I wish were more true for me.

Don’t walk out of here and say, “Well, I guess some people have got that wrapped up.” Nobody’s got this wrapped up. I’m lifting up a possibility that we’re all looking at and saying, “Really, Lord? Really? Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing? Oh, show me, show me what that would be like in my life!”