Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I am writing this specifically to those who have recently accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, and to those who struggle with sin in their Christian life. Do not be alarmed. What I am about to tell you may seem horrible, but to be forewarned is to be forearmed. I wish someone would have told me what I am about to tell you, early in my Christian life; it would have saved me innumerable hours of doubt and frustration. I have some really bad news for you. Don't panic. I also have some really good news that softens the impact of the bad news. Are you ready?

The greatest Christian who ever lived, the man God used to write over half of the New Testament, constantly struggled with his own sin nature. That's right, the Apostle Paul, calling himself a "wretched man," spends an entire chapter in his letter to the Romans describing his struggle with sin. (This is the same guy that God had enough confidence in to allow him to be whipped with stripes on five different occasions, to be beaten with rods three times, to be stoned once, and to be shipwrecked three times according to 2 Cor. 11:23-25). The seventh chapter of Romans describes what few young Christians hear about early on; often, someone counsels them only after years of personal struggle. By then, many have given up and returned to living life as they see fit.

The bad news is that we are just like Paul, who knew what he should do as a Christian, but was constantly yielding to temptation. He described his struggle this way: For that which I do, I do not allow others to do; for what I want to do, I do not; but what I hate, that is what I do (Rom. 7:15 SP - Skip's Paraphrase). He went on to say, "For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Rom. 7:22-23 KJV). Within every Christian, there are two natures: the old human nature that prefers sin, and our new nature that desires to live a holy life out of gratitude for His saving us. So in other words, our human nature desires those things which our new nature abhors, and that conflict results in cognitive dissonance (a troubled conscience).

The good news is found in chapter eight, where Paul refers to the Holy Spirit sixteen times. He is only mentioned once prior to this in Romans. What Paul could not accomplish, and what we cannot accomplish ourselves, the Holy Spirit does for us. He gives us life (1-4), He helps us fight sin (5-8), He resurrects the dead (9-11; 22-25), He gives us power over sin (12-13), He guides us (14), He makes us heirs of God (15-16), and He even guides our prayers (26-27). You see, you and I were not saved by our own ability to become Christ-like, and we certainly cannot live a Christ-like life this side of heaven (Gal. 3:1-5). That is why we must continually trust in His finished work on our behalf, and wait for the day when we shall be like Him (1 Jn. 3:2). Come Lord Jesus!

Monday, August 30, 2010


What will it take for my family members to realize that Jesus Christ is either Lord of their lives, or He is just another religious figure to be ignored? After all, if He is not Lord, what we think, say, and do is totally subjective. In actuality, that makes us our own god; we rule ourselves. And for those out there who quickly respond by saying that I am far from perfect and have no right to judge them, I respond by saying, "You are correct." I am not yet what I should be, but I am trying. When I fail, I ask God to forgive me and help me to avoid repeating that sin. As for judging, I do not judge. I observe and recognize that the behavior of family members is inconsistent with a profession of faith. And there is a difference between failing to live the perfect life because we are not yet perfect, and deliberately choosing to think, say, and do things that are sinful.

We must make a choice to think positively about others (I know, you are saying, "How can he write that when he is thinking so negatively about us?"). Well, I am thinking positively when I recognize a loved one is capable of living a more Christ-like life. If they were unable, that is different, but they know better and choose not to live according to what they know is His will. They know to think of the opposite sex in an impure manner is sin (Matt. 5:28). They know not to think they are superior to others (Lk. 18:11; Rom. 12:3). Think no evil (1 Cor. 13:5).

We are all guilty of gossip. I wish I could say that I am not fascinated with details of whispers, but I cannot. All I can do is try not to pass on the information, pray for those involved, and confess my sin of listening. Speaking ill of one's neighbor, voicing criticism without the motive of being constructive, and cursing are all forms of sin (Matt. 12:34-5; 15:18-19; Jam. 3:2-12). Speak no evil (Titus 3:2; Jam. 4:11).

We are much better at avoiding actions that God specifically condemns as sin. Still, claiming the liberty that we have as Christians, we are likely to do something that offends a brother (1 Cor. 8:8-13). We also commit sin by omitting those things we know we are to do (Jam. 4:17). Both action and inaction can be sinful. The Good Samaritan was good because he acted; the others, by comparison, were sinful for not acting (Lk. 10:30-37). Do no evil (2 Cor. 13:7; 3 Jn. 1:11).

What will it take for my family members to live for Christ? The same thing it will take for me: I will have to become totally Christ-like! Just as the Apostle Paul struggled with the battle between his flesh and the Spirit, all who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior will constantly fight that battle until that wonderful day when the victory will be ours (Rom. 7:all; 1 Jn. 3:2)! Until then, let us make every effort to think no evil, speak no evil, and do no evil, for Christ's sake.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I suppose people have been saying, "Oh, my God!" for ever, but I have noticed that it is becoming so common that just the letters "OMG" are recognizable to everyone. There are other letter-combinations on our e-mails, facebook, and probably twitter, what ever that is, but "OMG" seems to be extremely popular. It is too bad that the majority of those using it do not recognize the "God part" as being the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus. While it is true that there is only one God, to the majority of people using the term, it is just a generic word used to describe a deity. It could be the god of any religion; it really is not relevant because it is being used to express surprise, shock, amazement, etc. In fact, I would venture a guess that the majority of those saying it could care less about God. His Word, His Church, His will, His worship, His witness, etc. are not a priority in their lives. And the fact that the middle letter stands for "my" is almost laughable because most of those using the abbreviation would admit, if being totally honest, that God plays little or no part in their lives. I wouldn't doubt it if atheists had the habit of saying, "OMG."

The phrase appears in the Bible twenty-one times, all of them being in the Old Testament. And, all of them are occasions where someone is speaking to God. The context varies, but there are many requesting God to "remember me" (Neh. 13:14), "save me" (Ps. 3:7), "hear me" (Dan. 9:19), "deliver me" (Ps. 59:1), etc. Other times, it is used as part of the praise and worship of God as in Psalm 71:22 which says, "I will also praise Thee with the psaltery, even Thy truth, O my God: unto Thee will I sing with the harp, O Thou Holy One of Israel."

"Blasphemy" is probably too strong of a word to define those using "OMG," but I am not altogether sure that it isn't bordering on using the name of the Lord God in vain. Since the word "God" is more of a title than it is a name, one might question its use as blasphemy, but if that were the case, why is saying, "God damn" considered taking the name of the Lord in vain? You can't have it both ways; if it is blasphemy for one use, it is blasphemy for the other. Add to that the claim that the God you are mentioning is your God, when you have never acknowledged His authority over your life, seems a little blasphemous to me. Or worse, having declared Him to be the authority for your life, you live it in such a way that no one can tell He is your Lord.

Blasphemy of the name of God is forgivable, according to Jesus, so if you are guilty, all you need to do is confess it as sin, and ask Him to help you not to do it again (Matt. 12:31-32; 1 Jn. 1:9). However, Jesus went on to say that positive things about the Lord come from a heart that is pure, while blasphemies come from an evil heart (my paraphrase of Matt. 12:33-37). In other words, if Jesus is your Lord and Savior, speak the things that glorify God; if He is not your Lord and Savior, you can tell by what comes out of your mouth (and so can everyone else)!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


We watched the movie Bruce Almighty again last night, and every time I see it, I see something I had previously missed. Well, that may not actually be the case; I don't seem to remember much from movies I have seen, so it is possible I just forgot. Jim Carey is a real nut, but the comedy had a clear message: if you think you can do a better job at being God, you are an idiot! The similarities between Bruce Almighty and the novel, The Shack, are very interesting. First, God is depicted as being Black. Second, the main character struggles with life's cruelties, and demands to know why God has allowed them. The Shack could hardly be called a comedy, and I think it does a much better job of explaining the "whys" of God's will.

In the movie, God, tiring of hearing Bruce complain about his circumstances, decides to let Bruce be God for a while to teach him some respect. Bruce is given "godship" over the city of Buffalo, New York for a week. During that time, he is inundated with what he thinks is noise. What he hears are the prayers of thousands of people all praying at the same time. Of course, he is unable to handle more than one prayer request at a time, so he devises a systematic computer listing of them, and then simply types "yes" as his answer and hits enter. Being relieved of the millions of requests that had accumulated, he soon discovers that the number of additional prayers is more than double the previous number. It seems that when people get their prayers answered, they pray more! Unfortunately, it is impossible for God to say yes to every request. Republicans and Democrats; the Americans and the Wahhabi Islamist Taliban terrorists; Colt's fans and Saints' fans; teachers and students; etc. prayers cancel each other out. In the movie, over four hundred thousand winners had to split the lottery and each only received seventeen dollars. They rioted!

If I were God, and had His wisdom, foreknowledge, and power, I would destroy Satan, eliminate free will, and live happily ever after (eternally). The only difference between me being God and God being God is that God is totally motivated by love. I would not allow my son to die. I would not allow fallen angels to mess with my creation. I would not allow humans to sin and spend eternity in hell. God, on the other hand, allowed Jesus to die for us, fallen angels to interfere with man, and man to have free will because He wanted a relationship with us based upon mutual love and respect. The only way we could ever understand who He is, is by observing His attributes in relationship to a rebellious creation. His self-limiting, self-restraint, patience, not to mention His ability to know the thoughts of over six billion people at one time, are unfathomable apart from our experiencing life as He designed it. He has clearly revealed Himself as being more than a loving God; He is Love! What better picture do we see than in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sin. I am so thankful that He has revealed Himself to me, and for both your sakes and mine, thank God I am not God!

Friday, August 27, 2010


While the symptoms of our fall from grace are many, all of which are displeasing to God, there is one reason America is no longer blessed by God. Even a society with prohibitions on prayer and the mention of the Bible in schools, the teaching of evolution as a replacement for Genesis One and Two, and the legalization of abortion and homosexuality have not caused God to reject us. The one thing that God's Word says will cause a nation to either receive His blessing or His curse is how it treats His people, Israel.

God chose Abraham to be the father of the Jewish people (Gen. 12:1-3). God set them apart from other nations with the circumcision of all males, unique dietary laws, and Sabbath worship. God repeatedly tells the readers of His Word that treatment of Israel is the key to either being blessed or being cursed. "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3). "And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them who hate thee, who persecute thee" (Deut. 30:7). "For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and will judge them there for My people and for My heritage, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations and parted My land" (Joel 3:1-2). There are hundreds of other examples in the Old Testament where God rewarded Israel's friends, and brought judgment on it enemies.

As in the Old Testament, the New Testament tells of what happens to nations that support Israel, and to those who don't. Matthew 25:31-46 describes the judgment of nations at the Second Coming of Christ, based upon how they treated His people. Just preceding His return, during the Tribulation, Israel will be seduced by the Antichrist into a seven year peace treaty, and for the first three and one half years, will live in total peace. They will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but not experience them. Then, right in the middle of the seven year peace treaty, the Antichrist will declare himself to be god. Israel's eyes are opened, and they "head for the hills." It is during this last three and one half years that Israel needs the help of other nations. Only this time, the judgment of God will have eternal consequences. Those who helped Israel will be allowed to continue into the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, and those who persecuted Israel will be destroyed (Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 6:1-20:9).

America's only hope of receiving God's blessings is for it to return to the full support of Israel and its people. It is clear that since Israel became a nation in 1948, there has been a gradual cooling toward them by the United States. The symptoms of godlessness rampant today show what happens when God's will is not the number one priority of our nation's leaders. With a president who celebrates Ramadan and refuses to attend events on the National Day of Prayer, is it any wonder that America is in danger of total collapse. God help us!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The United States has "progressed" from having "leaders" who made their decisions based upon public opinion polls (taking the "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" way too far), to a leader whose agenda is to systematically destroy the very nation that was foolish enough to elect him. President Obama is following the plan to socialize American he learned as a student from professors Cloward and Piven at Columbia University. By overwhelming the system with government spending and entitlement demands, the goal is to create a populace of which the vast majority are dependent upon government. Universal health care, cap and trade, legalizing twelve million illegal immigrants, adding a very poor country (Puerto Rico) as a state, stimulus and bailouts, and raising taxes on the top twenty percent of taxpayers (the very people who create jobs), all serve to create a socialist government very similar to that of Russia. (taken from "Overwhelm the System" written by Wayne Allyn Rood, a classmate of Obama at Columbia).

But believe it or not, Obama and his predecessors in the oval office are not the problem. They are merely the result of America's real problem; we have allowed a small minority of atheists to systematically remove God from His rightful place in our nation's psyche. Schools tremble at the thought of a student bringing a Bible, or saying a prayer at graduation, for fear of "big brother." Evolution is taught as scientific fact with the sole purpose of undermining the creation account in the Bible. History is being taught by those who compare Christian fundamentalism to that of Muslim fundamentalism whose agenda is to destroy all who will not submit to Islam. They compare the mindset of "Christianity" from the Middle Ages, with those who indiscriminately bomb public markets, transportation, etc. Christianity has long-since declared the actions of the crusades as barbaric, and has learned to co-exist with other religions in peace. Muslim extremists are about five hundred years behind, as can be seen by how they have kept Muslim countries living in such primitive conditions. The richest countries in the world as far as resources go, still use animals as their main source of transportation, and keep ninety percent of their people living in sub-poverty conditions.

Another clear sign that God has been left out of America's policies is the legalization of abortion. Millions of innocent human beings have been murdered because of "the rights of the mother." Homosexuality and gay marriage are obviously the result of a country without concern for the will of God. In all fairness, President Obama did not create these symptoms but merely inherited them with the mantle of leadership. However, his blueprint for change does nothing to correct the problems.

Obama, abortion, homosexuality, religious intolerance, and a socialistic agenda are all signs that God has removed our "favored nation status," and has allowed us to fall so far from His grace. But if these are all resulting symptoms, what is the cause of God's removal of His blessing? I will try to answer that tomorrow, Lord willing.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


It is stated less often these days, but the false impression that America is a super-power still exists in the hearts and minds of the majority of its people. We have not won a war in sixty-five years, unless you count the cold war, and even that is an illusion. Russia may no longer be known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, but it is still every bit the enemy of America. Russia can still take over a sovereign nation such as Georgia, and the whole world, including the "last super-power," stands by afraid to start "the big one." Russia is an ally of Iran and has its scientists there assisting Iran in the development of nuclear technology. Iran is the sworn enemy of the United States and Israel, and has openly stated its desire to wipe both off of the map. Russia also supports North Korea, a country that continually threatens to destroy South Korea and its allies. Both Iran and North Korea have developed long range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It is only a matter of time before one of their insane leaders follows through on their threats. Yes, we have the military power to obliterate the two rogue nations, but we lack the resolve. We would rather trust treaties and sanctions. They worked so well with Iraq.

Iraq ignored seventeen United Nations Resolutions concerning having U.N. inspectors checking for weapons of mass destruction. Dozens of nations joined forces with the United States to take action against Saddam Hussein for his refusal to allow inspectors into his country. After the fall of Saddam, American liberals became emboldened to challenge our president when weapons of mass destruction could not be found. The same politicians, who supported the action against Iraq, used it to advance their own political aspirations. Ironically, no one seems to remember that Saddam used lethal gas on his own citizens, killing hundreds of Kurdish men, women and children. He had weapons of mass destruction, and he used them.

In the last two years, fiscal policies carried over from previous administrations have become so out of control, that our national debt will never be payable. I have heard all sorts of estimates but suffice it to say, the share of it by every man, woman, and child is over one hundred thousand dollars. Unfortunately, the spending has done nothing to fix the economy. Add to that the cost of the longest war in our history, and the continual "purchasing of allies," and our nation is literally bankrupt. We are at the mercy of our creditors. Proverbs 22:7 says, "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." God help us if China ever decides to require payment in full!

There are two major threats to a democracy: the first is when leadership tries to take control over the people, and the second is when politicians let the people control by governing according to the opinion polls. Our current president has successfully created a government ruled by czars to control everything. Previous presidents, all the way back to Eisenhower, allowed public opinion to govern their decisions. Both approaches to government totally ignore God's will. Remember, it was the majority that crucified Christ. To be continued, Lord willing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Before I cover the thoughts I have on the difficulty of living the Christian life, I need to be very clear at the beginning that what I am about to say has nothing to do with one becoming a Christian, nor does it suggest that one can cease to be a child of God. We become God's child when we accept His Son by faith (Jn. 1:12), and we are permanently sealed as such forever (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). For all my readers who believe they are earning their way to heaven, don't be ignorant; it is a gift! And to all those who live in constant fear that they will disqualify themselves by sins of commission or omission, don't be foolish; it is God Who works in you to do His will, and He will complete it (Phil. 1:6; 2:13). We didn't deserve to be called a child of God, and we still don't! We will spend eternity praising God for His awesome love with which He loved us (Jn. 17:23-24).

Even the world knows how a Christian is supposed to act. They know we are not to break the Commandments of God. They know we are to turn the other cheek. They know we are to have compassion on the poor. They know we are to forgive our enemies, and not only forgive them, but to love them. I can't tell you how many times someone has said to me, "I thought you said you were a Christian" when I failed to be Christ-like. Far too often, I am ashamed to say, and nine times out of ten, it is one of my family members. But God forbid that I should ever question them. They want everyone to understand that "no one is perfect," and for me to point out their sins is judging them. Seems like a double-standard to me.

This morning in my devotional reading, I read where Christians are to have good thoughts. We are not to think on the negative, but are to focus on what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, and praise worthy (Phil. 4:8). I find that impossible for me. I do not believe it is possible for anyone else either. Just as it is impossible that I live a sinless life, that I love everyone, and that I die to myself daily, I believe it is impossible to think good thoughts all of the time. To begin with, the first thing Paul mentions is to think on what is true. It is true that all human beings are sinners. It is true that our country is about to self-destruct. It is true that the Church has failed to remain unified. The Lord added to His Body daily and man has spent two thousand years dividing it into individual organs. If one denies reality, then he is neither acknowledging the truth, nor is he being honest.

It is hard to go through life with "rose-colored glasses" and see only the good. To ignore the hungry, the sick, the oppressed, the widows, the orphans, and the rebellious, is the opposite of being like our Christ Who wept. The song said it best: "These rose-colored glasses, that I'm looking through; show only the beauty, and hide all the truth." Just as my Lord did, I weep over "my Jerusalem." I wish I could think like Paul directed, but I can not. God help me.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Have you ever given much consideration to the names of churches? Some of them are quite strange, and I am not talking about a few isolated congregations. Locally, we have what is becoming a small denomination called Branham's Tabernacle which is named for the founder of the sect. It is not surprising then that every time I have spoken to its members, they talk about William Branham instead of Jesus.

The church I attend is named Charlestown Independent Church. I find the name disturbing for the obvious reason that our church (and every other church if it is actually a church) is totally dependent upon God. It is God Who gives our pastor his message. It is God Who motivates people to attend and support the ministry. It is God Who protects us from Satan's desire to destroy us. It is God Who gives us faith to believe in Jesus. No church is independent of God; to be so automatically disqualifies the assembly from being a church. I have half-jokingly said many times that some night, I am going to sneak over there and "white out" the "In." Of course I might as well do it in the daylight because everyone would know it was me.

The name, Church of God, kind of reminds me of the passage that speaks about THE UNKNOWN GOD (Acts 17:23). Since the term "god" is so generic, it does not define the church's focus. Every religion speaks of worshiping a god, so apart from the word "church," it could be a mosque or a temple. The Church of Christ has the right idea, but the name suggests all others are not worshiping Christ. It is sort of like the Corinthian Church (1 Cor. 1:12; 3:4-6). In order to keep from being a group who thinks they are the only ones going to heaven, perhaps the name should be "A Church of Christ" instead of "The Church of Christ." I have family who are Mormons. Their church has a name that reserves Jesus for only those who are considered "Latter Day Saints." I don't suppose they believe anyone between Acts Twenty-eight and Joseph Smith's founding to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, will be considered members of the Body of Christ (with the exception of those for whom Mormons are baptized, of course).

"The Assembly of God" sounds like someone assembling something or creating an idol. "The Church of God of Prophecy" sounds like God restricts His love for only prophets. "The Church of the Four-square Gospel" is strange in the phrase "four-square" only refers to the furniture in the tabernacle in the wilderness and our future heavenly city (Ex. 27:1; 28:16; etc.; Rev. 21:16). The Gospel is a declaration of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ on our behalf (1 Cor. 15:1-9). This could also be said of the "Full Gospel Church." It is either "full," or it is not the Gospel.

I kind of like the concept that the Bible uses to describe a church. It is either the "church in," the "church at," or the "church of." The only problem is, the Church is so divided that we can no longer use these terms. Well, at least our church does not name itself based upon one of the ordinances, such as "The First Church of the Lord's Supper." Oh wait, someone did that with baptism; sorry.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I woke up early this morning to shave, take a shower, and get ready for church. Having done all of that, I dressed in front of a fan because I was sweating profusely. When time came to leave, I was drenched. I told Judy that I thought maybe my blood pressure was high due to the work we did on a fence yesterday. You have to picture this: I drove in five metal fence poles into soft ground with a sledge hammer and I had to sit down and rest. I repeated the above one more time, and this time the rest had to be much longer. I helped Judy unroll the three foot tall wire fence and she attached it to the poles. All I did was hold the roll; she did all the work. Again, I rested, but this time for much longer than before. I then removed about thirty screws holding a lattice between two plastic poles and needed a rest about half way. I was using an electric drill so it wasn't a great deal of work. Another rest, and I dug up a fence post, which I was unable to lift out of the hole. I was finished! My grandson-in-law, who arrived later and who weighs 145 at the most, took one look at the post and pulled it out, broke the concrete off of the bottom, and grinned that awful grin that says, "You're gettin' old, old man." He's right.

It is very humbling to be so weak and have so little stamina. I am the guy who played football with Roger Staubach in the Navy. I am the guy who lifted a Volkswagen up so my daughter could put jack-stands under it. I am the guy who played sports most of my life: baseball, softball, football, tennis, badminton, golf, judo, etc.; I was always involved in something. Now, I get light-headed walking to the mailbox. I spend my entire day sitting in front of the TV or the computer. My arms get tired holding a newspaper, and the muscles in my neck tire from holding my head up. Physically, I am a disaster.

The hardest part of growing old, other than the aches and pains, is needing help. I can't even mow the grass with a riding lawnmower. I am totally dependent upon, and at the mercy, of others. About the only thing worse than my current situation would be to need nursing care in a home. My advice to anyone reading this is that you spend as much time as you can helping others when you are young, because it won't be too long before you are going to need those same people to help you. Thank God I have a daughter (and her husband) who loves and respects what I have done for her over the years. I don't know what we would do without their help.

One of the things I love most about being part of a super congregation is that all I would have to do is tell someone of a need, and before long, somebody would show up at our door to help. I hesitate doing that however, because those willing to help are so busy helping others that I don't want to add to their burden. I miss being in Sunday school and church today; I miss being with those who are like-minded, and whose friendship provides such joy, just seeing their faces. Lord willing, I will be fine soon. One thing I know for sure: one day I will never again be sick, tired, sinning, and just plain stupid. One day I will be like Him.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Although Science has done irreparable damage to the term "evolution," it is still the best word to describe a person's development, physically and intellectually. When a skinny, timid nerd with acne turns out to be a self-assured hunk, you will often hear the ladies saying, "He has evolved into quite a catch." When a child develops into a star athlete, or a musical genius, those who have observed them are said to have watched them evolve. Every valedictorian was once a child who asked questions, and needed the help of teachers. The Bible describes the intellectual and physical development of Jesus in a single verse: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Lk. 2:52). The Creator of the entire universe entered the world as a little child, needing the protection, provision, and instruction of Joseph and Mary (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; Lk. 2:51). It is strange to view the life of Jesus as the evolution of the God-man into the Christ, but that is exactly what happened.

Where Jesus and the rest of humanity differ, however, is that Jesus never evolved spiritually. There never was a time when sin marred His soul (Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22). Most conservative theologians believe that the sin nature is passed from the father to the child. The promised redeemer was to be of the "seed of woman" (Gen. 3:15). "Seed," as any scientist will tell you, is the product of the male of the species. The female produces the "egg." When the twenty-three chromosomes from the father and twenty-three from the mother combine, the sex of the offspring is either said to be "XX" in the case of a girl, or "XY" in the case of a boy. The conception of Jesus did not require a contribution from a male; the Holy Spirit merely had to remove half of one of the "cross-bars" of one of the "X's." Because Jesus had God for a father and not Joseph, there never was a time when He naturally wanted to sin (Matt. 1:16; 1:18; Lk. 1:35; 3:23). He did not evolve spiritually. Jesus was as holy at the time of His conception as He was at His resurrection!

We, on the other hand, enter the world with a sin nature. One does not need to teach an infant to "demand" attention, or a toddler to touch a "no-no." A child will lie without being taught, or steal when they have never observed someone model that behavior. Parents begin the evolution of social etiquette very early in a child's life. The first sign of spiritual "life" in a child is their conscience. As the child grows, the parents need to increase the list of forbidden behaviors due to the fact that "attitudes" and "desires" change. The parents must "lay down the law." Once the child has reached the age of maturity, they often leave "the nest" and must decide to be law-abiding on their own. It is when a person realizes that he is unable to always do the right thing, that he has a need for inner change. He is aware that he is a sinner, and that he needs help. Nearly all choose religion to meet that need. Religion teaches more rules that one is doomed to break. It is when a person realizes that religion does not perfect his soul, that he becomes aware of a need for a Savior. That is when the Holy Spirit offers the gift of faith in Jesus (Eph. 2:8-9). That is when a person has the opportunity to "evolve" into a child of God (Jn. 1:12; 3:1-21). Even then, the "evolution" is not complete, but God promises it will happen one day (1 Jn. 3:2)! Praise Him!

Friday, August 20, 2010


It amazes me how readily folks accept what scientists tell us. It is as though they are infallible in the minds of man. When Darwin proposed his evolutionary theory, it was just that, a theory. But somehow his theory, which is unprovable because it can not be replicated, has been accepted as fact. It doesn't matter that the fossil record does not support it. It doesn't matter that men have continually falsified data to prove it. It doesn't matter that even when the claims have been proven to be false, that they are still used as evidence in science textbooks in public schools and universities. Man is so desperate to disprove the Bible record of creation that they are willing to use a pig's tooth to support their theory. Think about it; a single tooth was said to be enough evidence to question the Bible. It is ironic that it would be a pig's tooth since the Bible was written by Jews.

According to my information found on Google, the Hubble Telescope has made 110,000 orbits 353 miles above the Earth, and that is 2.800,000,000 miles, or the equivalent of traveling to Neptune. It was placed in orbit in 1990, which means that it has taken twenty years to accumulate the distance needed to reach our solar system's eighth planet, were it to leave orbit. Even if it were headed toward the nearest star, it would have barely "left the starting gate." If our solar system is on the outer "arm" of a spiral galaxy, and Hubble were heading out from the center, away from the Milky Way, how many centuries would it take for it to reach a point where it could view our solar system against the backdrop of the rest of the galaxy? In other words, our position in the Universe in general and in the Milky Way in particular, is theory. If the center of a spiral galaxy is a massive "ball" of stars, why can't we see it from Earth? A spiral galaxy is shaped like a disc with a huge concentration of stars massed in the center. We know this from observing spiral galaxies in the distant heavens. Can you honestly tell me that if we were on the outer arm of one, we could not see the it?

String Theory, The Big Bang, Black Holes, Black Energy, etc. are also constructs of the human mind. The problem with all of them is that they cannot explain the existence of life. In order to do so requires them to believe in the rejected theory of spontaneous generation (abiogenesis), or the coming to life of inanimate matter. Somewhere in time, the impossible had to occur for these theories to be credible. Someone needs to tell the scientists that only "with God, all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26). No matter how they explain the existence of matter, they still must come to grips with the need for a life-creator. Paul warned his readers, "...avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called" (1 Tim. 6:20).

Thursday, August 19, 2010


If there is one thing human beings absolutely detest, it is submitting to authority. Submission is an admission that "we are not all that," but that we hold an inferior place in society's "pecking order." When applying for a job, we must submit an application to someone who has the authority to hire us. When a person joins the military service, he is required to submit to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Drivers must submit to the speed limits and if driving erratically, to breathalyzer tests. We submit to the I.R.S. by paying taxes. We are required to get a license to hunt, fish, or get married. Life is filled with demands for us to submit. Most of these things are taken for granted, and we really don't think much about them; they are simply part of living in a society. Every once in a while someone will rebel, but the threat of a prison sentence keeps the vast majority of humanity in a submissive mood.

Christians, in addition to all the requirements of society, have additional requirements for submission. We are all to be submissive to God, or suffer the consequences (Heb. 12:5-14; Jam. 4:7). Christians are to be submissive to one another (Eph. 5:21). The Church is a community within society in general, and as such, is responsible to submit to society's laws (1 Pet. 2:13). And within the Church itself, there is a requirement that we submit to the elders (Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:5). Christian children are to be submissive to their parents (Eph. 6:1). Christian wives are to be submissive to their husbands (Eph. 5:24; Col. 3:18). Don't worry ladies, if your husband gets out of line, remember to Whom he answers! God has an infinite number of ways to humble the abusive husband, including civil law and the court system.

Jesus is the Creator of the Universe (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2). Jesus is God (Gen. 1:1; Matt. 9:1-8; Jn. 1:1, 14; 5:23). Jesus is the Son of God (Matt. 2:15; 3:17; 17:5). Jesus is our offering for sin which was already accounted for us before the foundation of the world (Jn. 17:24; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8). And yet, Christ "...being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:6-8). He was born in a manger (Lk. 2:7). He submitted to His human stepfather and mother (Lk. 2:51). He entered Jerusalem on a donkey instead of a majestic horse (Matt. 21:5). He allowed Himself to be beaten and crucified (dozens).

Jesus demonstrated the kind of life He wishes us to live. Perhaps the one thing that keeps us from becoming more Christ-like is the most difficult characteristic of all: submissive humility. Father, forgive us.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


As I have said before, I felt the anointing of the Lord on me every time I preached except one. It was nearing the end of my two year "assignment" as Pastor. I had studied diligently, prayed sincerely, outlined meticulously, and entered the pulpit confidently. I preached exactly what I had prepared, but there was a noticeable element missing. I had no power. My brain was preaching, but my spirit was totally catatonic. By the time I had finished, I was physically and emotionally drained. I felt so weak that I didn't think I could make it to the car. As we were driving home, I told Judy about it, and her response was immediate and rather matter-of-fact. She said, "Well, did you notice who was there tonight?" It was so obvious once she said that. In the congregation sat someone who had never wanted me hired as Pastor. He had not been to church for quite some time, and although I had been pleased that he came, we honestly believe his presence was evidence of the working of Satan (1 Thes. 2:18). In Joshua Seven, there is the story of how one man hindered the success of the entire nation of Israel by his heart being evil. Praise God, he did not return again, and I never again experienced the feeling of being deserted by the Lord. That is, until yesterday.

As I sat down to write my daily "edition" of the adventures of the Lord in my life, I felt something was wrong in my spirit. There was no one there but me, so I can not blame it on anyone else. Something was wrong in me. I had written almost the entire entry on the events that resulted in my being terminated as Pastor. Then, all of a sudden, it disappeared! I am hardly a computer expert, but I know that "something ate my work." After trying everything I could to retrieve it, I finally gave up and took a break. As I thought on what I had written, it dawned on me that I still held bitterness toward those who sought my resignation. I thought over what I had said, and became ashamed. My facts had certainly been accurate, and the events were an essential part of my testimony, but God was showing me what He saw in my heart. I confessed my attitude toward those folks was sin, and I repented. I asked God to forgive me and help me forgive them. As you might surmise, I rewrote yesterday's post. Perhaps all who read what I write might begin their reading by saying a little prayer for me. It will definitely be appreciated, and who knows, it may prepare your heart for what you are about to read.

I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior in 1971, and nearly forty years have passed. What must seem like a long testimony to most of you is actually the "Reader's Digest" version of God's work on me. Many of the events that occurred have been left out because the Holy Spirit apparently did not want me to remember them. Wow, did I just attribute my poor memory to God? I did. After all, it is His job to bring all things to my remembrance (Jn. 14:26). I have always taken seriously the Word that says I am to rely upon the Holy Spirit to speak through me (Lk. 12:11). And He often does, whenever He can get a word in edgewise. God bless every one of you and all those for whom He wants you to model Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I was admitted almost immediately upon arriving at the emergency room. I would have been sooner, but I kept underestimating the seriousness of the problem, I wanted to go home. When the doctor told me that even if I were admitted I might not make it through the night, I finally understood. My daughter had called her pastor to ask for prayer for me, but when he heard, he came to the hospital to visit me. We had never met, but we talked for quite some time about the Lord and His goodness. He asked if he could say a prayer, and I told him "Yes, but on one condition: If the Lord is going to let me live, I want Him to give me some kind of ministry. I don't want to waste the rest of my life." He agreed to my condition and prayed a wonderful prayer for me and my family. I am ashamed to say it, but I don't even remember his name.

A few months passed and I was starting to get impatient. I called my pastor and was telling him I needed something to do for the Lord. While we were talking, he suddenly got the idea that I could write a blog. (I have been writing one for ten months and I still do not know what a blog is!) He set it up right then and there. We needed a name, and after discussing many options, settled on Skip's Lighthouse. The lighthouse is the logo for our church, and of course, I am Skip. He then told me we needed some kind of background on which to write. He talked me through to the place that gave the options, and I picked the one that was the smallest so that it would not take up writing space. The images were about a fourth the size of a postage stamp, so I had no idea what the image was. When we selected it, we were both surprised that the image was a lighthouse! We knew the Lord was definitely orchestrating it all!

Every morning, with the exceptions of when I am in the middle of a series, I get up and go to my computer not knowing what I am going to write. Sometimes I sit for what seems forever before I know what I am supposed to write. After prayer and "flipping through" the Bible looking for His direction, I have even played some games while waiting for God's inspiration. On a rare occasion, I sit down with a mental outline of what I want to say, only to discover when the page is finished, it is nothing like what I had intended. I have the same sensation that God is guiding just as He did when I was a pastor. In the two plus years that I preached, I honestly feel that God was speaking through me. I said things that I did not know until they came out of my mouth. I would often pause and marvel that it was I that said it. "Did I just say that?"

In the case of this blog, and as a preacher, there has been one occasion each when I felt totally deserted by the Lord. If you have ever felt the anointing of God on you, you know when it is not there. It feels as Jesus must have felt when He cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Ps. 22:1; Matt. 27:46) It is what Judas must have felt when he ran to return the bribe (Matt. 27:3), or Peter felt after denying Jesus three times (Mk. 14:72). It is a sickening feeling, and the ultimate in depression. Thank God, it does not last long!

Tomorrow, I will complete my testimony up until this point in my life, and will attempt to describe what occurred on those two occasions, Lord willing.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I stayed two years, two months, two weeks, two days, and too long as the pastor of Bethany Baptist Church. And while I have many good memories and a few good friends from the experience, I wouldn't want to do it all again. The Lord had me there for a purpose, and if for no other reason, He placed me there to discover a little more about my salvation being pure grace. I made mistakes and I often failed to accept "my sheep" as a ministry rather than a burden. Looking back, there was a whole lot more about which to celebrate that there was to regret, and for that I am thankful. I was happy to leave, but I was sad at the same time.

Upon returning to Southern Indiana, we settled in Charlestown because that was the only place we could find for our mobile home. The church had given us the down payment, and they also paid for us to move it when we left. We had been members of Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany before leaving for Sturgis, but neither of us felt led to return when we got back. I really do not know why. We began searching for a church, and on the first Sunday of our search, we passed a little independent church along the highway. As soon as we had passed it, I told Judy that I felt the Lord wanted us to turn around and go there. She agreed and I had to go a ways before I could find a turn lane. On the way back, we also had to go passed the church to find another place to turn. We have been members ever since. The founding pastor was a wonderful old country preacher, and we love him the first time we heard him.

At one of the services, I asked for prayer to find where God wanted me to work. When I sat back down, a fellow tapped me on the shoulder and said to see him after the service. He told me of a Christian School in Louisville that urgently needed a teacher. They hired me on the spot, and I spent the next nine years teaching Bible, Science, History, English, and tutored in Math. Early on, they were needing a principal, and offered me the position. I lasted for a year and a half before the "politics" of the job got to me. I was happy to return to teaching. For reasons I choose not to discuss, the school was steadily losing enrollment. When I had been Principal, our numbers were in excess of five hundred fifty, but it seemed we lost about fifty a year after I resigned. By the end of my ninth year, I was no longer needed, and once again, looking for a job.

A lady from the church said that the middle school where she worked needed someone for in-school suspensions. Again, I was hired on the spot, and continued for five years until my health prevented me from working any longer. So, at the age of sixty-four, I thought my working days were over. In fact, I thought my life itself was over. I had congestive heart failure and severe spinal degeneration, that was bad enough, but it was not long before my son-in-law rushed me to the hospital for shortness of breath. I did not know what it was, but when they told me I had several blood clots in my lungs, I thought "oh, is that all." I had no idea how close I was to spending eternity with Jesus. I was hospitalized for four days, and it seemed like the entire family came to town to pay their last respects. I didn't actually feel all that bad, but there they were. To be continued.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


In the first five weeks as Pastor, three deacons died. Ordinarily that would seem like a large percentage of a small group, but at Bethany, the former pastor had the theory that if you made a man a deacon, he would be faithful in tithing. As a result, he had twenty-six deacons in a church with a membership of only about one hundred. While the three who died were a blessing to me, I could not say that of all of them. One in particular was determined to see me fail. His son was a pastor in a very small church in a neighboring town, and he had wanted Bethany to call him. It was difficult for him to mask his bitterness, but he was always respectful to me. While I knew he was "out to get" those who chose me over his son, I could not help but love him. I visited him and his family often.

As time passed, I began noticing some general tension that had nothing to do with the charismatic issues. Two of the deacons were clearly at odds with one another. The deacons had taken the room used for the youth, bought a huge table and several very fancy leather office chairs, and had put a lock on the door so no one else could use it. The deacon who was responsible to pay the bill secretly refused to do so, and the church's reputation was damaged as a result. The other deacon could not wait to bring it to my attention. When confronted as to why he had refused to pay the bill, he said that he had voted against it and would not take part in the "shrine-building." I had another deacon pay the bill, and took care of the furniture. I put the table in the choir room for all to use, and I placed a chair in every Sunday school room for the teachers. Like Solomon, I had "split the baby." I did not hear one complaint from a single deacon, and the youth were grateful to have their room back, sans lock.

Another "problem" was that a very poor family attended the church. They received one hundred dollars a week and the use of a run down house that had no air conditioning, poor heating, and a leaky roof. I visited them and noticed their washer and dryer did not work. I went to the used furniture store owned by one of our church families and bought a used washer and dryer out of my own pocket. Incredibly, I heard through the "grapevine" at a local restaurant that some of my church members were embarrassed because I had done such a stupid thing. After all, wasn't their pastor smart enough to recognize when he was being conned? Had the couple asked me to help them, I might agree, but they had not. It was also sad that many looked down on the family, saying they were poor because they were too lazy to work. The man worked an average of fifteen hours a day. I was beginning to have second thoughts about being a pastor to such snobs. I began to pray that the Lord would "reassign" me. To be continued, Lord willing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Students were allowed to continue working for the seminary for six months following graduation. A few months passed, and I was beginning to worry. Then a strange thing happened. I was awakened by a phone call from a lady named Ann West. She was the church secretary at Bethany Baptist Church in Sturgis, Kentucky. She said that their pulpit committee had been going through several resumes and that there was unanimous agreement to invite me to "try out." I remember laughing out loud when she said why she was calling, and I explained to her that being a pastor was my fourth choice. She said that their church was about to split over the speaking in tongues, and because I was a member of a Baptist church that was also charismatic, they felt I could help them. I agreed to come speak, but I did not want to be a pastor. She was determined, and so I went. I preached my sermon using two main themes: Forbid not the speaking in tongues; Do not use your liberty if it offends your brother. I guess both factions heard only the part that supported their view, because the committee unanimously decided I was their man. Go figure!

When I returned home, I told my wife what they had said, and she responded by saying she would not move. We had been married nearly the entire time I was in the Navy, and she was tired of moving. We had finally settled in her home town, and she wasn't budging. I don't know why, but I had felt it was the Lord's will that I accept the offer. I was totally depressed, and I went to take a nap. A few hours later, I awoke and heard, "You go and let her come on the weekends." At the time, I believed it was something I had thought; I did not know from where the "thought" had come, but I really liked it. When I told my wife, she was furious, and said there was no way she was going. About fifteen minutes passed, and she came and said she had thought about it, and she thought it might work. I was so relieved! I called Ann and told her our plans, and asked her to run it by the committee. She called back about an hour later saying they were all in agreement with our arrangement. God was truly blessing us.

The following day, I was walking across campus and met Kevin Cosby, a fellow student, and now Pastor of St. Stephen Baptist Church in Louisville and Jeffersonville. As I told him what had happened, all of a sudden I realized that what I had "heard" was not my own thought, but was the Lord speaking to me. I realized that the statement was in the second person, and no one thinks in the second person! It wasn't "I'll go ...." It was "you go...." It was God telling me to go pastor a little country church in the middle of nowhere.

In less than a month, Judy told me she thought we should sell our house and that she should move to Sturgis. I had said nothing to her about doing that; she felt it was what the Lord wanted her to do. I was ecstatic! Everything went extremely well. I felt the Lord's anointing, souls were being ministered to, and a few were even saved. I spent the next two years preaching, baptizing, and officiating at funerals, but I spent most of my time visiting with folks. Then it all changed. To be continued, Lord willing.

Friday, August 13, 2010


The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has gained a much better reputation following the hiring of Albert Mohler as President. Unfortunately, by the time he arrived, I had already graduated. During my short time as a student, I was taught that the Bible was "collective myth," that there was no such thing as miracles, that homosexuality and abortion are not sin but acceptable expressions of man's free will, etc. I learned to defend the truth in a spirit of love. For that, I am so thankful.

On one occasion, Dr. Honeycutt and I were talking as we were going to Chapel. I had listened to a talk he had given to a group of students the previous day. In it, he had made the comment that Dispensationalists had gone the way of the dinosaur, and that their approach was no longer accepted as a legitimate method of Bible interpretation. I told him that they still existed, and that he was talking to one. He stopped, turned, and said, "Really?" In the short time it took to get across campus, I explained why I believed it was the only valid approach to rightly dividing the Word of God. As we started up the steps of Alumni Chapel, his only response was "Hmm." Apparently he had never heard it explained in such a simple way before.

Half way through my studies at S.B.T.S., my G.I. Bill ran out. For the next two plus years, God worked many of the miracles my professors said did not exist. After asking for my third extension on my student loan, the lady in charge of my account asked me, "Do you actually foresee a day when you will be able to pay it off?" I said something like "Hopefully after I graduate." She told me that she was authorized to simply mark it paid. I couldn't believe it. Then, without telling me, she submitted my name to a group of supporters who provided Christmas for needy students and their families. Before long, a family rang our doorbell, and after introducing themselves, asked if they could bring in a few gifts. Not knowing exactly what they had in mind, I hesitantly said yes. The four of them made repeated trips to their van, bringing in food and gifts. By the time they had finished, we wondered how there was room in the van for passengers. It was beyond unbelievable. It was miraculous. As they were leaving, the gentleman handed me an envelope, told us "Merry Christmas," and quickly left. It contained three hundred dollars! God is good!

I graduated having earned a Masters of Divinity degree, and had no idea what our future held. I had submitted a resume to the Placement Office, listing my preferences with Pastor being my fourth choice. I only put it as fourth because we were required to fill all the blanks on the questionnaire. I continued working as the school draftsman while I waited for someone, anyone, to hire me. Strangely, a little church in Oden, Indiana asked me to come speak to them. Following my sermon, they asked if the pulpit committee could speak to us privately. They actually wanted me to be their pastor! I couldn't believe it. But because they only had a one bedroom parsonage, we were not able to accept. As I look back now, I see that God was preparing my heart for something yet to come. To be continued.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


The "incident" harmed more than my neighborhood witness for Christ, it also caused me to forget about Bible College. What kind of person calling himself a Christian would have done such a thing? I couldn't pray. I couldn't witness. I barely could drag myself to church. Even though I still believed the deception that what I had done was justified to protect my daughter, I had no peace. It took about two years for me to realize that my violent nature was not news to God; He knew, and knows, exactly what I am. Apart from the good that results from the work of the Holy Spirit, I am a selfish, unloving, evil man. Slowly as time passed, I began to understand that I had not hit Timmy because I was protecting my family; I hit him because he was practically saying, "I can do whatever I want and you can't stop me, old man." I hit him because he challenged me. It was my pride, not my paternal instincts that had energized my attack on "the impertinent jerk."

God had shown me from His Word that all of the disciples ran for cover when Jesus was arrested (Mk. 14:50). It was bad enough that Peter, knowing the Lord's prophecy that he would deny Him three times, did so (Matt. 26:34, 69-74), all of the disciples abandoned Him. And yet, God used those men to change the world. God showed me that my self-loathing was also pride. I apparently thought that I was too spiritual to act with such venom. God was not surprised by my actions (He knew me and yet He loved me!); my surprise revealed that I though more highly of myself than I ought (Rom. 12:3). With the humility from failing to live in a Christ-like manner, came the realization that I was still the fallen son of Adam apart from His Spirit living within me. Just like everyone who knew me had expected more from me, so had I. Today, nothing I think, say, or do surprises me. In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul uses the present tense to describe himself: "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of which I am chief." God used His Word to humble me, and in so doing, made me understand more clearly that His love for me was unconditional. He loved me while I was lost (Rom. 5:8). He loves me while I continually struggle with my sin nature (Rom. 7: all). And only when I am completely like His Son (1 Jn. 3:2), will His love for me make sense. I truly understand the meaning of the word "grace." It is God's unmerited favor. I didn't deserve to be born again (Jn. 3:3-8); I don't deserve to be sealed for Him by the Spirit (Eph. 1:13; 4:30); and I will not deserve the change into the Christ-likeness of eternity (1 Jn. 3:2)! To God be the glory for the great things He has done, is doing, and will do for us!

By 1986, I was finally able to forgive myself enough to enter seminary. My circumstances prevented me from finishing my college at Grace Bible College, so I graduated from Indiana University. The same situation limited my seminary education to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The school was a bastion of liberalism, with some professors denying Scripture on a daily basis. I would spend the next four and one half years defending the Word against the very people I had hoped would prepare me for ministry. I found myself actually being a "protector" of those having little or no knowledge of the fundamentals of our faith. To be continued.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


My retirement was delayed for three months due to having knee surgery on the very day I was scheduled to retire. I doubled up on physical therapy sessions and cut the six month recovery time into just three. Still, I barely made it home by Christmas. We lived with Judy's mom while waiting to enroll at Grace Bible College and Seminary. We had traveled to northern Indiana, visited the school, found a job, and were waiting to start in the Fall. Everything seemed to be on schedule until "the incident."

One Sunday afternoon, I was seated next to my ten year old daughter watching television, when she let out a loud moan. I had barely brushed against her shoulder and she was clearly in pain. I asked what was wrong, and she said, "Timmy hit me." Her shoulder had a huge bruise and it hurt her to move her arm. She said that she and Timmy's sister had been playing catch when Timmy took their ball to tease them. His mother yelled out her window and told him to leave them alone. When she had gone from the window, Timmy had clobbered her. Needless to say, I was furious. Timmy was about six foot two and weighted around two hundred pounds. I decided that I would speak (threaten) him the next time I saw him. Later that afternoon, I loaded up our three girls in the car and headed for the grocery store. As we drove down the street, I saw Timmy playing baseball with some neighborhood kids. I pulled over, got out of my car, and called Timmy to come over. He apparently had no idea what I wanted, because he did not hesitate. I asked him if he had hit my daughter. He became very defensive and said that he had barely touched her. I told him if he ever "touched" one of my daughters again that I would knock his head off. He said okay and headed back to his friends. I repeated my threat so that he and his friends would all be warned. He turned around and sneered, "You wouldn't touch me; my dad would get you!" Bad knee and all, I ran over to him and decked him. As he lay bleeding on the ground, I said, "Now go get your dad!"

When I first got out of the car, my oldest daughter had run back to Timmy's house to get his parents. She knew what was probably going to happen, and was attempting to prevent it. As his parents drove up, his dad asked why I didn't tell him and let him handle it. His mother chimed in and said, "Your daughter is no angel either!" I told his dad that her response is exactly why I dealt with Timmy myself. I got back in my car and returned home. When I calmed down and came to my senses, I realized I needed to report it to the police. I called an Indiana State Policeman I knew from church, and he spent most of the rest of the day with me. He was a great comfort to us all, and he said that I should go to the city police the next day. When we arrived at the police station, they already had a warrant for my arrest. The District Attorney called us into her office and listened to our side of the story. When she saw how little Cheryl was and how badly her arm was bruised, she said that there was no way a jury would ever convict me. She said that she would not take me to court, but would keep the report in case there was another incident. She had seen my actions as justifiable. But in my heart, I knew I had blown my cool and my witness for Christ. To be continued.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


In Part Five of this "epic" testimony, I mentioned that a Marine Colonel talked me into withdrawing my application for conscientious objector. He had convinced me to complete my six year hitch and then go to Bible College if I felt it was the Lord's will. Well, I forgot to tell you why I reenlisted to finish my twenty instead of leaving at the end of my commitment. When the time came to act, I was not certain what the Lord wanted me to do. If I served the last six years, the Navy would provide us with a pension for the rest of our lives, and we would have free medical care for the whole family until our girls were eighteen. Still, I knew from "day one" that I was to go to Bible College and seminary to prepare for the ministry. I always prayed for God's direction, but on this particular decision, I got very specific as to how I wanted God to show me His will. Since the Navy required me to be promoted to E-6 in order to stay for my full twenty, I asked God to show me His will by "giving me the promotion."

You must understand that this was not something as simple as Him working on my supervisors. I was required to take a test in competition with more than one hundred Draftsman Second Class candidates for the one spot open each year. Not only had I never studied for the exam because I had planned to get out, I had not actually worked as a draftsman during my time in the service. Our field was "closed" (there were four of us for each assignment). The Navy assigned me to Naval Intelligence Commands where I did little drafting and a whole lot of secret stuff. So when it came time for taking the test, I didn't really stand a chance of having the top grade and thereby being promoted. On top of those slim odds, I had only one medal to apply to my score. I had received a Navy Unit Commendation for work on the Cuban Missile Crisis early in my career. That medal counted one full point toward my final score on the test. When I got ready to take it, the monitor asked if our records were up to date. I told him mine was missing the N.U.C. and he made a note of it. After the test, which I was sure I blew, he called my office to double check on the omission. Months passed, and I waited to learn if God wanted me to finish my twenty.

When the results came out, the good news was that the Navy was going to promote two in my field! The bad news was that I had come in third! I missed advancement by thirteen one hundredths of a point! A co-worker insisted I go to personnel and check on my earned points. I told him I only had one and that the Chief had taken care of it. He would not quit bugging me until I agreed to let him drive me to check. When they opened my records, believe it or not, the Chief had failed to report the discrepancy! That meant that my score was above the cut-off. I became a First Class Draftsman Illustrator! I had my answer. God made it very clear that I was to stay in. Had I not made it, I would always have wondered if He had chosen not to answer me according to my "fleece." Had I been number one or two, I would have always wondered if I had just been lucky. But this way, I knew. I retired in 1978, and went home to wait for the college semester to begin. But something happened that would delay my Christian education for six more years. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 9, 2010


When we arrived in Washington for our second tour of duty, we immediately looked up Barcroft Bible Church in Arlington. It had been recommended by Lee before we left Pensacola, and we were not disappointed as what we found. Our pastor was a Dallas Theological Seminary grad, and a great Bible teacher. The church had a youth program called Christian Service Brigade, and I really enjoyed being one of the leaders. It was like the Scouts, but was Christ-centered, and involved both boys and girls. My fondest memory of the group involved taking four young men on a weekend camping trip on the Appalachian Trail. It was very hot and humid the first day, and shortly after we began hiking, it began to rain lightly. We all put our ponchos on over our backpacks and continued the trek. Our plan was to hike to the camping area which was about five miles from where we started. The boys, all teens, didn't seem to be having any difficulty, but after about four miles, I was extremely weak, and "freezing." That was strange because it was about ninety degrees. We came to where the path crossed a road, and I could go no farther. Two of the boys decided to hike to the camp ranger's office to get help. It was not long before the ranger arrived and loaded us all in her vehicle. We were rescued!

The park ranger told me that I had suffered hypothermia; my poncho held in my body heat, and coupled with the exertion of hiking, had acted as a sauna. I had nearly sweated myself to death. I was dehydrated and very close to death according to her. Dry clothes, plenty of liquids, and rest seemed to take care of it, but we still decided to call the church and have someone come get us. Here I was, in the prime of my life (early thirties), and I had to be rescued by the very teens for which I had hoped to be a blessing. Had they not volunteered to go for help, I was so out-of-it that I probably would have died. God was merciful and those boys were definitely heroes that day. All their training had been put to good use, that is for sure.

Barcroft was also the place where my wife and I served on the Barcroft Service Ministry "board of directors." We had been on a retreat with several other couples, and while sitting around the fire in the lounge, the conversation seemed to be focused upon the needy in and near our church. Later, three couples got together and formed the BSM. It consisted of over one hundred volunteers who offered their skills free of charge to anyone in need. Three "shut-ins" offered to serve as "hot line" coordinators of services twenty-four hours a day. We listed our volunteers by skills and the "operators" contacted them depending upon the need. Twice a year, the auto mechanics met in the church parking lot and held a free auto service day. All of our labor was free, and on one occasion, the church paid for the materials for a roof replacement. Someone donated a large flatbed truck and, on nearly every Saturday, several of us helped families move. The joy of serving and the fellowship of working with one another made a lasting impression on the church, and on the community. We were fulfilling the Lord's admonition. To be continued.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


So far, it has taken me nine pages to briefly describe my life to the age of thirty. By the time I was transferred to the Pentagon, I had only been a Christian for two years. The last five and one half years of my Navy career was spent working on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's annual state of the military presentation. It was used to compare our military with those of the rest of the world. Each year, after presenting it to the President, it was presented to a joint session of Congress. I updated the data daily, and although it sounds sort of glamorous, I never saw any of the folks for whom it was prepared. Every once in a while, someone up the food chain would send me a Letter of Commendation for my personnel file.

The office where I worked consisted of nine draftsmen from the various services. There were three or four Army, two or three Air Force, and two or three Navy depending on rotation of assignments. At the time of the following story, I believe there were three of each. Our leader was Army, and he had recently returned from assignment in Korea. When he first arrived, he was always playing pranks on us. His favorite was to hide in a person's locker, and jump out when he came to work. Before long, something changed in his demeanor. He became sullen and ceased to do his job as supervisor. It got so bad that he was transferred to another base close by. On his last day, he went around to each of us and shook our hands, making small talk. When he came to me, I was very cold toward him and simply said, "See ya." I saw the hurt look in his eyes, and because God had used me to lead two of the nine to Christ, I knew that he had expected a little more compassion. I was glad he was leaving.

Two weeks passed and we received word that he had killed himself. Apparently he had discovered that his wife had been having an affair the whole time he was in Korea, and the knowledge destroyed his will to live. Had I been a more mature Christian, I might have talked with him about his change in behavior and mood. Instead, I "wrote him off" as a loser and used all my "spiritual energy" on "worthwhile" folks.

That is when God revealed what He thought of my lack of love for him. Of the nine of us, three being Army, they chose me to escort his body from the base morgue to the civilian funeral home. You would think that they would have picked someone from his new base, or at least someone who knew the Army regulations about their uniform, but instead, they chose a Navy guy: me! It was as though God was saying, "You would not treat him with respect while he was alive, so now you can show him the ultimate in respect possible for a fallen soldier." It was a very humbling and painful experience. It was apparent the attitude that Hal Judd had toward me a couple of years earlier was not unique to him, but I had the very same sin nature. How easily we forget the lessons of life and foolishly repeat them! I can't wait until the Lord returns and I am no longer an idiot, but will spend eternity in the likeness of my Savior (1 Jn. 3:2)!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


As I mentioned earlier, Lee taught Bible study in our home every Friday night. One day while my wife and I were at the base commissary, the fellow who helped us to our car with the groceries commented on our bumper stickers. He said he was also a Christian and we invited him to join us that night. He came and sat quietly through most of Lee's teaching, but we could tell he was not in agreement with what was being taught. When asked what he believed, he said he was a new believer and not really able to explain his view. He wanted to know if he could invite his pastor to come speak to us, and we all agreed he could come the following Friday. What the young man did not tell us was that his "pastor" was in Houston, Texas, which is quite a distance to commute for Bible study. Nevertheless, he and another church leader came and presented their understanding of Bible interpretation. I discovered later that what he presented was called Ultra-Dispensationalism. What he said made sense to those of us who were relatively new believers, and when he asked if he could return the next night to continue, a few of us agreed. Lee and some other older Christians were resistant to what he had been teaching, and didn't want him to return. I said that if he was willing to come all the way from Houston to share with us, certainly we could be hospitable enough to listen. They reluctantly agreed.

The following evening, nearly everyone was back to do one of two things: some came to listen, and some came to protect the rest from what they saw as false doctrine. After everyone had gone home, I remember being unable to sleep. If what the fellow had said was true, everything I had been taught was wrong. I knew that if I accepted his teaching, I would no longer be in fellowship with my wife, Lee, and as far as I knew, all the rest of those who came to our home. I could not sleep and I prayed for the longest time for God to show me the truth. We went to Sunday services and I remember being very uncomfortable. I wasn't sure of anything that was being taught. I spent another sleepless night praying for His direction. I did not get it.

The following day, between classes at college, I was in the apartment studying. I was sitting on the sofa, my lap covered with books, and one my fellow students who also attended our Friday night Bible studies, came in from class. For some strange reason, the first thing he did was quote Matthew 28:19-20, and as soon as he finished, I realized that the quote invalidated everything the guy from Texas had taught. I immediately threw my hands in the air and began praising God for His answer to my prayers. Much to my surprise, he dropped to his knees and did the same thing! I did not know it but he had also been taken in by the guy. He didn't realize that his quote was proof the teaching was false until he saw my reaction. It was as though the same "light" that had come to me, was passed on to him. It is amazing that he could quote a passage, but not recognize God's answer to his prayers until he saw my reaction. God was there, and we were both overwhelmed with joy. It was an awesome experience. To be continued.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Lee, our Friday night Bible teacher, attended church in the home of Phil McDaniel. Not knowing where we were to start attending, we decided to join them. Three or four families attended and we did so until I was transferred to Washington in 1973. Before we left, we met a young couple through Lee, Larry and Jane Barnes, whose enthusiasm and love for the Lord was contagious. The four of us held worship services on Pensacola Beach and we usually had a good-sized crowd. Lives were changed, including ours.

Even thought I knew God was using me, I was still troubled about my feelings toward the people of West Pensacola Baptist Church, and prayed for His love to fill my heart. The Word says that we are to love even our enemies, and I was finding it hard to love my brethren. It really bothered me. Then, something happened; a young missionary died suddenly leaving a wife and three young kids without any income. Larry wanted to visit the widow and he asked me to go with him. He was sitting at her kitchen table going over her financial situation with her. As I stood there listening, I became totally overwhelmed by her plight. I started crying and I left the room. As I sat on the floor against the wall sobbing uncontrollably, Larry came in to find out what had happened. I told him I didn't know. He said, "Well, what were you thinking about?" I told him I felt so helpless and burdened for her and her kids, and I just couldn't help loosing it. Without Larry saying anything, I began to hear the Lord speaking to me. I don't remember His exact words but He said something like, "You wanted to love as I love, and you are unable to bear it. It is My job to bring you into Christ's likeness; be patient and let Me do it. It is pride to expect that you should be as loving as I. Just do your best." The words were as clear as if someone in the room was saying them, and yet they were not audible. When we left there, I am not sure if we had helped her, but I know that I had gained a strange and wonderful peace.

In June of 1973, I graduated from Pensacola Junior College. The Navy had been impressed enough with my grades while taking night courses that they decided to send me to finish my last thirty credits full time. The only thing Navy about me during that year was a paycheck and wearing my uniform on Wednesdays. I joined on of the Christian Fellowships and spent most of my spare time with them. The Baptist Association had rented an apartment on campus, and we used it to hold Bible studies and to relax between classes. There must have been about forty of us who hung out there. My being thirty and married didn't seem to bother "the youngsters." God made it easy for me to love these brethren, and it served as a healing place for my life. I remember one day in particular when God's presence was clearly there. His timing and ministry to us is awesome. In order to tell what happened, I will need to continue this tomorrow, Lord willing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


It was time for our annual church revival. To me, revival is for those who once were alive but now are in danger of death. One cannot revive what was never "vived." This also causes me to ponder where the concept originated. A paramedic performs CPR on a patient and he is revived. That is obviously a situation which refers to patient being in danger of physical death. But once a person is sealed with the Holy Spirit until the Day of Redemption, he is not in danger of spiritual death (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). Of course one is always facing physical death, but it is the human spirit for which a church holds a revival.

Pastor told us to invite everyone we knew to attend the week-long evening services, and I, being a relatively new and totally naive Christian, took him seriously. My wife and I held Bible studies at our home every Friday night, and usually about twenty people came to learn "at the feet of" a great Bible teacher named Lee Frerichs. I invited them to come. We attended a Navigator group meeting on base every Tuesday evening, and I invited all thirty or so, as well. On the first night of the revival, about fifteen of my invitees came, and we all sat together as a group. When the congregation was asked to welcome each other, everything seemed normal. Pastor had asked me to speak with him after the service, and after everyone else had gone, we talked in his office. He told me that some of the church members were unhappy because I had invited my friends to revival. They didn't mind those coming who were white, but many of my friends (brothers and sisters) were black. I remember saying, "Well, I hope you straightened them out!" He responded by gently reminding me we were in the South (the year was 1972), and "some things take time." Imagine, 1972! Slavery had ended more than a hundred years earlier, the Civil Rights Act had been passed about ten years earlier, and the people objecting claimed to be Christians! I was devastated.

I told my friends that the "church is uncomfortable with you attending" and to my amazement, they understood. I seemed to be the only one who was surprised and upset. The next night, our youngest daughter was sick, so I took our two older daughters (nine and seven), and Judy stayed home. I remember feeling extremely uncomfortable and the desire to leave was almost overwhelming. I prayed for God to give me peace and to help me love my unloving brethren. He did not. As I sat there, I prayed, "If you want me to leave this church, let the next hymn be "The Old Rugged Cross." We hardly ever sang it, and I always thought it strange to be singing about the weapon used to kill Jesus. I had no sooner opened my eyes from prayer when the song leader said to turn to Hymn number (I don't remember the number), "The Old Rugged Cross." Normally, our youngest would have been in the back, and my wife would have been next to me. But because she was at home, I didn't have to try to explain to her why I wanted to leave in the middle of the service. I didn't have to go to the back and explain why I was taking my child and leaving. It was clear to me that God wanted me to leave and He didn't want me to disturb the service. Apparently Pastor explained my absence from that time on, because no one ever called or visited to find out why. Sadly, that was just fine with me. Tomorrow, Lord willing, the "saga" continues.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Following my visit to the Colonel's home, my silent friend and I went to the church to "debrief." After everyone but the pastor and I had left, I related to him how I came to know the Lord as my Savior. I also told him that my contacting him on the phone was actually a miracle in itself. He had figured that I called him because Hal had invited me, but when I told him the story of how my Catholic friend picked his out of about two hundred churches in the area, he was floored. He asked me if I would be willing to give my testimony at the evening service on Sunday. I asked him what a testimony was, and he said what you just told me. I agreed, wondering why Baptists attend church so often. First there was Wednesday night, and now Sunday night. Even though the Catholic Church celebrated Mass daily, the only time I ever went more than once a week was during Lent. I thought, "Baptists must really love the Lord!"

I was exactly one week old when I stepped behind a pulpit for the first time. Even though he had given me no guidance on what to say, I gave a perfect testimony. I told of what my life was life prior to accepting Jesus, the actual salvation experience, and about my life following salvation. Of course, the last part was only a week long, but being baptized Monday, making Hal Judd's day Tuesday, calling Bro. Shofner on Wednesday, and visitation on Thursday made for an exciting week. When I finished telling those present of my experience, Pastor came up, put his arm around my shoulders, and said something. I don't remember what, but I remember a man named Mike Sibley coming with tears streaming down his face. He knelt and Pastor knelt next to him. When they stood up, Pastor told us that Mike had realized from listening to me that he was not saved. He came forward to surrender to Christ because of something I said! Wow! I did not know it then, but found out later that Mike was a deacon. I had a lot to learn about the difference between going to church and having a relationship with the Living God. After forty years, I am still learning.

I began attending Hal Judd's church three times a week, and even found other opportunities to be there. I had choir practice, visitation, work on the new addition, and any other thing that allowed me to be with the brethren. Before long, I was teaching Sunday School, visitation chairman, and nominated for deacon. I knew little about the Bible, but having the job of teaching it gave me needed discipline in study. I turned down the offer to be a deacon, as even I knew I was not qualified. For two years, my family and I attended West Pensacola Baptist Church. And then something happened, and I knew I was supposed to leave. I would have to go to church somewhere else. I couldn't believe Christians would act like that. To be continued.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


My first question to my friend was, "Which courses should I take in college to prepare for seminary?" Remember, I had only been saved three days earlier. He responded by saying he didn't remember and suggested we call a local preacher. I agreed. He got the phone book and read me the number to call. I dialed and a woman answered. I asked to speak to her husband but he was not at home. He gave me another number, and the line was busy. When one of the women who answered said her husband was not home but was at the church and that "he would love for you to call him there." I said to my friend, "How does she know he would love to talk to me; she doesn't even know me or my question?" He laughed and said, "Forget it, he's a Baptist anyway." We both laughed. Baptists were a "thorn" to most Catholics. We tried a couple more calls, and finally he said, "Let's just call the Baptist." It had taken us six calls to "lower our standards." When he answered, I told him I was saved last Sunday, and I knew God wanted me to prepare for the ministry. While we were talking, I heard music begin to play in the background. Baptists went to church on Wednesday nights! He said, "Paul, let me have your number and I will call you back right after the service." After I hung up, I realized that I had given him my friend's number, and now I had to hang around until he called. Believe it or not, I sat by that phone for over an hour waiting. That, in itself, was a miracle.

The phone rang and the preacher asked me if I worked for the Blue Angels. I was surprised, to say the least, and told him I did. He then told me that one of his church members had come to prayer meeting and told everyone that the atheist we had all been praying for every Wednesday night for six months had been saved. He then asked, "Do you know Hal Judd?" I couldn't believe it. Hal was the guy I "destroyed" in the debate over the existence of God! Hal was the guy who sneered and said, "What do you want?" just the day before. Hal had been mad, and although it appeared he had little fondness for me, he cared enough about me to ask for prayer on my behalf!

The Pastor asked if we could meet the next evening at Krispy Kreme, and he had me; I loved their donuts. I met him and another fellow the following night and we went to the church to talk, or so I thought. As it turned out, it was visitation night, and he coupled me with another guy and sent us to visit a Marine Colonel who was home on medical leave. There I was, sitting in his living room on church visitation, whatever that meant. I expected the guy I was with would say something, but he just sat there. So, I told them both my salvation experience. As I finished, I mentioned that I had applied for Conscientious Objector status, so I could get out and go to seminary. The Marine got up, got his Bible, and showed me that it was alright for a Christian to serve in the military. I don't know why, but I was actually relieved. I thanked him and we went back to the church. I never saw the Colonel again, but God had used him and I withdrew my application the following day. Lord willing, tomorrow I will tell you about my conversation that night with the Baptist preacher.

Monday, August 2, 2010


A Bible from California, Dolphin Way Baptist Church in Alabama, The Cathedral of Tomorrow in Ohio, and my discussion with my wife in Florida all worked together at exactly the right time to convince me God was real. I know the skeptics reading this will use the word "coincidence" to deny God was involved, but those of you who have met the Lord know what it is to feel the presence of the Almighty. God replaced my atheism with faith, and my life has never been the same since. When I got up off of my knees, I knew three things that were certain: my sins were forgiven; the Bible was true; and I would become a minister. I knew just as Adam knew how to name the animals; God implanted the knowledge supernaturally. What I didn't know was that I was facing a long life of trials and disappointments. Being on "cloud nine" as I was, I wouldn't have believed it if someone told me.

My new birth took place on Sunday, January 31, 1971, and I made the mistake of telling a member of the Church of Christ at work the next day. He argued that I wasn't forgiven yet because I had not been baptized. After what seemed like hours, he asked me if I wanted to be baptized. When I said I did, he said, "Let's go." It was about midnight on the first day of February, and although we were in Florida, it was cold. He took me to his church and baptized me in what seemed like ice water. I remember thinking, "Now maybe he will leave me alone!" Months later, in the summer, I was baptized for the right reasons in Pensacola Bay, in the middle of the day, and in front of many witnesses, by the Pastor of West Pensacola Baptist Church. My baptism did not "save" me; it was a testimony to the world that I was already a Child of God by faith.

On the next day, I went to Navy Personnel to apply for Conscientious Objector Status. I believed it was wrong for a Christian to be in the military, and I believed I was to leave the service and enter Bible College. While there, Chief Hal Judd came into the large office, and I called him over to tell him I had accepted Christ. His reaction startled me, because he said, "What do you want?" with disgust in his voice. I told him what had happened, and he lit up like a child on Christmas morning! He was so excited and wanted to know all about it. I gave him the "short version" and he asked if I had found a church yet. I told him no, that it had only been two days. He asked if I would come to his church. I said, "Sure." He wrote down the address of the church on a piece of paper and I put it in my wallet. Since it was only Tuesday, I didn't really read it.

After I finished with the application, I went back to work. The following day, I had the duty watch and this time, I was reading only the Bible! I called a friend who was on duty upstairs, and asked if he had ever read the Bible. He said that at one time, he had been a seminary student studying for the Catholic priesthood. I took a "short" break and went up to see him. I had questions. What followed was more amazing to me than the "coincidence" that saved me. It is almost too much to believe, and I wouldn't believe it myself if it didn't happen to me. To be continued.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


My reputation as being a militant atheist must have been well known, because when I met a Chief Petty Officer named Hal Judd, he immediately began asking about my atheism. Although I had never read the Bible, I knew enough about the stories to frustrate his effort to "save me." By the time I was finished, he left in anger and I could tell he couldn't care less if he ever saw me again. I was very proud of myself.

A few months after my "victory," I received a letter from a hippy friend who had been our neighbor three years earlier in San Diego. Tim had never impressed me as someone who would write, so I was curious as to why he had after three years. When I began reading the letter, I was shocked to learn that he had left his drugs, adulterous life, and had become a Christian. Tim was the last person I would have thought would fall for the ignorance of religion. The letter angered me because he tried to push his beliefs on me. Tim also sent me a pocket New Testament, which I threw across the room in anger. I wrote and told him to forget writing if he was going to talk about religion. I didn't hear from him again.

About six weeks later, I had the night duty watch over the aircraft and office of the Blue Angels. It was a long, boring night and after studying for a college exam in American History for five hours, I decided to look for some lighter reading material. A Navy duty office always had a lot of pornographic materials around, but on that day, someone had "sterilized" it. I could not even find an aircraft manual. I decided to study for my science class just for change of pace. When I opened my briefcase, there was that little pocket New Testament. To this day, I do not know how it got there, but I decided to read some just for laughs. I opened it at random to Matthew Twenty-five and read the whole chapter. I was amazed! I could not believe that something fifteen hundred years older than Shakespeare could be so beautifully written. I was so impressed that the next morning, I told my wife about it. She sat in shock while I told her all about it. Our girls came downstairs and turned the TV on before going to the kitchen for cereal. A church program was on, and ordinarily I would have told them to turn that ---- off. But I was so into telling Judy about the beauty of the material, I didn't say anything to them. Just as I was finishing, the announcer said that the preacher was coming to speak. I told Judy, "Wouldn't it be something if he spoke about what I had read?" His first words were, "Good morning, my message is from Matthew Twenty-five, the Parable of the Ten Virgins." I literally screamed in my amazement, and then went in to listen to him. Two sermons later (I watched three church programs!), the preacher said, "Get down on you knees in your living room and accept Jesus as your Savior." I started to, but I saw my wife in the kitchen and knew she would laugh me out of the neighborhood. She immediately turned around and walked outside; neither of us knows why, but the door shut and my knees hit the floor. I believed in Jesus! To be continued.