A post from a couple of years ago
At the time that I am writing this, I have just finished reading a guest blog over at Stuff Christians Like. My reaction to this is not what I thought it would be. I sat there thinking to myself, “Why can’t I write like that? Why can’t I be that funny? I want to write that kind of humorous blog.” I sat there for a while thinking back over the past few weeks of writing Deuceology. Several of my posts have been my attempt at humor. Others have been serious. Some have simply been about whatever I have on my mind at the time. A good number are doing my usual rant about what should change in our churches.
The point of this is basically something Popeye said a few years back. I am what I am. I just can’t force what I write about. I write what I write, even if I’m writing about my writing. Did that just make any sense to anyone but me? I mean, today I’m writing about my writing. Tomorrow may be a humorous take on something. The next day it may be about twenty-five things I love about my church and twenty-five things I don’t like about my church (thanks for letting me put that preview of an upcoming Twofer Tuesday in here). Basically, what I realize is that I’m just going to be me in this blog. And guess what?
We all need to do that. Quit trying to be like someone else. Quit expecting others to be someone else. Manage your expectations of
others. I read another blog the other day where a Christian couple tried to share their faith, unsuccessfully, to a waiter. He didn’t want to hear any of it. They couldn’t understand why he didn’t jump at the opportunity once he was told the truth. Their expectation was that he would jump at the opportunity to be saved and Christian like them. They don’t realize that the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (see 1 Corinthians 1:18 for the biblical reference). Their expectation is that it isn’t foolishness to them.
The great thing is that for those of us who know Christ, the opposite is true. For us, the word of the cross is the power of God. Our expectation should be that we would live according to this power. The expectation that I have of myself should be that I would live according to this power. What kind of should that be for us? A Great Expectation. Unfortunately, we have misplaced expectations.
My expectation should not be that I am a funny blogger like Jon Acuff all of the time. My expectation should not be that I live like the word of the cross is foolishness. My expectation should be that I live as though that word of the cross is the power of God. And that is transforming.
With what kind of expectations do you live your life? As thought the word of the cross is foolishness? Or as though it’s the power of God? Is your life full of a great expectation?
Normally, and of late, on Sundays I have been posting about the scripture I speak about at a campground service. Today is not normal.
Eighteen years ago, as I write this, Jan and I were on our way to the hospital so that she could be induced. Our baby girl, Lauren, would arrive several hours later.
Today, as you can tell, she turns eighteen.
Where have the years gone?
Lauren has grown into a driven, successful student who has a tremendous plan for her life. This is the least of what is good about her.
She loves the Lord and loves the Church. That is what makes me more even more proud of her.
We jokingly have said that Lauren is no longer a child today. She will always be my child. I love and hate that she has grown up. I look forward to seeing how much more she grows over the next few years.
Yesterday there were plenty of blog posts, tweets and Facebook statuses about 9/11 and rightfully so. That day eleven years ago was one of the most tragically memorable days our lives will ever see.
However, I hardly acknowledged it. Perhaps you wonder why.
Three years before 9/11, in 1998, my son Andrew was born.
Too many people tell him that he has a terrible birthday. I love his response: “It was my birthday first.”
None of us will ever forget the tragic events that happened in 2001. We will always be reminded of the act of terrorism that landed in our land.
However, I choose to take a more optimistic view of the day.
I choose to focus on the positive reminder of what happened in 1998.
Andrew Carter was born.
I became a dad for the second time.
I have someone to influence positively and who impacts my life in a positive fashion daily.
That’s why I didn’t write about 9/11 yesterday.
Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. If you would like to know what we looked like that day, see the picture below.
These 20 years have been the greatest of my life. It’s incredible that before long, I will have been married to Jan longer than I haven’t been, but that will be another post in the future.
Often when I mention to people that we have been married for 20 years, I get comments about it being rare in this day and age. People will ask me what our secret is or how we’ve done it. So, for the first time, I’m going to let everyone know what our secret to staying married this long is.
We don’t have any other option. Not being married to each other is not a possibility.
I don’t say that to demean any circumstances in anyone else’s life. We simply entered into our marriage by assuming that it was forever and there is no out-clause. We believe God meant for marriage to be permanent. The only thing that will separate us is death.
That doesn’t mean we sing kumbayah together every night. We have had struggles. We don’t always agree. We get frustrated with each other from time to time.
Guess what? Ultimately that stuff doesn’t matter. Something that happened 20 years ago doesn’t have a lot of relevance to today 20 years later.
Here’s what matters. I’m committed to Jan. She’s committed to me. We love God. We love each other. Christ is our Savior. We have two children we are crazy about. In twenty years, we will still be together (Lord willing) and enjoying our grandchildren.
How long have you been married? What is the “secret” to your marital success?
The first Sunday in May is the Sunday that we take to honor our mothers. When I finish this post, I will ask a typical question like I normally do. First, though, a rundown of how our new church recognized mothers.
Many of the youth and kids wrote short sentences about what their mothers meant to them. These were read in front of the entire congregation.
The youth then passed out bits of candy to all of the mothers. These included $100,000 bars and Hershey kisses.
The sermon was about Mary, Jesus’ mother and the Proverbs 31 woman.
Personally, I think there are two points of Christ’s life that typical how we should treat our mothers.
First is when Jesus asks the disciple, John, to take care of mary after His death. Jesus honored his mother by wanting her to be taken care of.
The other is when his family shows up for an intervention. He is told that His mother and brothers and sisters are there. He looks around at those in the house and states that these are his mother and brothers and sisters.
Basically, I think when we look at Christ’s life we learn that we should treasure our mothers. However, all of us who have accepted Him as Savior are in His family now. We should treasure Him above all other relationships.
Did your church do anything special to honor mothers yesterday?
I would like to kick off February in two ways. I’m going to tell you a little about me. Then I want to know a little about you.
I’m 43 years old. I’m working on my twentieth year of marriage to my lovely wife, Jan. I have two outstanding kids, Lauren and Andrew, who will both be in high school next year. I came to know Christ when I was 25, even though I had been in church all of my life.
I surrendered to a call to ministry in 1999. I thought that meant I had to go to seminary and be a pastor. So, that’s what I did. I went to seminary for a year and then returned home. However, I never became the pastor I thought I would be.
Now, I preach in a campground from late spring through fall. I teach in church any time I can. We are also in the beginning stages in a new church. You can follow those adventures every Monday.
I love to write my blog and interact with all of you good folks who choose to visit Deuceology. I’ve made more mistakes than I care to admit while blogging. I love this community that I have become a part of in the blogosphere.
That’s my story.
What’s your story?
Something that my grandpa and I shared several times when I was young was the Morristown (TN) Christmas Parade. We went several times while I was growing up.
For the past several years, I have shared the Townsend Christmas Parade with my family. Christmas parades may not have anything inherently to do with Christ, but they are tremendous fun. Our Townsend community is small. There are less than 300 people who live within the city limits. However, we are proud of our area and our Christmas parade is one of the biggest community events we have. In this blog post today, I want to share some pictures I took during the Christmas parade of the place I call home.
First is a shot as we wait on the parade to make its way to where we were positioned.
Our county mayor helped lead the way in the parade:
A Christmas parade is not a parade without a band. Here is the Heritage High School band, where my daughter currently goes to school:
The midget football program had a presence in the parade. I think this was the first mention of Jesus in the parade:
One of our local Baptist churches had a float in the parade:
Our local garden club entered the parade:
We are a rural community and agriculture plays a big part of our lives. Here is just one of the many tractors from our parade:
Many people ride their horses in the parade. As you can tell, the end of the parade is near!!! Pun totally intended.
Finally, Santa Claus should always be the grand finale’ of every Christmas parade.
Our parade is nothing fancy. There is nothing truly CHRISTian about it. It’s just plain, simple community and family fun. Thanks for letting me share the fun with you.
Do you like Christmas parades? Do you have fond memories of them?
Hopefully you aren’t concerned that I would not give a church visit report with me doing my 25 days of Christmas. On certain days, like today, I will post two blog posts.
We revisited the same church we visited during Church Visit #3. We’ll call this church Church A now. Next week, we will visit Church B.
We got there earlier than we did the first time we visited this church. Many people welcomed us, including the pastor. The downside is that I do not remember if he told me his name. One thing that I would recommend to anyone doing this sort of thing is to be gentle when shaking strangers hands. My wife has arthritis. She offered her fingers only to one man in the hopes that he would be gentle. Unfortunately, he did not pay attention to this and squeezed her fingers very hard, almost making her cry in pain.
The service was nice. There was good participatory singing. There was a testimony from a gentleman who went on a mission trip to Kenya.
One of the funnier moments of the service was watching a gentleman who is a local evangelist fall asleep and snore.
The sermon was about Zechariah being told that he would father John the Baptist.
The other thing that I would mention was that from listening to the post service comments to the congregation and looking at the bulletin, this church has a great deal of activity happening on a weekly basis.
Thanks for continuing to join me in this journey.
Most of us are probably thinking about or running around looking for Christmas presents. Maybe you know what you’re getting your spouse or kids. Maybe you don’t. What I’m thinking about, though, is something a little different.
Along with Christmas presents, I’m thinking about giving Christmas presence.
Like many people, I can become distracted. I can focus on any number of things. I can lose myself in the midst of the whirlwind.
I need to work on my Christmas presence.
Maybe you’ve read the FISH book or watched the video.
One of the FISH principle is Be There. It means to be present. Not a present. Be present. Be there.
Jesus came to earth. Why? To be there for you. And me. And everyone else who followed and follows him today.
He wasn’t a Christmas present.
He was a Christmas presence.
He was always there, even when he delayed getting somewhere like He did with Lazarus.
Let’s work on that this Christmas season. I need to. Chances are someone else reading this needs to as well.
Let’s work on our Christmas presence.
Do you need to work on your Christmas presence? What do you need to do to make that happen?
It’s Twitterific Thursday and it’s Thanksgiving. You probably know the drill by now. I write a post in 140 words, more or less.
Today is Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what I should write about today.
Should I write about all of the things that I am thankful for today? Christ, Salvation, Marriage, Children, Family, Health, Job and more?
Should it be that I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart?
Should it be about my prayer life and how I should not be anxious for anything, but by prayer and supplication and thanksgiving let my requests be made known to God?
What is the answer to what my blog post should be about today?
The answer is yes. Yes to all of these.
I am thankful for all of this and more. I need to strive to come to God with thanksgiving in my heart. I need to lay down any anxiety and trust Him through prayer.
How about you? What does Thanksgiving mean to you today?