Archive for April, 2015

You can’t fool God

April 29, 2015

In the 1970s there was a popular television commercial about Chiffon Margarine which starred “Mother Nature.”

The gist of the commercial was someone fooled Mother Nature into thinking that Chiffon Margarine was actually butter. Of course, her famous response was, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”

Well, today we have a lot of people who are trying to fool God. Unlike Mother Nature, however, God can’t be fooled.

He can see through utter nonsense.

Recently The Social Club, a “swinger’s club,” applied for a permit next door to Goodpasture Christian School in Madison, a suburb of Nashville. State lawmakers, however, passed legislation to keep sexual swinging clubs from locating within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, daycares, or parks. In addition, Metro (Nashville) Council changed its zoning code to block private clubs from properties zoned for office uses, according to The Tennessean.

Since that didn’t work, owners of The Social Club have filed papers to renovate the building to become a church, according to a number of media outlets. In addition, one owner has become an ordained minister, according to WKRN News (Channel 2 in Nashville). I did some quick research and sure enough just about anyone can become an ordained minister online. That tidbit of information is worthy of its own blog later on.

In a revised floor plan for the facility, the “owners” of the church (who also happened to own The Social Club) have changed the former “dungeon” room to the choir room. Other room names were changed to fit the church motif. They have added a “pastor’s study.”

As the old saying goes, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. They can disguise it anyway they want but it is what it is — and it’s definitely not a church, by its own definition. WKRN News reported that the church’s primary belief is to “do only that which is right.” Funny, I always thought a church’s primary goal is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do these owners honestly think they are fooling anyone? These people are making a mockery out of the church and Christianity. What’s more, they are mocking God.

Rest assured, God is not fooled by any of this. He will prevail!

Remember Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”


Interesting facts about e-mail

April 23, 2015

Do you remember LBE (Life Before E-mail)?

When I joined the staff of the Baptist and Reflector nearly 27 years ago, “snail mail” was pretty much the only game in town.

Then, along came fax machines and e-mail and the way we communicated skyrocketed into the next century.

As a journalist, e-mail made it easier to communicate with people and to gather the facts and information we needed for news and feature stories. E-mail does have its drawbacks. You learn quickly not to respond to a “nasty” e-mail too quickly because once that “sent” key is pushed, there is no turning back. It’s out there.

Raymond Smith, technology services manager for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, recently sent an e-mail to staff about e-mails. He reported on a recent study of e-mail usage done with over 2,000,000 e-mail users by Yahoo.

Raymond pulled the actual study and gleaned some interesting facts about e-mails that I thought might appeal to a larger audience.

Here they are:

• 47 minutes is median response time

• The most common length of an e-mail reply is five words

• The average e-mail reply for teens is 17 words

• The average 21-35 age group will reply to an e-mail in 21 words

• The average 36-50 age group will reply to an e-mail in 31 words

• The 50 and older group will reply to an e-mail in 40 words

• The median e-mail reply is 47 words

• The average teen will reply to an e-mail in 13 minutes

• The average 21-35 age group will reply to an e-mail in 16 minutes

• The average 36-50 age group will reply to an e-mail in 24 minutes

• The 50 and older group will reply to an e-mail in 47 minutes

• For users who receive  lower volume of e-mails the reply rate is about 25 percent

• If a user gets over 100 e-mails a day he or she responds to less than 5 percent of them

• The median e-mail length sent by smartphone is 20 words

• The median e-mail length sent by desktop is 60 words

• E-mails with attachments have the longest reply times

This may be way more than you ever wanted to know about e-mail. If so, just remember the simpler time of LBE.


The church and culture

April 16, 2015

If life were a baseball game and the opponents were the church versus culture, then the church would be in trouble.

pastors-nothingwrong-updatedIt’s the bottom of the seventh and the church is behind.

LifeWay Research has just released a study that shows that about 54 percent of Americans believe that homosexuality is not a sin. Another 17 percent is not sure.

Translated, only 30 percent of  Americans (at least those who were polled) are bold enough to say “homosexuality is a sin.”

Just three years ago, 44 percent of Americans were willing to say “homosexuality is a sin.” That’s a drop of 14 percent in just three years. I would definitely say that culture is ahead at this point in the game.

The numbers are very similar when Americans are asked if gay marriage should be legal.

As one might expect, the numbers are not as high among Americans who belong to a faith group, but it is still troubling. According to the article, 56 percent of Catholics and 40 percent of Protestants agree that gay marriage should be legal, compared to 72 percent of those identified as non-religioius.

Among evangelicals, less than 30 percent say that gay marriage should be legal. That number jumps to 38 percent among evangelicals who have gay and lesbian friends. That’s way too high for people who profess to be “born again” Christians.

We are letting culture dictate what we believe instead of God’s Holy Word, the Bible.

The church is losing the cultural war now, but fear not. The game is not over. When the final pitch is thrown, God’s team will win.

In the meantime, we must stand stand firm on our biblical convictions. On April 28 the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for and against same sex marriage.

Their decision could make gay marriage legal across the country or allow states to maintain their right to define marriage as only between a man and woman.

Pray for those Supreme Court justices that they will not be swayed by public opinion (culture) and choose to redefine marriage. The only definition of marriage that the United States needs today is found in God’s Word. It’s pretty clear, if only we will read it and believe it.


Remember (and pray for) the good cops

April 8, 2015

Once again, national media attention is focused on a law enforcement officer.

According to news accounts, a police officer in North Charleston, S.C. shot and killed a man who had been pulled over for a traffic violation. The police officer originally said the man took his stun gun and was fleeing from the scene. An onlooker’s video footage at the scene reveals something entirely different.

As a result, police officer Michael T. Slager has been charged with murder, according to an article in The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.

It’s another tragic incident in which it appears a police officer overreacted and used deadly force when it was not needed.

Similar incidents have happened in recent months.

These are inexcusable acts. Period.

But what we fail to see in the media are the thousands upon thousands of police officers who get out of bed each day and put their lives on the line to keep us safe.

I know we all have stories of the police officer who pulls us over and issues a speeding ticket or some other traffic citation that we feel is unwarranted. After all, we were only 10 miles over the speed limit, not 15 or more. And so what that I rolled through the Stop sign. Nothing was coming. Been there, done that.

But the bottom line is that these officers are only doing their jobs.

Yes, there are occasional “bad apples” who give the entire profession a black eye, but I daresay most police officers feel a sense of duty and calling to what they do. Let’s face it, they certainly do not do it for the money (unless they are one of the bad apples). We don’t bat an eye when professional athletes are paid millions of dollars to play a game. We keep watching and supporting the team. But whenever politicians want to increase taxes to give raises to police, fire fighters, teachers, and other public servants, we pitch a fit.

I go to church and have gone to church with police officers who are the cream of the crop. One of my good friend’s son is a police officer who could have gone into a successful business but chose not to. They truly are committed to making their communities a better and safer place to live.

Let’s remember the “good cops” and keep them in our prayers. The horrific actions of a few of their counterparts keep making their jobs even harder.