Sexual Identity

A few days ago, someone ask me about the sex and gender debate. I’m not sure that person liked my answer. I’m going to share it here so there is no question where I stand on the matter.

My answer, quite simply, is that there is no difference. Gender fluidity, as it described today, is nothing more than perversion. My old 1958 Webster’s School Dictionary defines perversion as “a turning away from truth or propriety.” This is exactly what is happening in the world now.

Perverts, or those who have turned away from truth–not their truth or a truth but the truth well established by real scientists many centuries ago–are wielding a societal sword of chaos in an attempt to get rational people to begin thinking irrationally. In other words, truth becomes error and error becomes truth.

Except, in this discussion, the argument is not about “error” but about absolute denial of anything scientific and reasonable. No amount of surgery, makeup, clothing or anything else can make a man a woman or a woman a man. Period.

The whole idea of a “birthing person” as opposed to a woman who gives birth is ridiculous. The people who support such a description have, at some level, lost their minds. Where they lost them I have not a clue. But it is obvious their agenda is not one to help people understand their true identity as a person but, rather, to confuse them. People are confused enough when they know what they are. They don’t need any more help.

The presence of men in women’s sporting events is no less stupid–yeah, that’s right, stupid. Men and women are substantially different in many ways. You can deny it all you want. It’s still true. Generally, men are stronger and faster whether you like it or not. Pitting males against females in any sport and calling it fair is a travesty.

Make no mistake, though. The argument is not about individual rights no matter how loud the ludicrous left shouts. The endgame for this bunch of miscreants, along with much, if not all government agencies and public press, is control. They talk a good talk about diversity and fairness. But that is not what they want. They want to control everything you do so you are required to go to them for permission–permission to act and permission to disagree. And if you disagree with their faulty thinking, you are the one who is wrong, not them.

So, what do you do? Do you keep quiet and let it “run its course?” I think not. The time to stand up and speak out against this foolish turn of human events is now. If not now, later will be too late and your children and grand children will be duped into believing it is OK to be a pervert. It is not. So there.


It’s Just A Twig

Over the course of several days, I worked in my yard to get rid of a hedge row. With a front loader on a tractor, chain saw, pick ax, shovels, and a hatchet, I managed to delete the unmanageable bushes from the landscape. After hours of cutting and pulling, what is left is an apocalyptic looking area about 100’ long and 15’ wide. There are still a lot of dead roots sticking up and a few craters left by yanking out stumps.

After several days of rain, a few sunny days, and then more rain, I ventured out to see what steps are necessary to restore the area for sod and new, more manageable evergreens. This part of the yard, right beside the driveway, looks pretty bad right now. But as I surveyed the area, I saw something a bit strange—a small, actually tiny, conifer peeking up through the ravaged dirt.

Having no idea how the little pine got there, I decided to rescue it. I’ve always wanted to start a Japanese style bonsai from scratch and this is a close as I’ll ever get. I dug around the little root stem, very careful not to break it. Now, it is planted in a small black container with fertilizer. I’m optimistic it will live.

Why did I do it? Life. . .even though it is tiny and I’m not quite sure how to support it, it is alive and I’m going to do my best to help it mature into a mighty tree, albeit one I try to shape into what I want it to be.

This brings to mind the whole process of human babies coming into the world. As small as they are, and as much as they cannot fend for themselves, every one of them deserves the opportunity to live. It doesn’t matter how they came to be. . .they have life, and their life should be honored, not ended.

Just like my little tree, babies have to be nourished and their lives shaped by those who bring them into the world and raise them as sons and daughters. We must be careful to educate them, first at home and then in whatever schools in which we enroll them. We must teach them how to respect the lives of others, the importance of family and community. And most of all, we must tell them about God in Jesus Christ. 

The twig may become a tree, but sooner or later it will grow old, begin to decay, and it will die. Likewise, every human who lives faces death sooner or later. As I grow older and all the aches and pains of the aged creep upon me, I realize my responsibility to share what I know with younger generations. God has been good to me, way better than I have been in return. One thing I know for sure—Jesus Christ came into this world to provide an abundant life for all who trust him. And he came to offer a place to live for me and all who know him when we die.

My little pine is just a twig today; what it will become only God knows for sure. What I have become is a man who trusts the Lord Jesus Christ without reservation. I’m looking forward to heaven and living forever in the presence of a loving God.


I’m an Extremist

I just found out that I’m an extremist, a real threat to the American way of life. Just a few years ago I discovered that I’m also a deplorable because of what I believe.

Apparently, a nuclear family, that is, one with a married mother and father that has children being reared in their home, is dangerous and un-American according to a politician who currently holds office in South Dakota. She made the claim because Family Heritage Alliance, also based in South Dakota, believes that “the safest place for kids are in families that have a married mom and dad.”

This state house rep gives as her credentials being a “patient experience specialist.” That means she sat behind a desk and welcomed patients into a medical office to fill out their paperwork.” That is one powerful resume’ for injecting your useless opinion about families into the American discussion of what is right and wrong in society today.

I’m sorry, but this is just wrong. The worst part is that it made national news. This sort of pandering to the far left political machine does nothing to strengthen an already weak America. It only adds fuel to the system that wants to destroy everything that made America strong.

It’s a Trick

There is something going on around us that is not right. You know it and I know it. But somehow, we can’t exactly identify what it is. If you’ve ever seen the movie, Matrix, you know what I’m talking about. And, no, I don’t believe we’re living in some dream world, although if you watch or listen to much new programming, maybe some people are.

What do I mean by “It’s a trick?” We are being tricked into believing things that simply aren’t true. And the tricksters are not just government mouthpieces and sexual perverts—even though there are plenty of those to go around.

For example, Stellantis (the French-Italian company that makes Chrysler products), has been hyping it’s new all-electric Dodge Charger. This EV, that has nothing in it’s mechanical system that produces high pressure exhaust, somehow sounds like a V8 when the accelerator is pushed down. How is that even possible? Dodge calls it the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust. In reality, it is a recording pumped through tubes to make it sound like a gas burner. Some people are going to fall for it, buy it, and still sit on the side of the road or in their garage while the thing recharges it batteries. It’s a trick.

Here’s another one. If you listen to the pundits of the Federal Reserve, the Washington wags,  and even some business leaders, the US economy is stronger than ever, there really is no sign of recession, the work force is strong, and inflation is not as bad as we think. How do they manage to convince people the situation is OK. They ignore the facts. Gas prices only moderated when the president used the strategic reserves as a way to feed the supply we use every day. He’s doing it again right now so you see the daily commodity prices fall and then a little tick downward at the pump. And yet we as a nation are buying foreign oil instead of producing our own all in the name of green energy. It’s a trick.

The federal government and their mass media darlings are reporting that more people are working than every before, unemployment is low, and wages are high. If that’s the case, why is almost every store front in America posting Help Wanted signs in their windows, on their social media pages, and across the spectrum of employment websites? The big reason for that is people have left the job market and are depending on government handouts and family for help. Where Is the evidence? According to a writer for Credible, who tracks credit and debt trends, “consumer credit increased at the end of 2022 amid high inflation and a rising interest rate environment.” This consumer credit debacle increased by $30 billion with most of the increase coming from credit card debt. The reported experts say that record delinquencies are coming in 2023. Why can’t people see this happening in their own household? It’s a trick.

And then there is the whole question of sexuality. Is sexuality and gender two parts of the same thing or are they totally separate? The short answer is yes, they are. There are two sexes/genders: male and female, period. The whole gender dsyphoria/identity/preference argument has no basis in fact. Eighth grade biology makes that perfectly clear. And the medical profession, at least those in it that are honest, know better. All the claimed differences in who can be a man and who can be a woman are just part of another trick. Perversion is real whether you want to admit it or not. 

This list goes on and on—questions of history, race, the universe, and others are staring us in the face everyday. Are the things flying overhead Chinese balloons or alien spacecraft? What a zoo. But here’s the idea I want to leave you with. Why is all this happening? In a nutshell, CONTROL. The movers and shakers in government and industry want to tell you where you can go, what you can do, and when you can do it. And make no mistake, they will go to whatever lengths they need to try and make it happen. So look out, your are being tricked.

Egg Shells

Have you ever hardboiled some eggs? Of course, you have. You choose the right saucepan to hold the number of eggs you are going to boil, maybe pour some salt in the pan, add just the right amount of water, set it on the stove, turn on the heat, and carefully lower those raw eggs down into the water without cracking the shells.  Then, in a little more than five minutes after the water comes to a boil–voilà–hardboiled eggs.

After you turn off the heat, you have to decide how to cool the eggs. I usually just start running cold water over the little critters in the pan. After a few minutes of that, it’s pretty safe to pick one up and get ready to peel it. Some people crack the peel on the edge of the counter, some use a kitchen knife; I just smack it good on the side of the pan I cooked it in.

As soon as you crack the egg, you start peeling off the shell hoping it will come off in just a few pieces and come off completely. Here is where I have a problem. I don’t know if it’s impatience, lack of knowledge on how to actually peel and egg, or some mysterious rule of the universe that causes egg shell peeling to never go right. Rarely do I get an egg that starts to come apart but almost always I get a lot of little pieces of shell on the egg and on my hands. What do I do? I hold the mostly peeled egg under some more cold water and wash the small bits of shell off the egg and my hands and into the sink to be dealt with by the disposal.

Here is where it gets tricky. You see, we have a large, deep farm-style stainless steel single basin sink so we have one of those sink grids that protects the sink bottom and allows stuff to fall through without scratching the sink. Most everything falls through and goes down the drain easily–except for the small, pesky pieces of egg shell. No matter how many times you take the faucet around the edge of the sink at full force, invariably, there are still tiny little pieces of shell hiding–most of the time right under the edge of the little feet that hold up the grid.  Wash, wash, wash, look; eggshells. Wash, wash, wash again; eggshells. Finally, pick up the grid, pull the little pieces of shell off the feet and curse them as they once and for all go down the drain.

Ever had that or something like it happen to you? Maybe not with eggshells but something else you are trying to get rid of in your life. Maybe it’s a bad habit you can’t lick or a dangerous relationship you just can’t seem to give up. You have tried to bust out and get away from what’s hiding, but you can’t. Every time you look around, there it is–holding on to you with a grip as strong as super glue.

What to do? Well, the practical self just says something like, “I’ll just keep working on it and eventually it will all work out.” But then, months or even years later, it’s still hanging on like a piece of egg shell in the bottom of the sink. Sometimes, you just can’t get rid of what needs to be gone without some help. I find that a good degreasing dish detergent helps with the shells. And I find that a great God helps with the issues of life that we just can’t seem to overcome.

For those of us who are believers in Jesus, we are oft to quote Phillipians 4:13 (my favorite bible verse), I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, and then we go right on doing the same stupid things we do. Well, I’ve learned something lately that has helped me and maybe it’ll help you, too.

There’s a big difference between doing and giving. By nature, I’m a doer. Give me a problem, let me analyze it, and I’ll do my best to accomplish whatever task is at hand. Most of the time, I’m really good with that scenario. But sometimes all my analytical skills and more time than should be necessary just don’t cut the mustard.

That’s when I have to–you have to–lean in hard toward Jesus. Sometimes there is no good answer, not from counselors, not from good books, not even from the Bible. What? Not even from the Bible. That’s right. When you are wrestling with something that you need to turn loose but can’t seem to find the strength to do it, not even all the great memory verses you’ve learned over a lifetime seem like much help.

So, you lean in hard toward Jesus, the one who gives you strength, and you let him find the pesky eggshells. What, exactly, does that mean from my point of view. Continue to read and study the Bible–even when it seems like it’s not helping. By the way, the Bible always helps us even when we don’t realize it. Continue to pray about whatever it is that’s bothering you and won’t go away. Why? Because even when you’re stuck and it seems like your prayers aren’t going two inches past your lips, God hears you. He loves you and he has a purpose in all this. Continue to do whatever you can to advance God’s Kingdom around you. Even when it seems as if you are getting nowhere fast. Someone who needs your help is watching, waiting, and listening.

Don’t ever give up on yourself or on God. Listen to what the apostle Paul said about something in his life that was bothering the heck out of him. He said, I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:15 [ESV] Romans 7, especially the last half, speaks to this issue of dealing with hard stuff. You ought to read the whole thing and then think about it.

One day soon, my life, and yours, is going to end. Death is imminent. Maybe not tomorrow, or the next day, or the next. But before you know it. So, while you have breath, keep fighting the good fight of faith, keep wrestling with whatever gets you down, don’t give up, and wait on God to show you what is going on. He will, in this life or the next. The fight is worth it, friends. It is.


Life Hurts

It has been a while—about a year, in fact, since I’ve written for my personal blog. I don’t really know why, but here goes anyway.

First, I want to praise God and tell you that I am blessed among men. If, for no other reason than, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy,  he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5 [ESV]

Or, as the prophet Jeremiah put it, Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. Jeremiah 17:7. [ESV] And that’s not even to mention my sweet wife of nearly 47 years, my son who is a great pastor, his wife, 4 grandchildren, and so many more who have invested in my life over the years.

And still, life hurts sometimes. I was reflecting about life the other day and it occurred to me that, like many of you who read this, I’ve had some painful episodes over the course of years. Not too long ago it was kidney cancer. Before that, a nearly deadly blockage in my heart. Before that, my dear old dog died. Before that, my parents died a few days apart. And a long time ago, over fifty years in fact, my first bout with cancer ended in a surgeon using a circular saw to remove an entire joint. Ouch, I still remember waking up to the pain. So, life has hurt from time to time because of death and maladies.  And that doesn’t even address all the other hurts that concern people who I care about.

What I really want to speak to in this essay is the prison we sometimes jail ourselves in because we refuse to listen to our own body or the sage advice of another person who is trying to help us live a better life. You need to know that what really got me thinking about this is the sermon series my son just finished up at church. The series title was simply, HABITS.  Here’s a link to the last message, although I encourage to you watch the whole 4-sermon series; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOZcZmS0zLM&t=2s. In my personal opinion, and I’m not the least bit prejudiced, this is the best series I’ve ever heard about developing good habits and defeating bad habits.

You are probably thinking, Oh boy, here goes the preacher picking on my XXXXXX.  Nope, not gonna happen. I’m not about to tell you what is right or wrong—you already know that. I already know that. And still it seems that we often lock ourselves up because of what I call mental blindness.

What is mental blindness? It’s when a normal, clear-thinking person allows their self to be hurt by. . .their self. Let me explain. Over the course of the last 24 months or so, I’ve had a couple of those hurts that pretty much sidelined me from activities that I enjoy. What I’m talking about is the heart/cancer issue.  Sure, it hurt physically. Who wouldn’t hurt after a surgeons knife goes poking around inside your body. It hurt emotionally. When your physician comes into the room and tells you your heart is about to explode or you have a cancer growing, it’s scary, whether you want to admit it or not. Having both, back to back, took a toll on me. And, it hurt spiritually. Now I know God in Jesus Christ very, very well. He’s had my back for a long time; actually since before I was born. But we’ve had a close personal relationship for over 40 years because I accepted him as my Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit has been my guide for all of those years, the Bible has been my roadmap, and ministry has been my vocation. And, yet, those days of pain caused me, allowed me, tricked me, I don’t know—did something to me that started me down a path I didn’t want to go down, didn’t intend to go down, and frankly, never thought I’d ever go down again. Let me see if I can describe that path. . .looking for a word, the word, any word will do. No, not just any word, a particular word that is so descriptive of my case, it simply cannot be ignored or denied.  The word—INDOLENT. My 1948 Noah Webster’s Dictionary defines indolent as indulging in ease, avoiding labor, lazy. Ouch. The current Merriam-Webster online dictionary adds habitually lazy. Double ouch, but guilty.

How do I know this applies to me? I stopped eating right, I stopped sleeping right, I stopped exercising, I stopped being in the Word several times a day, I stopped praying regularly, and on and on. The key here, I STOPPED. I bet you didn’t know stopping could be a bad habit. Sure, you’ve heard plenty about stopping stuff that hurts you because it’s a bad habit. But what about stopping stuff that’s good for you?

In my case, it was weight gain caused by eating stuff I have no business eating, eating too much of whatever I was eating, and failing to realize that the resulting physical pain had nothing much to do with a bad back but, rather, a bad. . .dare I say it, HABIT.  There was much more than poor nutrition, though. I put stuff off—I’m not even wired that way. I’ve always gotten out of bed with a plan, things to do, people to see, a schedule and a budget. What I found myself doing instead was planning how to do little, put off more, and sit around feeling sorry for myself because I “hurt.”

And, then, the worst part. My quiet time became alarmingly quiet. God became distant. I didn’t think I could hear him anymore like I could before I retired. The Bible started becoming stale. The message didn’t resonate in my heart anymore. Does that sound at all like a place you have visited, a road called silence?

You see, mental blindness usually has two sidekicks, physical lethargy and spiritual deafness. I wear hearing aides and know a lot of people who are hearing impaired. It’s not a happy place when you can’t hear the person sitting next to you. It’s even worse when it’s God. Worse yet, well maybe not as bad but it seems like it, is when you’re sitting on the couch with a half gallon of ice cream and a spoon watching some stupid program on TV wondering when you’ll get that next half gallon when you finish the one on your stupid lap.

Stop it, just stop it. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. Success. Some. Failure. Plenty.

Here’s the good news. Even while it has seemed sometimes that I was lost and on a path to nowhere, that same Spirit that has lived within me for going on 50 years never stopped telling me to get up and do life right. By the way, that’s the way it is for every person who has been saved by God’s grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, I got up. Still eating ice cream? Yeah, just not as much and not as often. Potato chips. Same thing. And that reminds me of an old song. 

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus blood and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame

But wholly lean on Jesus name.

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

Not gonna sink. No sir. The God I serve is greater than all my weaknesses, all my excuses, and yes, all my sin. When I’m lowest, He is still highest. When I can’t hear his lovely voice, His trumpet still sounds. When I can’t get up by myself, He reaches down from heaven and somehow lifts me up again and again and again. Thank God!

Is there a moral here? Maybe. For me it’s just time to get “back at it.” And I have. One more thing. When you get yourself in one of these predicaments, the people around you are affected, too. When I quit eating right and exercising to stay alive, my sweet wife was dragged right down into that mire with me. Thankfully, she didn’t sink as far, but still, it’s just not right to hurt the people you love that way.

I’m back to stretching, getting ready to start regular workouts, looking forward to conditioning, enjoying my time in the Word, and looking forward to re-developing the good habits I forgot about for way too long.

I’ll leave you with this, not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 312-14 [ESV]

Spending Time

This morning, I read a blog by a Christian leader I really respect. It was about New Year’s resolutions. He made the most valid point that we should focus on Kingdom issues–what spiritual changes do we need to make in our personal lives and how do we advance the Gospel in a world without Christ. I could not agree more.

This morning, I read another article by a guy who said he wasn’t making any New Year’s resolutions because he already knew he wouldn’t keep them. It sounded like he thinks he is somehow morally superior because he knows in advance he is a failure.

This morning, I remembered reading somewhere last week that a vision without a plan is just a dream. I have no idea who said it, probably a bunch of people. I do, however, agree.  As I was doing my reading/tracking/reading/tracking thing I do every morning, I also found this interesting “quote,” “vision without action is a dream action without vision is a nightmare.” Wow. I guess that means if we move without informed direction we’re headed for trouble.

This morning, I was reminded as I read Genesis 1 & 2 for my IFIT Journal study that God made a perfect world and man screwed it up. Trouble is all around us and, frankly, it’s in our bones. Yet, if we try to go through this world avoiding trouble, we won’t accomplish much because we will always be running away instead of facing our circumstances.

So what? Each of us must decide how we are going to spend our time this year–unless we want to begin or continue to hide from the real world and try to find our worth through Facebook and Instagram and whatever other social media medium we find. (Including writing blogs and reading what others write 🙂

Resolutions. Good or bad. Neither. Decisions to act. Necessary. Informed decisions. Absolutely.

When you resolve to do something and fail, at least you tried. Never be afraid to fail–if you do, you’ll always be a failure. But don’t be afraid to succeed either. Success actually feels pretty good. I’ve done it a few times.

Sometime in 1896, Palmer Hartsough wrote the song, I Am Resolved. It’s obviously old, but also tried and true.

I am resolved no longer to linger,
charmed by the world’s delight;
things that are higher, things that are nobler,
these have allured my sight.

I will hasten to Him,
hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest,
I will come to Thee.

I am resolved to go to the Savior,
leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true one; He is the just one,
He has the words of life. [Refrain]

I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay;
taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
we’ll walk the heavenly way. [Refrain]

As we enter into 2018, let’s resolve to love more–God AND people.


I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Caring, Compassion & Concern

These 3 C’s have been given to me in abundance over the past few days. I am humbled and grateful.  Life is full of surprises and the latest one, on the heels of retirement from pastoring, was a real lulu.

I have an appointment with a surgeon tomorrow afternoon and under the care of his team I will lose 1/3 to 1/2 of my right kidney to a cancerous tumor. It was a big surprise to learn about the lesion, but God always has a way to show us what we need to see and know–a CT scan for stomach cramps revealed the little devil.

My imagination tells me this will probably be a pretty painful procedure and while there is no fear in my bones to say that there is no concern on my part would be an outright lie.  It has been a long time since a doctor gave me a big scar to remember him by.

And something else–this is not my first rodeo with a tumor. In fact, it’s my third. The first was a wildly growing bone tumor in my leg way back in 1966 and the second was multiple lesions on my larynx sometime around 1980. Both of those surgeries proved to be successful and there is no reason to believe this one will not be, as well. All of the physicians who have counseled me about this are confident that the cure will be complete. I’m glad!

All that said, I’d like to ask those of you who know me and read my missives from time to time to pray about some things. The most obvious is tomorrow’s surgical procedure. I report to the hospital at noon, the surgery is around 2 pm, and barring no complications, back in a room by about 6 pm. After a couple days of watch care at the hospital, I’ll recuperate at home for a few weeks under the watchful eye of my sweet wife.

The other things I want to ask you to pray about concern two churches. The first is The Church at Lake Forest where I served as senior pastor for 26+ years. My son, Christopher, will be following me as pastor in a few weeks and I’m asking that you pray for him, his family, and this dear church. I believe God is going to do some great things as he leads the people there in Walls, MS. He’s a great guy in spite of being my son. His heart is big and so are his dreams. I know he will give it all he has and I can’t wait to see the results.

The other church is Journey Baptist Church in Olive Branch where God has led Debbie and I to serve in the next chapter of our lives. We didn’t expect to walk into a place on the first Sunday after retirement and fall in love, but we did. God has made it so very easy for us in this regard. We were expecting to “church shop” for a few months in hope of finding a place we could be satisfied and God gave us a place to get involved and he has given us a fresh passion. Pastor Jarrett and his wife Kari have quickly become close friends and we’re looking forward to supporting his leadership helping Journey to grow.

In the midst of so much cultural turmoil, peace reigns supreme at my house. Oh, we’re concerned about what we hear in the news, for sure. The world, by and large, has completely turned its back on the God of the universe. We haven’t. God is more real and more satisfying to me than ever before.

About 24 hours from now, I imagine I’ll be coming back to my senses, what little there is left anyway, and I’ll likely be complaining pretty loudly. That doesn’t change the absolute fact that God is so very good and Jesus still saves!

Philippians 4:4-7, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And  the peace of God,  which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [ESV]

I Am Resolved

A year ago, I wrote a blog entitled, Resolution VS Revolution. It started a chain of events in my life that changed just about everything. Go back and read it if you have time. The jist of that missive was this: stop listing new year’s resolutions (I’ve never really done those anyway) and resolve to actually do something and stick with it.

My resolve last year was pretty simple. Spend thirty consecutive days in the gym, work hard, and continue to improve my physical conditioning. It worked very well. Thousands of calories burned, more weight lost, more muscle gained, better sleep and even improved eating habits.

Then, a couple of weeks after completing that stage of resolve, I moved onto 3 days a week in the gym plus teaching 3 fitness classes. That, too, was working great until one Sunday afternoon at church while teaching a step class, a slight but noticable pain ran down the inside of my left arm.

A few days later I was in the hospital having a stent put in the “widow maker” artery that was 99% blocked. Talk about life-changing. One day you are working your butt off, feeling great, and the next you are laying in bed wondering what’s next.

Later, I blogged about A New Path, a phrase used by my cardiologist. By the way, I’m still utilizing that phrase today. So much has changed in the last twelve months. General physical weakness, loss of stamina, and overall malaise set in so that I simply didn’t feel like working out and didn’t really want to anymore. That all happened in the first two months of 2016.

Then, in March, after delivering a Sunday morning sermon, God spoke into my heart that it was time for me to retire from pastoring. He made the same spiritual announcement to my wife. That had never happened in our lives. We weren’t sure what to do with this new information at the time. After a couple of weeks passed, I shared with the church elders and set a process in motion that would end with my retirement at the end of 2016.

The rest of the year was pretty much a big blur. The closer we got to the end of the year, the more real this giant life change looming before me became, even though it still seemed very surreal. Then we entered into December and The Church At Lake Forest honored us for our service, gave us many wonderful gifts, shared kind words, wrote cards I will cherish the rest of my life—and lovingly sent us on our way.

We celebrated the Christmas holiday with our son, daughter-in-law, and four sweet grandchildren; it was great. Their presence and laughter and joy and sense of childhood innocence was a medicine that did me good. Going to a movie with my son and oldest grandson was a blessing that I cannot describe. Three generations of Sykes men together, each one on his own journey with God—that’s a good thing!

Christmas passed, the decorations came down, and the reality of the new path came to bear once again. Late on new year’s eve—well, not really late, neither of us stayed awake anywhere near midnite—I was still wondering what the new year would bring and what it would be like trying to find a church to attend, not being the guy in the pulpit.

The sun broke over the horizon on New Year’s Day, we got out of bed much later than we had in years, had our quiet time in the word, and headed out the door for church. I knew when I cranked up the car and headed east on Goodman Road instead of west that this was going to be a different kind of day. How was I going to find a church like Lake Forest? Was there such a thing even out there? Was that even a good idea?

I knew then and I know now that TCALF isn’t perfect. That’s why we had the motto on our t-shirts, NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED. A perfect church would only have one member, God himself. But that’s not what church is about, is it? Church is about sinners who have been saved by the grace of God because of the sacrifice Jesus made at Calvary and his victory over death we celebrate at Easter. Still, how would this day turn out? Debbie and I had been praying and talking and searching the internet for a church for months.

Almost at the last minute, we decided to try a little church in Olive Branch. We pulled on the lot of the office complex where they meet and, quite frankly, I was a little nervous. After thirty seven years of pastoring, I was nervous about visiting a church. Weird, huh?

Anyway, we went in, were warmly greeted my the people, met the young pastor and his wife, sang along with the worship band, and listened to a message from the pastor that was tailor made for this “older,” retired, pastor. We started the day thinking this would be the first day of many “church shopping sprees” and ended the day feeling like we had moved to TCALF east.

We prayed and wondered and even worried a little how we would find a place to worship that would be comfortable to us as a family and at the same time challenge us to stay on fire for our LORD. He answered our prayer and we looked at each other wondering if this was even possible. Why would God so directly and plainly bless us this way?

As I sat down this morning to write this blog, God reminded me of an old, old hymn, written in 1896, I Am Resolved. It goes like this:

I am resolved no longer to linger, charmed by the world’s delight, things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight.


I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free; Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee. I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free; Jesus, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.

I am resolved to go to the Savior, leaving my sin and strife; He is the true One, He is the just One, He hath the words of life. Refrain

I am resolved to follow the Savior, faithful and true each day; heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth, He is the living Way. Refrain

I am resolved to enter the kingdom, leaving the paths of sin; friends may oppose me, foes may beset me, still will I enter in. Refrain

I am resolved, and who will go with me? Come, friends, without delay, taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit, we’ll walk the heav’nly way. Refrain


I’ve never considered myself a man of great faith. Stumbling, falling, and getting picked by God are a regular part of my spiritual life. But this one thing I do, obey. Daily, I rely upon the Word of God and God’s Spirit to guide. He does.

And sometimes, maybe more often than I realize, his leading is so discernable that it catches me a littel off-guard. Thank you Lord for not giving up on me.

Now—back to the gym!

A Political Musing

The Democrat party has fallen on its own sword with glee and satisfaction. In their blindness to reality, they have declared that all is well in America. They have called upon their current leader who has completely failed at his job to promote his protoge to follow in his footsteps and continue the policies that have our country at the brink of bankruptcy—both fiscal and moral.

Democrats have assembled some of the Hollywood elite whose lifestyle completetly serparates them from the realities of the average American to stand on their stage and promote the ideas of progressiveism that are closer to socialistic societies of third world countries than they are to the democracy within the republic that my father fought for in war.

Democrats gladly stand upon a platform that calls for the federal government to take more of the money I work for and give it to people who work little if at all. These recipients have been convinced by this same political system that they are entitled to what I earned. They are wrong.

Democrats parade victims of vicious crimes and racial inequality across their stage claiming they have the answers and remedies to their ill fates knowing well their promises are empty rhetoric that can only be funded on the backs of hard working Americans.

Democrats are against guns. Not one single gun has ever hurt a Democrat or anyone else. Misguided, mean-spirited criminals use guns to hurt people. Honest, hard-working people use guns for sport and self protection.

Democrats stand tall and proud in their support of abortion rights. Of course, abortion is murder but the democrats ignore the facts on this subject like so many others. A simple query proves this point. According to law, if a pregnant woman is murdered, the murderer is charged with two counts of murder, not one. If a child in the womb is only a fetus and not a child, why is this so?

Democrats build social walls around cities to protect illegal aliens in our country, cities of refuge. However, when anyone, democrat or republican, suggests building a wall on our sothern border to keep illegals out they go into a moral rage. Why? They know that can count on the illegal votes of the illegal aliens.

The list goes on. Democrats continue to foster inane arguments to further their flawed post-liberal ideology. Progressiveism, socialism, and eventually some form of communisim will surface in this nation is the good people of America do not stop it.

The only way to stop it is to vote against Democrat candidates. Are Republicans perfect. Not at all. But their plan might just save America from certain doom under the leadership of the Dems. Think about it.