I Survived the Golf Marathon!

Yes, I survived the Young Life Golf Marathon! Thank you for all those who supported me in both finances and prayer. I do give all glory to the LORD for getting through the day without any major injuries and for being able to finish the day.

Paul Hunt and Mike Phillips were my team members. Paul was team captain and is one of two men who have played in all 17 tournaments. He really was an encouragement for me, since I was the least skilled golfer on the team. Mike… was a lot of fun, because he kept trying to play NASCAR with our golf carts.

This was the view of my ball from one of the fairways. I’m about 160 yards from the pin. My solution is to use my 3 wood and advance the ball. I’m sure I did just that, because I don’t remember the shot after taking the picture. I don’t know how it is for most golfers, but I usually only remember my really good shots, or the multitude of really bad ones.

Here I am on the tee box. You can see how my stance and swing really resemble that of Tiger Woods.. OK, more like John Daly. But you have to give it to us big men, when the ball goes in the wrong direction, it goes with power and authority. OK, OK, even that is not true. This shot… went about 30 yards. I topped the ball. It was one of the multitude of bad shots I remember.

Even if view of the fact that I had a lot of bad shots, I actually got better as the day progressed. I was afraid that the more I played, the worse I would get, but the opposite was true. My shots off the tee started to improve as well as the fairway shots. My putts never really came together, but I really didn’t putt the ball that much until the very last round. That is due to the fact that we were playing different formats of golf throughout the day, such as captain’s choice, alternating shots, etc. I really didn’t like alternating shots at first, but on the second round of it, really enjoyed the format.

These different formats really speed up the play and we managed to play a round of golf in less than 2 hours. That is how it is possible that you can play 100 holes in one day. But even when we were playing for individual competition, we had to speed it up.

Speaking of individual competition, I won! Yup! I won a prize for having the highest score in individual competition! For those who know nothing of golf, the object is to have a low score. I won some sort of putting gizmo that shoots your balls back to you so you can practice. I traded it away for a new driver. I know, seems like I need to practice my putting. But I’m better off doing that on the putting green.

Our teams also won second place in the Captain’s Choice event. We each got $50 gift certificates to the Woodside Plantation Country Club Pro Shop. I bought a shirt with mine.

Again, I want to thank all those who supported me in this tournament. I was able to raise more than $1,300. Not bad for my first year. The entire event raised more that $41,000 for Young Life of Aiken. That will provide most of their budget for the coming year. I’m not sure, but I think this was an off year. I hope not.

Hopefully next year, I will be able to raise more money and get some of my golfing buddies to join me in the endeavor. It was really quite a day, and course. The course was really a beautiful course to play, with lots of flowers and wildlife. I saw a variety of birds, including a red-headed woodpecker. I also saw some black squirrels which were bigger than regular squirrels and much bolder. One ran in front of me and didn’t seem the least bit fearful of me or my cart. That was also true for the… rats I saw on the course. Apparently, the prestigious Woodside Plantation has a rat problem. I saw at least three. One of them ran along side my cart and showed no fear of me. He had a large worm hanging out of his mouth. I had no desire to interact with him. No, the movie Ratatouie has done nothing for my respect towards the rodents. As that great rodent killer John Wayne use to say, “The only good rat, is a dead rat.”

I probably shouldn’t say anything about the rats. Those rich people in Woodside Plantation probably don’t want us knowing that they have rodents too. (How is it that I can go from golf to rodents to John Wayne in all one posting?)


Happy 2nd Birthday Joey!!!

Today is Joey’s Second Birthday! Wish him a happy birthday in the comments section!

Dominican Republic Gets It Right!

Lawmakers in the Dominican Republican have voted overwhelmingly to protect the unborn in a vote that shows life begins at conception. The action was a result of international pro-abortion groups trying to foist their beliefs on the Dominican Republic. Pro-life groups responded by supplying video of an abortion being performed and that turned the tide. The lawmakers clearly saw that life begins at conception.

Here is part of the story:

“A true respect for human life is protecting it from the beginning, the Dominican Republic is ahead of America in building a society where all human life is truly respected,” said Ignacio Reyes, director of Live Action San Jose.

His group was among several that sent representatives to

the nation over the past month to explain the full impact of abortion.

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Live Action San Jose had produced a video of an abortion and made it available to several national television outlets to reveal the horrors of th

e procedure to millions of Dominicans.

“We are thrilled that the protection of human life from the moment of conception is now established into the constitution, in spite of fierce international pressure to legalize abortion,” said Dr. Gene Antonio, a pro-life missionary in the Dominican Republic.

“This overwhelming victory serves as an example to the other Latin countries fighting to protect life, that we can win and we must win because the lives of little people are at stake,” he said.

It would probably help if videos of abortions were required to be seen by those seeking abortions. But I will settle for ultra-sounds. Showing that the child is alive is the best method for deterring abortions at this stage. Hopefully, FOCA will never pass Congress and the requirement states have for ultra-sounds will stand.

Once Saved, Always Saved???

Mark got me thinking again about the statement, “Once saved, always saved.” It’s come up on a few blogs recently, Mark’s God’s Way, My Way and Neil’s Eternity Matters, because it is a statement that is so abused because it leads to immoral license. In other words, there are those who use the statement saying that they are saved, and in view of that, they head out for life and live it up in the most sinful fashion they can fathom.

I’ve witnessed this in both my former days as a non-believer and in my days as a believer. This should be a good indication of how prevalent the abuse is, that even as someone who had never tasted the grace of God, I encountered “believers” who were no less wicked than I was.

So what of it? What does Scripture have to say of something like this, if anything at all? It actually does. The apostle Paul had to deal with this issue in his letter to the Romans, because there were those who were saying that Paul was preaching the richness of grace in such away, that it led to the belief that we could live however we wanted to, with as much sin in our lives as we wanted to.

There is nothing further from the truth, according to Paul and the word of God. Paul’s answer to the accusation was in the strongest of terms:

Romans 6:1-4 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

In other words, if we are truly united in Christ, in His holiness, in His death, in His resurrection, then how on earth could we continue in sin, and desire to continue in sin? We cannot at all. We are a new creation, and sin should be abhorrent to us. Paul’s language is the strongest possible language he could use without going into profanity in order to make his point: Certainly not! If we truly are united to Christ, then we are dead to sin, and alive to Christ. He goes on:

Romans 6:5-6 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

In other words, we have changed masters. Sin is no longer our master, but Christ is. If we are truly born again, then we are no longer slaves to sin, and we have the freedom NOT to sin. Therefore, why would we want to.

From the moment of our conception, we are bound to sin, dead in our trespasses, children of wrath, trapped in the darkness of the world. The moment that we believe and are born again, all of that falls away. For the first time in our lives, we can now turn from sin, and live unto Christ. We have been freed from our greatest foe, therefore, why would we want to unite to that foe again? Why would we want to remain in that state of sin?

Paul is saying in the strongest terms, that we should not. Especially so that grace might abound. Yes, grace will abound when we sin. But that is not so that we might continue in sin.

Romans 6:12-13 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

We have been given the glorious opportunity to live for and to Christ, to be used by Christ for His glory. Therefore, why would we want to remain in our sin?

This is why we should see some level of sanctification in our lives. We should be making progress in this area, provided we are making use of the means of grace in our lives. If we are still the same, wretched fallen individuals that we were when we first believed, then we can rightfully ask the question: are we truly saved?

This Scripture leads us to ask those questions. We should see some progress and know that we are progressing in holiness.

So back to the original statement: “once saved, always saved?” That depends. If you are truly saved, then sin will be abhorrent in your life. If not, then are you “truly and really” saved?

Many people believe that since they have walked an aisle, said a prayer, can remember the date that they said that prayer, that they are saved. Yet those things do not save us. It is believe in Jesus Christ alone, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, His righteousness that saves us. That is the gospel. Not trite sayings, prayers, acts of piety, but belief in Christ and Christ alone.

Are you truly saved?

Understanding Calvinism

One of my goals with this blog is to help others understand Calvinism. I haven’t done a very good job in this area, because this blog is also for the purpose of speaking out against the left in this country. There are just so many things to speak out against, that Calvinism gets pushed to the side.

In view of that, I thought I would post Dr. James White’s discussion of Calvinism in relation to a sermon given by the late Dr. Adrian Rogers. Dr. White addresses some of the common fallacies that are presented by those opposed to the doctrines of grace, as Rogers does. While it is more than an hour long, it’s worth listening to.

So grab a cup of coffee, your favorite snack, sit back and listen.

Church Lady Has Got Talent: Susan Boyle

Everyone knows who Simon Cowell is of American Idol. He is also one of the judges of Britain’s Got Talent, a similar show in Britain. He was in utter shock at this woman’s ability to sing. She shocked everyone because she looks more like the church lady than a singer. The video will bring tears to your eyes. It’s worth watching. (I was going to save it for tomorrow, but it’s too good to miss. BTW, I’ve UPDATED the Texas post below this one). Read more about Susan Boyle here.

But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping…

A portion of Sunday’s Easter sermon based on John 20:11-18.

Of all the followers of Jesus, Mary Magdalene was one of the most grateful. I say that with confidence because of the actions we see in her, and because of the blessing given to her by the LORD. Of all those whom He could have chosen to appear to first, He chooses Mary.

So who is Mary Magdalene? Most believe that she was the sinner found in Luke 7, who anoints Christ’s feet with her tears and oil. But there is no reason to believe this other than speculation, and to say that she is the woman in Luke 7, when Luke has every opportunity to tell us, is to speculate. Don’t fear if you have done so. I’ve oscillated on the issue as well. But for now, I’m in the camp that believes it’s not the same woman.

Luke tells us that Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven demons and the Lord delivered her from those demons. Just in case you are wondering, being possessed by demons is not a sin. It’s a dreadful state, but not a sin.

We also know that she is from Magdala, which is close to the Sea of Galilee. Other than that, we don’t know that much about her.

From that point of deliverance, she is one of the many silent supporters of Christ’s ministry. She was the type of person that every ministry truly needs. One that helps provide for those out front. We see her first in Luke 8, where she was named among the women who were following and supporting Christ.

Luke 8:1-3 Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him[a] from their substance.

She was also there for Christ at the cross. She stood by and watched as her Lord was put to death.

She was at His burial, and noted that His body wasn’t fully anointed.

She was one of the women who arose early on that Lord’s day so that they could anoint His body with oil, and one of the first to find the tomb missing.

Both Peter and John come running up to look at the situation, find the tomb empty and then go back home. But she lingers. She remains at the tomb and weeps. Her heart is broken. Not only have the authorities crucified Her Lord, but now the body is missing. She is broken.

In her lingering, we discover a wonderful truth about those who love the LORD, that is, that those who love Christ most diligently and perseveringly are those that receive the most privileges from Christ’s hand.[1]

It’s a touching fact that she would not leave. She wanted to be with Him, even if He was dead. It should not surprise us to see her deep love for Him. Remember what it was the Jesus did for her. He delivered her from the bondage of seven demons. Now I don’t know that any of us have ever been possessed by a demon, but I can imagine that it is something we don’t desire or want.

She was possessed by seven demons, and knew that her sanity and salvation was found in one man alone, Jesus Christ. It is true, the more one is forgiven, the more one loves the Lord. Apparently her love was such that the Lord would bless her in a wonderful way, by appearing to her first.

The Lord blesses all those who are His. In some, He gives greater blessings than others. But we must realize that those who dwell with Him, will always have more shown to them from the Word of God, than those who don’t.

“But it is a certain fact that those who love Christ most fervently, and cleave to Him most closely, will always enjoy most communion with Him, and feel most of the witness of the Spirit in their hearts.”[2]

Does that not sound delightful to you? To have more communion with Him though, we must spend more time with Him, and realize the depth of are sin. By doing so, we see the greatness of His grace in our lives and we long to be with Him even more.

EXPLANATION: We spend time with Him, by being in His word, praying to Him, asking for insight, talking to Him about His truth, meditating on His truth.

But also by being in worship. This is our time to be with Him. When we gather in worship, we are coming together as a body to sit at His feet, learn and be fed. This is one reasons why I don’t like to limit our time to one hour. I know, everyone has the Sunday hams at home. But just as Martha had to learn about her sister, it was better to let dinner wait and sit at the feet of Christ, than satisfy the flesh with a big smoking ham.

Luke 10:42 “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Mary does this. She longs to be with Him, so much so that she did not fear the rulers on the day that He was crucified. She went, and stood with the other women and wept with them. The disciples fled, but she stayed.

Peter and John left the grave, but she stayed. She didn’t want to be the first to tell the others. She wants Him, and because of this, Jesus will open her eyes to the realization of the resurrection.

Remember, this is what the empty tomb is about. It’s about the risen Savior, showing us God’s good pleasure in Him. The is the sealing of our faith, showing us that we are not foolish in believing in Christ because we have a future hope.

Our death, whether we are in Christ or out of Christ, does NOT bring annihilation, as so many people believe. Annihilation is the belief that when you die, you just cease to exist. The problem with this view is that all mankind is made in the image of God. Therefore, even though our images are tarnished with sin, we go on after our physical deaths. Those in Christ go on to be with Him in heaven, while those outside of Christ go on forever in eternal hell.

The resurrection confirms that reality. It shows that God truly is the God of the living, not the dead. It confirms all those promises that He gave during His ministry.

John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] 3

His statement is pointing to the resurrection, showing that He is leaving them, but not just because death overtakes Him. He is leaving them because He has a greater purpose in mind.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me

All this to say that He was preparing them both for the resurrection and His ascension.

[1] Taken from JC Ryle’s Expository Thought On the Gospel of John, Banner of Truth Trust, Vol. 2, p. 366.

[2] Ryle, p. 366.

Round Up!

Happy Blog
For the category of Happy Blog, please watch the following. Unless you are Mr. Grumpy Pants, you should enjoy this thoroughly.

48 and Counting!
I had a wonderful 48th birthday yesterday. My lovely bride went to the trouble to set up a golf game for me. I love to play golf and always feel like I’m a kid getting to go to the State Fair to ride the roller coaster. So the fact that she set up the game really made it special.

But alas, it was raining yesterday morning and the guy I was to play with canceled the trip. Wimp! It was just a little rain. Seriously, the day turned out to be beautiful weather wise. Part of the problem could have been that the place we wanted to play jacked their prices up for Master’s Week. Every golf course in the area just about doubles the prices because for some reason, when the Master’s starts over in August (about 25 miles from here), everyone wants to place golf. So much so, that they are willing to pay the higher prices.

What did I do instead of golfing? Bought more plants for the yard. Yup! More yard work.

We also went to Outback Steakhouse with Michelle and Heath. It was a blast, especially watching Joey make eyes with the little girl in the booth next to ours. He was real entertainment. I got the Outback Steak special, the big un, with a baked potato smothered in all the fixins. I wasn’t about to go light at all. We rarely get to go there, and I wanted to enjoy every bite of that steak. It was delicious (BTW, thanks to the family my church that gave me the two $50 gift certificates for Outback Steakhouse. Your gift made my birthday all that more special).

NCAA Tournament!
Congrats to the Tarheels. They are the best team in the country. I had no idea how good they were before the tournament started. I know. Where was I throughout the year? My tourny bracket was long since trashed since I did so bad on it, that I had no dog in this fight. They truly took it to the Spartans.

The Furher and Aggie Football

This is truly a gem for those of you who know anything about Big 12 football. Hitler has assumed the controls of Aggie Football, and his advisers has to tell him… that yes, he lost to Baylor too!