Septic Tanks and Scripture

I’m not very good at manual labor, but this doesn’t mean I’m unable to do it.

Our septic tank had to be pumped again today. If you’re unfamiliar with septic tanks, consider yourself blessed. A septic tank is a buried container usually made of concrete or other such strong material through which waste flows in order for the liquid to be treated and then sent out into a drain field. That which isn’t liquid remains in the septic tank and is broken down by various and sundry enzymes into sludge. This definition may be incorrect or incomplete, but it encompasses my basic understanding of what a septic tank is and does.

Septic tanks have to be emptied every few years in order to work properly otherwise the home’s drain system will back up causing a rather disgusting mess. Unfortunately, the number of people who live in a particular home largely determines how often a septic tank must be emptied. We have 10 people in our house which means ours must be emptied more often than normal.

Again, my explanation may be lacking, but the general idea is still true. If your home has a septic tank, it must be emptied occasionally and the more people you have in your home the more frequently this must happen.

In order for my septic tank to be emptied by a vacuum truck, a portion of the lid has to be uncovered. This means that someone had to dig a decent-sized hole. That someone was yours truly.

So…I dug a hole yesterday. It’s not something I’m good at, but I did it anyway. I did it because in order for the septic tank to be emptied and for things to work properly, it had to be done.

The pattern I used was alternating 20 minutes of digging and 5-7 minutes of resting. Dig for 20 minutes, rest for 5-7 minutes. I knew if I just dug and dug and dug without resting, I would get discouraged and quit before the job was done. Doing it my way, I completed the dig in about 2 hours.

I did something I’m not very good at by doing it in small chunks until it was done. If I dug holes more often I would probably be able to dig longer than 20 minutes, but you have to start somewhere.

Does this make sense to you? If so, maybe it’s how you can start reading the Bible.

I don’t mean to assume you don’t read the Bible. However, I know that most people don’t–including most professing Christians. And the reason some give is that they aren’t very good at it. And when you’re not very good at something the idea of reading a book as big as the Bible is terribly intimidating.

So…start small. Maybe with just one chapter a day. Or 5 minutes a day. Or 10 minutes a day. And the more you do it, the more you will get done and the more you will be able to do.

I didn’t have to dig the hole all at once, but I had to start somewhere.

If you aren’t currently reading God’s Word—just start somewhere and pretty soon you will look down and see how much into it you have dug.

And you will be blessed.

Stetson Bennett IV and Jesus

I didn’t believe the Georgia Bulldogs would beat the Alabama Crimson Tide to win the 2022 CFP National Championship. My disbelief in their ability to do so was not because Alabama had beaten them badly in the SEC Championship Game just over a month ago nor was it becasue I believed Alabama head coach Nick Saban to be some sort of magical coaching wizard incapable of losing to Georgia’s Kirby Smart.

I doubted Georgia’s ability to win because I doubted their quarterback.

Stetson Bennett IV, Georgia’s quarterback and the Championship Game Offensive MVP, is a former walk-on who grew up in Georgia and dreamt of playing for the Bulldogs. I’ve watched him play several times over the past couple of years and simply didn’t believe him capable of leading his team to victory in a game this big.

Georgia’s defense played wonderfully and they took advantage of key Alabama injuries, so clearly he didn’t do it alone. I didn’t think he would be able to do it at all. But he did it anyway, leading the Georgia Bulldogs to their first National Championship since 1980 with people doubting him all the way.

Disbelieving in someone’s ability to do something doesn’t mean he will be unable to do it. The collective disbelief of an innumerable amount of people is also incapable of determining his actual success in completing the unbelievable task. If people were stopped from accomplishing great things because of the disbelief of others, no great things would ever be accomplished.

Included in this is all that Jesus has done, is doing, and will do.

There no way this carpenter’s son from Nazareth is the Messiah. There’s no way He can raise Lazarus from the dead. There’s no way His death on the cross has any eternal significance. There’s no way He rose from the grave. There’s no way He still lives to make intercession for His people. There’s no way He is really coming back again.

Go ahead and disbelieve all of this if that’s your desire. Your disbelief does not in any way make all that Jesus has accomplished and will accomplish any less true.

Stetson Bennett IV is still a National Championship winning quarterback and Jesus Christ is still the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who conquered death, hell, and the grave by his sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection from the dead.

Doubting will do you no good.

Menu Options at Peyton Manning’s Restaurant

It has been reported that former University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning is planning on opening a western-themed restaurant called “Saloon 16” in Knoxville. If his restaurant is anything like Peyton was as a quarterback it will be fantastic, but still not as good as restaurants in Florida. If you didn’t understand that last sentence– Congratulations! You aren’t a long-time Tennessee Volunteer fan and, as a result, have been spared a lot of misery over the past couple of decades.

I have no idea what this restaurant will be like, but because I am a VFL (Vol For Life) and a Peyton Manning admirer I’m sure I will eventually check it out after it opens.

Until then, I have a few suggestions for menu options at Peyton Manning’s restaurant.

1. Forehead Fries. This menu item would feature the number of french fries that could fit on Peyton Manning’s forehead. If you know the size of his forehead then you know “forehead fries” could easily feed a family of 60.

2. Horseburgers. Manning started his career with the Indianapolis Colts before finishing up with the Denver Broncos. Colts….Broncos. Horses. Horseburgers.

3. Pop Tarts and Juice Boxes. For when his brother Eli comes to town.

4. Omaha Steaks. But you will have to order something else first and then do an audible. OMAHA! OMAHA!

5. Goat. Since Manning couldn’t be the G.O.A.T. (because of Tom Brady), he may as well let his fans eat goat. And no, I’m not a Tom Brady fan, but facts are facts.

6. Chicken Parmesan. Ordering this without singing the “chicken parm you taste so good” jingle should result in being forcibly removed from the restaurant.

Some of these menu options may not be very appealing, but I know there are at least a couple of good ones. And Peyton — If you read this, I’m just joking about your forehead. You have a lovely forehead.

No matter what is on the menu, I’m pretty sure this restaurant will be a success. Tennessee Fans are Peyton Manning fans and he has plenty of fans in and around Knoxville.

Including me. I’m a Peyton Manning fan. Which is fine as long as I remember to keep my fandom in check and healthy.

Some people obsess over certain athletes, entertainers, actors, and politicians. Some even go so far as being followers instead of just fans. I find this level of fandom dangerous because none of these people are perfect.

Jesus is the only one who is perfect.

Go ahead and be a fan of Manning and other people with talents and abilities you admire. But be sure you don’t follow them.

Follow Jesus. Only He is worthy of everything you have and everything you are.

 

What are some other possible menu items for Peyton Manning’s restaurant? Who are some athletes you admire? Tell us in the comments.

The Aroma of Christ

I preached yesterday morning from 1 Corinthians 2:14-17 about how followers of Jesus are the sweet aroma of Christ to both believers and unbelievers. This means we are his representatives as we speak words and perform deeds that bring glory to His name.

I love the usage of the phrase “aroma of Christ” or “fragrance of Christ” to describe what we are to be for two main reasons.

One reason is in order to get someone’s aroma on you, you must spend considerable time being very close to that person. A person’s odor will not become your own unless you stick close to them and their odor overpowers yours. To have the aroma of Christ be noticeable on us means we have drawn close to Him and we have remained close to Him. It is impossible to have His aroma any other way.

The other reason I love this phrase is because others will not be able to smell His aroma on us unless we, after drawing close to Christ, also draw close to others. We do not smell people who remain at a great distance away from others. To truly be the aroma of Christ to  people means we must draw near to people with the His aroma upon us.

Being the sweet fragrance of Jesus to others requires us to draw close to Jesus and to others.

May we seek to smell like Jesus and have others smell Jesus on us.

What was the sermon about at your church service yesterday?
How are you smelling lately?

 

Sock Holes and Jesus

I am currently wearing two socks; one on each foot like normal people do it. Both socks have holes at the toes and the holes have progressively gotten bigger. Wearing socks like this bothers some people, but not me. In fact if I don’t wear my socks like this at some point during their life-span then I consider myself a frugality failure.

As I sit here pondering my socks I have come to the realization that there are many different types of sock holes, yet amazingly no one to my knowledge has ever taken the time to categorize them. Thankfully the time for such a categorization has arrived.

While this list may not be exhaustive, I assure you that it is accurate.

1. The Toe Choker. This type of hole  is normally found around the big toe trying desperately to choke the life out of it. The choking of the toe might be a coincidence, however I am becoming more convinced this is the sock’s way of retaliating against the toe for causing the hole in the first place. Thankfully there is a remedy for this senseless sock hole violence. Putting a sock with this type of hole on the other foot causes the hole to appear above the “pinkie” toe and normally holes don’t have the heart to harm this toe considering the damage that is inflicted upon it by tables, chairs, and other items in the dark.

2. The Spider Web. Appearing in most cases around the heel area of dress socks, this type of hole is really a series of several holes lined up in columns and rows threatening to invade the upper part of the sock. One must take great care when putting socks like this on so as not to break through the web and jam one’s whole heel through the sock, tearing the sock in two, and making it look like you are wearing a leg-warmer. Has this ever really happened? Yes–yes it has.

3. The Down Under. Because it normally doesn’t increase in size or cause any real irritation, this hole is seen by many as the best kind to have. However, beware when reclining while wearing socks with these types of holes; they are magnets for the fingers of little kids and the noses of small dogs.

4. The Expander. Beginning in most cases as cute little holes over  one of the three toes between the big toe and the pinkie, these holes have the ability to expand rapidly and without any prior warning. If left unchecked they have the ability to decimate a sock within minutes. Dealing with these holes quickly and without regard to the repercussions is essential.

5. The destroyer. Not always as menacing as the name implies, this hole can be any size. But it is always–ALWAYS–on the upper part of the sock making it impossible to cover up and impossible to keep wearing without a great deal of embarrassment and chagrin. (Note–I’m not completely sure what chagrin is, but I think it is bad.)

Sock holes are bad and can cause great aggravation and woe. This does not stop me from wearing socks with holes in them, though. The main reason for this is I was taught as a child to “get the good out of” pretty much anything and everything. This means that I strive to use most items all the way until they become absolutely unusable.

This is also how I want Jesus to use me–until I become absolutely unusable. It is my desire to spend the life He has given me lifting us and honoring His holy name. I want to be completely spent in the King’s service.

Why?

Because He is worth it. The Gospel is worth it. I want to spend this life and the life to come showing my love for Christ because He first loved me. I want Him to “get the good out of” me because without Him I wouldn’t have any good in me to begin with.

And when holes appear in my life, I know His grace will be sufficient for me all the way into His arms.

Can you think of any other types of sock holes?
Do you try to “get the good out of” things or do you throw things out at the first sign of trouble?

 

Ping Pong and Jesus

Santa Claus brought my kids a ping pong table. Some folks call it a table tennis table, but I call it a ping pong table. (Give yourself a pat on the back if you read that last sentence in your head like Carl from Sling Blade.)

If you think that having a ping pong table sounds like fun–you are right. Whether I am winning or losing or just goofing off, having a ping pong table is a lot of fun.

If you think that having a ping pong table is frustrating–then you probably have a bunch of kids just like I do.

Teaching kids to play the right way is frustrating. Officiating arguments that are caused by them playing is frustrating. Hearing them slam their paddles down on the table is frustrating. Trying to figure out why ABC agreed to air Work It is frustrating.

The frustrations, though, are worth it because of the fun.

In a way, this mirrors how I feel about life.

There are plenty of frustrations. The issues and problems often pile up even as we try so hard to keep that from happening.

There are plenty of reasons to give up. Things don’t work out the way we think they will so much of the time.

There are plenty of uncertainties as we travel along. What we don’t know about the future far outweighs what we do know.

All of those things plus every other bad thing that I must go through are worth it. But it isn’t because of fun.

It’s because of Jesus.

He is my Savior.

And I love Him.

And because of Him, life is worth living no matter how difficult it becomes during this year and beyond.

I hope you feel the same way.

What do you do that is both fun and frustrating?
How do you feel about Jesus?

 

 

 

A Poem About Jesus

Born
in Bethlehem,

wrapped in swaddling clothes,
laid in a manger.

Died
in Jerusalem,

wrapped in a burial cloth,
laid in a tomb.

Resurrected
in Jerusalem,

wrapped in righteousness,
ascended into Heaven.

Seated
on His throne,

wrapped in adoration,
waiting to return.

Jesus
the Christ
the Son of God

If Jesus is Your Co-Pilot, Then…..

“Jesus is My Co-Pilot”

There is no other bumper sticker slogan that aggravates me more than this one.

I know, I know. It’s not as sacrilegious as some of the other ones that are out there. I think that is part of the problem. The error in this statement is subtle; it sounds right, but it is so very wrong.

A co-pilot assists the pilot, but is not in command. A co-pilot takes direction from the pilot. A co-pilot is not as important as the pilot.

For true followers of Christ, this analogy just doesn’t fit. Jesus is the one in the control, the one who gives direction, the one who is most important.

But maybe you like this saying. Maybe you believe this saying.

If you think that Jesus is your co-pilot, then you may also believe that….

1. Jesus is your Potsie. It’s not that I have anything against this character portrayed by the irrepressible Anson Williams on Happy Days. It’s just that he wasn’t the main character; he was just a guy that hung around Richie and Fonzie that was slightly less annoying than Ralph Malph. Jesus is not just a guy; He’s the King of Kings.

2. Jesus is your RC Cola. If you’ve never had RC Cola, let me describe it to you. It’s flat Coca-Cola. I’ve never known anyone who would choose it over basically anything else that is available. Jesus is not like this. He should be your first choice. Period.

3. Jesus is your Circus Peanuts. Circus Peanuts are more like door stops than junk food. I question the judgement on anyone who likes them. But they are a good back-up for when all of the good junk food disappears. Some treat Jesus as their back-up plan–He deserves much better.

4. Jesus is your old sweatpants. You know, the ones with holes and stains in strange places. The ones that you wear around the house, but don’t feel comfortable wearing around anyone else. Kind of like how some people talk about Jesus sometimes, but don’t feel comfortable talking about him in front of certain people.

The point I’m trying to get across is that Jesus is Jesus. He is to have preeminence in our lives. He is the one we are to adore and lift up.

He gives us direction and guidance. He is the Redeemer, Healer, and Lord.

If He is your Savior, then He is not your co-pilot.

Change seats if you have to–He deserves to be in control of your life.

Can you think of other sayings similar to “Jesus is my co-pilot?”
Potsie or Ralph Malph–which one do you prefer?