Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Re-run

Last year, in the 12 days preceding Christmas, I posted a series of links to different Christmas stories. I thought of doing that again this year, but then never really took the time to do it. Now Christmas is just a week away and I thought that I would share a couple of my favorites from last year. If you're not into re-runs, you can skip these two stories. They are posts about the power of Christmas. I posted the story first and then the song that was inspired by the story.

It all happened nearly a hundred years ago -- Christmas 1914.
The Power of Christmas (part 1)
The Power of Christmas (part 2)

Merry Christmas,
John <><

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Albert Pujols

The end of an era in the history of St. Louis Cardinal Baseball.
Albert has moved on, accepting an offer from the Angels.

I think that says it all as far as baseball is concerned.

Okay, not really. In the coming hours and days there will be a lot more that is said about it. Already there have been fans that are turning on their now former hero and bidding him good riddance. Some fans are in mourning as if the Cardinals just closed the franchise down and will not be playing ball in 2012. Some feel betrayed that Albert would take the offer that best takes care of him for the rest of his career and in his life beyond baseball.

...And yes, there is life beyond baseball.

For most of us, it's just a game.  It's not our career. It's not our business. We have no stake in who wins or loses other than bragging rights among our friends. We pour our time, our money, our emotions into an escape from the worries of life...but most of life happens well beyond baseball. For Albert (and the elite few that make it to 'The Show'), baseball takes on a different perspective--one that I won't pretend to understand. So let me offer another perspective--one that many of you may not understand.

Over the past decade, Albert Pujols has brought a spiritual aspect to the Cardinal clubhouse. Certainly, there have been positive Christian role models in the organization prior to Albert, but because of his stardom, his has been much more visible. Evangelical Christians have greatly enjoyed his openness about his personal relationship with Jesus. His openness has encouraged other players (and fans) to be more vocal about their relationships with Jesus. The Cardinal clubhouse is full of guys that profess Jesus as Savior and Lord...and Albert has been a big part of that.

What if in the grand scheme of things, it's time to spread the gospel and encourage that kind of open testimony to another team? What if Albert really wanted to stay in St. Louis and prayed for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in making this career decision? What if he is not following the money, but is really following the leading of God?

Something tells me that God is not a big fan of the games that we play. I really don't believe that He cares if the Cardinal win another World Series in 2012 or the years beyond. (We already know that He doesn't care if the Cubs or Royals ever win another one!  Okay, that was mean--but a little bit funny, too.) IT'S JUST A GAME, FOLKS!

What isn't a game is that there are millions of souls that need to hear about God's love and His wonderful plan of salvation through His Son, Jesus. Albert has led teammates to know Jesus. He has given other Christian leaders and laymen opportunities to share Jesus in many different circles. Young athletes have learned that it's okay to be an athlete and take a Christian stand when it comes to using or not using steroids. Could it be that God feels that there are others to carry on with that message in the Midwest and it's time to move His superstar witness to the West Coast? Maybe this move doesn't have anything to do with baseball and has everything to do with a servant humbly obeying his Master.

Whether I am right about this or way out in left-field (pardon the analogy), each of us that professes Jesus as Savior ought to examine how we testify about our relationship in the career fields that we are engaged in. If we are to be obedient to the command that Jesus gave to us at the end of Matthew's gospel, then our work places are our mission fields. Our neighborhoods are our mission fields. If we have truly trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior, then our lives are not our own; they have been bought with a great price and we owe it to our Lord to serve Him where He desires, not where we prefer to serve.

If you are a Cardinal fan, I am sorry for the loss to our team.
If you are an Albert fan (and I am), then wish him the best and cover him with prayers in his new mission field.
If you are a Jesus fan, then trust Him in all of the areas of life and realize that eternity is no game.
If you are too busy playing games to get serious about life and about eternity, I would encourage you to consider what awaits you if there is no tomorrow.

less that 3 months to spring training!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Life and Death; Living and Dying; Immortality and Mortality

It's been a very interesting (for lack of a better word) last couple of weeks. It has been a time that keeps bringing to mind the fragility of life, the certainty of death and the question of "What happens next?"

Here's the rundown:

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my dad's heart stopped. The pacemaker/defibrillator did its thing and brought him back around after zapping his heart with a jolt of energy. There were some pretty tense moments but the hospital checked everything out, made some adjustments to his meds and sent him on his way with some fears of why the heart stopped and some confidence that the defibrillator would do its thing if needed.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the mother of one of my co-workers passed away.
On the following Sunday, a friend called with news that his girlfriend's dad had passed away on Thanksgiving Day and wanted to know if I could do the funeral (that was Friday).
Following Saturday, the dad of one of Aaron's classmates had a very bad heart attack. He has been kept unconscious by meds and lowering of his body temperature and they will start to warm him and revive him in the next few hours.
Also on Saturday, one of our high school students from church was in a bad auto accident. He was okay (other than bump and bruises), but his truck was totaled and there was a fatality in the other vehicle.

It seems as though there has been a lot of death and near death not too far from me in the past two weeks. The Bible says that life is like a vapor; here for a moment and then gone. We never want to think of it as being that uncertain. We make our plans as if we have forever ahead of us and live without any urgency to share our faith, our time, or our love with the people that we encounter daily. We hold our grudges and withhold our forgiveness and never think about carrying those grudges into eternity or having the person pass away before we take the time to say we're sorry or express our forgiveness to them.

I really don't know about two of the three people that have died in the past days. The family of one of them told me that their dad had made a profession of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. I know that there are some of my readers that don't believe in life after death. There are others that may believe in life after death but have done nothing to prepare for it. Not wanting to think about death won't keep it from happening. Life has a 100% fatality rate. Death is no respecter of age, wealth or social status. It overcomes all ages, all races, all cultures, all beliefs, all peoples--we all die.

I would encourage each of my readers to consider:
What happens next?
Is there an afterlife?
Is there a heaven?
Is there a hell?
How do I prepare for for this afterlife?

And whether or not you believe in an afterlife:
What has been left unsaid that needs to be said?
What has been unforgiven that needs to be forgiven?
What kindness needs to be done?
What encouragement needs to be shared?
What smile needs to shown?
and How many 'I love yous' need to be told to the people that we love?

If yesterday would have been your last day to live, would you be able to say that you ended life well? Would the people that you love know that they are loved? Would you have been ready to face God and stand in His Judgment?

Yesterday is history.
How will you end today?

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." --Jesus (Jn 14:6)

John <><

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giving Thanks: Part 3

It's the end of November and time for Part 3 -- #21-30.

In these last ten items of thanks, you will find some more materialistic items of thanks. It may seem shallow, but they are things that do make life easier and for which I give thanks.

21. The internet (Thank you, Al Gore!). I use today's technology far less than most, but I really do enjoy the access to knowledge and information available on the 'net.

22. Cell phones. Same as above. I don't have a 'smart' phone. It's not exactly a 'dumb' phone, but it is primarily just a phone for talking and texting. I do realize that they are both a blessing and a curse, but at least we have some control over how much of a blessing or curse they are.

23. Books. I haven't read as much in recent weeks as I would like, but I am thankful for books. The sharing of knowledge, ideas or stories through books is just awesome.

24. 2011. I am so happy that I live in the 21st century. 125 years ago, it would have taken all day to travel the distance that I drive to work each day. I have gas heat, reliable electric service, hot and cold running water and indoor plumbing. I know that these things are hardly noteworthy in the US, but still unavailable in much of the world today.

25. Music. I am not a musician. I am not a singer. I am not even a great lover of music. But I do appreciate all kinds of music from classical to classic rock and pretty much any other genre. Music can change your mood. It can amp you up or calm you down. And it can just help pass the time on a long drive.

26. Quiet time. I like a few moments of quiet time with a good cup of coffee. Thankfully, I get this on most days.

27. Food. I'm not just talking about having enough food; I'm talking about good food. I do need to learn to moderate my appreciation and enjoy the good taste without over indulging...working on it.

28. Baseball. While I enjoy following the game, there is nothing like the experience of a day at the ballpark and no hotdog that can rival a ballpark hotdog.

These last two bring me back to the beginning.

29. Freedom. The freedom to write, to speak, to worship, to buy, to vote, to travel and so many others.

And finally...

30. Once again, I am grateful to God and for God. This is not a cop out by reusing my first thing. It is an emphatic statement that He is the beginning and the end. Above all things, before all things, during all things, after all things--He is! Without Him, none of these other things have any meaning or purpose.

Merry Christmas.
Enjoy December.
Finish well in 2011.

John <><

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks: Part 2

It's the day after Black Friday and I've slept a couple of hours after having worked the mid. I've had a couple cups of coffee and am getting ready to pour a third. Time to begin writing part two of the thankfulness list:

11. Chillicothe, IL. I grew up in a small town in Central Illinois. Some would say that it's just like any other small town in the Midwest. What makes Chillicothe different from the thousands of other small towns is that Chillicothe is home. We played Little League baseball and anybody that wanted to play got to play. After the games, the winners would pile into the coach's pickup truck or station wagon and meet at the A&W for a celebratory root beer. When there wasn't a league game, we met at the park or at a field and played a pick-up game. We rode our bikes all over town, met at the Chilli Bowl for an order of fries or at St. Ed's for a game of HORSE at the basketball courts. There was a comfort to living in a small town. Even though I am grateful for my small town heritage, I am also happy to have moved on.

12. Ozark, MO. I have come full circle. When I quit college many years ago, I made the statement, "Chillicothe is a great town to grow up in and a great place to raise your family; but I'm all grown up (I wasn't) and I'm not ready to raise a family." I stayed in New Orleans and after a couple of moves, ended up in the Chicago area. When our kids were still young, we moved to another Midwestern small town--Ozark. Aaron has already moved to Chicago and I fully expect Hannah to move away from her small town home at a future date, too. I hope that they will value their small town upbringing and raise their families with the values that were a part of their early lives.

13. Diversity. In between living in Chillicothe and moving to Ozark (15 years ago), we have lived in a number of other towns and cities--a few months in New Orleans (after dropping out of Tulane), the greater Chicago area, St. Louis, a few months in Oklahoma City (while at the FAA Academy) and a couple of smaller towns. In spite of the fact that our kids haven't been exposed to a great deal of diversity in our home community, they have turned out to have very few prejudices and are interested in the cultural backgrounds of the people they encounter in school, work, church and other areas of their lives. I believe that they are certain of their own beliefs and feel comfortable sharing their beliefs. And they are also comfortable and interested in the beliefs and philosophies of other cultures.

14. Prosperity. Money and material things may seem out of place in a list of things that are more focused on the intangibles of life. However, I am very much aware of fact that there are many people in my own community that live in need...every single day. Our home is a modest one. There is nothing notable about any of our cars (other than the fact that I own three of them, two with 150,000+ miles). We don't own a boat, an RV or a vacation home. We share a laptop computer, have only the most basic cable service and live in the technological dark ages without a smart phone, iPad, iPod, x-box, PS, Wii, DVR or any of the other digital toys that many of you own. My home is warm. My freezer and pantry are well stocked. My gas tank is full and will get me to work next week. I am not wealthy by any means. I fit into the 99% when measured against the wealthiest of this country. But I also know that the simple fact that I have a home, multiple cars, a job and more food than I need places me closer to the 1% when measured against the poverty of much of the world.

15. Living in the USA. I really don't know what I can add to that. I know that our current gang of elected officials make it difficult to give our government any kind of positive credibility, but we have the power to change that. I love my country and am proud those that serve to guard our freedoms. I have to say that I am disappointed that there haven't been more citizens to stand up and support the nation's public employees when it has become popular to characterize us as overpaid, under-worked, self-serving, incompetent people. Ohio came through in a recent election and perhaps we would see more support at the polls for future votes. Occupy Wall Street has been the movement for this fall. I hope that Occupy the Voting Booth will be the movement for next fall. In the words of the Branson comedian Yakov, "WHAT A COUNTRY!"

16. Health. I can honestly say that any health issues that I have are self-inflicted. It is said that knowledge is power--unless, of course, you choose to ignore what you know. I am thankful that I have accessible healthcare and that I have insurance to guard against a major expenditure.

17. Knowledge. I'd put "education" but my formal education is pretty non-existent. As a young man, I dropped out of school and began to make my way in the work world. I wouldn't recommend this to others, but it has turned out quite well for me. I've been blessed with a desire to know and I enjoy reading. The two have worked together to help me learn much in spite of the lack of formal education. I was very proud of Chris when she made her way back to school and am proud of my kids for their pursuit of formal education. I have come to value education more than I once thought I would and chalk that up to the foolishness of youth.

18. Along with education, I have to put teachers. I have had some really good ones; so have my kids. Recent governmental policies have painted teachers (especially Union teachers) as overpaid and spoiled rotten public employees. I think that this is shameful. Not only have we taken away the tools that they often need to be successful in the classrooms, we have made education into a business of being able to pass state tests (to get more funding) rather than teaching our kids the joys of learning. To all of my teachers that have loved teaching, "Thank you!"

19. Friends. Maybe it's just a guy thing, but I have few people that I would put in the category of close friends. Over the years, there have been just a handful that I would feel comfortable calling on at any time, for any reason. On the other hand, I have so many that are much more than acquaintances and enrich my life in so many ways. I work with great people. My church family is awesome. My extended networks through both work and ministry have put me in touch with people from all over that encourage and inspire me by the way they deal with life on a daily basis. Of course, some are closer than others and all for different reasons and in different ways. The common ground that I share with each of my friends varies greatly and really do cherish my relationship with each of you.

20. Extended family. I grew up knowing my cousins (on Dad's side of the family). We got together often and always seemed to along well. I wish that my kids were able to see their cousins as often as I saw mine. I am enjoying reconnecting with many of them through Facebook and even meeting some of my cousins from my Mom's side. I never thought of my cousins as being way older than me, but since most of them have grandkids now, I guess they must be! It's been a very long time since I've seen most of my extended family. I managed to see some this past summer and hope to see more of you soon. growing up with you guys was great!

Well, that's 11-20. 21-30 will becoming soon, hopefully before the end of the month.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Since the beginning of the month, many of my Facebook friends have been posting some of the many things that they have to be thankful for--one each day.

I didn't take me long to decide that this was one of the many Facebook trends that I would choose not to participate in. It's not that I don't have much to give thanks for; I just don't like to conform to the crowds and I figured that I'd mess up and miss somewhere along the way. Maybe it's the easy way out to write a single post and name 30 things that I have and am extremely grateful for.

1. Not only am I grateful for my God, I am grateful to my God. While I can't imagine why, I truly believe that I have found favor in His eyes and He has blessed me beyond what I can imagine and far, far greater than what I could possibly deserve. While there are many that might say the following things are merely coincidence, I choose to believe that they are the abundant blessings of a mighty God. Would He still be my God if I lived in poverty? If I was homeless or unemployed? If I was sick or in poor health? Yes, He would. The blessing of eternal life through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son is more than I could ever earn or deserve. Even the gift of my life, my ministry, my love, could never repay my God for what He has done for me. I am thankful for The Gift.

2. Chris. A life long blessing. We have spent most of our lives together. We laugh together--a lot. We are very different people. She tends to stay in the background; I'm generally in the middle of things. She is more organized; me--not so much. She is the saver; I am the spender. She knows the artist and year for most popular songs from the 60s until today; I surprise her if I know that it was Michael Jackson that recorded "Beat It." She is my friend, my partner, my wife. For more than thirty years, I have thought of her, spoken to her, and loved her--every day. I can't begin to imagine what life would have been like without her. She is the best part of us.

Together, Chris and I have raised two incredible kids.

3. Aaron. I miss him. Oh, I talk to him often and share texts or tweets, too. But I miss him. I miss going to a ballgame or out to watch a UFC Fight night. I miss beating him in a game of Scrabble (and wouldn't even mind the occasional loss just to be able to play a game). I am very proud of the man that he has become and is becoming. I think that he has a wonderful wife and I miss her, too. I am disappointed that he married a Cub fan, but it seems to be her only glaring fault so we have gladly welcomed her into the family and are praying for her conversion. Jenny and Aaron just seem to belong together. I am looking forward to seeing them over the Christmas holidays.

4. Hannah. My very independent daughter. She is a great young woman! I remember the day I took the training wheels off of her bicycle. We didn't see her for the rest of the day (except for the occasional ride past the house). We lived on a 1/4 mile long cul de sac with only ten homes. The neighborhood kids pretty much spent the day outside moving from one house to the next. At the end of the day, I remember telling Chris, "When she gets her driver's license, we'll never see her!" It's pretty much turned out that way. Hannah has school planned out to graduate a semester early. She is working and earning scholarships to minimize her post-graduation debt. She is outspoken, hates prejudice, has little tolerance for incompetence but is as loyal as they come to her closest friends. I'm looking forward to watching her as she continues to mature. I wish there were more days to share a cup of coffee with her. I miss those days during the school year and am grateful that she's planning on spending the summer at home.

5. Jenny. I couldn't have picked a better daughter-in-law. She loves my son and he loves her. She is smart, hard working and pretty, too. I remember one of Hannah's classmates telling Aaron, "You're so lucky. Your girlfriend is smart and good looking!" Jenny is Aaron's partner in ministry and is looking forward to being a pastor's wife. Each time that we get to see her and hear of her work and career as a young engineer, I am so proud of her. She has become more assertive and is making her way in the world.  I just wished that they lived closer.

6. Mom and Dad. I could put this as two separate things, but the truth is that they belong together. They are "Mom and Dad" not "Mom" and "Dad." To family, they are "Jerry and Bebe" (that's two syllables -- short e sound -- be be). I have no idea how they managed to raise six kids that are all pretty fantastic people. Since I've written about us before, I won't go on and on again. But before the rest of my family, "Mom and Dad" rate a top spot in the thankful for these things list.

7. The rest of the Hill Clan. I could finish out the thirty things by naming everybody one at a time, but I won't. I won't even go on and on about how great my family really is. (I actually doubt that many have stayed to read this far). I'll just direct you to a previous post if you want to know about us.

8. My church family. Hopedale Baptist Church. I love this place. God truly answered our prayers when we asked Him to direct us to a church that would become our home. We prayed for a place that would love our kids and would be a place that our kids would want to was. We prayed for a place that would minister to us and provide a place where we could minister to has been that. We prayed for a place where we would make close Christian friends that we could share our lives with--both in church and away from the church...and Hopedale has done that, too.

9. My ministry call. I really have a hard time believing that I get to do something as fun as magic and call it ministry. It seems like ministry should be harder and require greater sacrifice. I know that sometimes it is long hours on the road without a lot of sleep. I know that it takes time away from my family and often cost in other ways, as well. But I cannot even begin to describe the high that comes from being a witness to somebody giving their life to Jesus. Though I've never kept a count, I know that over the past decade or so, I have witnessed more than a thousand souls come to know Jesus as their Savior! After a night like last Sunday when five college student made professions of faith in Jesus, one doesn't need a 5-hour energy shot to make it home at 1am; the energy and excitement of the evening is enough to get me home and pumped up for the next outing.

10. ATC. What a blessing my career has been. It has provided for my family quite well. It allowed us to choose to have Chris be a stay at home mom. I know that not everybody has that choice. And I know that not everybody that has the choice, chooses that option. I'm glad that we did. Chris is a great mom. While we never home schooled our kids, both Aaron and Hannah were reading and doing basic math long before they were in school. Through NATCA, I have met and made friends with a very diverse group of people from around the country. In spite of the things that you have heard in the press, trust me--these are the people that you want guiding your flights. They are the best in the world at what we do.

At just 10, I can see that this is a long post. I'm going to leave it at ten for now and post another 10 in a few days. As a bonus, I'll leave you a link for an article that will comfort you as you travel over the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving!
John <><

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rejoicing in the Victories; Weeping for the Wounded; Longing for the Lost

I've had a pretty fantastic fall season as far as ministry goes. I've been blessed with great opportunities, great audiences and great responses to the callings of the Holy Spirit. This past weekend found me in Trenton MO for two magic events and one Sunday morning message. Friday night was a youth rally; Sunday night a college Thanksgiving dinner.

I recently wrote about celebrating our victories, so I wanted to share some things with you.

The youth rally was sparsely attended but it is a ministry that is just getting started and is in a building phase. Even so, there were several kids that brought their friends and some (6) that responded to the message of salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus. I'm extremely grateful for the adults that are working to build an associational youth ministry and provide activities that kids and their friends can enjoy and know that there are people and a God that love them dearly.

The Sunday night Thanksgiving dinner at North Central Missouri College is a very interesting venue. NCMC is a two year college that has limited on campus housing. As with most two-year colleges, the majority of the students live in the area and commute daily.  However, NCMC also has students that are from distant areas of Missouri and even some from out of state. These students live in campus housing. Every Sunday night, volunteers from the local Southern Baptist association prepare a meal that on campus students can enjoy--free of charge! As such, there are followers of Jesus that come, and there are many that are not followers that come. The meal is free. The love is free. There is no condition that you have to stay and listen to somebody preach, nor is there any kind of requirement to make any false promise or claim that you share a common belief. Just being hungry is enough to get you in and get you fed.

For the Thanksgiving feast there was turkey, ham, roast beef, beef and noodles, and chicken and noodles. There were mashed potatoes, stuffing, salads, dinner rolls and a great number of pies, cakes and other desserts. When every body had their fill, plastic containers were handed out to the students that wanted to take some food with them for a late night snack.  I had some fun sharing some close-up magic with some of the students before dinner and then had an after dinner show and also talked to them about my Savior. There were 60+ students that came for dinner and five that made first time professions of faith. I know that the volunteers that work with them weekly will be following up to help these young men and women grow in their faith and walk with Jesus.

In between these two events, I got to share a Sunday morning message with the fellowship at Coon Creek Baptist Church. They were a warm group of people and were generous in their blessing.

I wish that I could say that all is well in the churches of our God. Unfortunately, I am still hearing the stories of those that have left the church; left religion; and left God because of the human failings and judgments of those that claim to follow Him. My heart breaks for those that have forsaken God because of the way that we (the church) have failed them. I hope that they can find it in their hearts to forgive us and that they can love us and love God with the love that they expect from God and deserve from those that claim to follow Him.

Several years ago, I heard this statement from a woman in our Sunday school class:
"If you're willing to let a hypocrite come between you and God, then you must also realize that the hypocrite is closer to God than you are."

Followers of Jesus are far from perfect. We still need forgiveness, too. I firmly believe that my church is unlike most churches when it comes to that. I'm not saying that you won't run into those that harshly judge others and appear to be self-righteous and better than most other Christians. We have a few of those, to be sure. But for the great majority, we are a loving family of believers and would welcome you into our fellowship.  Others that have been hurt by fellow believers are healing and growing in a new found relationship with Jesus.

As an evangelist, I get to visit many churches...
...and there is no place like Home. I truly enjoy my calling to go and preach at every opportunity. But I miss my Hopedale family when I am gone. I had a recent opportunity to query another evangelist that was visiting my church. I asked him what he thought of my church. He responded by saying, "I can see why you love this church!"

Made me so proud of my church family!

Sunday morning, the pastor of the Coon Creek church challenged members to come on Sunday night to pray for the lost. I thank God that there is a growing concern for the lost in our community among the members at Hopedale. More and more, we are seeing people move the focus of ministry away from ourselves and onto those that are separated from God by their sin and by their choice.

As followers of Jesus, we do need to rejoice in the daily victories.
As followers of Jesus, we do need to weep for and work to restore the ones that have been hurt by religion.
As followers of Jesus, we do need to long for those that Jesus came to save. We need to bring the message of love and salvation to a lost and dying world. We need to share His story.

John <><

Monday, November 14, 2011


It seems to me that it is so much easier to give criticism than it is to give praise.  I'm not certain if it is because we're afraid that if we give away something good it diminishes us or if we feel that we would rather tear others down and make ourselves look better.

I'm not talking about politicians. I'm talking people like you and me.

Yeah, I'm guilty. I try not to be too negative or judgmental, but it happens. I have had friends that have called me on it and it's not an easy pill to swallow. Sometimes I see it myself, but by then it's too late. I've already done the dreaded deed.

I think that Christians are often critical of one another to the detriment of all believers. One area of criticism comes from expecting all followers of Jesus to act at or above our level of Christian maturity. We often fail to make allowances for others to grow in their faith and in spiritual maturity. We forget that we were once where they are. Unfortunately, I've been guilty of this.

But not today.

Today I want to offer praise; freely and abundantly.

Some months ago I offered some harsh criticism of our Youth Minister at Hopedale. Not only was that inappropriate in the way it was done, but it was also a case of failing to allow a young man to make mistakes and grow in his spiritual maturity. Since then, I have seen great growth in this young man. Today, he addressed the congregation and delivered a challenging message to all of us.  The youth group is growing in number and in knowledge of how we can follow Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  They are demonstrating their faith through acts of ministry and learning to defend their faith by knowing why they believe what they believe.

One of the additional responsibilities of our Youth Minister is to oversee our education department. The Sunday School material that we used last year and the material that we are using this year is really helping us to grow as a church in the knowledge of our God.

There is a great movement of the Holy Spirit within our fellowship. It is not a time for tearing down but a time to encourage each other and build one another up. Many of our youth were at church 7 of the past 8 days; 4 days for the Crusade and 3 for the D-Now weekend. In the past week, we have seen 50 professions of faith and nearly as many believers make re-dedications or other commitments to following Jesus and serving God. These decisions have come from all age groups from our children to our senior adults. It is an incredible time in the life of our church.

I am so thankful that God is working in and through His people at Hopedale.
...And I can't wait to see what great work He does next!

John <><

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not Your Typical Saturday

I'm not too sure of what a typical Saturday actually looks like; I'm just pretty sure this isn't it.

I woke up with a bit of a headache this morning and so I closed my eyes to catch a few more moments of sleep before facing the day. A couple of hours later(!) I woke up feeling better but missing a meeting that I had wanted to attend. Rats!

Chris made coffee for me -- that definitely qualifies the day as a special day! Thanks, Chris. It was very good!

We took our time getting around and then went to Hopedale's WMU bazaar. Chris went with the idea of looking for a few Christmas gifts but just ended up buying a few things for herself. Now we're at the mall. She is shopping and I am sitting in the Starbucks sipping a 5-shot venti Americano with a little cream and killing a little time on the internet.

Like I said...not your typical Saturday.

It's actually pretty nice to have the excuse to just sit and do nothing for a few moments. It's been a pretty full fall up to this point.  Hopedale just completed a very successful crusade. That made this past week full. Next weekend I'll be in Trenton MO for the BSU (Baptist Student Union) Thanksgiving dinner and will be preaching and doing a couple of other magic shows, as well.  I just bought a new effect and would really like to use it next weekend--going to have to practice a lot this week.

That should pretty much wrap up the year--except for the senior adults' Christmas dinner at Hopedale in mid December.

I've been moving my magic "stuff" from the large storage area under the stairs to Aaron's old room. The storage area is really a large walk-in closet plus the under stair storage so it holds a lot of stuff. I'm finding things that I had forgotten all about. Some of it is stuff that I'll probably never use in a show, other stuff I've used in the distant past and should probably find a way to use it again. Some stuff I've just never become as polished as I would like to be before making it a "show worthy" performance. All-in-all, I'd say the moving project and the subsequent magic practice is a much larger project than I anticipated.

Along with the new effect that I purchased this week, I have a couple of new ideas that I would like to incorporate into my programs and some new ways to present old effects. Working on them will be fun. It's just hard for me to stay focused on any one thing for too long.

I have booked a couple of school assemblies for next January and would like to redo the show that I used this past fall. With only two months, it will take a focused effort. I think that I can come up with a really good high school program. We shall see.The slow winter months should be the ideal time to work on this kind of thing.

Have a grand weekend.
Come visit us at Hopedale if you are in the Ozark area and need a place to worship on Sunday!

John <><

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Celebration is Coming

After the recent World Series Game 6 victory by the St. Louis Cardinals, I saw a comment about the great celebration that took place and a comparison to the lack of celebration among Christians when a person becomes a believer.

I certainly agree that we have become somewhat apathetic about celebrating the event of Christian conversion. I have even stated similar sentiments in the past. There should be a celebration...something more than a raise of the hand and a hearty "Amen" is most definitely in order.

However, I think that I may have something to offer in the way of insight to the casual way that we accept new believers into the fold.

If we stay with the baseball analogy and look at the Cardinals' 2011 season, we find that there were 100 wins prior to the Championship game. The regular season record was 90 wins, 72 losses. Add in three wins in the NLDS, four against the Brewers in the NLCS and the four wins in the World Series for a grand total of 101 wins in 2011. (btw, that's one fewer than the Phillies' regular season win total of 102)

Each and every win was important to the Cardinals' success. If they had one less win during the season, they would not have made it to the post season.  Each and every win had its own minor celebration. There were high fives, fist bumps, handshakes and slaps on the butt to acknowledge each win. But real celebrations like winning the World Series -- no, those are reserved for ... well, winning the World Series.

There was a big celebration on the last day of the regular season when they won their 90th game (and when Atlanta lost their 73rd game) to clinch a seat in post season play. The celebration was bigger when they beat Philadelphia in Game 5 of the Division Series and bigger yet when they beat the Brewers for the National League Championship. The on-field celebration after winning Game 6 was bigger than usual for a Game 6 victory. But then again, nobody has ever comeback from being one strike away from elimination -- TWICE in the same World Series game. But there were no celebrations to compare to the one after the win on Friday night. That win was the one that each Major League team strives for; the only one that really matters. That is the win that ends the season and declares the winners THE WORLD CHAMPIONS!

So what does all of that have to do with Christians and our lack of grand celebrations when lost souls are saved?

Well, I think that there is a realization that there is still a lot of work to be done; a lot of battles to be fought before the grand celebration takes place.
When the Cardinals won the tenth game of the season, they knew that they would be back on the field the following day, continuing towards their goal. They knew that there would be more battles; some victories and that they would suffer many losses. They would contend with injuries. Some days would be hot. Some days they would play in the rain. Some days they would be tired from a late game the night before or a long plane ride. Some days they would be thinking about personal issues and dealing with family illnesses or loss. But mercilessly, the season went on without regard to the comfort of the players.

Could it be that we sometimes focus on the work to be done and forget to celebrate the victories along the way? Have we forgotten how important each victory really is? Are we missing out on celebrating milepost victories? Maybe we have become too casual; too apathetic about the daily victories. Maybe we need to remind each other that each victory counts; that each victory is worthy of a fist bump or fanny slap.

My encouragement to you is this:
Celebrate each victory.
Remember that there is still work to be done.
Keep your eyes on Jesus and look forward to the day of His Second Coming when we will celebrate in a fashion that will make all worldly celebrations look like a simple slap on the butt!

John <><

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Better Than a World Series Win

Friday night was a super night...

...And I'm not talking about the Cardinals winning the World Series.

Yeah, that was great, but it was far from what made Friday a great day and Friday night a super night.

I got to see Hannah last night and celebrate her 20th birthday by taking her out to a late-night supper at Steak 'n' Shake (I know that's not a great place but there wasn't a lot to choose from at that hour)! We ate and had a few minutes to chat and I got to catch up on her school experiences and give her a small gift.

The dinner meant missing a few innings of the Cardinal's World Championship Game, but it was well worth it because time with her has become rare and is far more valuable than listening to another ballgame on the radio (even if it is game 7 of the World Series).

But even spending time with my favorite daughter wasn't what made Friday night a super night.

I got to spend some time at Unity Baptist Church in Fayette MO. It was the night of their Fall Festival and they honored me by asking me to come back for the second year in a row. Getting to share some magic and tell the gospel story is always good time. Being there to witness several people respond to the invitation of the Holy Spirit is an incredible experience.  There were several decisions made, both kids and adults. 8 hours in the car and a show on little sleep is no big deal when you know that you are being used to help people find the love of God and receive the gift of salvation.

It definitely makes for a super night.

The other stuff was pretty sweet, but nothing compared to knowing that the Kingdom is growing!

John <><

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yes! I'm a Fan!

If the World Series is baseball's greatest stage, then Albert Pujols is the game's greatest performer.

Even if you are a Rangers' fan, you can't help but wonder at the Game 3 performance of the Cardinal slugger.
Last night he:

Tied the MLB record for the most hits in a World Series game (5). (Paul Molitor 1982)
Tied the MLB record for the most HRs in a World Series game (3). (Jackson '77, Ruth '26, '28)
Tied the MLB record for the most RBIs in a World Series game (6). (Richardson '60, Matsui 2009)
Tied the MLB record for the most runs in a World Series game (4). (9 others including Ruth and Jackson)
Set the MLB record for the most total bases in a World Series game (14).
Became the only player ever to hit safely in four consecutive innings.

I can't add anything to that other than to say ... WOW!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amazing Grace

It was only a short time after I began following Jesus in earnest; less than a full year.

During the previous summer I had made a profession of faith and been baptized by immersion at the First Baptist Church of Hammond IN.  By the end of that year, Chris and I left Northwest Indiana and moved to St. Louis.  In the spring, we became members of a small General Baptist Church in South City and that is where I began to grow up as a Christian.

I remember an evening service that took place the beginning of that first summer at Christy Park General Baptist Church.  It was the Sunday night service after a week of Vacation Bible School.  The attendance was low; the usual for a Sunday night (perhaps even lower since we had all worked hard the week before). I don't remember what the pastor preached on that night. I do remember that it wasn't an evangelical kind of message. It was more the kind of message that you would expect for a pastor to preach to a bunch of workers that needed a bit of rest and encouragement to continue in the work of God.  The service ended without an invitation of any kind; a rarity in most evangelical churches. There was a prayer of benediction and we were dismissed.

As we began to talk to one another and decide who was going to Ted Drewe's and who wanted dinner first, a stranger began to make his way from the back of the church to the front where the pastor was still standing. I remember seeing him and thinking that he was like a fish swimming upstream. We were making or way out and he was trying to get to the front. After a few moments, the pastor switched his mic back on and spoke to us.  He told us that since we had been dismissed, we were free to go; but he asked us to take our conversations to the foyer or parking lot. Then he told us that this man had come seeking God and asking for prayer and the pastor invited us to stay and pray with them.

Several went to the front to kneel and pray there. Most of us returned to our seats or sat down where we were and prayed from there.  Later we would find out that this man was legally blind and having some other personal issues. For that particular night, he felt like Satan was truly after him and ducked into the sanctuary of the church, seeking refuge from his pursuer.  As he wept over his need for God and as many prayed for him without really knowing what was going on,  the pianist went to the piano and began to play Amazing Grace.

As I listened to her play, it struck me that I was witnessing the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. I think that it was the very first time that I was aware of His Power and Presence at the moment that it was happening.  There was nothing in the message about our need for God. There was nothing about our sinful condition; nothing about our helplessness. There was no instruction, no encouragement to seek the saving grace of God, no invitation or opportunity given--and yet here was one that had come for just that purpose.

You may be thinking that this was some crazy guy that came in off the street. Maybe that description worked -- for that night. But Gerald became a part of our fellowship. His wife and daughter soon joined us, as well.  He began to grow in his new faith. The transformation that was taking place in his life was interesting to watch and be a part of in a small way.

That was more than 25 years ago.

I still think of that moment (and it generally brings tears to my eyes) whenever I hear that song. You don't hear it in its traditional form at Hopedale anymore. Now we sing the Amazing Grace: My Chains are Gone version.  I think that I like it better ... and it still brings the same memories to mind.

And I am still amazed the God chooses to love us and has provided the means for us to be reconciled from our sin through the death, burial and resurrection of His son, Jesus.

As you read this, perhaps you are sensing that it's time for you to examine your life in the light of eternity.  I know that Gerald felt that it was the devil that was chasing after him. The devil may not be chasing after you. It may be that it is God that is pursuing you.  Is He guiding your heart to come to Him?  Are you running from Him because you would rather cling to the temporary things of this life than to claim an inheritance in heaven?  Stop running from Him. He is calling to you so that you can fulfill your God-given purpose in life. True happiness; true joy can only be found in Him through His son Jesus.

I've listened to this several times as I've been writing. I pray that as you listen to it the Holy Spirit will stir your heart to come to Jesus, to share your story, to give glory to God.

John <><

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Great Night in Galena MO

I really don't like posting from my cell phone. It's not a "smart" phone (I guess that makes it a "dumb" phone) and I usually mess up some where along the way.

I'd wait until this afternoon to post this except it's just too good to put off until then. I had a GREAT time at the Galena Baptist Church.

It was the last night of their fall revival and the small rural church was packed! Kids, youth, adults--all ages filled the pews to near capacity. I had the pleasure of sharing some magic and the privilege of sharing the gospel. There were several people in each age group that made decisions to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior.  I tend not to keep a count of such things but leave the follow up to the local church. I'm pretty certain that I'll hear from Pastor William in the near future as he talks to the individuals about their decisions.

John <><

Saturday, October 08, 2011


I'm blogging from the Starbucks in St. Joseph MO, today.

I'm in nearby Maysville for a weekend Crusade hosted by the First Baptist Church of Maysville.  Yesterday, I was at Osborn schools for two assemblies and Maysville High School for one.  The school assemblies were on self esteem and making good choices.  I had the opportunity to invite the students to the 'fifth quarter' event after the football game last night and to the Crusade events tonight and tomorrow.

The Crusade events are taking place at the high school instead of the church.  Even the Sunday morning service has been moved from the church to the high school.  It's been an interesting trip so far.  The church is very active in the small community.  I think that moving events to a location away from the church is a good move for two main reasons.  First it does make an event available to people that have just decided that they don't want to go to a church for any reason, and second, it reminds the believers that we are supposed to take the message of God's love to the community rather than trying to coerce the community into the walls of the church so that we can turn our pastors loose on them!

I realize that I am not a typical Southern Baptist Evangelist in many ways. As much as I recognize that the tradition revival services (or the modern day compromise of a Sun-Wed revival) still have a place in some areas, I believe very strongly that we have to adapt our methods of presenting the Gospel of Salvation to a lost world.  If we can't get believers into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday night services, why would we expect unbelievers to reschedule their activities for a week in order to accommodate our stale tradition?  And why would we continue to use methods that are no longer effective?

I really am convinced that each believer must come to recognize that it is our individual responsibility to share the love of God.  Our pastors have no greater obligation than we have.  It's true that they have a different platform and different calling, but our responsibility is not diminished by the work of another.

At the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus is talking to Peter about the calling on his life (and death).  Jesus' last conversation with Peter is very much like his first conversation with Peter -- "Follow me."  At one point, Peter  notices John and asks Jesus, "What about him?"

In so many words, Jesus basically tells Peter that it doesn't matter what God has planned for John. Peter's obligation is to follow Jesus.

Are you being obedient to your calling?
Are you more concerned with what others are doing and how they are answering their calling?
When was the last time you shared your beliefs with somebody?
When was the last time you shared God's love with somebody through your actions as well as your words?
Does your behavior model the behavior of your Savior?
If others were to judge Jesus by the way you act (and they do), how would they perceive Him?
Would He be a loving, compassionate, merciful Savior?
Would He be the kind of Savior that would leave the glory of heaven to die a horrible death for them?
What picture do you present to a lost world?

If you are a follower of Jesus, I would invite you to join me in sharing the!  Rather than an organized crusade with an evangelist and a big event, we will be an unorganized crusade of many dozens of individuals sharing the gospel with many dozens of individuals.

If you are not a follower of Jesus, I have good news for you.  He is following you.  He knows you.  He desires for you to know Him.  If Jesus was on Facebook, He would want to be your friend.

The Bible tells of a Great Book of Life -- Lifebook!  Jesus would love to include you as His friend.
Write, call, message ... ask.
I'd be happy to respond.

John <><

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A Tribute to the Parents of Steve Jobs

I read this on a friend's Facebook status:

Her name is Joanne ............. In 1954, she was a young unmarried college
student who discovered that she was pregnant. In the 1950s, her options were
limited. She could have had an abortion - but the procedure was both
dangerous and illegal. She could have gotten married, but she wasn't ready
and didn't want to interrupt her education. Joanne opted, instead, to give
birth to the baby and put it up for adoption. And so it was that in 1955, a
California couple named Paul and Clara Jobs adopted a baby boy, born out of
wedlock, that they named Steven. We know him Steve Jobs. . . . But:
imagine if that life had never happened.

I am not one to assume that what I read on the internet is true (even when it comes from well meaning friends) and generally use Snopes or PolitiFact to check things out. If you check this story out on Snopes, you find that there is even more to the story than this Facebook post tells.

I know that the person posting is wanting to emphasize choosing life over choosing abortion ... and that's a good thing. But I would also add that there are thousands upon thousands of children around the world that are waiting for parents to adopt them. Even in the case of the baby that would become Steve Jobs, the lawyer and his wife that had originally agreed to adopt this baby wanted a girl and after he was born, decided not to adopt him.  Another couple that was waiting to adopt a baby received a middle of the night call telling them that a baby boy had become unexpectedly available and asked if they were interested. That story is one of three life stories that Steve Jobs told in his 2005 address at Stanford's graduation ceremonies. You can read it here.

Today, I want to express my thanks to those that have answered the call to be adoptive parents.  My parents' best friends adopted two boys (and served as foster parents to another) that the kids in my family pretty much grew up with.  A little boy that was born in Guatemala and adopted by friends was over at our house last night.  A family in my church is preparing to go to China (next week!) to pick up their fourth adopted child and another young woman is waiting for the day when she will will be going to pick up her little boy.

After reading Steve Jobs' story, one can only imagine the things that these kids (and others like them) will do in their lifetimes.  Their adoptive parents give them more than life; they give them hope and allow them to fulfill the purpose for which God has created them.

While Steve Jobs did much in his lifetime that is deserving of great praise, I will let that praise be given by others.  I choose to praise the couple that chose to adopt him; the couple that was willing to give their all to keep a promise to a young woman that wanted more for her baby than she could give; the couple that nurtured a young creative mind and allowed him to make the world a better place.

To all of you that are called to the incredible ministry of adoption -- Thank you!

John <><

A child's answer to what is adoption: It's when the baby grows in your heart instead of your tummy!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Spanning the Globe

The other day I noticed that about 15% of the hits on my blog are from Germany and Russia.  Really?!  I guess that's pretty cool.

I'm not sure why I look at that stuff, maybe just because Google tracks it.  US readers only make up about 70% of the hits. Following Germany and Russia are Netherlands, UK, France, Canada, Australia and--get this--Iran! I also get regular hits from the Philippines, Indonesia, New Zealand, Mexico and UAE. Other countries (like Latvia and Andorra) also show up from time to time--no doubt, hits from random searches.

Internet Explorer is the browser of choice (54%) with Firefox and Chrome still coming in ahead of Safari. Windows is the primary OE at 85%, followed by Mac and iPhone.

Many hits come from my Facebook link, a few from other blogs that have a link to Out of My Hat.

If you're dropping in from a country other than the USA, leave a comment and let me know where you are and how you happened to visit Out of My Hat.  Actually, US readers can do the same.

Over all, the trend of blog reading seems to be dropping. Perhaps it's because there are so many blogs out there now, or perhaps, people have decided that they have better things to do than read the rantings of simple people like me.

Whether you are a regular follower, a Facebook friend or just happened to find me in a random search--Thanks for stopping by today. Leave a note or comment if you feel like it. You're welcome anytime.


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

What I Like About ... Chris

Today is my wife's birthday.
Happy Birthday, Chris.

I figured that this would be an ideal day to write a What I Like About ... post to honor Chris!

What I Like About ...

Chris is funny.  Many people never really get to the funny side of Chris. She loves to laugh. I'll admit that I don't always find the same things funny, but at least I enjoy her laughter (and occasional snort!)

In so many ways, Chris stabilizes our family.  Before we had kids, it was Chris that insisted that we find a church where we could both worship our God. After we had kids, there were many Sundays that she got the kids ready and went without me because I was working and she wasn't going to let that keep her from going to church or from bringing up our kids in church.  She has stayed home with the kids when I've been on trips for NATCA or for ministry events. She has been to a number of school programs solo because I was at work.  She loves her kids and loves being a mom.

Chris is a wonderful cook.  She seldom uses recipes; she just seasons until it tastes right ... and it usually does!  We don't cook at home as often as we used to, but I enjoyed our family meals when the kids were at home and I enjoy our meals now, at home or at a restaurant.

In a way, it's odd that we ended up together -- we don't like the same kind of tv shows or movies, she doesn't like sports, she doesn't share my passion for coffee or really spicy foods (although she eats foods that are spicy by normal standards), we just don't have a lot of the same interests when it comes to our leisure time.

We both like Ted Drewe's!

On the other hand, we tend to complete each other (more of a task for her than for me).  Where I am unorganized, she is organized. Where I am sloppy, she is neat.  I am more of a spender, she is more of a saver (although she does pretty well in the spending area, too!). She stays more focused, I tend to procrastinate.

All-in-all, Chris makes me a better me.
Happy Birthday, Chris!
I love you.


Monday, October 03, 2011

What I Like About ... Work

In the past I have written about negativity and how it drains me of positive energy.  I have mentioned that I sometimes go to great lengths to avoid negative people so that I can stay positive.  Recently, I've read that some of my Facebook friends have started deleting friends that regularly post negative comments or statuses.

To counter some of the negatives that I encounter on a daily basis, I've decided to write a series of What I Like About ... posts. I'll cover a number of things like work, home, family, friends, church, community, etc.  I invite your to share your likes in the comments section as they relate to the topic of the day.  Please keep in mind, this is an exercise in emphasizing the positive so negative comments won't be posted here and will be deleted from Facebook.

What I Like About ...

I like my job.  I've had to work for a living before (lumber yard, aluminum factory, retail sales, insurance sales). This is enjoyable enough that it's almost like not working.  For those that don't know me well, I am an air traffic controller and a proud member of the National Air Traffic Controller's Association (NATCA), the union representing controllers and many other aviation related government employees. I work in an up/down facility which means that some days I work in the tower and some days I work in the radar room. Most days, if given the choice, I'd prefer to be in the radar room. However, the tower is generally a good day, too.  There aren't too many jobs that you can get into trouble from NOT staring out of the windows! It's a little over-simplified to say that I get paid to look out the windows and watch the airplanes take off and land, but I do kind of get paid to watch airplanes take off and land.

Getting used to working with a bunch of ATCers is a bit of a trick. We all have extreme egos and believe that our way of doing things is the best way. If I thought that somebody else had a better way, I'd do it that way. While there are certainly stronger players and weaker players, as a whole the US air traffic control system is a sort of dream team. From coast to coast, we guide you safely to your destination -- day after day, every day. There isn't a way to describe the feeling you have after working a busy session.  Sometimes you're helping somebody else; sometimes you're the one being helped. The goal is to get you to your destination in a safe and expeditious manner -- every time.

At a time when government employees are being looked at as a liability instead of an asset, it can be difficult to keep a positive attitude and keep doing the job that we do at the level that we've always done it.  The flying public is fortunate that we take such immense pride in our work that we cannot do less than our best each and every time that we plug in to a position.

It's true -- I get paid well to do my job. But then, you really don't want the lowest bidder to take over a system that should be more about safety than about profit, do you?

ATC is a good gig. Like most careers, it's not for everybody.  The schedule can be difficult on family events and normal activities--we're open 24/7. I've worked a few holidays and missed out on things that other parents didn't have to worry about missing.  It's all a part of the package.

I've been told that I have a very important job. I usually respond that my mechanic has an important job. If I can't get to work, I can't do my job.  It's just my way to keep things in perspective.

In spite of the frustrations that go along with working for the government (and the cover your butt and pass the buck style of management that is the FAA), I feel blessed to have been given the opportunities that this career has afforded me.  Through serving on two different national standing committees with NATCA, I have met controllers and made friends from across the country. We (controllers) are passionate about our jobs, our families, our union, our playtime, ...pretty much everything we do.

For the past 19 years, 8 months and 27 days, it's been a fun career.


Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Week Ahead

It's Sunday evening and I'm watching the Cardinals try to figure out the Phillies' pitching so that they can tie the series before heading to St. Louis.

The week ahead will be a busy one.  It starts early tomorrow when I meet with my accountability group at 6:30. The Monday morning meet works well for us and allows a couple of the guys to get to work on time and doesn't take away an evening or time on the weekend from our families. The only downside for me is that Mondays are my day off and would be the day that I might sleep in a little bit later. On the other hand, I generally view sleeping as a waste of time so I guess it doesn't really matter.

After breakfast, I'll finally get to take the Del Sol in to have the engine replaced (again). I have this week scheduled as a week of vacation.  Tuesday is Chris' birthday. We'll probably start with dinner out on Monday night and then continue on Tuesday with a day trip to a few places that we've been meaning to visit.

I'll need to pick up the Del Sol by sometime Thursday morning and then be on the road in the afternoon/evening to make the 5 hour drive to Maysville MO for a weekend crusade at the First Baptist Church of Maysville.  My part begins on Friday morning at 10. I'll be doing two assemblies at Osborn School; K-6th on self esteem, and 7-12 on making good choices.  Then we'll move to Maysville School for an afternoon 7-12 assembly (also on making good choices). Friday night will be a 5th quarter event after the local football game.

Saturday is a fun day with a carnival like event  and a couple of magic shows. Gary Taylor will deliver the evening message for the Crusade.

The weekend crusade will conclude with the Sunday morning service.

I'll be spending the early part of the week getting things ready for the different programs. It's been a couple of years since I've done a school assembly.  I'm looking forward to it.  I would like to do more of that kind of thing in retirement. 

It should be a grand week!

John <><

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Un-social Networking


Facebook is innovating and redesigning once again.
So what?

Okay. I realize that change is never easy, but is it really necessary to complain about how much you don't like something to people that can't do anything to help you.  So far, we have apparently adapted to all of the changes that Facebook has made in the past and continue to use Facebook to keep in contact with (or stalk) our families, friends, enemies, classmates -- whatever.

There are other options (although the archaic snail mail is becoming even less of one) for keeping in touch--some that actually require personal contact of some sort.  There are even other electronic options -- Twitter, Google +, My Space (I guess that's still around) and others.  I guess we are free to complain about every change that Facebook makes without consulting us, but then again -- we are also free to quit using a free product that we don't like.

So far, I haven't found the change to be a big deal.  I always set my news feed at 'most recent' anyways, so now I just scroll down a little and there it is!  Changing settings to stop receiving news feeds from particularly annoying friends is easier, updating status is about the same, recent changes to picture file access is nice -- I guess I don't see what all of the fuss is about.

Just thought I'd throw in my own unwanted opinion.  I don't pay for the service. I don't advertise on the service. I just use it -- for free -- and am happy to have made contact with many friends and family members that also use it -- for free!

For all of the efforts that Facebook has made to make their service better -- Thank you, Facebook. Keep up the good work!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Making the Most of a Bad Situation

In a previous post I mentioned that I am faced with some serious car trouble.  I've acquired my son's old '93 Honda Del Sol.  At just under 200,000 miles, I replaced the engine with a used Honda JDM. It's been less than a month and so I'm using the 6-month replacement engine warranty and getting another replacement engine shipped.  Unfortunately, the engine is the only thing covered in the warranty and I'm going to have to pay (again) to have the engine swapped out.

Having to car share with my wife is a bit of a pain.  We're both used to the freedom that having two cars gives us.  I've been working my schedule to be able to carpool with her on the days that she has to work with minimal inconvenience and minimal leave usage.'s an inconvenience.

The replacement engine is on the way and should be here this week. The mechanic has the early part of next week set aside for me.  I'm hoping to be back in the two car swing by midweek.  I also want to take advantage of another opportunity to talk with my mechanic.  He seems like a great guy. Even though he works out of his garage, he carefully guards his family time--no work on weekends and a break to have lunch with his wife and son.  I hope for the opportunity to see if they have a church home or to ask him about his beliefs. It would seem like a waste to squander a second opportunity to talk to him.

I'm getting ready to preach at Charity Baptist this coming weekend.  I still have to figure out the car logistics as Chris generally goes to Hopedale, even when I'm preaching locally.  I might have to drive a crippled car for the day--if I haven't already dropped it off for repair.  We'll see...


Sunday, September 18, 2011

I LOVE My Church

If any of you have been involved in church ministry for very long, you are well aware of the dreaded "committee meetings" that are often many hours of wasted time.  How I hate going to meetings at church.  They have a way of just sucking time out of your life and seem to accomplish very little compared to the minutes spent discussing/debating/arguing/or just telling of irrelevant stories.

I suppose that you can now imagine how I was dreading a Sunday afternoon filled with two meetings, followed by a Sunday evening post-service business meeting.  One might think that dealing with the inefficiency of working for the Federal government would prepare me for such things, but the truth is the government could learn a lot about wasting time from most baptist churches.

However, that was not the case today!

Actually, as Hopedale has continued to grow, the staff has become much more aware of how precious time is and they have made every effort to keep things streamlined when it comes to the resource of volunteers' time. Both of today's meetings were very much worth the time spent at church.

The first was a planning meeting for next year's kids' camp.  New leadership, some changes in scheduling and policies could have been met with opposition--but wasn't.  I think that everybody was able to address some concerns, give input to possible changes and come away feeling excited about next year's camp.  In reality, this was really more of a pre-planning meeting and I think that there is a real sense of next year's camp being our best yet!  I think that we will have more kids and more parent-helpers than we've ever had.

After a short break and a side trip to Starbucks (5-shot venti Americano), it was time for meeting number two--the monthly Sunday School teachers' meeting. We have been going through The Master Plan of Evangelism, discussing how we can minister and evangelize through our Sunday school classes.  I thought that the meeting was well planned; the discussion was meaningful and helpful; and, once again, well worth the time spent at church this afternoon.

Major kudos to Rich and Ryan for making the meetings a very good use of your volunteer workers' time on a Sunday afternoon.

The post-worship business meeting was pretty much business as usual.  There were a couple of items that I think will be of great benefit to the way we are able to do ministry and the meeting was kept short (as it generally is).

I don't know if I've mentioned it lately, but I really do love my church!  Apparently, I'm not the only one as we had several people make decisions to join our fellowship today and a 24/7 promise by our pastor to be available to baptize any new believers.

How awesome is that!  If your friend/family member/coworker/neighbor makes a profession of faith at two o'clock in the Pastor Terry and he'll meet you at the church as soon as he can get there to baptize your friend.  He'll even bring church members with him to witness and celebrate their profession of faith!

In the Book of Acts, the believers were devoted to one another. They met together in public places. They ate in each others' homes.  They took care of one another. They told the story of the Gospel of salvation.

And the Bible tells us that God added to their number daily!

Pastor Terry is confident that if we will model the behavior of the first century believers, God will add to our numbers as He did in the past. I think it's pretty stinkin' cool that he is ready to be there for us (and willing to make a commitment for others to be there) anytime God calls a new believer into the Kingdom!

Did I mention that I love my church?

John <><

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shooting the Messenger

If there is an irritant that is common to the civilized world, it must be car trouble. Since there is never a convenient time for it, and there is seldom a convenient cost for it, it continues to cover the "hate" part of our love-hate relationship with the automobile like a well-worn blanket.

I am in the unenviable position of owning two cars that are high mileage vehicles (one over 200k miles, one just under) that are both in need of some high dollar repairs.  I suppose I could suck it up and assume a car payment and buy a new or newer car rather than pour more money into one of these older vehicles, but finding the fine line where no car payment no longer balances with the cost and aggravation of repairing an older vehicle can be tricky.

This morning I returned to the auto shop to pick up my car after receiving the bad news of what it would cost me to get one of the cars back into shape.  I jokingly asked the service attendant what it was like having a job where you always get to be the bearer of bad news.  He wasn't laughing as he told me that it sucked.  He told me that most people treat him as if it were his fault that their car is in need of repair.  He said many of them get really angry at him.  He also said that very few of them are as nice about it or as understanding as I was.

I felt kind of bad for the guy...and a little ashamed of my fellowman for treating him (and others like him) that way.  I did admit to him that there was a day (fortunately, it's a day long past) that I might have been one of those people.  I know that it is not natural for us to roll over and be submissive when it comes to shelling out the big bucks for auto repairs. I know that we would rather bare our teeth and assume a defensive (or even offensive) posture.  Unfortunately, I find myself completely helpless in these situations and getting mad at the people that can help me never seems to be a good idea.

So tonight I'm sitting here with a cup of hot green tea to soothe my sore throat (from coughing from the crazy allergies in the Midwest air) and trying to figure out my options.  I've had lousy sleep for the past couple of days and my abs are sore from the coughing -- not the best frame of mind for contemplating my current conundrum.  In a way, it's too bad that an outburst at the shop couldn't have solved my problems. I suppose that treating people well is generally a good practice and the best option.  For a humorous look at anger management, you could go back and read my initial post from years ago.

Spread the JOY!

John <><

Monday, September 12, 2011


It's post #600.
600 posts isn't anything monumental as bloggers go, especially when it's been over 5 years of blogging here at Out of My Hat.  Several of the blogs that I read post on a daily basis.  Most post much more often than I do.  Several of the blogs that I once followed have faded into the cyber mist and no longer exist.  Others have taken their places as new people have started blogging and I have found new blogs to follow. I haven't taken the time to delete idle blogs from my list of "blogs I follow" and should probably clean that up...someday.

I was looking back over the previous 599 posts and looking at the most often viewed posts and the posts that received the most comments.  The second part (the most comments) is a little bit skewed since some of you now comment on Facebook instead of on the post itself.

For a short time, I was having the posts appear as "notes" on Facebook but then I really had no way of tracking how many hits I was getting.  Of course, in the grand scheme of things, I don't suppose that it really matters if anybody reads the rants of Midwest, small town boy.

This post from December 2006 is the one that has received the most hits--4,045 to date. That's a little over eight times as many as the second place post's 488 views. Most of them are at around the 50 mark with a few reaching toward a hundred hits.  Numbers dropped as I became less regular for a time and are slowly picking up with more regular posts and from linking to my blog from Facebook. Twitter has had little impact since I only have a few followers and really haven't figured out how to use it to my advantage.

I know that the large number of hits on the few posts that have large numbers are from search engines that find something that causes people to click on a link and read them.

I also took some time to read comments from the posts that drew the most comments here at Out of My Hat (again, Facebook comments were not tracked).  I found it interesting that I receive far fewer opposing comments here than on Facebook.  Apparently, Facebook friends feel more free to share their opposing viewpoints than those that post here. Posts with labels--message, religion or favorite bible stories--receive few comments.

In the five+ years that I've been rambling at Out of My Hat, I'm no closer to writing a book than I was when I wrote my very first post suggesting that it was in my future. Maybe it still is...

In any case, blogging has been a far greater experience than I ever imagined it to be. I have made cyber friends from around the world. Some contacts go beyond the comments on our blogs to Facebook friendships, personal e-mails, cards or letters via snail mail and an occasional meet at Ted Drewe's.

Thanks to all of you that have stopped by to read, share a comment or share a link to one of my posts.

John <><

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back to Writing (and other stuff)

Today was the first meeting of the 2011-12 session for the Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers. It was great to see friends that I hadn't seen since April (I missed the May meeting) and to greet our new guests.  Our group continues to grow and I am always amazed and inspired by the knowledge, experience and talent in our group.

If you are a Christian and a writer, I would encourage you to visit us and see if we can be of help or encouragement to you.


I have had an ... interesting week. I could say that it was a week from hell, but there were too many good things mixed in with the frustration to fit that description well.  The really fun stuff began on Wednesday afternoon as I made way way to Holden, MO for a magic show to kick-off their AWANA program for the year.  Somewhere around the halfway point, my car started to overheat.  When I noticed the temperature rising I began to look for a place to pull over and check it out.  By the time I got to an exit, the temp started to come back down.  I assumed that the thermostat was stuck but then opened up.  I pulled over anyway and made certain that there was plenty of coolant.  Once back on the road, everything seemed to be okay ...

Except...apparently the thermostat was back in the closed position and stuck again and the temperature started climbing again.  Sure enough, it eventually opened and the temp came back down.  It was running a little hotter than usual but holding steady ... for a while.

I could bore you with the details of the adventure but I won't. Eventually the thermostat locked in the closed position and the temperature redlined. Of course, at that point I was on a two lane highway with no shoulder and no place to pull over. I found a small drive and managed to pull over.  As an added bonus, I had no cell phone coverage.  The drive led up to a new home that was under construction. Workers had left for the day. There was no power and so there was no water. However, the site was high enough that I managed two calls: one to the church to have somebody come pick me up, and one to Chris so that she could start the 2 1/2 hour drive to pick me up and take me home after the program. She was not happy about this.

Across the highway was a mobile home that was set back a little ways. I made way over there to see if I could get some water while I waited for my ride (it would be 20 minutes or so).  I guess if you're going to break down on the road, it's a good thing to break down in front of a mechanic's home.  Mike (the mechanic) came over and confirmed what I suspected.  He took the thermostat out and tried to get things back together without out it (a temporary fix) but it wouldn't seal tight and I would have to leave my car.

Mike told me I could leave my car in his yard until I could make arrangements to come and get it.  I told him that it would probably be Friday since I had a day/mid ahead of me on Thursday.  He had me leave the hood unlatched and the repairs were finished when I arrived on Friday! Nice guy, eh?

I had a couple of offers to drive me up there on Friday but ended up going with a friend from church. We had a nice chat on the way up and also had some time to talk to Mike about his relationship with God when we arrived.  We prayed with Mike, finished up a few minor repairs and drove home without further incident.  It doesn't appear that the head is cracked or anything like that, but the engine is definitely in need off some work. (sigh)

Life happens ... and leaves us with stories to tell.  Maybe Mike just needed some encouragement and Gary and I got to be the vessels that God chose to use.   Perhaps a parent that needed to hear the gospel was at the church to pick up their child and heard a story that they would have missed if I had been on time.  Maybe it was the pastor that needed some encouragement as we talked over a late burger while waiting for Chris to come get me. Of course, it could just be that John was in need of a little humility and a reminder that our plans are not always God's plans.

I'm not a big fan of coincidence.  I believe that we are guided by a Great Power and the people that we meet are often appointments of a divine nature. Even thought the week has been a bit of a pain in the butt, I'm not really too upset by anything that happened.  There were a lot of stories that began this week.  I'm looking forward to finding out how they turn out.

What's your story?
Share it with somebody.

The clock has just passed midnight.
It is the eleventh of September, ten years after the vicious attacks on US soil.

John <><

Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Day Re-run

The following is a re-post from Labor Day 2009.  The original post generated a number of comments that had nothing to do with Labor Day and served to advance a personal agenda of a reader. It is the only time I have not posted comments from my readers.

I hope that you are one of the millions of Americans that have an opportunity to celebrate Labor Day with family and friends. On a normal Labor Day, I would be at work with thousands of other men and women that are watching the skies. Since I am still waiting for medical clearance, I get to enjoy the beautiful Ozark's day at home.

Too often we take for granted all of the benefits that we have because of the victories of the Labor movement. In the Ozarks, labor unions are not well thought of and often blamed for all of the economic woes of our country. The people that complain about unions fail to realize that their 40 hour/5 day work week is a result of a battle won by organized labor.

Here are a few others:

-minimum wage
-paid vacations
-paid sick leave
-paid holidays
-health benefits
-Family Friendly Medical Leave
-overtime pay
-a safe working environment
-compensation for on the job injuries
-freedom from harassment

These are a few of the many battles that have been fought and won by labor unions. If you think that your employer would bless you with these benefits on their own--you're wrong. Our working conditions in the USA have evolved over the last 120 years from 12 hour days, 6 days per week with no benefits and no security to what they are today. The right to safe working environments is taken for granted today, but many miners, factory workers and others suffered brutal accidents or death before safety in work places became the standard. Even our highways are safer because of the actions taken by the Teamsters.

However you spend your Labor, I wish you a great day. Support Labor. Celebrate Labor.

John <><

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Who Will Tell Your Kids About God?

This is a subject that I've been thinking about for quite some time.  I have some mixed up ideas about it and I'm not really sure how to convey my thoughts in an orderly manner.  I've decided that I'm just going to throw it out there in whatever order it comes to mind as I write (with a little bit of editing when I'm finished) and see what happens.  I know that for some of you, this may be offensive.  It's not meant to be a judgment of your parenting styles or skills; this is just one humble man's opinion on one area of teaching our kids lessons about God and eternity.

The catalyst for my writing this post at this time was a post by a preacher friend of mine. You can go read it here. It's a pretty short read; an excerpt from a sermon preached in 1738--almost 300 years ago and still as relevant as ever.  We never really think about the possibility that we may be responsible for promoting the damnation of others--especially the damnation of our own kids.

It goes back to a question that we need to ask: If we don't teach our children about God, who will?  Will we leave it up to their friends?  Will we delegate that part of parenting to the church we attend?  Will we send them to a church that we don't attend so they can learn about God?

Most of the time--knowingly or not--we will be the ones to teach our kids nearly everything they learn about God.

Our kids will learn from our actions that Sunday sports are more important than God.  Our kids will learn from our actions that "family time" is more important than worshiping God.  Our kids will learn that God isn't a big part (or even a little part) of our lives and so it isn't important to make God a part of their lives.  Even if we send them to church--when dads don't attend with them, most of them will stop going when they are no longer forced to go.  Dad's example of staying home trumps everything that somebody else teaches them from the church where you may be sending them or where mom is taking them.

Chance are good that if Sunday morning is the extent of our "godly" lifestyle, it will be the extent of theirs.  If we fail to be bold about our faith, they will not be bold about their faith. If, as parents, we choose to ignore the call of God and wander aimlessly into hell (or perhaps march boldly into hell), our kids will willingly follow us.

If you have no strong beliefs about heaven and hell, it makes sense that you would feel fine about allowing your kids to to seek God on their own; allowing them to explore the world's religions without any input or guidance from you.

Please understand that I don't want my kids to have my faith. I want them to have their own faith.  I want them to know why they believe what they believe.  I want them to be able to understand and defend their faith. I believe it is my job to give my kids the knowledge, the Holy Spirit's job to give them the understanding, and their job to follow the call of God on their lives.

At this point, you might be thinking to yourself, "John, you said you have some mixed up ideas about it, but it seems like you're pretty certain about the matter."

Okay, so here's where my thinking might start to cause some problems.

I love my church and the programs that we have for kids.  Sunday school, children's church, AWANAs, kids' camps--are all great programs and we reach and teach lots of kids the message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.  BUT...

Statistics point to the reality that we will lose many of these kids if we don't reach their parents--especially their dads.

Until recently, we've offered little to our young men in the way of focused spiritual mentoring.  I'm glad that it's changing, but it is changing slowly and hasn't really become a purposeful way of discipleship and evangelism.  While I wouldn't give up our kids' programs, I do believe that having them as our primary way of changing the lives of families is a mistake.  If we fail to reach the parents of the kids of our community, we are ultimately failing the kids of our community.

Dads, it is your God given responsibility to be the spiritual leaders of your homes.  Most of the time, your kids will follow you, whether you mean for them to or not.  Where are you leading them?  Are you walking with God?  Are you promoting the salvation of your kids through Jesus? Or are you promoting their damnation?

I know that there are some of you (maybe many of you) that will say that there are more than those two options.

Go ahead.
Make your case.
But you don't have to make it to me.  Make it to the Judge.  Or should I say THE Judge?  Make your case to God that you are providing your kids with more than a great opportunity to succeed at baseball/soccer/football/hockey/competitive cheer/whatever, and that you are giving them essential knowledge and a good example of how a godly man lives and follows Jesus.

Not sure how to do that?
Call me. Send me a private message. E-mail me. Send me a comment and ask that it be kept private.  Do something to secure eternity for yourself and your family.  It is time to man up and lead your family the way that God has designed you to lead.

John <><

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Don't you just hate it when you check your e-mail and it's full of forwarded e-mails?

Okay, so maybe you don't.  Maybe you enjoy reading all of those forwarded e-mails.  Maybe you're one of the people that just can't help but believe that everything that you find cute/moving/interesting/whatever has to be shared with every person in your address book.  If you forward stuff to me on a regular basis, chances are that I never read them.  It may even be true that your e-mails have been blocked or go directly to a spam folder.  In any case, this is one of those e-mails.

Except, I asked for this one to be forwarded to me.

After receiving it, I did a little bit of checking up on it.  The reporter, Charlie Reese is a real guy and really wrote the piece for the Orlando Sentinel.  It was actually first written in the early 1980's and has been revised and republished several times.  Names were changed to keep up with current elected officials; military campaigns were changed to be current day events.  The overall message has remained the same.

It's a bit of a read...but take the time to read it.  Read it all.
And then take the time to share it.

I know, I know...I don't like forwards and you probably don't either.  If you don't believe that our system is a mess and needs to be fixed, well then, do nothing and be content with a government that is no longer the government of the people.  Otherwise, share this link on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, and send the link to your friends.  It won't matter if you're a Republican or a Democrat, a conservative or a liberal.

We have the power to vote these jokers out of office.
The e-mail I received ended with a wish that this would make it's way around the entire USA--at least 545 times!


Charley Reese's Final Column for the Orlando Sentinel...

By Charles Reese - March 31, 2011

He has been a journalist for 49 years.

He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN.

Be sure to read the Tax List at the end.

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be.. The article below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a soon-to-be- retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It's a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!

545 vs. 300,000,000 People - By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan .

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible .

They and they alone, have the power .

They and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses .

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees .

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess !

What you do with this article now that you have read it... is up to you.

This might be funny if it weren't so sad & true.

Be sure to read all the way to the end :

Tax his land,

Tax his bed,

Tax the table, at which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,

Tax his mule,

Teach him as a child that taxes are the rule !

Tax his work,

Tax his pay,

Tax his cow,

Tax his goat,

Tax his pants,

Tax his coat,

Tax his ties,

Tax his shirt,

Tax his work,

Tax his dirt,

Tax his tobacco,

Tax his drink,

Tax him if he tries to think.

Tax his cigars,

Tax his beers,

If he cries tax his tears.

Tax his car,

Tax his gas,

Find other ways to tax his ass.

Tax all he has then let him know that you won't be done till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;

Then tax him some more, tax him till he's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,

Tax his grave,

Tax the sod in w hich he's laid...

Put these words upon his tomb,

'Taxes drove me to my doom..'

When he's gone, do not relax,

Its Time to Apply The Inheritance Tax !!!

Accounts Receivable Tax ,

Building Permit Tax,

CDL license Tax,

Cigarette Tax, 

Corporate Income Tax,

Dog License Tax,

Excise Taxes,

Federal Income Tax,

Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA),

Fishing License tax,

Food License Tax,

Fuel Permit Tax,

Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon in Florida , could be higher in your area),

Gross Receipts Tax,

Hunting License Tax,

Inheritance Tax,

Inventory Tax,

IRS Interest Charges on Tax,

IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax),

Liquor Tax,

Luxury Taxes,

Marriage License Tax,

Medicare Tax,

Personal Property Tax,

Property Tax,

Real Estate Tax ,

Service Charge Tax,

Social Security Tax,

Road Usage Tax,

Recreational Vehicle Tax,

Sales Tax,

School Tax,

State Income Tax,

State Unemployment Tax (SUTA),

Telephone Federal Excise Tax,

Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax,

Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes,

Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax,

Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax,

Telephone State and Local Tax,

Telephone Usage Charge Tax,

Utility Taxes,

Vehicle License Registration Tax,

Vehicle Sales Tax,

Watercraft Registration Tax,

Well Permit Tax,

Workers Compensation Tax...


Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids..

What in the heck happened ? Can you spell 'politicians '?