Are you ready to answer?

   This is a copy of my speaking notes from a devotional thought I gave last Wednesday evening. I try not to read my notes word for word but use them more as a guide. With that disclaimer, I hope you understand if it is not written perfectly. 

    I have just recently decided to try my hand at turkey hunting. I've seen several strutting around our land this spring and so I went yesterday evening on the way home from work and I bought all the stuff that the experts say that I'm going to need. New camo, special shotgun shells, and last but not least a couple of turkey calls.  Something I always wanted to try was the turkey calls that go into your mouth. That just seems like the way to go, hands free! Well I practiced my calling this morning all the way to work and figured I would close the door to my office and practice while I worked.  Apparently, closing the door wasn't really enough to stop the sound from traveling to other offices and so it wasn't long before I heard *Knock, knock, knock* on my door. Thankfully it was someone from my team that I'm good friends with so I decided to have a little fun with him. So when he asked me, what is that noise? I looked at him, took out the call and said, it's a turkey call - and it looks like it works!

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:15, 16 NASB)

You see, the same way that me using that turkey call brought attention to me, Peter is saying that people are going to notice that you as followers of Christ are different. This should give us something to think about. When is the last time that someone came up to you and asked you "Hey, why do you have hope of eternal life with God in Heaven?". I don't think I've ever been asked that. But what about these questions

"How have you been married so long?",  "Why don't you cuss or go out partying and get drunk with us?", "Why did you turn down courtside tickets to a Thunder game?", "Why are you leaving ball practice early on Wednesday evening?, "Why don't you laugh at our dirty jokes?"

    There are all kinds of questions that the world asks of us. They aren't usually so straightforward as "Hey, why do you have hope of eternal life with God in Heaven." But guess what, that is exactly what they are asking in all of those questions.

The world will notice your actions, good or bad, and they will ask you why if you are different.  How many of these opportunities have you let slip through your fingertips? I've certainly been guilty of not being ready to give an answer to those questions.  It's not always easy to answer some of them out of fear because we don't want to hurt someone else's feelings.  Peter writes that they should answer those questions, yet do so with gentleness and reverence.  Certainly we can find a way to do that.

Paul writes in Colossians chapter 4 verse 5:

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:5, 6 NASB)

    I want you to think about tonight how you will respond to each person when they ask you why you live the way you do. Do you know enough scripture to be able to study with that person if they ask? Are you willing to know enough about what your friends and neighbors believe to be able to show them with grace, gentleness, and reverence why the scriptures say they are wrong? If not I encourage you to get ready, don't let another opportunity pass by.

A Public Confession

This past Wednesday, January 15th, 2014, I made a very public and very emotional confession in front of my brothers and sisters at the Bridge Creek church of Christ. I opened up and admitted to myself and everyone that: 

I’ve been a hypocrite for many, many years now.

I don’t remember a whole lot about my childhood, one too many bumps to the head I guess, but I do remember the day that it “clicked” for me that Jesus was the son of God and that I needed to accept him as my Lord and Savior. My parents attended Bible Baptist Church in Chickasha and we were there on a bright and sunny Sunday morning when I seemed to finally really hear and understand what was being said. I told my mom and dad I wanted to be saved and walked up to the front as “Just as I am” was being sung. I said the sinner’s prayer, and really believed it. Confessed Jesus as God’s son and my lord and felt fantastic, I thought my salvation was beyond question.

I believe it was that evening when we returned to church that I went in front of the congregation, and they apparently voted (which I thought was strange) on whether or not I was ready to be baptized. I guess I passed the test because I was baptized that night. 

I never really thought about those events again until I entered college. A friend of mine died in a motorcycle accident and it caused me to start looking more closely at how I was living my life. I got back into the habit of reading my Bible, and started attending church with Shambra. It was about that time after studying and understanding the steps of salvation that I started to doubt my own salvation. Looking back, I should have removed the doubt back then. I told myself though that I had not really missed any steps, my reasons were pure when I was baptized, I was not forced into anything, therefore I need to stop worrying and move on. So that is exactly what I did. 

I told people I was a Christian and would give people my salvation story hoping that the doubt in my eyes wouldn't show. I studied scripture with people half way around the world on mission trips telling them exactly what they needed to do to save themselves from judgement. I believed and taught hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptized.

However, occasionally while reading scripture or after hearing a sermon, doubt would creep into my mind. I was unsure about my salvation due to my doubts about the scriptural validity of my baptism. "That is just Satan causing me to question." I would say to myself, and proceed to put those feelings back in the box where we humans keep our deepest and darkest secrets, never to let them out. 

Then I started reading Muscle and a Shovel. Immediately I related to the author and his spiritual upbringing. His story is so similar to mine its scary. I was reading it last week and found a paragraph that really hit me like a punch to the gut. It says:

Doubt causes indecision. Indecision causes inaction. Inaction causes us to put the important back there where the unimportant things reside. Inaction causes idleness and additional doubt. It builds a wall between what’s important and whats unimportant. Once those walls grow, it’s difficult to know how to tear them down.
— Michael Shank

I realized that my doubt of my baptism had been neatly tucked behind a wall for years. The numerous times that wall crumbled was not the work of Satan, but instead the work of God! After all, what possible reason would Satan have for motivating me to undergo a scriptural baptism?  I couldn't think of any.

I finally realized that my reasons for not obeying the Gospel in the way I know to be correct are not great reasons. The reasons really only boil down to pride, shame and fear. I feared that if I acknowledged that my original baptism as not really a baptism at all, what did that make me in the time since that happened? I have truly believed that Christ was the Son of God for over 15 years, have been on the other side of the globe teaching people what they needed to do to be saved, and I had not even done it myself! At worst that made me a hypocrite, and at best it made me completely ignorant.

I don’t think I realized until recently how heavily this has been weighing on my heart. I was exhausted from thinking about it, researching it, talking about it. Last Wednesday evening, January 15th, 2014, at the age of 30, I finally decided that it was silly to dwell on it any longer. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by obeying the Gospel and being baptized into the body of Christ.

John 3:5 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:5

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That night, I slept better than I have in a long time. The doubt is gone.  I have been raised to walk in the newness of life.

I wanted to tell this story for a few reasons. I want this to first serve as another public confession of my faith and belief. Secondly, I want to encourage anyone that may also be wrestling with doubts about the scriptural validity of their salvation to study out the truth for yourself. Grab a Bible and actually read it with an open mind. If you have a denominational background as I have, I strongly recommend reading the book Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank.

If you would like to study God's Word with me, hit me up. I'm by no means a Biblical scholar, but I'd be glad to sit down and study with you. 

God Bless!

4 YEARS?!

Wow. I think this blog proves how much having a kid changes your life. My last post was 4 years ago! So what has happened in that 4 years? Here it goes.

We had another child. His name is Weston Dale Pettijohn and he is my little Bubba. We had his 2nd birthday party today, but his birthday is actually tomorrow.
We moved from Mustang to Bridge Creek, bought a foreclosure and have paid it off. (WE'RE DEBT FREE!)
I joined the Bridge Creek Fire Department, have completed EMR and Firefighter 1 training.
My grandpa Ryans went to be with our Lord and Savior. I miss him everyday. I was blessed to be able to talk about him and his faith in God at his memorial service and to be able to put together a slide show.
I'm sure there is much more, but that's a start anyway. Hopefully the next post won't take me 4 years.

The worst St. Patricks Day Ever!

Today started like any other day. I woke up, got ready for work, and was just putting my backpack into the back seat of our 2003 Ford Explorer when everything changed. "Hmmm, Where did that glass come from?" I thought as I sat my backpack down. I looked up and found the rear passenger side window... gone.... What? Confused I stood there for a moment trying to figure out what freak accident could have broken out the window. A rock thrown from a lawnmower? Kids playing baseball in the street?


I walked around the car and noticed that this was no accident. Someone had used a prybar to bust out the window so that they could get into the vehicle. Outraged, I walked into the house and told Shambra "Someone broke into the Explorer!" We went outside and started to survey the damage and Shambra said "They tore up the dash!" Looking toward the steering wheel I noticed that they wanted more than the stuff inside the car, they tried to steal the vehicle! It seems that they tried to forcibly turn the ignition with a prybar, and in the process tore up all kinds of stuff. Well, so much for driving it to the body shop.


As I was surveying the damage, I noticed something in the drivers seat. It looked like... A cell phone? Yes! A cell phone! A clue! We can catch the moron that did this! A rush of excitement coursed through my veins as I dialed the Mustang Police Department.


When the officer arrived he took down all my information, and asked about the cell phone. I handed it over and told him that hopefully we can catch the guy with the information on the phone. He then told me that he noticed that the vandals had hit several cars on our street, and it could just be someone's stolen phone from another vehicle. While this is possible, I would bet that the cell phone belongs to the vandal, just based on the wallpaper and contact names I saw on the phone.


Anyway, all this has left me very angry. Thankfully I had full coverage on the Explorer with a $100 deductible. So the tow truck came and got the Explorer, it is in the shop, and it will get fixed. Funny thing is, I'm out $100, and the criminal is out a cell phone!



Butt Scratching and Bass Fishing by Dave Ramsey

I started to write my own rant on how socialism is getting completely out of control in this country when I ran across this little gem.  I couldn't agree more with the following.

Butt Scratching and Bass Fishing by Dave Ramsey

A couple of weeks ago, I worked late like I sometimes need to do to run my business. It was a nice Tennessee summer evening, and I was enjoying the drive home. About 7:30, as I pulled to a stop light a few blocks from my office, I noticed a light on in the corner office of a friend’s office building. Through the twilight I could make out my friend’s silhouette as he bent over his desk. Being a fellow entrepreneur, I knew what he was doing.

He was looking over some receivables. Some turkey hadn’t paid him, and he was trying to make his accounts balance so he would have the cash to make it another day. In that instant, I had a flashback to some of the ridiculous statements I’ve been hearing on the talking-head news channels and from some individuals during this political year. And I’ll be honest—I instantly felt the heat of anger flow through my body.

Let me tell you why. You see, my friend who I saw working late—we’ll call him Henry—is a great guy. He’s what you want your son to grow up to be. He loves God, his country, his wife, and his kids. He didn’t have the academic advantage of attending a big-name university. Instead, he started installing heating and air systems as a grunt laborer after he graduated from high school. He was and is a very hard and diligent worker, and before long, the boss taught him the trade. But when he was 24, after 6 years of service, the company he was working for got into financial trouble and laid him off.

Henry still had his tools, so he bought an old pickup to haul around his materials and tools, and suddenly he was in business. He knew about heating and air-conditioning, but not about business, so he made a lot of mistakes.

He persisted. He took accounting and management at the community college to learn about business. He started reading books on business, HVAC, marriage, kids, God, and anything else someone he respected recommended. Today he is one of the best-read men I know. Soon, because of his fabulous service and fair prices, he developed a great reputation, and his little business began to grow.

Henry started 15 years ago, and now he has 17 employees whose families are fed because he does a great job. He is in church on Sunday and seldom misses his kids’ Little League games. Sometimes he has to miss a game because some poor soul has their AC go out in the 96-degree Tennessee summer heat, but Henry makes sure they are served. He is, by all standards, a good man. He is, by all standards, what makes America great.
Henry and I are friends, and so he asked me some financial questions last year. I learned in the process that his personal taxable income last year was $328,000. I smiled with pride for this 70-hour a week guy because he is living the dream.
At the stop light that evening, I also thought of another guy I know—and that is where the anger flash came from. We will call him John. While John does not have the same drive Henry has, I can say that he, too, is a good man.

John also graduated from high school and did not attend a big-name university. He went to work at a local factory 15 years ago. When 5:00pm comes around, John has probably already made it to his car in the parking lot. He comes in 5 minutes late, takes frequent breaks, and leaves 5 minutes early. However, to his credit, he is steady and works hard.

Over the years, due to his steadiness and seniority, he has worked his way up to about $75,000 per year in that same factory. He seldom misses his kid’s ballgames, but

most nights you will find him in front of the TV where he has become an expert on “American Idol,” “The Biggest Loser,” and who got thrown off the island. When he is not in front of the TV, he spends a LOT of time and money bass fishing on our local lake. He never works over 40 hours a week and hasn’t read a non-fiction book since high school.

This is America, and there is nothing wrong with either set of choices. Nothing wrong, that is, until the politicians and socialists get involved ...

I have seen several elitist people on the talking-head channels make the statement lately that people making over $250,000 per year have a “moral imperative” to pay more in taxes to take care of the country’s problems. This is not only infuriating—it is economically, spiritually, and morally crazy!

Where in the world do these twits get off saying that Henry should be punished for his diligence? If you are John, where do you get off trying to take Henry’s hard-earned money away from him in the name of your misguided “fairness”? If you want to sit on the lake, drink beer, scratch your butt, and bass fish, that is perfectly fine with me. I am not against any of those activities and have engaged in some of them myself at one time or another. But you HAVE NO RIGHT to talk about “moral imperatives” about what other people have earned due to their diligence. That money is not yours! You want some money? Go earn some! Get up, leave the cave, kill something, and drag it home.

We are in a dangerous place in our country today. A segment of our population has decided that it is the government’s job to provide all of their protection, provision, and prosperity. This segment has figured out that government doesn’t have the money to give them everything they want, so somebody else has to pay for it. That is how the “politics of envy” was born. “Tax the rich” has become the mantra of the left, and this political season it has been falsely dubbed a “moral imperative.”

Ninety percent of America’s millionaires are first-generation rich. They are Henry. To tax them because you think it is a “moral imperative” is legalizing governmental theft from our brightest, most charitable, and most productive citizens.

If I can get a law passed that says you must surrender all your cars to the government because it is the “moral imperative” of anyone who owns cars to support the latest governmental program, that would be a violation of private property rights and simply morally wrong. This new “moral imperative” to redistribute wealth is no different from that. It’s the SAME THING!

Please, America, re-think the politics of envy! You are sowing the seeds of our destruction when you punish the Henrys of our culture.
If you think taxing the populace to support government programs is the best way—and I don’t—then at least tax every single person the same! There are very few Henrys out here who would squawk much about paying a set percentage of their income—if everyone else did, too. But this idea of some butt-scratching bass fisherman saying government should tax his neighbor and not him—just because his neighbor has succeeded—must stop.

So the next time an elitist media talking-head starts telling you it is the moral imperative of our culture to tax my friend Henry, change the channel.

The next time you see someone wealthy who feels guilty and is preaching the politics of envy, change the channel.

The next time you see some celebrity who feels guilt over their income preaching socialism, change the channel.

And the next time you run into a misguided, butt-scratching bass fisherman who says the evil rich people in our culture should have their private property confiscated because that is fair… well just shake your head walk away—and make sure to vote against his candidate. If he and his type win, God help America.

No Obama!

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/57states.asp
There are much better reasons than this slip up to not vote for this guy.  I recently read his book and I found it packed with socialist ideas, pro-abortion (even late term) verbiage, and confusingly misguided scripture (Watch this).
I really don't care what color he is, what background he came from, or whether or not he wears a flag pin.  Judging him strictly from his voting record and his words, I will pass on voting for Obama.  With that said I respect him and do believe that he is sincere in his belief that he can make the United States a better place.  I just think his ideas on how to get there are completely wrong.
But oh well, our current administration is not much better when it comes to avoiding socialism.
/www.jarred.me/rred.me/2008/09/need-home-loan-ask-your-government.html


That is all I have on Obama for now, I will get to McCain soon enough

Need a home loan? Ask your government!

Sadly, most of you probably don't realize or care about what happened Yesterday. Of course I'm talking about the fact that our government decided that it would bail out a struggling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by taking it over. I'm not going to go over exactly what happened, but I am instead going to comment on what I feel about it. So before you continue you should educate yourself by reading this New York Times article.

First a definition.

so·cial·ism:  a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Welcome to a socialist United States of America.  You and I are paying to keep these companies afloat via our tax dollars due to these mortgage companies giving out loans to people that had no business  getting a loan.  Lets be clear, WE, THE TAXPAYING PUBLIC, ARE FOOTING THE BILL FOR A FAILING PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANY.  What's next?  Are we going to pull in the struggling automobile industry as well?

I am getting really sick and tired of our current government.  Since the government is "of the people, by the people, and for the people" I guess I'm sick and tired of all of us.  When are we as a nation going to wake up and do something about these out of control people in Washington?  Oh, and both McCain and Obama supported this, yet another reason I will not vote for either of them!

People in this country are going to have to wake up and pay attention to what our elected officials are doing on our dime.

What do you think about this?  Sound off in the comments!

Links:

Socialism Definition

Ron Paul's view on the bail out.