Archive for January, 2016

Idiots

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Stupid-Progressive-IdiotsOne Sunday my message was about why God allows bad stuff to happen to good people. About an hour before the service started God gave me a painful and nearly tragic illustration. As I was hanging a sign, a 30” bungee cord that I had stretched much too far came loose and hit me in the head just above my left eye. I saw stars and think I remember hearing the coo- coo birds! Another inch and most likely I would have lost an eye. Here I was literally doing the Lord’s work on earth and that happened. What kind of God is that?  The same one that allowed me to get an education so I could read the warning label that said “Bungee cords are extremely dangerous. Always wear eye protection and never stretch a bungee cord more than 50%.” It was the same God that blessed me with a free will that allowed me to choose to disregard the warning. I have gone through life disregarding warnings as a matter of routine. Let those of you without sin cast the first stone. “It can never happen to me” is the mantra that has infected humanity since  before Eve plucked the apple off the forbidden tree.

Last week I was in line at Kroger when the woman in front of me bought two cases of beer, some frozen pizzas and two cartons of Marlboros. The woman behind me remarked that she did not see how people could afford to smoke. The cigarette lady retorted, “Honey, I’ve had a bout of throat cancer, but I’ve still got to have my smokes”. At the time I thought she was an idiot. Each time that I have looked at my black eye in the last few days, I have understood that she is not the only one that I know.

John

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Real Crazy

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

1-20-constitution_day1A while back U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled unconstitutional the Act calling for a yearly National Day of Prayer in the USA. Who am I to question the Judge? I attended the University of Tennessee before finally graduating from Trevecca University. Obviously, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer; but I can read. In fact, I read the US Constitution several times yesterday to refresh my memory. It is beyond me how anyone who has taken American History 101 could read that hallowed and historic document and come to the conclusion that our country’s long standing tradition of having a National Day of Prayer is contrary to the intent of our Founding Fathers. Yet, in her ruling Judge Crabb stated that it was a violation of the First Amendment’s ban against a “law respecting an establishment of religion”.

Article One: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It seems to me to be a real crazy stretch that a suggestion to pray is equated to the establishment of religion.  The clear intent of the First Amendment was the prohibition of a “state religion”.  Congress passed the act establishing the Day of Prayer in 1952. Now, Judge Crabb suddenly, says “unconstitutional”. Her ruling is currently under appeal. A casual stroll around Washington D.C. will reveal the word “God” on multiple Federal Buildings including the U.S. Supreme Court where this case may very well end up.  The Judge will find the same word on the coins in her purse.

I happen to be a Christian; however, I believe that people should be free to worship Jesus, the Buddha, Allah, the sun, the moon, anything they choose or nothing at all. That seems to be one of the very foundational freedoms of our country. If that is so, then how does having a National Day of Prayer obstruct that right? Folks, the truth is unless this judicial trend away from anything of God begins to reverse, I fear that sooner or later the word “God” will be outlawed. You think not? Don’t bet on it!

Something to Think About

John

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Opportunity

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

1-13 small-business-opportunity-08A while back I got this written prayer request: “Please pray for my doctors that they can stay in God’s will and save my life!” In the corner of the note was a little heart with a smiley face inside. Yet, as I read the note I felt a sense of urgency in his request. Several years ago my older brother Eddie was visiting in my office. He related his long battle with reoccurring and this time terminal cancer. Sensing an opening I asked him, “What is it like to be dying?”   “It’s like a double-edged sword. On the one hand it is exciting to know that soon I will see the Man upstairs, Bill and daddy. It’s going to be incredible to see God, but on the other hand it is frightening. Oh, I know I’m going to heaven; that part doesn’t frighten me, but the fear of the unknown, of the dying process is a load.”

As a pastor and former hospital chaplain I’ve been around more than my share of death and dying. Eddie’s description of what it is like seems to be a common thread connecting many terminally ill believers. By and large the folks reading this piece are healthy. Death is not on most of your radars. More than likely your minds are focused the NFL playoff, losing some of that Christmas weight gain or looking forward to spring or the like. Someone has said that death is the last frontier and one that we don’t want to think about. But perhaps you should while there is still time to do all the things you should do. Things like making a phone call, saying “I’m sorry”, making that visit or whatever it is for you. Here is something else I hear quite a bit from those near death: “I wish I had done some things differently.” Today is your opportunity!

Something to Think About

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Doubt & Trust

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

1-6Two days before Christmas three Franklin, Tennessee teens lost their lives in a horrible traffic accident when their car went off the road and into a creek during a driving rain. The tragic story got lots of media attention. Heartbroken classmates described them as “amazing kids with big hearts”. Their families’ and friends’ collective hearts were surely broken as they tried in vain to understand Christmas 2015.

At times such as this we humans can doubt our most basic beliefs. It is normal to sometimes doubt God. Fortunately, the Bible clearly teaches that God understands our doubt and is full of stories that are meant to help us when doubt burrows its way deep into our souls.

Matthew 14:22-27 (NLT) …Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home.  Afterward he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.  Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water.  When the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost.  But Jesus spoke to them at once. “It’s all right,” he said. “I am here! Don’t be afraid.”

But we are afraid. Several years ago when I was in the deepest chasm of personal despair of my life, I remember thinking “I’m not sure God is going to get me through this.” For a time, I wasn’t sure. Yet, even as I thrashed about in the sinking quicksand of doubt, I choose to reach out to God because there was no other choice. That was when I learned first-hand that doubt and trust are not always mutually exclusive.

None of us doubt that the sun is going to come up tomorrow because we’ve seen it happen day after day.  Just like the never late sunrise God is faithful even when we are not. Doubt isn’t the big deal.  It’s what we do with the doubt that will determine if our faith is strengthened or weakened.

Something to Think About

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure, rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877