I’m Just Sayin’ 11

October 6, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 1 Comment
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Much of what we think and much of what we say is dictated by what we feel, but, I’m just sayin’, there is a difference between thinking and feeling.

This is a an accurate use of the word “feel:”
“I feel cold.”
“Me, too, let’s put on our jackets.”

This is not:
“I feel like we sent those client letters out last week.”

No. No, you don’t “feel” like it. You may think it. You may even remember doing it, or you may not be sure, but you don’t “feel” like it.

The “like” of ten years ago – “I’m going to, like, scream. We’ve been waiting, like, all day” – is the “feeling” of today. “I feel like I’m going to scream because I feel like we’ve been waiting here all day.”

feelings

It’s annoying, yes, but, I’m just sayin’, it is a speech habit that has also pervaded our thinking, and it’s starting to be taken literally. I’m convinced it’s either part of the reason – or a symptom of – the perceived superiority of feelings over reality in our culture. So, we have boys who “feel” like they belong in the girls’ restroom. We have perverts who justify their sin, by saying, “It can’t be wrong if it’s really how I feel.”

If you need to express your feelings, go for it. But, I’m just sayin’, you need to differentiate those feelings from your fact-based opinions, and, certainly, from objective reality.

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I’m Just Sayin’ 10

March 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 4 Comments
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I guess I’m as big a fan of a good Christian cliché as the next fellow, but I’m just sayin’, the theology of some of these trite bumper sticker/coffee mug/Facebook share catchphrases is just awful, and they’re starting to be preached from the pulpit as though they were actually Biblical. “Before you can forgive others, you must first learn to forgive yourself.” Ugh. Puh-leeze. I would expect to see some New Age touchy-feeling Stuart Smalley-type spouting this nonsense, but a professing Christian? You do know you that God alone has the power to forgive sins, right? I’m just sayin’, even the scribes and the Pharisees knew that! You and I have neither the authority nor the ability to “forgive ourselves,” but that’s just one example. I suppose we could overlook some of these dumb expressions (“Let go and let God;” “Christians aren’t perfect, they’re just forgiven”), but it really starts to get old after a while, and the heretical hits just keep on comin’. Here’s the latest that I’ve heard spewed forth from the pulpit as if it were some newly found nugget of wisdom: “Don’t tell God how big your problems are. Tell your problems how big your God is.” Catchy, huh? Someone should embroider a shirt for the family pooch!

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Where to begin..? I guess we all have our moments of confusion, but, I’m just sayin’, your “problems” are not sentient beings, and if you find yourself talking to them, someone might question your sanity. You can tell your “problems” all sorts of things about God ’til you’re blue in the face, but despite what you might have seen on TBN, or heard from Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, or Joel and Victoria Osteen, “words of faith” are not magical messages that force God to eradicate the specific problems to which you are “speaking.”

Furthermore, when did it become a bad idea to tell God all about your problems? Isn’t that what many of the Psalms are about?

[A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.] Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.

Psalm 102:1

He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.

Psalm 102:7

[Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave.] I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.

Psalm 142:1-2

[To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, [A Psalm] of David.] Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.

Psalm 55:1-3

Poor King David. I guess he just wasn’t spiritual enough to shoot a “word of faith” bullet at his problems and make them disappear. He actually cried out his complaints to the Lord. How passé. No wonder he didn’t have any Twitter followers!

I’m just sayin’, are we not commanded to cast our cares upon the Lord, Who cares for us (Psalm 55:22; I Peter 5:7)? Are we not commanded to pray about everything (I Thessalonians 5:17; Philippians 4:6)? One of the worst things you could do would be to get into a pointless conversation with your “problems” when Jesus has poured out His life’s blood to purchase access for you and me directly into the throne room of God. Maybe instead of repeating the chorus to “Lord Prepare Me to be a Sanctuary” 16 times in row until the whole congregation feels light-headed, woozy, and susceptible to silly little Christianized self-help bon mots, we could belt out a hearty verse or two of something a little more didactic… say, I don’t know… “What a Friend We Have in Jesus:”

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Joseph M. Scriven

I don’t how Mr. Scriven felt when his fiance’ died right before his wedding (twice!), but I’m sure glad he was willing to tell God all about his problems rather than telling anything to his problems themselves! I’m just sayin’.

I’m Just Sayin’ 9

October 24, 2012 at 9:00 am | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 2 Comments
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Christians are not perfect, but, I’m just sayin’, it’s not always wise to advertise that fact. You know the type of person I’m talking about, right? They really love to publicize their shortcomings (often through social media outlets). “I know it’s wrong for me to hate people who accept welfare when they are really just lazy,” they say (or something similar), “but I always say what’s on my mind, and I just can’t help it! So go ahead and judge me if you think you’re perfect!”

What they’re hoping for here is for someone to dare to point out that Biblically it’s not okay for us Christians to hate people. Then they can throw out the Pharisee card, play the victim, and accuse someone of “judging” them.

Here’s the deal. As a Christian, of course you are “not perfect.” No one thinks you are! But I’m just sayin’, if you feel that gives you carte blanche to show off your sinfulness and demand that others ratify it, then you have a bad case of what the Puritan theologians used to call “false piety.” It’s sort of “reverse legalism.” So, the next time you feel the need to express how woefully short you’re coming in your sanctification, take a hint from the Bible and keep it to yourself.

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Proverbs 17:28

An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

Proverbs 11:9

Perhaps you grew up feeling judged and mistreated by people with a “holier-than-thou” attitude. If so, forgive them and get over it. The Bible tells us to confess our faults one to another and to bear one another’s burdens, but that is far cry from bragging about our faults under the guise of a challenging demand to “accept me for me.” I’m just sayin’.

I’m Just Sayin’ 8

October 3, 2011 at 10:25 am | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 5 Comments
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I understand the importance of showing that God made Eve specifically for Adam, and that God intends for wives to be helpers to their husbands.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Genesis 2:18

But, I’m just sayin’, Eve’s proper title was not “Help-Meet,” nor should we refer to wives today as “helpmates.” I love the King James Version of the Bible, but we don’t always talk today the same way they did in Elizabethan England. The only time I say “Help – meat!” is when I’m starving and my wife hasn’t had time to cook in a couple of days.

When the Bible says that Eve was a “help meet” for Adam, what it means is that she was a “helper who was meet” for him. In other words, she was a helper who was “perfectly suited” for him or a “helper who was a perfect fit” for his needs. (By the way, I’m just sayin’, there is no shame in being a helper. My wife likes to point out that a “helper” is someone you turn to when you can’t do something on your own.)

When you go to a restaurant and experience a delicious meal, you might send your compliments to the chef by telling him that it was a “meal fit for a king.” If so, you wouldn’t shorten the expression and begin calling your favorite dishes “mealfits” or “mealmates.” So let’s refrain from doing the same thing with the expression “help meet for him.” I’m just sayin’.

I’m Just Sayin’ 7

August 26, 2011 at 10:26 am | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 9 Comments
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There are a lot of things to like about living in South Louisiana, but, I’m just sayin’, the weather in the summertime ain’t necessarily one of them.

I lived in North Louisiana for the first 18 years of my life and when I moved to Baton Rouge, I really thought I was moving to “Cajun Country.” Since then, I’ve learned that Baton Rouge maybe isn’t so “cajun” after all – at least compared to places with names like “Cutoff” and “Hackberry” and a lot of others places that end in “x.” But one thing I learned did not change: the weather in the summer. I have learned that summers in South Louisiana consist of three consistent features: extreme heat, afternoon thunderstorms, and super-steamroom-type humidity – with the occasional hurricane thrown in for good measure.

If this type of weather has become expected and obvious to me, why is it still such a shocker to so many others? A few days without rain and you are panicking? Settle down, it’s South Louisiana. It will rain again – I promise. And plenty of it! Storming every afternoon at 3:00? Relax, enjoy the change in temperature from 98 to 91 for a few hours.

According to my Bible, God is the One Who controls the weather (see Nahum 1:3-5 and Mark 4:37-39) – even here in South Louisiana – so, I’m just sayin’, it seems a little presumptuous and critical and ungrateful to complain about the type of weather He’s choosing to send us. We do believe that He knows best – right?

I do have a helpful suggestion, though. I heard of a family once which had a really bad habit of swearing and using profanity. After they became Christians, they realized that this type of speaking was wrong, but they were having a tough time giving it up. They started something called a “swear jar.” Mom set a big jar on the kitchen counter with a slot in the lid, and every time someone said a bad word, they had to put money in the jar. What I’m thinking is, the next time you state a complaint about too much rain or too little rain or too much heat or stifling humidity or post a comment about it on the internet or grumble about it to your family, friend, or neighbor, go ahead and send me a dollar. It won’t be long until I have enough money to go investigate a place where the climate is almost always temperate and pleasant. It’s called Southern California. I will be there for a few weeks, making detailed notes about the weather for you – at your expense – but I’m sure I’ll bring back a positive report and you can consider moving there yourself so the rest of us won’t have to hear you whine and moan. I’m just sayin’.

I’m Just Sayin’ 6

July 15, 2011 at 9:48 am | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 4 Comments
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I know next to nothing about cooking, but, I’m just sayin’, the custardy desert called flan is some GOOD stuff! Actually, it may not be universally good – I’ve only had it a handful of times – but the flan at a restaurant called Rio Mar in New Orleans is definitely one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth.

I don’t normally write about food on this blog, and I’m certainly not getting paid to promote a restaurant, but let me tell you, if you ever get the chance, go there and order it. In fact, skip the appetizer, salad, and entree’, and just order about eight orders of the flan – it’s that good.

I do not know what’s in it or how it’s made, and I don’t wanna know! I have a vague idea that maybe it’s a Spanish desert, but, I’m just sayin’, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t live in Spain. If this is what they have for desert over there, I would easily be the world’s fattest Spaniard. In fact, I would change my name to “The Flaniard.” I’m just sayin’.

UPDATE: Rio Mar closed at the end of July, 2014. A day of mourning for flan lovers everywhere.

I’m Just Sayin’ 5

September 9, 2009 at 10:26 am | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 3 Comments
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God is sovereign in all things, including the salvation of man. “…Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jonah 2:9) It is right for this fact to be held in high regard, and for it to be taught as doctrine. However, I’m just sayin’, the truth of God’s sovereignty does not require an attack on the truth of man’s responsibility.

A word to the wise: Be careful about pointing out, in certain circles, God’s gracious empowering of man’s will. In fact, be careful about where you even dare to say that man has a will. Be prepared, in certain theological enclaves, to be called everything from Arminian to antinomian to semi-Pelagian (whatever those mean).

I understand that people are physically born into this world dead in sins and trespasses, and that, if they are “born again” (born spiritually into the family of God by His grace through faith in Jesus), they are not saved solely by their own wise choice. But, I’m just sayin’, Christians are called to preach. And the preaching of the Gospel means calling on men to “do” something. (If you listen closely you can hear the gasping, the clicking of keyboards, and the whirring of automated spell-checkers on the words “monergism” and “synergism” as I say this.)

Chances are you will eventually run across someone involved in “internet discernment ministry” one of these days. If you do, then you will quickly become familiar with some of their favorite phrases:

“Gospel reductionism”
“Death to the Sinner’s Prayer!”
“The damnable altar call”
“Decisional idolatry”
“Decisional regeneration”
“Decisionism” (They’ve really got a hatred for the word “decision.”)
and
“Don’t ask Jesus into your heart”

The fact is, the Bible is where we learn about the truth of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, and finite minds can never fully grasp the wondrous and astounding relationship of the two working together perfectly.

In the novel, True Grit, by Charles Portis, the main character, Mattie Ross, has a lawyer named J. Noble Daggett. When Mattie feels as if she’s being treated unfairly, she is quick to bring up Mr. Daggett’s name, and to threaten legal action. Two of the other characters, finally having had enough of this, complain, “Lawyer Daggett again! She draws him like a gun.”

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Those in internet discernment ministries have their own versions of Lawyer Daggett, whom they also draw like guns in response to Bible verses that show that men do have a “will,” and that they do make “decisions.” The most common of these guns are John MacArthur, Paul Washer, James White, and A.W. Pink, but there are others. One lady who didn’t like me saying that the Apostles called for a response when they preached, finally just resorted to cutting and pasting sections of Matthew Henry’s commentary! No offense to these gentlemen, who, I am sure, are/were fine Biblical scholars, but when a pithy quote from a reformed theologian meets a Bible Verse, the Bible Verse is always going to win. I’m just sayin’.

I’m Just Sayin’ 4

April 30, 2009 at 11:29 am | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 4 Comments
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I coached girls’ little league tee-ball and softball for about 12 years, because I have three daughters. I was not the greatest coach ever, but, I’m just sayin’, in those 12 years, I did gain some experience. I learned a few things.

One of the most important things I learned was that, although softball/baseball has a special jargon, as a coach, you can not assume that young girls understand all, or even any, of it.

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The last year that I coached I did not get to be a head coach. I was an assistant coach. The head coach of our team was a nice guy, but I’m just sayin’, when it came to communicating with the girls on the team, he did not have a clue.

We can argue about whether 9 and 10 year old girls should know what “play deep” or “choke up on it” means, but, whether or not they should know, the fact is, most of them do not know.

Girls that age need to be told where to stand, where to look, where to run, where to throw, and when to get a bat, a helmet, or a glove. They need to be told that they can’t take their Nintendo onto the field. I’m just sayin’.

When the coach will not realize or accept this principle, the results range from frustrating to disastrous.

Coach: (Jumping up and down yelling, as the ball is thrown into the infield, and the base runner is halfway from second base to third) “Get on the bag! Get on the bag!”

He means for the player to hurry up and get her feet on third base. But she does not know that “bag” means base, so she thinks he is saying, “Get on back! Get on back!” She turns and heads back to second base, and is tagged out.

Coach: “Go two! Go two!” The coach’s team is on defense, so he means that when a ground ball is hit to the infield they should throw it to second base for the force-out.

But the girls hear, “Go two!” and think, “What? I just went to the bathroom and did ‘number one’ before the game. I don’t have to ‘go two.'”

Coach: “Full count!” This happens when he is telling the batter there are three balls and two strikes. But the batter is now looking around wildly for a European nobleman who had too much to eat. Maybe he’s skulking around the concession stand with a cape and a rapier. Meanwhile, strike three goes sailing by.

Coach: “Good eye! Good eye!” This is yelled down to the batter after she wisely decided not to swing at a bad pitch. (I played organized baseball from age 4 to age 18, and no one ever yelled “Good eye!” to me.) The batter is now wondering if her mother was right in saying that she’s too young to wear mascara.

The confusion is endless. As a coach it is exhausting having to explain things like, “When that girl who has the bat hits the ball to you, be sure and bend down and pick it up FIRST, and then run – as fast as you can – like when you are chasing your little brother out of your room – and step on this base here – WHILE YOU’RE STILL HOLDING the ball.” Very un-baseball-lingo sounding, I know. But very necessary if you want to get an out, end the inning, and get home in time for homework, bath, and bed. I’m just sayin’.

I’m Just Sayin’ 3

March 9, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, I'm Just Sayin' | 10 Comments
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I know there are some people who are genuinely concerned about other people’s physical appearances, but, I’m just sayin’, I already know how I look.

Believe me, I DO have a mirror in my house. It’s not my favorite thing at which to look, but I make a point to look into it at least once a day. And, although it might be hard for some people to accept, I DO know the condition of my own eyes.

Here’s me and here’s a dude that weighs 450 pounds. We are talking pleasantly to each other, but otherwise minding our own business. Here comes a third person walking up to us. This third person looks at the obese man and says… NOTHING. This third person looks at me, and says, “Hey man, what’s wrong with your eyes? You have really dark circles. And they’re RED! You look rough, like you didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Now, all of these things are true, but I’m just sayin’, what is it about tired-looking eyes that calls for a complete scorched-earth campaign of honesty against all social etiquette? This happens to me multiple times each day – I’m neither kidding nor exaggerating.

Here’s the skinny: I was BORN with dark circles under my eyes. My eyes are puffy and swollen if I’ve been up all night, and they are puffy and swollen if I slept 16 hours a night for the last three nights in a row. My eyes have ALWAYS been red and bloodshot – I can show you my elementary school pictures. And, finally, YES, I DO KNOW IT!

To top it off, people have very selective memories. Many of the people I know – and HAVE KNOWN for 10+ years – tell me how my eyes look EVERY TIME they see me – often more than once during the same day!

I’ve seen these same people interact with amputees. I’ve seen them interact with horrendously-obvious toupee’-wearers – and nary a word. But let me show up – and, all of sudden, the gloves are off. “Wow, your eyes… Did you know you have really big bags under your eyes?”

Maybe people are just extremely sympathetic and helpful, but, if you see someone with something about his face that you obviously find noteworthy of mention or amazement, here’s a hint: You are NOT REQUIRED to mention it every time you see him! I’m just sayin’.

I’m Just Sayin’ 2

February 23, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 2 Comments
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I have an ad in the phone book, and, I’m just sayin’, if you call a place of business, be PREPARED TO EXPRESS THE REASON YOU ARE CALLING.

How many times each day does my phone go off, and I say, “Hello, this is Ministry Addict, can I help you?” only to hear, “Uhhhh, yesss, uhhh, I’m trying to find a, uhhhh, [name of business].

Me: “Yes, that’s what I do.”

Caller: (dead silence)

Me: “Can I help you????”

Caller: “Can I ask you something about (the name of business)?”

Me: Yes.

Caller: (dead silence)

Me: “Go ahead…it’s okay… you had a QUESTION? Or a REASON FOR CALLING?”

And on and on it goes, while time is wasted. Look, I know people are in the habit of reaching a recorded answering machine nowadays, or a robot-voice that says, “Press 1 for English,” or at least a receptionist, but, I’m just sayin’, IT’S OKAY. When you call a place of business, you might actually talk to the person who can help you. Here’s a hint: Prepare what you are going to say a little bit in your head before you dial the number! We will both communicate better and more efficiently if you tell me why you called me, instead of me having to drag it out of you like a murder confession from a mob informant.

When I used to have a car radio that worked I would sometimes listen to a sports talk show on which the host would invite listeners to call the program live on the air. His one requirement was that when people called they must “have a take and don’t [expletive deleted, but it means ‘stink.’]” In other words, be able to express yourself clearly, and don’t stink at it.

That advice may be a little coarse, but I’m just sayin’, when you call a place of business, you have my permission: go nuts, put yourself out on a limb and actually expect someone helpful to answer. If they do, then have a take, and don’t stink. I’m just sayin’.

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