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What Is Advent?

​What Is Advent?
The History of Advent

The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” 

Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:1). Originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas.
By the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world.
It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas.
Advent Today

Today, the season of Advent lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas. At that time, the new Christian year begins with the twelve-day celebration of Christmastide, which lasts from Christmas Eve until Epiphany on January 6. (Advent begins on the Sunday that falls between November 27th and December 3rd each year.) 
The twelve-day celebration is also known as “The Twelve Days of Christmas” which is often sung about today and refers to the holy days of the liturgic Christian calendar within the orthodox church, hence it’s where we get our phrase “Happy Holidays”
Advent Trivia

1. Traditionally, Advent calendars have how many candles on an evergreen wreath? Answer: FIVE
2. What are the candle colors traditionally used on the Advent calendar wreath? Answer: Three purple, one pink and one white.
3. What does each of the candles and the wreath represent? Answer: The first candle lit is a purple candle is known as the Prophecy candle, representing hope or expectation of the coming Messiah. The second candle lit is another purple candle and is known as the Bethlehem candle, representing love and Christ’s birth. The third candle lit is pink, and is known as the Shepherds’ candle, representing joy. The forth candle lit is purple again, known as the angel candle, representing peace. Finally, on Christmas eve, the white candle is lit and is known as the Christ candle, representing Christ, the Light of the World. The evergreen wreath represents eternal life.

The Twelve Days of Christmas 

The Meanings 
On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

A Partridge in a Pear Tree 

The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . .” (Luke 13:34) 
On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Two Turtle Doves 

The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God’s self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world. 
On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Three French Hens 

The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13) 
On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Four Calling Birds 

The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ. 
On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Five Gold Rings 

The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity’s sinful failure and God’s response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world. 
On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Six Geese A-laying 

The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1). 

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Seven Swans A-swimming 

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11) 
On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Eight Maids A-milking 

The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. (Matthew 5:3-10) 
On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Nine Ladies Dancing 

The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness, 

6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) 
On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Ten Lords A-leaping 

The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God’s name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17) 
On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Eleven Pipers Piping 

The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans. 
On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… 

Twelve Drummers Drumming 

The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of power. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays All!


“Counting the Days, Lighting the Candles” by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson.



Time for either a new bumper sticker or a sticker scraper. Not sure which anymore.

So in the spirit of the book of James, and of Christ’s command to love one another it boiled down to today’s post.

I settled for a Sharpie today. But the reminder remains. Occupying is one thing, taking action is quite another. Show fruit.

A Disconnected Electorate

It’s NOT about spending 50 bucks on t-shirts and books either so you can “empathize” with the troops before going about your day again. Veterans have bonds that most will never undertand, it’s ok, we know that.


There are 22 suicides by Veterans DAILY. Let that sink in awhile too. Not just on Veteran’s Day or Armed Forces Day or Memorial Day.


Maybe they should set recruiting booths outside the polling stations, churches and bars on the day after the election. Maybe put pocket copies of The Constitution out next to the glossy recruiting pamphlets on those tables. It helps to know what we swear an oath to support and defend.
The Disconnected Electorate

Reformation Day 2016 Notes: Galatians 1:1-10

Teaching young men on Sundays is great. It’s an awesome experience coupled to great responsibility. Today’s Bible lesson was no exception.

First, some background info, I’m a Christian who was raised in a Baptist Church, got wet at a very young age, heard so many thou shalls and thou shall nots without ever really hearing a message about Grace. It wasn’t until after many years of being away from the “church” that I started to understand that Christian faith is a matter of heart, head, and intellect. I was baptized as a believer right after Father’s Day 2012, and reminded once again that God has set us apart beforehand, even allowing me to live through my sins and failures, no longer for grief and guilt, but as a toolbox to use to teach and reach others. The Holy Spirit’s pretty good at convicting me, always has and always will.

Before that time, I knew all the right “Sunday School” answers, but hated the idea of not being in charge of my own salvation (queue up the “free will” conversation anytime). The more I read, the more I realized I had nothing to do with my salvation except for providing the sin that made it necessary. Galatians has to be one of my favorite books in the New Testament. It’s a book that encourages me when I feel like grace isn’t enough (it is), and that when I hear a message that isn’t quite the Gospel it both saddens me and emboldens me to speak up.

Today, I had the opportunity to share my testimony with a class of young men, guys in high school who are at the awkward age of trying to be cool and smart, but who need assurance that we’re all sinners saved by grace. Even when a 48 year old guy tells them he’s one, and was just like them.

It’s also Reformation Sunday, some churches recognize it and some don’t. Today was a good day to combine a bit of church history with the Bible lesson from Galatians. I was a bit out of place in monk’s garb, while others were looking forward to the annual trunk or treat this evening at church. Was I early in costume? I had a good time fellowshipping with adults and with the class before Bible study. The costume was a good conversation starter.

Sometimes students remember the weird stuff and cool stuff, today was no exception. So after reading through the first 10 verses of Galatians 1, I learned a few things about our youth and why they will always need teachers, and why adults need teachers, and why we all need teachers and mentors. It’s awkward when asking how does the gospel of grace free us of pride and from guilt. I know it’s awkward, because it’s sometimes just as hard for me to answer it honestly, especially when I think I’ve got it all together and don’t need grace. That’s about the time I get humbled and realize it’s ok that my pride gets shaken.

Today’s notes from class aren’t just for high school guys, they’re really for me as well and for those who need the encouragement of the gospel. Church history is important, but Biblical literacy is even more important. Without it, church history becomes footnotes, and Christians fall for false doctrine and teaching. It’s why I love both history and the Bible. They really do go hand in hand, especially as we look to see why we whom claim to be Christians so often get frustrated that we can’t save ourselves.

So, with some help from Martin Luther’s “On the Freedom of a Christian”, Tim Keller’s “Galatians for You” and most importantly, from God’s Word itself, Galatians 1:1-10 (ESV) I bring you 13 points (I was about to call them Thesis) from today’s class.

  1. Paul’s tone in Galatians reminds us that the Christian faith is a matter of heart, as well as the head (feelings) and of intellect. How does this encourage us? How does it challenge us?
  2. Why does it feel so difficult to accept the authority of apostolic New Testament teaching? (I had them define apostolic, and encouraged the use of reference material to define it)
  3. How do you explain the Gospel to someone who asks you today what you believe and why?
  4. We find messages of self-salvation attractive whether they be religious (keep these rules and earn eternal blessings) or secular (grab hold of those things and you’ll experience blessings now) (also had them define “secular”). “The Gospel says it oh so differently. It says ‘You are in such a hopeless position that you need a rescue that has nothing to do with you at all…God in Jesus provides a rescue which gives you far more than any false salvation your heart may love to chase.” (Keller, Galatians for You). Why do we love to be our own saviors?
  5. Next, (yes, it may have been a lot of information for one day) I asked what is our foundational beliefs. Our principle. Had great answers: “Jesus loves me, this I know”, “Jesus”, then I asked how about “Jesus died for me”. Simple theology, leading to our core beliefs. What are they? Even from the Reformation, up to today, we stand on these five. Five Solas (explained that though they may have heard the phrases, did they really ever think about what they mean, so we went through all five, from Latin to English translation. Siri and Google worked overtime in class for them today). We believe in salvation by faith alone; that Scripture alone is the supreme authority in matters of doctrine and practice; that Christ alone is our mediator through whose work we are redeemed; that we are saved by grace alone; and that all glory is given to God alone. If they ever looked at a church mission statement, they might find similar language that comes from the Five Solas.
  6. Reiterated verses 6-10 again, asked if anything was added to the Gospel was it still the Gospel? They all agreed the answer is NO. Then read through 6-10 again, emphasizing why.
  7. How important is the Gospel truth to you? How is it shown in your life? Why will understanding the true Gospel produce anger at false gospels (and referenced Pastor Blake’s message from James 1 on Wednesday as reinforcement).
  8. Explained that some believe, either implicitly or explicitly, that we are saved through our surrender to Christ PLUS right beliefs and behavior. Asked if they could explain grace in such a context, and if not, was it a true gospel?
  9. Discussed that some believe that it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you are a good and loving person. Asked if this was wrong, and why (explained that if works and tolerance were pleasing to God, then Christ didn’t need to die for us on the cross as substitution, and that grace is nowhere to be found in this false gospel either).
  10. Discussed that some churches are extremely intolerant of small differences in dress or custom (like the false teachers coming in at Galatia). The false teachers wanted to impose the Jewish rules and regulations having to do with diet, dress and ritual observances. How do we ensure the Gospel we believe is true (re-read verses 8-10).
  11. So, why does this matter? What’s wrong with preaching/teaching a gospel contrary to the one we received? (re-read verse 9). Which of the previous false gospel messages do we, could we most easily fall for? If the false gospel message is false then what does it do? (divides the church and believers).
  12. Do I ever find myself thinking I deserve God’s grace? Or I don’t? What causes us to think this way?
  13. How does the Gospel of grace free us from pride and from guilt?
  14. As a testimony, in what ways can I see how God worked in my life to equip me to serve Him after I believed? God does not free us from the consequences of our sin though we are forgiven and seen as blameless through Christ. Asked for examples of how this works. For example, a Christian, recovering addict knowing what another addict is facing, can testify their hope in Christ with a personal touch that someone else may not be able to do as effectively.
  15. Closed with grace doesn’t free us from obedience, that we obey out of love of God rather than fear of punishment. As a Christian, the phrase “God’s going to get you for that” should be looked at as one who is forgiven at the Cross. God can’t get me again, Christ already paid that price, I can’t pay back enough. Once again, we all have consequences. We’re all considered both sinners and saints simultaneously. God still loves us, if he didn’t he wouldn’t have sent His son to die a substitutionary death in our place.




Psalm 2 and the Lord’s terrifying laughter

Psalm 2:

1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against hisAnointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

What happens when one makes a good thing a god thing, or replaces worship of God with worship of something else? What makes the heart of man want to do that? John Calvin once said the  human heart is a factory of idols. We still love to make idols. We’ll make them of patriotism, nationalism, legalism, and a whole host of other ‘isms. That includes making objects into idols like a flag or a pledge. Remember the First Commandment? “I am the Lord your God, who brought you put of Egypt, put of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”

It’s painful to compare such things to Aaron making a golden calf for the people to worship.

Sure, we all are guilty of this, we’re all sinners after all. We tend to self justify our actions by saying to ourselves that it’s not worse than other sins (start listing a few of the Pharisees top ten here…). We all need grace and our God is merciful to save us. I would think He doesn’t like being mocked. Verses 4-6 are a bit terrifying when you really think about it. The Lord laughs and holds those in derision. 

I’m certain I don’t want to hear that kind of laughter. 

I’m just a beggar showing other beggars where to find the bread. 

I’ve got the freedom to do that too.



Why Red Team a Policy?

So, Target has ruffled a few feathers with a (not new) public policy on how their restrooms and changing rooms are now really outside their responsibility. While it makes for great PR for them (for the moment), the long term implications are less clear. Why? I’m glad you asked!

Target’s Boycott

One of the functions I perform professionally is that of a red teamer. While the term “red team” may give some professionals the equivalent of the “oh crap heebeejeebees” it’s a necessary function in everything we do. In the case of Target, while I could really care a lot less about the bodily excrement functions of my fellow human beings (after all, everybody poops and pees) I do care about a C-level decision that the Target Corporation has deemed such a public necessity, that they just were going to do something about it!

Let me restate my previous opinion, I don’t care how noble the policy sounded in the name of political correctness, or about the inclusivity of customers and employees, all in the simple name of someone needing to use the bathroom (or changing room) which everyone does, (I’ll presume safely) because there have previously been at least some common sense physical controls in place.

It boils back down to the safety of people, no matter what their sexual identity or orientation is.

So, back to the title of the post, and what does red teaming have to do with Target (once again)? Everything! Let’s pick apart the policy and find the weakest spot (that’s what happens in real life by the way). Call it a loophole, a weakness, a vulnerability, whatever you want. Target didn’t try to find those out before going public with it.

Does anybody remember the massive data breach that #Target had not so long ago? How could anyone forget? It was one of the largest data breaches in recent history! The same mindset that thought through their safeguards still prevails within their corporation. The same mindset that actually thought publicly announcing what amounted to “we’re not responsible for anything that may occur, let’s be careful out there” and compromising the safety of both employees and customers.

We’ve always had predatory people out there (of all sexual orientations). Target’s very public (but not well crafted nor vetted) policy now easily enables a familiar attack vector into play (red team speak), that of #SOCIAL-ENGINEERING.

Anybody (as their policy currently implies), can go to any bathroom or changing room of their choice without question, simply by implying that they really identify with whichever sex. Social engineering preys on the trust of another, and predatory people really do look for easy Targets (pun included). It’s made an exploit of their policy easy to accomplish.

Had Target Corporation red teamed this snafu’d boondockle, they probably would have noticed it sounded exclusively superior to everyone else and stopped to think there was probably a better reason than the bottom line. They didn’t, and now there’s folks protesting out in front of their stores for scores of reasons, and some of them downright hateful. Instead, they’ve created a social engineering playground for predatory people. People that may have had an additional physical control to at least mitigate some risks. It’s probably going to take several lawsuits from victims to get that point across.

Local stores really have no fight in this game, it’s a corporate policy. If you were to ask the local store manager how the policy has been implemented and enforces, they’ll refer you to the corporate number. It’s not as if the local manager really has they answers (they don’t really), it’s that the local stores have no say in whether or not they will accept or reject a corporate policy. Locally, the stores are complying out of corporate fear rather than fear of a customer backlash. Until #Target can figure out how to put the genie back in the bottle, put the cap back on the bottle, and address the loophole and vulnerabilities they have created, then I really have a few choices:

  1. Don’t shop there (easy enough, Walmart is next door, or even safer, order from Amazon);
  2. Continue business as usual, and being aware that there’s an additional vulnerability there that I can control if needed; or
  3. Hate fellow human beings for inconveniencing my shopping experience freedom.

Trust me, it’s not number 3. Go pee or poop where you want in a sanitary manner (or identify as a cat like the girl from Norway, and find a really large litter box) just don’t physically threaten someone that’s different that you. If you ARE attacked, then by all means, take the gloves off and defend yourself in whatever means you are able (then let Target still take the heat for not providing a safe shopping experience).

It’s the reverse fallout of baking a cake or making a flower arrangement. It’s our choice to shop elsewhere should we want to.

Corporately, it’s about money and not necessarily about your safety (or perceived safety). From the strictly business side, would you consider Target’s policy to be one of risk management, risk transfer or risk avoidance? If you can’t put in one of the three then the policy really shouldn’t exist in the first place, and causes more problems than solutions.

We’ve all become way too complacent as a society when even common sense doesn’t make sense to many, and that complacency has crossed public safety barriers. At least #TSA gives you a sense of security theater when you travel.



The embarrassment of political correctness

What big name business will be next in the politically correct name of “inclusiveness”?  The Target restroom argument would logically extend to businesses which offer locker rooms and showering facilities such as your local YMCA, Gold’s Gym, Planet Fitness, etc. It’s only “fair” right? It’s just a matter of time. Maybe they can sell exclusive membership deals to ensure there isn’t a common shower area.

But wait a minute you might say, that’s DIFFERENT than somebody just needing to use the bathroom. Now there’s actually the chance folks might be sans clothing; naked, (or in the south…nekkid) in front of someone biologically different than them.

It’s absurd to consider, isn’t it?

How about the changing facilities at your municipal pool?

Not just another top 25 list

It’s not just about using a restroom anymore.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit already ruled that schools in that circuit will count transgender issues as a Title IX issue as well (opening public school boards to Title IX lawsuits as well).

So when you see armed federal troops escorting someone to the restroom (or gym locker room) at a public school,  now you’ll know why.

What a federal appeals court’s ruling could mean for North Carolina’s bathroom law


Survival of the Fittest Meets the Gospel of Grace

From my quiet time today (I missed today’s sermon but understand the message was similar, no…it’s not a coincidence. It’s an important message for me too).

From Matthew 25:31-46 (ESV):

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Love the unlovable and the unwanted; show mercy and grace to others, even to those who don’t look like us, act like us, dress like us, or even believe like us. The same grace we’ve been given ought to be what we show others. It’s a gift, and an awesome, life-saving/life-changing one at that!

From Proverbs 25:21-22 (ESV)
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, 22 for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

In Romans 12:19-20 (ESV)
19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

It all really comes back down to what Jesus said when he told his disciples what was expected of them (and for us as well) in John 13:34-35 (ESV)

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

That bit of what we would consider strange and weird today helped spread the Gospel across the world. Perhaps it’s time to once again go back to that command. Reach across the aisles, cross the picket lines, put down our signs and show what we’re for instead of what we’re against. We’re all wounded from something, but it seems as if we’d rather shoot our own wounded sometimes, or make more wounded bystanders than meeting the needs and binding the wounds of those who are left bleeding out.

After all, we’re all somebody else’s Samaritan. The choice is how we react to the wounded.



A bit of reading and relaxation (R&R)

I started reading A.J. Swoboda’s “The Dusty Ones: Why Wandering Deeps Your Faith”. I’m really getting into it as well, after reading “Messy, God Likes It That Way”. It was on my recommended book list (and should be on yours too).

Lots of favorite parts so far (in The Dusty Ones…) but one line resonated pretty well within me. I’m sure there’s going to be more, but I’m only up to chapter 3.

“For example, an American will feel entitled (almost from birth) to a set of ‘inalienable rights’ to freedom and happiness and do whatever the heck we want to do. Then, along comes the Bible, telling us we can’t do whatever we want to do. No wonder the Bible has grown wildly unpopular in our time as an ancient, unnecessary document – it refuses to offer us a vision of unimpeded freedom.”

I think back to history classes in high school and college and wonder what people in our past thought of freedom (not just in America) and how we think of our freedoms today. Freedom to worship without government oversight is a freedom too many take for granted. Unfortunately, there are people who can’t separate the freedom the Gospel offers from the freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment.

Don’t wrap the Cross in the flag. The Cross AND the tomb are both empty now. Christ Jesus is on His throne. His burial cloth wasn’t a flag.


SMH Update 3/9/16…not a headline

Update 3/9/2016

Just an update from last night’s post about the robotics team.

After we both had cooled off a bit last night, Carey and I did have an email exchange. He privately offered his apology to me and the team. Because his post was made publicly and had several followers making disparaging comments as well, I asked for him to at least publicly make the apology and offered him the team email address. I know he’s a busy man, both trying to work and run a reelection campaign, so I’ll give him some time to do it. But, in fairness today, here’s his email apology to me (and by extension the robotics team):

“Baker apology
10 messages
Carey Baker <> Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 7:42 PM
I deserved your rebuke and immediately deleted the post, I should have thought of you and the kids before I posted!! I am still stunned. I was invited, I didn’t invite myself and the guy who threw me out, threw me out!! You heard him “You gotta go” Who says that to someone?? Like I mentioned I was mad and embarrassed!
Please forgive me.
Warmest regards,
Sent from my iPhone
Steven Moulden <> Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 7:47 PM
To: Carey Baker <>
The team email address is
I think it should be emailed there.
Thank you,

Steven Moulden <> Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 8:04 PM
To: Carey Baker <>
Also, the gentleman who had invited you doesn’t appreciate being thown under the bus.
You’re a public official, I expected more graciousness and less childishness. We’re a bit disappointed to say the least.
On Tue, Mar 8, 2016, 7:42 PM Carey Baker <> wrote:

Carey Baker <> Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 8:30 PM
To: Steven Moulden <>
My apology was sincere in regards to any possible adverse affects on the parents and kids which is why I immediately deleted the post. But the fact will continue to be that I was rudely throw out as if I had done something wrong and the gentleman who invited me said nothing, no I’m sorry we are so busy or how about you come back later, no nothing. I wasn’t told beforehand that the club was busy that night. I just walked in blind.
Maybe I am mad and embarrassed because I have never been treated that way before nor would I ever tell someone to leave in that manner. Please imagine how I felt just standing outside your club on the street by myself. But I acknowledge my poor choice in sharing this episode.
Sent from my iPhone

Steven Moulden <> Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 8:49 PM
To: Carey Baker <>
I understand. I also know that had I not replied to that post it likely would have continued. Your followers and friend not only saw it, but made additional disparaging comments about the team member and leaders (all volunteers by the way) in general.
It was a public posting, I believe the sincere apology should also be public.

Carey Baker <> Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 9:00 PM
To: Steven Moulden <>
You are a good man, Steve Moulden! Let me cool down about this and compose an email to your club. I could post something on FB but you know how people are, it could make it worse.
Sent from my iPhone

Steven Moulden <> Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 9:03 PM
To: Carey Baker <>
Thank you. I know you’ll do the right thing. Much appreciated, I wasn’t the only team mentor that saw it.

Carey Baker <> Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 9:06 PM
To: Steven Moulden <>
And thank you!
Sent from my iPhone

Carey Baker <> Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 9:22 PM
To: Steven Moulden <>
Steve, I know I deserve the public smacking but could you please consider deleting your posts?
Sent from my iPhone

Steven Moulden <> Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 10:48 PM
To: Carey Baker <>
I’ll update it later with your apology to the team.
Until then, it stands.

Carey, consider the post updated. We’ve got a big competition at UCF (Orlando FRC Regional) representing Lake County as one of the only two FIRST FRC teams in the county. If you’re ever curious about what it’s really about for us, and to see who we compete against come on out, it’s free to the public. For us, it’s about giving our kids an edge that they may not get elsewhere. STEM is making the rounds in Lake County, and we’re doing what we can to help close that gap for our students as parents, educators, mentors and coaches. FIRST is a big part of these students’ lives and we’re blessed to be able to volunteer with them. I hope you understand why I and several others were seeing red afterwards last evening.