Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

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Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,

Had a wife but couldn't keep her;

He put her in a pumpkin shell

And there he kept her very well.

To say the least, nursery rhymes are weird. Who would tell this to a child? Have I missed it or does this little ditty say that Peter’s wife was a runaround? Anyway, that, from what I can determine, is where we get the child’s taunt, "cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater."

The Bible talks about cheaters. It does talk about men and women who cheat on their spouses, but it also talks about gospel cheaters. The specific text I am thinking of is where Paul is encouraging Timothy to pass the things (teachings, doctrine, faith) he has been given on to faithful men who are able (qualified) to pass it on to others. This is the process by which we have the gospel and the Christian faith today - faithful men teaching faithful men. I wonder, am I doing my part? How are we doing as a church?

Women - You Can't Live Without Them!

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I saw a news clip the other day about the increase of gang violence and activity here in Atlanta. One of the expert analysts they had said, "When the breakdown of the home and family is on the rise we can expect an increase in gang numbers and therefore gang violence." When I was a kid and I heard about gangs I always understood that they were made up of adults. That’s the way they were depicted in movies and on TV, like motorcycle gangs. I didn’t grow up in the city so TV was the only exposure I had to gangs and Westside Story is not an accurate depiction of reality. Still, as an adult having lived in Atlanta for 20 years it is still hard to wrap my head around kids 10, 12, 14 years old being involved in gangs. Robbery, murder, sexual encounters, drugs (using and selling), prostitution - all of that and more as a lifestyle ... for children! Analysts and police say its because they are searching for attention, for love, for respect, for what they should be getting at home. But when you go to their homes, in most cases, no one is there. There is no father in the picture half the time and the mother is working, drunk, on drugs or other wise not at home being a mother.

Speaking of Bible Study...

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I have refrained from telling "grandchildren" stories in the bulletin or in sermons so as not to be that person who invites you over to their house to watch home movies of grandchildren. But every once in a while one comes up that I just have to share. That is the case today. Martin and Kristen and kids were with us a couple of weeks ago in worship. When "Mr. Jim" got up to read Scripture he read the greatest commandment text from Matthew’s account. When Cason heard it he told his momma that, "Mr. Jim didn’t do it right. He left out ‘with all your strength.’" Later, in the sermon, when I referenced the text that Jim read I combined both Matthew and Luke’s account incorporating the "with all your strength" part. Cason looked at his mom and said, "You see mom, Papaw got it right. He knows how to do it." While I can assure you that "Mr. Jim" knows how to do it too, I get two things from this. One, I’ve been inadvertently bumped up a notch in Cason’s mind. Two, those little guys are listening more than you think.

Dare To Be A Disciple

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Disciple—it is a common word among Christians, but is it a common understanding? What does the word mean? What did it mean in the time Jesus used it? Is being saved and being a disciple the same thing? What does being a disciple involve? There are lots of questions (and answers) about this image or concept given to us in the New Testament.

Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's...God?

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How many super heroes can you name? Superman is the first one that comes to my mind, but there are literally hundreds, maybe thousands, but that’s probably a stretch. Although, if you consider that there is at least one super villain for every super hero, the numbers can increase quickly. I enjoy going to see the Marvel Comics movies about the Avengers, but I’d don’t care much for the Transformers or the X-men series - I’ll wait till they come to TV. A lot of super heroes can fly, they all have some kind of superhuman power. Many of them are mutant humans, some come from other planets. Do you really believe that a man can swing from the New York skyscrapers on spider strings? Can Superman really see through walls and fly so fast around the world that he can reverse the orbit to cause the world to go back in time for a day or so? We all know that none of it is real. It’s just entertainment for those who enjoy that sort of thing. It used to be just for kids, but those kids grew up and the super heroes were a part of their lives.