Learning to Water Ski in South Alabama


People are usually surprised, and skeptical, when I tell them I learned to water ski slalom. For some reason, it was easier for me to control one water ski rather than two.

Skiing on two skis requires that you 1) keep them separated and 2) keep them pointed straight ahead, neither of which I could ever do. Any violation of 1) and/or 2) results in a watery wipe out, usually accompanied by either a) large amounts of pond water accumulated in the sinuses, eyes, or other body cavities or b) a lake water enema. There is a difference.

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Doing the Right Thing is Also the Best Thing

James 4:17

If failing to do the right thing is sin, then we’d best have some idea what the “right thing” is.

The problem is that our attitudes toward sin are, well, sinful. We suppose that since we don’t habitually murder, rob, and steal, we don’t have much of a sin problem. But God has a much broader view of sin. He is holy, after all.

The Christian life is not simply a matter of avoiding the “wrong thing,” especially the “big” wrong thing, such as murder or robbery or theft, but of doing the “right thing,” and we’re told, in James 4:17

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

James is concerned that the believer’s faith result in good works, because all living faith works. Only a dead faith produces no works, no good deeds, and James wants believers to know that living a life pleasing to God, and delightful to us, requires that we not only refrain from bad deeds (sins of “commission,” those we commit), but that we not refrain from doing good deeds (sins of omission, duties or expectations or commands that we omit).

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Earnhardt Epitomized Excellence

From the Archives


Let me make a confession. I am not a fan of auto racing.

Before you burn me at the stake as a heretic, make no mistake that I am a genuine southerner in all respects, and have the credentials to prove it:

  • I was born in Alabama
  • I use the term “y’all” and use it correctly

  • I have dressed fish, shot a deer, chewed tobacco (not my favorite, and been called a hick

  • I drive a pickup truck, and

  • I believe that unsweetened tea is a crime against humanity.

But I don’t like car racing.

Identifying with Sports

This is probably because I don’t really identify with any elements of it. My own automotive experience doesn’t include driving around in a circle for three hours at one hundred and eighty. Once, during my first year of college, I drove around Birmingham for two hours because I kept missing my exit. Although I really needed a “pit stop” by the third lap around, this is not quite the same thing.

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Church Discipline and Baptist Love

Repost from the archives...

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20

We hear this quoted all the time. The church uses it to solemnize weddings, to invoke worship, to encourage groups of all sorts. It’s even used to validate business meetings where the most spiritual item on the agenda is replacing the air conditioner.

Thus it is no small surprise to most people that Jesus uttered these words in a discourse on church discipline.

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Four Things Required to Join Jesus on the Road to Calvary


Tucked between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Day, the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and his Triumphal Exit from the grave, is the event that put him there: the Crucifixion.

And, as we know, it wasn’t a mere event that put Jesus on the cross, but sin, and that not his own, but of the people he came to save. And, because all of this was part of God’s redemptive plan, we might say that God put Jesus on the cross because of the sin of man.

Jesus had, before Palm Sunday arrived, told his disciples enough to know that palm branches and hosannas would not spell the end of his mission, but that suffering and death would accompany events in Jerusalem.

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Three Ways to Bring Prideful Speech to Heel

Faith Works in Our Speech

An average person speaks millions of words in his lifetime, and has tens of thousands of conversations. Much of that speaking and conversing exalts self.

Think of the subject of conversations that you typically have. They will likely relate to a few primary topics: family, church, work, recreation, politics, sports. Then think of the direction of those conversations: they trend upward, as you elevate yourself in relation to purity, people, and plans. How is it possible with such a flood of self-exalting talk to be humble? Consider what we contend with:

  • PURITY. If your subject is injustice in society, your conversation tends to reinforce your goodness by comparison
  • PEOPLE. If your subject is family, your conversation tends to put down family members who aren’t living up to your standard or who have hurt you in some way
  • PLANS. If your subject is work, conversation tends toward building more wealth retiring earlier (or better) than others.

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