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Search Google for “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?” and you’ll get about one thousand sites covering everything from “it’s completely harmless” to “it’s completely hellish.” Here’s site number 1,001 that’s somewhere in the middle: [Continue reading]

But wait, there’s more! Hope and Humor’s annual take on twisted topics:
Are demons, exorcisms real?
Are there really ghosts?
Harry Potter: the good, the bad, the muggly
Ouija: It’s not just a game
Psychic secrets revealed
Talking to the dead
Top ten reasons Halloween is a strange holiday
The Why Files: My book on the supernatural
Vampires, werewolves real!
Which witch is which?

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Hi, I’m Jim. Think of me as your online cheerleader. Or maybe not, but I do offer more encouragement and entertainment than you can shake a pom pom at. Rah! Rah! I’m also an . . .

Author

I’m an author of twenty books and over 2,000 articles (Everything from sects to sex). You can read free articles and humor columns—a bargain at twice the price—on death, faith, health, heavy topics, holidays, hope, humor, life hacks, love, parenting, sex, spiritual issues and writing resources. Plus, snarky cartoons and free comedy/drama sketches. What a deal! Scroll down for my latest posts.

Speaker

I’m passionate about bringing hope and humor to my audiences—as well as teaching others to do so—through conferences and seminars across the U.S. and overseas. I’ve taught and keynoted at more than 100 conferences, I’ve lectured at Liberty, Regent and many other universities, as well as spoken in hundreds of churches from a variety of denominations. I’d love to speak at your event or convenience store grand opening.

Listen to full hope and humor-filled keynote talks and seminars, as well as find a list of my topics and schedule.)

Lover

Most of all, I love God, my family (one wife, two adult children, one daughter-in-love and five adorable grandchildren), writing/speaking, and Chinese food—in that order. I’d love to share how to know God’s love. And if you share my love for writing, please visit Hope and humor for writers.

So, thanks for stopping by. If you enjoy your visit, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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Chocolate diamond
Have you seen all those commercials trumpeting Le Vian’s “unique chocolate diamonds”?

The only problem is that brown diamonds are the most common and least valued for jewelry. (The most valuable are white and blue.) So, for centuries, brown diamonds were used only for industrial purposes. Then the Le Vian family decided on a creative marketing strategy. Instead of calling them ubiquitous and virtually useless brown chunks of compressed coal, they hyped them as “Chocolate Diamonds.” Everyone loves chocolate! And Le Vian family has been making a whole mine of money selling them!

Here’s how to turn your “shaft” into a mine. [Continue reading]

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While this month is designated Pastor Appreciation Month, every month should be filled with appreciation for the selfless and sacrificial service minister provide every day of the year. (Having a day off from being a pastor is like having a day off from a pregnancy!)

So, from someone who has spent forty years in ministry, here are Top ten ways to appreciate your pastor this month—and every month: (Feel free to add more in the comment section.)

10. Make sure the church pays him/her well. It’s hard to carry the cares of the church when one is wondering how to pay bills.

9. Instead of providing a parsonage, provide a housing allowance so he/she can build up equity. (Too many pastors retire “homeless.”)

8. Instead of saying, “Good sermon, pastor,” point out a specific point that was helpful. Pastors get numb to that repeated phrase.

7. Say “Amen,” raise a hand, or simply nod your head when you agree with a sermon point. It’s hard to preach to an oil painting!

6. Send him/her an email of encouragement Monday. That’s the day most pastors consider resigning and putting on a Walmart vest.

5. Offer to babysit the pastor’s kiddos so the couple can have a date night. And provide the couple with a gift certificate to a restaurant—specifically, one without a drive-through.

4. If someone gripes to you about the pastor, stop them cold with, “Have you talked to him/her about this? I don’t want to hear gossip.”

3. Respect your pastor’s calling, education and experience. Too many laypeople believe they know more about running a church than the pastor.

2. Invite them out to lunch—without “something important to talk about.” Just listen to him/her. Be an encourager!

1. Pray. No one but a fellow pastor knows the pressure and temptation facing a pastor and his/her family.

Copyright © 2017 James N. Watkins

And if you’re a pastor, here’s some hope and humor:
A case for women in ministry
Considering a post-clergy career?
Does God make “prank” calls?
It is a wonderful life
Membership standards for the modern church
The Watkins New World Church Dictionary
Top ten list: When you’re voted out
Wounded shepherd: When is it time to leave the flock?
The Whoopie Cushion Code

Graphic: concordiatheology.org

And if you appreciated this post, please share on my social networks. Thanks!

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Has your brook dried up?

October 9th, 2017 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Dried Up Brook
Have you ever been praising God for his miraculous provisions, when suddenly you lose your job, huge medical expenses wipe out your savings, or some other disaster wipes out your livelihood?

I’m encouraged by the story of the prophet Elijah and the brook of Kerith (or Cherith if you prefer). God had brought a drought upon the land in response to the people’s disobedience, but God had miraculously provided for the prophet:

      “Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”

      So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land (1 Kings 17:4-7).

This weekend our brook dried up! So, two thoughts: [Continue reading]

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How to move a mountain

October 5th, 2017 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

shovel-280
I love the story of the man who prayed for God to miraculously remove the huge pile of dirt from behind his new home. He claimed Matthew 17:20’s promise: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

All night, he fervently prayed, but when he awoke, there—still—was the huge pile of dirt. But in front of it, something new: a shovel and a wheelbarrow! [Continue reading Listen to podcast]

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I’m praying for family and friends of the more than 50 killed and over 500 injured in last night’s Las Vegas shooting:

Father, wrap your love and comfort around every single person affected by this latest mass shooting: victims, family, friends, the Vegas community and our country. May your people reach out and show your love in tangible ways. (And shut the mouths of those who will attempt to exploit this tragedy to claim you are judging “Sin City.” You are not willing that any should perish.) May this godless act cause people to turn to you and to realize just how uncertain life is. Amen.

Here are some previous posts that may be helpful:
Dealing with death and grief
The good news about bad news
An Rx for gun control
Taking the terror out of terrorism
Talking to your children about the shooting

If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

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Do you hate to wait?

October 1st, 2017 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


I hate to wait! I’m one of those people who impatiently taps his foot during the sixty seconds the microwave heats a cup of soup. I drum the steering wheel with my thumbs, waiting for a red light to turn green. And I even made the foolish mistake our first month of marriage of honking the horn while waiting in the car for the Mrs. (Do not try this at home!)

I’ve spent the past three weeks waiting on news of a huge business decision. And I have spent the last week waiting for test results and definitive decisions for my mom who is now on day seven in the hospital.

I suspect you hate to wait as well, so here are several helpful posts on waiting. And thanks for your prayers.

Update October 2: Mom has inflammation of the colon causing a blockage. Hopefully, it can be alleviating with antibiotics.

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The divisive issues issue

September 26th, 2017 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


What a divisive few weeks. U.S. President Trump called North Korea’s Kim Jung Un “Little Rocket Man.” Jung Un responded by calling Trump a “dotard,” an archaic word for senile old man. This past weekend the National Football League saw more action off the field than on as Trump and commissioner Roger Goodell traded insults over players protesting by taking a knee during the national anthem. So, here’s my nonpartisan divisive issues issue:

The Un-tied States of America
Commentators, pundits and leaders are searching for reasons to explain the deep racial, gender, ideological and political divides. I blame the Internet. Let me explain before I cause even more division.

God is on our side! And theirs?
Whenever “the God card” is played the ante exponentially escalates. You may be surprised to learn that both sides of the original Civil War believed God was on their side. When asked if God was on the Union’s side, President Abraham Lincoln replied, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

Speaking with truth . . . and grace
No matter what our political or religious views, the Bible is clear we need to “speak the truth in love” and make sure our “conversation is full of grace.”

Top ten verses Donald Trump must have missed
While Donald Trump told TheHill.com, “Nobody reads the Bible more than me,” he’s apparently overlooked a few verses.

Ignorance protected by First Amendment
The power of the First Amendment is that it protects speech the majority find objectionable, hateful or simply ignorant. And someday, what you or I believe may be deemed objectionable, hateful or simply ignorant.

To angry voters
Here’s a piece I wrote for the Presidential Prayer Team during the contentious 2016 election.

You want me to pray for whom?
No matter your political persuasion, the Bible is clear we need to pray for our leaders: “Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:2).

If this post was helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

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Life as a human tetherball

September 20th, 2017 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

tetherballsportscom2
I’m sure my friends in Mexico and the Caribbean are feeling like human tetherballs as two earthquakes and two Category 5 hurricanes have struck them this way and that. And my friends in Texas and Florida are still battered from dual hurricanes and those in the west are still recovering from destructive wildfires.

For those unfamiliar with this violent game (“head injuries on a stick”), a volleyball is hung from a tall metal pole with a rope (tether). The players on opposite sides of the pole try to hit the ball—one clockwise, one counterclockwise—until one player winds the ball all the way around the pole so that it is stopped by the rope. A steel pole. A heavy ball flying directly at the contestants’ faces. What possibly could go wrong?!

Maybe you, too, have felt like life is punching you in the face as you reel in the opposite direction, then you’re struck again and propelled the other way. You’re in constant motion, being struck this way and then that with health crises, financial hardships, relationship problems, etc. etc. There is hope. [Continue reading]

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