October 31 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, presenting his “Ninety-Five Theses.” It delineated his differences with the church, particularly on salvation by faith only and authority of Scripture alone, as well cataloging the corrupt practices of the Roman Catholic Church at the time. This “Reformation” created the Protestant movement. (Reformation leaders also included John Calvin, John Huss, John Knox, William Tyndale and John Wycliffe.)

As a Protestant, I’m feeling a bit conflicted in the “celebration,” as I have much more in common with my Catholic friends in our love for Christ and his Church than I have differences .

Basic beliefs

Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christians share a common statement of faith—written well before the Catholic/Orthodox split in 1054 and the Reformation splinter in 1517. [Continue reading]

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jackolantern2016
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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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: [Continue reading]

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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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