OCT 21 2015 4:29 PM

That’s the date on the tricked-out DeLorean’s dashboard when Marty McFly and Doc Brown land thirty years into the future—today! It’s one of my favorite movies series, and the title provides some helpful advice as we try to navigate our way into the future.

Since we can’t see one single nanosecond into the future, we back into the future, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have direction. I love what Philip Yancey writes in the booklet Guidance (Multnomah, 1983):

      I had always thought of guidance as forward-looking. We keep praying, hoping, counting on God to reveal what we should do next. In my own experience, at least, I have found the direction to be reversed.

      For me, guidance becomes clear only as I look backward. At the moment, my future is a big blur. Guidance becomes evident only when I look back, months and years later. Then the circuitous process falls into place and the hand of God seems clear. But at the moment of decision, I feel mainly confusion and uncertainty

Like Yancey, I have to look back to see the future. Let me chart it out. I’ve done a lot of different things. Everything from performing magic at community events to being a hair model at beauty seminars to putting raisins in Raisin Bran to writing and speaking. But there seems to be a trajectory, a linear pattern.

BackToTheFuture2

Writing and speaking keep showing up throughout my life. As I back into the future, I can line up where I seem to be headed by the stakes of the past.

Not looking forward does not mean not moving. It simply acknowledges we can’t see the future. But by looking back at what seems to have worked in the past and the present—and which God seems to be blessing—we can move forward in the right direction, even if we can’t see what’s ahead. So keep your back to the future—but keeping moving!

And I do hope, as Marty saw in the future, the Cubs win the World Series!

Related posts
God’s will is not lost: for those trying to find it
Hope and humor for writers

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“You’re a what?!” people often ask with a high-pitched gasp when I tell them I’m a writer. “You mean you actually enjoy writing?! That would be like having homework for the rest of your life.”

Well, I do enjoy research. (One summer while in junior high, I read the entire World Book Encyclopedia.) And I’d rather tap away at a keyboard than watch TV. So, I guess writers appear slightly less than normal!

But, there’s one place I feel completely “normal” and understood—writers’ conferences. There I’m surrounded by people who do enjoy poring over research books and who think staring at a word processing screen is great entertainment.

I’m sure it’s the same with occupations I wouldn’t want to even consider, such as dentists. What kind of person enjoys working with decaying teeth and infected gums? Apparently a large number of people who perfectly understand the joy of dentistry. And don’t even get me going on proctology!

Perhaps being among people who understand our unique joys and sorrows is the secret to support groups, seminars, and conferences for writers, dentists, proctologists, as well as Star Trek fans and other marginal groups. The Father God knew how important it is to be understood when he sent God the Son to earth:

      For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus—although He is completely God—completely understands us humans, because He became human.

Every joy and sorrow, every strength and weakness, every triumph and temptation—Jesus understands. And, best of all, He understands you and me.

Copyright © James N. Watkins

Note
I’m thrilled that I’ll be with people who understand me at the Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference this week. I hope to meet some of you there!

Related post
Are authors in their “write” mind?
Genuine Jesus or Counterfeit Christ?


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Imitation of Christ releases in 85 days!

The classic devotional by Thomas à Kempis arranged and organized into 90 devotional readings.

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything.

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, founder of World Hope International, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

About the book
The story behind the book
Sample chapter
Daily quotation

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

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

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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:

Origin of Halloween

Halloween’s origins date back two thousand years to the Celtic New Year festival of “Samhain” (pronounced sow-in) named after their god of the dead. (If it’s been a while since World History class, the Celts occupied England, Ireland and northern France.) Samhain was also one of the four high days (sabbats) of witchcraft or, more accurately, Wicca.

On the night before the November 1 new year, Celts believed that Samhain and the dead would roam the earth causing all kinds of trouble. So the Celtic priests, Druids, would demand that all light be extinguished on Halloween night and sacrifices be made to prevent trouble.

To avoid “tricks,” the villagers would bake up “treats” to appease the dead. They would also dress up in ghoulish costumes and parade to the outskirts of town hoping the departed souls would follow them out of town.

After sacrifices, villagers would carry the fire, thought to be sacred, back to their homes in carved out vegetable shells.

In the eighth century Pope Gregory II moved the church festival honoring martyrs of “All Saints” to November 1 as a Christian alternative to the Celtic New Year celebrations. “All Hallow’s Eve” or “Halloween” means the “evening of holy persons” and was to be used in spiritual preparation for All Saints Day.

(Halloween is not the only holiday based on pagan origins. See also my posts on Christmas and Easter.)

So, what should a Christian do?

The Apostle Paul deals with these kinds of issues when he addresses meat offered to pagan idols. Is this wrong for the Christian—who doesn’t believe in the false gods to whom the meat was offered— to eat meat offered to idols? Here’s Paul’s advice:

      So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

      But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

      Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall (1 Corinthians 8:4-13).

If Paul were alive today, he might write something like . . .

      Don’t worry about the ancient association of these holidays with paganism since we know there are no gods of sun and death, and that the dead don’t roam the earth. You’re not appeasing Samhain when you go “trick-or-treating” or sacrificing to the gods by carving a jack-o-lantern. But if your family or friends have reservations about these things, don’t encourage them to do something they feel is “sinful.”

At least that’s my (and possibly St. Paul’s) opinion—among the nearly one thousand other perspectives.

© Copyright 2005 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved.

Related posts
My annual take on twisted topics: demons, ghosts, Harry Potter, psychics, and more


And on this Columbus Day . . .

jimshortscolumbusday2


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Imitation of Christ releases in 92 days!

The classic devotional by Thomas à Kempis arranged and organized into 90 devotional readings.

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, founder of World Hope International, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

About the book
The story behind the book
Sample chapter
Daily quotation

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

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

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I’m taking a quick break from “hope and humor” to present a “heavy topic with a light touch” with some advice on the Internet from the disciple Luke.

The disciple Luke describes media in the first century this way:

      And they took [Paul] and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new (Acts 17:19-21).

Instead of tuning into the so-called “mainstream media,” in the first century you headed on down to the city gate if you were a man and to the town’s well if you were a woman. (This is why the famous “woman at the well” was there at noon, because she was the early morning news!).

“Mass media” began in Renaissance Europe with hand-written newsletters addressed to local merchants with news of wars and financial markets. In 1440 the Gutenberg Press, with its movable type, allowed for the news to be more efficiently printed. In the late 1400s newspapers appeared with sensationalized, opinionated and biased news involving graphic descriptions of crimes, affairs, and topics typical of today’s grocery store tabloids.

The London Gazette began publishing November 7, 1665, making it the oldest newspaper still in publication. It began as an official publication of the English government. The United States first newspaper, Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick, debuted in 1690 and was promptly shut down by British authorities. The first continually published American newspaper was the Boston Newsletter, which like the London Gazette, was under government control. With the American Revolution and ratification of the Bill of Rights in1791, freedom of the press was guaranteed and privately owned newspapers—free from government control—began to flourish.

Many believe the newspaper business reached its apex early last century. Newspapers attempted to shed the sleaze and bias with the American Society of Newspaper Editors drafting the “Canons of Journalism” in 1923. It declared that “News reports should be free from opinion or bias of any kind.”

At the same time, privately owned newspapers were being bought up by conglomerates such as Scripps-Howard, which owned 25 newspapers, and William Randolph Hearst, who owned 20 daily papers, 11 Sunday newspapers, two wire services and six magazines. This continued until 1983, when 90 percent of media was owned by 50 companies. Today, only five corporations own the majority of American news media: GE (NBC), Rupert Murdoch’s News-Corp (Fox, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Post), Disney (ABC), Time Warner (CNN, Time) and CBS.

But enter the Internet. While Gutenberg changed how news was published, the Internet has changed what news is published!

Today, it is becoming increasingly difficult for governments and corporations to control and censor news. “Citizen journalists” have been responsible for bringing down oppressive regimes with their Twitter and YouTube accounts. The Internet news aggregate Drudge Report first broke news of President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinski. And cell phone videos have brought alleged crimes and misconduct to national and international attention.

While giant corporations depend on advertisers—which can subtly and not so subtly influence what news is and isn’t covered—any person with access to the Internet with a computer or mobile device can become a “news source.”

News has become “democratized,” but that can quickly lead to anarchy! But this is nothing new as Luke notes:

      Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you . . . so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught (Luke 1:1-4 NIV).

Luke provides some excellent principles:

Go to the primary sources. “Those who from the first were eyewitnesses.”

Verify! Verify! Verify! “Carefully investigate everything from the beginning.”

Be certain you have the facts. “Know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

Christians who blindly forward misinformation and quotations out of context are breaking the commandment to “not bear false witness.” And, may I be completely honest, looking ignorant!

We live in the golden age of information and, at the very same time, the dark ages of misinformation. So, follow Luke’s advice to “Carefully investigate everything from the beginning.”

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Originally posted at The Presidential Prayer Team blog. If you found it helpful, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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I chose to drive to the board meeting of the St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference, even though I hate to drive. Here’s why:

      Flight schedule

      6:30 am Leave for Fort Wayne Airport
      7:30 am Go through security, wait
      8:30 am Fly to Atlanta
      10:17 am Land in Atlanta
      11:05 am Fly to Pittsburgh
      12:49 pm Arrive in Pittsburgh
      1:30 pm Meet driver
      2:30 pm Arrive in Grove City

      Driving schedule

      9 am Leave for Grove City
      12 Stop for lunch
      12:30 pm Continue to Grove City
      2:30 pm Arrive in Grove City

But best of all . . .

• I didn’t have to run the security gauntlet

• I can travel with full-sized aerosols, liquids and gels!

• I wasn’t charged for checked luggage, no limit on carry-ons

• I had the whole exit row to myself with a fully adjustable seat

• My choice of music through a great sound system (No “stethoscope” headsets)

• I enjoyed a delicious meal at non-airport/airplane prices

• I was able to use a spacious restroom

• No screaming babies

• I didn’t have to go through Atlanta to get from Indiana to Pennsylvania.

• No weather delays or cancellations.

• No cancellation because the flight crew didn’t get their eight hours of sleep.

• No computer crashes.

• No lost luggage.

• I didn’t pay a dime for parking

So, my rule of thumb is this: if an event is six or less hours away, driving is quicker than flying. Driving actually cost $100 more than flying, but the First Class service of Watkins’ Non-Airlines was well worth the money!

Copyright © James N. Watkins

And be sure to mark your calendar for the St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference June 22-26, 2016. It’s going to be amazing!

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I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten posts from September 2015

10. I can’t do all things

9. God is never late, but he sure is slow

8. Does DNA disprove evolution?

7. Children who marry their parents: the psychology of courtship

6. Cure for common cold: sex

5. Is world coming to bloody end?! The “blood moon” hysteria

4. Hope and humor cartoons

3. What was Paul thinking when he wrote 1 Timothy 2:12?

2. “It Is Well with My Soul”: the rest of the stories

And, the number one post in September 2015 . . .

1. Were U.S. founding fathers Christian?

(See list at right for the latest posts.)

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From the “Hope & Humor” news desk: This past Saturday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration teased on Twitter that it will announce a “major science finding” at 11:30 a.m. EDT today:

      Mars is a mysterious world, tune in to NASA TV on 9/28 as we announce a major science finding http://go.nasa.gov/1LTWsUP

Whatever the finding may be—water, life or new McMars franchise—NASA will no doubt campaign to send a manned mission to the red planet. So, it’s time to go back in time for this major science post:

What will half a trillion buy?

January 2004

I’ve spent the week staring off into space wondering what I could buy with half a trillion dollars—the estimated cost to put humans on Mars. (That’s 500,000,000,000). Let’s see:

A brand new $45,000 BMW X5 SUV for every one of the 11,030,029 licensed drivers in California (includes dealer prep and destination charges).

Or a Sony 65-inch HD TV (and a Toshiba 42-inch HD TV with XBox video game system for the bedroom) for every housing unit in America.

Or 2,390,057 houses in the US at $209,200 (the median cost of an American home). Or 625,000,000 basic Habitat for Humanity homes in third-world countries.

Or pay four years of tuition at Indiana University for all of the 15,300,000 college students in the US. (Or send 5,856,996 students to Harvard for four years.)

Or provide $14,460 worth of prescription drugs for every one of the 34,578,000 Americans over age 65.

Or buy 555,555,555,555 Mars candy bars.

Or build and equip 16,358,580 medical clinics in third world countries (includes electrical generator for each).

Or support 1,600,000,000 third-world children for one year

Or pay for one manned mission to Mars!

Yep, on January 14 President George Bush told a crowd at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that he wants to see humans return to the moon by 2020. And then . . .

      With the experience and knowledge gained on the moon, we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond. Robotic missions will serve as trailblazers—the advanced guard to the unknown. Probes, landers and other vehicles of this kind continue to prove their worth, sending spectacular images and vast amounts of data back to Earth. Yet the human thirst for knowledge ultimately cannot be satisfied by even the most vivid pictures, or the most detailed measurements. We need to see and examine and touch for ourselves. And only human beings are capable of adapting to the inevitable uncertainties posed by space travel.

While a Bush administration official told the press, “The President is not expected to immediately discuss the cost,” others have offered their out of this world estimates to put humans on the red planet.

According to The New Republic a 1989 NASA estimate put the sticker price at $400,000,000,000 or $600,000,000,000 in today’s dollars.

But Konstantin Feoktistov, who worked in the Russian space program and now lectures at the Moscow Bauman Technical University, told SPACE.com a manned mission to Mars would cost $1 trillion. “Even if the surface of Mars were covered with gems and gold, a manned mission would still be too expensive because of such a great cost,” Feoktistoy said.

So, half a trillion is a conservative estimate.

To be fair, there are some down-to-earth benefits of space exploration. The space program has yielded breakthrough advances in communications, weather forecasting, electronics, and countless other fields. CAT Scanners and MRIs trace their origins to technologies engineered for use in space.

But $500,000,000,000 is a lot of money to invest in space when there are so many more practical (and life-saving uses) for that kind of cash right here on the home planet.

Or to put it another way, that amount of money would provide the President, each member of his cabinet, all twelve Supreme Court justices, and every one of 485 members of congress inpatient psychiatric care for 3,722 years. Now that might not be a bad investment!

Copyright © 2004 James N. Watkins

Notes (2004 prices):

United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Statistics 2000 lists 11,030,029 drivers in California. A BMW X5 lists for $45,330.79./P>

A Sony HD TV lists for $2,429, a Toshiba HD TV for 1,500, and XBox for $179 ($4,108). United States Census Bureau lists 119, 302,132 housing units. That comes to $490, 093,158,256.

Habitat For Humanity can build a home in a third-world country for as little as $800.

Society for College and University Planning 2003 reports 15,300,000 students enrolled in college. In 2000 four years tuition at Harvard was $85,368; four years at Indiana University $29,444 in 2000. And those are “out of state” costs!

World Hope can build and equip a medical clinic for $30,565.

World Hope can support a third world child $300 per year.

MediCare will cover $716 per day for psychiatric care.

If you agree that there are better ways to spend half a trillion, please share this on your social networks.

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After a long day of writing or editing, my brain is SillyPutty by 6 pm, and so the only thing I want to do in the evening is crank up Pandora and play “Freecell.” But more than a mindless waste of time, I’ve learned some valuable lessons from the electronic solitaire game:

1. You don’t have to play the cards you’re dealt

Nope, when I start stressing about not seeing any possible moves, I click “New Game.”

Sometimes you have to do that in life. When your job becomes a dead end, when your hobby becomes a chore rather than a joy, when a friendship turns toxic, it’s perfectly okay to click “New Game.” (Okay, there are some things you’re committed to for life: marriage, parenting, your faith . . . But there few things you actually need to play until you cash in your chips.)

Which brings me to . . .

2. Lose quickly

There have been times I stuck with something that I should have let go of years ago. One summer in college, one of my parents’ friends talked me into selling encyclopedias door-to-door. It was completely the wrong work for my personality, so after selling just one set, I quit! So, sometimes it’s wise to lose quickly and move onto to something that has more potential for success. But also keep in mind . . .

3. You’re not going to win every game

If I gave up on writing after the first few (or 100) rejections from book and magazine publishers, I would have never ended up with over 2,000 published articles and 20 books. So realize that failure is often temporary, and it’s the long view that makes careers and friendships successful.

4. Sometimes you need a “Hint”

If you’ve hit a wall and can’t see any possible moves, maybe you need an objective person to help you see choices you’re overlooking. Get marriage counseling, take a gifts inventory, get a mentor for your business (I love mentoring writers). Sometimes we get so focused on the minutia of life, we don’t see the big moves that can get us out of a jam.

5. Always have a Plan C

I love that in FreeCell, you have four free cells where you can temporarily store cards that are blocking your progress. But you have to be careful that you always have a blank free cell or another move possible so you don’t get the dreaded, “There are no more possible moves.” Not only have a Plan B, but C, D, E . . .

6. The obvious move is not always the best move

Sometimes you have to block one possibility to open up a better possibility. Don’t move that nine up to the home row just now. You’re going to need it to get the eight off the ace. The “simple solution” often leads to complicated consequences!

And finally . . .

7. Always celebrate success

I love the animation at a “win,” when the cards cascade off the home squares and then bounce across the bottom of the screen! Celebrate your successes, because in life you’ll probably have more losses than wins.

When I finish a book chapter I have a Dove dark chocolate bar; when I get a book contract, I take the whole family—wife, kids and grands—out to dinner. (Most book contracts have afforded a trip to McDonald’s, but my latest book actually funded a sit-down dinner at a restaurant without a drive-through!)

So in summary, some good advice from Kenny Rogers: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” Have a winning week!

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Please add any lessons you’ve learned from solitaire in the comment box. And if you found this post hopeful or humorous, please share it on your social networks. Thanks.

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On the eve of Pope Franicis’ visit to the United States, a question: What do Catholics and Protestants share in common?

First, The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language. The book has been honored for over 500 years from Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) to which the current pontif belongs, to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

I’ve taken 90 of Thomas à Kempis’ “chapters” divided into devotional-length passages, organized them by the characteristics of Christ, and modernized the text into contemporary English. Here’s a sample chapter:

1

ON THE IMITATION OF CHRIST

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.
Ephesians 5:1–2

These are the words of Christ: “If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness” (John 8:12). They teach us how thoroughly we must imitate his life and character if we desire true understanding and freedom from our own deceptive hearts and minds. And so, may we earnestly study and meditate on the life of Jesus Christ.

Christ’s teachings surpass all of the great holy writers of the past. If we have his Spirit, we find spiritual nourishment. Unfortunately there are many people who frequently hear the words of Christ but have little desire to follow them and so do not have the mind of Christ.

What does it profit us to engage in deep discussions about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit if we lack humility and are displeasing to God? Truly, deep and profound words do not make a person holy and upright, but a good life is what makes us dear to God. I would rather experience sorrow for my ungodly thoughts and actions than simply be skillful in defining “repentance.” If we know the whole Bible and the teachings of all the philosophers, what does all this benefit us without the love and grace of God? It is completely futile unless we love God and serve only him. This is the highest wisdom: to put earthly values behind us and to reach forward to the heavenly kingdom.

It is futile to strive for earthly things and to trust in riches that will perish. It is futile to desire honors and lift up ourselves. It is futile to be ruled by the desires of our physical body, for this will only bring misery in the end. It is futile to desire a long life and to care little for a good life. It is futile to concentrate on the here and now and not look forward to the things which are eternal. It is futile to love temporary things and not strive toward eternal joy.

Always keep this saying in mind: “The eye is not satisfied with visible things. Neither is the ear content with hearing.” And so, let us strive to turn our hearts from the love of things that are visible and concentrate on the things that are invisible. If we are controlled by our own physi¬cal desires, we will corrupt our conscience and destroy the grace of God. Book 1 Chapter 1

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Click for the story behind the book and how to pre-order for the January 12 release.


The Apostles’ Creed

Second, Roman Catholics and Protestants share a common statement of faith—written well before the Reformation. The Apostles’ Creed is first mentioned in 390 AD, although what we recite today was probably written in the 700s. (Martin Luther nailed his grievances against the Roman Catholic Church on the Witterberg church door over 800 years later on October 31, 1517, which instigated the Reformation in Germany.)

The Apostles’ Creed is widely used by Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists and many other denominations.

      I believe in God, the Father almighty,
      creator of heaven and earth.

      I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
      who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
      and born of the virgin Mary.
      He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, died, and was buried;
      he descended to hell.
      The third day he rose again from the dead.
      He ascended to heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
      From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

      I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the holy catholic* church,
      the communion of saints,
      the forgiveness of sins,
      the resurrection of the body,
      and the life everlasting. Amen.

      * Lower case c meaning “universal” church

I trust that amidst the public appearances and pageantry, that the importance of imitating Christ is emphasized by pope’s visit.


Sense of humor

And I’m glad Catholics have a sense of humor. From Pope Francis to founder of jokewiththepope.org:

      I like to laugh a lot. It’s helps me feel closer to God and closer to other people. When we laugh with each other and not at each other, God’s love is present in a special way. Share your jokes and your funny stories: the world will be better, the Pope will be happy and God will be the happiest of all.

I hope he enjoys these . . .

jimshortspopefrancis

jimshortspurgatory

jimshortspopeconfessions

jimshortspopemobile

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Related posts
Genuine Jesus or Counterfeit Christ?
“The church is a whore . . .”

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90 Minutes in Heaven–or not?

September 18th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

90-minutes-in-heaven

90 Minutes in Heaven opens this weekends at a theater near you. Based on the best-selling book by Don Piper, the film tells the story of his horrific head-on crash with a semi truck in which he is pronounced dead at the scene. Here’s how the book describes what happens next:

      For the next 90 minutes, Piper experiences heaven where he is greeted by those who had influenced him spiritually. He hears beautiful music and feels true peace. Back on earth, a passing minister who had also been at the conference is led to pray for Don even though he knows the man is dead. Piper miraculously comes back to life and the bliss of heaven is replaced by a long and painful recovery. For years Piper kept his heavenly experience to himself. Finally, however, friends and family convinced him to share his remarkable story.

So, is it possible to visit heaven and return to earth?

Here’s a chapter from my 2000 book, The Why Files: Is There Really Life After Death, which asks some tough questions for the many people who claim to have visited heaven and returned. (I posted this after the story of a four-year-old’s visit was told in the popular movie, Heaven Is for Real.)

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