It was 8th grade and graduation was coming fast. I was the valedictorian (don’t laugh, it made sense in 8th grade) and had to give a speech. But I had no suit to wear. My parents decided to take the trip into Phoenix to buy a sport coat that I could wear. I was excited, and anxious to go on a shopping trip just for me. It was Saturday and about 9 in the morning and I had been ready for more than an hour. My parents were taking their time. They had been out and had breakfast and coffee, but I didn’t understand what was keeping them. I found out when I barged into their bedroom.
Needless to say, that image is burned into my head. I had barged into their bedroom without knocking and without any level of respect. They were out and dressed and ready to go in 5 minutes. It was a quiet and tense drive to Phoenix, and not much passed between us while getting the sport coat and the trip back. I piece of my innocence was gone, never to return. I had also angered my parents and I had to deal with that for a few weeks.
We as a society have had a few wakeup moments in 2017. The sexual scandal after sexual scandal almost made us tired of the term “sexual harassment.” The political polarization of our nation ratcheted to new lows. A baker went to the Supreme Court to get relief from tyrannical laws that force him to celebrate events that his faith tells him are sinful.
Our society does not have the luxury of being innocent any more. It is time to grow up and let go of our petty squabbles and solve problems together. But how do we do that? What I am not going to do is to list all the things our society needs to do. It won’t work. If I say, do this or do that, nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING will happen. So, I’m not going to tell you what to do. Instead, I will encourage those who are doing good. I will take notice of those who may not get much in the way of kind words, but I will work tirelessly to BUILD PEOPLE UP.
Remember the story of Nehemiah. He was so upset at the walls of Jerusalem being down, and all gates broken and burned that he asked to be released from his important job to go build the wall. His employer was so impressed, he sent help. But it wasn’t the government who rebuilt the wall, it was the families. Each family had a small portion of the wall to rebuild and in just a few weeks the walls around the city were complete. The story of Nehemiah is one of faith, hard work, perseverance, building people up and taking a stand. This is what our nation and our society is called to this day.
If you are called to stand the wall, I ask you to look at www.colsonfellows.org. This is the education that I have been going through and it’s been a lot of work. But it has been incredibly rewarding. One of the things I have to do in this program is to put together a 3 year ministry plan. Item number one is to bring this education to Middle Tennessee. Watch for more on that topic to come. I will also continue my encouraging people, and building them up. I will take a stand for truth and will use this podium to call truth to the darkness, in order to banish that darkness to the light. I will have relationships and conversations, some rewarding, some uncomfortable. I will work to make Jesus known throughout my sphere of influence. Not for my sake, but for his… and for yours.
Ring around the Rosie,
Pocket full of posies,
We all fall down…
We all know the script. After a tragedy such as what happened in Las Vegas, the news media will repeat everything 50 times, try to get new supposed experts to give opinions, and by the end of the day, the call for gun control pops up, and two milliseconds later, the gun advocates come up. Meanwhile, we are immersed in the worlds of those lost in the senseless slaughter; we hear stories of heroism and sacrifice. We learn of the reaction of the community, those who line up to give blood, those who send sandwiches to the local fire station, those who just sit with the victims, not doing anything more than providing human comfort when there are no words. Eventually the politicians get involved and great speeches with great promises, but in the end, nothing comes of it.
I was reminded last night that maybe there is nothing to be done, but instead we need to be. Yes, it sounds odd, but we need to be …
My pastor tells us that we cannot out-think evil. We cannot out-work the wicked. We can however, out love them. He also tells us not to worry, for worry does not get us anything. He is a wise man.
There is a tough message that we need to realize, however. We cannot go back to business as usual. We cannot revel in the misery of this situation, then go back to our normal lives and expect anything to be different. By the time the politicians are involved, there will be a number of new laws that are proposed. From new security measures, to gun bans, and surveillance of the citizenry. The problem is salvation won’t come on Air Force One, and righteousness doesn’t come with a new law. The problem is not in our government or our laws, the problem is in the heart of each and every one of us. It would be morbidly selfish to expect a law to come into effect and solve the problems and we can go back to our normal lives. In order to make changes in our society, we must change. Sadly, here are a few ways we need to change in ourselves…
If you love to point out the faults in others, you are part of the problem.
If you love to post edgy or sarcastic photo memes online, you are part of the problem.
If you harbor any sort of hate in your heart, you are part of the problem.
If you seek to push an agenda that is rooted in anything that is not kindness and loving, then you are part of the problem.
If you want to NOT be part of the problem, then we need to turn down the heat of the vitriol in our society. We need provide a safe space for us to have debate. Don’t get me wrong that safe space is not agreeing with another point of view, but being tolerant (truly tolerant) of others, and listening without mocking. We must hear other points of view in order to find a middle ground, or most likely a compromise, to fix the problem. There was a time when the politicians in our government would regularly seek to gather support for issues that affected the entire nation from all parties. That support may not have been given, but at the end of the day, they could share a civil meal.
If you truly want to help our society, make a serious effort to provide positive messages, in person, on the phone, and online. Keep away from the snarkiness and sarcasm. For those feed hate like gasoline feeds a fire. And hate is a cheap wine, we as a society have drunk too much of, for too long. Instead of giving in to the hate, try love. Try compassion. Try tenderness. Go to church this Sunday and look around, everybody there is a sinner just like you. We need to find the moral compass of our country once again. I think it might be found in a church pew, or in the pages of the bible. Sit in a pew with a friend, share a verse, ask each other questions. If you miss a ball game, or an hour of network news, it will still be there. We are called to do more for this world, and each other than to be a finger pointing at a problem, with no intention of lifting that same finger to help.
I have not posted in a while and I'm going to explain what has been going on and something that really has come the forefront of my mind.
I've signed up to be part of the 2017/2018 cohort of Colson Fellows. Chuck Colson was a special counsel for Nixon's White House and got caught up in Watergate. He pled guilty to obstruction of Justice and was sentenced to 3 years in prison. Through this period in his life Chuck found God. He instantly turned from a man who was solely interested in driving life his way, to surrendering his life to God. Having a spell at prison also gave him time to dig in and really put his faith on a good foundation. When he got out of prison he founded Colson Prison ministries and that ministry started small, but is now operating in more than 60 countries.
Chuck also wanted to know why the prison population is growing so fast so he founded the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. This is the 13th year that this ministry has sponsored a class of fellows who are looking to dig deep into Christian Worldview. That is something that. That is what I am digging into.
So far, it has been amazing.
Part of what I've been asked to do is to read 19 different books, talk about them, engage in twice monthly webinars, engage in the Bible with a daily devotional, watch videos, engage with my peers. It has been busy, but has been incredibly rewarding.
But what has been made epically obvious is that we don't understand the implications of being made in the image of God.
We are created. We did not "evolve" from the primordial ooze. We are not higher function apes. We are human beings, created as human beings, living as human beings, and we can thank our creator for that. Who is that creator, why almighty God himself. He fashioned us from the dust and breathed life into us. If you have a problem with that, then I would ask you to take a hard look at the foundation of your faith.
It goes deeper than that. If we are made in God's image, that says something about each and every one of us. With that fact comes a special dignity. For those of us with shame and body appearance issues, doesn't it feel good that God made us that way. People may see something less than dignified in us, but we are created from God in His image, we have something special because of that. If you are depressed, meditate on that for a moment.
Think about it from another angle. Have you ever walked down a sidewalk and saw somebody panhandling. They are dirty, need a bath, need a shave, need some new clothes, and we ignore them or sneer at them and walk away. I'm not accusing you of anything I haven't done or said myself. But, when we consider the image of God, the Imago Dei, is that how we should react? Or should we assume a certain dignity on that person regardless of their circumstances? Not only that panhandler, but the unborn and unwanted fetus is also made in the image of God. So is the white supremacist. So is the mass murderer on death row. So is the senior citizen who can no longer recognize their own children.
We need to understand the gift that God has given us just by making us in his image. We are dignified. You are dignified. You are special. Each human life is important, special, and has purpose.
You matter. So does everyone else.
Dad, you’ve been gone for almost 26 years now. Taken much too early at the age of 49. I’m now 52 and think about you every day.
I wish I could have bought you that classic car, an impala like you once had.
I wish you could have been there for my two college graduations.
I wish you could have been there to give me advice about moving across country.
I wish you could have been there when I went through divorce and remarriage.
I wish you could have been there for the birth of my children.
I wish you could have been on the floor playing with them all.
I wish you could have built rubber band guns for them.
I wish you could have shown them how to play the guitar.
I wish you could be here with me now, and help me work on the truck and the tractor.
I wish we could sit on the porch and watch the dogs and the chickens play.
I wish we could have cold one at the kitchen table and just talk.
Dad you gave me so much in life, a purpose, a sense of responsibility, a moral code. I wish I could give back to you now. I pray for you. I know you didn’t have much faith in church, and remembering the church we had in Pinedale and their traditions, I’m not sure I blame you. I wish you could have known Jesus the way I do and see that he is not there to limit or to condemn you, but to be there as a friend.
I went back to college because of your passing. I got two degrees and may yet get another. Most of all, i, as a son, want to make you, my father proud.
When the day comes and I pass on to eternity, I hope to see you there with my Father in heaven. May we hug and love one another, like we did here on earth. I know we didn’t always see eye to eye, but I know you always loved me. You have passed on a rich heritage of fatherhood, and manhood. I hope I’m half the man you were.
On this father’s day weekend, I won’t be buying a card or a cheesy gift. I’ll just remember the days at the kitchen table, or working on the house, or playing volleyball with you. I will remember fondly the jokes and the games and the laughter. Thank you for being my father, and thank you for being a good man, and a good role model.
I miss you.
Your loving son......
I probably delve into politics more often than is healthy, but when a national politician takes a federal nominee to task for his religious beliefs, it gets me going.
Let me set the stage, Russell Vought is President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget. This is an important post, but it's not the Secretary of State. On June 7th, during the confirmation hearings, Senator Bernie Sanders took Vought to task for something he wrote in a blog about the muslim faith. The one sentence at issue is this, "Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned."
From an article by David French in the National Review (you can find it here), we get Senator Sanders and Mr. Vought talking about this sentence...
Sanders: Let me get to this issue that has bothered me and bothered many other people. And that is in the piece that I referred to that you wrote for the publication called Resurgent. You wrote, “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.” Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?
Vought: Absolutely not, Senator. I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith. That post, as I stated in the questionnaire to this committee, was to defend my alma mater, Wheaton College, a Christian school that has a statement of faith that includes the centrality of Jesus Christ for salvation, and . . .
Sanders: I apologize. Forgive me, we just don’t have a lot of time. Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view?
Vought: Again, Senator, I’m a Christian, and I wrote that piece in accordance with the statement of faith at Wheaton College:
Sanders: I understand that. I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. Maybe a couple million. Are you suggesting that all those people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too?
Vought: Senator, I’m a Christian . . .
Sanders (shouting): I understand you are a Christian, but this country are made of people who are not just — I understand that Christianity is the majority religion, but there are other people of different religions in this country and around the world. In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?
Vought: Thank you for probing on that question. As a Christian, I believe that all individuals are made in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect regardless of their religious beliefs. I believe that as a Christian that’s how I should treat all individuals . . .
Sanders: You think your statement that you put into that publication, they do not know God because they rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned, do you think that’s respectful of other religions?
Vought: Senator, I wrote a post based on being a Christian and attending a Christian school that has a statement of faith that speaks clearly in regard to the centrality of Jesus Christ in salvation.
Sanders: I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.
Let that percolate for a minute. It almost sounds like a B movie courtroom drama. But it gets better. There is a link to the video of this interaction, hosted by the Office of Management and Budget, you can see it here, or can you. When I went to write this article, the video is no longer available
In honor of Memorial Day, I've made all my Kindle books free for this weekend. Take a moment and download and read a few.
I would greatly appreciate a review posted back on Amazon
Use the Links Below:
God's Unfailing Love
Prayer for Our Nation
Another Prayer for Our Nation
I’ve had a number of people come up to me and ask about writing their own book and what obstacles lie in the way. I’ve told them they are their own worst enemy and if they want to write, well, to write.
So I’ve decided to host a writer’s workshop webinar on June 17th at 7:00pm central.
I will cover the following:
I may not have all the answers, but I will share everything I know. I want to help other people put their message out, especially if it is a message of hope and encouragement.
If you are interested in the webinar/workshop, click on the link here.
I want to speak to fathers for a moment. Have you talked to you son about his behavior with women and girls? Does he understand how to appropriately conduct himself with the opposite sex?
I recently had the opportunity to witness some teenage boys acting very inappropriately. These are not hoodlums, or street kids, but good churchgoing kids who “SHOULD” know better. They obviously feel entitled to refer to girls as animals, and they feel free to discuss sexual acts they want to perform on them. This took place in a church!!!
When I grew up, I fell in love with stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the round table. Those stories made me want to act with chivalry and honor the women around me. I open doors, I let them go first, I give up my seat for them. I never debase or objectify them. But somewhere, somehow that love of chivalry has gotten lost. As men and fathers, it’s up to us to fix that. We need to get busy.
If that doesn’t convince you, then consider this. Would you like one of those boys to say and do those things to your wife, your mother, or your daughter. By allowing it to happen, you are allowing it to happen to all. Because any girl will likely be a mother, could possibly be a sister, and is somebody’s daughter. Let’s also put it in a Christian context. Each girl is a daughter of the King. They are children of God, just like you and me. With that relationship comes a certain dignity, that we attack if we allow such behavior to continue.
As fathers, we are the example. If our cell phone is more interesting than our kid, we fail. If the ball game is more important, we fail. If a night on the town with the boys is more important, than we fail, and we fail twice because that behavior will be duplicated by your son with every relationship he will ever have. Yes being a parent is hard, but what is our other option, we raise them or we turn them out into the streets and let their feral nature take over.
Heavenly Father, please direct the actions of fathers. Help them understand they the male authority, and example in the family. They can be tough, but also can be soft and loving. They need to raise their sons to follow your path, and to love their fellow man. In particular, they need to teach their sons to be honorable to women and girls. Help us all do a better job. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Are you happy with the state of our Nation right now? Are you an American and are happy with the culture, the government, the economy? Do you think we are going in the right direction?
If you answered Yes to any of those questions, you are likely in the minority. We are a fractured society with more differences being pointed out than reasons to come together. We differ on race, education, privilege, taxes, cars, houses, rent vs. buy, rural vs. city. But one thing is the same about us. We all live here. We are all sons and daughters of immigrants, whether voluntary or not, and we are recipients of a legacy from those who have gone before.
I have whalers, road builder, railroad watchmen, county officials, mail route drivers, farmers, mechanics, electricians, realtors, truck drivers, and many other ancestors. But they were all here for freedom, and they were all influenced by the love of this country. I love this country as well, that is why I’ve written my second bible study for Prayer for this Nation. It is named (imaginatively) Another Prayer for Our Nation, and is now available at Amazon in both softcover and e-book format.
You wrote a book, what does it mean to me?
Do you think this nation is a Christian nation? I’ll show you that it is.
Do you need forgiveness, or need to offer some? I’ll show you how that affects this country.
Do we need more truth in our lives and in our society? Let’s tie that together with prayer.
Do we need personal or national restoration? Let’s talk about that also.
Who do you turn to for guidance? I’ll suggest we turn to God.
Do you think our New Generation needs help and prayer? Me too.
Do you pray for our Leaders? If not, repent and join me.
Do we need a national Christian revival? If you think so, I’ll offer how that might look in our homes, offices, government buildings and churches.
If we want to see this country improve, it’s up to us. We have a unique opportunity to roll up our sleeves, help our fellow man, pray through the problems and make this country great again. Not by changing the government, but by changing hearts and minds, one at a time, to know, accept, and believe in Jesus Christ.
I've had a few people ask to hear my story. I put it to video, because a lot of people don't want to read a long article.
It was done on Saturday at the farm, that's the reason for the overalls.
As always, I welcome your comments.
If you would like me to share my story with your group or church, please contact me at email@example.com
If you feel moved by this, please feel free to visit my gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/jimkape