Archive

Archive for March, 2011

Church, Bible reading, this blog and, well…

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Went to church last night. Had to walk there since I did not have the family van readily available. No problems: I walked the mile to church in about 15 minutes. Great exercise. It seems that every time you have to make a strong effort to attend church it ends up being well worth it. Bible study and then a chat with a few people. I obtained the name of the lady who runs the church’s library ministry, so Lord willing, I will be able to serve there in a small capacity soon…

…Finished reading Isaiah today, and in chapter 65 was the passage where the Left Behind story teaches that the unsaved during Christ’s Millennial Reign will have 100 years of life to accept Him. If they are unsaved on their hundredth birthday, they will die. Time will tell if this is accurate.

Read through Hebrews’ Faith Hall of Fame and saw that Samson and Sarah were there. Samson I remember from a past reading, Sarah’s presence in the HOF was a surprise. You know Samson: the cocky strongman who allowed his hair to be cut off and was left to the brutality of the Philistines. I wonder if his faith involved his belief that once his hair grew back his strength would return? Hard to say. I also imagine Sarah’s faith was in her belief she would indeed eventually give birth to a son in her old age, even after she took her eyes off God and allowed her husband Abraham to sleep with Hagar, her maid…

…As far as this blog goes, I think I have found a theme that’s good for now. Someday I hope to redesign this blog to make it far more unique. In the meantime, I will post when I have something to say rather than putting something up on a daily basis.

As always, comments are welcome. Post them here or drop me a line at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Interview with blogger and fellow PCC alum Nolan Bobbitt: Part 1 of 2

March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Nolan Bobbitt, a fellow Pensacola Christian College graduate, is a great example of someone I knew of at college (but not on a personal basis) but have, in recent years, exchanged e-mails with him every so often. I remember at PCC he had a reputation as a friendly, wonderful guy who loved people and wanted to serve in the ministry.

After I graduated from PCC and spent time in the proverbial real world (which included a four-year enlistment in the U.S. Army, where so many forbidden things at college were done by most as an afterthought), I began to discover the internet and websites that were both favorable and not favorable to PCC.

On one website I discovered an essay by Nolan titled: “ISOLATIONISM: The Gospel of the Fundamentalist Movement.” Sometime in the near future I will post it on my blog, as it is much-needed reading about how Christians should be insulated but not isolated from the world.

Nolan Bobbitt

These days, among Nolan’s ministries is a website, where he blogs. As I’ve read his blog I have grown to admire both the content and the design. Just a few years ago, I learned what a blog was, how to choose a server, how to post, how to create one working within the allowed parameters. And, yes, how to deal with angry readers who think I’m far crazier than I actually am.

Since blogging is still relatively new to some Christians, I decided to ask Nolan a few questions about blogging, how he got into it and how Christians can use it as a ministerial tool…

Richard Zowie: When did you first start using the internet?

Nolan Bobbitt: I started using the internet back in the dial-up days, around 1995.

RZ: When did you start blogging?

NB: Wow, it’s hard to believe, but I started blogging back in 2005.

RZ: What types of growing pains did you have when you first started blogging? Do you still find yourself wanting to tinker with your blog’s layout, format and what you write about?

NB: Sure I went through the typical blog growing pains, and the funny thing is, there are still some pains there from blogging, but they are a different kind. In the first couple of years, I was really consumed with growing an audience and trying to get high-profile “celebrity Christian” bloggers to read my stuff or write a guest post so that I could have their readership come my way. I obsessed over having a cool blog layout and header.

These days, it’s a little different…I obsess over writing something of substance and value, rather than growing a broad readership. I actually have taken an unintentional break from blogging. I was getting into a really good rhythm and posting at least 4-5 times a week, and then, I just stopped writing. At this point, I really need to update the “look” and layout of my blog, but I’d actually rather just have something that’s worth reading posted there more consistently.

RZ: Do you run across Christians who are opposed to blogs or to being on the internet? If so, what do you tell them?

NB: Oh, I am sure that there are a few Christians who are opposed to blogging or the internet, because they think that it is too “worldly.” I would tell the opposed that the internet may be one of the greatest evangelism tools that the 21st century will see if harnessed to further the Gospel in a compelling way!

In Part 2, Nolan will discuss his thoughts of how blogs can be used for Christian ministries.

Richard Zowie has blogged at Blogspot, Livejournal and now primarily uses WordPress. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Caffeine and Bible reading

March 29, 2011 1 comment

Caffeine is a drug. One friend told me it’s fatal in its purest form. Thankfully, what we drink in sodas, tea and coffee isn’t in a fatal form.

However, caffeine consumed excessively is not a good thing. I do not see any harm, though, in consuming it in the form of above drinks as a way to get up in the morning.

I thought about this around 6:45 a.m. as I read passages in Isaiah and Hebrews while my sons got ready for school (my wife and I take turns driving them in the morning for Early Bird session). As I read, I found myself re-reading the same verses or reading and not remembering what I read or not comprehending.

One evangelist once said that once he wakes up in the morning, he turns over and gets his Bible and starts reading. It’s commendable he has the energy and discipline for that.

I’m concluding that it is best to read the Word of God in the morning after you are alert and awake. If that means drinking coffee, tea or a soda (or a “pop”, as it’s called in Michigan), fine. If it means getting in some exercise–such as a nice walk–fine. If it means taking a shower, fine.

So, tomorrow morning I will do that–read the Word after I have gotten myself nice and awake.

Richard Zowie is well aware Satan does not want him reading the Bible. Post comments here or e-mail richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Another successful day reading the Word

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Almost done reading Isaiah. Will complete that in a week or so. Read Isaiah 53 today. Also will be finishing Hebrews in about a week. Had a short chapter in Hebrews today but decided against reading an extra one. The whole quality-versus-quantity thing, you know.

I woke up at 8:30 a.m. to go to work at 10 a.m., and when I got up, I toyed with sleeping until 9 a.m. But I nixed that idea when I realized I would not have enough time to take a shower and get ready and read the Bible. Small victory again.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Another successful day of reading the Bible

March 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Got up this morning, took a shower and then returned back to my bedroom and read passages from Isaiah and Hebrews.

Wouldn’t it be great to make a habit out of this? I thought.

Indeed, it would. To start off each day reading the Bible is a wondrous accomplishment. Still, I expect many battles along the way. Satan hates Christians and wants to throw as many obstacles as possible into their paths. A person said if you are having an easy time living as a Christian, then Satan must not be too worried about you. No ego intended, but I think that’s a good statement.

So now, as I read and am caught up, I relax and focus on reading what God’s Word says and thinking of how I can apply it to my life each and every day.

As I read now, there is so much that is difficult to process since it has, sadly, been years since I’ve read through the entire Bible. I trust that in future readings the passages won’t seem as daunting.

Richard Zowie has been a Christian for 29 years. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Who wrote Hebrews?

March 25, 2011 Leave a comment

I am reading through Hebrews, which, the title of this posting probably gave that away. Many wonder who wrote Hebrews. Traditionally, they say Paul. Others say it wasn’t Paul because it wasn’t his style. (Paul begins his epistles by identifying himself while Hebrews begins with the word “God”).

So, who wrote Hebrews?

I know the answer.

Not me!

Richard Zowie is known for his goofy sense of humor. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

The joys of being Isaiah the prophet

March 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Tradition says that Isaiah the prophet was murdered by being sawn in half inside a hollowed-out log on orders from King Manasseh. We presume this was before Manny repented of being a wicked king and became a born-again upstanding monarch. Perhaps he just grew tired of Isaiah’s prophecies of how wickedness would be judged.

Isaiah’s words remind me of the nondescript FBI agent in the hilarious movie Midnight Run who has to deliver bad news to the tall, imposing Agent Alonso Mosley (played brilliantly by Yaphet Kotto). Mosley is eating lunch at a diner when he’s told they were unable to capture bounty hunter Jack Walsh and government witness Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas…

FBI agent: I have some news for you about Walsh and the Duke.

Mosley: Is it going to upset me?

Agent: Yes, sir, I think it’s safe to say it will.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Caught up on my Bible reading! Zowie!

March 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Thankfully, my parents are not offended by my taking our surname in vain. It’s catchy, so no worries. I wish I hadn’t been so shy about that two decades ago when I absolutely insisted–with no success-that my classmates call me Richard and not Zowie. I might as well have asked them to throw away their Van Halen 1984 albums.

So, back to the ranch…

This morning, while doubling my reading in Isaiah and Hebrews, I got caught up on my Bible reading. No more having to read four to six Old Testament chapters a day and no more reading two chapters in the New Testament. I can now focus on quality and not quantity.

I briefly considered keeping my pace so I could read the Bible through twice this year but decided against it and felt it was yet another desperate obstacle of Satan’s to discourage me from reading God’s Word. I take it that The Adversary Formerly Known as Lucifer must not like it when people read in Revelation about his being cast into the lake of fire and how, for the first time ever, he will feel something he won’t like–physical pain. This kind has no morphine to look forward to: it’ll be eternal, excruciating and unspeakably terrible.

So now, I sigh, take a breath and get back into a normal routine. A brochure from the Roloff Homes in Corpus Christi, Texas states the homes had this very strict rule for all its staff and those in its homes: each morning, you begin with devotions. No Bible, no breakfast. No exceptions. Perhaps that is a rule I should modify and implement for myself: No Bible, no internet/facebook/blogging.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Coming soon: my potential adventures serving my church’s library ministry and an interview with an outstanding Christian blogger (no, I won’t be interviewing myself–far from it).

Richard Zowie still has a long way to go as a Christian, but he is getting there. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

A Tale of Two Pastors

March 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Of all the churches I’ve attended, two pastors stand out in my discussion of today’s topic.

At one church, the pastor ran into a problem. Besides his duties as pastor (preaching, teaching, counseling, ministering), he also wanted to to be directly involved in virtually all of the church’s programs and advisory boards and have them answer directly to him. (I believe he even tried to have a seat on every single committee). To many, including myself, he wanted total control. When the church did not give that to him, he resigned and took up a pastorship elsewhere. He has since resigned from that church and is now at yet another church.

At another church, I felt led of the Lord to use my love for perusing used books to ask the pastor if the church library needed any books that I could donate–should I find them–while looking around at yard sales and Goodwill stores. The pastor told me to talk to the library committee since they handled that.

This second pastor had his priorities right.

Pastoring isn’t just a full-time job–it is 24/7. One college friend and Facebook friend named John told me his Dad made himself available to be reached at any time by his congregation.

I am reminded of the story of Moses and Jethro in the Old Testament. Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law) in Exodus 18 told Moses he would burn himself out if he tried to handle all the matters before him regarding the Israelites. Put men in leadership to hear the cases and only hear the ones that they can’t solve, he told Moses.

Just as Moses did this and could focus on what needed to be done, I suspect a pastor needs to do that. Find godly, talented men and women in the church and place them in leadership over the church’s many ministries. If there is a problem, have them talk to you about it. If not, let them do their job so you can focus on–yep, you guessed it–preaching, teaching, counseling, ministering.

Richard Zowie wonders what real ministers think of this thought of his. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Remedy for heartache: get involved in your church

March 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Thank God for First Baptist Church of Vassar, Michigan.

A few wise friends, such as Jeremy E and Lance B, have told me that now is the prime time to get active in a church and serve in any way possible. Later this year or early next year I will become divorced after 13 years of marriage (my wife and I will hit our 14th year on June 30, but I’m not sure if I really want to count that). It was very tough at first, a lot of emotional anguish. Someday I will bawl my eyes out when I get past my anger and disgust. It’s in the Lord’s hands.

In the meantime, I have my good and bad days. Saturday was a bad day as I just felt very in the dumps. There were a few people I really wanted to talk to, but my schedule prohibited it. And one high school friend I really wanted to talk to was busy that day, and I didn’t want to intrude.

I texted a few friends and asked for advice about dealing with the sadness and presented a list of ideas.

Several responded. Jeremy and Lance both told me now is the time to get active in church.

When I’m not working on Sundays, I’m there on Sunday mornings with my two youngest sons. Sunday school, Sunday morning. I plan to start attending Sunday night services when I can and soon I will be going to new member services. On Wednesday nights I attend Bible studies. One lady at the church, a fan of my From A to Zowie column, suggested I be responsible for doing the church’s newsletter.

At this stage, I’d be happy doing anything.

FBC is the first non-IFB church I have attended. It is considered a Regular Baptist Church, and its style reminds me of the non-denominational churches I’ve seen. Very friendly, laid-back with lots of great teaching on the Bible.

Ahhhhhhh…

Richard Zowie is thankful he found a nice church and encourages those who are heartbroken, lonely or sad to do the same. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

My small victory today

March 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Yesterday was not a good day for Bible reading as having to get up early, having lots on my mind at work and in my personal life, sadly and pathetically, got the best of me.

Today seemed headed in that direction. I had to take a look at my finances, had to wake up at 7:30 a.m. to get some things taken care of, and now I have to put in some hours at the newspaper before going to work at the gas station.

You don’t have time, Richard, one voice seemed to tell me.

I am tired of not making the time, I decided as I sat on my bed after a shower and read passages of Isaiah and Titus.

If things are slow tonight, I will continue reading more to catch up what I did not read yesterday. And then with tomorrow’s double reading I will be back on schedule.

When I feel Satan trying to discourage me from reading, I often feel like telling him (and have on a few occasions), “Hey, Satan…don’t you have an eternity in the lake of fire to prepare for?”

Some say it is best not to engage Satan in direct conversation. By doing so we are sending a clear message that he is beneath us and not worthy of our attention. Not to mention it is probably dangerous: many–if not most–Christians grossly underestimate Satan’s intellect and capabilities.

Richard Zowie is reading through the Bible for the first time in far too long. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Today’s Bible reading in 2 Timothy, Isaiah

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I doubled my reading today to get caught up and will be completely back on track by the end of this week–if I stay on top of things and do my Bible reading and don’t fall a willing victim to the Eighth Deadly Sin.

Doubling reading is not something I recommend except for the seasoned, in-shape Bible readers. Otherwise, as you read a passage you’ll see things whiz by and you won’t have the time to study them in-depth. Perhaps in a few years, after I’ve read through the Bible three times, I’ll take my time and read a chapter a day. Or maybe I’ll do my daily reading and then go back to a passage and study it in detail. I counted the amount of passages I read today. By Saturday I’ll be caught up on my Old Testament reading and by Sunday, caught up on the New Testament.

As I read through Isaiah and use a Bible with no commentary, I wonder how much of the judgment God is preparing for the godless nations around Israel is for that time and how much of it is to be fulfilled in the end times. There is mention that the water from both the Nile River and the Mediterranean Sea (which the Nile flows into) will become undrinkable…perhaps that’s when God in Revelation turns a third of the ocean water into blood in the second trumpet judgment and then all of the ocean water and then all of the rest of the water into the blood of a dead person during the second and third bowl judgments?

As tough as it is since I’m not a morning person, the morning really is the best time to read God’s Word. The days are stressful enough without starting them talking to God (or as that one PCC floorleader poetically put it, spending time with the “Holy of Holies”) and listening to what He has to say. So often we forget that Bible reading shouldn’t be viewed as something we as Christians have to do, but rather that it’s time we get to spend with a Creator who wants nothing more than to spend time with us and for us to to get to know Him on an intimate basis.

Richard Zowie will turn 30 years old as a Christian in October and was led to the Lord in mid-October 1981 by Pastor Jim Lilley of Kings Row Baptist Church in Alvin, Texas. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

A puzzling question about Isaiah 14…Satan or Nebuchadnezzar?

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been reading through Isaiah and came across Isaiah 14. It reminds me of a discussion I had with one guy who told me two things about the “Lucifer” passage:

One: Lucifer refers literally to the planet Venus.

Two: Lucifer is actually a reference to King Nebuchadnezzar and not to Satan.

For years in the Baptist churches I attended, it was accepted that Isaiah 14 referred to the fall of Satan and what led him to rebel against God. And now, this gentleman (whose intellect I respect highly) proposed it was simply about Nebuchadnezzar and the judgment against his kingdom and how he would eventually be humbled.

As I read the passage today, I wondered if perhaps this guy was right. Or, perhaps the judgments against Babylon, Egypt and other nations could be in the distant future. In Revelation, we lean that Babylon will be destroyed and that Satan, possessing the body of the anti-christ, is the head of Babylon. Satan, we learn, will eventually suffer the humiliation of humiliations.

Is this what the passage is referring to or is it indeed simply about Nebuchadnezzar?

I will say that if the passage is simply about King Neb, his ego and arrogance mirror what Satan had when he chose to rebel against God.

What are your thoughts, reader?

Post comments here or e-mail Richard at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Iron sharpens iron

March 14, 2011 1 comment

If one thing in life is invaluable, it’s advice from wise friends. I receive a lot of that.

Lately, due to a change in my personal life, I have consulted with friends–guys and ladies and have received input from them. I’ve listened, spoken, been stressed, been near tears. Some have never been married, some are married, some are re-married and some are where I will be probably later this year: divorced and trusting God will someday bring a wonderful Christian lady into my life.

The late Charles Bronson once was quoted as saying he had many acquaintances but no friends. Pity. Friends have helped me to gather up the pieces of my life and to rebuild myself.

Making friends has never been one of my biggeststrengths, and going through this ordeal reminds me of how much I miss my friends who live elsewhere. Among the many: Bob, Chelsea, Valkena, Aaron, Sean, Angie and the two Lances in Texas, Angela in Indiana, Michelle in Connecticut, Rachel in Virginia, Barbara in New York, David in Los Angeles, Jeremy in Michigan…

Some friends have shared very similar experiences with me while some of the ladies (I grew up with two older sisters, an outgoing mother and a father who worked long hours to provide a living, so I tend to open up towards women easier) have provided a listening ear. It is indeed a blessing to have such friends. They have helped me to become a much wiser person.

Richard Zowie is praying for God’s guidance. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

New poems about Jupiter and, um, hell

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

3-10-11 — J.U.P.I.T.E.R.

Note: I personally believe Jupiter was originally intended by God to serve as a secondary star in our solar system. Don’t ask me for proof: it’s pure conjecture on my part.

Jupiter must be very

Upset not to be

Part of God’s perfect plan.

Instead of being a bright star

To rule the night,

Eve and Adam both

Ruined that.

3-10-2011 — Hell

How long

Does it take

For the newly-dead

Lost

To realize

The horrible mistake

They just made?

Total darkness

The hideous flashing faces

The heat

The screams

The boiling fiery stench of sulfur

The despair.

If heaven is unimaginably wonderful,

I don’t een want to know

How unimaginably horrible

Hell is.

Richard Zowie is a writer who finds Jupiter mysterious and is thankful he’ll miss out on hell. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Poetry, courtesy of Richard’s Two Shekels

3-6-11

Explaining shades of blue to Stevie Wonder.

Teaching calculus to a toddler.

Neither remotely compares to

God explaining the majesties of eternity

To our finite minds.

3-6-11 — God and Time

Time

Is a human concept.

Clockmakers and watchmakers

Will be bored

In heaven.

To God,

A thousand years is a single day

One day is a thousand years.

No watch on His wrist

No clock on His wall.

Seiko, Timex, Casio, Rolex

Are meaningless.

I imagine…

To God,

All of earth’s events

–all natural occurrences

–all events of everyone’s life

Occur in a gigantic matrix

And happen all at once.

Right now,

Adam and Eve are in the garden

David is slaying Goliath

Jesus is feeding the thousands

Luther’s at the Diet of Worms,

The American Revolution rages,

Reagan is telling Gorbachev to tear down this wall

And I’m writing thi spoem,

The antichrist is being thrown

Into the lake of fire,

Eternity future is dawning.

God already knows the day

When time won’t matter anymore.

My battle with procrastination and other observations

I’ve said it over and over and it bears repeating: procrastination is the eighth deadly sin.

Not sure if I originated that saying, but it’s an observation and I believe it.

I’ve been lousy lately at getting up in the morning to read the Bible. Very difficult to maintain consistency. Part of my problem is, I tend to be a Night Owl. Lately I have been on Facebook talking with various friends as I try to heal during what will still be a painful transition in my life. Thank goodness for godly counsel and listening ears…

…This year, I have been doing my devotions out of the New King James Bible. And to think that around 18 years ago, I took copious notes as Dr. Al Lacy preached a sermon about how we should read only the King James Bible and how even the NKJV was a counterfeit. My studies into foreign languages, observations about how the English language evolves have led me to conclude that while my first Bible to read is the King James, I also like the NKJV. At present, I have two Bibles: a KJB Zondervan Study Bible, a New King James slimline and I hope in the future to add a KJB New Open Study Bible to my collection…

…I read a Facebook account of a school classmate’s testimony. I knew this gentleman since grade school, and I am thankful he is now a Christian living for God. Life has taught me that God will go to great measures to get people attention to try to lead them to Him (again, I am not a Calvinist), and this man’s testimony is proof of that…

Richard Zowie will turn 30 years old as a Christian this October. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.