Let's Consider

A collection of writings to inspire and challenge us towards our better selves.  

Highlight Reels by Pastor Buddy

Have you ever noticed that self-reflection increases around the time of your birthday? 

It begins on those mornings when you look in the mirror and recognize grey hairs that were absolutely not there yesterday (or at least you don’t think so).  And as you are staring intensely into your reflection, you begin to think about all the things you’ve done and all the things you wish you could have done.  You ask yourself where you are in your life and “is this where I am supposed to be.”  Sometimes, the reflections digress and become a horror movie of your life's failures and hiccups.  After a time of this, you clean up and head out into the world to hear the many new and exciting renditions of the “Happy Birthday” song. 

So I wondered, how could one continue in life without the hiccups of life crashing your day?  How can we avoid allowing our thoughts to deteriorate into misery and despair? 

Here are some thoughts on changing a horror movie into a highlight reel of which you will never be ashamed. 

Edit the storyline

Every great highlight reel needs excellent commentary.  

How you think and talk about your life affects how you remember and experience it.  If your story is stuck on everything that depresses you, your story will suck even to you.  Focusing on the good you have accomplished takes a lot of effort.  After you have learned from your mistakes, move on and tell your story from the point of view of a person who has overcome life's difficulties.  

If you are able to recycle air in your lungs, there is still time to change how your story progresses from this day forward.  

Crop the images

Don’t you hate having a picture with a perfect image, and in the background, you see something that should not be there?  

In times like these, you must eliminate unwanted portions to enhance the image you want to keep. 

Perhaps you will have to crop out the haters that despised the gifts and talents that God blessed you with. Maybe you have to cut some backstabbers out who have shown to be terrified of facing you after they succeeded in their time of deceitfulness.  Maybe you have to reduce the margins by cutting certain people out of the frame of your vision because they abandoned you when you needed them the most.  

Understand, my friends; life is too short to hold onto images you no longer want in your life's memory album. Cut them out. 

Crop those negative images out of your life.  Do not permit those images to be a glorified slideshow of your darkest moments.  Dig deep into your memory and lay hold of any and all images of love and laughter.  Surround yourself with people who lift your spirits and seek the joy of life.  

Highlight the Star of the Show 

A highlight reel is incomplete without a captivating focal point to maintain the viewer's attention.  

Although we want to be the star of our highlight reels, our loving Creator trumps us all.  By prioritizing God's presence and participation in our lives, we create opportunities for the Divine to reveal more extraordinary things than we could ever imagine.  God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses.  When God is the star actor in our lives, our faith strengthens, and our burdens become lighter.  

Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV) 

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

So, when you look into the mirror on this year’s birthday and playback the reel of your life, watch the highlight reel that will encourage and empower you to walk boldly into the blessings of a new year.  

Happy Reels

White Nikes by Pastor Buddy

...oh yeah...I had the opportunity to purchase yet another pair of white, Sweet Classic Nike tennis shoes.  I mean, almost crystal white. 

These shoes were so clean I was afraid to wear them.  

While getting dressed one morning, I heard whispering from my closet, “Jerome, Jerome, put us on.”   I should have known at that very moment that nothing good could come out of this situation.  

I agonized over the decision for hours (about 2 minutes in real-time), and I finally decided to put on the fresh white Nikes.  But before I put them on, I sprayed them with starch to protect the fabric and off to a meeting I ran.  

While at the meeting, I occasionally noticed how nice these shoes looked on me... 


”Wait...Wait...Wait a minute!  What is that?  No. No. No.  Where did that come from?  I didn’t rub against anything black.”  

Completely disregarding the meeting, I stood up from the table and walked out of the room, and headed to the bathroom to clean the menacing scuffs that had appeared on the sole of my right shoe. 

I scrubbed like a man trying to polish away a scuff on the apple of his eye brand-new car.  

Speaking to myself, “Well, it’s not perfect, but better than what it was?!” 

All was right with the world again...until…I looked at my left shoe.  

Hold on! Am I on candid camera? What is that blood…no! Ketchup?  I haven’t had any ketchup.”  

I wiped the ketchup from my shoes, they were still fairly white, but some of the scuffs would not go away. I was ready to return to the meeting when I realized I had to walk down a crowded and busy hallway.  As I was walking down the hallway, it seemed like everyone formed a line and took turns stepping on my shoes.  I’m almost sure I saw a small Volkswagen in that line too. 

I remember getting home from the meeting and feeling defeated because my white Nikes were now zebra stripped.  The next day, I took my shoes to the master shoeshine man and confessed to him my struggles with the formerly white shoes.  He told me to leave the shoes with him, and he would see what he could do with them.  A few days later, I returned to retrieve my shoes.  

The shoes were spotless.  I don’t know how he did it, but the master shoeshine man restored the shoes to almost new condition.  He gave me the shoes, and before I left, he said, “Be a little more careful next time.”  

Our faith journey is much like this.  When we give our lives to Christ, he washes and covers us in his blood, making us completely clean.  Unfortunately, we have a hard time staying that way because we have to interact with others, and sometimes these interactions leave us with scuffs, bruises, and ketchup stains that our hands cannot remove.  So, we must go to the master and confess to him where we went wrong. He loves us. Forgives our sins.  Washes away the penalty of sin and instructs us in a loving way to, “Be a little more careful next time.”  

Master, Thank you for washing and cleaning us with the grace and mercy found in the blood of your mighty Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  

How I Understand God by Pastor Buddy

"...that's when one of them said, “I’m sick! Why is God doing this to me?” 

And without batting an eye, the friend responded, “God is doing this to you, to test you! What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.”   

Ever heard this conversation before? I get nervous when I hear this kind of exchange.    


Well, I’m concerned with how we talk about God as it relates to the unfavorable circumstances of our lives.


For instance, if I were to say that God tested someone through sickness and the person did not survive, would I then have to assume that they failed the test?  With the same reasoning, for those who recognize God is all-knowing: wouldn't the previous also suggests that God is cruelly cherry-picking certain people to give life-threatening diseases knowing in advance that they cannot survive?  

"Well, God won't put more on us than we can bear.  That's what the scriptures say."

Okay. I see where you are going.  So as not to misinterpret, here's how that scripture reads:  

1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  

This scripture is about our war with temptation and should not be connected to discussing whether or not sickness comes from God.  This scripture could apply to the time of temptation when individual struggles with trusting that God still loves them despite their circumstances. 

I would argue that sickness and disease is not a test but a result of human error.  As much as some may want to blame God, I believe we can all think of ways where humanity has brought about widespread harm to one another.  

I am not a scientist, but do we ever know what is in our food?  Do we really know how the radiation from cell phones and communication towers will affect us?  Do we really trust that businesses seeking a profit will always make healthy decisions about the food we ingest?  I don't know.  

Unfortunately, illness is an unfortunate result of being a spiritual being wrapped in corrupted flesh, living among others who may care more for themselves than the fate of humanity. 

But where does the testing come in?  

Well, that’s a little more complicated.  I would suggest that the test is more about responding to what is happening.  The test is not from God per se.  The test is of our own manufacturing.  In other words, are we able to continue in faith despite whatever circumstances dealt to us?  

James 1:2-3 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

The trial this writer is referring to is the persecution that the believers received from unbelievers.  The persecution was not the test.  The human-to-human aggression was a result of humankind's brokenness.  God did not send this persecution.  These were acts of inhumanity. The trials they endured did allow the word of God to spread because of those followers who refused to deny their faith.  

This is the actual test of faith.  Are we willing to maintain our faith when it is unprofitable and unpopular?  


In closing, maybe we should refrain from portraying God as an unfair dictator who oppresses people through sickness and disease.  I don't want to serve that version of God.    

I would so much instead replace those negative images of God with this image: 

2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord isn't slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn't want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act.

I like this understanding of God.